The Power Merchants

Just released this month, here is the first book review for 

The Power Merchants

A Novel by BR Chitwood 

Book Review by John Dolan (Wordsmith estraidinaire)

Rating: 5-Stars

by Diogenes

Author Billy Ray Chitwood is at his best in this tale of lawless adventure.
Most of Chitwood’s books that I’ve read so far deal with themes of crime, individual purpose and romance, but with ‘The Power Merchants’ there is a political message to the story that I don’t recall in his other works. But of course, this being a Chitwood novel, a healthy dollop of love interest is never far away. This time the main protagonist – advocate Bradley Bennett – finds himself falling for the platinum-blonde police officer Penny Sawyer amidst the surrounding chaos of corporate skulduggery, illicit sex, corruption in high places, the political elite, and rampaging hit men. (In a nod to the present day, Chitwood even throws in Covid-19 for good measure.)
Highly recommended for lovers of action novels with a large helping of romance.
 

Hope you will buy and enjoy this latest novel by Billy Ray:

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for: “The Power Merchants”

  Click here to Buy:    mybook.to/ThePowerMercha

BR Chitwood – May 31, 2020

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A Pimple on Her Cheek

Image art by: Andriyko Podilnyk – Unsplash.com


A Pimple on Her Cheek

What beauty for the once lonely heart and idle mind to absorb, and, to Karma and its co-workers, thank you for bringing me this gift of the heart and soul – perhaps not the romantic at heart stories one might read about in a book of love clips and poetry, but could easily make those pages.

A major freeway was not the ideal and idyllic storybook place to begin love affairs, and I was one hungry candidate for a love affair with all the fairyland add-ons. Whether it was my fussy and outdated expectations of how an affair of the heart was to begin and guidelines that must be followed to nourish those marvelous moments, I knew when I saw the exasperated lady on the side of the freeway trying to manipulate a flat tire exchange, my initial thought was, ‘I have to help her. There were no ulterior motives to my stopping, knowing there was no appointment I needed to keep. no one waiting for me. My 1:00 o’clock Tucson meeting brought an end to my satisfying day. It was my turn to make another person feel not alone in time of need.

The lady heard me pull in behind her, lifted her body from the pavement, her hand still holding a tire-bolt tool. She cautiously gave me an incipient try for a smile. (She obviously kept abreast of bad news as well as the good news.)

“Please, don’t worry. You seem to need some help…”

She gave a slight showing of some doubt, so I spoke again. “Tell you what: close your trunk lid. Get in your car and lock the doors. I will get your flat tire off and put the new tire on. I will then get in my car and leave. Are you agreeable to that?”

My eyes could have fooled me, but I thought I saw some tear-streaks on her lovely face.

“I’m sorry,” she spoke softly the words , but I heard her. “This is not an occurrence I have experienced, and it is not my intention to be rude.”

“I know, Maam, the world has put up some road-blocks to civility and our people helping each other… I will stand right here while you close the trunk lid and get into your car and lock it. If you get hot in there, turn your motor on and get your air going – it will not take me that long to change your tires. Okay?”

There came a calmness suddenly, and it seemed we both had some sort of kindred acknowledgement. She smiled, “Oh, I’m sorry to be so rude to someone who wishes to help me. Please, thank you, do come and change my tires, and I will be happy to pay you for your good work…”

“No, no, there will not be any fees for my work…I’ll get you on your way before you know it. My name is Curtis Morley. May I ask your name?”

“Katherine Bruce, or, just, Kate, if that’s comfortable for you.”

“Kate is fine. Now, just move away so I can get your tires changed.”

Kate did a barely perceptible dip with her head and seemed now perfectly content with our situation.

We talked while I changed her tires, and it became a most enjoyable span  of work and pleasure.

Kate was, of all the occupations in the Phoenix, AZ metroplex a Para Legal for Barnes and Dunlap, a firm with whom I worked occasionally. Talk of odd possibilities, I am an attorney with Morgan and Morley…”

“Oh, my goodness. Do not tell me, but you are just coming from a meeting in Tucson on the Dexter Weeks case? Am I right?”

“I’ll be darn, this is absolutely nut stuff. With all the millions of people in the metroplex and, this chance meeting on Interstate 10…”

There was an easy transference in play here. I stood from my tire changing from time to time, faced Kate, and we talked easily. It had to be the same for Kate as we passed all the detours, all the mud puddles, became electrically fast in our mood shifts…and something else. In those few minutes we came as close as two people can come in such a short period of time.

Our eyes darted here and there as we talked, assessing our bodies, Kate at points lingering a bit long on my hair, just recently culture-cut, the angularity of my face, the hazel of my eyes, my well-built slender physique, kept that way  with a multitude of exercises on a weekly basis.

The stunning assessment for me? Kate was absolutely beautiful with a bit of English accent, her skin so smooth to the point of perfection, her long length auburn hair that fell six inches from her shoulders, and her figure was an easy ‘Ten’ by any standard of measurement, visible when she turned and allowed her body to more firmly fit into wonderful nicks and crannies of her pants outfit.

*

So, with no shock to the readers, we became live-in lovers and have been in that magical place for two years now, with no demons on periphery trying to harm what our good God made perfect.

Well, except for the small pimple crisis on my love’s left cheek.

My life had its imperfections of the skin – a small outbreak of acne in high school that upset me, certainly not to an anxiety level onto which I placed it.

It was not the pimple so much that caused Kate’s nervous spells. She felt it was perhaps an omen of some kind, the first installment of some cataclysmic series of destructive omens in her life.

Now, I did mention she is English and can certainly, in true Anglo-Saxon form and bona fide heritage make cute little mountains out of cute little mole hills. Remember, they were the German inhabitants that arrived in England in the Fifth Century up to the Norman Conquest.

The pimple did not grow larger, but it did develop more talking points for my sweet Kate. The pimple became at its apex white with a red ring around it, then ugly yellow, but she would not let me squeeze it out, even with my teenage experience on the matter.

“Oh, you must truly hate me,” she would exclaim on the bear rug in front of the fireplace on a winter night.

“Oh, sweetheart, how could I ever hate the love of my life? Please, allow me to get a cotton ball, a bit of alcohol, no, no, not from your Manhattan. We will use the rubbing alcohol. I will most gently squeeze out that little white spot of ‘yuck’, put on the spot some soothing disinfectant, my little ‘star’ bandage, with soft kiss on top, and you will be rid of that pimple forever, no more to make home on your beautiful face… and the truth is, I’ve hardly noticed it being there… I’ve a great idea visiting my head – we can make a beauty mark out of that spot. What say you, my darling?”

“I say, ‘I’m cursed, having the man I love look upon me as a sorceress of some awful kind…oh, okay, get the stupid cotton ball, the medicine you plan to use, and put your ‘star bandage’ on the spot. Guess I have made as much hay with that as I can. You do still love me? You said…”

“Forever and any days beyond, my beautiful lady…you sure you don’t want to get married?”

“We can talk about that later. Go get your arsenal of pain and operate.”

“How did I get so lucky to find you on Interstate 10 – out of millions of people in the ‘valley of the sun’, and you chose me. I do so love you.”

“You damned well better…I don’t let just anybody pop my pimples.”

I do hope the readers get it: that my darling and I had such a perfect union she had to practice displeasure more in an artificial and teasing design…it was our way to live within our atavistic tendencies. If it was not ‘a pimple on the cheek’, it would be some other deeply embedded Germanic gift from her history – and we both enjoyed that kind of foreplay rather than actual traits of hate and distrust.

On our third anniversary I talked Kate into a tattooed mauve star for that spot where the pimple had the gall to inhabit for a short stay.

Short Story/Flash Fiction by:

BR Chitwood

©A Pimple on Her Cheek

*

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Mama’s Madness – Book Review

Here is my Favorite Amazon Review of MAMA’S MADNESS, one of many readers’ descriptive  views of a novel inspired by a real ‘Mama from Hell’ – If you have not read this book, up front, it is glaring in its fulfilling the evil displayed by a woman possessed of the devil.

In scouring ‘newspaper articles’ one lazy Sunday on the Sea of Cortez in Rocky Point, Mexico, I ran across this ‘mother’ in Northern California who totally and demonically tortured her children, particularly the three daughters – the boys, not so much. She murdered two of the daughters, transporting them to the high Sierras, placing their bodies inside cardboard boxes, and setting them afire…

The writing of the monstrocities of this mother from hell was paused from time to time for tears to drop on the laptop keys, so ugly, so far from any modern-day reality I had known, but I wrote it because the world needed to know that monsters lived among us (and, sure, I’m an author and wanted to write a ‘best seller’), that parents should be wary at all times, at the park, on school grounds, at home, anywhere their children and/or other children might play.

Of all the great reviews recorded on Amazon, the following review I single out here because it thrills me that someone likes my ‘writing’ that he would submit such an awesome book review. The reasons are obvious: the encouragement to continue my writing, that there are eager readers of well-written prose and poetry awaiting another book of comparable quality.

My endearing ‘thank you’ to John Howell, fellow author and genuine wordsmith…

If you have not read the book, here is where you can preview all the books by BR Chitwood and BUY SITES: http://www.billyraychitwood.com

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Here is John Howell’s 5-Star book review of the book, MAMA’S MADNESS…

  So Well Written
By John W. Howell on July 8, 2018
Format: Kindle Edition

Mama’s madness is a work of fiction, but according to the author Billy Ray Chitwood, there are some inspirations from actual criminal behavior. This is a story about the meanest, lowlife, straight razor totin’ woman named Tamatha Preen. She is the mother of six kids and the ex-wife of four husbands.
Although this seems a little abnormal in everyday life, compared to mama’s proclivities having four husbands is normal in comparison. Let’s say mama has some problems and as you can guess the children are the ones who bear the brunt of her mental issues. To describe any of the abusive behaviors would be courting spoilers, so I’m just going to summarize by saying mama is evil.

The writing in this story is so good the reader feels like a transportation into the scenes has taken place. The descriptions of people, places, and events are jaw-droppingly beautiful. Mr. Chitwood has been blessed with a golden pen (or keyboard). He can show the reader all the sights, sounds, and smells of each scene through a tapestry that only can be woven by a perfectionist literary genius. I think that pretty much describes Billy Ray Chitwood. He has honed his writing art, and there is no more exquisite example of the resulting output than this book. I would recommend Mama’s madness to anyone who enjoys a deeply disturbing story told effectively and with great taste.
*****

BR Chitwood – May 17, 2020

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Stealth of Solitude

©Stealth of Solitude

By BR Chitwood

*

These moments come

Where solitude settles

Softly, sweetly  serene

Upon  the selfless air.

 

In this quaint quietude

Along passive trails

The thoughts tumble

In silent speculation,

 

Memory peacefully pulses

With long ago reverie

Of loves and memories –

Treasures lost to time.

 

Slowly, a silent smile

Wistful in its pose

Is joined by tears in

Slow and tender descent.

 

Then, a distant doorbell ring,

Stealing these moments,

Displacing this  golden,

Tender Cache from me.

 

Time, relentless, constant,

Bringing dreams and joy,

Capriciously at its pleasure

Giving and taking away…

 

©BR Chitwood – May 13, 2020

*

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A Gray Day Mood

[Image Art by: Thomas Dils – Unsplash.com]

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(From the Archives, I give you more to add to your Covid-19 and ‘Isolation’ depression 2020…or, perhaps, to deflect or relieve your angst to some degree…)

*

©A Gray Day Mood

by BR Chitwood

The mood is sullen, like the tall leafless trees outside my window. Their bare branches reach upward toward an ugly gray sky begging for new life. The fog and the gray are like cold blankets of despair.

In many ways I am like a tree. I sit on this cold gloomy day and muse about a youth that has faded with the gnarls of time and waste. It is true I spend too much time on a past that cannot be recalled, and such a day as this makes the process more morbidly cheerless and timorous in some vague way… Some of us are wired that way.

Yet I am not so unreasonable in thought that I forfeit the morrow that comes and will again bring blooming and gaiety to my disposition.

Oh, never again will I be as jubilant as when a young man I read Locksley Hall by Alfred Lord Tennyson and that English poet’s immortal lines: “…In the Spring a livelier iris changes on the burnish’d dove; In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love…” It is quite a long poem, covering so much, and I will not include it here. If you get a chance to read it, please do.

So, my love, the fair, always calm and constant Julie, is with me in these mindful turns and twists. She gives me the needed embrace to break the somber musings that I fear too often come to visit. My lovely lady, her genetic wiring so serene and different from my own, is the bright blossom in all my seasons.

Dreary wintry days can bring not the best of thoughts, but, as bromidic as it sounds, there are always tomorrow, Spring and Summer, we can hope…until we run out of those!

Time is both the friend and enemy of all. George the cat strikes a lovely sleeping pose on the long sofa. Julie pecks away on her laptop in the loveseat across the room. Pausing, I stare at them, happy they are here in my life. Out the big window the skies are clearing and wondrous blue and sun brighten my mood. Julie, George, the Sun’s appearance in a blue sky, all brighten my mood.

Time…

Time brings change. Time brings hope. Time brings another second, minute, hour, day for me to ponder the richness and sadness of my life’s odyssey. The mirror reflects the face I have known for all the years, now with lines and sags, now with gray to the beard I shave. In that face I see the events that have shaped me. Some I cannot rinse away with the water splash. Some I wish to retrieve but are lost in memory’s fickle fancy.

Time…Time brings beauty and glaring truth with its unrelenting pendulum swings. Time is everything in life.

George is now off the long sofa wishing to be fed. Julie is no longer pecking on her laptop keys. Outside, the sky is clear and the view across the canyon is breathtaking. Time will pass and I will break from writing to watch the Winter Olympics from Sochi.

All is pleasantly as Time would have it. Here am I as Time would have it – wearing my emotions on these red, white, and blue plaid sleeves

I leave you with these bits of free verse:

©Mirror Images

 I once looked at men like you,

Old men, frail and haunted…

That was when youth declared

I would live forever…

Life was moonlight promises.

So soon there was ecstasy and joy.

How hard it was to see then…

How easy it is to see now.

 When did it get this late?

When did the tree sap harden?

Where is the gold I sought?

Where is the key I held?

Why is the day no longer long?

Why does morning come so late?

What is the mystery to solve?

What day the reckoning?

*

©Portrait in Time

 Young man, do you not see me

As once I might have been?

It is the wrinkle, the sag of cheeks,

Time put upon me that you see.

Once I stood, perhaps like you,

With noble thoughts and dreams

A new bright morn might bring.

 Time wore me down with its teasing,

Its ceaseless ubiquitous promises

And often-delicious pleasures.

Time taunted and tempted me

With its guile and deception,

With beauty beads of love.

 Time gave me its reins to  

Run wild with the wind

Sunrise through Sunset and

Deep into bacchanal nights.

 Time now leaves me here

On a mountain-top, better to

Have had those moments of joy –

Sad to have you see the

broken parts of me.

 Young man, can you not see me

As once I might have been?

 ©BR Chitwood – From the Archives – 2/15/14 – ‘Hawk’s Bluff’ in Tennessee.

*****

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First Class

[Image Art by: Victoria Kure-Wu – Unsplash.com]

©First Classphoto-1538391912490-304338a7f94c

by BR Chitwood

“Would you like a drink before takeoff, Mr. Bryson?” asked the lovely blond flight attendant with blue eyes and conquettish smile.

“Do we have time?” flicking my eyes a few times in answer to the smile.

“Sure. We have a bunch of planes lined up for takeoff. I figure you for Vodka, stirred, her sexy voice just above a whisper. You do look a lot like James Bond, you know?”

“Which one?” playing the game.

“Pierce Brosnan, of course. The others couldn’t come close… Be right back with your drink,” and she turned and dipped her hips in walking away.

Ah, could be an interesting flight. Guess I’ll just leave the laptop in the overhead compartment.

I’m Travis Bryson and I now only fly first class since my company accomodates my heavy travel schedule. It likely sounds phony, but I’m an Executive V-P for CCC, a facilitator of sorts, bringing our national branches up to date on some new software for Webinars… Hey, it’s only exciting stuff for geeks like me and my comrades in the field. You’ve met our types. We really love what we do.

Now, don’t get me wrong about the flirting – I’m not married (anymore) so I’m not a bad guy and I’m legal. I’ve got a thick crop of black hair. I’m six-feet tall, work out each day and so far keep that middle paunch non-existent. I’m forty-two years old – that’s the new thirty-two, I’m told – and work out of my hometown in Phoenix, Arizona… That’s where this plane is heading, hopefully after I finish that Vodka Martini. (Speaking of which, here it comes, but, confesssion time, my eyes are really on the ‘Stew’, that face and body with the small tray in her hand. Again, don’t get me wrong… Oh, hell, you’ve got me right. There is nothing in life more beautiful than a woman, that is, a woman who has it all together. The guys know of what I speak, and one of them just arrived at my seat with a ‘James Bond Special’. I’m not sexist. I’m not any of those annoying PC words or phrases. I just appreciate beauty in all its forms.

“Hope this is as you like it, Mr. Bryson. If it isn’t I won’t charge you for it…” This, followed by one more coy flash of the eyes and a snicker. “Oh, by the way, what does CCC stand for?”

’Command Centers Conglomerate’… Okay, look, I know you’ve got another drink there to deliver, but is it okay if I call you Paula, as in Paula Jinx? We are going to be talking, and it’s a long flight from Atlanta to Phoenix. My name is Travis Bryson, as you already know, so call me by my surname, or, Trav…off you go now to deliver your next drink order.”

She spoke as she headed toward the back of the first-class cabin. “I’m impressed you noticed my name tag, Travis.”

Okay, it’s Friday, I’ve been on the road for two weeks, and I have no one waiting for me in the valley of the sun. I was going to get some laptop work done for Monday’s Executive Meeting at the office, bur it can wait. I’m feeling frisky and I’m betting Paula just might be staying over in Phoenix…why, she might be home-based in Phoenix. This flight ends in Phoenix so, at the very least, she will be staying overnight.

The flight is filled and no ‘stand-bys’ made it on the plane. The seat next to me is occupied by a stout bespectacled gentleman in his sixties, earplugs in, listening to music, and reading A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. My seat row partner has impeccable reading tastes – I did read and love Hosseini’s The Kite Runner. The man is a superb storyteller, and I am eager to read the other aforementioned book. Anyway, the gentleman next to me by the window is lost in his book and couldn’t care less about my flirting ability.

During the flight Paula served me three ‘stirrred martinis’ and I turned down the fourth, making some silly rejoinder, ‘I have three of those and I can feel it. If I have four, anybody can feel it!’

After meals were served and all plates, silverware were picked up, the cabin passengers were reading, sleeping, or using the facilities. Paula and I traded playful quips for a while, Then, as Phoenix got nearer, I thought I should make my move.

“You based in Phoenix by any chance, Paula?” The three martinis wired me for this conversation. I was ready for action. Two weeks on the road and planes can make you that way. ‘All work, no play’ kind of thing.

“Yes, I am. Is Phoenix your home base as well?” It seemed the smile did not leave her face during the entire flight.

“It is, and I’m thinking maybe we should get together this evening, or, soon. Now, I notice you wearing no wedding ring, so I’m brazen enough to ask.” I paused, waited for her to respond.

“That’s sweet, Travis, So sweet! But I can’t.” She touched me softly on the shoulder.

“So, you’re married and don’t wear your rings, right?”

“Not quite, Trav, but you’re close.”

“You’re separated or getting a divorce and want to wait. Is that it?”

“Not divorced. Not getting a divorce. There’s another reason…”

Not giving her a chance to go on, I suggested, “You and your boyfriend are broken up and you want some space. I can understand that. I’ve been there, done that!” I smiled inanely. This lovely creature was turning me down, and I’m ready to ‘bet the store’ we will be in a few hours warm and cozy in my apartment.

“No, Travis, it’s not like that. You’re a handsome man and most girls would be happy to connect with you. It’s just – well, someone is picking me up at Sky Harbor Airport, and you and I are not a possibility, tonight or ever…”

“Ah, no break-up! You have a steady boyfriend. Well, I can tell you this, Paula, the airline trains you well because I really thought we had something going.”

“No, Travis, you still have it wrong – well, mostly, the airline does train us to be nice and friendly with our flying customers. But there is no boyfriend…” She looked down at the aisleway and sadly smiled.

Then, like a middle linebacker laying me flat out on the football field, it hit me. “You’re…”

“Yes, Travis, I’m gay!”

“Pretty, lovely Paula, will you please bring me one more ‘James Bond Special’? And, will you alert the airline to bring me a wheelchair to the arrival gate?”

©Flash Fiction by BR Chitwood – From the Archives 

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Airlines and Altitude

photo-1499063078284-f78f7d89616a

©Airlines and Altitude

A striking lady stood on her toes in the aisle placing a small brown valise in the overhead compartment. Momentarily, I was stunned by her beauty, by the delicate beige dress of chiffon that surrendered sensually to her curvaceous body in a most delicious way. Her long golden tresses dropped elegantly just below her shoulders. She appeared to me in the age range of thirty-plus, perhaps a model, or, an actress.

I’m an entrepreneur, busily involved in a number of businesses, likely, maybe, aside from money, considered handsome by some…at least, good-looking. I’m athletic, six feet tall with raven-dark short-cropped hair, hazel eyes, a Roman cant, and in my early forties. I hastily married once, but found it too confining, too boring, too confounding, and too interruptive of my business goals.

The attraction was immediate as the glamorous lady in the aisle slammed close the overhead, her mesmerizing blue eyes cast a spell on my own, and her perfectly shaped lips formed a smile as she spoke: “Hi, I have the window seat. You’re stuck with me all the way to Los Angeles.”

I started to unbuckle my seatbelt and stand, but she stopped me. “Please, you’re fine. First class makes flying a treat with its roomy space.”

Still with the soft smile, she moved easily and swiftly between the bulkhead and me to her window seat – we had the first row of seats in the first-class section, lending a feel of coziness and privacy.

The sweet scent of her perfume filled my nostrils, delighted my lungs, as she took her window seat, and I was hoping my nonplussed insides was not simultaneously shaped on my face. The smile I returned to her seemed socially awkward to me as I spoke: “I’m delighted to be ‘stuck’ with such a lovely lady. My name is Stuart (Stu) bellows, and I might as well ask up front, are you a conversationalist or do you prefer privacy with your flying?”

How courteous and sweet, Stu, of you to ask, but I enjoy chatting with people on planes, being nosey! My name is Eve Noblesse. I’m delighted to meet you.” Her perfectly aligned white teeth contrasted marvelously with her sultry lush lips, painted with a subtle non-glaring blush shade.

We softly shook hands as we were interrupted by the first-class stewardess with a gold name tag of Betsy: “You two wish a drink before take-off?” She looked first at Eve.

Sounds wonderful! A glass of Chablis if you have it. Thank you.”

Please make it two, Betsy,” hoping the cute ‘Stew’ would not be able to notice the unusually romantic stirring generated by my brain… This blonde beauty was definitely interrupting my lap-top business date for the next five hours.

The altitude, the Chablis rounds, the inexplicable attraction that we each seemed to have for one another moved us along very nicely. Our chatter became much more personal, disabling subtlety, decrying diary pages of the most personal kind.

Eve and I turned down the lunch offer for more Chablis, and, as the wine unlocked other sinister doors within us, we began ‘touching’, first with the arm touch, then with the knee…but the kicker was the role of the eyes.

It turned out that Evie had indeed been a model, had married once, found the same mediocrity in the different shades of each’s personality. We in fact had very similar takes on life and where it might take us.

Somewhere during the delirium of our awakened senses came a question from me that produced a shock value for each of us.

Do you know about the ‘Mile High Club’?” As soon as I asked the question I gasped and added: “I’m so sorry! I don’t know why I would ask you a question like that?”

She giggled and responded. “Well, I do know of the club but don’t have membership. How about you? Are you a full-fledged member?” She had the cutest grin on her face, her orbs doing a wild display of dance moves.

Betsy brought us another Chablis, then went to her ‘drop-down’ seat next to the flight deck for a nap.

No, not a member at all, ‘fledged’ or otherwise. I do have to say I’m intrigued by the possibility… Please don’t be insulted by my comment. I find you a most beautiful and wise flight buddy, Eve, and it’s not my intent at all to make suggestions. In fact, I do not want to end this ‘relationship’ when this cross-country flight is over. ‘The Mile High Club’ thing just makes me wonder about altitude and airline aircraft. Does that combination do a job on people of the daring and romantic sets?”

Eve got this flushed look on her face, grabbed my hand, and said: “Let’s do it, Stu! But, how do we get away with it?”

Okay, I can’t say who came up with the idea, but one of us leaves the first-class compartment and goes to the tourist-class section. We agree that I will be the first to leave, will wait, if need be, for the very last rest room on the starboard side of the plane. (I pointed across the aisle so Eve would know I meant that side of the plane.) Evie will leave a few minutes later, will either see me waiting or can assume I’m already in the room.

There will be no suspense built here…

The deed was done, and, when Betsy awoke from her nap she brought fresh glasses of wine to two flushed smiling faces, eyes dreamy and staring straight ahead into the carpeted bulkhead.

Now, look, don’t get the wrong idea…

Here’s what my entrepreneur friend wanted me to write under his hand at the end of this post, to wit:

I’ve explained all of this to the writer of this blog post, with his promise of no names – or, fictitious names if he must.

For the record, ‘Eve and I’ have been happily married for many years and have beautiful kids. We love each other with a devotion that is likely rare in marriages.

Just beware of ‘airlines and altitude’!

Eve and I now travel by rail…

Well, that’s another story… I’ll get around to sharing it with my blogpost writing buddy here. Be on the lookout for it.

Flash Fiction by: Billy Ray Chitwood – 5/4/2020

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River, Flow For Me

Photo art by Nicholas Murawski – Unsplash.com

***

©River, Flow For Me

By BR Chitwood

(1)

I look out over the valley

From atop this tall, tall, Pine,

And I can see the river flowing

Down through this land of mine…

(Chorus)

River, keep on flowing,

River, flow for me,

River, keep on flowing,

Take my Misery…

River, keep on flowing 

Over forgotten ground 

River, keep on flowing

Let my Peace be Found…

(2)

There, on the bank of the River

Sits a love that I once knew –

Her hair aglow in the sunlight,

Her eyes lost in the sky so blue.

Where does she go at Twilight,

The love that I once knew?

Does she go in search of tomorrow?

In the arms of someone new?

(Chorus)

River, keep on flowing,

River, flow for me,

River, keep on flowing,

Take my Misery…

River, keep on flowing,

Over forgotten ground

River, keep on flowing, 

Let my Peace be Found.

(3)

River, how far do you go?

Winding through the trees…

Do your muddy waters run deep –

With sad stories and memories?

Where do your troubled waters go,

Old River, at the final bend?

Do they go to the sea and flow

With All Life’s tears at the end?

(Chorus)

River, keep on flowing,

River, flow for me,

River, keep on flowing,

Take my Misery…

River, keep on flowing

Over forgotten ground,

River, keep on flowing,

Let my Peace be found.

*

©A Song by: BR Chitwood

*

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Breaking Up

Breaking Up

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’re 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. Tony suddenly noticed that the arresting officer was the man he had seen with Jan Cowper at the swanky restaurant.

Flash Fiction/Short Story by Billy Ray Chitwood – From the Archives

*

If you liked the above story, please try one of my full-length novels…actually, please try one of my full-length novels even if you don’t like the above story.  I’m thinking you might like THE RELUCTANT SAVAGE. This novel is a fast-paced ‘noire-type’ read that has a lot of action, a love triangle, murder, romance, and suspense. Please give it a read and leave an amazon review – reviews can be the life blood for authors. PLUS, there are twenty of the Author’s books to choose from – Mystery, Suspense, Romance, Thriller, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Time Travel, Memoirs. Many of the fictional works are inspired by true criminal cases.

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Being Who You Are

Image Art by: Lacie Slezak – Unsplash.com

Being Who You Are

Not so tough?

Au contraire, methinks!

Some people (ahem!) go through life too calculative in their environments, measuring an action and/or response that best benefits their position in any setting – a dinner date, a business meeting, even in a close and personal family discussion.

To various degrees, I’m sure it is part of our genetic structures ,and some of our closest allies, friends and loved ones are part of this non-sinister population.

Well, in most cases, I believe this ‘non-sinister’ qualifier applies. However, make no mistake about it, the evil ones of the world are born into or grow-up in a dark and gray surrounding and learn quickly the manipulative and criminal side of this calculative phenomenon. Most good people who live long enough come to know the predators who appear before them with some tired, time-worn scam and deftly remove themselves from the petty crook’s presence.

Some are not so fortunate…

Take me, for example…

Years past, in Monterey, California, I met some clients in Salinas’ famous ‘Cannery Row’ at a gourmet restaurant of some 5-Star ranking.

‘Cannery Row’ was people and traffic busy, and I parked my car in a dark alley area between some buildings. As I stepped from the alley onto the main street where the restaurant was located, two young men stopped me to ask directions to an address I had no clue…and their car broke down and ‘could I possible take them to where they wanted to go’? After a brief chat, easily sizing them up, I walked away thinking the two young men were amateurs in their con-artist attempts, but I could easily mark them as sinister.

 Just a few doors down the sidewalk I entered the restaurant, met my clients, and forgot about the young men.

After too many cocktails and a fine dinner, I left my clients and walked back down the sidewalk to the alleyway and entered the now ‘even darker-black’ area where my car was parked.

 As I turned from the alleyway and into the parking area, two young men, one on either side of me, grabbed my arms. Both men had tight grips on my upper arms, and the man on my right was jabbing the meaty part of my bicep. I felt little pain because of the tight grip he had just below the bicep. Wearing a heavy gray suit, I was thinking that heavy cloth was keeping the pain level at a low point.

The two men demanded my wallet, all the while talking their street-smart talk and vulgar threats. The man on the left finally found my wallet in my inside suit-coat pocket.

Someone yelled. I don’t know who or from where, but the two men dashed away into the thick darkness with my wallet…that was back in the day when cash was still a payment option. There was over one-hundred dollars in the wallet…at that time, a fair amount of money.

I yelled at the men and made a feeble attempt at running in the direction they had taken. I could no longer see them when they were only twenty or thirty feet from me.

Maybe the cocktails saved me that night on ‘Cannery Row’, and, admittedly, I was a little high on booze.

As I walked down the short alleyway and onto the sidewalk, a few people rushed to me, and, somehow, I did not know why…did not know why they were concerned about me.

Then I saw the right arm of my gray suitcoat – it was saturated with blood…the hood had used a pocket-knife as he jabbed me time and again, his grip on my arm so tight I could not feel the penetration into my bicep.

The police came.

I gave them the only information I could give them, described the two men who had confronted me down the sidewalk from the restaurant.

I went back to my Monterey hotel and pondered my loss – of money and of dignity.

A couple days later my wallet was found, credit cards still in their place, but, of course, you know, no money.

So, back to the beginning…

If you have not thought about the calculative gene in your body, be aware every day in your social outings. It can even be a ‘fun gene’ to have at times when subtlety and deviousness are teasing elements.

I’m not saying, ‘live in fear’, no way. Just be aware of who you are AND with whom you may be interacting.

We all have that gene within us, so, be who you are, have fun with it, BUT ‘be aware’.

BR Chitwood – Feb. 14, 2020

-HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY-

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