Memory Lane

“Hmm…” I fumble with a CD case with more scratches than clear plastic and no liner to tell what’s inside.  The yellow CD is as worn… no clues to mark it’s past. 

“I guess we’ll have to try it out.” I talk to myself as I work through assorted stuff. Somehow keeping it means something. Bread crumbs to a past.

“Hey listen,  don’t let ’em get your mind” screaming guitars blast between they pause “Fill your brain with orders… that’s not right! They’re playing a game that draws you closer.” more guitars “Until you’re living in a world ruled by fear” 

The voice is raw.  But I know this.  I pulls at the corners in my mind.  I  know every word, every guitar riff. Drums echo in my mind before they crash. My head instinctively moves forward and back. 

“Wow, don’t hurt yourself old man!” A young voice laughs. 

I look to my left.  Skinny young kid looks back.   Loner hair than mine with less forehead showing.  His easy smile is slightly unnerving yet disarming at the same time. I know him.  I’ve seem that face before.   I struggle to name him.  

“Hey, this is mine.” I wave an empty unlabeled CD case. I’m half joking and half defiant. 

“I listened to this well before you were aaarrouund.” My voice stops slowly.  I remember things. 

“What ever you say. You know it’s only been out for a month.  The video, six weeks.” His face shows the same puzzlement of who I am that I have for him. “I didn’t know people your age listened to this kind of music.”

That did it.  I catch up with the music.  and lunge at him “Scccccrrreeeaaming  screaming for vengeance!  The world is defiled in disgrace.”

Time stops. Lunging was a bad idea.  Hitting notes that high…didn’t work either. Still I hold my ground. 

His eyes go wide.  His half step back is a win for me. Fooling oneself is difficult sometimes. I know him.  I was him. 

“You seen the video! He ticks and forth then jumps on the drum beat. Wow, I’ve been trying that.  I have practice late I’m supposed to surprise Riley and Jimmie with that.” He pauses. “Now that I see you do that…. I’m not sure it’s such a good idea.  You looked like s fish jumping out of water, Dude.”

“You’re younger.  Jump, plant and then scream. Gilbert will freak out.  He always thinks unexpected shit is cool.” I’m locked into a time 30 years ago. “Nadine, wow, mood watch out for her!  She is going to do somethings to you….”

I stop.  Dear God, he had no idea.  Hell, did I even know Riley’s real name before his mom Nadine… And the spandex tiger pants.  That’s when I find out her name.  She was fitting me for those pants alright. I can still see her… The difference between a 16 year old and a 36 year old was like finding a new planet to explore. 

“Dude, who the hell is Gilbert? I don’t know how you think that this ‘jump, plant and scream’ will help me.  This is too weird.” Je looks back at me. His mind sees who I must be. That didn’t help either. 

“Remember it doesn’t last long.  Enjoy the moments as they happen.  Yoy won’t believe the things ahead of you.” I reach out toward him. “But make sure you sing ‘You got another thing coming’ first.  Trust me. You’ll thank me in another 30 years.”

I reach his hand it fades. 

“Is Nadine his mom?” the young voice hangs but doesn’t hear any response from me.

I had no idea how lucky I was at the time. 

Italized words are lyrics from ‘Screaming  for Venegeance’ by Judas Priest

If you dare the link to the live video

The Dark Path 

“Souls don’t become lost. They grow deaf” Sam looks down at the mess that was Audrey.  “It is not who could do a thing like this…. But rather, what they allowed to rule them.  I would pray for their soul. However, it appears they have none left.”

Sam pulls down his black homemade stetson hat. His right hand reaches into a saddle bag.   It finds a book of curled pages.  It’s silver flaked cross peeled from a charcoal cover announces what it is.   

He walks a few feet to the remains.   His head nods to Jacob to remove his hat as well.  The ritual is becoming daily.   There’s darkness falling from the skies here.   Like rain, it causes weeds to take root.

Silently Sam prays over the body.   His eyes shed a solitary tear.  His hands skim the well worn pages.  His face moves to accent the wear and tear of the years.  Deep set eyes have long sunk.  His mustache lost most of it color and form.   Age didn’t creep up on him, it ambushed him. 

 He wishes he had learned to read.  Long lost shreads of time tie him to a respectable past.  His title changed from miner to Marshall, to scoundrel to pastor. Heaven holds no lure for him.  Neither did a fast trip to Hell.  He fooled enough people and respected them into returning the favor.

His heart still drops when it’s a good person that falls.  He knows each day has brought another body.  Each of these bodies have been less connected to itself.  Tomorrow there will be another one.

“Audrey was one of the few bright spots here.  Chauncy Miller, he’ll need to know what…” Sam’s voice goes rough. “Damn it! Just don’t say how she looked when we got here.  It’ll be enough to kill him knowing she’s gone.”

His eyes find the horizon.  Mountains cut this place fron the rest of the world. It equally keeps demons on both sides of the ridge.  The few here are harder to find. 

End of the Road 

A knock on the door.  Followed by six more.   Staccato wraps follow the first soft touch.  A solitary light shone in a living room. 

The full moon rises.   It lights the last house on the pavement.   The road falls to gravel and disappears into the woods.  The woods reaches around the simple house and its barn.  The white glow of the moon paints it better in the night than the Sun.  The door hides within a small porch, shrunk by the boxes and tables stacked around. 

The hand rises again.  The knocks continue six at a time.  Staccato beats. 

“Hang on baby! hang on…. We’ll get you help.” Brian looks down.   A face looks back.

“No one will open the door… it’s too late they’ll never open the door.” Connie voice fades.   Her jeans covered in blood.   The yellow t-shirt dirt covered and suddenly wore out. “It’s cold.  Maybe there’s blanket in this stuff.   Maybe morning…”

“I see someone.  They are in there.   They’ll help us.” Brian wipes his head.  A streak of blood runs down fron his forehead.  His face shows he doesn’t think help is coming. 

Brian returns to the door.  A series of knocks continues.   Each becoming a little more panic stricken. “Hello?! We need help.   Just call the police…  anything! Please!”

Connie is on the wooden porch. She is sitting against soft boxes that lean over toward her a bit.  She’s scared but holding on a brave front. “Sit next to me.  The morning.. They’ll see us.”

Shuffling sounds inside stop her.   The dragging and stopping catch their attention.  The door had three little boxes that show how dark the inside is but little else.   

“If you open that door, I’ll kill you both. Shotgun is in my hands.” The voice followed by a tapping on the other side of the door. “You live to see tomorrow…. I’ll habe to deal with Y’all then.   Stop banging or you’ll wake up the Dead!”

The shuffling starts again.   This time fading away.   The single light flashes out.   


“You have candy?!  Give me candy and I won’t eat your brains.   Not right away.   I just need candy” Isabella circles like a puppy. Bright shiny eyes albeit a bit disturbingly colored.”I’ll be good.  Really! I need chocolate.”

Mr Mills looks awkwardly at the child. “Who have you this hairdo? And those contacts? They are horrible! You look like a Halloween doll! Where’s you guardian little one?”

His hands twitch as they tug at the sleeves of the blue ill-fitting suit. His eyes stay down away from the child.  His middle aged conditions knawl at him.  He wants answers but the child is obviously spoiled beyond belief. 

“I ate her brain.  She told me to take of my wig.   So i jumped up on her shoulders to chew hers off her head. I was surprised when it was real.” she looks around the room for an unseen need “I guess that’s what the screaming she was doing was all about. But I didn’t get my candy yet.   So where’s it at?”

“Rich imagination child. I’m here on serious matters.  It won’t take much more before in feed up with your game.   Isabella, be a good girl.  Go find Ms Maples….please.” His face is a tightrope.  The words filter through clinched teeth. 

“Ok, I’ll go get someone. Do you me too? Really she’s not much to talk to anymore…” Isabella kicks at the floor.  The realization that no candy is coming sinks in. 

“Yes, Isabella, I would like that very much.” Mr Mills watches her disappear. Little foot steps find a hallway and echo against dark wood panels.

He turns to look at the strange tapestry of a fox hunt on the wall.  “No wonder she’s so dark.”

A squeaking sound builds within the hall that Isabella chose.  He waits to turn.   The woman clearly kept him waiting for a reason.   No-one thinks child services ever sees these tactics.

“Here she is…Ms Maples.  You wanted to she her.   Here she is!” The little girl poses like the magician completing a trick.

“My God! What happened here?!” His voice quivers and fails. His face stretches and pales.  Dark holes once held eyes can’t move.  Slowly his body leans away.

“You asked.  I brought her to you.   Where’s the candy,  Mr Mills?” her voice starts to sing. 

Ms Maples is on a dolly.   Her skull sticking out, part of its skin covers what’s left of a face. Her pale skin shows signs of bruising.   Tied hands hold her together in a modified ball.  

“Oh please, give me the candy.  You adults are hard enough to deal with.  My sugar is low….I don’t know weekday I might do next.   Right, Ms Maples.” Isabella smiles. 

Mr Mills runs for the door.  Small feet move much faster than old feet.


I need your guest posts..

Many thanks for everyone following here!
I have an alternate site titled Project21words.

It’s time to share the fun. I need guest posts.  
Everyone is invited not matter where you are or what you do.
 The only constraints here 21 words or fewer. Or two images.
Combos of the two things are good as well. Short and sweet/whatever else.
Poems are easiest. Microfiction, haiku, Tanaka, random blackout…
Surprise me!
Email something to project21words@gmail.czxxx SD, xZuzana fc 3 om
I return an invite.
You create what you wish and in words it will be waiting for review.
Images need to be sent via email with explanation of use.
I will post without editing. Only thing maybe be an adult warning if it seems necessary to myself or yourself

Longer posts considered for Coloring Outside The Lines as well.

Mythically Female

Photo credit:

Within every woman lies a mythical beast.  She portrays herself in a wrap of human clothing.  The flesh is an illusion.   Their hidden treasures include a path to Hades.  A rather rambunctious sojourn and longer than any ride should be. 

I raise a glass.  My bar patrons are rather oblivious to me.  The rest of the world is oblivious to them.   I feel ambivalent.  I should feel drunk.  I suspect my glass is defective.  Maybe ice has devoured the alcohol.

I cast my weary eyes to the barmaid.  Even brooding, they mock me.  I suspect last time may tip was insufficient.  

“Bitch.” I lose the words.  

She didn’t notice.  She does smile…

I’ll celebrate her hearing me.  My glass gives up the party quickly.

The ice melts but I spy creatures inside.  They must be female.  Chimera, Griffin, Thunderbird, Manticore, Roc.  They all suck the life out of me.  But maybe the worst of all awaits me at home.  She’s a hydra.  Spit out of the sea….straight from the gates of Hades.  Explains the icy salt water in the veins.

I will have another.  Maybe three more.  I need to gather my thoughts.  I hoped the alcohol would help.  Divergence rules the memory.  It protects me.  I hide from the facts.  Darkness is the cloak within me.

The clock draws slow.  I wait watching the treachery of the she beasts.  A look for a drink.  Boring conversation.. two drinks.   We wait for them to get desperate. They prey on our souls.  Chewing and demolition of the heart, not enough.

Nervousness hits like a wave.  My phone lights up.  It’s her.  My head hits the bar.

“Dear God!” I scream.

The whole bar looks at me.

I look at the phone.

She has three heads.  She has three heads.  

I used a machete.  It was a clean cut.   I saw it sorta roll to the floor.  It was over.

She really is a hydra.

The text….

‘I’ll be waiting for you’

Life Again 

They said that they did not die but woke from a dream that they had lived .    Aztec netherworld legend

I awake.  Barely conscious.  The long drawn out haze parts slowly like morning fog on a lake.  I am confused by my location, not by my surrounds.  The path of mental resistance is strewn with boulders of my own making.  The sterile smell hides hospital reality from noone.

My eyes reach for the familiar faces.  I know the judgement waiting.  The ruddy glow of relief I have not perished. The moral compass of why on earth is do this over and over again.   It’s self fulfilling.  Who amongst them coves to see the rebirth.  Broken people understand.   Fixed people  never will. 

Today, my comeuppance has arrived.  My family isn’t here.  lI can’t rationalize what I see.   A man… His features dark and stern.  His eyes are not human.   His head starts human but more rounded and drawn back with a hair wrapped in colorful feathers  falling over the shoulders. 

“I don’t know you.” My voice rough, breathing tube having something do with it.  “Who, or what are you doing …here?”  

The figure raises up to some seven feet tall.  His head and feathers extend into a fierce display of strength.   His dark eyes and dark tanned flesh seen to burn into me.  He turns rather than look straight at me.   He paces around the bed silent.  Three times he circles.

“You are mine.  I’m not happy. I admit this. You have entered my house.   You are not scheduled for many moons to come.  You are not deserving of this spot.   What have you accomplished to claim on eternal place? I search.  I destroy.  Souls like yours are feed for darkness.  Here we sit.”  He that has no Earthy name speaks in deep rumbles.

“I didn’t ask for this…   Really.  I ..” A voice rises from within.

“Silence!” The voice causes lights to dim. “You do not need add nothing.   That’s all you have added to this point.   Take, use,  look for more.  Ask for pity.  Blame others when pity does not met you.  Why should pity waste time on self loathing?  Does not people who try deserve pity?  Can a designed fail get noticed when the free living struggle?  You are a lead weight.  The stone at the bottom of a well.”

“But I am suppose to be dead.  I took a bottle of pills and drank” I try to reason. 

“Silence!  I have a black obsidian knife.  It’ll make cubes from that tongue.  You have cruised into my world.   I’m your master.  I control ever breath.  I will control every motion henceforth.  You will wish you succeeded.  Because you only suffered in your mind.  You only thought of the struggles.  Never tasted your own blood.   Never felt your heart bruise!  Do you want to feel the bruising?  I can lift it beating. … I can hold it high. Your eyes can witness the last beat.  It releases both of us.” His demeanor is the blackest darkness.  He holds the scabbard of a sheathed blade, hoping to produce it.   There’s a nervousness and eventuality his motion. 

I pass out.  Cowardly of self preservation.  The hope that this was dreamland run a mock.  Please, this time let the illusions be just that. 

My eyes see an elderly woman.  Way too tried.   Her eyes are clouded.   Her senses dulled from the routine of it all.   Her shadow has feathers.  

“I’m awake.   The dead won’t claim me anytime soon.  Sorry, but I got lost.”  I find a voice reminiscent of Kansas and little dogs. 

“Remember, you belong to me!  How are you doing ?   I was worried.” Mother’s voice slowly returns to where it should be. 

My heart pauses.  My eyes search for the obsidian knife.

Let’s Meeting Again – Soccer Practice Part 5

The Deupty’s car pulls into Liz’s driveway.  He has circled a dozen times to show his presence.  Every time slowing down by the Greeley house and watching the man mowing the yard.  The old lady could chase him off but not throw him off.  There’s a risk at showing the source of the compliant.  But there’s a clear message too.

Liz comes to the door long before a door bell is needed.  Socks the cat hides under the clamshell chair on the porch.  Socks stands vigil over the porch.   Jesse calls in his location and the response to the call was taken care of.  Liz stands outside and sees the man down the street mowing someone’s yard.  It creates a chill down the spine.  Her eyes follow him. He doesn’t look real.  A robot moving on rails but far from a man.

Jesse looks at her.  She is shaking slightly.  The way someone looks when they don’t want you to know they are scared. 

“He has an aunt down the street.  She chased me off!  Damn, she is part bulldog.  I can’t see anything that William has done.  But he’s called Joshua by her.  There’s nothing on a Joshua Harden, anywhere.  I tried to run facial recognition but there’s a hundred white men close in looks named William.  I don’t have a close up to work with.  There’s not much else, besides drive by him a bunch of times.  Keep my number close.  Watch out for him.  I’ll come running.  Don’t worry!!  I don’t like his kind either.”  Jesse’s word bounce off her.  She is somewhere else.  Her heart was hoping it was her overreacting.  This is too close to home.  

“Does he live there?  Does he live there?!  You got to know at least that much!  He has to have a home. I never looked for the truck, but there it is.  Look!  He’s watching us!  He knows we are talking about him!  What if he comes around my house at night?  I can’t see him in the bushes in the dark!  If he got in, who would find us while we are still alive!  That’s what they do isn’t?  Sneak into your house tie up the woman and rape them.  Hoping they don’t kill you and your kids.  Beg to be taped to spare my son!  What kind of sick game is that!  And you can do nothing but drive around.  ‘Look we are watching you!  Lookee here!  Mr Policeman driving by.  I hope you don’t have bodies in the freezer!  Really! This is what I have to think about.  I’m not meaning to yell at you but I’m not good with this” she points at the man down the street.

Jesse looks at the man.  The man never stopped and isn’t even paying an attention at all to them.  He looks back at a crazy woman.  Her breath is with the force of a dragon.  Deep wells of air purging the deep fears from blaster furnaces of worry.  The heat that burns out minds from living in today for what exists in their minds.  He didn’t want to think it is in her head.  Years of police work leads to instincts the have vision clearer than human eyes.

“Look, I’m here.  I’ll be around.  I can’t just stop him all the time.  Hell, the turn with no signal.  A headlight burned out, speeding..he’s gonna talk to me.  Until then…I have to respect his right to be slightly creepy at times.  He’s not very intimidating.  You flared up at the store and he left.  Go inside watch some tv, play a game with Devon.  If he’s at soccer practice this week, look in the parking lot I’ll be there.

Jesse gets in the car and drives off.  She sits in the clam shell chair and watches him.  He has finished up with the yard.  Ms Greekey talks with him by his truck.  Her arms wave furiously.  He seems to cower back.  He goes to passenger side and emerges with a stack of pink paper . 

 As she goes back toward the house, her eyes follow him on the sidewalk and toward the neighbors house.  His slow gait carries him as he scans the lawn.  His left hand appears to write on the stack of papers.  He goes up the driveway toward the front door.  He stands there looking around the house.  He turns toward the street.  Not enough to she her.  She watches in disbelief, he acts like he belongs here.  He stuffs a pink paper in the mailbox.  Then starts for the next house  walking away from her.  She breaths a deep breath and goes inside.  

“He’s a landscaper.  Ok, he is selling his service door to door.  I’m crazy.  Jesse was trying to tell me.  Maybe crazy attracts crazy.” Liz retreats into her house.  She sits and flicks on the TV. Her minds floats away.  

The door bell rings.  She shuts off the TV   Walking to the door she sees the man, pink paper in hand he looks toward the street.  Fear emboldens her.  She grabs the door handle.  The door flys open and bangs against the wall.  He jumps.  

“What are you doing here!!  I told you to leave me alone!  What is your problem?!”  Her face is beet red.  Her back curls her face out in front of her.  Both arms forced down with clinched fists.  She is rigid and breathing fire.

“I’m doing landscaping work in the area.  You need anything done.  I mow, design..what ever you need?”  Joshua acts as if nothing has happened.

“Are you stupid?!  I’m yelling for you to leave.  You just don’t get it, do you?!” She starts to lose her steam.

“Ok, thanks for your time.” He smiles and turns.

“You are leaving just like that! Really?!” She starts back up.

“I figured you were having a bad day.  It happens.  Sorry, I’ll keep moving.” He won’t look at her now. 

“Ok.  I might have been a little jumpy there.  But you show up at thecstore talking about practice and now you’re here.  It’s a bit creepy!  Don’t get me wrong.  You can go wherever but I’m a little tired of it being where I am.”  She tries to relax.  It doesn’t work. 

“I’ll be going.  You seen me at one store and here.  I think I was wrong about you.” He turns again.

“Now wait just a minute?! What does that mean?!” She continues.

“You out of control.  You have no idea of anyone else, do you? Someone really hurt you.  And here you are taking the world out on a stranger. Or is there something else I did to you?” He turns again.

“That’s a little too funny.  You psychoanalysing me?! You think I am crazy.” She won’t stop now.

“I have a friend, counselor.  I do some child work with him.  It’s easy, if you are strong enough to ask for help.” He reaches in his pocket.

“Are you fucking kidding me?! Counseling?!” She is back to furious “I’m really trying to figure out what …you work with kids?  Joshua…..that’s who you talk to?”

“Built.  I talk to Billy.  I’m Joshua.  I got nervous around you.  He has my same given name.  He has hard.”  He gathers himself.  Joshua stands tall on both feet.  He looks taller and more attractive. 

“Oh, no!  You aren’t what I thought. You seemed like a stalker!  You acted like you knew me.” She relaxes.  All defenses fall down like rain.

“I know more about most people.  Here’s what Willie looks like.  You’ll know him instantly.”  His hand never left the left pocket. He removes a small black box.

“You’re right I will.  Oh, wait is that….” She crumbles mid sentence.  A smell of ozone and a crackle tell of a tazer delivering enough volts and amps  to stun someone.  He pushes her backwards.  She slumps to a dull thump.

“You are all the same uptight bitches!  You are better than us.  You judge us.  We beat you at the game.  You’re pathetic.  The sermon was beautiful, more substance then in your heart.”  He reaches into that pocket for a shop cloth and four plastic zip strips. “I’ll just move that SUV out in the street.  A tarp full of clippings is all they will see me move.  Going behind your truck.  Like another day, like another invisible person working around your prefect ass world.  I can’t wait til you start moving around.  I’ll just put this pill under your tongue to keep you relaxed.  You’ll love what wait for you.”

Previous pieces

Part 1
Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Expanded Version- Soccer Practice

​Every Wednesday evening at 6, she will take her place. Third row on the second set of risers. All the way to the right. She’ll lean foward. Rocking a bit as they scrimmage. There’s a nervousness about her. Her eyes flicker.

She’s as quiet as a church mouse. Heavy sudden whispers escape “Go Devon. Come on Devon”. She looks about afterward. Don’t want to be seen rooting, it’s just practice.

She’s almost divine. My eyes are locked into her. The long black hair rides her back. While not thin, she has soft round features. A porcelain complexion bears a sharp chin and a bit of a point to the nose. Eyes seem a bit dark and deeper set than they should be. Her pastel colors make pale skin glow. She loves teal, rose, pineapple, lavender, and new hues.

“I hope to love her even more after we meet. It’s coming. I wait for the chance. I know she would be happy. We shop at the same places. I wonder if she noticed me there. I try to stay a little behind.” His voice goes quiet

Unless it’s the intimate shop, I wait outside. I imagine. Lacy things. Delicate tapestries draped upon God’s creation of woman. Could she wear black or white? Her coordination efforts seem unlikely. I long to find out. I would die to find out.

“Oh what if she is timid? If she preferred darkness of those encounters…. Could I stay until morning? Oh no! She would surely keep that from first. I could not stay the night for morning to show me.  I can’t wait to see.” His pulse quickens as he speaks of her.

The clock is his enemy.   It steals away moments they should be sharing.  Soon  the practice ends.  Everyone but one gathers a child.  The coach blabs about the game on Saturday. 

His eyes watch her walk toward Devon.  He could care less.  Her arm wraps across his shoulder and they begin the exit from his day.  

“I don’t think I’ll follow them to McDonald’s.   Maybe I’ll go to grocery in a bit.   I’ll wait for her there. Maybe the meat department..while she’s looking over things in the case, I could come up on her.  Strike up an interest on what she’s buying….” His mind wonders if today’s the day. 

He waits in the parking lot.  “It’s  in the Bag” sign is above his pick up.  The yellow circle and black letters reflect off the white hood.  The parking spot stands guard over the parking lot.  She can’t sneak in without being seen.  He keeps checking the time. It’s been almost an hour.  She should have been here already.

Fifteen agonizing minutes pass.  A silver Chevy SUV pulls in.  Her sunglasses make her look like a star.  He fumbles the door handle.  Getting out is automatic normally.  But this is the chance…. he gets to approach her.  

He sits on the driver’s seat watching her go through her routine.  She reaches in back seat.   Puts away the sunglasses.  Straightens the hair a bit.  Combs the hair back.  Recheck herself.  Then leaves the car.  In two steps, she will turn and lock the car with the key fob. Her gaze will hold until the lights flash.

Once she enters the store, he leaves the truck.  The glass doors show her grab a cart and head off to the right into produce.  He loses sight of her briefly as he approach the sliding door.  He goes through the effort of grabbing a cart and an ad.  But it’s his query he searches.  He know the routine she goes through.  He can count the number of cucumbers, peppers, and lettuce heads she will inspect before making her choice.

“I hope she’s that selective with everything.” He whispers to the world.  He knows she will be thrilled to meet him.

She approaches the back of the store.  She’ll go through the bread looking for whole grain wheat. 

“Honey…that’s right she gets honey wheat.” He turns a bit red not remembering.

Her turn for the meat case sends his heart pounding.  The now or never moment is here.  All the time learning, watching, waiting, hoping….fruition is around the corner.

She starts at the chicken.  He wants to wait until she goes to beef.  He gets closer.  He started thirty feet away, now he’s within ten feet.  She skips beef.  Anxiety kicks in.  He has to rush up and catch her.  He cuts her off at the pork chops.  She had no intention of stopping.

“Oh, excuse me!  I didn’t mean to cut you off.” He offers with a smile.

“It’s ok.  I wasn’t watching.  Just kind of in a hurry.” She counters.  People aggravate her easily.

“Their prices are hard to keep up with.  I see you are not having any luck either here.”  He smiles a little too much.  He is unaware of his own empty cart.  And desperate for eye contact.

“Yeah, well I’m kind of in a hurry.  So….” She excuses herself

“Oh, right.  Devon…how silly of me.” He doesn’t watch his words this time.

“What?! Did you say Devon?!! Why would you say that!  Who the hell are you?!” Her face gets ugly.  Her defense mode is fully operational.

“My nephew… He practices with the Bombers once in awhile.  I kind of recognize you.  You are hard to forget… I mean that complimentary, of course.”  His smile is gone.  He needs to control this.  She wasn’t supposed to change the plan.  He needs a new path here.  He risks losing her.  

“Well, I don’t like people knowing things about me without knowing them.  I’m a single parent and there are a lot of crazies out there.”  She sizes him up.  She doesn’t like him, but isn’t sure why.

“Sorry, next time I’ll mind my P’s and Q’s.  I’m Billy Harden.  Josh is my nephew.  If I see you again…we won’t be strangers now.”  He smoothes details out.

“Yeah, ok.  We aren’t strangers.  Goodbye….Billy.”  She starts to sprint away.

He watches her go.  Next time.  Next time less people around.

Part 2

Lost World Mine – Sunday Photo Fiction 

Written as part of a challenge called Sunday Photo Fiction, details are available at

The claim was his Grandfather’s.   His name sake as well.  Red Jasper held out in a kingdom of one.  The Superstition Mountains held ghosts hostage in gold and silver cages.  Copper left once and returned as wooden frames and joists.  

Five hundred feet below the second Red Jasper sees his storage shed looking inheritance.  The turnout barely makes a parking place.  The highway four lanes wide scales uphill here.  The grey white Mountain seems like the world forgot it. Another look at the map and the deed confirm this is now his nowhere. 

The beauty of nowhere is no improvements. No roads. No path to lead the world in.  Only the truly independent should look upon nowhere. It holds a mirror to the soul you have not the soul others see in you.   Nature cares not for approval ratings.

“The old bastard was 86 years old!  He had 60 years to build a stairway! A driveway would be nice.  I guess I can build me own.” Jasper (Red hasn’t been used in awhile)  starts the climb. 

The rough hillside made of quartile, with layers of sandstone makes for giant stairs.  Large sections of footfalls seemed to have been placed at all the right spots.  Twenty minutes of climbing yields a landing. The crazy old bastard hid the way up.  Looking East, a series of shelves drops down easy but out of sight from the highway. 

Looking West, a hand craved set of stairs leads to Grandfather’s Ark. The rest of the way explained things about the old guy. 

“Never show everything to anyone.”  His words remembered in his voice.  His face was weather worn and coveted by a conductor’s hat. His eyes just short of crazy.

Three hundred stairs require a few pauses.  Each step lowers the rest of the world.  Horizons expand. More colors seep in to view.  The final landing  captures the magic of the place. The little shed turns into six rooms with solar power, running water, and satellite TV.  

On the table sits a white binder with dozens of documents. Pictures show inside a mine. Keys to a jeep.  Map to where the jeep is parked.

 A note reads “Red Jasper read.  You sell smell amounts.  You have three metal ores. There should be plenty underneath for first year.  The mine opens from the building to the left.  The shafts leads down by rope. Instructions are take tools and find what matches what you already have in the bins.  Leave the world behind.”