Sinful Desperation

©Sinful Desperation

Flash Fiction by BR Chitwood-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

©BR Chitwood – SINFUL DESPERATION

                 (From the Archives)

                         *****

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Sinful Desperation

“Maureen died last night, Father.”

Picture

Sinful Desperation

Flash Fiction by B R Chitwood-

*****

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The man could almost hear the sorrow in the Father’s voice, see the pain on his face through a small imagined window in a small imagined confessional.
On the bed, as tears flowed from the man’s eyes, he saw a pale shadowy figure, an apparition, Maureen, her arms extended toward him, her sad tearful eyes and still beautiful face beckoning to him.

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

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

*****

Flash Fiction by B R Chitwood –

-From the Archives-

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https://www.brchitwood.com

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Times Square and Anna

“…when you caught between the moon and New York City”

©Times Square and Anna

By BR Chitwood

Sleep avoided me – could not find that one position that would settle into a comfortable and lengthy dream about a pretty lady and a ‘happy ending’. Since I was unattached and near thirty years of age, finding a Soul Mate had become the number one priority.

Truth be known, I gave up on the evening too early. Nothing turned my motor on in TV land and I concluded the funk was for real.

There was the one lovely lady at the Ad Agency, but we ran our course and found those things about each other that gnawed at us. I was beginning to think, maybe I should have worked harder at the relationship. But, no, when there is an unremovable block in an affair, the chances are nil to none for working it out.

I made my decision, got out of bed, put on some casual duds, brushed my thick short-cut black hair, sprayed on some Aramis, stepped out into the Manhattan night.

It was still relatively early in the evening, and I could hit some of the nicer lounges and dinner houses near Times Square. There were no cabs needed for those places. All were relatively short walks.

Weather-wise it was a lovely evening and the air was filled with restaurants’ steak smells with an essence blend, like, perfumes, colognes, a nice aromatic sensation.

Passing an alleyway near 5th Avenue, my ears picked up a sound down that dark stretch of a woman’s voice. It was not a fun and game kind of noise. There was repetition, panic building in each mouthed word and phrase. Clearly, there was a woman in trouble.

 These are moments for which I am not built. I am basically a coward, not wanting to engage in any kind of dangerous activity.

The woman’s distraught voice came again and again, my mind at war with itself.

Good God! What to do? I can’t just stand here, my body all atremble, like an automaton whose juice has been cut off.

I had to do something!

From whence it came I cannot begin to know. It was all alien to my way of life. Some inner force got me running toward the voice in trouble some 50-100 yards away. The darkness was thick black, the only wisps of light coming from an unclear sky and some old faded wall markers.

Somehow, within my suddenly activated body an unknown reservoir of bravery urged me on.

Fifty yards ahead I saw the man with a glistening object in his hand, holding down the woman with his legs, hitting her with his fist, ripping at her dress with the knife.

My footsteps and screams finally reached the ears of the assailant, and he attempted to get up and attack me, but the lady on the ground hit him full-force with her right foot to his crotch.

The man doubled over, and I rushed in and slammed my fists hard into his face and body. I don’t know how many times I hit the man, but he finally lay inert and completely out cold on the black pavement.

I went to the young dark-haired lady with blood on her cheeks and blouse, helped her to her feet. She held onto me for long moments and muttered ‘thank you, thank you’. As she clung to me with fingers eager for safe purchase, she told me her name was Anna Buckley. She looked to be her late twenties of early thirties…a very lovely lady.

I used my cell phone to call the police and ambulance. They both arrived quickly.

 “I’m so sorry, Anna, you’re hurt, but why were you in this alley way in the first place? My name, by the way is Grant Morehouse.”

“He grabbed me on the street, put his hand over my mouth and dragged me here. I’m sorry to involve you, Grant.”

“Hey, I finally did a heroic act, Anna. I’m as surprised as anyone in my world will be…. Are you feeling okay?”

“I think so. I’m a bit sore in places. Don’t think I’ll be working on society dress patterns tomorrow, however.”

“Ah, would that be ‘High Society, Inc.’?”

“Yes, it would.” She smiled through some pain.

“Good we’ll have the hospital check you out. I don’t think they will find anything major, just some bruising, maybe some cuts where he ripped your dress. I’ll stay with you at the hospital until the examination is over and we get a prognosis and how long they may want to keep you. That okay with you?’

“That would be wonderful, as long as it doesn’t interfere with your plans.”

“I have no plans, Anna. I was just taking a stroll because I couldn’t sleep. I’m just glad I could help.”

The police hauled the bad guy away, asked a few questions, and Anna was taken quickly to the hospital. I sat on a bench next to her as the ambulance swiftly sped through the streets of Manhattan. Along the way, we did some serious ‘Q&A’ and got better acquainted. Her last name went well with her first name – Anna Anselmo.

I went into the ER and stayed with her during a long wait for her examination. I stayed with her until her sister came to take her home – an apartment quite close to my own, as fate would have it.

My part in Anna’s assault still surprises me, how I reacted, and, somehow, I feel very good about myself and can see a quality within my psyche that awakens a proud part of me I never knew existed. It is no doubt natural that I see myself a bit differently now.

You deserve to know that Anna and I are seeing each other with some regularity. We have become quite attached…that’s enough for you to know at the moment.  

It’s still amazing to me that fate came along with me for my stroll that night, keeping me awake to life in Manhattan.

“…when you get caught between the moon and New York City…” For reasons I knew very well, “Arthur’s Song” would not leave my mind.

The End

***

Flash Fiction/Short Story by:

BR Chitwood

Website & Blog:

https://www.brchitwood.com

#Blog, #Short Story, #Flash Fiction, #violence, #BoyMeetsGirl, #IAN1, #RRBC, #asmsg, #thewritingcommunity, #Arthur’sSong, #CaughtBetweenTheMoon&NYC

Within These Walls

Within These Walls

By BR Chitwood

The scowl on the old man’s face, the fierce intensity of his stare, was unsettling to the vain young man waiting in the dimly-lit parlor for his ‘new girl’ college inamorata. Fifteen minutes had passed since the house madam showed him to this huge chair – a stuffed monstrosity that swallowed his body.

Ben Willows was not accustomed to long waits and inconveniences. He was a football star   for the Carville Lions, a team destined for the top spot in the Indiana State Finals. Brittany Beale, the ‘new girl’, would learn he was not to be kept waiting.

Willows sent his own scowl back to the portrait hanging over the parlor’s concave fire place…he added some twisted, wide-eyed facial grimaces for added self-indulgence. In a rather common practice among his football friends he extended a rigid right-hand middle finger at the long-haired square-faced man in the painting.

He looked at his wristwatch, shook his head in further disgust and began his habit of pumping his right foot up and down. Eyes fixed on the Parlor portrait, Willows could swear the scowl on the old man’s face had morphed into bulging blood-shot eyes filled with hatred, the wrinkles deeper with hideous hues of darkness and menace. The long hair on the old man’s head looked longer, more unruly, and tinged with a garish dark gray satanic pose. The eyes were near hypnotic with hatred, his ugly scabby lips stretched in gritted madness. With all of this there was a sense of movement to the concave area, like a television screen changing in size.

Was this some fancy ‘motion’ portrait that the electronics companies developed? A new toy to get a rise out of people. Well, he did not find it at all entertaining. It was but a sorry gruesome nuisance. Ben would not be picking up Brittany at this address again. they would arrange to meet elsewhere. He felt a tinge of anger that she would not have told him of this parlor nonsense.

Ben Willows yelled angrily for the house madam but got no reply. He repeated his yelling but deep silence was the only reply. With his long wait, the scowl in the painting was now becoming scary, chilling moments for Willows despite his fearlessness.

Willows felt a numbness settle within his body and he was confused with the building fear and angst he never before had felt. He tried to lift himself from the chair but could not. He felt his body’s desire to move but he could provide no navigational assistance.

He finally felt a looseness come back to this body and he carefully put his hands on the chair’s arms and lifted his body. A small smile came to his face and left quickly when he felt his body slammed back into the chair.

Panic became total with no way for him to control it. The cold sweat over his entire body gave way to uncontrollable relief functions and a feeling of embarrassment that brought tears to his eyes.

“What do you want from me?” he wildly screamed. “What is this? Is it an initiation I’m not aware of? Come on…this is too much. Where is Brittany?” Then, he yelled her name with an anger mixed with pleading.

Music came suddenly to the room, low and foreboding, mixed with shrieking Cello breaks.

Twelve hooded figures of different shapes and sizes dressed in black robes and matching cone hats marched into the parlor and formed a circle around Ben Willows chair.

Willows watched as each hooded person one by one removed something from their attire.

“What’s happening?” Willows squealed.

He was answered with silence.

A circular portion of the tiled flooring slowly sank six feet from Willows’ position. The circular parameter of walls and flooring of the pit was glazed mortar, brick, and metal.

“Please tell me what’s going on.”

The taller hooded figure finally spoke, a small flashlight shining down on some script from which he began to read.

“Ben Willows, you have violated by your past unlawful actions, herein described, our   Codified, historic supplements to our special town’s charter and legal summations…”

“Whoa! Hey, I’ve done nothing wrong in Carville. You’ve got the wrong guy…this is crazy. This house is crazy. You robed geeks are crazy. Let me out of here…where’s Brittany Beale? This is her home, right?”

The robed speaker spoke: “Brittany Beale can’t help you, Ben Willows. And, no, this is not Brittany’s residence… Now, unless you want to be gagged, be quiet and listen to the unlawful actions…”

“This is crazy! No! No! I’ve done nothing wrong, and you and your pals here just picked the wrong guy to pull this crap! Now, come on, let me out of here, or there will be bad results for you people…”

Number Six, please apply the bindings to Mr. Willows…”

As Number Six moved down the short make-shift four-step ladder, Ben Willows met him and tossed him roughly to the pit’s floor. The hooded ones around the upper opening took up spots on the upper rim to stop Willows.

The odds were too much for Willows and he was finally subdued again by two of the larger hooded people.

A booming voice came from the parlor fireplace area. “Bring him to me. Tie him to the post in front of me. Then, all of you leave the premises…”

The Hooded speaker appeared to be leader of the twelve and spoke to the large Satan-like man in the painting: “Ben Willows is by protocol our prisoner, Sir Wainscot. Please allow us to end our session with him. You’ve never interfered with our proceedings before, Sir Wainscot.”

“That is so, but that changes today. All of you! Out of my house now, or face my legendary wrath. You have ten seconds to leave this parlor, and, henceforth, be advised that your special Charter ends as of this moment. Your services, and the stipulations you have all agreed to go with you. You must never speak of this long-run we’ve had together. You will receive no more in compensation and are free to do whatever you wish to do, other than speaking ever of this odd relationship we’ve had through the years…Now, go.”

“Ben Willows, come to the fireplace and we shall have a ‘fireside chat’. Your will is mine, Willows, until I release it back to you after our meeting. Now, do come forward.”

At the fireplace, Willows was told to sit directly in from of Sir Wainscot. At this point Ben Willows had uttered not a word…to the point he could be bewildered by anything, this day had brought that blessing or curse to him.

The two were silent for some seconds until Sir Wainscot spoke.

“I’ve found myself passing through many clouds today, Ben Willows, and I can easily guess that you have a mind filled with questions and observations…

“First, it is doubtful you have ever talked to a painting or have seen anger spewed from an inanimate object or seen motion and size in the ways you have today – or, for that matter, been accused of matters you knew nothing about (in fact, I stopped the proceedings prior to your hearing of those matters).

“The first cloud I passed through today was some sense of hatred for you and thoughts of how I would unleash my painful ways on you.

“The second cloud was confusion as I oddly began to like you. I always worry to a substantial degree when I face those kinds of weak wayward conflicts. Why did I begin to like you? Multiple reasons, really. I noticed you were in many ways like me.

“The third cloud was watching your moves, your versatility in adverse situations…very appealing, may I say? Very appealing, and much like me. After all, regardless of your perceived mission for the day, picking your girlfriend, I did not expect you, and it started a bit of a fire within me.

“The fourth cloud is the easiest for me to explain, perhaps not in the most satisfying way for the listener… How is it a ‘painting’ image talks and feels emotions?

“We live in a strange and wonderful world, Ben Willows. I lived in a time when important people like me could be forced into an exile of sorts, like, in a painting, to live and function in most ways except for eating – and those nasty bodily functions. I can internally visit all parts of the world without leaving my sanctuary here in this lovely little Indiana town where I am to be through eternity – of course, it was not called Indiana then…it was small waterway on a patch of earth.

“You are a football player, a very good one, I’ve found out. When you leave here in a few moments, I will permit from time to time some memory of us together – perhaps a time when you need cheering up, perhaps a time when love needs a boost, or, any number of things. But, this day, the date, the house, the painting, me, may come by you so fast at times you will think it is some kind of déjà vu…you will wonder why you are seeing a passing face so warped and ugly – but it will be a good memory.

“Finally, I can tell you love and family will come to you and your life will be well spent in works of goodwill and faith. AND,  Faith is most important, Ben Willows. There will be many contradiction in life, but allow no one to disburb the position of your Faith.

“There will be those times when we see each other on a street, a bus, a plane, and we will have enjoy the site of one another – it will be a boost to our day and to our lives

“Now, leave me, Ben Willows, and when the evening breeze hits you, you will meet a lovely young lady… Goodbye, Sir Willows!”

Short Story

By BR Chitwood

Website/Blog: https://www.brchitwood.com

Murphy – The Baby Sitter

©Murphy – The Baby Sitter

Fiction

By BR Chitwood

“Your first night, Murphy, want a quick ‘Q and A’? asked Brian Headley.”

“Really, Brian, that’s a bit insulting, don’t you think?”

“That was not in my mind when I asked, Murphy. Cheri and I are just making sure we’ve covered all the bases. Don’t get feisty with me.”

“Yeah, Murphy, added Rob Drawly, father of Brittany, same with Piper nd me.”

I am ‘all the bases’, and I’ve covered everything with all of you…several times. Brian, Cheri, and, Rob, you and Piper, go to your yearly weekend ritual in New York. The children will be fine. I know all there is to know about their likes, dislikes, the food they love and hate, their favorite games…and they already love me. I love them, each and every one – Jordon (the kid who would be King), Camille and Bonnie (who will be famous movie stars and dancers). Now, please, get out of here and leave me with my ‘Charges’!” Murphy did not smile but his voice was frisky and playful.

After a few chuckles and raised eyebrows, the parents looked quickly upon their sleeping children and were gone.

***

After some listed duties, Murphy settled in the den next to the children’s bedrooms, turned on the television – near-muted because his ear-pieces had dual listening capabilities: the children could not hear the television speakers but TV volume defaulted with any crying or needs of the children. Murphy was able to hear their gentle in-and-out breathing with the ‘state of the art’ ear devices.

The TV and den light went off at the prescribed setting time, and all was quiet in the 3000 square-foot house. As the den light brought darkness and stillness to the entire house, Murphy went silent as well…his keen hearing still able to pick-up the sounds of the children.

***

At 3:10 AM, Murphy heard a distant sound, like broken glass falling to the hardwood floor in the entry hall. The children were still asleep…only the ears of Murphy could isolate the sounds.

Murphy immediately deployed an unseen varnish-like spray-substance on the entry walls and the hardwood floor a few steps from the front door. He heard the door opening, heard the shuffling of feet for only a few seconds. After some minutes passed, Murphy heard two sets of grumbling voices.

Murphy dialed a pre-set police telephone number, gave them a required validation code for house equipped as was this one for Brian and Cheri Headley…a similar pre-set requirement was also in place for Rob and Piper.

***

Within a flash of some moments, the police arrived at the Headley residence and found two terribly distraught would-be robbers rooted to the hardwood floor…two sets of shoes stuck to and occupied a space…two sets of socks stuck to and occupied another space…and blood was coming from bare feet in another space.

Murphy magically made the sticky liquid disappear from the hardwood floor, restored within seconds its original finish, and miraculously replaced the glass at the entry…

Murphy watched the police take the unlucky robbers away.

At no time before, during, and after this incident did the children awaken.

The police shook their heads and waved at the strange-looking robot called Murphy.

Flash Fiction by: BR Chitwood – 7-27-2020

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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…

***

©Gina Malloy’s Secret

By BR Chitwood – June 23, 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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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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The Essence of Faith

The Essence of Faith

The Essence of Faith

The freshly painted clapboard church sat near a small creek, its white purity glorified by the neatly trimmed hedges surrounding it and the smell of newly mowed grass. The four big oak trees on the church property added a symmetrical elegance to the pastoral scene. Four Oaks Baptist Church, lined up in a photographer’s lens or portrayed on the painter’s canvas, would present a nostalgic and peaceful essence of faith and Americana.

It was a special Sunday morning with clear skies and a happy sun washed all that it touched with spring freshness and sparkle. There were few cars parked along the country lane as most of the congregation and visitors came on foot to Four Oaks, and today the numbers in attendance would break all records… It was indeed a very special Sunday. One member of the congregation had just returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Jimmy Chadwick was fourteen years old when he was baptized in the Four Oaks Baptist Church. He attended elementary and high school in the county school system, played his basketball and football here, married his homecoming queen sweetheart in this prosaic place of worship. Jimmy worked on his family’s farm, plowed fields for barley, wheat, hoed the endless corn rows, and worked on the side for the county’s agricultural cooperative. Jimmy sowed some of his personal oats, played some petty pranks and even tried at times some bitter brews of John Barleycorn. In the total tally of Jimmy Chadwick he was a happy kid, a generous, kind adult, and a near-wholesome human being.

Jimmy Chadwick’s real claim to county fame came not on a football field or basketball court at home but on dreary sand and scrub in the distant country of Afghanistan. Jimmy, a marine, was stationed in Helmand Province at a USMC installation where aircraft hangars housed Harrier Jets. One quiet and sweltering night, a group of Taliban fighters dressed in US military uniforms penetrated the perimeter of the camp, killed two US service men, and destroyed a number of Harrier jets with explosives and rocket-propelled grenades. With only his pistol, Jimmy led an attack against the infiltrators and eventually all of the insurgents were either killed or captured.

By the time the Sunday service began, The Four Oaks Baptist Church was filled beyond its capacity for seating. The walls were lined with the simple and sweet inhabitants of the Four Oaks hamlet plus residents of the other nearby settlements. A virtual silence fell upon all those congregated there. Only occasional sobs and soft moans were heard. The preacher stepped to the pulpit and spoke:

Today we welcome home one of our own, Jimmy Chadwick, a young fellow we knew as a freckle-faced kid pulling the pigtails of giggling girls, a handsome lad always with a smile and the rough hard hands of a farm worker. We knew him as the young fellow who usually got the touchdown to win us a football game or a final-second dunk to win the basketball game. We knew Jimmy as a prankster, a devoted son, an honest and good man… So, welcome home, Jimmy. We love you and we are proud of you.

Let me just say that here in this little corner of the world our simple ways will not match the world’s big cities’ glamour and glare, their hectic ways and their belief systems that vary from our own. We hear and read about those who don’t believe in God and in the man, Jesus, who came among us, gave us some spiritual wisdom to live by, and died a cruel death for our sins. Today we see the book of Revelations coming to pass: we have wars and rumors of wars; we have the atrocities of history repeating themselves; we have nuclear weaponry that can annihilate civilization; we have miracle machines that can do so much good but can also wreak havoc upon us; we have enough people enraged by the Satan that runs loose inside of them who are too eager to smite their brothers and sisters; we seem not to have enough time to help and provide for those who truly need our help… We live in a perilous time, a time when a man, woman, and child can only deal with the darkness of the world with the hallowed light of faith. If not faith, if not a belief that transcends these ugly truths, that these mountains we gaze upon, these prairies, these oceans, seas, and desert are there by another’s hand and not our own… If not faith, what can we conclude from the pendulum swings of our lives? That we live but for the folly of a piece of gold and the dark pleasures that can only in the end seduce and leave us wantonly scarred? If not faith, why is there the warmth of sunshine? Why the evening stars upon which to wish? Why the meticulous nine months ritual of our births? Why the love and unity of family upon which to persevere?

Today, here in our little corner of the world, we welcome home our heroic son and brother who went to a foreign land because his nation called upon him, a man who wore his faith proudly and served his country with courage and valor.

May the sobs and tears of this congregation convey not only the sadness of his passing but a joyful recognition of our faith that Jimmy Chadwick has truly gone Home.  

Let us pray…

Flash fiction by Billy Ray Chitwood – From my Archives

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