Writer’s Block

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Face up and forgotten, the remnants of untold stories lie in the dirt, a two leaf clover breaching the hull. Two leaf clovers don’t bring good luck – that’s four leaf clovers. And two leaves don’t mean half the luck, it means no luck. The wind understands my plight for she also caries stories and words on her wings. But she can’t help me.

I miss the caress of fingertips on the keys, the soft shifting of paper rolling across the cylinder, and the polite click of ink hitting the page. Untold stories should not be forgotten. So many words deserve the page. One day the shadows will lift.




First we made sure the auditorium was empty. Alex couldn’t get caught again; he was on final warning. I unplugged the amplifiers from the soundboard and lowered them off the stage to Alex. These would go for hundreds in the market. Ever since the law passed against garage bands, amps like these with the potential to play over 80 decibels were scarce. Alex said it was our responsibility to provide access to 120 decibel true rock sound. It was a musical freedom he said; something everyone should experience. He showed me once, the mind-numbing euphony of loud rock music blaring. Thus, our criminal careers in Heavy Metal Larceny were born.

Phone Call


“It is time to make the announcement,” Randal whispered into my ear. I started to stand with him but sat right back down.

“I really think we should wait until after the doctor calls. She said she’d call this morning, and her office closes soon, we should get the call any minute.”

“Jenna, we talked about this. I know you haven’t been feeling great, but nothing is wrong. The doctor is going to confirm what you’re feeling is normal and you haven’t lost the baby. We need to share this exciting news with our friends and family.”

“I know but people have miscarriages all the time, I’d rather have the doctor confirm everything is ok than announce to everyone we’re expecting and then take it back later,” I was practically begging him. Our friends and family were gathered as usual for Saturday barbecue. It had been a tradition ever since Randal and I had gotten married over a year ago. Most of our family lived across the bridge, so it was nice to have an excuse for us to get together every week.

“Ten more minutes? Then we make the announcement?” He kissed my forehead, “Don’t worry, love, it’s ok to be excited about this. I know I am!” I smiled back at him and let myself relax into his arms. It was safe there.

Ten short minutes later, everyone was still seated and Randal took my hand and chinked his plastic knife against his glass of water. It didn’t echo right, so he clapped his hands and got everyone’s attention. All eyes turned toward us and I squeezed Randal’s hand tighter.

“We have an announcement to make,” Randal said, his deep voice resonating. I jumped as my phone vibrated in my pocket. Everyone laughed and I held up my finger in the standard “one moment” way. I stepped to the side as I heard Randal say, “Well, thank you for making these Saturday bbq’s awesome. Always good to see…”

I put my ear to the phone. “Hi, Jenna? This is Dr. Noran, I have your test results.”

I hung up the phone, not even enough moisture left in my mouth to seal and envelope.

“Oh and here she comes back…” said Randal and his face turned towards mine. His expression went from one of pleasantries to absolute terror. Tears filled my eyes and I saw redness seeping into his.

“Uhm, just wanted to thank you all, no other annou…”

“Randal,” I said cutting him off and rejoining him at the table. My mother was nervously running her hands along her beaded necklace.

“We do have an announcement,” I said. Randal put his hand over his eyes to hide the tears that were starting to flow. “We’re expecting twins!”

Randal’s head shot up as his upset tears turned to tears of joy. He bundled me up in his arms as our families clapped and cheered. As he held me I felt little kicks celebrating from inside.

Pumpkin Patch


Daddy always took us to the pumpkin patch on the weekend before Halloween, the one down the street outside the grocery store. My sister Nina and I watched out the big picture window, our hands making smudges on the clear glass.

“I’m going to pick the biggest pumpkin!” I said.

“Not if I find it first!” Nina said. But I was ten and she was only six, so I knew I’d find it first.
We tussled on the couch playfully keeping our eyes on the window while Mommy was washing dishes in the kitchen. I grabbed a blanket to make a fort on the couch where we could still see out the window. Blanket forts were Nina’s favorite, and as her older brother it was my job to make them with her sometimes. I told her she was lucky to have a big brother as cool as me.

It felt like a million years but Daddy’s red pickup truck pulled up the driveway and Nina squealed. We ran out to greet him and he bundled us both up into his arms.

“Looks like you two are excited!” he said.

“They’ve been waiting all afternoon at the window,” said Mommy, opening the screen door through which Nina and I had just barreled through. Daddy carried us to the kitchen, told us to grab some jackets. He put his arms around Mommy’s waist and kissed her. I thought it was gross but he got mad at me last time I said something about it, so I shielded my eyes and went to get my coat.
Coat on, I peeked into the kitchen to make sure Daddy wasn’t kissing Mommy.

“Are you sure, David” I heard Mommy say.

“Absolutely! I’ll pick up a few extra shifts next month.” I could see him smile and Mommy mirrored him.

“If you’re sure. Money is tight, I’m sure the kids will understand.”

“Nah, I want this for them.” Said Daddy, as Nina ran past me into the kitchen.

“Ready, kiddo?” said Mommy lifting her up. I followed into the kitchen and Daddy winked at me. Ok maybe I’ll get the second biggest pumpkin from the patch.

Made You Grin – (Alternate FlashFriday Clown story)

Circus clowns visit sick boy. CC photo Boston Public Library.

“A woman goes to a doctor and the doctor says, ‘What seems to be the problem, ma’am?’ The woman is all distressed and says, ‘Well docta, when I’m at home I keep hearin this ringin sound! I hear it several times and it goes away, about five times a day!’ The doctor nods and looks at his chart. He examines her ears and runs a few tests. He says, ‘I see what the problem is,’ and pauses a minute. The lady’s panicking now and shouts, ‘What is it? Do I need surgery? Oh heavens, I knew I shoulda …’ And the doctor cuts her off and says, ‘No, it’s none of that.’ And do you want to know what the diagnosis was?”

“Uh huh!”

“The doctor says, ‘Ma’am, if you answer the telephone it will stop ringing!’ Ha!”

The boy giggled and the clown said, “Next time I’ll tell you the one about germs…though I better not, it might spread!”

Damn Dog

Circus clowns visit sick boy. CC photo Boston Public Library.


David was dying. Death looked in the door, delighted how detrimental the disease was to David. The dissection of David was scheduled for dusk. The disease had a disturbing effect, of disallowing the infected the desire to live. Without the desire to live, David’s life was disavowed, delivered to Death like a dinner dish.

Doctors sent in dressed up dolts to distract David from his disposition. Death watched. A doll faced man danced, another drew daisies, but David’s downcast thoughts were undeterred; until the third dimwit demonstrated a dog. The damn dog licked David’s face. And David’s demeanor became different. Death was displeased.

Death delivered the last dose of the disease. But the damn dog distracted David and the dose missed its destination. Death sighed as doctors rolled David away for surgery. Death was disquiet for depreciating the impact the dog would have on David. Death turned and followed the dressed up dolts. His underworld still needed additional dead.

What Ifs


It was his only job that weekend and he still forgot about it. He had an alarm set in every room of his house for 4:35pm. No matter where he was, he would hear at least one of the alarms.

Behind the iron bars, John couldn’t stop the “what if’s” from running through his mind like a never ending marathon, complete with sweat, tears, and pain.  What if Allie had not called him outside to tie her left shoe that had come undone while playing on the swing set? What if their cat, Pancho, had not knocked over the alarm clock closest to the back yard? What if Katie had never gotten mixed up with drugs in the first place?

“Johnny boy, this is the only way to pay off your wife’s debt,” he could hear that little rat man saying. He looked like a rat, but sounded like a snake. Katie was bleeding and swollen on the ground nearby. When the rat turned to hit her again, John had said, “Ok, I’ll do it.” The rat smiled, his silver teeth shining brighter than the hubcaps of a Porsche.

The job was simple, as the rat man described it. Drugs would be stored in John’s car, and at 4:35pm on the dot he would get in his car and drive to the docks where a crew would be waiting to unload them. John would be watched the whole time and if Johnny did not stick to the rules, the game would change. “Johnny boy, it’s so simple even your little daughter could do it.” The man winked.

John could not escape the ringing timbre of the man’s voice vibrating throughout his head in the cold cell. He pushed his forehead harder against the bars. The cold reminded him of the way Katie had latched onto him when leaving the warehouse. He took her straight to a hospital. She was too unaware of her surroundings to know that he’d left her there and would never come back.

But Allie’s left shoe had come untied and she’d called for daddy. Pancho had knocked over the alarm clock in the backroom, the one John had had setup to hear from outside. He pushed Allie on the swing and listened for the alarm.

When the rat man’s crony walked around back to the swing set at 4:36pm, John gasped and stopped the swing. The man said, “You changed the game,” and fired his pistol. John wasn’t fast enough to jump in front of Allie and he felt, rather than heard, Allie’s body hit the ground.

Neighbors heard the commotion and cops were there within minutes.

Arrested, questioned, re-questioned, and waiting, John sat in the cell, sweat and tears rolling down his face.  Each tear burned his cheek – what if he’d heard the alarm and done the job? What if he’d never tried to help Katie? What if Allie had never been born? What if John himself had never existed?