Tag Archives: family

Trifecta Challenge: Beautiful disaster

Trifecta: Week sixty-three: Write a 33-333 word response using the word path as your prompt word. Music to read by: “Below my feet” performed by Mumford and Sons. This story is 333 words. 

The man with something to prove cursed under his breath as the six o’clock train pulled away from Grand Central without him.  A boy with bright red hair watched with impartiality from inside one of the cars and gave the unlucky ticket holder a sarcastic wave goodbye. With a weary smile, he returned the wave and flipped the goofy looking teenager the dirty bird. Upon seeing this treacherous act of war the child turned to the person sitting next to him and began to tattle, but the mechanical beast made of metal and all things nightmarish, roared down the track and the tiny spat between the two strangers ended forever.

The next train heading south into Savannah wasn’t scheduled to leave for another eight hours. Mickey closed his eyes and rubbed the bridge of his nose and waited for the small, yet debilitating pain, to form in the back of his skull. He took a seat near a family of pay phones and wished he had chosen another path. His way of life, conduct and thought process were affected by whatever drink was placed before him.

“Breathe buddy. Just breathe. You’re going to be OK. ” He chanted to himself in a sing-song way. Jenna had taught him mantras and breathing exercises to help relieve some of his tension. On instinct, he reached into his breast pocket for the flask of vodka. It was not there.

“You’re a beautiful disaster Mickey. I love you, but I can’t tolerate this behavior anymore. The children are growing up without their father, you need to get help.”

Tears formed around the corners of his swollen eyes as he remembered the way she looked when she told him to leave. Dark hair covered her soft cheeks, eyes full of empathy, her heart full of undying love.

The world knew him as a successful author, his children knew him as a successful drunk, and his wife knew him as a beautiful disaster. A spark ignited his desperate heart.


Trifecta Challenge: On a quiet farm in Paraguay

The Village Boy.

Trifecta Week: Fifty-one: Write a 33 word response to one of the three pictures provided. If you click on the linked picture, it will bring you to the Trifecta Writing Challenge homepage so you can see the other two!  I chose this one.

Pablo watched his father argue with the stranger from his position on the dilapidated tractor. He pretended to drive the mammoth entity with childlike amazement, despite the obvious bad news his family received.

Lost on Thanksgiving.

The greatest show ever made.

Sometimes, during the dark of night when I can’t sleep, I listen to the wind crash against the window of my bedroom. The street lamp standing guard on the sidewalk births thick beams of artificial sunlight into my room which are hushed and distorted by the glass, causing streaks of yellow to cascade past the physical attribute of the pane. When the light hits the wall, it disburse’s and ricochet’s around the room until whatever molecules make up light vanish into nothingness and a soft glow is left behind, making the darkness less terrible and the solitude a little more tolerable.

When I find no comfort in the warmth of my room, I will get out of bed and go for a walk and ponder the meaning of this world. If I’m too tired and my brain is too fried to think deeply, I will power up my aging laptop and go on YouTube to find something funny to laugh at or watch short clips of movies I used to enjoy.

I was a huge fan of the hit series “Lost” and lately I’ve been watching snippets of it on my computer. I loved that show. I still do. I mean, I loved the characters and the plots and subplots and back stories and the scenery and how the creators managed to piece everyone so perfectly together with flashbacks and flash-forwards. I miss the adventure and the soundtrack and the way Kate looked when a lock of brown hair would fall across her cute face. I love adventure and this is what the show gave me whenever I watched episode by wonderful episode. A few years ago I purchased all the seasons on DVD and I would watch them over and over again. But last year I ended up selling my precious collection for drugs when I ran out of cash.

My favorite character was John Locke. Yes he was bald and aging, crippled and crazy, but he was courageous (Just for the record I am well aware the show was purely fiction, I mean come on they were chased by a black smoke monster) and he believed in something greater than himself and when no one believed in him, he kept on truckin’ and said the hell with it. He believed he was special and he did what he had to do in order to figure out the meaning of his puny existence.

I did something like that a few months ago. I mean, I never crash landed on a cursed island with a bunch of strangers, but I did manage to get out of Dodge for a while. I dropped what I was doing, I put my life on hold and packed up my Grand Van and hit the road. I searched for the inner strength I knew resided in my heart. Although I came out wanting and poorer than I was at the start, I returned with unforgettable memories and beautiful pictures. But I did it. Some people will call it failure, and to be honest, I don’t give a damn what they think. For the first time in my own puny existence, I grabbed life by the balls and dared to do something out of the ordinary. It’s not over because as long as I remain six feet above ground my own adventure will continue, the story of my life is just beginning even though there are dark, bleak nights I feel as if the end is near.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. It’s a day to spend with relatives around tables full of food, laughter, good wine and better company than ghosts on a dark night like the one I described earlier. It’s a day to crack walnuts and watch football and if you are so inclined, retreat to a small, quiet place and bow before the Lord to thank Him for the many blessings He has bestowed upon you. But if you’re not one of the lucky ones, hell, do it anyway.

I don’t feel like a thankful person anymore. I seem to curse Him more often than not and I find myself OK with doing it. We have issues, He and I. Something tells me it will be many years before He gives me any straight answers. He remains silent to my wonderings and questions, but so be it. If it weren’t for my being mortal, I believe I could go on forever in my stubbornness until I get my well deserved answers. Yet even in my unabashed contempt, I will thank Him nonetheless, because I know there are many people who haven’t a place to spend this wonderful holiday, and when push comes to shove, He is still good to me know matter how much I bitch and moan on the inside. Have you ever felt this way?

I want to wish all of you a wonderful and Happy Thanksgiving and remember that no matter how dark the night becomes, the morning will always arrive on schedule and this dear friends, is a good reason to say thanks.

Trifecta Challenge: Always and forever.

Authors note: the Trifecta week thirty-five challenge is to write anything we want as long as it is between 333 to 3,333 words. I wrote exactly 1,000. Please enjoy and remember this is a complete work of fiction  which I concocted in my imagination.

Young as he was, the deaf child understood the look on his father’s face when his mother was pacing the room. He felt the vibrations on the wooden floor when the exhausted old man stomped up the stairs to fetch his cigars. They smelled, and left yellow stains on the curtains, but this didn’t stop him from collecting the old man’s stumps and hiding them behind his outdoor toy chest. The boy had no inclination to inhale the blue tinted smoke which permeated every fabric of their quaint little home, but rather chose to stow them away, as if preparing for some apocalyptic event to unfold. He had over sixteen and was very proud of his little cache.

He was a good boy, thin and tall and very shy and unconcerned with his inability to hear echoes in empty hallways and laughter of other little children. The boys and girls in his classroom taunted and branded him an outcast. They mocked and jeered and excluded him. He tried to communicate with his hands but this brought on more demeaning looks and self-righteous snobbery from the popular kids. He ate alone on a picnic table near the Jungle Gym and no one minded his presence. He cared little for the attention of others.

Nature is where he spent most of his time when the fighting at home began to wear on his nerves. The week before his father had come home in a drunken fury and slapped his mother. The lad attempted to step in and was thrown against the wall for his efforts. Tears flooded his cheeks as he opened his mouth and croaked a silent scream. He remembered covering his useless ears with his palms as the fighting continued. There was nothing he could do to help his mother. Her pleas for help soared in the air and the kid heard none of them. He had managed to dial 911, but after a series of grunts and moans the dispatcher waved him off as a prankster and hung up. It was the first time he put his fist through a glass window.

His mother rolled her eyes and watched her husband of twenty years ascend the steps. She turned towards her tiny kitchen but stopped abruptly. She glanced towards her deaf son and signed with a smile.

“Baby, be a simple kind of man.”

Her son spoke with innocent fingers,

“Always and forever.”

After she returned to the dishes, he opened the front door and walked along the dirt pathway leading to his backyard. Raspberry bushes grew haphazardly alongside gigantic weeds. He always wanted to try the plump berries but the Boy Scout manual he kept underneath his bed warned him of poison ivy and the fruit bush was surrounded by shiny, three leafed plants. He kicked a rock and it skidded off the side of his house. He tried to imagine what kind of noise it made when it bounced off the plastic siding but quickly gave up the thought. He had learned to squash any daydreams. The small ice cube in his heart froze harder when he pretended to listen to the sound of trees rustling and streams gurgling. Besides, the doctor told his parents it was silly to entertain any illusions of the boy regaining his hearing.

As young as he was, he learned to put this obstacle behind him and enjoy the surrounding landscape. He hiked the lush forests and collected pine cones, he brought along action figures and fishing line. He watched summers turn to fall, and marveled at the variety of color etched into the mountainside in the background. He captured the soul of it all and bottled it up inside his heart to use on a rainy day, when thunder crackled and his mother shed tears on the couch. He prayed silently when rain swept in from the west, he cried when snow blew in from the north. He pretended to hear the sounds of Santa climbing down his chimney on Christmas Eve, and the laughter of a certain young woman he secretly adored in math class. The sun reflected off a metal banister and made him squint in a childlike way. He waved it off and headed straight towards Fort Dixie.

When he looked upon the ferocious oak tree it reminded him of some ancient nightmare. It held its position with the utmost pride. Large branches birthed gigantic leaves which spread out to provide shade for the rest of the yard. The center trunk held the most important structure in all the land. Fort Dixie. His mother had explained how it had survived decades of storms and hundreds of wars. She concocted stories of courageous warriors fighting to the death for their beloved princesses. She spoke of epic battles and ferocious love. She proudly bragged about climbing the ladder blindfolded as a child at the behest of her brothers beckoning. She made a great effort to break his shell and he loved her for it.

The deaf child stared at the imposing fortress with complete awe and wondered what it would be like to hear cannons blast and guards shouting for more ammo. He walked up to the base of the tree and touched the weathered plank that made for a step, which lead to a second and then a third. He paid no attention to the height as he reached the balcony. He looked at the horizon and pretended to be a king from a distant land who had overtaken an empire.

He swung his weak legs from the edge and looked upon his tiny home with an emotion he had yet to fully understand. The silence in his ears echoed into every aspect of his life and he could do nothing but hope for a miracle. He watched his mother wash dishes through the dirty kitchen window below.

She felt a stirring in her spirit and looked up at Fort Dixie.

“Be a simple man.”

“Always and forever mother.”

My sister, my hero.


Long Island New York circa 2012
Photography by Gabriel

                Blood of my blood, these troubles will pass.

                Heart of my heart, laughter shall return.

                Flesh of my flesh, hold your head skyward.

                Blood of my blood, pain is for a moment.

                Heart of my heart, may your smile remain.

                Flesh of my flesh, fear not the future.

                Blood of my blood, remain courageous.

                Heart of my heart, we are with you.

                Flesh of my flesh, I love you dearly.

                My sister, my hero, my angel.

Friday Night Follies: With apologies to Steve Buscemi

Long Island New York circa 2012
Photography by Gabriel

June is a fun month filled with frumpy old men mowing lawns, ice cream trucks selling frozen sugar on sticks, children hurling water balloons at unsuspecting victims and sporadic oppressive heat waves which make me want to crawl up in a cool cave somewhere until it blows over. I don’t actually want to sleep in a cave I just thought it went nicely with the rest of the sentence. For the better part of my life I preferred the brisk air of winter but after several weeks of shoveling slush I long for springs resurrecting touch when trees rain down pollen and sprinklers waste drinkable water hosing down sidewalks and everything else except our grass. After summer bumps spring out of the picture for awhile we look forward to fireworks and  and laughter of good friends cracking expensive beer and throwing away perfectly good chicken thighs because one or two managed to hit the ground. I don’t know what the big fuss is about they are perfectly edible. I love how the sun ricochets of the tops of barbecues while hotdogs burn and cheese melts underneath its scorching roof. Dogs barking in the distance. Kids jumping in pools. More ice cream being sold. More water wasted. It is a wonderful time to relax on our loungers and fall asleep while trying to catch some sun before it retreats behind the surface of the earth. Make sure you set an egg timer or something you really don’t want to burn.

After a few weeks of humidity and eating macaroni salad people start complaining about the heat. I am grateful to have lived with all four seasons. Funny how we grumble when the sun scorches us, we moan when frosty sneezes and turns the earth into a frozen wasteland, we can never seem to get our stories straight. June clouds remind me of Florida. At the risk of sounding corny I would say they are happy clouds. Bright and puffy, like someone took a bag of marshmallows and put it in a microwave for thirteen minutes and waited for it to explode in one cataclysmic orgy of white froth. It’s a good time to be young and single with my kick-ass van and a full tank of gas. I don’t know little things make me happy, even if only for a moment. The road before me holds mysteries too great for me to know, and the clouds which I spoke so highly of, hang high above me as if to protect my noggin from unseen pieces of space junk. The Mets game screeches from my radio, I think someone hit a home run but I’m not sure it could have been an advertisement for suntan lotion or a million other trinkets one needs to survive summertime madness. Fly swatters, for instance, can be extremely valuable, especially if you neglect to eat the rest of your rice pudding. American flags to show your patriotism, music to cleanse your soul and pictures to capture memories in the making and remind us of summers long gone and those yet to come. Some of us remember the intimate moments spent under a warm night sky with a girlfriend. Remembering how her eyes glowed, like two emeralds sitting among diamonds. Hair falls softly over her face in one poetic motion.  Yeah, June is a good month with family birthdays and calming breezes.

I had the pleasure to watch a friend of mine play softball yesterday. She executed perfectly on both sides of the ball, even did a little line judging. I sat in the bleachers with sweat dripping from my snoopy-like nose and watched grown adults run around a field of dirt trying to prove something. I rather enjoyed sitting there with Bella hanging off my neck and you can refresh those naughty thoughts because Bella is my camera. Looking at the perfectly manicured lawn and towering spot lights I began to ponder why we all run in circles. Like a bunch of nuts in a Marx Brothers short, we play games to impress other people. We sit in bleachers and watch live competitions to ignite something within ourselves. We watch parades to inspire our sense of community. We ramble on blogs so someone will notice.  We just keep on running around the mountain till someone comes along to make us stop acting like puppets, little puppet people playing with puppets. I want to find the puppeteer, push him aside and cut the strings attached to my own back and make my own kind of music. When you are a part of something bigger than yourself, like these ball players, you gain a sense of belonging in a world so bent on pushing people away. I thought about all this and watched some old guy on the opposing team hit a pop up and run for all he was worth. I think I heard a knee pop before the ump called him out at first. It’s great how we all come together and just run in circles. I am in need of a new track to sprint around because this one has become worn and nonproductive.

Steve Buscemi in Grown Ups
Happy Madison Productions 2010

Other than watching Grown Ups for the first time and finding it extremely comical, I had no real explanation for putting this photo in the article. But if you look closely it really does have the capacity to put a smile on your face so maybe I did it on purpose. I like Buscemi because he’s brilliant plain and simple.  I appreciate talent when I see it and this guy has proven himself multiple times over. Whether playing gangster or jokester, Steve makes watching movies a little less of a burden because you can only expect the best. Only two actors can do this. The other is Nicholson. Anyway, I hope all of you enjoying this heat wave stay calm and cool. Stop trying to run circles around everyone and everything. You will only tire yourself out and if you do, you will never make it to home plate. Cheers.