Monday, July 28, 2014

Untitled Short Story

I don't have a title for this short, short story. If you have any ideas, just leave me a comment.

Heal her and give me the pain.

That was the deal I made with the angel in the hospital.

Relative quiet finally arrived and there were no sounds I didn't recognize. The annoying machine that monitored my wife's health kept beeping when her blood pressure dropped too low. I was tempted to unplug the thing, but that would probably break another rule. I'm not averse to breaking a few rules, but the noise didn't bother her; she slept right through it. Finally I corralled a kindly nurse who did something to the setting and the machine quit squawking. Maybe she was tired of it, too.

Now I sat in the semi-dark room with only that fluorescent light behind her bed shining toward the ceiling. Indirect lighting seems so much softer after all the spotlights in the ceiling are turned off. The nurses let me stay in the room and sleep on the pseudo-leather chair that unfolded into a bed. One even brought me a pillow and a blanket.

Most nurses are nice. I'm glad for that.

I didn't go through the elaborate routine of expanding the chair and extending the footrest part and dropping the middle down to the same level as the other parts - you get the idea. You almost needed an engineering degree just to operate the transformer chair. It was too much bother. I was too tired, half unconscious with fatigue and worry.

I looked at her pale face in the wan light. Fluorescent lights don't do anything for skin color. The lines of pain no longer crossed her face. For now, she seemed quiet and peaceful, able to sleep at last. I held her cold fingers lightly since I didn't want to wake her, though I probably couldn't wake her if I sang songs from Fiddler on the Roof. I was glad they finally gave her drugs for the pain. I was pretty close to tossing a few doctors around after an hour of watching her cry in the bed in this small room. I think they saw the threat in my eyes and that's why they finally gave her something to help her sleep.

Yeah, I was on the brink.

Five hours ago she was throwing up everything she didn't eat, and doing a pretty violent job of it. Then the pain hit her. I helped her to the car, in her pajamas, tossed a friend's serape over her and rushed her to the emergency room. I don't know why our city has two different hospitals on adjacent blocks. I drove to the wrong emergency room and got her into a wheelchair, where the best she could do was rock back and forth, tears streaming down her face. Back and forth. Back and forth. Constant motion, to no avail. When the nice people at the check-in desk couldn't find her in their computer system I was losing it. The kid behind the desk figured it out. A cancer patient belonged in the hospital next door, he said. I was at the wrong hospital, the wrong block on the right street.

So I wheeled her and the borrowed wheelchair into the cold, dark night, through the slight drizzle and pushed her up the hill and across the side street, the hospital kid leading the way so I wouldn't get lost again. He was fast.

The other hospital computer had her information, but they were wall to wall people in their emergency room. Everyone seemed bundled against a chill that didn't follow us inside. When they gave me the paperwork I checked every box that said pain. I think it was the chest pain one that got us immediate attention from staff and angry glares from patients who were still waiting for attention.

On a scale of one to ten, one being the least and ten being the most, what's your pain level?

I answered for her when the nurse asked that. That would be a ten. She's in a lot of pain. The heavy-set nurse scowled at me and asked about the chest pain.
You see her rocking here, I snapped. Every part of her hurts and she needs something for pain and she needs it now. I don't know if she heard my teeth crack as I ground them together, but she said something about cardiac and no longer looked at me. Not all nurses are nice.

She exiled us back to the waiting room. The kid from the other hospital parked my car outside the emergency room doors and brought me the keys.  Nice kid. He didn't even try to take their wheelchair back, but only asked how she was doing. I muttered something, but he could tell it wasn't going well. I had to leave her for a few minutes to park the car. I haven't run that much in years.

So we waited. I had no idea emergency rooms closed down for the night. They shuttled all of us to another floor, where we sat and waited for a room and a bed. Back and forth she rocked. I couldn't do anything except ask for someone to give her something for pain every five minutes and murder the doctors and nurses with my glare. I stroked her hair, held her tightly clenched fingers, and whispered encouragement I didn't feel. This smaller waiting room slowly leaked people through a tiny door with no window and a button to make it open.

Back and forth. She couldn't even get a full breath as the pain pushed tears down her tired face. Finally they called her name and we went through the tiny door, down a hallway of nondescript color with a floor that had light blue tiles and into a little glass room where they put her in a bed. She tried to stay curled in a tight ball, tried to keep rocking with the pain, but that was too much work for her. She could only lay there and cry quietly, the tears making small pools of water near her ears.

They stuck needles in her arm. It took three tries to find a vein, but she didn't feel those pinpricks among the other tortures she endured. I felt every one of them. I pleaded with these new faces for pain medication. A doctor can give her something for pain, they said. I pestered them, growled at them, psychically attacked them until a doctor complied.

The room smelled like alcohol and that funny cleaning stuff they use in hospitals. I hate that smell. They keep the temperature low, too. That's to combat germs they say, and it's a good thing, but I don't think it works as well as they want it to.
So I'm finally sitting in the cold, almost-dark room, partly covered with a blanket and smelling that hospital smell and I'm praying.

Heal her and give me the pain.

You don't always see angels. My friend once saw an angel standing guard over her house, a giant Statue of Rhodes with one foot on each side of her two-story dwelling. You have to hope that's a good angel. But mostly you sense them, a quiet whispered voice and the sensation that you are not alone.

Heal her and give me the pain. Unshed tears stung the corners of my eyes. Please.

I really thought I could handle it. I have a lot better pain tolerance than I let on. But I'd rather do the crying and rocking than watch her suffer like this.

I can do that, said the voice.

Do it, then. Just do it.

You're sure, asked the voice. I should have listened more carefully, I think.

Just heal her. Give me the pain.

I dozed off, I guess. Maybe it was all a dream.

The nightmare began when the doctor gently touched me on the shoulder to wake me, a look of profound sorrow on his face. I can still see his lips move as he told me she was gone.

The rest was a whirl of activities.

It wasn't until I got home, sitting in the silent darkness of my empty house, that I realized I had the answer to my prayer.

She was healed and I had the pain.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


I saw it on Google, on Twitter, on the news… but the beauty simply made me want to post it on my blog also.
Marvel Comics. Essentially FREE for a month (just skip a cup of coffee).

Even WIRED reported it as "You Can Now Pay 99 Cents to Read 15,000 Marvel Comics Online" and so I share it with you.

Sure, you only get access for a month, but what a month! Put Netflix movies on hold. Set those novels aside. Crank up your computer or tablet and read thousands of Marvel comics by spending less than a dollar (the same amount you need to get off that crazy Candy Crush level - c'mon, you know you do it once in a while).

My eldest son is a comic EXPERT - really - and is slowly becoming a human comic collage as his finances and his tattoo artist can get around to it. Too bad he is not able to enjoy this deal right now. I think he'd love it.

I'm going to go read comics now - and remember what fun I had spending a dime on them the first time around.


Yeah, not quite the same quality art as modern comics...

One more thing: If you want to go read a whole lot of really OLD comics - yeah, the kind I read as a kid, thanks, and please stop the dinosaur jokes (dinosaurs were no joke back then), you can read them free at The Digital Comic Museum, bless their hearts. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Seductive Murder: A Short Story

I published another short story on Smashwords and Amazon today. Called Seductive Murder: A Short Story, it is ten years - to the day - since I wrote the first draft. 

I was going to publish it under a pseudonym ... It isn't my normal genre, though it is the possible beginning of a novel - I have the rudimentary plot in my head for it (and have had that plot for ten years, obviously) but I don't know if it is substantial enough to expound upon.

Here's the pitch:

A business trip cut short in an intimate moment. Heart attack? Well, yes, but... 
This is a short story, intended for mature audiences. Others need not apply.

Go grab a copy and review it. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Jabberwocky Sequended

Years ago the poem Jabberwocky by that nutty Lewis Carroll grabbed my attention and held it long enough for me to write a sequel, where the boy who slew the Jabberwock managed to defeat the Jubjub bird.

I posted that Jubjub bird addition to my blog in June of 2011, where it received scant (or no) attention.

As the years pass me by I now think it time to finish my personal salutation to the impeccably bizarre Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (who also suffered from migraines). I actually put some thought into the new parts, so the Jubjub bird stanzas differ from my draft version. The Bandersnatch portion is entirely new.

Unlike my previous attempt, I strove to maintain the same syllabic count used in the original Jabberwocky. That took some doing. I actually had to use a spreadsheet to see the stanzas side by side. (Yes, for you Word people, I could have used columns, but then I'd not have room for syllabic count also!)

Yeah, I love spreadsheets

I shall endeavor to do some drawings (of my own, perhaps) and publish it as a short book. In case that doesn't happen, here is the Addended, Intended Sequel. Enjoy and feel free to comment!

With great homagility* to the original!

Jabberwocky Sequended **

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogroves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand;
Long time the manxome foe he sought --
So he rested by the Tumtum tree
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh, Callay!"
He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogroves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.


Bright 'Twillig, and the slithy coles
Did lang and yunnle by the shore:
And sliet were the burrotoles,
wherever Owlettes did floar.

"Beware the JubJub bird, my lad!
For though the Jabberwock you slew,
Serrated beak and Talons grad,
Awaits a boy brave as you!"

He strapped his vorpal blade on back,
Upon bright chain and greaves he wore --
With the bait inside a burlap sack,
Jaunt to the scrathy shore.

As in the shoreward sea he splashed
the JubJub bird with wings arove
Down through the misty air it flashed
and flabbered as it dove!

A razor beak, the sack did snatch,
the knifely talons raked him sore.
At once the vorpal blade did catch -
The JubJub was no more.

Then healing wounds and severed wings
Among the feasts and dances grand.
While still the kingdom minstrel sings
the fight throughout the land.

Bright 'Twillig, and the slithy coles
Did lang and yunnle by the shore:
And sliet were the burrotoles,
when the Owlettes did floar.


Quite shillig, and the briny soles
Did sply and swamble in the sturf
Amid the twily funneroles
where rapscid anchove emburf

"Beware the Bandersnatch, my son!
Though the Jubjub bird you sundered,
For all its battles it has won
When lightninged and athundered!"

With vorpal edge upon his belt,
Midst the chaos sky he wandered.
After endless blue he crossed the veldt,
Toward his doom unpondered.

Amidst the Tumtum trees he slept,
'til Earthquake 'neath him sundered.
Aroused from slumber he then leapt,
Death around him Thundered!

Lightning blinded and Thunder struck!
The vorpal blade smote and parried,
With boundless heart and gracious luck,
Its blind eyes he carried.

The Jabberwock, the Jubjub bird,
and great the frumious Bandersnatch --
Strange beasts exist in measured word
And in dreamscapes they hatch.

Quite shillig, and the briny soles
Did sply and swamble in the sturf
Amid the twily funneroles
where rapscid anchove emburf

* Why, homage and humility, of course!

** Sequel, yet Ended

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Publish Yourself using Word

I published my next book yesterday! Already it sold two copies!

Here's the description:

Ever want to be an author? Turn your Word document into a booklet without any added expense.

Take your Word document and turn it into a professional-looking booklet.
This book covers all you need to know.
How to set your document up.
How to review it.
How to manage pictures in your document so they appear properly in your booklet.
How to turn your booklet into a PDF file.
How to add those final touches to make your new booklet get the attention it deserves.

This is an easy step by step guide to teach anyone to make their own booklet.

If you ever wanted to publish your own work, this is a great way to start.

You can find it on Amazon and Smashwords.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


I am not a Congressman. Sometimes I wish I were, but I think something happens to the good men and women who are sent to Washington DC by the people of this great country. I am afraid something changes them and they forget where they came from and what they were hired to do.

We usually say "elected," don't we? But think about that for a minute. We, the people of the United States of America, essentially hold job interviews and hire our Congressmen/women. We pay them a salary and expect them to do the job we hired them for.

Now I don't know about you, but if I were a boss and had an employee that didn't do what they were supposed to - well, I'd find a different employee.

Imagine this for a second. You're now part of the body of Congress and you have the chance to speak to your fellow delegates (your fellow employees of the USA citizens). Wouldn't you say something like this? I would.

There is not a person here who does not want a better, stronger United States of America. 

There is not a person here who does not believe he or she is doing what is best for the American people.

We might disagree what and we might disagree how.

We do not disagree where - here in the United States of America.

We do not disagree for whom - the American people, and we are their servants, not their masters.

We do not disagree why - for the betterment of this country, the people of this country, and, ultimately, the people of the world that we can help in humanitarian ways.

Yes, the problems are difficult, but we were hired to do a job, and we promoted our abilities to do so. We can resolve the problems if we work together.

No more infighting. We must find a way to get past ourselves and look for a shining future.

It's time to make this country better, not bitter.

One final word, and I'll end this odd post. If our Congressmen/women aren't doing what we need, they need to be replaced. They make good money. They need to earn it.