‘Poor Me’

What molecular miracle could have made me more than I am? Less lonely and lethargic? Less maudlin and ‘poor me’?

‘Poor Me’

By BR Chitwood

Would a chromosome here or there have made a difference? A genetic anomaly? A stronger voice? A calm persona? Magnetic personality? An indefatigable nature?

What molecular miracle could have made me more than I am? Less lonely and lethargic? Less maudlin and ‘poor me’?

Oh, I know how to assess my beginning and all that came with my life’s rural entry… That is where much of the ‘poor me’ was introduced, forming in me for the rest of my life, frustration, loves, anxieties, and adventures…

Among the days, weeks, months, and years, I have not been denied the gifts of life or the vagaries. There has been the beauty of love, college, wonderful job opportunities, some fun film and television acting, friendships, novel writing…and the awful squandering of time and essence.

‘So, what, my man?’ I hear the old annoying voice of my alter-ego. ‘There are billions of people in the world – grow some balls’!

Hey, I’m writing here, ‘mute’ your nasty mouth and leave my head… I’m writing this for me and those who have felt similar emotions. Your rude attendance is not mandatory, nor, wanted…this session is for the sad and weak of heart, the Romantics, the dreary of character, the great mass of ‘unwashed’ of the world.

For the most part, it all began after my escape from the emotional rural abyss, after a tour of duty in the US Navy in one of its mentally depressive duty stations on the small, snowy, and bleak island of Adak in the Aleutian Chain. Russia was relatively close…on a clear day from our neighbor island, Attu, the coast-line of Vladivostok could be seen.

We were one hundred fifty especially trained men, some who would spend 18 months or longer on a snowy, remote, tundra-carpeted piece of the island – that is, when you could see it through patches of snow.

We 150 sailors were three units, each working our special jobs for three shifts before a break. Each unit was responsible for operating the various amenities available to the hardy group of sailors, those being: library, photography, crafts of all kinds, and Beer Bar. In fact, all 150 sailors lived and played in this huge concrete and steel one-level ‘C’ structure – it was quite a building sitting on a huge hill of tundra above the Bering Sea. There were other operations buildings where we did our jobs.

It is not my intent to make this post about the island of Adak. The ancient Aleuts who lived here had nothing better to do but hunt their cows (their meat source) and how best to keep from freezing. They need not have worried about bears taking their steaks (there were none). Eagles did give them a bit of trouble.

Adak was a place of harsh cold winds, snow, and rain where ‘warmth’ was in constant demand. Adak was simply a place where loneliness dwelt, where buddies sat, drank, told their stories of home, the girls they loved, and their sports moments of glory. There were times when group tears were shared as well. All in all, our jobs on the island were important to our country and that established importance got us through the tough spots.

Many of us lived on that hill or in our Ops buildings for our full tours – eighteen months, although the ‘tour was supposed to be for twelve months.

It was on Adak when I discovered further dimensions of myself, my insecurities, my mobile youth, fears, confusion, and my intense longing for home, hearth, and love.

In short, I discovered a ‘me’ that carried a lot of emotional baggage. I was a destined ‘romantic’ nomad. I was an untrained lotus eater.

There’s an old ‘Anon’ saying which I could have easily written: “Life is really simple! People insist on making it complicated.” Old ‘Anon’ had to be thinking of me when he, or, she wrote that.

In that Appalachian portion of my life – that ‘Poor Me’, among the bad parts, I would mimic ballad singers. Maybe I could be a famous singer. But, wait, I also wrote poetry and fumbled around with words. Maybe I could be a writer…well, I have done both, even done some film work and TV commercials, taught school, but the very best talent I have is, wait for it! Procrastination.

What I really wanted to do with this post, for you, the reader, and me, was to merge the two events in my life that have likely made me who I am, not a ‘nobody’, but an ‘anybody’. I have written here about two events in my thinking that were ‘me-shapers’ and will not write about some of the I’s and Q’s I am likely missing.

One thing I am reasonably sure about is my writing, twenty books so far, most of them taken from true crimes. I write mystery, suspense, romance, memoir, thriller, Sci-Fi. I have written over 370 blog posts from various parts of the globe.

So, take a look at my Website/Blog, click the menu icon and read some book synopses. See if my writing might team up with your reading.        

BR Chitwood – 3/15/21

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It’s Always Up There”

by BR Chitwood

desert_sunset-big

How often do you look up there?  That big old sky that presents all itspatterns? The clear lucent blue with old Sol hanging around? A few wisps of clouds that enhance the palette of your mind? A thick set of dark impending cumuli that carries lots of moisture, with perhaps a patch of blue just off to the west? A clear dreamer’s night of a million plus stars? How often do you look up there?

Quite often for me… You see, I’m one of those restless and rudderless romantics that cannot somehow find that magical glue that pastes me to one place. So I look up there quite often and ponder not only God’s great handiwork but the course of history and mortal confusion and doubt. Mostly, it’s my own mortal confusion and doubt, but, certainly, I would be totally blind not to see it all around me. The people of the world, peasant-types, power brokers, movers and shakers, all of us send out our queries to the universe in moments of that mortal confusion and doubt. Individual, global, it matters not, we fight our wars within these fragile bodies created during that nine-month miracle in time when we become who and what it is we are meant to be. Some of us with doubt and confusion speak in different tongues, make a wrong translation, push a wrong button, and cause a war. Some of us have been passed the torch of hate from generation to generation, will seemingly ever know only one way to relieve their confusion and doubt. Some of us, even amid our doubt and confusion, will create a masterpiece map for living in freedom with liberty and justice for all. And, some of us add to our confusion and doubt, forget the lessons of history which in the relative span of mortal time were only yesterday.

Somehow, I’ve managed to somehow understand that we all cannot come together in peace and understanding in my mortal lifetime. The efforts of good intentioned people have really become just silly simple games played among those who pursue their selfish political agendas. An accord is reached only to be broken. An ally becomes an enemy. An enemy becomes an ally… All silly power games that silly power men and women play.

When I look up there, in that sky that gives us sometime hope, sometime fear, I only ponder my simple existence and must come to some conclusion as to why I am here on this rotating sphere. The only reckoning that I can make is that no simple big bang caused all of this mortal confusion and doubt. When I look up into that sky of many faces there is but one conclusion, one truth that for me makes all the sense in this world. It is the truth that has been passed down to us from the beginning of our time, on cave walls, on papyrus, in the bible, the truth that has been maligned, reorganized, and otherwise discounted for centuries, the truth that has become debatable sport among some elites and scholars. It is the truth that a Supreme Being, God, controls all of our destinies. Otherwise, why do I and so many have our faith? Why would we contrive so much to make something so?

Our God gives us so many examples to how our mortal moments could and should be spent. He gives us so many paths our lives could take, to provide help for those who need, to forever act as peacemakers, to quell the urges of the dark essence that would possess us… Our God gives us free will to act out our choices. And, what makes God’s plan so wonderful is that we get to do it over and over again until we get it right. In His time, our mortal months and years are but fleeting seconds. There is death on the mortal plain, but you must believe, you must have faith, that you will never forego God’s ultimate plan. At some point along God’s timeline, no matter how many mortal lives it might take, you will reach that magical light of eternity.

It’s always up there. When I look up and penetrate the blue and dark of sky, that is what I see, out beyond the far dimensions of space… Family, Hope, Love, Peace, Eternity.

And, sometimes, I sing and write about it…

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Sinful Desperation

©Sinful Desperation

Flash Fiction by BR Chitwood-

“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.”

He stared at the ceiling as he reclined on the big bed, his naked body stretched straight, seeking relief from his back pain.

“It’s been years, my son, since your last confession. I hear desperation in your voice. Is the Church your last bastion of hope?”

A mournful smile of contrition and watery eyes looked upward to the ceiling. He would play both parts of this little satire from his soul, not mocking the billions of people who habitually practiced their faith in a Deity, rather, an awkward attempt at an anodyne for his pain.

“Yes, Father, on all accounts…” a back spasm interrupted his soliloquy and he sought another position on the bed. He was too tightly wound and needed to move his limbs in some exercises the cute young lady in physical therapy had insisted he practice each day.

Finally, he found some relief and continued with his conversation with the ‘Holy Father’ there in the center of his ceiling. “Yes, Father, many years, and, in conflicting ways, a lifetime ago, yet, now, here, as the filmstrip of my earthly adventure unveils itself to me, my weekly spiritual visits to your Church seems not so far away.”

The man was almost ready to hear a reply. Not to be, he continued.

“So, on to my confession, Father, one, I fear will take more than a few ‘Hail Marys’ and a heavy penitence to absolve.” The man closed his eyes and his face took on a grimace.

“I confess to one of Man’s oldest of the seven sins, Pride. All my life I’ve taken umbrage with people who sully me, sometimes, in simple remarks that attempt to jest and tease. Perhaps that sin comes from a youthful disconnect with family and a poor quality of life. This sin has cost me friends and love connections. It is also truth to say it is also the least  

“I confess to an earlier life rife with excessive sensual pleasures, Lust/Debauchery of the wicked and most wild, orgy-filled, salacious kind. I sought out and experimented with life’s underworld of Bacchus-plus drug madness. There were moments of intense euphoria, gratification, and immoral depravity.

“And, when the days and nights of playing Nero’s mad fiddle ended, there were tears, self-recrimination, times for soul-wrenching and no resolutions: preparation-time, it could be said, for the next ‘big toot’.

“I confess, Father, to periods of Envy, of Sloth, of Gluttony, and of Greed.

“There remains one more sin, Father, that of Wrath. I have saved it for the final portion of my confession because there was a prelude of most, if not all, the seven virtues before its denouement… a period in my life of happiness so fulfilling, so real, that it seemed my life had found its right and true moral compass.

“Having run the gamut of my ‘fiddling days, I sought to find a more righteous purpose in my life. A friend of mine who had been lost in the same forest of shame as I invited me to go to church with him on a beautiful Sunday morning in June. After smiling stupidly at the idea, I decided to go…to see how the ‘moral half’ lived.

“Are you still with me, Father? Have I lost you in my recount of decadence?”

The man could almost see the Father’s smile. “How could I not? What with such an interesting life you present to me?”

“You, Father, speak with a forked tongue. You must know it’s the fires of hell I’m destined for!

“Whatever, at the beautiful church with my friend, I met Maureen, a woman of remarkable beauty I felt destiny had placed in my path. We both felt a Karmic bonding and began a long relationship which ended in marriage.

“Our love was pure and, by any standard, storybook. We danced in the moonlight and worked every day at our jobs, saved our money and became wealthy, mostly by her artistic talent and her huge following. We were together all the moments we were not working or at a painting exhibition.

“We had a baby boy who died in his sixth month of an undiagnosed tumor.

“Maureen and I were devastated by Brian’s death, but, for her, there was an emptiness she could not fill. She began drinking. She stopped painting, and fate pulled her from me into the arms of another man. She was still trying to fill the void left by Brian.

“We began to argue, our spats becoming an ugly, yet another obtrusion to our love.

“Last night, Maureen arrived home after midnight, clearly in the mood for another spat. I pleaded with her to go to bed. She became infuriated with me and began slapping me. The slaps made me angry, and I tried to wrap my arms around her to carry her off to bed. She stomped my foot with the heel of her shoe and pushed me backward. I began to fall and grabbed her wrist instinctively to secure my footing. Then, she, too, began to fall, and I let go so she could get her footing. Her head banged loudly into the granite counter in our bar area and she went down onto the carpet, blood spreading out in a profuse flow from the gash. Maureen died last night, Father.”

The man could almost hear the sorrow in the Father’s voice, see the pain on his face through a small imagined window in a small imagined confessional.

On the bed, as tears flowed from the man’s eyes, he saw a pale shadowy figure, an apparition, Maureen, her arms extended toward him, her sad tearful eyes and still beautiful face beckoning to him.

The man’s face was covered in tears, his voice gagging and pitiful gasps, as he thrust the butcher knife upward into his heart.

The bedroom was silent in its darkness as the two wraiths walked across the room to eternity.

©BR Chitwood – SINFUL DESPERATION

                 (From the Archives)

                         *****

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Memory Shadows

Memory Shadows

By BR Chitwood

“Billy, go round-up ‘Bessie’ – it’s milking time.”

Grandma gave me a hug, and I went rushing out the old rickety screen door in the side-room of the kitchen.

Grandma yelled after me, “If you’re going barefooted, you watch where you’re walking, ‘little man’.”

“I’ll be watching, Grandma. Don’t worry. I’ll stay on the lane ‘til I get to Bessie and her cow-buddies.”

I waved and was on my way.

The sunshine and clear blue sky was perfect, Grasshoppers and butterflies were flitting here and there, birds tweeting, and this was my favorite part of the day. Rounding up Bessie was the best part of my day. Truth is, I loved Bessie, and she was the nearest thing to a pet I had. We spent a lot of each day together, mornings before she went to pasture, during milking, and times not even grandma and grandpa knew about. I loved Bessie.

When I reached the pasture area Bessie now favored, she walked to me with a head wave and tacit ‘see you tomorrow, guys’ to the remaining cows. She nuzzled me gently while I put the rope around her neck with the copper bell. She bowed downward to me so I could give my own nuzzling to her blond and brown fur.

Guess my mind was too confused and young when I came to live with Grandma and Grandpa. My Dad and Mom had money problems, finally divorced, Dad taking a job out of state because jobs were not available, and my sister was sent to my Mom’s folks during that time.

When I first went up to Bessie, she lifted her head and looked at me with those beautiful brown eyes and softly ’mooed’. For reasons I could not understand in those moments, I wrapped my small arms around her big neck, kissed her, and my tears fell on her as she gently nudged me. Also, I could not understand in those precious moments, I loved Bessie.

Bessie and I walked the lane, and Grandma was waiting outside the kitchen door at our arrival home. She grinned happily when she saw the great friendship we had.

After leaving Bessie in her special area, Grandma took my hand, led me inside the clapboard farmhouse and treated me with watermelon. She spoke to me while I ate the melon pieces, trying in her way to let me know that I was loved.

After the watermelon treat, Grandma took my hand and led me to her old stuffed chair in the living room, put me on her lap, and told me stories about my Dad and the family history. She would stop occasionally to reach her spittle can on the floor to deposit some of her ‘snuff’. Her stories were told from the heart in a solemn tone, and, at times, I could see her eyes getting watery…it was like she wanted me to know the history of my family, the tough times of our history along with the good. Most likely, the tough times would beat out the good

When the time was right, we looked out the south-facing window and down the lane that led to the nearby mountain, waiting to see Grandpa walking home from his day on the railroad hauling logs from the other side of the mountain to our hamlet’s sawmill. Grandpa was the old train’s engineer.

When we saw him his metal lunch pail was swinging with each step he took, and a grin would break on his face when he saw me running down the lane to meet him…he always had a surprise for me in the lunch pail, candy bar, bubble gum, a toy.

Bessie mooed when she saw us nearing the old farm house – her milking would be coming in short order…plus, feeding hogs, Old Fred, the mule, plus spreading Chickens feed, gathering eggs from hens’ nests, and there would be acres of corn to be hoed, potatoes, turnips, and other farm jobs – not all jobs done by Grandpa but by my uncles. Even, I hoed some corn (hating it).

When dinner was finished, Grandpa turned on the floor model radio and listened to HV Kavelborn. If wintry, Grandpa would shave wood for the living room’s large ‘belly stove’ for the next morning’s heat.

When first darkness began Grandma would call me from my time with Bessie for a bath and bed. She would read me stories from the bible.

Some things in life are hard to explain. I loved a cow named Bessie, and, I know Bessie loved me. I loved my grandparents (paternal and maternal), and I know they loved me. They are connected in loving ways to my heart and mind.

I would eventually return to my mother and sister in a home setting, and it was wonderful being with my Mom and Sis. The time with my grandparents and Bessie is one of the most compellingly beautiful memories I have.

But, then, there are so many.

BR Chitwood – Feb. 5, 2021

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The Soul on a Stroll

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The Soul on a Stroll

By BR Chitwood

 The wild joy of children playing in the local park

on a sunny day…slowly becoming what it is

they will become

Screaming sirens from fire trucks speeding by,

onlookers forming thoughts of calamity

and lives in peril.

The tempo of feet on the concrete sidewalks,

haste and slow pace going hither and yon

to destinations unknown.

The Soul strolls, watches the mundanity

of masses, empirically builds the lives of those

who most draw attention.

The Soul seeks to understand the actions and

cosmic purpose of all It sees, tries to define the

what, why, and outcome.

So the Soul strolls through life’s enigmas,  hates,

lives, loves, errs along the way to an unknown hole

in the ground or a canister of ashes.

*

BR Chitwood – February 2021

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Breaking Up

– Mayhem – Murder – Mystery –

A Short Story by: BR Chitwood

Jan Cowper was a bit late in her arrival at the restaurant for a dinner date with her live-in boyfriend.

“Sorry I’m late, Tony…had some things to do after work.” She sat opposite him at the table for two and placed her purse on the floor beside her.

Tony eyed her… She was a knockout! Beautiful blue eyes and face framed by golden tresses… He hated what he was thinking.

“No, you’rOe not!” Tony spoke, three martinis up on his dinner date and his mind working at its peak.

“No, I’m not, ‘what’?” She responded, as the waiter took her martini order.

“You’re not sorry about being late…just words.”

“Just ‘words’, huh? Got it all figured out, do you, Tony?”

“You know what they say!”

“They, being?”

“The smart people of the world…”

“And, how would you know them, Tony?”

“You do that a lot!”

“I do what a lot.”

“You put me down a lot, Jan… It’s okay. I’m used to it, but it does get old.”

“I put you down a lot?”

“You do that a lot, too… Why are you always repeating everything I say? Do I have marbles in my mouth?”

“Why do I repeat what you say?” Jan chuckled. “Yeah, guess I do…just a dumb habit. It appears I’m irritating you a lot, Tony. You have any more observations?”

“As a matter of fact, I do… Your eyes wander all over the restaurant we might be in. You stare into the cars we pass on the road.  You watch people walking along the streets. It’s like you’re always thinking and planning something when we’re together. It’s not just annoying…it’s stupid! I’m not a jealous man, and you’re not going to make me into one. So, are you just bored with our relationship or are you a short-term commitment person?”

“Where’s all this coming from, Tony? I’m the same dame you met and gave a moronic pitch at Madison Square Garden a year ago. Maybe it was the Knicks that brought us together, though I admit you got me hot and bothered with your phony come-on and your ‘bulge’…you had that black curly hair and Dean Martin look that turned me on. Everything was great until you got too controlling and possessive…”

There was a short pause as the waiter delivered Jan’s martini…and Tony ordered another.

“Me, ‘controlling and possessive’, with you. You’re nuts! I would never attempt to control a woman, or, anybody for that matter. I thought we had something going when we decided to share living space. You gave me every indication that was so – your little pecks on the upper cheeks and your hands roaming on the lower cheeks… Now, for the past six weeks or so, you’ve changed big time. What is it, Jan? You got a new lover? Got all you want from me? What? Want to trade me in? Is that it?”

“Hey, Tony, lower the decibels! The other diners are looking at us. You trying to get us kicked out of this nice joint?”

“There’s the Jan I know these days! Skirting the questions, bringing it all back on me… Tell you what! It’s all so obvious to me what you’re doing, I’m going to make it easy for you. I mean, Jeez, I’ve seen this coming for weeks – an excuse here and there, working late, or, drinks with the girl-buddies, too tired for any fooling around, all the signs were there. Old ‘Jerk-water’ Tony, too easy on the patience and not wanting to believe what I instinctively knew…”

Tony rose from the table, tossed a fifty-dollar bill on the table. “We never got to dinner so that should handle the tab. If not, you get the rest. Enjoy the martini I just ordered…one of the guys at the bar will likely have the lack of good sense and approach you. I’ll have your clothes neatly packed in boxes for you to pick up outside the apartment door… This train is leaving the station.”

With that, Tony was gone, and Jan showed a half-smile to the other staring patrons and waiters. The smile was not a ‘poor-me’ smile, but more of a ‘victory’ smile. She finished her martini, left the fifty bucks on the table and exited the restaurant.

Jan walked several blocks down Fifth Avenue and entered another upscale restaurant. She was ushered to a nearly hidden table in the rear of the large room, in an area most lovely decorated with exotic plants and special pictures of notable people.

“How did it go?” the handsome and smartly dressed man stood and pulled out her chair.

She smiled and spoke, “Just as anticipated. The doofus is packing my clothes in boxes and putting them outside the apartment door. He will be a bit shocked when he notices my clothes already gone… Hope your end is all set. He will definitely be checking his floor safe in the master bedroom closet sooner or later.”

“It’s all set…don’t worry. Tony will likely booze a bit before going home and won’t have time to think about anything. You’re sure he knows you are not aware of the safe?”

“There is no way he can know…”

The couple smiled sweetly at each other and sipped their martinis.

***

Tony stopped and had a few more drinks before going back to his plush apartment. He was in a strange mood, not eager to eyeball the pretty ladies in the bistros, just mellow and somehow content with the decision he made relative to Jan. No question he was easy going, but he knew when he was being played. He bought her some beautiful gifts but that was his way…he did not second-guess himself, and, for a while, all went very well. Now, it was over, and he was glad it was over. He might feel some remorse in the next few days, but, tonight, he was in a good mood and happy to be free again.

When he finally made it home, he was not so tight with booze that he failed to notice Jan’s clothes all gone. Perhaps she had gotten the clothes during the day or this evening. In any event he was happy that all vestiges of Jan were out of the apartment. He turned on his stereo for some soft jazz, had a nightcap, and went to bed…still fully sober and content.

It was three days later when he discovered the robbery of his safe. Jolted by the discovery, losing a major portion of his financial fortune caused a great wave of distress to settle within him… Oh, he still had funds elsewhere and he would not be forced into great hardship like so many before him. Still, the effort and time to accumulate such wealth could not be simply accepted without some anger and anxiety.

The theft brought immediate rise to thoughts about Jan and her possible involvement. He spent days trying to locate her but she no longer worked with the same company. He visited restaurants and night spots they had frequented but no one had seen her or heard anything about her.

Time moved on – three weeks passed, a month, two months…

It was in the third month that he saw her in one of New York’s finest gourmet restaurants.

She was sitting in a lush leather and gold cloth booth across the opulent room. With her were two men and another woman. They were engaged in an animated argument about something, arms and hands waving in frantic gestures. Jan’s companion appeared really irate, his voice reaching a level that brought the maître d’ to the booth and diners to stare.

Whatever the disturbance, Jan and her companion rose from the booth and left the restaurant in angry haste.

Their dinner at an end, Tony and his business associate separated, the associate moving to the piano bar, and Tony leaving the restaurant. Tony was eager to follow Jan and her angry friend if it were possible to do so…he still felt Jan was somehow the instrument used to rob him of his floor safe finances.

Outside the restaurant Tony was only able to see Jan running after her companion’s car…it was obvious that he decided to leave her behind. She quickly hailed a cab and went into pursuit mode. Tony’s guess was that Jan would not catch him. Tony stood for a moment watching the cab become a tiny twinkle in the night…he felt no urge to hail his own cab and follow her. Instead, he was close enough to walk to his own apartment where he found it difficult to fall asleep – his mind was busy reliving the entire evening. For his part, the night had been successful with a business contract which would during its course give back all the finances lost in his safe robbery.

For a few moments more he remembered some of his good times with Jan, and, in some ways, he felt sorry for her. In her own way she was trying to cope with the challenges of living in one of the most eclectic and electric cities in the world – she loved Manhattan, and as the song so beautifully proclaimed, she was ‘caught between the moon and New York City’. He was no longer angry at Jan. Aside from feeling sorry for her, he wanted her to succeed and be truly happy – without the constant manic urges from life.

Two nights later the late night TV news carried a story about the body of a female found in the East River, later identified as Janice (Jan) Cowper.

Tony Peterson felt a range of emotions with the TV announcement and allowed the tears to flow unabashedly… Sleep was again difficult to attain.

At his office the next day two NYPD detectives visited and asked many questions, indicating to Tony that he was under heavy scrutiny in Jan’s homicide, the cause of death already determined by autopsy and forensic evidence.

Tony answered honestly all of the detectives’ questions and was crushed that they were considering him as a suspect in Jan’s death. They told him not to leave town and departed his office.

For several days, Tony was unable to maintain his ongoing business dealings and stayed home to meditate on possible scenarios for Jan’s killing. He figured it had to have something to do with the night he saw the outburst at the swanky restaurant, saw Jan and her companion leave abruptly. He remembered Jan chasing after the companion, hailing a cab and giving chase. Had she caught up to him? Had the companion killed her? Had the two of them conspired to rob him? Had perhaps Jan’s new lover and killer somehow connected him to her murder?

It was late when Tony retired for the night, restless, unable to sleep, his mind relentless with its pounding observations and questions.

Just when sleep did come, through the fog Tony heard a persistent ringing noise, then loud voices…finally fully awake and aware of his doorbell and the yelling.

Tony put on his robe and answered the doorbell and shouts.

“Tony Peterson?” one of the three policemen asked.

“Yes, I’m Tony Peterson,” came the soft answer from a man who knew that fate was about to take him down some precipitous and unknown pathways.

“You’re under arrest for the murder of Jan Cowper,” said the tall handsome officer.

Handcuffed, read his Miranda Rights, Tony was taken away.

Tony’s heart sank as he was led to the patrol car. Under the street light Tony suddenly noticed that the arresting officer was the man he had seen with Jan Cowper at the swanky restaurant.

Short Story by: B R Chitwood Archives – Jan. 15, 2021

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Idle Thoughts in the New Year

Idle Thoughts in the New Year

By BR Chitwood

I’m awake. I take a deep breath, laze, and ponder the day ahead…

I’m one of the lucky guys, did my hitch in the US Navy, got a college BA degree, somehow managed by the good and bad instincts within me to reach old age with a few good wives (only one at a time!), great kids, a lovely home, a few pets, and a truck load of bitching and moaning.

Mistakes? The accounting would be likely a glaring RED on the mythical scale judging rogues like me. Now, please take note, this is a constricted confession of me and my life, and I won’t be listing all my digressions, not even a small scintilla of them…anyone who has read any of my twenty-odd books and some 400 blog posts and poems will have spotted some of the RED.

I shall admit to one RED glare that some few of my family and friends know about…I’m driven by lethargy, okay, I’m lazy. Sure, ‘Arthur’ has something to do with that, but the truth is, after a short teaching stint, after many years in the textbook publishing business visiting the curriculum staff and department heads to promote major companies’ textbooks and aids – but mostly ‘schmoozing’, I became a Regional Manager, ultimately promoted to a National Sales Manager. The company would eventually merge, and I moved on to creating my own business.

My own business created a slow- moving life style that satisfied my latent and behavioral laid-back tendencies. The business opened the door to a long-held desire to write more often until it became the only reality for me. Maybe I can put the blame on writing for my lethargy.

So, from Appalachia and a plethora of emotional dips, turns, straw behindmy ears, I entered the human race.   

With my books, posts, poems, I find parts of me on, above, and below the lines of what I write. I see a bewildered young man discovering the neon madness of the world, watching it stagger and at times fall to the raw whimsy of charlatans and fools who believe only in power, money, and domination. AND, I see the goodness, the sadness of good people only wanting a fair and equitable life, comfort in their faith, and an eternal reward.

BR Chitwood – January 3, 2021

SEE MY BOOKS & BLOG POSTS/POETRY: https://www.brchitwood.com

Love Is

‘The Heart races to find love and soulmate’!

Love Is

By BR Chitwood

Love is the Soul responding to a vision,

The motion of a body

That moves in perfect tempo…

Love is the luscious face of Grace Kelly –

Be still, my racing heart,

Her smile facilitates its pounding…

Love is the seeking of one so lovely

To cease the Romantic Wanderlust,

To surfeit lingering desires of the heart…

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By BR Chitwood – December 14, 2020

https://www.brchitwood.com

Emptiness

In a World of Hurt!

@Emptiness

By BR Chitwood

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My name is Jessie Sparks, and this is my story.

As I walked the hard and gravelly path to Parker Peak some two miles up ahead, the tears were now dry scabby line-things on my cheeks. My gait was not hurried nor had the last two miles taken my energy away… if an explanation for my stamina was needed by some nosyminded-auditor, none would be given.

The emptiness I carried in my soul was an all-consuming thing, blotting out each stride on the loose gravel. A rattlesnake under a tangled sagebrush raised his head toward me, hissed and rattled a warning. One-minded, I flung my right foot at the stone-eyed monster, missed, as his fangs just missed my sneaker bottom.

I didn’t stop nor change my pace, my eyes focused on the S-bends of the path in front of me. The peak seemed so far away. The cool air of November moved over my naked legs below my swim trunks but gave no hint of discomfort as I increased my already fast pace, feeling as though I could walk forever.

My mind was guided by a force that came naturally, spontaneously, and settled into some sort of favored mind gear. The emptiness within me allowed no set palliative regress nor selective choice option nor Aristotelian Logic.

For whatever the mind’s reason, I fell to the path, my forehead spilling blood from its encounter with a sharp-edged rock, and it all came swirling back to me – along with the flood of tears and brutal images…

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“Go home, Jessie, we can’t finish the final clip section until Raphael gets the video to us. It was due to arrive by 1:30 PM at his offices, but ‘Express LTD’ had a problem and we won’t get it until 9:00 AM tomorrow morning. You’ve been working hard on this project. Go home and take a long nap…”

Home? Nap. Not likely.

 I did leave work, and, driving home, I thought  about Selena…we had not enjoyed a free weekday afternoon for some time. A ‘nap’? Euphemistically, the word had a much sassier meaning. I allowed my thoughts direction toward that loftier afternoon play period, and just as I smiled at my imaging, a sharp pain pulsed hard against my right temple, blurring my eyes and forcing me to the curb.

I sat at the curb roughly massaging my head and temples, the pain bringing nausea to the point of opening the car door and spewing a nasty smelling  arc of multi- colored substance that brought another arc.

After the second ‘heaving’ I regained normal breathing and actually felt a great relief. I closed the car door, reclined the driver’s seat, relaxed my body with deep breathing, and quickly became restored to some sense of normalcy… I thought of Afghanistan  and the bullet that almost brought my death.

Pulling away from the curb and heading home I pushed the Afghan thoughts away, the long stay at military hospitals as I underwent test after test, never being made aware of any particular anomaly – only that there could be some post-traumatic moments.

Pushing away the thoughts, regaining some  levity of the afternoon with Selena, I drove the few remaining blocks with growing euphoria…hell, I was even singing my favorite country songs.

When I turned onto my street, my mood did a quick 360. Our house was halfway down the street, and I saw a car in our driveway. As I got closer, I saw the make and model of the car.

As I pulled to a stop behind the Mercedes in the driveway, my gut collided with my heart. I knew who owned that Mercedes. I knew why it was parked in my driveway.

My circuits went crazy, all systems cluttered with rising blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, sweaty-cold hands, face red, temples pulsing, fists pounding the padded dashboard. All reason, all sanity left me as I rushed from the car to my front door.

It was locked.

Half in the moment and half out of my mind, I managed in one attempt to splinter my ribbed-wood door and rushed to the master bedroom. The master door was closed and it too was soon splintered.

My first impressions on entering the room, a man on one side of the bed, a woman on the other side, both half-dressed – my stupid mind registered that the noise from the front door splintering sped up their dressing routine.

Yes, my wife, Selena was the woman. The man was not who I expected him to be, a stranger to me…a friend perhaps of the Mercedes owner?

Selena and the man both attempted to talk at once, explaining away their casual dress routines.

My eyes glared, and madness took over. I could not tell you how I killed them, who was first? the last? Madness obsessed me for long deadly moments, until a window lost its upper rod and fell to the floor, and the early afternoon sun poured through.

Something major snapped inside of me, and I watched myself, a mad man in a horror movie scene, screaming words unknown, inflicting death blows to two people whose faces I could no longer recognize

I left the ‘murder house’ and drove to Parker Peak… I know that because I’m now on the gravelly path leading to the peak. In between, I try for ‘no recall’ of the awful events that took place in that house.

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Lying there on the trail to Parker Peak, tears flowing from my eyes like open faucets, I relived the moments of those brutal murders while passing out off and on from an overriding pain and emotion.

I also relived moments of happiness with Selena during the initial phase of our marriage, just after my return from Afghanistan, our trips to the beaches and the mountains, our reading moments in the library, at peace, comfortable in the silence and occasional glances and smiles of endearment.

It was all so good until the headaches and an old Afghan bullet wound had me acting crazy. Dark mean moods would come, moments which lacked clarity and meaning, screaming at Selena for no earthly reason. I hated myself for the ugly monster I became, and, in some grotesque way, I hated Selena for her crying at my obscene and Satanic ways.

After four years I left our marriage for a VA hospital stay of some length, the doctors at a loss to determine the cause(s) of my swings in mood, anger, and kindness. Selena visited me, and I could see, feel, sense her nervous behavior, her trembling words, her eagerness to be gone from my repulsive environment. I finally told her to visit on a bi-weekly basis because I knew the visits were taking their toll on her.

Along the way, doctors found promising new medication that would help the controlling anxiety and the dark moments of anger.

Some weeks later the VA doctors released me. They tried to reach Selena to let her know I was coming home, but the line was always busy or the calls were unanswered.

So, I would surprise her

On the way home, I stopped at a Florist for a dozen red roses, including a card with poetic love words. The phrase on the card sounded not like something I would say, but Selena would love it.

So, I arrived home and have described my homecoming welcome.

I was soon found on the Parker Peak Trail by some high school kids preparing their bodies for their upcoming Track Schedule, nice kids who seemed to have a lock on life, where they were going, what they were going to be.

Barely able to talk I asked the boys if they would take me to the VA Hospital. They would. They did, and these three guys would become my friends, even knowing my recent killing history.

I am writing these words from a large padded room in a secured facility. I’ve been here for seven months, hale and hearty, the demon inside me taken away through surgeries and pills. It might sound phony, but I like it here at the facility. The people like me, and I like them.

There is talk about my leaving here, make that, released from here, but I’m not sure I want to leave… There’s a lot of craziness outside this facility, and, well, I’m just not sure I could ever trust myself again

©By BR Chitwood – December 11, 2020

https://www.brchitwood.com

SPECIAL NOTE: The image that begins this story is actually from one of my book covers: “Mama’ Madness” – a 5-star read about a mother from hell and inspired by true events.

Check it out at Amazon:

Amazon.com: Mama’s Madness eBook: Chitwood, Billy Ray (BR): Kindle Store

Hässlicher Geist der Nacht

‘Never forget the mass murders of millions’!

Hässlicher Geist der Nacht

(Hateful Spirit in the Night)

By BR Chitwood

Consuming Christmas Party libations beyond my good senses, a taxi took me home at 11:00 PM. Slightly inebriated and weary, I quickly undressed and went to bed. Sleep came before I could analyze any possible party behavioral glitches.

`Whether a ‘hateful ghost of night’ or not, Adolf Hitler was sitting on the edge of my bed as I turned to change positions, banging my hand on the headboard. As I bunched the bed covers around me on some obscure impulse, I could not turn my eyes away from the apparition on my bed.

Der deutsche Führer… (Okay, no more ‘showing off’ plus it takes time switching back and forth getting the translations.) The ruthless German leader, responsible for a war and executions of millions of good people in gas chambers, sat sullen staring at me fully dressed in his German uniform, knees crossed, his right hand holding a gun lazily on his lap, his eyes like daggers across the three feet of space between us.

The clock on the bedside table showed the time at 1:45 PM. I blinked a couple of times, and the German Bad-Ass was still there.

“Oh, now, I’m getting it. Which one of you apes at the office is it? Could it be you, Arnold? You have my only spare key – did your wife kick you out again?”

No reply, just the mean-looking eye movement and a sound similar to a weak whistling fart.

“Ah, C’mon, Arnold, I’m tired, man, still half-drunk, and the hangover will be brutal when I get up in the morning. Be gone, man, and sleep it off in the other bedroom. Arnold was a frequent visitor when he and his wife were spatting.”

He just sat there, same menacing pose, and, finally, he stood, the gun in his right hand, and loomed over me.

“Okay, I’m in a dream, and you are here to kill me for writing my Master’s Thesis about your mindless atrocities in the last century. I’m just curious, Adolf, libraries are filled with the history of your inhuman brutality and your unparalleled evil. Why, me? My ‘Masters paper’ was a simple thesis with echoes of your insane mass murders of the innocents.”

The shadowy figure took one step toward me, raised the gun, and pulled the trigger…

With my face soaked from the water pistol ammunition, Adolf-Arnold cocked his head to the right, put the toy gun in his pocket: “You forgot to take Mona’s Christmas present with you when you left the office Christmas party. Her flight arrives tomorrow, and I won’t be seeing you ‘til Christmas is over. Got to go, buddy, Brenda is waiting in the car.”

Arnold left.

After a long adjustment period, I left the wet sheets, checked the entire house, put Mona’s present under the small tree, drank some warm milk, blow-dried the mattress, put clean dry sheets on the bed, and collapsed my naked body into a fresh and restful sleep. It took a while…

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By BR Chitwood – December 2, 2020

https://www.brchitwood.com

(Personal Website & Blogsite)

Author’s 20 Books with Synopses

Author’s 400+ Blog Posts

Follow Author at: twitter.com @brchitwood

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