Fiction

The Sinister Savior.

A Stranger’s Daily Route
Rain pelting my skin, I limp towards the road. My body weak, head pounding from the blow to the steering wheel, I shield my eyes from the truck lights approaching.

“You ok?” he asked.

“No. I’m hurt.”

“I’ll help you. Get in.”

**photo by One Foot Over the Moon via Flickr

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Fiction

The Departed Subject.

momI wish I knew. She died when I was fifteen. Time with her was sporadic before that. It pains me that I’ll never hear her reaction to it. The book wasn’t easy to write, but my mother’s story deserved to be told.


Fiction

The River Ran Through Her.

Hannah had been driving through the Adirondack mountains for hours, racing the river to clear her head. She left her family behind on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, with an urgency even she didn’t understand. She kept one eye on the road and one on the river, convinced she was looking for something, just not sure what.

wpid-IMG_20140907_150650976.jpgHannah slams on the breaks and pulls the car to the side of the road. Leaving her shoes in the car, she walks down to the river. She laughs at the sight of the rock that caught her attention from the road. It has rays of sunshine beaming down on it, as if it is calling to her. She couldn’t resist heading right for it.

Hannah begins jumping from one rock to the next, offering no time to contemplate fear. She smiles as she reaches the boulder begging for her company. She pleas with her clumbsiness to stay at bay, as she awkwardly climbs to sit on the rock.

Hannah isn’t used to sitting still. She’s used to her mind and body being pulled in a thousand directions, always dictated by other people’s needs. She bends her knees to her chest and closes her eyes. She begs the restlessness to calm down.

Hannah begins to hear the loud silence of the water racing downstream. wpid-IMG_20140907_150627439_HDR.jpgLooking both up and down the river, she starts to see the thousands of rocks, littering the water’s path. Each one embedded without permission, demanding to be considered. She thinks about the difficult circumstances she has made it through as these rocks, and her ability to overcome them as the water constantly running through. The river becomes a force Hannah feels confident surrounded by.

A strong gust of wind blows – a manifestation of Hanna’s incarcerated energy. Finally – she breathes. An inhale strong enough to wake her.

Hannah timidly slides off her clothes and places her feet in the river.  wpid-IMG_20140907_150832327.jpgShe braces herself for a shock of cold. Instead, the warmth clings to her skin, seeping into her soul. It moves her to walk deeper. Hannah knows there is a reason she was called to this open space and is moved to walk deeper. She risks being seen from the road and maneuvers each slippery rock with conviction.

She can no longer resist baptizing herself in the moment. Hannah submerges herself in the river, conforming her body to the rocks. Water rushing over her bare skin, she dips her head back and allows the river to run her completely over. She eagerly gives in to it, feeling no need to come up for air. The stress of life – motherhood, relationships, family, money, self doubt – she could feel the water pulling it out of her pores, leaving her lighter and finally free.

Hannah stands up. She confidently manipulates the stones to carry her out of the river. As she reaches the rock that initially called her to this space, she arches her back against its heated skin. She feels the sun recharging her spirit.

Hannah dressed and walked back to her car. She did a U-turn in the road and headed home. She set out today with the idea of finding herself on repeat in her head. sunset As she finished her journey, driving in to a sun set as perfect as her time alone has been, she felt relieved of her search.

A Piscean true at heart – it’s no wonder Hannah found her self by the river, contemplating forces that run both with and against nature.

 

 

 

Fiction

No Escape.

He’s drunk again. I see the black and blue outcome. There is no where to hide. He pays the bills. He puts food in the children’s mouths. If I run, his heavy hand will find us. The beatings are necessary – for them.

*************

Fiction

Uneven Frequencies.

“Hi Kenneth. How are you today?”

Kenneth gently rocks on the plush loveseat.  His clothes are heavy with the scent of stale cigarettes and look as though they haven’t left his body in a week -an unmistakable symptom of his maddening disease. His hoodie over his head, he looks at the floor and speaks rapidly.

“Doc, I can’t shut them up. They constantly argue about who’s side I should be on. I wear the headphones like you tell me to but I hear them yelling over the music.”

Dr. Shannon Green had been seeing Kenneth, a 22 year old budding schizophrenic, for three months. Shannon could tell he was on edge today. His posturing from the new medications, the eye tics and rocking, are much more pronounced. Eye contact seems to be out of the question. He keeps nervously glancing towards his tattered book bag on the floor.

Shannon puts effort in to being still and keeping her voice neutral when she speaks to Kenneth about medications. She knows he doesn’t like the idea of taking the anti-psychotics, especially as an injection.

“Did you meet with the nurse for your injection after our visit last week?”

“No. The voices kept screaming at me to just keep going. They are so loud and keep telling me that you can’t be trusted. I’m scared. I don’t know who to believe.”

Kenneth’s rocking has become vicious, his feet leaving the ground every time he tips back. His lips are moving, forming only slightly audible words. She has never seen Kenneth this agitated. She again notices his attention being drawn to the bag on the floor.

“Kenneth, is there something in that bag that will help you calm down, something that comforts you?”

Kenneth begins pacing around the office, his head shaking back and forth as he quietly repeats, “No! She is here to help me!”

He circles the room and stops by the bag. Kenneth’s shaking stops. His head hanging down, he is still before speaking. He raises his head, making eye contact with Dr. Green for the first time since entering her office. His voice carries an uncomfortable, controlled anger.

“I don’t think I’ve been on the right frequency, Doc. I’ve been fighting the wrong side. They tried to tell me. I couldn’t hear them because you distracted me with your lies and used the music to drown them out. Why am I letting you continue to poison me?”

Shannon nonchalantly slides her hand under her desk, searching for the panic button that will summon the police to her office. As she presses the button, Kenneth quickly reaches for the bag. His ramblings become incoherent. He tears inside and pulls out a knife. Hearing the footsteps coming down the hall, he wedges a chair under the door handle.

“Kenneth, I want you to put that knife back in the bag and talk to me. The voices are…”

Kenneth doesn’t let her finish.

SHUT UP! I can’t take your lies anymore. I can’t keep doing this. I’m hearing the truth now, I know. I finally understand there is no place for me here. None of you guys are the real enemy. I’m the enemy. It’s time for me to go, Doc .”

Shannon realizes she is wrong. Kenneth was turning on himself, not her. He begins shouting about letting the poison out, just as two police officers bust through the door. Kenneth quickly slides the knife against the thin flesh, covering his throat. The officers take him to the ground.

Shaken, Shannon stands staring at the young man pinned to the ground, covered with his own blood. Drowning in helplessness, her mind unconsciously drifts to the paperwork – an incident report, violent act report to the Office of Mental Health. She starts to cry, knowing he is now a statistic and the bureaucracy of “treatment” will begin to take over.

If Kenneth survives, sterile, mandated procedures — involuntary commitment to the psych ward and a petition to medicate against his will — will own him. Protocol of the broken system, no longer choice, will now dominate his tortured future.

*******************************************************************************************************************

 

 

 

Fiction

Her Story, Unearthed. Part 2

Kendra drove by the little yellow house twice, before parking on the other side of the street. She tried to look through the front bay windows, in hopes of catching a glimpse of the woman she was about to confront.

As she was getting out of her car, a tall, thin woman walked out the front door. Kendra had expected her to look frail, and broken down. Instead, she was looking at an attractive woman, in chic attire, walking towards her car. Kendra’s heart was pounding and her mind was racing with second thoughts, but she couldn’t let this opportunity pass.

“Excuse me. Tammy?”

Tammy was startled by a woman running across the street, calling her name.

“I’m sorry, do I know you?”

“No. My name is Kendra. Please pardon the unannounced visit but I was wondering if we could chat for a minute. I know this may sound strange but I live in the old farmhouse you used to live in and I have a few questions about the place.”

Fear became transparent in Tammy’s eyes. She stumbled on her words, as she told Kendra she was busy and was already late for an appointment. She was in such a flustered rush, she reached for the car door handle but failed to grab ahold. She fell back on to the driveway.

Kendra reached her hand out to help her up. Tammy just sat there, looking at this stranger in front of her. Kendra remembered what Joe had told her – “be gentle.”

“Tammy, I promise I won’t take up much of your time. I found some things on the property that I would like to incorporate in to a novel I’m writing. I am just hoping you can help, that’s all.”

Tammy grabbed Kendra’s hand, pulling herself to her feet. Perhaps out of curiosity of what she knows, and the soft plea in her eyes, Tammy told Kendra to follow her inside.

Tammy put on a pot of coffee, saying nothing as she moved around the kitchen. Kendra could feel the air shift, as Tammy sat down at the table. There was a lack of emotion in Tammy’s eyes, but a polished, put-on demeanor about her.

“So, what is this book about and how do you think I can help?”

“Well, the farm house is just the setting. It’s really a story of revenge. My leading female character appears pristine on the surface but behind closed doors, she is living the life of a battered woman. At the point I’m at, she is conflicted between killing herself and killing her husband.”

Tammy stood up from the table. Leaning towards Kendra with sheer panic across her face, she began shouting at her.

“Who are you? Why did you really come here? Are you a reporter or some kind of cop? I’ve told everybody everything I know about Charlie’s disappearance. Why won’t this just go away!”

“Tammy, hold on. I’m not a reporter or a cop. I am what I say I am, a writer. Every since I moved in to that farm house, this story has been begging me to write it. I’ve dreamt it a hundred times. I have stumbled upon things in the back yard that are too much of a coincidence. Trust me, I wish this would go away for me too but it won’t. I need to know the rest of this story. Someone is telling me to write your story.”

Tammy walked to the counter, her back to Kendra. She was quiet for several moments. She reached in the cupboard, grabbed a bottle of Jameson and added some to her coffee. She didn’t even ask Kendra before she added some to hers as well. She sat back down, across from Kendra.

“Tell me what you think you know.”

“I’ve spoken to Joe Holland. I know he was a friend of Chucks but he also told me he had an evil side and he used to hit you. If my dream is any indication of what you survived, then the best thing that ever happened was him disappearing. I’m haunted by a scene that I can’t fathom living. I already know the ending to this story Tammy. You survive and justice some how works its self out. I’m not interested in blame or digging up the past. I just need to know what really happened. And what made the scales tip from victim to survivor for you.”

Tammy was nervous, biting her lip and looking anywhere but at Kendra.

Kendra pulled the tooth and gun casing out of her purse. She laid them on the table in front of Tammy.

“That headstone Joe made wasn’t really for the dog was it?”

“No, it wasn’t. I don’t know what possessed me to ever honor where that bastard lies. Charlie treated that damn dog with more dignity than he ever did me. I knew no one would question me digging a hole in the back yard for good ‘ol Chucks best friend. That dog dying just felt like someone giving me an answer of what to do with the body. ”

Tammy began to sob. Tears pouring down, as she unleashed the details of her life as a battered woman, always behind respected doors and at the hand of a man everyone loved. She felt trapped. She listened as Kendra described the scene that played out in her recurring dream. Tammy closed her eyes and simply nodded, confirming that it had really happened.

“I knew he was going to kill me that night, I could see it in his sadistic eyes. It was him or me.”

Tammy wrapped her thin bare arms around her chest, as if to try and stop her shaking. She rocked in her seat as she said softly, “I put a bullet in his head Kendra.”

“Why didn’t you call the police? It was obviously self-defense.”

“I told you. Everyone in this town loved Charlie. Plus, his old family money is what keeps a lot of crooked pockets around here full. They would have said I was jealous of his other lovers and after his money. I had no idea what to do with the body, I was so scared. I hid it in the chest freezer in the basement. Thank God that smelly dog of his died two days later. I made sure to make it known around town that Charlie’s dog had passed. Everyone seemed to feel even more sorry for the poor widow. That afternoon, I dug a hole in the backyard and Joe brought that grave marker down for me. He offered to help me bury the dog but I told him I would do it on my own. That night I dropped that dog right on top of Charlie’s cold, dead, sorry-ass body. It wasn’t until the next day that I remembered the tooth and the casing from bullet. I dug, what I thought was deep enough down, and threw them in. I moved out soon after.”

“No one questioned you about his disappearance?”

Tammy quietly smiled and her tone carried a new level of confidence.

“Of course they did. I was quite the distraught wife though. I spent most of my life pretending to love Charlie for other people’s sake. Faking grief over his loss just came natural to me. It was quite a pleasant role to play.”

Tammy threw back the last of her spiked coffee and indulged in a second. Her defeated demeanor seemed to have fallen off, as she shed the words of her story. She stood taller. Breaking a very long pause in their conversation, Tammy laughed out loud to herself.

“Ya know, not for nothing, because I am alive, but do you know I won’t even see a penny of his money?”

What? Why not?”

“Because there is no proof of his death. The case is long closed but without the proof, the son of a bitch’s money stays locked up in the stock market and trusts. It’s like his last blow to me.”

“That’s unbelievable. I can’t believe you don’t automatically inherit that money. You deserve it. More than anyone around here knows.”

“Tell me about it!”

The two women raised their mugs, both drinking in the proclamation of Tammy’s injustice.

Suddenly, it all made sense to Kendra. She understood why and how she was connected to all of this.

“Tammy, you deserve that money.”

“I know I do, but there is nothing I can do about that.”

“Maybe there is. You have to trust me though. You have to know that what I am going to suggest, will benefit us both.

“Kendra, what are you talking about? I can’t go stirring things up and bringing attention on myself.”

“Tammy, you put the bastard in the ground but you weren’t able to make him pay. I want to help you make him pay.”

“But, how?”

“Don’t worry about the how. Just get ready to leave this town with a story, they can’t resist watching unfold. I have a plan.”

***

Part three will be coming soon. I’ll be busy enjoying a vacation with family for the next two weeks. What do you think so far? Are you anxious to find out about Kendra’s plan? Let me know, feedback is always appreciated.

Fiction

Her Story, Unearthed. Part 1

Kendra’s eyes were barely open, as she reached for the pen and paper, always on her nightstand. She wrote it down this time, every detail she could recall.

There’s a man in my house. I can see him but he can’t see me. I feel scared of him. He’s loud and aggressive, yelling at a woman, he has just shoved to the floor. I try to go to her but I can’t move.

He hits her with the back of his hand. He kicks her in the ribs. He pulls off his belt and starts whipping her with it. She’s sobbing and yelling and begging him to stop. I’m screaming at him to stop hitting her but neither of them can hear me. He grabs the bottle of Jameson on the table and swings it towards her head.

That’s when she stands up.

She grabs his arm with both of her hands. He laughs at her and the sound seems to shoot fury through her body. Her eyes narrow and she is no longer crying.

She pushes him, hard. He falls into the pantry, his head shattering the glass door. He lunges at her. She grabs a frying pan hanging on the wall, and connects the bottom of the cast iron pan with his face. His front tooth falls out, as he collapses the ground.

She checks his pulse and calmly walks to the bedroom. She grabs something on the top shelf of the closet. I see her walk back to the kitchen and stand in front of him. She points a gun at the man lying unconscious on the floor. She says out loud, “No more, Charlie.” As soon as the gun goes off, I wake up.

Kendra can’t shake the darkness that seems to linger in this house. It feels heavy and sad, and always like there is a missing piece of history, trying to make it’s way to the surface. Not being from around here, the only person she could think of to talk to about this, was Joe Holland.

He’s one of the old timers and always tips her well, at the diner where she waits tables part-time. For some strange reason she had told him, and not even her best friend, that she was waiting tables to save money towards publishing a book she was writing.

Kendra held the phone, staring at it, debating whether or not to call him.

“Hi, Joe. It’s Kendra, aspiring author and your favorite waitress! Did you know I live just down the road from you, not sure if you knew that but, could I make you a cup of coffee and maybe run something by you?”

“Sure, Kendra, what’s going on?”

“You’re going to think I’m absolutely nuts so please, just come on down and we’ll talk when you get here.”

“Alright, sweetie. I’m on my way.”

Kendra could hear Joe pulling up, just as the coffee-maker began gurgling, a sound she anticipates in the morning. Carrying two steaming mugs, she met him on the front porch.

“Well thanks for the coffee Kendra, now tell me what’s going on.”

“Joe, I need your help. Can you tell me if anything bad ever happened on this property? I know this sounds crazy, but perhaps maybe a murder.”

“A what? A murder… No. Tammy’s old man went missing years ago and that is why she moved out. Before that, this house was occupied by three generations of the Carson family. I’ve been around for all three of them and can’t recall any other tragic events. No one in the family wanted the house after Chuck went missing. You’re the first one to live here since Tammy left. What’s got you so interested in this old farm house?”

“Joe, what did you say was Tammy’s husband’s name?”

“Chuck. But Tammy always called him Charlie.”

Kendra hands Joe what she wrote down this morning. She explains what it is and asks him to read it. He seems puzzled but agrees without question. He finishes reading and is quiet.

“Kendra, the people in your dream, unfortunately, seem very familiar to me. I was an old friend of Chucks but he had a mean streak like a son of a gun. It was hush, hush that he and Tammy had…problems. It wasn’t uncommon for Chuck to disappear on Tammy for days at a time. She always told people in town he was on business, but we all kind of knew he was on one of his binges. Chuck couldn’t stay away from booze or women. When Tammy reported him missing last year, several search and rescue missions were held but he never showed up. They called off all searches after two weeks. You say you dreamed up all this, Kendra?

“Yes, and I have had this dream repetitively, since I moved in here! And Joe, there’s more. Let me show you.”

Kendra led Joe to the corner of the property.

gravestone

“I started preparing for a garden in the spring and found this peculiar stone, with the letters C. C. carved in to it, just under the ground. Lately, I don’t know why but I can’t get away from the idea that it is connected to the dream.”

“Well Kendra, I recognize that. Tammy asked me to help out with engraving the initials in the stone, to use as a grave marker for Chuck’s dog, Critter. He died shortly after Chuck went missing. Tammy appeared shook up by poor Critter leaving her so soon after Chuck. I remember she wanted to have herself a private little burial for that ol’ dog.”

“C.C. for Critter Carson? Joe, do you find it ironic that C.C. could also represent Charles Carson?”

“Well I suppose it could, but that’s just not the case.”

“Let me show you what else I’ve dug up in this same area.”

Kendra runs inside the house. She returns with two small objects in her hand. She shows Joe the bullet shell and tooth she found in the ground, a few feet away from the stone.


“How do you explain these? I don’t know what possessed me to hang on to them, but I did. Joe, I somehow know all of this is connected to my dream.”

“Kendra, what exactly are you implying?”

“I think Tammy killed her husband and buried him right where we are standing. I only see two ways to find out. Either we start digging or we pay Tammy a visit.”

“Kendra, I think I’ve come about as far as I’m going to go with you on this crazy ride. I’m an old man that doesn’t need to get involved in small town gossip. I wish you well on connecting the dots you have stumbled upon, but be careful. This all was laid to rest years ago and people won’t think too kindly of you digging up the past.”

“I understand. But Joe, can you just tell me one more thing, please? Where does Tammy live?”

Joe paused, before climbing back in to his old pick up. He could tell Kendra wasn’t going to walk away from this.

“241 Sacandaga Rd. She’s got a nice little house down there. Tell her Old Joe says hi, and Kendra, be gentle with all this.”

***

Did I leave you wanting to know more? Before I give you part two or this story tomorrow, let me fill you in on a little secret. The photos of the headstone, bullet and tooth are all items I truthfully found in my back yard. It’s what obviously sparked the idea for this story. I’ve forwarded the picture of the stone to our local historian and am waiting to hear back if she has any information about it. I’ll keep you posted. For now, come back tomorrow for part two 🙂 As always, feedback is welcomed and appreciated.

Fiction

Southern-Fried Yankee

*** Sharing one of my favorite fictional pieces on this beautiful weekend. Hope you enjoy!

“Claire, come help your Momma in the kitchen.” Maggie called to her 14 year old daughter.

“I’m busy Momma!” Claire said, as she studied the outfits laid out on her bed. Claire was on her way to being as synonymous with fashion, as Beyoncé is to her signature, “put a ring on it” dance moves.

Claire heard her Momma yelling at her little brother from the living room, “Son, I will blister your butt if you use crowns on my floors one more time!”

Claire laughed and said, “Momma, it’s cray-ONS not crowns! Will you ever say it right?” Claire asked.

Child, hush your mouth. I will say it how ever I damn-well please”, said Maggie.

Claire loved to get her mom going. Her accent always got thicker when she was mad. Her Momma was raised in the south. Despite moving to Upstate NY after she married Claire’s father twenty years ago, there was still a twang to her words.

Maggie hollered to Claire, “We’ll be leaving as soon as the casserole is done, about 15 minutes!”

Claire shouted back, “Got it!” and thought to herself, God forbid Momma not bring a casserole everywhere she goes.

Claire and her Mom were invited to a girls-only dinner night at Maria’s house. Claire went to school with Maria’s daughter, Lesley. She was surprised when her Mom told her they were invited. She had never seen her hang out with Maria, or any of Maria’s friends.

Claire joined her Mom in the kitchen, just as her daddy was getting home from work. Like most nights, her dad kissed her Momma on the cheek and playfully smacked her on the butt. As always, her Momma shrieked with embarrassment and said, “Brian just knock it off, the kids shouldn’t see you do that!”

“I’m fixin’ to be done with the casserole, so you hurry up and finish getting ready.” Maggie said to Claire. “And Claire, you best be on your best behavior tonight and watch your tongue. I want to hear yes ma’am and no ma’am when an adult is talking to you, do you understand?”

Claire nodded at her momma’s notorious warning.

“Momma, Leslie and her friends are snobs.” Claire said, as she put on her coat.

Claire Leighann! Don’t be rude or you can stay home.” Maggie said, and gave Claire “the look”, before giving Claire’s dad and baby brother a quick kiss goodbye.

Hearing her middle name thrown in and seeing “the look” on her Momma’s face, Claire decided it best to close her mouth.

On the way to Maria’s house, Claire asked, “Momma, do you ever just want to yell or scream?”

“Claire, what on earth would make you ask me that?” Maggie responded curiously.

“You just never seem to lose your temper. Even if people are rude to you, you just smile and keep quiet.” Claire expressed to her Mom.

“Baby, Momma doesn’t do a lot of hollerin’ because I wasn’t raised that way. I just feel like it’s more important to be polite than make a scene. If I need to get my point across, I do it by talkin’ or just ignorin’ the person being rude.”

“You should stick up for yourself Momma, that’s what you tell me.” Claire surprised her mom with this one.

“Claire, I just wasn’t raised like that”, Maggie said.

“I know Momma, but you have lived across the country from Alabama for over half of your life. Haven’t you grown a pair by now?” Claire threw herself against the passenger door, as soon as she said it. She knew her Momma’s hand would be coming for her head.

Claire Leighann Jones! Don’t make me turn this car around and take your sassy mouth home!”

Claire looked out the window so her Momma couldn’t see her laugh. She loved getting her all riled up.

They arrived at Maria’s house and as soon as they were invited inside, Claire felt an inferior air. She always picked up on others vibes and instantly reacted to them.

Maggie offered the casserole she baked, to which Maria responded, “Um, thanks. I suppose I’ll put this in the fridge. Come on in.”

Claire joined the girls looking at this year’s year book in the living room.

“Claire, did you see Sharon’s picture? Maria’s daughter, Lesley, asked in a malicious tone. “She looks like she let her little sister pick out her outfit.” she said, and the other girls laughed. Claire didn’t.

Claire responded with a challenging tone, “Maybe her little sister did pick out her clothes. I’m friends with Sharon, and her little sister has pretty awesome taste in fashion.”

“So Maggie, do you actually enjoy not working and being home all day?” Maria pretentiously asked Maggie.

“I love bein’ home. I can’t imagine it any other way”, Maggie replied.

“Well your mother probably stayed home with you, right? Isn’t that what they do in the south?”, said Beth, Maria’s best friend since high school.

Beth then added, “Maggie, I don’t know how you do that bare-foot and pregnant thing. I would go crazy if I couldn’t work.” She laughed condescendingly and flicks Maria on the shoulder, as if to say, You know what I mean.

Maggie could feel an un-easiness crawling up her spine. She tried to ignore the insinuation that she was an ignorant, lazy female. Instead, she just gave a light-hearted laugh and said, “Ya, it can be tuff.”

Claire was trying to survive the gossip amongst the plastic ones when suddenly, her head perked up like a startled chicken. She heard the drawl in her Momma’s last word. She knew that drawl. That drawl only comes out when her Momma is really mad or had one more glass of wine than usual.

Ashley, the head of the PTO and Maria’s sister-in-law, piped in. “I just need something to challenge me during the day. Besides, I would never let a man support me.”

At that point, Maggie could feel her neck jerk back. “How can you say that?” Maggie said, as she shook her head and tried to change the subject.

Maria disliked her topic of conversation and relentlessly dug back in to Maggie. “Maggie, maybe you just don’t understand where we are coming from because you don’t work.”

That was it. Maggie’s neck started rollin’ and her hand went in the air like she was singing the gospel.

“Let me tell you sumthin’. I have a college degree in psychology but honey, it don’t take that to diagnosis you as a bitch!” Maggie said, with a satisfied calmness.

“Not only am I more educated than you, I could run circles around you in the workforce and in your own home. This may be your house darlin’, but my daughter is standing right there. And I will be damned if I will stand here and let you berat me in front of her. Cuz ya see, I am not barefoot and pregnant. I am respecting my choice as a women to raise my children, while my husband fulfills what part of our partnership he can. That’s how our family works.

Maria, Beth and Ashley were left with crystal wine glasses in their manicured hands and their mouths closed, for once.

“Now, if ya’ll will excuse us.” Maggie said and smiled a polished, southern smile only a woman raised south of the Mason-Dixie line can pull off. She walked over to the fridge, opened the door and snatched out the casserole she put love and time in to this afternoon.

“I’d let you keep this but my husband may whoop his old lady’s ass if I leave the expensive bake-ware he paid for”, Maggie oozed sarcasm.

“Oh, and the next time you have a little git-together and decide to invite the ignorant, little woman that you suspect can’t possibly have any interesting friends of her own, do yourself a favor and request that she bring the wine. That shit ya’ll drinkin’ ain’t worth touching to my beautifully, cultivated lips.” Maggie’s drawl was so thick as this point, her words practically crawled off her lips, like the icing on a Paula Deen pound cake.

The girls in the living room watched the rhinestones on Claire’s back-pockets glimmer, as she strutted towards her Momma. Claire just looked at her with eyes that seemed to proudly say, “Go Mom!”

Maggie and Claire quietly, but confidently, put on their coats and boots. Neither spoke until they were in the car.

Claire burst out laughing and said, “Mom, what got in to you?

“I don’t know Claire Leighann but it felt good”, Maggie admitted to her daughter. “Those nasty women just needed to be stood up to. Don’t ever let snooty bitches talk down to you Claire. I’m sorry if I ever gave you the impression that you should.” Maggie said.

“Claire, you can’t tell your daddy about this.” said Maggie, as she seemed to shift back in to the Momma that Claire loved and adored, now more than ever.

“Don’t worry Momma, I won’t.” Claire had to hide her little-white-lie smirk. She couldn’t wait to tell her daddy what a country-fried yankee her Momma was tonight.

Fiction

Rock Bottom

Jessica wakes and rises off the cold bathroom floor.

Why am I naked?

She stumbles to her bedroom, wondering what it will take before she finally quits drinking.

“There you are! Good morning, beautiful.”

Oh my God, who the hell are you?

 

Fiction

Writing Out Loud.

She writes out loud. The words, her armor. She defeats shame with every key she strikes. She dives in to the remnants of the abuse, choosing to dissect the experience and name the invisible scars. Healing herself and others, along the way.