Near 500 words: The nightmare

“What are you afraid of?” the psychiatrist asked his patient. He sat in a large comfy chair next to his desk.

“I’m afraid something is going to happen to Frankie.” Darla rested her head against the pillow on the couch.

“And what makes you think that?” Dr. Spenser asked, furthering his questions.

“I keep having this nightmare,” Darla said.

“And?” Dr. Spenser scribbled a line on his pad.

Darla hesitated.

“Darla, we’ve only an hour.” Dr. Spenser hated to rush his patient but they did have only an hour.

“George says I am being foolish.”

“Are you being foolish?” Dr. Spenser asked. He always asked obvious questions. It was his way.

“I don’t think so. Frankie’s the only child I can ever have.”

“Anything that happens to him, and that’s it?” The psychiatrist was getting somewhere.

“Yes,” Darla said, hoping for some reassurance.

“You think you have any control over that?” Dr. Spenser started a doodle. His doodles were always helpful. Over the years, he’d never known a doodle to fail.

“No. I don’t.”

“So? Tell me about the dream.”

“Frankie has a dog.”

“Do you have a dog now?” The doodle was slowing coming into a shape.

“Well, no.” Darla’s eyes were closed. She was afraid of the dream but she wanted to give the doctor an accurate picture.

“Continue. Does the dog have a name?”

“Fluffy, I think.”

“You’re not sure.”

“Yes, Fluffy is his name.”

“Sounds like a very nice dog.”

“Oh, he is. And he loves Frankie. At least, at the start of the dream.” Darla opened her eyes. Tears filled them. She decided that she didn’t want to go on.

“Continue. What makes you think there’s a problem?”

Darla resisted, then went on, “Fluffy and Frankie are out running in a field one day.”

“How old is Frankie? In this dream?”

“About eight. Please don’t make me go on.”

“That’s up to you. But naming your fear could be very helpful.” Dr. Spenser looked at the clock on the wall. Forty minutes left of the session. Plenty of time.

“They are running in the park. Then Fluffy turns and—”


“No, I can’t go on.”

“I see.”

“Tell me what it means.” Darla was desperate to know.

“That you can’t go on? That’s easy. You’re afraid of what happens next.”

“I am.” Darla was crying.

Dr. Spenser reached over to his desk and pulled out a Kleenex and passed it over to Darla. As she cleaned up her tears, he studied his pregnant patient.

“It took us a long time and a lot of effort to get pregnant.”

“And you’re having these nightmares about that child and a dog?”

“I am.”

“What if Frankie doesn’t have a dog?”

“No Fluffy?”

“No Fluffy.”

Darla had never thought of that. It seemed so obvious. “No Fluffy,” she whispered to herself. Then to Dr. Spenser, “But what if he wants a dog?”

“Get him a cat instead.”

Darla smiled and sat up on the couch. She was so relieved.

Dr. Spenser looked at the clock. Fifteen minutes to go. He turned to Darla. “Anything else?”

Darla stood and shook Dr. Spenser’s hand. It was obvious she was relieved.

Dr. Spenser escorted her to the door.

Darla turned and hugged her psychiatrist. Then she went out into the lobby.

Dr. Spenser picked up his pad, stared at the doodle, and smiled. It was of a cat.

micropoem for the day: horses

This one is a three-parter, first an earlier poem, then a micropoem, ending with a song:

I dream in horses
Fierce the magnet that draws to the horizon’s end
Mustangs galloping, their wild hearts bursting,
Straining into the wind, hoof beats
pounding freedom into the dust.
Unbreakable strength in eyes bold and violent,
Spirits of liberty running with deep intent at one with arroyo,
Canyon and mesa, their chosen calling a challenge,
Their neighing cry against a fenced-in range forever a foe
Of ponies flying their race against time and man.

After trees and dogs and cats, I think my favorite creatures are horses. They are such magnificent creatures. It seems to me that when you ride a horse, you’re sitting on top of the world, taking in all that can be taken in. There is something majestic about the horse whether they are wild or tame, whether they’re racing across the range or just hanging loose in a pasture.

horse on the meadow
grass green for his pleasure
a prancing floor

Ian Tyson’s “La Primera”.

micropoem of the day: the world

Gosh, there are days I wake up and think what a rotten day this is going to be. Those are the days I wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Starting off that way, I usually am right. The day turns out to be an unhappy one and I end up saying to no one in particular, “See I told you so.” It lived up to my expectations. This morning I woke up with a different attitude. Here with my coffee, I think, “What a day.” So I am pretty sure this day is going to turn out to be just fine. 

this wonderful world
look at it, love it
soon the roses bloom

Larry Plays Another Hand

Okay, three kings. Larry lost with three kings, no less. Damn his luck. Two hundred and fifty thousand bucks on the table, and he lost. He lost the car. He lost the house. He lost his retirement. On a sure thing too. Who would have guessed the guy across from him had a full house?

Some guys have a smoking problem. Some have a drinking problem. Some have a sex problem. Larry had a losing problem. He could not not lose. Beth kept telling him so, and rubbing it in too.

It wasn’t as if she hadn’t warned him. She had. She was going to leave him if he didn’t stop being a loser. Here he was the biggest, and I mean the biggest, loser of all time. Maybe not the biggest but he sure felt that way.

He tossed the keys to his car over to the winner. “I’ll get you the title to the house and the car.”

“And the cash as well.” The guy looked like he wouldn’t take no for an answer.

Larry went to get up. The guy stopped him. He looked over and said, “Look. I’ll give you one more chance. We draw cards. Highest card wins.”

“But I don’t have anything to bet with.”

“Oh yes, you do. Your wife. One night with your wife.” The guy was serious. There wasn’t a smile on his face or any other kind of thing that made Larry think he was kidding.

Larry thought about it. Beth would kill him either way when she found out.

The guy sweetened the pot. “If you win, your wife will never know. It will never leave this room. So what have you got to lose?”

Larry choked, then agreed.

The guy called for a new deck. He passed it over to Larry. “You shuffle.”

Larry unwrapped the pack of cards, pulled the cards out of the box and shuffled. He cut the cards and shuffled again and again. For what seemed like an hour, he shuffled. It was only ninety seconds. He passed the cards over. The guy cut the cards, then passed them back to Larry. Larry spread the cards in a fan out on the table. “You first,” he said to the guy.

The guy drew and turned over his card. It was a king of hearts. A king of hearts, of all things. He was about to lose his wife to a king of hearts. It was just evil.

Larry’s hand trembled. He reached over and pulled the last card. He hesitated, said a prayer, then turned it over. Before him lay an ace of spades.

It had been a long night. He might not leave with anything but he had gotten his wife, his house, his retirement and his car back.

He looked over at the guy on the other side of the table. The guy was pushing his chair away from the table.

Then Larry said, “One more hand?”

micropoem for the day: dust

It’s the great drama of our routine lives. It’s the great never-ending circle. The great inescapable. House cleaning. It goes back to the cave dudes and dudesses. That battle against dirt and mess. Like the cockroaches, it seems that it will be here long after we are gone. No matter who we are where we are, there is just no way around it. It’s going with us in our coffins. I am lying there dead. A dust mite crawls up my nose. Suddenly I sneeze. The dirt over my grave and the top of the coffin shoot up like a rocket. It’ll be enough to wake the dead.

dust and more dust
acumulates, then I clean
then dust and more dust