A Romantic Virtuality

Another pickin’ and grinnin’ lyric

1.I met you on Stumbl Upon

Oh, what a surprise that it was

I followed you on Twitter

Your tweets were oh so marvelous

I saw your selfie on Facebook

Joining Facebook became a must

Read your resume’ on Linked In

It gave me one heck of a crush

Chorus;

The font and pixel of you

The magenta, black, yellow and blue

Our virtual reality was cool

Our romance unbelievably true

2.It’s hard to know what love may be

I can’t tell, though I’ve made the rounds

Then I saw your photograph on Flickr

Before you moved on to Instagram

It was such a beautiful face

Always smiling, never a frown

Your voice was so incredible

Your podcasts a magical sound

3.I tried till I got up the nerve

To ask for a date, you said yes

Soon we were a steady pair

Asked for your hand, hoped for the best

Amazon and me were married

Our true love had stood the test

Now we’ve got a bundle of kids

Fire and Kindle and all the rest

 

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Short Story Wednesday: Just Passing Through

Short Story Prompt: “Shiloh” by Bobbie Ann Mason.

Max is hungry. The diner waitress brings him a breakfast that will satisfy his appetite. He takes a whiff of the eggs and grits and bacon and toast. It smells good, good enough to eat. “Now, that’s a breakfast,” he says to himself.

He starts with the bacon. It’s crunchy and greasy but good. He dips his fork into the grits, all buttered just the way he likes his grits. A story comes to mind that a friend, Sam, once told him. Sam and his wife, Irene, were driving south, moving from Pennsylvania to Florida. They stopped in a mom-and-pop restaurant in North Carolina. Having heard of grits for years, she decided that was what she would have. “I’ll take a grit please,” she ordered. The waitress and Sam bowled over with laughter, Then the waitress showed Irene what one grit would look like. Max smiled.

Max watches one of the waitresses follow a man to a booth, asking, “What are you doing off, Charlie?” He’d like to tell her what he was doing off but she didn’t ask him. He takes another bite of the bacon. Tries the toast. It’s good too. So’s the coffee, and the orange juice.

A large Indian, long black ponytail swinging down his back, stops, sits down across from him. He wears a suit and a tie. The tie is painted with a white Crazy Horse riding a mustang toward Max against a black background. “Know what I did last night?”

Max doesn’t know, doesn’t care. He wishes the Indian would move along, let him listen to his thoughts, make up his mind about things.

“I kicked some butt,” the Indian says, sees Max is only interested in his breakfast. Gets up. Towering over him, the Indian continues, “Well, if you aren’t interested.” Then he strolls over to the counter, like he’s stalking prey. Maybe he is. Maybe one of the waitresses is his prey.

Max stares down at his empty plate, pushes it aside, then takes a sip of his coffee.

“More coffee,” his waitress asks. He nods and she pours. “Don’t mind Dave.”

“Dave?”

“The Indian,” she says. “He does that to everybody.” She smiles. Her smile reminds him of his ex-wife when they first met, the one that took him for all he had. “Haven’t seen you in these parts before.”

“I haven’t been in these parts before,” he concedes. Then relaxes, “I’m just passing through.”

She invites herself into the booth and sits down across from him. “Where you going?”

Max notices that she is Indian too. At least part Indian. She has the darkest eyes he has ever seen. He returns her open smile with a smile. “I only wish I knew.”

She leans forward and halfway whispers, “There ain’t much here to see, that’s for sure.”

Max takes a chance and offers, “There’s you.”

The waitress starts to laugh, then realizes that Max is serious. She says, “I’d rather be on my way out of here.”

“Why don’t you? Leave, that is?”

“Got a kid. Joe’s his name. Cutest little five year old you ever wanted to see. Want to see his picture.” She pulls a photograph out of her pocket.

Max takes the photograph and looks at it for a minute or two, then hands it back to her. “That’s some kid.”

She takes the photograph, looks at it, smiles and puts it back in her pocket. “He wants to play baseball when he grows up.”

“Where’s his dad?” he asks, then thinks better of things. “Sorry, didn’t mean to pry.”

“The son of a bitch ran off to God-knows-where. I sure don’t. Left me knocked up in this God-forsaken place.” Her face says everything about disappointment. “I had a ticket out of here.” Then pride comes to this same face. “Had a scholarship and all.” She stands up. “I’ve got to get back to work. My name is Lyla. If you need anything, let me know.”

He watches her leave. He lifts the coffee cup and takes a sip. The coffee is hot, but not so hot as to burn his mouth. Just right hot, he thinks. For the first time since, he walked out of the divorce court and got in his car and drove away from that life a thousand miles ago, a life that just about destroyed him; for the first time since, he sees some hope on the horizon. Maybe there is a Lyla where he is going.

Max finishes his coffee, then pulls himself out of the booth and drops a five on the table for a tip. He goes over to the cash register. It’s not Lyla that rings him up. She’s taking food over to the Indian. Max takes his change and walks out of the restaurant and into the morning. The desert sun fills everything with its brightness, washing out the world around him with its light.

He heads over to the old green Chevy. Just about on its last legs but with still enough life in it to get him where he’s going, He backs the car out of the parking lot and onto the highway and heads west. He starts going over in his head the phone conversation he had with his son, Jake.

“C’mon out here,” Jake had said. “You can get a new start with me and Ash.”

“But I’d be a bother. The two of you have your life.”

“You’ll be no bother. You have to get away from that place. After what Mom put you through, you deserve to get away.”

Max pulls the car over to the side of the road. Stops it. Then decides. He turns the car back toward the town he just left. He parks in the half-empty parking lot of the diner and gets out of the car and makes for the restaurant door, hurrying before he loses his courage. The door jangles as he opens it. Lyla is at the cash register, ringing up a customer.

She finishes and looks over at him. “Did you forget something?”

“I did.” He hesitates, then finishes. “I forgot you.”

“What?” she whispers.

“And your son. You want to go to California.”

“What?”

“To California? You want to go?”

Lyla isn’t sure what to say.

Max says, “You’ve got one minute to decide.”

Lyla still hesitates, then her body says to hell with it. She unties her apron and throws it on the counter and goes over to him and says, “Let’s go.”

He takes her hand. They laugh as they make for the car. Then they are off to pick up Joe and on to California.

Next Wednesday’s Prompt: “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin.

Big Don

This here is my theme song and it is to be sung to the tune of Jimmy Dean’s “Big John”

1.He was a heck of a man

With a slight slight tan

Six foot none

And his hair was gone.

He was Don, Big Don,

Big Tall Don.

 

2.He wore a hat

To the right it tipped

And dark glasses too

So he wouldn’t catch flu.

He was Don, Big Don,

Big Tall Don.

 

3.He was a library clerk

And he loved to work

He came in at noon

Sometimes a little too soon.

He was Don, Big Don,

Big Tall Don.

 

4.He arrived at work one Monday day

Everything was thrown every which-a-way

He looked from side to side and all around

There wasn’t a clerk anywhere to be found

He heard a noise from away far-off

A still small voice with an obvious cough

He went to the cabinet sitting in front

He pulled out a drawer and began his hunt.

He was Don, Big Don, Big Tall Don.

 

5.The voice he’d heard it was down in there

Where it was he couldn’t be sure

He reached on in and pulled himself through

The hole in the drawer fit like an old shoe

He followed what he’d heard deep deep down

Through the caverns and caves he followed that sound

When after a heck of a whole lotta feet

He found himself just about to retreat.

He was Don, Big Don, Big Tall Don.

 

6.The hole got smaller but the sound grew louder

So on he plunged and the tunnel was a bit tighter

While up above the librarians stood

And listened all the best that they could

For the Yodeling Don and the lost clerks

Trapped deep down in the depths of the earth

He kept on moving and moving on he went

Creeping and crawling through every little vent.

He was Don, Big Don, Big Tall Don.

 

7.Until upon a group he finally came

All stuck under a pile of books and magazines

Well he digged and he dugged and he digged real fast

The air in that tunnel surely wouldn’t last

He pushed and he pulled and he got a clerk out

Sent her above as the librarians gave a happy shout

There were ten, twenty, thirty clerks or more

And pulling them out was like mining for ore.

He was Don, Big Don, Big Tall Don.

 

8.But out they did come one by one

And the books they fell ton by ton

Barely missing clerk by clerk until

There was only one clerk left to kill

Then Don had saved them all

He’d come to the rescue and didn’t stall

But now he was caught in the head

Banged by a ten pound book about lead.

He was Don, Big Don, Big Tall Don.

 

9.First he was stunned and then knocked out

As he fell to the floor turning around and about

They came crashing down upon him they fell

As the last rescued clerk crawled through the shell

Of an underground that was all blocked off

By all those books that had fallen rough

Upon the man they’d known as

Don, Big Don, Big Tall Don.

Short Story Wednesday: Sam

Short Story Wednesday Prompt: “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner.

I want to talk about a dawg. His name was Sam. Least that’s what he called hisself. Others knew him as Dammit or Git or Sumbitch or Git-on. That’s cause he was a tramp. He walked from place to place, calling no place home. Wasn’t that he didn’t want a home. He did. He wanted one mighty bad. Yet nowhere did he find any hospitality for the likes of hisself.

He was about knee-high-on-a-six-foot-man tall and what you’d call a half breed, half this and half that and half something else. His coat all caked up with mud and so it was hard to tell what color that coat was. If you looked hard, you’d see some brown and some black and a bit of red.

Mostly he was passing-through, getting his meals wherever he could. Got real good at finding a dumpster that might have a feast every couple a weeks. He stocked up his stomach real good, then moved on. Cause he knew nobody wanted him. ‘Tween dumpsters he’d find a garbage can, then someone’d see him tearing at the trash and throw a rock at him. With that, he moved on some more. Long time ago, he’d decided he didn’t want to be any bother, and he tried not to be. But it’s hard when you’re a dawg and nobody cares and you’re hungry all the time.

There were times a dog catcher showed up. Tried to outrun him and net him down. Sam was smart and he was fast. So he ended up on the no-catch list. By that time, he was on his way to another place, another town, another neighborhood. It wasn’t no matter where it was he was going. All that mattered was that he was going.

Now if you’d got up real close to Sam, you’d see the kindest eyes you ever did want to see. You’d know there was no danger in this dawg. There was only love. And you’d see lonely too. When a dawg is on the move the way Sam was, it was rare that any human person would get that chance to see them eyes of his up close.

Where Sam started out, he couldn’t have told you. Some distant memory of a family lodged deep in his brain but that was a long time ago. These days there was hurt and there was fear in that heart of his. As I said, the wandering life is a lonely life. So from time to time Sam would find a tree to keep him company and lie under that tree and dream. He preferred an oak tree. He would wonder if there was a human in his future. He wasn’t choosey. Any human would do.

Sam must have been on the road four, five years with no particular destination. Seems he’d been looking for something or someone all those years and still had not found what he was looking for. But you know, you may just find that which you been wanting, if you search hard enough, and you search with a pure heart. Sam sure searched hard enough, as hard as any, and it was for sure that he had a pure heart.

Maybe it was that some angel came up to God, pulled on his sleeve and said, “Sir, You might want to take a gander at this here dawg. He is a wandering dawg. He’s in need of a friend real bad. I been watching him a long time and I guarantee he is worthy.”

Well, that was why God had angels. So they could watch for things and folks that He might miss. When You are God, You have to keep Your eye on the Big Picture. Which means He didn’t often get a chance to see the little things.

God looked down on Sam and a tear fell from His eyes. Seems that God had a soft spot for dawgs like Sam. So God started doing some thinking. He thought and He thought and He thought some more. Then it came to Him. He knew just the thing for Sam. He called over to one of his extra-special angels and told her the plan He had in mind.

Sam had been tramping for a good four days. His stomach growled mighty hard as he made his way down a dirt road. He thought there might just be a farm nearby. Seems it had been aways since he last saw anything that he could reasonably call dinner.

In the distance, he heard some crying. Sam was a curious kind of dawg. That curiosity got Sam in trouble way too much, but still it was crying he heard. Even though humans had treated him unkindly, you’d think he would’ve not taken the chance. But he did. The crying came closer and closer as Sam edged hisself through the field of grass. Then he came upon it.

It was a human person. Must have been something like five years old and she sat there on the grass, bawling her eyes out. Sam being Sam he felt compassion for the little person. He walked right up to her and gave her a big lick like he’d known her his whole life. She stopped her bawling. Sam did another lick. This little girl started laughing. He did it again and she laughed harder.

Sam did not hear it. He sensed it. He made a quick turn and there was a rattler staring him right in the eye. That rattler was about to strike. Not at Sam. At the girl. The rattlesnake went for the girl. Sam went for the snake. Just as the snake was about to hit the girl, Sam bit into it. He bit that snake so hard, he bit it in two. Then he threw the snake’s head over aways.

Nearby a man stepped through the grass. Saw Sam and thought the girl was in danger from the dawg. He raised his rifle and aimed. Just as the hunter went to fire, he stopped. He saw the dawg throw that snake away. Then the dawg dropped down in front of the child. The girl went quiet.

The man ran over to the child. Sam bared his teeth. Nothing was going to hurt this child, those teeth said. The man dropped to his knees and said, “Easy, boy, easy. This is my Naomi and I am not about to hurt her.”

Sam liked the softness in the man’s voice. He picked himself up and moved away from the girl. The man lifted his daughter into his arms and hugged her. “Darling, we been looking all over for you. How in the world did you get here?” The girl giggled.

The man walked over and picked up his rifle as Sam saw his opportunity to sneak away.

The man looked over at Sam. He said, “Where do you think you’re going?”

Sam did not know what to think. Should he trust this man. He went to run away.

The man called after him, “Sam,” he said. “It’s about time you came on home with us. You look like you could use a meal, some cleaning up and a home. Don’t you think?”

Sam barked. It was the first time he had barked in years. At least, the kind of bark that said, “Thank you.” Then Sam followed the man toward a nearby red barn.

God looked down from His cloud. He said to his angels, “It is good.” The angels all agreed. God smiled. Finally Sam had a home.

Next Wednesday’s Prompt: “Shiloh” by Bobbie Ann Mason.

If you have an itch, scratch it. If you see a dragon, watch out.

Sir Packs-a-whallup was an old school knight if there ever was one. None of that going off to a Crusade just for the sake of knocking a few heathen heads around like croquet balls. Any lord in a tin can could do that. A knight didn’t have to go all the way to the Holy Land to rape, pillage and loot. If he ran out of rpl’s in Merry Olde England, there was always France.

Unfortunately the Pope didn’t give out “Get out of Jail Free” cards for France or England. It was the Holy Land or Bust. Sir’s comment on the the Papal draft and staying home, “At least, you get warm weather in hell. This English weather just kills me.”

You see, many a knight had gone bust by going off half-cocked to Jerusalem. Besides they had to leave their ladyships behind for any Sir Tom, Sir Dick or Sir Harry to romance. It had gotten harder to get a decent chastity belt. Recently there had been a run-on on chastity belts. If that wasn’t enough, there were the recalls, so many that it made GM’s look like a Sunday outing.

On the way to an rpl one fine sprig of a spring day, Sir had an itch. It felt like it had been itching for days. And the itch was under his cuisse. That is, to say, his butt itched. Normally he would have ignored it, but this one was not your ordinary butt itch. It felt like a flea on his dog, Rover. The only way to get some relief was to get off his horse and let his squire shove a wire hanger down his armor and give his backside the scratch it deserved. Four days on a horse certainly qualified for a well-earned scratch.

“Whoa, Peckerwood,” Sir said to his stallion, a black fellow eighteen hands high.

The charger stopped so fast that Sir flew over the horse’s head and landed face down in the dirt. “Damn horse,” he muttered. Then to his squire, “Squire, get out the scratcher.”

Squire ran over to his boss with the wire hanger. Sir lifted himself onto all fours.

Five minutes later, his Sirness gave an audible sigh of relieve. His rear end gave a big toot. The itch had been scratched. Squire said to his lord and master, “Big Guy, me thinks you have the hemorrhoids.”

“That’s what I get for riding Peckerwood so much. What are we going to do about this?”

“Blame it on the horse,” Peckerwood protested to himself. “Always blame it on the horse.”

“Only one thing to do, Boss,” Squire recalled his medical training at the Ye Olde London College for Barbers and Physicians. “Get out the leaches and perform a hemrrhoidalechtomy.”

“Well, what are you waiting for? The Pope to preach another crusade?”

Squire worked his work quickly. “Kemosabe,” he finally said. “Oops, wrong role. Big Guy, the tests are in. Your rear end has been bled. Your backside has been scratched. So it’s time we were off.”

Sir stood, feeling relieved. Then he said, “Thanks. You’re a regular Sancho Panza.” He got back into the horse’s saddle and started down the road. Squire followed on his donkey.

A little bit down the road, the two came to a town. The mayor met them at the gate.

“Thank all that’s holy,” Mayor said. “You got our message.”

“We did indeed,” Sir said from his saddle. “What message was that?”

“The message to come and protect our fair town from the dragon.”

“Oh, that message,” Sir said. “I keep getting my messages crossed. Here a message. There a message. Everywhere a messy-message. Which dragon is it that’s bothering you?”

“Saintjorge. He’s a mean one, he is. Worse than Mr. Grinch.”

“What are his demands?”

“He wants one of our virgins. He has given us till midnight three days from now.”

“And how many virgins do you have in this fair city?” Sir was thinking it wasn’t really a fair city. It looked like a dump. But what the hey. A knight can’t be choosey when it comes to an heroic act. Sir had to take what he could get. It been a fortnight since his last heroic act.

“We only have four, your Sirship,” Mayor gave the knight the census. “All my daughters. We would have more but the king came through last week. And you know how royal he is once he spots a virgin.” Even though the king was half blind in one eye and couldn’t see out the other, it was very easy to spot a virgin. The virgins all had virgin spots.

Sir then asked Mayor, “Here’s the $64,000 question. What are their names, these virgins?”

“Any, Mini, Miny and Moe. I know. I know. It’s not very original. We were thinking about calling them Ima, Ura, Shesa, and Hesa. But that wouldn’t work since my last name is Pigface.”

Sir popped down onto the ground. “Before I go off and bop the dragon a good one, I would like to inspect the virgins.” Sir always enjoyed this part of his job. The Virgin Inspection.

Sir took a look at the virgins and was pleased. Very pleased. And all four had the Virgin Spots.

He looked up at the sky. “It’s a good day for a dragon whopping. It’s a good day indeed.”

A little while later, actually about a half an hour sundial time, Sir returned to the town from the dragon’s cave. Smoke billowed around his armor.

“That’s some dragon,” he said.

Sir went over to a bucket of cold water and plopped his rear in it. The heat rose from the bucket. “I needed that.”

“Did you take care of him?” Mayor asked, hoping for the best.

What he got was this. “You think I’m crazy?” Sir asked. “That dragon is one big sucker.”

Then the smell from Sir’s armor hit Mayor squarely in the face.

“Peeewwwww,” both Squire and Mayor said. “What is that smell?”

“Dragon fart. And I thought I could blow one out. But this guy is holding back nothing. I got to his cave and he hit me with a big one right square in the face. A real doozy. I didn’t have a chance. I would have preferred being roast beef to that.”

Squire reached into his saddle bag. He pulled out a giant bottle of UnStinkum and sprayed his boss with it. Now he smelled like roses. So much so that everybody in the town started calling him Rosie the Riveter because of the riveting way he came up with solutions to any number of problems. Like the current one. How was he going to save the four virgins?

“So? Did you slay him?” Inquiring minds wanted to know. Especially one. Any, Mini, Miny and Moe’s dad, the mayor.

“Are you kidding?” Sir said, glad to be rid of the odor.

“What are we going to do then?” Squire stuck his two bits in.

“We need a plan,” Sir suggested. “And I think I have one. What would happen if there were no virgins in the town?”

“No virgins, no dragon. But we have four virgins.”

“Then we will just have to de-virginize the virgins. In a former life, I was known as Sir Viagra the De-Virginizer, and I am at your service. I have the perfect virgin spot remover.”

Sir was going to have to go the extra mile. The thing was that he had never taken on four at one time. He’d done three virgins before. That was how he had earned his spurs of knighthood. Four was going to take extra effort. But sacrifices had to be made. Besides it was an act of Christian charity. And one thing Sir was about was Christian charity.

An hour later Sir stepped out of the Mayor’s house and lit a cigarette. He was singing, “Oops, there goes another rubber tree plant.” Then he said,”I’ve done it. They said it couldn’t be done but I done it.”

“The virgins?” Squire asked.

“Yep, they have all been de-spotted.” Then Sir turned to the mayor and said, “No need to thank me. Knowing that I have done a good deed is all the thanks I need.”

In the sky, they saw the dragon take off from the mountain, squealing his dragon squeal. He flew above the town and raised his rear and let one rip. Then he headed west where there was more opportunity, taking his grandpa’s advice, “Go west, young man.”

Sir Packs-a-whallup held his nose. Squire held his nose. Mayor held his nose. The smell was unbelievable. The wind blew in from the south and the dragon odor lingered over the kingdom for years.

Some say that it was that aroma that first started the Plague. I am not particularly qualified to argue a yea or a nay on that. Let’s just say. The kingdom went bankrupt from the loss of the tourist trade to the kingdom.

Well, folks, that’s tonight’s episode. If you happen to have a dragon show up on your doorstep, just contact Sir at 1-DEV-IRG-INIZ. He’ll return your call within twenty-four hours. Remember that you’ll get a 15% discount if you tell the operator where you read the show. Until next week, good night and good dragoning.