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

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Face It

21424918

-Platonic Academy in Athens, Greece Prior to 86 BC-

Face It!

By BR Chitwood

Have you figured it out?

You know – Corona Virus, earth orbiting, people doing crazy things, hate, love, murder, riots, politics, reading, sleeping, waking, writing, Sun up, Sun down?

Of course, you have…

Those Athenian primo Philosophers like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, they had it figured pretty well: don’t tell people anything! Just engage them in dialogue until someone comes up with a ‘philosophical gem’ that sounds universal and valid…and, it didn’t hurt that ‘SP&A’ walked around in funny long-loose clothes and sandals – maybe, even barefooted – definitely too lazy to shave, and spoke with erudite voices that guaranteed they had some scintillating and earth-shaking knowledge likely already known but wanted their listeners to author the answers.

Having read about these ‘Genius Three’ in college and even now occasionally – just, not too long because they give me a ‘hillbilly headache’, trying to understand the ‘Socratic Method’, ‘Plato’s Republic’, and ‘Aristotelian Logic’. There is one thing for sure, these hard-thinking men devoted their lives to the pursuit of knowledge, and Socrates committed suicide by drinking some hemlock potion…it was either that or ‘exile’, and he took his honorable way. The Athens legal authorities claimed Socrates had corrupted the Grecian youth. Socrates’ best student was there with him at death – another young Athenian scholar and friend, Plato. 

Plato would go on to ‘dialogue’ a lot with Aristotle and other giant scholars of that ‘Classic Era’. Plato would also establish The Academy’ in Athens c. 387 BC. The Academy persisted throughout the Hellenistic period as a skeptical school, until coming to an end after the death of Philo of Larissa in 83 BC. The Platonic Academy was destroyed by the Roman dictator Sulla in 86 BC.

Now, sure, you can find all of this on your own, but I had to show off just a bit…and I’m not quite finished yet…

In refreshing my mind a bit on these three great Philosophers who have adorned college textbooks for centuries now, I should not have been surprised – but, I was – to find out that these Greek giants, particularly, Socrates, thought  Democracies were not the best governing blueprint, particularly, if the wrong people were working at the power desks. Plato, perhaps more than Socrates, was not a ‘democracy’ advocate. Each believed that too many variables existed in a Democracy – favors, paybacks, ‘big money’, ignorance leading to ‘Mob Rule’. It is also true that within any system of governance, there is potential for some semblance of disaster.

After so few paragraphs, my brain power is used up, and I will end by saying a definite NO to Democratic Socialism, NO to ‘Open borders’,  NO to de-funding our ‘Law and Order’ people, NO to higher taxes, NO to the SWAMP GROUPS that rob us blind, YES to a strong Military, YES to Charter Schools and Educational Reforms with too many promising programs thrown aside, YES to a proven leader for President who has had some remarkable achievements during his first four years in the oval office, and YES to Innovative solutions to state and local government.

Okay, like it, do not like it, ignore it, but the man who wrote this post is  taking a nap…writing, taking naps, that’s what old guys do!!!

BR Chitwood – July 16, 2020

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Butterfly Hearts

©Butterfly Hearts

  • – AKA The Souls of Romantics

By BR Chitwood

*

Close the gates to reason,

Defy the constancy of doubts

You know of only one season.

Tis the season that fades not away,

But lingers like butterflies in flight

Flower to flower on a summer’s day.

Call it a Butterfly Heart, this joyous toy,

That ticks wildly at likely signs of love,

For the soul that captures ultimate joy.

If World’s woes try for intervention,

And cause a temporal rush of rain,

Butterfly Hearts pay it no attention.

©Butterfly Hearts

  • AKA The Souls of Romantics –

By BR Chitwood

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No Trade-Offs for Truth

No Trade-Offs for Truth

How does a crippled mind filled with hate, ugly memories, so little room for intelligent debate find some modicum of purpose?

Not to worry!

The power brokers know who you are and have a lengthy and sustaining list of your millions of brothers and sisters who fit the first paragraph’s twenty-one words.

Again, not to worry!

Those PB’s are all over the country, and they will sooner or later get to you. They need you and can make some magic with the words they convey – and offer some attractive money inducements to make you all atwitter with some offers they already know you likely will not turn down.   

Did I hear someone whisper: ‘What’s that guy talking about’?

Well, I guess there might be a few in that ‘first paragraph group’ who have not been ‘indoctrinated’ – informed – about the program.

Okay, now I’m hearing so many whispers, I need to break it all down for some of you. God help me! Maybe I can reach some of you before you make a leap into the madness I’m about to describe. Hopefully, some of you will not be part of this ‘whatever movement’ history decides to call it.

In fact, HISTORY and FUTURE HISTORY is the reason for this little parade of what is hopefully meaningful words and phrases.

Other than to write that US Education costs are higher than any country on the planet…we are talking trillions. That is bad enough but the real issue for many in our country – parents, some politicians, and many members of education ‘Brain Tanks’ – is Teaching Methodology… and, this is perhaps the biggest problem our children face in the classrooms today – mainly, on college and university campuses across the United States.

It is held by many in the educational ranks that our children are being brain-washed with ‘Liberal – Leftist’ philosophical thought and teaching methods, students not given a balanced education but a ‘one-way’ view of how they are supposed to think on the important issues of the day.

For the past weeks, our televisions have been focused on street riots, looting, killing, lunatic behavior that has ‘big money’ and powerful organizational support…this all started with a ‘bad cop’ lethally restraining a handcuffed black man – an incident which made the country angry and wanting the ‘bad cop’ arrested and tried for murder. The cop had other cops with him to assist him, so why did he use such tactics? (It still angers and bothers me when I remember the TV scenes with this cop constantly using his knee, pumping it incessantly into the black man’s neck – eventually, causing his death.)

Yes, that was a terrible abuse of on-duty policemen performing what should have been a simple arrest.

Here is the gist of this entire post… I know of no sane person who would condone behavior patterns displayed by the Minnesota cop mentioned above, but the riots and all those nights of tyranny have led to a madness that is most difficult to explain…except for…

Except for those ‘Power Brokers’ mentioned at the beginning of this post.

The ‘cop incident’, the riots, I believe, should bring sound minds to the conclusion that this aftermath of a cop’s behavior, plus the destruction of historical monuments, memorable, notable heroes from our past, the senseless hatred of so many. It all brings an odorous reality for me that the ‘Power Players’ of the Left have reached out, put their smelly money in the hands of groups hell-bent on Anarchy and Mayhem to destroy our great country.

Imagine, all the millions of patriots who died to protect our freedom and liberty, whose cause was bigger than their own lives, and, now, the monuments depicting our amazing History now being destroyed by the mindless bastards of the mindless super-rich.

I pray our nation gets through this ugly chapter of our history’s pages. We did very well for a time with our new President, and, certainly, Joe Biden has shown us nothing for forty years.

BR Chitwood – July 7, 2020

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Can We Talk?

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!

Can We Talk?

By BR Chitwood

“Can we talk? Of course, we can talk. You asked. I answered, and that was five minutes ago. So, what’s on your mind, BR? You knock on the door, nod a greeting, and want to talk. We’re sipping beers, and you have not said two words. Your brow’s all wrinkled. You’re fidgety and nervous as I’ve never seen you. What’s eating you up, buddy?”

“Sorry, Luke, I’m not handling too well all that’s happening in our orbiting craft these days. It may all be above my ‘savvy classification’ and my ‘retirement pay grade’, but what is happening in this only world we know? The ‘World Pandemic’? ‘Corona Virus’? Masks? Family Separation and Isolation? Riots in our cities? Looting? Deaths? Restaurants and Bars closed? Sports cancelled? Political chaos and anarchical acts? Geez, I have no idea what Armageddon looks like, but, if this is it, I’m scared.”

  “You have a lot of company, BR. The anxiety levels of people are visceral, me, included. I can’t remember a period in our history when such anger, riots, killings, total disregard by so many of our laws and fundamental law enforcement is no longer viable…

“So, my friend, we have many people feeling the same emotions, the same doubts, about solutions and a return to some semblance of normalcy… I’m hearing ‘doubts’ seeping into conversations – doubts about Covid-19 and possible episodes with some extreme edging, like…

Is there more to this Pandemic than what we’re being told by our leaders?

“Are there ‘Hate Groups’ backed with lots of money to stir National unrest to the point of making Socialism a reality? Think about it, groups working toward defunding our police departments, hoping to make it a more ‘peoples police force’ to serve their socialistic desires.

“We are all feeling our own pressing doubts about where we’re going with these actions we are witnessing. We can, I believe, no longer doubt that there are ‘interests’ being served by these current actions than by what our founding fathers had in mind.”

“God, Lucas, are you trying to cheer me up?”

 Short snicker.

“I’m kidding, your thoughts are my thoughts as well… I, too, feel there is more to the Pandemic than what we are being told…is it worse than we think? Is it better than we are led to believe?

“Are there people actively at work trying to erase our history? We already know that the Universities are hell-bent on shaping the minds of our youth.

“It is sad to think that so many people wish to erase and void the history of our Democracy, the wars fought, the lives lost, in building this greatest of all nations – spending huge amounts of money to buy malcontents and corrupters of freedom, defacing, tearing down our heroes and monuments. It is not only sad. It is an egregious affront to our pioneers, our trail-blazers, our historic greatness, all the lives lost in preserving our union.”

“Well said, BR. Is our little ‘beer and pep session’ helping?”

“Well, Lucas, you got me talking, mostly repeating everything you said…and, you know, I do feel better after our short chat here…guess that’s why you make the big bucks. {Chuckle}. The good people of this country, I have to believe, are not going to ‘cave in’ to the negative elements of Globalists, Socialists, and Rabble-rousers. This great nation could not have come this far without the great will of our people…and, guess what? The ancestors are ‘locked and loaded’!”

BR Chitwood – July 4, 2020

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HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!

World of Wannabe

World of Wannabe

By BR Chitwood

The world of Wannabe is available only to the hermits of the world, those precious few among us who come to a place in their minds that bid them escape the habitual and mundane nuances of life, a place where patterns of living become such narrow spaces to subsist and cater to those higher, more spiritual longings of the soul.

Wannabe is a place of transition, a place of substantial caring far away from the giants of commerce and business, a place where loneliness becomes a blessing, not a curse, where a day begins with a soft salute to the Maker of us all, then tending to the humble daily needs of faltering lives of beasts and fowls, building a sanctuary for the forgotten simple inhalers of fresh air, a blessed place where living in the only skin you have need not worry about the predators of the world.

 Such a special place is Wannabe for those who have no earthly longings save for the harmony of living among a cayote’s wail to the midnight moon, a bear’s gentle grunt in passing on a trail, a large cougar’s poetic stance on a boulder in silhouette with the full moon, a bearded man sharing his meager meal with a wildcat or snake.

Wannabe is a place for the hardy and the matter of fact, with no dreams left to interrupt his or her simple life, a place one might call a refuge while a hermit calls it home.

Most visitors will not stay long in Wannabe for they see Isolation, loneliness, and the absence of imagination and desire to create, while the hermit will never wish to leave because he/she could not dream beyond what they find here.

There are no obituaries for the Hermits of our world…they are the few who faded from the tall buildings and neon lights to find their own peace on earth!

*

By BR Chitwood – June 30, 2020

*

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©Sweeny, The Doll

©Sweeny, The Doll

– Short Story – By BR Chitwood –

*

Mr. and Mrs. Holcomb were looking in a toy shop at possible gifts for daughter, Kellie.

 “Oh, isn’t this darling? His name is ‘Sweeny’, and his voice is so sweet… Kellie will love it.”

“You’re kidding, right? Kellie is all ‘GIRL’. I can’t see her playing with this guy-doll at all. She might like its voice – it is soothing, but Kellie would lose interest quickly with this slick-haired bozo. She’s more into the more etiquette-like stuff.”

“Frank, trust me on this one. I know my daughter, and she will be talking to Sweeny on a constant basis. You’re not around so much that you would notice. Lots of girls are wanting male dolls now…it’s ‘the thing’, some toy clerks tell me.”

“Well, Sweeny is kind of cute in his untidy ‘cut-offs’ and flaming red shirt, the sly smile…what are some of the ‘things’ he says in his taped repertoire?”

“His various conversational utterings are here in this pamphlet…”

“I’ve glanced at a few statements Sweeny makes, and I’m not sure the vernacular matches up well with Kellie…are kids really talking like this? About hugging, kissing, silly adult-like language?”

“Don’t go ‘archaic’ on me, Frank. Kids live in different generations and speak for the most part like others in their age group… We still must do our parenting, our monitoring of their lives so they don’t cross into dangerous areas of thoughts and deeds.”

“Well, Gerrie, you’re the ‘Mom’ and you know better about these things than I do. I just want the ‘best’ for Kellie. She’s so sweet, smart, and special and I want her world as free from the ‘ugly’ as we can make it, and I know you do as well. Go ahead and throw ‘Sweeny’ in the shopping basket. I hope they become really good buddies.”

***

(Night-time: Six Months Later )

Wearing new special PJs Kellie’s Mom made, Sweeny lay stretched out on his back next to his mistress on the opposite pillow, eyes open, alert, now and then glancing at his sleeping bed-partner. Only the plugged-in night light gave light to the bedroom.

“Kellie, psst, Kellie, are you awake?”

Kellie was in deep sleep, dreaming of a new boy in her sixth-grade classroom at school. Tommy was the new boy’s name, and his small desk was next to her desk.

Kellie’s eyes twitched and her body quivered under the bedsheet, and a small discernable smile appeared on her face. She liked Tommy at first sight and thought that rather unusual for her to like a new boy in class…girls, generally, yes, but, boys, a bit strange.

 Sweeny’s closed eyes simultaneously twitched as well, and suddenly came fully open. In no way could he explain his awareness to his supposedly non-active environment – a male doll that for some inscrutable reason could remember a special ‘compound’ put inside his combination hard-rubber and polyethylene terephthalate head.

Sweeny only knew he did not like the ensuing disturbance within his tiny body, did not like where Kellie’s thoughts were taking her…he now knew about the new boy in her Sixth-Grade class, and he would not know how to explain it to anyone.

In some manner, Sweeny, with eyes aquiver, his tiny factory-made body thrashing beneath the sheet, caused the bed to rock and sway, made loud noises on the floor and walls. The noise became so loud it awakened Kellie, her mother, and her father.

Amid Kellie’s screams, the parents entered her room and saw lamps on the floor, wall plaster displaced on the walls from the bed-rocking, and other debris spread across the bedroom.

Then a silence so deep within itself came that frightened all in the room but Sweeny.

“Oh, My God! What happened in here, Kellie?” the mother asked.

“I don’t know, Mommy, but it woke me up. I’m scared, Daddy, Mommy.”

Sweeny lay quietly on his pillow, his eyes closed as though in sleep, but listening carefully to what was being said.

Kellie’s parents would not allow such paranormal thoughts to enter their mind, but they did believe their eyes and knew something dramatic and nerve-wracking happened in their daughter’s bedroom.

Kellie slept in her parents’ bedroom that night and the next three nights, only going into her room for showers and clothes changes. When her eyes fell on Sweeny, she thought she noticed angry eyes, and it scared her, but she finally accepted that her little mind was playing tricks on her…the scary episode could be explained in a sensible manner with a sane and understandable narrative.

While she could not understand her own reasoning regarding that night, Kellie remotely thought that Sweeny had something to do with it. Giving her seemingly crazy thoughts a rest, she would hold Sweeny and talk to him, but when she placed him somewhere away from her she sensed an anger showing on his face. Then, there came a sense of dread that would drive her out of the room, and she could also sense his staring eyes following her.

Her relationship with Sweeny she knew was over – from a pet toy to any kind of plaything. She could never, would never get over that one night-time episode and the ensuing moments of distress. She talked to her mother, convinced her that she no longer wanted to have Sweeny around her.

Gerrie  placed Sweeny in the original box he came in, took him to the local park, and left the doll with the Park Director, Stu Bruner, to do with what he wished, gift it to one of the children who played there. Gerrie explained simply to Mr. Bruner that her daughter outgrew the male doll and had moved on…Gerrie felt a little ‘white lie’ would not hurt anyone.

*

The Park Director placed Sweeny on his office credenza and left for home later in the afternoon. It was odd, the Director thought as he left his office, the male doll’s face seemed strangely different from the time he was brought to him, and, he thought he had placed him in the middle of the credenza, but he was now sprawled toward the end of the furniture with a scowl on his pale face.

“Ah, I’m just tired… I wasn’t paying that much attention at the time, and those toy makers can now do so much with innovation in dolls…”

At the first traffic light, Stu Bruner almost ran a ‘red light’ which had just recently turned ‘green’, and Stu screeched to a stop, just missing the opposite flow of cars.

‘Darn, am I going blind? I could have sworn that light was turning ‘green’ when I came to it’…

Stu Bruner soon regained his normal happy mood when going home to family and pets.

At the next traffic light five blocks away Stu had to quickly brake again…something, a cat, a dog, an animal of some kind was crossing the road, but, damn, it looked just like that ‘doll’ Gerrie Holcomb left earlier at his office.

‘My eyes are going bad on me. Two lights in a row I’ve almost lost control. Not good, Stu, not good at all, but I could swear it was that stupid male doll.  Then, again, dusk can tease the eyes to believe things that are not real. Lots of accidents occur at this time of the day’.

Again, Stu Holcomb managed to stay alert and began whistling his favorite country song – ‘Put your sweet lips closer to the phone’… (“He’ll Have to Go” – popular country song sung beautifully by Jim Reeves.)

As Stu Holcomb opened his private office door the next morning, he stumbled, almost fell to the floor.

His office, his beautiful mahogany desk, chairs, credenza, wall hangings, awards, trophies, plaster, everything was totally destroyed…but he heard the sound of a voice familiar to his ears – a radio announcer’s voice reporting the news of the day.

Stunned by the destruction, Stu stumbled to the area where the radio was normally setting on his desk, and, below, among the debris on the floor, he pulled the radio from the rubble, held it in his hands, and was about to replace it on the floor when the announcer mentioned names he knew…he cleared a place by the window and listened to a staggering news report:

“The cause of the fire that destroyed the Holcomb house is unknown, but there is a strange footnote to this tragedy – amid all the debris, in the corner of a child’s bedroom was the warped, demonic face of a doll, smiling and absurd in its countenance… To repeat the important part of this fiery news story, the Holcomb Family survived the midnight fire with minimal injuries and will undergo some psychological testing when they have been stabilized to a point where shock has been mitigated – and only God knows when that will be…”

*

The End

©Sweeny, The Doll

By BR Chitwood – June 29, 2020

*

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Gina Malloy’s Secret

[Image Art by: Aziz Acharki – Unsplash.com]

©Gina Malloy’s Secret

By BR Chitwood

Recently… Ah, hell, just yesterday, I made the decision to end a one-year relationship with a lovely lady who within the first few weeks of knowing her gave all systems of body, heart, mind a collaborate indication that my search for a life’s companion was over. Gina Malloy was twenty-six years old, lovely in a Natalie Portman way, and we came together on a daytime ‘Soap Set’. I played the Doctor who would win her heart.

The first six months was as ‘storybook’ as Hollywood could have filmed it. We had a lovely place in Pacific Palisades, always eager after a day on the ‘set’ to get home and enjoy our privacy and luxury. We were quick to cater each other’s needs because we wanted our mutual and natural caring personae to show. It was a fun six months, real, honest, and wholesome, the caring and catering bringing most delightful bedroom tricks and treats, sighing satisfying oohs and aahs.

In the seventh month, Gina seemed to be avoiding contact with me. At first, I thought it was that time of the month when women go through their ‘Menstrual Cycle’, but I began to question my reactions. So, it was my way to ask more harmless questions of Gina which she brushed aside, by my thinking rather cool-like and somehow out of character. “Danny, please, stop with the questions. Everything is fine.” She would then leave the room too abruptly.

So, I, Danny Watts, decided to give her the silent treatment until she came around to her old ‘self’. I was still convinced it was the ‘menstrual cycle’ thing. And, she did show some signs of becoming her old self until I apparently kept a conversation going too long or made some cuddling moves or show too much affection.

In the following weeks Gina took a couple of trips to visit sorority sisters, she said, irritating our film execs because they needed to alter scene selections for the soap. Returning from those trips, she seemed her ‘old self’ and, for a short duration, we were back to our ‘good place’.

By the twelfth month of our cohabitation, Dina was driving her own car to the studio…she seemed always to have some errands to run after the ‘shooting’ was done for the day. When she did not come home on some nights and none of our friends knew her whereabouts I knew that the relationship was in serious trouble, and/or, there was no longer a relationship, period.

When Gina did not come home some nights, and my heart and mind vacillated between dread of accident and/or death. My mind conjured up possible scenarios – car problems, in a hospital somewhere, seeing someone else, raped and murdered (yes, my mind took me there as well). The love we shared in the early months of our time together brought me to tears, to self-recrimination, to a ‘hell’ I could not have expected. More calls, hospitals, police stations, people we knew, there was nothing worthy of good news or bad news.

There were sleepless nights of worry and heart aches that brought more tears.

When I got to the Studio yesterday morning, I was told that Gina was no longer a part of the ‘Soap’ cast. She had apparently called in her resignation to some angry studio executives, and some hasty re-writes of the daily script were made with a lot of cursing.

It would be one of the longest days of my life. Then, when I got home from the day’s filming with a low threshold of hope of finding Gina there, I found the envelope tacked to the door…

My legs suddenly became rubbery. My breathing was erratic and suffocative as I staggered to the ‘love seat’ where Gina and I spent so much of our time petting and staring out the broad plate glass window to the distant waters of the Pacific Ocean, listening to the soft romantic music-making of our favorite Sergei Rachmaninoff. We were so proud when often criticized with insulting ‘Romantic’ qualifiers.

With shaking and reluctant fingers, I pulled the folded letter from the envelope. On the first page of the flowery stationery, a large ‘Red Heart’ was centered in the top-middle of the first page, and something broke inside of me…the tears came, flowing fast down my cheeks because in my hasty glancing at the written words I saw a phrase that caught my eyes and brought the weeping…

I focused on the beautiful heart and could go no further for many moments as my hands would not stop their incessant trembling. My whispered mumblings of sorrow and regret assembled with the slight humming sound of the air conditioner. My mind was filled with the past images of Gina and me in all the activities of our lives. My unsure shaking hands reached for her face I longed to see in front of me but could not tenderly grasp it…

Cowardly I allowed seconds, minutes to pass, knowing there could be no good news coming from her beautiful hand. I closed my eyes for some seconds, felt a short sharp pain in my chest, sniffled loudly, sighed deeply, re-opened my eyes and stared down upon Gina’s words, some now fading and smeared with my tears.

With sniffle pauses, I slowly focused on the words on the pages my fumbling fingers lifted from my lap.

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My Dearest Danny,

How does my own broken heart convey to your troubled mind and heart the awful news which I must share with you in this missive?

For me, and I hope, for you, Danny, our first days, weeks, and months together were the happiest, most incredibly beautiful times of my life. I could never have hoped to meet someone with a heart, a mind, and a soul so remarkable in their tender giving of love and understanding as your marvelous trio.

I love you, Danny, and our special time together represents God’s gift to me, His gift which will stay with me until your arrival in Eternity.

The Cancer came unexpectedly and I’m sorry my mood-changing behavior often upset some of our precious time together. I allowed my self-pity to open the door to bitterness and anger… I loved you, loved the harmony of our lives together, and, at times, I felt cheated and unfairly treated by Fate.

God finally gave me the understanding of life’s slowness and haste, its repetitions, its ebbs and flows, an inner knowledge that finally came to me, not so much by total comprehension, but by some holy, spiritual awareness that was impossible to doubt.

I’m sorry, dear Danny, if this all sounds too theatrical, but the truth of life and death will be known. I know that. You will know that.   

I’m in Arizona, Danny, and the medical group keeps my pain under control. It is now just a matter of hours before my life here is over but please know that I am at peace and will be waiting for you in Eternity. I pray that you will go on with your life, find new loves, follow your dreams, and know that I am in a good place waiting for you. You will always have my heart and my love.

Gina

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Sadness came, lingered, as I read and reread Gina’s words, and slowly the tears no longer flowed. The heartbeat came back from its erratic behavior.

Why?

I don’t know, but outside that big plate glass window a beautiful twilight with a magnificent western sunset was showing.

Why?

I don’t know, but there are no timers on the stereo system and suddenly a calming and lovely palliative Sergei Rachmaninoff piece of music began playing enigmatically and peacefully.

Why?

I don’t know, but inside my total being there was a tingling sensation, an awareness, a certainty, and I knew that Gina had reached Eternity…

Why? I don’t know…

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©Gina Malloy’s Secret

By BR Chitwood – June 23, 2020

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Humpty Dumpty’s Wall

Humpty Dumpty’s Wall

By BR Chitwood

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall – Humpty had a great fall – all the King’s horses and all the King’s men could not put Humpty Dumpty together again…

According to the rhyme, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall – well, gee, if he sat on a wall, it must have been, say, maybe a two-foot-tall wall. Yes, Humpty was ‘humpy’ and ‘dumpy’, but the fall could not have been so ‘bumpy or thumpy’. But, then, how would I know?

It is written that Humpty Dumpty was a canon during the English Civil War in the mid-1600’s AD during the siege of Colchester when the attacking army displaced Humpty from his position on a fortress wall – and, all the King’s men could not put Humpty Dumpty together again.

Lewis Carroll wrote Through A Looking Glass and Humpty was an egg, and falling off a wall, a counter, a shelf would do irreparable damage to the egg and could not be put back together again.

Being reckless and restless in my mind-wandering, I thought of the ‘Mother who lived in a Shoe’, ‘Jack and his Bean Stalk’, ‘Jack and Jill’ and the hill, and, with a wry chuckle, thought about the ghastly Covid-19 Pandemic, the big city riots, the  collective mind of an Orb trying to find some ‘footing’ in a world that is loath to adjust to this restless world of dynamic change, this world where so much knowledge is doubling so rapidly and so furiously, where a multitude of frenetic minds and souls seek some reasonable facsimile to Nirvana.

With 7.8 billion people in our world of different learning abilities, IQ’s, needs and wants, it amazes me at times that sanity and sensibility can quell the vile thoughts of those most liable to rise to roles of anarchists, NOT because it is the right thing to do, but because they cannot see that glowing light on the hill.

Each of us breathe the same air, eat the same foods, enjoy the same activities, each in our own way viable, capable of good deeds and ideas for that all-peaceful world environment where hatred and incivility cannot operate.

Dreamers, Romantics, perhaps Fools, can write the sweet words and phrases that sound idyllic and even pedestrian, but, little by little, we can change and tame our ‘savage world’!

At least, it is a lovely mantra to carry with us from day to hopeful day.

BR Chitwood – June 18, 2020

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Knowledge Wrinkles

©Knowledge Wrinkles

BY BR Chitwood

If you know that the Sun rises in the eastern sky after a night of darkness and brings the light of day… If you know that the Sun sets in the western sky after a day of light and brings back the darkness… If you know that the global sphere of Earth on which we live is constant in its elliptical orbital journey taking us through four seasons through all the unique hemispheres of this magnificent planet…

If you know these basic truths, you have knowledge. Of course, you know more than these fundamental facts, how we grow and multiply in population growth, how we find along the way our habits for living, how we find what it is we might like to do with our time for work, time for play, and time to consider the remarkable miracles in our world. We discover our attributes, those special talents we have, what we enjoy most in our patterns of living.

Some of us find our joy and talent in Sports and we become experts in throwing a football or making basketball shots that amaze the onlookers, slapping a puck thirty yards for a winning goal, shaping our golf game where we can precisely pick a six-iron, nine-iron, to reach our target green.

Some of us find fascination in Law, Medicine, public service, police work, and some like working on cars, busy with their hands building houses, big buildings, businesses.  Me, I enjoy ‘Writing’, finding enjoyment and fascination in the words I string together.

We grow in numbers. We immigrate. We emigrate to new lands, new habitats where the weather suits our clothes, where the sun keeps shining through the pouring rain, where we can bank off a northeast wind, and sail on a summer breeze.

That is the gentle side of thinking about what we do with our lives here on a Great Sphere we can only imagine how it got here, and what great intelligence made it. The theories are plentiful. The final truth is out there somewhere.

With different behaviors, different likes and dislikes, we people of different origin-mix try to make sense of it all, sometimes happy with our lives, sometimes angry and with force bring havoc, destruction, and death.

Why? How? Who? When? Where?

What factions are so tediously at work to cause these chaotic disturbances to a people who must in great quantity want to live peacefully and without rancor, hate, beatings, looting, big city riots?

Recently, a policeman subdued a man with a knee hard-pressed on a vital area of his neck, eventually causing death. This policeman and his three partners were arrested for the death as it was believed known by police guidelines that the kind of ‘knee-press’ on that area of the neck could be fatal.

For these unacceptable policemen’s actions, our entire country – the large cities, primarily, sustained riots, lootings, and deaths for weeks.

Most sensible people do not condone for one second the action taken by one Minneapolis cop and the lack of restraint by three other cops. Most sensible people want due justice done for the terrible mis-handling of this situation. Most sensible people would be angry as hell for this lack of police restraint and for the defying of police academy training and bad behavior.

Unfortunately, the Minneapolis Miscarriage of Justice brought out all the negative factions that seemingly wait in the shadows for such an action to make life miserable for business owners and the good and honest people of a democratic nation who want nothing more than their peaceful coexistence.

The Fractious Factions know who they are, and the majority of our country must know who they are as well…people who want their ‘big  money’ Power Brokers (groups and names omitted, but many patriots know who they are) to bring a great nation to its knees.

When we allow dirty politicians and the fringe groups who cross our borders to dictate their transported hatred and policies to the United States tax-paying citizens, there is great fear for our country…and we tax payers are footing the bill for all this ugliness.

In the beginning, there was the mention of knowledge – what we know. When I see our statues that speak of our history, when I hear and see our US History NOT being taught in some of our schools, when I see our colleges and universities using indoctrination techniques with our kids, I cringe, I kneel, and I pray.

By BR Chitwood – June 17, 2020

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