Feb 152014
 

“Halloween’s still three months away,” Lauren said. She took a step back and looked at the decorations Grant had put up. “By the time it gets here, that’ll have long rotted.”

“That’s the idea,” he said. “By the time it gets here, this’ll look like a real graveyard. Full of ghosts and overgrown and scary.”

“Like that one we had to clean up for our community service,” Lauren said and shuddered. “That place was haunted.”

“Ghastly,” Grant agreed and flashed her a smile. He’d loved it, that unkempt graveyard. Sure, Lauren had been intrigued by the headstones—well, the ones she could read, anyway. It had been a Civil War graveyard, but whoever had buried the dead had been kind. They’d taken the time to put names on the stones. How, Lauren didn’t know. It couldn’t have been easy. There had been so many of them.

She remembered the atmosphere of that place. Quiet, like all graveyards were. But there was something else. Being there had made her hurt. Ache. And not just because, like most of her friends, she didn’t believe in war. War was stupid and pointless.

Being in that cemetery had driven that point home. And the fact that war is cruel, too. Lauren had come out of there feeling unsettled, awkward with herself. She’d felt like they were supposed to have been changed by a day cleaning up weeds and helping to stand marker stones up again, letting the world know who had been there before them and why they’d died.

She’d felt like the dead people were trying to talk to her.

She shuddered.

Grant noticed. “You still creeped out by that place?”

“Yes.” She nodded at his pseudo-graveyard, the one he wanted to let rot until Halloween. “And I feel like this… it’s making a joke out of it. A cruel joke. People died there, Grant. And then people forgot. They walked away. They stopped caring. And it took us, doing a day’s community service, to go clean it up, and for what? So someone can forget again?”

“If you’re telling me to give this up and go drive five hours again so we can maintain that graveyard, forget it. It’s not my job. Or yours.”

“How do you know? What if those are your relatives buried there?”

“Lauren, my grandparents came here long after the war was over.”

“Yeah, but how do you know you didn’t have family here, and they left?”

He shook his head and started to walk away.

Lauren let him go, staring at the small patch of ground with the painted styrofoam and the newly planted kudzu. He’d regret the kudzu, that was for sure. Kudzu buried things, made it impossible to see them. And what you couldn’t see, you could forget.

Part of her would always see that graveyard, the one they’d cleaned. She wouldn’t forget. Maybe one day, she’d go back and take care of it again.

A cold, creepy feeling ran across the top of her scalp. Historic or not, it had been scary.

Maybe Grant was right. Maybe some ghosts needed to be left undisturbed.

This was a Three Word Wednesday post.

May 312013
 

Now, all you boys and girls who been readin’ Chelle’s pieces at this here Trumpet knows that Chelle ain’t no big fan of Terry Fantillo. That man’s been through seven wives, and I heard tell from more than one person that he was workin’ on number five while still married to three, and still got four on the side, too.

That ain’t nobody Chelle can stand behind.

But sometimes, someone goes and does somethin’ that makes even Chelle say a cheer over. Today, that someone’s Terry Fantillo, mister man of a million wives.

You heard that teenybopper Tommy Goldman’s been headin’ down that path o’ darkness, right? The gettin’ thrown outta the casino he wasn’t old enough to be in, the breakup with Sherry Case smack dab in the middle of his show. That made her newest record, which ain’t one Chelle’s called up on Spotify or nothin’, sell another three million copies in the States alone in two hours. And then there’s the fight Tommy had with the photographer who waited for him to get off-a his tour bus and actually caught sight of one-a Tommy’s hairs outta place.

Tommy’s got a new trick, one he learned from that redheaded hothead: he been takin’ the stage an hour late.

Now, our hothead, he don’t care and he don’t apologize. But Tommy? He been makin’ these Tweets that sound lamer than a racehorse that got put down three days ago. Chelle here just wanna know whose equipment is failin’ there, Tommy boy? And which piece is it really?

The music world’s been buzzin’ about that, sho’ nuff. And then Terry Fantillo steps smack in the middle-a it and calls him out. Tells him to get his act together and then goes on and calls him somethin’ that can’t be printed in this here family newspaper. Not that you all ain’t seen it before. I just can’t be askin’ my bosses to print that word, and I can’t be payin’ those fines if they do, neither.

But you know what Chelle here is doin’? A fat girl happy dance. Almost went through the floor, jumpin’ up and down the way I did when I saw what Terry Fantillo up and done.

Maybe it takes one-a them unprintable words to know another when he sees it, but Terry Fantillo sure came through. He may not do it for all them wives he’s had over the years, but he did it on behalf of all us music lovers who think the show oughta start on time.

You heard it first, and you heard it here: Maybe there’s somethin’ redeemable about Terry Fantillo yet. But probably not Tommy Goldman. The only redemption he’s gonna be doin’ is gonna be redeemin’ his stocks and bonds to pay for his rehab.

Apr 262013
 

The only downer to what I do is that sometimes, I write something and the people who need to see it, the people who inspired me, will never know it’s here.

I been a member of that fancy gym for five, six years now. It’s a big chunk out of my salary, but the doctor says if I don’t keep up with the exercise, I’ll have to have a handicapped plate and walk with a cane.

Problem is, since I’m right on the edge of needing a cane and all, I can’t walk real far at one time. So if I can’t park close to the front door of a place, I have to turn and go home.

I showed up at my usual time this morning, about a quarter to nine. Usually, this time of day is perfect. Folk haven’t started showing up for the 9:15 classes yet, so for now, there’s lots of parking. It’s Friday, so in another fifteen minutes, this parking lot will be packed full. Most days when I get here ’round now, I can get right up front, right near those handicapped spots.

This morning, though, I showed up and the first thing I saw as I rounded the bend was a whole slew of red trucks from that alarm company. I seen ‘em here before, but never this many. I don’t know if anyone’s ever said anything to them, but they park in the member’s area.

Now, I know there’s a section of the lot that’s supposed to be saved for non-members. I drive past that little sign saying “the area back here’s for members only, so park on this side of this sign” – or something to that effect. It’s far. I don’t blame them for parking on the other side of the sign.

But there were so many of them, and they’d parked in all the good spots as well as the bad spots and of course, not a single one of them is on the non-member side of the sign.

We’re havin’ a cold snap, and my knee’s been acting up. I really wanted to walk on a treadmill for a little bit, and then go sit in the sauna. That helps, when I can do that.

But I can only do that when I can get to the front door, and then inside. Oh, sure, there’re them benches inside so I can sit and take a breather if I need to, but on days like today, I know if I sit, I won’t be getting up again. And I’ll have to sit there and watch all those moms and their little kids and smile at them and pretend it’s not so bad getting old and having a bum knee like I do.

Sometimes, those moms give me those looks, like they think I’m sittin’ there ’cause I’m checking their kids out. Gonna kidnap them or something.

I get the hysteria these moms feel, what with that big pedophile arrested not that long ago, but I want to promise them, I’m only sittin’ on this bench ’cause I can’t go no further. That’s it. That’s my workout. I got in the car and drove fifteen minutes just so I can sit on a bench inside the doors and feel like an utter fool.

Today, I didn’t even try. I couldn’t find a parking spot, the one my membership’s supposed to help me get while them alarm people park so’s they don’t fill in those closer spots. Them people ain’t even payin’ the gym anything. They’re here for some meeting upstairs in the restaurant. And most of ‘em ain’t got the problems that limit my working and exercising.

I decided I’d be better to save myself the humiliation, go home, take some Advil, and go back to bed. Once the Advil kicks in, I’ll get up and get my work done for the day. Good thing we live in this Internet age and I can work from home.

I just may need to figure out how to exercise here at home. Save myself that chunk of my salary and all. ‘Cause paying just so I can’t get past the door’s just plain stupid.

Mar 292013
 

Some new characters I’ve been playing with… tell me what you think of them. Yes, they are part of the Trevolution!

Priscilla felt lame. That was the only word for it. Lame. As in: uncool. Tragic. Loser. It took her right back to life with Gregg, when he’d managed to convince her she wasn’t good for anything—but, at the same time, she had to maintain the image of the perfect housewife. Wear the high-end designer suits, have lunch with the ladies, have manicures, pedicures, facials. Use a personal shopper. And on and on.

It had been all about maintaining his image.

All that was so far behind her, she wasn’t sure why she was standing here on the edge of Zephyr’s studio, feeling inadequate as she looked over his latest creation: a new bedframe.
He came to stand beside her, crossing his arms over his chest.

“It’s beautiful,” she breathed.

“Yes,” he said.

She tried not to let his usual terseness bother her. That was who he was; Zephyr wasn’t a man of many words. Cassandra said it was the way he’d been brought up: measure what you say. Make sure it’s worth saying. She’d said the only time he forgot that instruction was in bed, that he lost control of his mouth and his words wouldn’t cooperate with the austere life he’d been taught to lead.

“What are you going to do with it?”

“Cassandra will call the family who commissioned it. She’ll handle it.”

“I want one like it.”

He looked at her, uncrossing one arm from over his chest. “You do.”

She nodded. “I do.” She licked her lips—and realized this was what was causing the lame feelings. She wanted a bed by Zephyr. She wanted a bed for Zephyr, and a bed with Zephyr.

But first, she had to be able to afford a bed by Zephyr, and they both knew she wasn’t there yet.

“I’ll let you know when,” she said. “You are not to make me one as a token of our love or anything.”

“A man should make his wife a marriage bed,” he said. “That way, it’s sacred to them both.”

She paused, not sure how to take that. Was he hinting at something? Insinuating that the people who’d commissioned this had been wrong to? Was he passing judgement on how and why people cheat?

“And what should a wife do? That’s a big gesture, to make a bed. What’s her contribution?”

“The quilt,” he said. “The sheets. The pillows. Each brings something vital that makes the experience complete.”

Priscilla nodded. Life with Gregg hadn’t been like that. Not really. He had brought money and image. She had brought his image to life. She hadn’t been allowed to contribute. Not the way Zephyr meant.

She turned her head and looked out the wide door of his workshop. “So Cassandra will handle it all from here? Getting it wrapped up and shipped out of here?”

He nodded once.

“The payment?”

He nodded again.

Priscilla tried not to sigh. Why was she expecting Zephyr to share his financial arrangement with Cassandra? Sure, she needed to know so she didn’t make any mistakes with her own business, but this was Zephyr. He only spoke when he had something of value to offer. He’d made it clear more than once that his business wasn’t of value to Priscilla.

He believed in hard work, and once upon a time, Priscilla hadn’t been afraid of it, either. But then had come Gregg.

Zephyr moved away from Priscilla and started examining pieces of wood. He’d lost interest in her brooding, not that she blamed him. And he had more work to do, another project to get started. Another marriage bed, or a book case, or one of his famed dining room sets. Priscilla didn’t know.

She left his studio and went back to the cottage. He wasn’t the only one with work to do.

That resolution let her feel a lot less lame.

This has been a Three Word Wednesday post. Be sure to see what others are up to. And don’t neglect the #FridayFlash crowd, either!

Feb 152013
 

Most of you haven’t met Vanessa Kontempt yet. You still won’t; a train wreck like her is going to be hard to write. But here’s a member of her entourage, someone new on these pages.

The room looked like someone had gone on a rampage. In fact, someone had. Three someones, to be specific.

Fuelled by too much alcohol, too many groupies, a heaping mound of cocaine, and a morbid desire to be the next to die at age 27, Vanessa Kontempt had been the one who’d started it.

As usual.

Freddy and Lurch had joined in, as usual, and now here was Adrian, left to pick up the pieces, smooth the ruffled feathers, and fix everything. As usual.

“I thought it was the tour manager they called the asshole,” he muttered as he took in the damage. He held his breath, waiting for a light bulb to fall out of its socket or something, but it seemed it was all over. Damage done. Vanessa, Freddy, and Lurch had been rolled out to the bus and Stiffy was holding court to make sure they wouldn’t get off the bus and wreck something else.

They’d warned him before he took the tour. It wasn’t going to be easy, and it wasn’t going to be pretty, and that’s why they were offering the extra hazard pay. That hazard pay… it wasn’t enough. Not really. Not for having someone like Vanessa in his life on a daily basis.

Adrian ran a hand over his bald head, loving the smoothness. He should have known when he’d shaved that morning that this would happen. Vanessa always had to wreck his good moods. He swore it was some special talent she had. Like she’d come poke around, realize he was in a good mood, and get to work on how to ruin it.

“You the one I gotta dick with?” the in-house guy asked. He was maybe thirty, but he was wider than he was tall. His breath rasped even when he wasn’t talking, and every word was a wheeze. Adrian had spent the day making everyone else deal with this guy.

Yet more karma biting him on the ass.

Karma, Adrian decided, wasn’t just a motherfucker. It was a sisterfucker, a daughterfucker, a sonfucker, and a fatherfucker. All rolled into one.

“Yes,” he sighed and stared the guy down. Truth be told, he looked like a wonton.

Adrian decided karma was even worse than he’d imagined. Until that moment, he used to jones for Chinese food.

“Let’s not make this so bad,” the wonton wheezed. “Your divas wrecked a table, the couch, and five chairs. We gotta wash down the walls and clean the carpets.”

“Show me the receipt from the last time the carpets were washed,” Adrian said, his hand rasping against his stubble. Bald head, stubbly cheeks. It spoke for him.

The wonton shifted, a cumbersome prospect at best. “Now, I don’t think we need to be that particular.”

Adrian crossed his arms over his chest and cocked his head. He’d picked up that move from the movies, but it hadn’t failed him yet. “I do. Cough it up.”

The wonton held out his hand, trying to stall the tour manager. “Now, now, I thought we weren’t gonna make it so bad.”

“You show me proof that the carpet was cleaned in the past month, and I’ll add it to the bill.” Adrian didn’t change his position.

The wonton licked his lips. “Well, now, we got us a problem. Your divas went and poured a Red Bull across the floor in the hopes of turnin’ it into a ant parade.”

“Red Bull?” Adrian raised an eyebrow. “Where’d that come from? There aren’t any energy drinks anywhere in our rider.”

“Maybe it was a Coke.”

“Maybe you’re blowing air up my ass in the hopes I’ll cave and let you pull one over on us. But Vanessa’s management’s paying me so that won’t happen, and since they’re the ones paying my salary, you can take your Red Bull and shove it where the sun don’t shine. If you can get your fat arms that far around your own body.”

The wonton’s wheeze got louder and his doughy face turned red. “There’s no need to get personal.”

Adrian leaned closer, getting down to the wonton’s eye level. “I haven’t even started to get personal yet.” He grinned. “Want me to?”

That did it. The wonton licked his lips again. The red drained out of his face, leaving it whiter than the cocaine had been.

“The table, the couch, and five chairs,” Adrian said. “By my count, we’re talking seven hundred.” He took a step closer to the wonton and held his breath. Someone had forgotten to stick the leftovers in the refrigerator, and it was ripe.

“Nine,” the wonton wheezed.

“Seven.”

“Eight fifty.”

“Seven.”

“Eight twenty-five.”

“Ever feel like a broken record? Seven.”

“Eight?”

Adrian hardened his face.

“Seven fifty?”

He ran a hand over his stubble again, making it rasp.

“Seven,” the wonton said with a wheeze that might have been a sigh. “But you have to leave Dodge within half an hour.”

“We’ll be gone as soon as I set foot on the bus.”

The wonton counted out the cash. The full amount, and then he very deliberately counted seven hundred back. “You won’t even miss it,” he wheeze-grumbled.

Adrian grinned at him, his special grin. The one he saved for when he was proving that tour managers were assholes. “The only thing you’ll miss is having to pay the poor schlub who’s gotta drag the next beat-up couch out of the storage closet. The red one’ll look great in here.”

The wonton’s wheeze was more of a gasp and for a second there, the guy looked more like a fish two minutes out of water than a wonton. “What–? How–?”

“I been around, dumbshit.”

Adrian folded the cash and tucked the wad into his bag. Shaking his head, he turned and left the production office for the bus.

“Adrian,” Vanessa said when he got on. “Think we can find some Chinese food before we hit the highway? I’ve got a craving for some…” She bit her lower lip, her eyes darting back and forth. For a second there, she looked cute. Vulnerable.

“Wonton soup?” he asked tiredly.

“Hot and sour,” she said thoughtfully.

“Hot and sour, it is.”

This was a Three Word Wednesday post. Be sure to stop in and see what else is happening in this cool community.