Her Bike

A wonderful piece from Charlottesville Winter, for Bicycle Stories Month.

charlottesville winter

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She doesn’t remember anything past the feeling of flying after the car hit the rear of her bicycle.

I remember for her.

I remember the chill and darkness of her intensive care unit room.

I remember how touched her father was that we came and brought her flowers.

I remember wondering if she would ever wake up fully.

I remember when she recovered and came back to school.

I remember her slight limp as she walked across the podium at graduation.

I remember for her.

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RE: Got time?

I’m still on the fence about whether I like this version or Joe Jackson’s original better. I do think that I’m feeling the Anthrax a bit more today though.

It probably is a good thing this blog doesn’t count as my job, as it seems to becoming harder for me to stick to my self-imposed deadlines. I suppose there is an argument to be made about if this was my job then my current one wouldn’t interfere with that, but were not there yet and in all likely hood won’t be anytime soon. Two weeks ago I had to work longer hours behind the line because the areas university students graduated and we had to feed a few thousand of them and their families that weekend. Last week I was busy chasing my daughter around the yard making up for all the extra time spent at work the week before. This week it’s mostly just exhaustion, and body aches from too much running around getting to me.

And then there’s the internet.

I do most of my writing at night after coming home from work. I am usually very tired and have used up most of my attention span for the day by then and am apt to make rather poor time management decisions, none of which are likely to involve going to bed early so I am functional enough to accomplish much more than getting the kid to school and then coming home and passing back out at some point.

Instead it is a safe bet that my night will  turn out  to be a few hours of screwing around on some antisocial network, binge watching some TV show on Netflix, and culminate in me realizing that I haven’t done diddley squat and am now trying to keep myself awake to see the end of some inane movie that I wouldn’t have even bothered to watch except that it was two thirty in the morning, and what the hell I’m up anyway right.

The problem isn’t that I need more hours in the day I just need to stop filling them with stupidity.

Anyway that’s what I’ve been thinking about this past week.

Happy Monday.

Visits From Nowhere

I was going through my routines this night
when as from the thinnest air,
I felt a touch that was so slight.
Might it be that someone’s there?

A brief interest seen for my endeavor
and how shallow  it does always seem,
that after this our ties you’ll sever.
It was just briefly we have shared the theme.

I labored and loved and this I showed,
to receive a view from you and others.
In return, being fairly owed,
I’ll  read your ravings about Big Brother.

In the end I’ll be alone,
Despite my writing this silly poem.

Meh, I could do better.

Meh, I could do better.

 This butchery of an art form presented in response to a Weekly Challenge.
Typing chimpanzee image from Wikimedia Commons and is public domain

RE: Living With Your Decisions

“You can’t say ‘if this didn’t happen then that would have happened’ because you don’t know everything that might have happened. You might think something’d be good, but for all you know it could have turned out horrible. You can’t say ‘If only I’d…’ because you could be wishing for anything. The point is you’ll never know. You’ve gone past. So there’s no use thinking about it. So I don’t.”

Granny Weatherwax,

 From the novel Lords and Ladies by, Terry Pratchett (1992)

I’m not a big person on living with regret. This is not to say that I don’t have a few but I do my best not to dwell on them. Reflection is all well and good as is learning from the past, but I won’t  sit there wondering about what ifs. That way leads to damnation, sorrow, madness and most likely binge drinking.

That simply will not do.

In my personal life I am known to unabashedly speak with all honesty about my perceptions of things, I try to do it in an entertaining way. Sometimes of the time it is well received, sometimes it is mistaken for good-natured ribbing, a lot of times in my life I have come off looking like a mean-spirited, or bitter jack ass. These are the risks I take every time I open my mouth.

Once you say something or take a course of action that is it, you own that now, forever. If it wound up hurting others then you can apologize and try to make amends for it, but it’s still out there in the world. Life has no take backs or mulligans you have to keep marching forward living with yourself.

I have had quite a few bad episodes in my life. Fall, is a series of pieces that describe the aftermath of one of those episodes. It’s still a work in progress but another installment looms on the horizon1

Once, while extremely drunk2, I proposed marriage to a woman who I had only known for two weeks. She drunkenly accepted.  Two drunken fools both too stubborn to admit that what we had just agreed to was a very ill-conceived idea based on all evidence. The next day neither of us would be the one tho say it was a mistake. We lived together, engaged for two years before we really did anything about it.

In less than two weeks we will have been married for eleven years.

 Seems a unintended consequence of being that stubborn was that we spent enough time together to actually fall in love. So admittedly sometimes potentially bad decisions can work out in our favor. We have had our share of troubles but I sincerely doubt I would be as happy without her.

As I side note I chose a quote from Terry Pratchett this week because, not only is he my favorite author, his latest installment of the Discworld series is released in the U.S. on the 18th of March. I am looking forward to it becoming the first book I’ve read in its entirety since I quit drinking3

Happy Monday.


  1. I had to stop writing it for a while because it got painful to the point that I started to shut down a bit while I was writing. Thus the last entry feels a bit dull to me. 
  2. I should find it appalling at this point that most of my personal stories involve the phrase “extremely drunk” but such is life. Things have changed. 
  3. It became such a habit of mine to read while drunk that doing so sober has been a bit tougher of a challenge than expected. 

The Untitled Thing

Dear Readers,

So I have this policy concerning writing about specific things. Once is a lark, twice is coincidence, three times and it’s a pattern. When I write about the same thing four times, it tends to become a Thing.

Those of you who have been following me for the past couple of months may have noticed a slowly growing collection of fictional shorts involving two characters, Jerry and Mr. Davis. I have now written about them five times so they are with out a doubt a Thing.

So far these scenes have all been written in response to a writing prompt or challenge. Reading them it seems that there is a larger story taking shape, one that I do have a few details worked out in my head, and have started doing some research for it. Still, I am not sure if I want to commit to a project that big.

We’ll just play along for now and see what happens, and if nothing else the two of them make for nice and interesting constructs for working on my writing skills in the mean time.

For those of you who are new to my blog, or may have missed a story here are links to those pages in the order in which they were written. I’m not sure they are all in the order they happen in, but it’ll do for now.

One day when I’m not being so lazy, or feeling quite so sick, or there are more of them I may make them their own page to feature them. I hope you find them entertaining.

The Untitled Thing.

  • Street Credit - “Reputation, it’s all about reputation,” Mr. Davis began, “And that, my friend, is just a matter of perception. You can spend years and years trying to build a reputation but if no one buys into it you are screwed. That’s where we come in.” He took a long pull of his bourbon, draining. The ice…Read more Street Credit
  • Smell the Witch - PREVIOUS He woke slowly, letting the pain going on inside his skull take its own sweet time to register. The aromas of cigarette smoke and scotch hung in the air, while the smell of sweat clung to the sheets of the empty bed.  I can still smell the witch, Jerry thought grimly as the perfumes of last night…Read more Smell the Witch
  • Getting to Know Him - PREVIOUS Photos and scraps of paper peeked out from folders scattered across every surface of the small, dimly lit office. Jerry paced the room flipping through the file he was handed shortly after he arrived. “What am I supposed to do with this?” He asked the heavy-set man. “Peter Maslow, that’s our guy’s name. That’s…Read more Getting to Know Him
  • Conversational Russian - PREVIOUS The door opened and Mr. Davis stepped into the apartment. In one hand was a plastic bag from the deli on the corner,  over his shoulder was the shabby, brown, leather briefcase he always carried when he left his office. He strode towards the kitchen and set the to go bag on the counter. After…Read more Conversational Russian
  • The Toolkit - PREVIOUS The alarm clock went off and Davis snorted awake in his chair. A few moments of fumbling around managed to resolve the noise and he slid his feet off the crowded desk, taking a pile of papers with them. He stood and reached his arms out and upwards and then rotated them in a…Read more The Toolkit
  • The Diner Scene - PREVIOUS Walking in the front door of Lily’s his eyes were assaulted by stainless steel, and boomerang patterned formica basking in the glare of fluorescent lights. Jerry squinted through his headache and fatigue to find his partner standing and waving at him from the far booth of crowded the diner.  He hurriedly walked toward him past…Read more The Diner Scene
  • Eyes and the Mirror - PREVIOUS He stared through the smoke and noise at the blurred reflection in the mirror on the wall, the short distance between where he sat and where he looked seemed to shrink and grow as he thought, as he tried to remember. There was something in that gap, there had to be something. *** He was…Read more Eyes and the Mirror
  • Interdepartmental Meeting - PREVIOUS Zoos, thought Janice, are testament to the fortitude of  human will. It is no small feat of courage to spend the day watching these magnificent beasts mope around the far corners of their little enclosures, trying to ignore all the noisy assholes with cameras, and not finish the afternoon by going home and hanging yourself. The…Read more Interdepartmental Meeting
  • Memory Lapse - This is ninth in a collection of scenes that I lazily refer to as “The Untitled Thing”. If this is your first time reading the exchanges between Jerry and Mr. Davis, it would probably be best if you started at the beginning. If you think you might have missed an installment, the complete collection can be found here.…Read more Memory Lapse
  • The Watchman - This is the tenth scene in the serial“The Untitled Thing.” The previous installment is here.  You can get up to date on the rest by checking out its index page. The door of the hotel room was open by muscular,  grey-faced man wearing  a black wife beater and an annoyed look. He stared for a hard moment at…Read more The Watchman
  • Making Connections - The rain was coming down hard as he ran from the cab to the awning over the bar, he tried shielding himself with a folded newspaper. It always seemed so much more effective when he saw it done in the movies. In real life not only did you still ended up with wet hair, only…Read more Making Connections
  • Status Update - Ellis Durant entered the suite and walked along the only path not cluttered by the entropy that had taken over in the two weeks since he had last visited. He looked around at the empty take-out boxes, stacks of photographs and reports that he had sent over, the random placement of magazines most of them laying…Read more Status Update
  • Day Planner - He sat slumped on the office couch, staring out at space, slightly trembling hands shaking lightly clasping at a half-drank Redbull. “Jerry? Jesus Jerry, you still with us?” “What?” He shook himself back to the world, “Yeah sorry Pete must’ve just drifted off for a minute.” “You look like shit man. You feeling ok? You…Read more Day Planner
  • Coffee Talk - The cafe was situated on a quiet side street, away from the noise and smoke of heavy traffic. Its outdoor seating area was a large plaza surrounded by small little boutiques filled with mid-scale clothing and jewelry. There was of course a head shop operating under the label of a tobacconist. They weren’t fooling anyone, no…Read more Coffee Talk
  • The Pick-up - Jerry sat in the car parked outside the warehouse, engine idling, struggling to keep his eyes open. He was sure he fell asleep at some point each night but, he could barely tell. He would be laying in bed  each evening in, his alarm  sounded and it was morning again. The time between just gone,…Read more The Pick-up
  • Sentinal - Ellis Durant was crouched on the ledge, looking down at the dark blue sedan parked in front of the warehouse.. It was a slightly older model Taurus, kept clean. It was in good repair. He could barely tell the engine was running. He knew Jerry was behind the wheel, waiting. A few floors below him,…Read more Sentinal

Thanks for your time and interest,

Doug

A List Everyone Should Have.

I’ve been a bit stressed out and angry lately, and things being what they are my morning yesterday started off as a grumbly one. By noon the whole day was teetering on the edge of full-blown conniption, which I was already prepared to blame on exhaustion, low blood sugar, and writer’s block. When I was packing up for work my daughter convinced me to spend a few minutes playing with her before I left. I’m glad I did because just that little bit of fun time really put me in a good mood.

As I pedaled to work, I began trying to brainstorm for a post that was past  due for publishing. Try as I might, I could not focus on one subject. My mind kept skipping around these random thoughts of things that just made me feel just slightly better when they happened. By the time I got to work I had a fairly good list going.

So I present to you, in no particular order:

Doug’s list of happiness in small degrees

  • Waking up in panic because I overslept, and finding out there’s still ten minutes of sleep left before the alarm goes off.
  • Having to pedal harder and faster than normal to make it to work on time, because my daughter needed to be pushed on the swing.
  •  Taking a long nap, with a small dog.
  • Finding common ground on a subject, with a friend I haven’t talk to in years.
  • That unbearably hot, yet impossibly delicious first cup coffee from a freshly brewed pot.
  • Overly large breakfasts, served piled high from short order counter.
  • Finding out I don’t have to work, on payday.
  • Foul weather, when it interferes with doing yard work.
  • Riding my Bike in a light drizzle, and making it home before the downpour starts.
  • My wife’s soft heart for animals, and her critical, hard-nosed approach for putting up with the human race.
  • The way my daughter sings, the same verse of a song over and over and over…
  • The look on my cats gets, when he spots a lizard he wants to chase.
  • That day in the middle of winter, when it shows just a glimpse of spring.
  • The fact that I can go back to being a drunk anytime I want, but haven’t after 519 days and still counting.
  • Having trouble finding time to write, because my family needs me.

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Looking at the list I am amazed to see how common place so many of these things are and wonder why I’m ever in a bad mood. Needless to say by the time I got to work I was feeling great. I’ll have to remember these things and take an inventory next time I decide that I’m having a rotten day.

It leads me to wonder, what are the small everyday things does everyone else have keeping them from loosing their crap on a regular basis? What’s on your list?

Rarity of Quiet

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It starts at 6 a.m. with the alarms that wake us up.

Then the television goes on for the news, because so much has probably changed in the four or five hours that, maybe, I’ve been asleep. The coffee maker gurgles and burps in the background. The toaster pops and the skillet sizzles. The child groans and complains in an effort to resist getting out of bed, once she is up, fed, and  dressed,  I exchange a brief goodbye with my wife I open the door with a creak. I walk to the car, my daughter in front of me, shuffling her feet across the pavement.

The car rumbles to a start, the heater roars as it blows the still cold air through the vents. My daughter asks me to listen to the radio so I tap my phone to life and turn on the app to bring up her favorite station. Soon enough They Might Be Giants are singing an upbeat tune about the sun and the car’s wheels roll down the driveway with a soft crackling sound.

The traffic of the morning rush is heavy and the other drivers whoosh past me in their vehicles. A semi thunders past, causing the SUV to rock slightly in its wake, and I can finally turn into traffic, the wheels barely miss traction and the tires let out a short squeal as I punch the accelerator. It doesn’t take but a few miles before one driver blares their horn at another for not quite hitting the gas fast enough when the light turns green.

Turning into the residential area that the school is in and the birds are chirping amid the thrum of cars riding over speed humps. The door of my Highlander opens when I stop in the traffic loop, children are laughing and chattering on the way to class, in the distance the bell chimes telling me we were running a little behind.

I arrive back at the house, greeted by the barking of the dogs. I retreat into the bed room to lie down, the whirring vibrations of the washer and dryer disturb my rest through the wall. I pretend to drift off, maybe I really do I can’t quite tell, reflecting on how most of this will be replayed in reverse when I come to pick the girl up from school later in the afternoon.

My evening is spent yelling to be heard over the clanking of pans, the rattle of plates being stacked and unstacked, and the calls of the other cooks; beyond it all is the incessant, maddening, rhythmic throb of the exhaust hood. Throughout the night I am bombarded with the empty chatter and inane, superficial questions of those around me, and who can not stand the thought of finding themselves with a moment to think. When the last dinner is served and things begin to die down the crew blasts their musical selection while we clean and close the kitchen, something electric and loud and grinding.

Finally at home, things are still. The dogs and child are asleep, my wife on the back porch listening to the computer through head phones. I sit and the click-clack of the keyboard is my companion for the remainder of my night. Finally I go to bed.

The silence rolls in. My mind wanders for a few moments, then I fall asleep.

It starts at 6 a.m with the alarms that wake us up.

Image cropped from Quiet Goes Noisy By Nicholas Noe CC BY-NC 2.0
This was written in response to a Weekly Challenge.

A Brief Letter of Apology for My Slackness

To those of you who have been following this blog,

I would like apologize for the erratic nature of my posting schedule; or lack of apparent schedule altogether as the case may be. Life and work (there is a difference) have gotten the better of me and I haven’t been able to devote as much time as I would like to writing. I do suppose I should be apologizing to myself mostly as I’m the daft fool who decided they needed to start a blog in the first place.

Here's a picture of my dog looking a bit forlorn

My dog Sammy feels bad about it too.

A part of me thinks I should close up shop for a bit, regroup and start anew once I get a few drafts backed up. This would seem a wise course of action. Sadly however, this isn’t really part of my nature so instead I am going to press on at a limping pace until I get caught up on projects and otherwise get my crap together.

Things are looking up however, if any of you have been following the conversations between Jerry and Mr. Davis that I have been writing in response to various challenges and have enjoyed them; it looks like that story is starting to take a shape of its own and might become a thing soon. No promises but I like where my head is with that. I should be publishing a new part to this soon and also plan to organize the scenes onto their own page and see what happens there.

I have seen a few new people interacting with this site through follows, likes, comments, and emails and I have been remiss in some of my follow-ups, I promise I will be responding to you and visiting your blogs soon.

 I guess if there is any specific content that I’ve written that you really like, now would be the time to let me know what it is and request more of it.

Anyway, thanks to all of you who have been patiently putting up with my nonsense. I hope you find some sort of pay off for it in the coming weeks.

Doug
 

P.S.: I plan to do some redesign on this site soon also, just because I can’t leave well enough alone.

P.P.S: Since you’ve been such good sports about this here’s a picture of me looking like a total idiot.

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There are somethings I just can’t explain.

Accumulation of Hallowness

As children they came to skip a dance across the floor to the echoes of their songs upon the walls.

As they grew it would become a fortress, a castle or a cave filled with pirates to best, and monsters to defeat, treasures to win and princesses to save.

In later years, before they parted, they would meet here just away from the eyes of adults.  Intoxicated by their experiments with the spirits, and the bodies, and the hearts.

Since their leaving few had, on occasion rare, been called back home for a time. It is then they come to reminisce, of a youth misspent, of dragons slain, and freebooters repelled, captives rescued, and deeds of honor. Lamenting one last time for their adventures left unfinished, opportunities passed, and affections they had squandered.

Done with their visitations, the reverie  must end. They return to the emptiness that once they filled  in pursuit of the glories, and pleasures of an age gone by. Bemoaning all the comforts they have achieved and security they have bought, at the expense of their wild innocence.

Emptiness by Cheri Lucas Rowlands

Photo by Cheri Lucas Rowlands (image used with permission)

Inspired by a Weekly Challenge.