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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Forever Daddy - Chapter 5

Truth be told, Zoe gave very little thought to Zach after their brief encounter. He was just one of dozens of customers she flirted with on a daily basis. out of a hundred or more she met each day.  Sometimes she didn’t even recognize people she had slept with unless they said something that reminded her.
                  As was the norm, Trent was decent to her for a while after he beat her. Not good. Not loving. Not apologetic. But decent.
                  At this point, decent simply meant not hitting her for a day or so.
                  Sometimes she gave thought to their relationship and wondered what she should do. That line of questioning was usually quickly abandoned, because no solution was apparent. She still loved him, he stayed with her. So there was nothing she could do, in her mind. She hoped things would change of course, and she tried in her  own way to influence him in that regard, but the coke and the whiskey definitely didn’t help anything, nor did their perpetual money problems.
                  She occasionally did consider leaving him, though. But their dealer was his friend. His connection. The one time she’d thrown him out, she’d been cut off for three miserable days until she was forced to call him and apologize which would ordinarily have been outrageous, even to her.
                  But she was addicted.
                  He didn’t deserve all the blame, but it was Trent that had gotten her strung out in the beginning. Now, as much as she hated to admit it, he and cocaine were inseparably linked in Zoe’s mind. She couldn’t think of one without the other. And she really needed her coke. Not nearly as badly as she needed her whiskey, though. She began each day with a shot. Then another. Then a highball glass. And then tumblers, which followed one after another until she fell asleep.  Given the amount of coke she was now snorting, sleep never came until late into the night. She also barely ate anymore.
                  Animal lover though she was, her twin black cats received little attention aside from refills of their food and water bowls. Her puppy, Roscoe, fared a bit better – cuddling with her when she slept or napped. But they were all starting to be ignored in what had now become Zoe’s one track existence.
                  Making things much, much worse, unbeknownst to Zoe, Trent had taken to occasionally kicking them in her absence. Had she known that she’d have left him. But she was by now blind to such thoughts. And trapped. By emotion. By circumstance. By manipulation.
                  She lashed out in the only way she knew how. By cheating on him. Often.
                  It was easy to do. Trent was almost never home except to sleep, take her money, or do her coke. Plus, he was impotent from it, and rarely, if ever, affectionate in any way unless he wanted something from her. That didn’t help things at all. Zoe was frequently horny. And he was usually angry.
                  She was now getting so fucked up every day that her life was essentially nothing but a string of objectively terrible decisions. She willingly allowed herself to be used by strange men. Badly. She got texts from random numbers at all hours of the night these days.
                  “Can I come over and fuck you in the ass?”
                  “Sure! LOL. Bring a bottle, though!”
                  These propositions kept her in booze. And if she got really lucky; in coke, too. Sometimes she didn’t even remember who had been there the night before. She’d awake bruised and cut with a sore throat and sometimes with clumps of hair on the floor. Whoever came got her drunk enough to effectively rape her, do any coke she had, and leave before she knew what’d happened. They never cuddled. They never stayed. They never left a note or a number. If she awoke with a sore ass she assumed she’d had a good time and left it at that.
                  Being cared for was no longer a consideration. Whiskey, coke, and random sex with strangers were all that remained. It was no life for a girl as smart, pretty, and kind as Zoe. But it was all she had.  

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Julia's Cameo As Amber

This is a pretty sweet story, I think. Not the one I'm about to paste, which is also pretty sweet, but how it came to be.

I knew my fiancee (WIFE) Julia back in 1988 at LSU. I loved her then, but she and I were both committed to other people. I love her now. I'll love her even more tomorrow. She made such a lasting impression on me that I wrote about her in the New Orleans part of my first novel, Pageburner. That was twenty years after I knew her (I moved to California, she moved to New Orleans), and EIGHT years before we reconnected. How crazy is that?

Anyway, here's her part. Close friends of hers will probably get even more out of it...

I love you, Julia!

"Further up the street was a farmer’s market. In New Orleans it was The Farmer’s Market. It had the odd feel of a train station without trains. Virtually everything you can hope to find was on display for sale.

There were small mountains of fresh fruit and vegetables, and Paige made note to stock up for her trip in the morning. Vendors had fresh shrimp, catfish and boiled crawfish, which Paige decided to try at lunch. They looked like tiny lobsters.

There were Rastas with purple ribbons in their flowing dreadlocks, selling bolts of imported fabrics, silks, hemps, Kente’ cloth. She approached a hippie chick in her late twenties selling beautiful pieces of handmade jewelry, and Paige knew she’d have to buy something.

“Are you finding everything you need here in New Orleans?” the girl asked knowingly, glancing sideways at her apparent boyfriend, who sat disinterestedly reading an underground comic, looking like nothing so much as an updated Maynerd G. Krebbs.

Paige knew instantly that the two did a little dealing on the side to supplement their income.

“Yeah, I’m good, thanks,” she said. “I’d like to hear about your jewelry, though.”

The girl’s expression brightened, somewhat. The favorite subject of any artist was their art, an extension of themselves.

“Well,” she began, “These are all hand-made pieces, I do them all myself. The beads and whirls are made of copper from Argentina. I use hemp cords to string them so they’re nearly impossible to break. This is amethyst, which is mined in North Carolina.”

Paige picked up and admired the light purple crystal as she continued. “These are jade, from the Orient, both China and Japan. The rough-hewn stones here are actually opal fragments, also from Japan.”

The jewelry was quite a change of pace from the gaudy diamond, gold and platinum trends that dominated the bigger world markets. She looked at the hand-labeled tags attached to the necklaces, and saw they were horrendously under-priced, with each selling for one quarter of what they would on the west coast, or less.

“What about this section?” Paige asked indicating a few pieces off to the far left of the display table.

“These,” she said lifting one up to the light for Paige to admire, “are amber.”

The Louisiana morning sun was soft, and caused the bauble to glow a light yellow-brown.

“It’s beautiful,” Paige remarked.

“Amber is crystallized prehistoric tree sap,” the girl said. “They’re a little more expensive because they have scientific value. Museums like to sell the ones with insects in them, if they don’t put them on display.”

Paige remembered this from Jurassic Park, the Spielberg movie. She eyed the ones on the table, which seemed to be insect-free. “Do you have any like that?”

“Well…actually,” the girl said as she reached into a box beneath the fabric-covered table. “I do have one. I was thinking about keeping it. But you’re pretty cool, and our rent is due.”

She handed Paige a necklace with a large, tear drop-shaped piece of amber hanging down at the bottom of the loop.

“I’m afraid it’s forty dollars, though.”

Paige held it up to the light to reveal a tiny Junebug encased in the dark, honey-colored stone. 

“Wow!” she said, duly impressed. “I’d love to have that. Are you sure it’s for sale?”

“Sure,” the girl said. ”I have a collection of them at home. Want me to put it on you?”

Paige turned around and lifted her hair. The amber rode perfectly, right above her modest cleavage.

“Thanks a lot,” Paige said sincerely when she turned back around. She reached into her purse and produced a hundred dollar bill.

“Oh, it’s sort of early. I don’t have much change, yet,” the girl said upon seeing this.

“It’s okay,” was Paige’s reply. “Keep it.”

The gratitude on the girl’s face was heart-wrenching. “I can’t do that,” she said, “Let me go break it at the fruit stand.”

“Keep it,” Paige said more insistently.

The girl said nothing, but looked at Paige with wonderment and gratefulness for a moment. “It looks great on you,” she finally said.

“I know,” Paige said and smiled. “Thanks a lot. You two be careful.” With that, she turned and continued her stroll through the market, happy to have fed a starving artist."

Sunday, July 3, 2016

'The Lost Princess' from "Poetry: A Love Story"

Chapter 10 – The Lost Princess

Once there was a princess faire
Who lived her life without a care
She frolicked in the streams and parks
Catching fireflies after dark
And danced with flowers in her hair
She ran and skipped everywhere
Her laughter filled the castle halls
Upon whose stately walls
Her visage brightened every room
Prettier than a rose in bloom
She went to church with open heart
And studied hard the lettered arts
Pigtail braids and freckled nose
Swathed in all the finest clothes
With jeweled rings and anklets gold
She was a joy to behold

One day she ventured into the woods
This girl whose heart was filled with good
And came upon a wizened crone
Outside a cottage all her own
She smiled, hello dear
Whatever could have brought you here?
Cry pardon madame if I intrude
I didn’t mean to be so rude
And I may pay a dreadful cost
But playing now has found me lost
The woman answered in good cheer
Guests are always welcome here
And goodness child, you are so thin
You’re little more than bones and skin

Come inside, for goodness’ sake
And sit with me for tea and cakes
The room was dark and dank and musty
More than just a little dusty
But the girl said thanks and please
A napkin primly across her knees
Politely listening to tales
With which the woman did regale
Sleep did then but close her eyes
And gave her aged hostess rise
Sleepy child, come get in bed
And rest your pretty, pretty head
Our princess, unable to resist
Her mind enshrouded in a mist
Did exactly as was bade
And crawled into a bed unmade

And so without another peep
She fell into the deepest sleep
And dreamed the dreams of little girls
Pony rides and candy swirls
The sandman dusted both her eyes
While bony fingers caressed her thighs
In dreaming, she did turn and twist
Yet to have her first real kiss
A moan escaped her parted lips
As her body quivered under fingertips
Awakened by the witch’s cackle
Her hands were bound
Her feet were shackled
She trembled underneath her stare
The hag had stripped her body bare

The woman set upon her
Mouth upon her breast
The girl began to squirm
In the thralls of her caress
Tied with legs spread wide
Her future looked bleak
Perched between her knees
The witch began to speak
You’re like a young me
If perhaps a trifle thinner
I shall eat you, little girl
But it won’t be for my dinner
The witch began to laugh
Intent on being mean
She bit her on her inner thighs
And the girl began to scream

Her struggle only fanned the flames
Of the woman’s dark desires
Cry, my dear, all you like
For it will do no good
There’s no one that can save you now
In these enchanted woods
But a passing huntsman heard her cries
And leapt down from his horse
And rushed in to render aid
As heroes do, of course
As the door swung open wide
The girl began to spasm
Her innocence forever lost
She reached her first orgasm

The hunter’s eyes grew wide at the sight
Of the shocking tableau concealed by the night
The witch did arise with a bloodcurdling scream
And revealed dripping fangs – decidedly green
Her hands they did glow
With magic powerful and dark
Black smoke was issuing from her mouth
As her fingertips did spark
But the huntsman threw his axe
And it did travel true
It cleaved in two the witch’s head
Which exploded into goo
He untied the crying girl
And took her in his arms

The princess shuddered with relief
Safe and free at last
The hunter untied her, hand and foot
And covered the weeping lass
He swaddled her with blankets
And put her on his horse
He held her tightly with both arms
For the steed did know its course
They rode for hours in the pale moonlight
Through valley and through vale
The horse trudged onward through the night
Onward, without fail
Finally they reached the house
He kissed her on the head
Tucked her in both safe and sound
And tied her to the bed…

He kept her there until she was grown
In the woods, they lived alone
Each day he’d hunt and bring them food
And when alone she’d sit and brood
She missed her mother and father dear
And shed tears for many years
But she came to love the man
His caring heart and hungry hands
He would wipe away her tears
But his hands she also feared
Every time he had his beer
For when he drank, he’d pinch and slap
And push her head into his lap
Until sometimes she couldn’t breath
And afterward, she’d lie and grieve
But the man did love her so
And she knew she’d never go

The man did make his way to sea
In service to his bride to be
Seeking out a string of pearls
A present for his precious girl
He reached an island far away
Where griffins roared and wyverns played
For told was he by loyal friend
Of a hoard within a dragon’s den
With emeralds dear and rubies rare
Diamonds which were beyond compare
And in the dragon’s dining hall
Were sacks of gold ten feet tall
But what he hoped would be found
For his love, a golden crown
He donned his armor and his sword
And went to face the dragon lord

The great oaken doors eased slowly open
Although no one was there
And when a creepy organ played
The huntsman did grow scared
The pathways all were paved with bones
Of those who came before
Rotting flesh and pools of blood
Concealed the well-worn floor
And with each step the bones did crunch
His boots the weight of slate
To be this hellish creatures lunch
Seemed to be his fate
But no fiery blast met him there
The halls returned his echoes
Slowly, the huntsman shed his care
And the treasure did grow close

But up ahead he spied his prize
He scarcely could believe his eyes
Pearls the size of baby’s fist
Enshrouded in a glowing mist
And the second most beautiful sight he’d seen
A diamond crown fit for his queen
Cautiously he approached the vault
Bracing for some great assault
But perhaps the dragon slept or died
How else could he be inside?
And so with no further stealth
His hands reached for the serpent’s wealth
Both crown and pearls within his grasp
Our hero did then turn and laugh
But there came a flash and thunderclap
The huntsman found that he was trapped

Trapped inside the dragon’s cage
Our hunter had become the prey
And the sounds and distant rumblings
Made it clear the beast was coming
His greatest tries to lift the cage
Completely bent his vorpal blade
The bars of course were dragon forged
And stronger than a mortal sword
He felt the heat and smelled the smoke
Right before the dragon spoke
And when the wyrm did meet his glance
Our macho hero wet his pants
The creature spoke in mighty bellows
That shook the bones of our wet pantsed fellow
Your only chance to save your life
Is to take me to your lovely wife…

Up there where the angels fly
Is the apple of my eye
But bring her back please, safe and sound
And place her feet upon the ground
Caught within the dragon’s cage
And more so by the dragon’s gaze
Our huntsman, panting, in a daze
Did wet his cheeks with tears of rage
Beast, I beg you, spare my life
I’ll give you any gift you’d like
Just bring me home this very night
And take instead my tender wife

This wife of yours, is she most fair?
With creamy skin and flaxen hair?
Her beauty shames the firmaments
And she’s as sweet as any pie
Peer into my soul, dear dragon
And you’ll see I cannot lie
The dragon gave a snort and said
Yet you offer her as bribe
That seems a shabby way to treat
Your brand new blushing bride
Oh foolish man, I’ll spare your life
And accept her as my prize
But for you to sacrifice her so
The question does arise
How could a knave such as yourself
Be worthy of a wife?
It’s true, the man sadly said
And slowly bowed his head
One day she fell into my arms
Lost and so alone
Instead of keeping her free from harm
She was enslaved within my home

Her innocence I also stole
If it’s purity you seek
Said, the dragon, if she’s as lovely as you say
She’s pure enough for me
Now grab my neck and climb aboard
Be careful not to fall
I’ll take you there this very night
Ere the rooster calls
On leather wings, they flew all night
O’er hill and o’er dale
The huntsman clung tightly to his neck
And into the dawn they sailed
At last they reached the murky woods
Where the man both lived and played
Amidst the woodland creatures
With which he plied his trade

The dragon landed with a thump
That shook the earth itself
And woke our sleeping beauty
By knocking down a shelf
She dressed herself quite fast
Anxious for his loving arms
Her hero had returned at last
Safe and free from harm
She ran outside to greet him
But stopped short with a gasp
And saw the only man she loved
Within a dragon’s grasp

Oh, my wife, my precious love
For a moment I was weak
When captured by yon dragon
Whose treasure did I seek
And offered you to save my life
For that I am ashamed
So do not call me husband
For I don’t deserve the name
You silly man, I need no jewels
I’ve loved you from the start
Not for all the things you give
But for the treasure in your heart
So take me now, oh dragon fierce
My life is his to give
For in this world without him
I don’t want to live

The dragon pierced her with his eyes
And gazed into her soul
Then casually picked up the man
Swallowing him whole
Fell beast! she cried
And gave a little hiss
The monster then did scoop her up
And gave a dragon’s kiss
Our princess then cried out in rage
And struck him with her fists
Her tears began to fall like rain
For her champion she missed
The dragon stared into her eyes
As they stood face to face
While she looked in disbelief
A change was taking place

The dragon’s hide was rent in two
As thunder clapped and lighting flashed
And before her stood her husband
Clad in soot and ash
Oh, wife of mine, forgive me please
I am mortal, I am weak
But she pressed her lips against his own
And had no need to speak
He took her hand within his own
And led her to their humble home
They fed and bathed
She dressed his wounds
Their love did heat and light the room

They claimed the dragon’s kingdom
And the princess ruled as queen
Upon her head, the dragon’s crown
And on her hand his ring
Forever and a day they lived
And never did they part
For he had the body, mind and soul of man
But the love of a dragon’s heart…

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