You Are Your Moods

You Are Your Moods

BR Chitwood

You are your moods…just sharing some of mine…

My mother was a gentle, generous, and kind woman from a large loving family of four boys and four girls, the matriarch of the brood fervently involved in her Protestant Faith. The father was a quiet, gentle, corpulent man, a railroad foreman for the Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company, a most pleasant person who seldom interfered with the demands of his pious wife who each day offered a loud, long, tearful, prayer to her Father in Heaven, with all present kneeling for her long wailing wishes for blessings and forgiveness of sins committed by her and her brood. Despite the parental toughness of her ways and the seriousness of her moods, she was a kind and gentle person.

Two of the four boys would serve their country in World War Two, one ferrying our brave warriors to the shore at Omaha Beach. The youngest of the brothers was murdered as he was closing down his ‘Filling Station’ late at night in Knoxville, Tennessee. Stanley was his name and a most wonderful Uncle. Uncle Stanley saw me through some difficult times in my early life. I loved this good man and think of him often through all these years.

Uncle Stanley and my mother were so much alike, both holy of heart, soul, and honorable in their daily living…

My Mom was a boarding house cook and a Bell Telephone Operator/Supervisor. Because of economic conditions at the time my mother had to rely on the state of Tennessee and my grandparents for boarding and financial help – it was a necessary procedure for many families at the time.

My most memorable years came when my mother brought my sister and me to live in a lovely home across from a beautiful college where I played tennis with some of the students and attended elementary school. Times got better for our small family. My sister blossomed early and wanted all that went with a pretty face and desirable body…problems, yes, but the family worked through it.

Much of my life was molded from those early days, still given to thoughts of a past with too little good and a lot of ugliness. I served my country, got through college, taught writing to high school seniors, did some acting, commercials and film, married a few times, sired three beautiful kids who constantly amaze me with their goodness, settled at last with a lovely lady who is all a man could possibly want.

Oh, and I have written twenty books, many based on true crimes, mystery and romance, a couple of memoirs, some 375 blog posts, many ‘flash fiction’ pieces, short stories, and poetry.

Okay, had this quiet afternoon of reflection, felt like writing some of it down, and I feel better…and, I just felt like sharing it with people who might be reading my posts.

All of my books are on: https://brchitwood.com

Hope you can read some of my books…and perhaps leave an Amazon review if so inclined…

Why Am I Writing?

Br Chitwood

Back in the days when I was rocking and rolling, acting, doing television commercials, film work, even live plays on stage, living in a world I could never have imagined, a horrible murder caused me to turn to writing…

An actress friend of mine was brutally murdered and went missing for two weeks. Her name was Catherine Gibbs (book name – not real name) a ladyresponsible for my fun and frivolity in the acting world. When Cathy’s body was found in the NE desert area of North Phoenix on a record heat day in August, there was little left for the police and forensic people to go on. The heat of August made her unrecognizable.

We, Cathy’s sad gals and pals, were busy missing our good friend but also playing detective on the case. We knew some of the men who dated Carmen, and there was one she preferred over the rest. She was hopeful of marriage and family. That man and several other men were given ‘lie detector’ tests and all passed.

The method used to kill Cathy I hesitate to give the gruesome details of what the detectives and forensic people compiled from what slim evidence they had.

At least, one of Cathy’s friends wrote a book about the case.

Some time later I wrote my own book about the murder, a fictional account of what possibly happened that long-ago night some fifty-odd years ago. The title of the book is: An Arizona Tragedy – A Bailey Crane Mystery #1.

There are six books in the series, 1-6, each book having kernels of truth in them. If the reader has further interest in these books, please find them on my Website/Blog:

https://brchitwood.com

(Under ‘All my Books’) – Synopses and BUY SITES given.)

In all, I’ve written 21 books, many of which are based on true events – e.g.,

Mama’s Madness – Amazon

Stranger Abduction – Amazon

(For the other books, see my Website/Blog)

*

In writing, I found an outlet for exposing to myself WHO I am – at least, to the extent that is possible. The reader can find me there on and between the lines of what I write.

In ending this short post, let me wish you good reading and a very good life.

*

BR Chitwood – Author -June 14, 2021

Author’s Mission – Writing to Discover Me

Short Journey of Steven Bardo

-Image art by: Nick Herasimenko – Unsplash. com-

©Short Journey of Steven Bardo

By BR Chitwood

Steven Bardo stumbles down a sidewalk in Phoenix, Arizona, the front pockets to his soiled trousers turned inside-out, and he bounces into a brick wall of a mercantile building and falls to the sidewalk. Bardo rests his back against the old brick wall, takes a couple of deep breaths of smoggy air, tightly closes his eyes a few times. People walk by the man, showing no care or interest.

The back of Steven Bardo’s head rests uncomfortably against the aged wall as he gazes across the road to another commercial building, his stare locking on nothing of which his eyes are interested, just at a place in his mind where a vacuum of despair fills the historic messiness he has made of this life he owns.

Steve Bardo was not drunk. He had barely enough for two beers and one jigger chaser of liquor at the bar he just left. The bartender refused to give him credit for more drinks and muttered in menacing words for him to leave the bar. The unsteady figure now leaned back and against the building’s wall, staring straight ahead across the street to a locked-in stain spot on the white brick facing, him mind swirling with thoughts of his yesterdays, the work mistakes, the gambling, the ‘extra-women’, all the side-tracks that crushed his marriage.

Tears came with a sad wry smile, and he dropped his head, turned it slightly to his right, and saw stuck in the crevice of the sidewalk what looked like a folded ‘Circle K’ lotto ticket. It was a ticket someone must have thrown there, and he absent-mindedly picked it up and put it in his shirt pocket…

For a moment, his sad smile brought him up to date with this moment, sprawled on a sidewalk with a lotto ticket in his pocket…he slowly shook his head and murmured to himself: ‘Stranger things have happened. Dumb luck was all over the place. Why did I come up this street when I left the bar? That empty shack by the railroad track is my only refuge’.

‘I’m broke, stumbling around like a drunk sailor…my life is the ‘pits’ – hell, the movie people make these tear-jerkers all the time and make millions upon millions of dollars on the well-off crowds who flock to the theaters to feel sad for the poor bastards portrayed on the silver screen’…

Steve Bardo sat on the sidewalk for many moments until he felt somehow bare and vulnerable. He struggled to his feet and slowly began shuffling back down the street toward that abandoned shack by a railroad track that now served as his home.

He passed the ‘Circle K’ on the corner where he turned toward the RR shack, walked a few feet, stopped, and had a sudden urge. ‘Why not check the number on the lotto ticket? The ‘Circle K’ is only a few feet away’.

Inside the ‘Circle K’ he approached the employee behind the counter, an older woman, Marge by the pinned label attached to her blouse,  already showing signs of doubt and worry about the man approaching. Still, she thought, ‘he looks harmless, sad and lonely, and he’s pulling a lotto ticket from his shirt pocket…maybe, he gets lucky’.

 The counter lady smiled sweetly at the man, suddenly feeling sorry for him. “You have a winning ticket there?” She asked cheerily.

He tried to smile, gave his head a short nod and handed her the ticket. The pleasant lady brought a good feeling he wasn’t sure he could explain to anyone.

“Well, let’s keep our fingers crossed.” She smiled and went to a small alcove to run the numbers.

Steve Bardo leaned on a small counter at the alcove watching the nice woman’s face as she did her meticulous check of the numbers. Then, with glowing eyes, she repeated the second re-check of the lotto ticket…

The man watched her moves, and, with every cheerful mood she made, he became more excited…’My Good God! Maybe she’s finding me a new life’… He knew something good was happening.

Then, police officer Gig Weller walked into the ‘Circle K’. Officer Weller watched Two young casually dressed men filling their tote bags with many bottles of liquor, wine, and sundry treats. The taller of the two men saw the policeman, and, when their eyes met, all three knew, one way or the other, the party was over – and all the booze and ‘goodies’ stuffed in the ‘gear bags’ would not be used in frolic and fun…or, resale.

Officer Weller approached the two men. He judged them to be in their mid-twenties, and, at the moment, they were nervously dithering as to what their exit plans should be.

Within ten feet of the young men, the officer saw the signs that spoke of illegal activities.

“You fellows want to show me what’s in your ‘sports bags’?” The officer rested his right hand on his holstered weapon.

“Just some party stuff, officer.”

“Lots of booze coming off the shelves and into that travel bag…you planning to pay for that ‘party stuff’?”

The two men were not so evident of their criminal intent as some he had encountered, but he could observe that nuance he had come to trust over the years…these fellows were committing a robbery – he knew it but would practice decent discourse until they made their move.

The two medium-built men looked quickly at each other, and the shorter one answered: “Oh, sure, Officer, just making it easier on ourselves with the bags, and we didn’t notice any collection carts when we came in.”

The Officer gave a slight smile and pointed toward the entry/exit doors: “You mean those stacked at the entrance? You two bring your bags to the counter, and we will get an accounting.” The Officer’s right hand never left his weapon.

Reluctantly, the two men shuffled toward the counter, closely watching the Officer’s moves. Another male employee had returned to the counter and watched the approach of the two men and the Police Officer some three feet to the side. The counter clerk knew instinctively that trouble was walking toward him, his slow labored swallow giving him away.

“Okay,” the Officer said, “pay the clerk, and we’ll see if we’re done with all this.”

The two men looked at each other, the taller man spoke: “Go ahead Ellis, pay the man…”

The man called Ellis looked quickly at his partner with widened eyes: “Whoa, Jack, I thought you were paying with your credit card…”

“No, it was the other way around, Ellis. I don’t have my credit card or any money. You were to pay.”

“Bull-croppy! You were to pay! Look in the bag…maybe you put your credit card in there.”

Jack grabbed the bag, unzipped the middle opening…

His voice no longer carrying any cordial tone, the Officer Weller spoke in a loud demanding voice as he pulled his gun from its holster: “Drop the bag and raise your arms, you are both under arrest…”

The man called Jack pulled a revolver from the bag and jumped sideways toward a counter end, and pulled the trigger several times.

A woman’s scream was heard from the back at the alcove.

The Officer managed to get off several shots, one shot immediately mortally wounding the man called Jack, and, unfortunately, one bullet from the now dead man crazed the shoulder of Officer Gig Weller, fortunately, not disabling him. The man called Ellis stood shaking, arms raised high and stiff.

Officer Gig Weller cuffed the man called Ellis, made his call to the precinct, described the altercation and aftermath…

The ambulance arrived, put some ointment on Officer Weller’s shoulder and a patch. Ellis was taken to lock-up.

The police ambulance not only carried Jack to the morgue but Steven Bardo, the man who had lost his way in life…until the final moment of his living. He was killed by a stray bullet from the gun fired by Jack.

Officer Gig Weller talked to a tearful Marge as she emerged from the ‘Circle K’ alcove to report the death of Steven Bardo. When Weller saw her tears, he asked, “Was Mr. Bardo a personal friend of yours?”

“No, but in my heart, I know he was a good man who had some very bad luck in life, sad from all the weight he was carrying, the mistakes, loss of family, the ‘boogey-man’ always there inside of him…” Fresh tears began to trickle.

“Why was he in your ‘Circle K’? Sounds like you had an emotional encounter with him.”

“Steven Bardo found a ‘lotto ticket’ on a sidewalk, and, on his way to his humble shack he called home, he passed our store, came in to see if the numbers might have been winning number – a real ‘long shot’ of course…

“Old tear-jerker me, I feel immediately sad for the man and wanted so much for that lotto ticket to give him a new lease on life, and my verification came at the very moment of his death from that stray bullet…

“I got to see him light up with a smile when I told him he was a winner? NOT, the jackpot amount, but enough to turn his life around…his last number was ‘13’, but he knew, KNEW, that he was a winner – finally, a winner. Thank God he was able to go with that knowledge…”

A trio of tears dropped to the ‘Circle K’ floor.

The End

©Short Journey of Steven Bardo

By BR Chitwood – July 22, 2020

Please preview my books on my Website:

billyraychitwood.com

Please follow my Blog:

brchitwood.com

Please follow me on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/brchitwood  

 

 

Hear My Scream

Hear My Scream

by BR Chitwood – My Archives

Lost my family! A devoted wife and two sons who cherished me!

Lost my job! Lost the right to call myself a responsible family man of Faith and Fidelity!

Lost it all to the fickle finger of fate and, more likely, a sinister weakness within my genes!

What happened to this man of ideals and noble purposes? With a work promotion to a corporate low-rung Vice-President of ‘Acquisition Management’ came a salary boost. There came, too, that exhilarating sense of pride and accomplishment. For months, we, my family, enjoyed our new luxurious living. We went to the park on weekends. We took trips to historical landmarks. We got a spacious new van, and our Russian Blue cat, ‘Vlad’, and our Golden Retriever, ‘Toby’, were as thrilled as the kids on trips.

We even built up a tidy rainy-day fund in our bank. Life was so good!

Then, the company merged with a larger corporation that was global and had a financial sheet far exceeding our own, a ‘Pac-Man’ hungrily gobbling up many big, small, and medium businesses at a voracious pace. The rumor mill made work difficult…people were going to be dismissed. It took six months for the head honchos to announce that my position was no longer needed as the buying behemoth had their own people in place.

For the first time in my working life, I was unemployed. Trying to keep my family worry-free I put on a happy face and left the house in the morning as was normally my wont. I job-hunted all day, every day, for months, even tried executive head-hunters, but I found I was ‘too qualified’ for some jobs and ‘not qualified’ enough for others. My patience at a low level, our rainy-day funds going down rapidly, pressure mounted. Frustration became an emotion I couldn’t hide and it filtered down to the family.

A huge Indian Casino opened a few miles from our house in Chandler, Arizona. It sat on two hundred acres and looked like an ‘Arabian Nights’ apparition in the desert. It was lunch time, and I thought, why not have some lunch and see if the casino could use my corporate experience. It took a while before I found the executive offices and someone in authority, but it became immediately clear that all of their executives had the Indian connection and there could be no position for me.

In the dining room I ordered a hamburger, fries, coke, and thought about my dilemma.

In the background I could hear simultaneous shouts of joy out in the gaming areas. A thought stirred in my mind, dumb in hindsight… Why not try a few turns at ‘21’? Not much of a gambler, but my Dad taught me how to play the game, what to do, what not to do, and I became good at ‘21’. Just maybe I could build up the ‘rainy day’ account and buy more time in looking for a job.

I hurriedly finished my hamburger, fries, coke, and walked around the casino’s rows of ‘21’ tables. I was now excited about the possibilities – people won big in gambling because they knew and practiced certain rules. My Dad told me he always found a table where he felt the people playing knew what they were doing – watching a dealer’s ‘show card’ to determine whether or not to take a card: if the dealer’s ‘up card’ showed a possible 12-16 and the players’ down cards amounted to 12 or above, players stayed ‘put’, hoping for the dealer to bust.

Of course, ‘21’ – Black Jack – was an automatic winner – unless, of course, the dealer matched with his own Black Jack…the player didn’t win the bet but gained a ‘push’ with the dealer. Tied hands with the dealer meant no loss of the bets.

Dad also told me about the psychological aspects of ‘21’ – know when to play, know when to quit. Dad felt there was a time of the day or night when a person could win but that person needed to follow their self-imposed rules.

So, I found a table, watched the players and dealer for a while. Satisfied the players knew the game and would not make stupid moves, I sat and exchanged three hundred dollars into chips of various colors – $5 chips, $10 chips, $20 chips, $50 chips, $100 and so on.

The time was 12:45 PM.

In the next few hours I learned the highs and lows of gambling. I reached a euphoric stage when my neatly piled chips amounted to $6900…including the original $300 buy-in. People gathered behind our stools to see how far I could go. Surprisingly, the time was 6:00 PM. (Dad’s rule about knowing the time to quit had somehow by-passed my mind’s circuitry.

By midnight the $6900 was gone back to the casino, along with another $3800. My face was flushed, my stomach was in knots, and my mind was numb with anxiety and regret. I cashed too many checks at the casino and was also feeling the consummate moron.

With my head reeling with uncertainty, I left the casino and drove home. My wife was frantic. She tried to call me several times during the afternoon but I never answered the cell phone. She cradled me in her arms as I told her about the day, about the frustration of looking for work, and my stupid behavior at the casino. She was not happy but she told me I was entitled to a mistake…a lot of bad stuff landed on me in the past few weeks.

The next day I looked for work.

In between stops, I thought about the gambling…had I stopped when I was ahead, there would be $6600 added to our ‘rainy day’ fund. Thus, my mind told me, you need to know when to stop while you’re ahead – good luck cannot last forever.

Back at the casino that afternoon, I stopped gambling at the ‘21’ table at 6:25 PM, my winnings totaling $3200. I left the casino feeling good, having gotten back almost half of the losses the previous day. I did not tell my wife about the gambling, and I took her and the boys out for pizza.

Without giving a day to day count, I’ll sum it all up.

In the next six months I looked for work in the mornings and gambled in the afternoons. My wife knew what was going on and pleaded with me. The boys sensed there were problems and walked around the house in a timid slow motion. The ‘rainy day’ account was gone. Suffice it, my marriage could not survive the constant arguments, my excuses and broken promises. My lovely boys were cautious and fearful to be around me. The wife could not take it any longer and took the boys to live with her sister in Oregon.

What about me? What about the tattered and torn fabric of my soul? What about the man who used to be?

I’m in prison, serving time for robberies…had to have money to gamble.

It’s difficult to imagine anyone feeling as small and insignificant as I do. I don’t need a mirror to see a man with a prison pallor and a broken heart. I know the damage I’ve caused, the other hearts broken, and two wonderful boys growing up without a father.

Several days ago two inmates attacked me in the yard, cut me up pretty good, broke some ribs, and I kept pleading with them to finish me, to get me out of my misery. I truly wanted to die, but no such luck, and I’m too much of a coward to find a way to kill myself.

The wife and the boys will never know how much I love them and regret the terrible mistakes I made. I only hope they find happiness, love, and forget their terrible wretch of a husband and a father. Perhaps in some other dimension I can make atonement.

For now, “I long for death…death longs for me, but it is dark to die and I fear that I still wish to be.” *

Flash Fiction by Billy Ray Chitwood (From my Archives)

Please preview my books:

http://www.billyraychitwood.com 

Please follow my blog:

http://www.brchitwood.com 

Please follow me on Twitter:

https://www.twitter.com/brchitwood 

*

NOTE:

* The last line quote in italics (above) is from a book of narrative poetry by a good friend from my publishing days.

The book: HELL’S MUSIC\

BY Jerry Miller and his fox-hole buddy!

https://www.twitter.com/brchitwood 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: