Where Did That Dream Go?

Where Did That Dream Go?

(So I asked  a Shrink!)

By BR Chitwood

Where did that dream go, you ask?

Beyond your grasp, sadly…

You had it, but you let it go…

You did not pursue it to the end…

Other diversions caught your fancy…

The phrase is: ‘wine, women, song’…

Sound familiar? ‘wine, women, song’?

WWS slowed and finally ended your dream…

But they were part of the dream…

Too many working dreams spoil the broth!

You’re mixing metaphors, Doctor…

But you have no trouble grasping meaning?

Grasped, Doctor. So, you’re saying, ‘no chance for me’?

There’s always a chance, but youth is gone. Maybe your next life chances will come again…

Whoa, Doc, you believe we get to come back?

That’s not so crazy an idea. A colleague of mine, a hypnotist, has written about taking some patients back to former lives, even having some patients talk about their time while in training units between lives. He has done ‘case studies’… Go to a library, book store, and look under hypnosis, case studies, psychiatrists, former lives…you can find them if you’re interested.

Oh, I’m interested. I just find it so hard to believe.

You wouldn’t be human if you took it at face value. Remember, most of us are ‘doubting Thomas’…many did not believe we would put a man in space, go to the moon, have ‘space stations’, diseases cured, knowledge re-doubling every few months, and all of these life-changing events are being challenged, joined by nefarious rioting groups trying to destroy our cherished freedom and liberty. It is a crazy and wild time for the history of the world… I just hope our kids in the future will be able to read and know of this history… Sorry about the digression, but, in your case, from what you’ve shared with me today, you have had a comparatively good life. You have accomplished many of your goals – which a lot of folks would die for. I really cannot find any major anomalies in your life. Keep your dreams alive. That’s a good thing. The large news I would give you is: be happy in your life – you’ve got more living to do.

Thanks, Doc. You’ve got me feeling better about things… I’m going to find the book or books you were talking about. When I absorb them, I’ll call you for another session.

*

BR Chitwood – August 12, 2020

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CHAT: REAL-ME & ALTER-ME

CHATREAL-ME & ALTER-ME 

by BR Chitwood

REAL-ME

My good wife allows me ‘space’ for my Romantic memories – spread across a lifetime…those loves along the way that leave a special ambience of thought…and, instances of special sadness.

Damn! It’s tough being a ‘Romantic’!

*

ALTER-ME

After all the years, the thought keeps hammering away at Alter-me: ‘So, what are you going to do with those romantic wishy-washy moments you carry in your knapsack’? Unless you’ve invented a ‘retrieval system’ or ‘Time Machine’ for periodic visits, what the hell good are those moments? Don’t you think your ‘non-romantic’ wife might get a bit sick of your ‘wine and wonder’ wanderings?

*

REAL-ME

Okay, Alter-ass Ego, you’re off-base. You have no business of ruffling these old memory moments. You have cramped my thinking all these years about what a ‘bad-ass’ I am for remembering beautiful moments in my past…and, leave my wife out of this – she is comfortable in her own skin and loves the ‘loop-de-loop’ heart and mind of my vagabond life.

*

ALTER-ME

Really! You’re going to ride that train? You really need to finally, once and for all, GROW-UP, aging-arse, live in the real world…

*

REAL-ME

How the hell does one slay an ‘alter-ego’! You would think after all the years we would have bonded. You’re always doing this to me, using ‘the guilt-whip’! I’m in my ‘Real World’! This is who I am… (Geez, you would think better partnerships could be built between the actual ‘deed-doer’ and the ‘do-nothing alter’.) This is/was the real world I live(d) in, and I cannot close the doors of those ‘Real World’ people and events… I think about them, write books, short stories, songs about them. They were ‘Real’. Some, I loved and with whom I had tender and wonderful moments. I can’t throw those ‘realities’ into a trash can.

*

ALTER-ME

Look, ‘Real Me’, you’re really getting worked up here… Maybe, just, maybe, some of us ‘alter-guys’ try to save their ‘Real Me’s’ the money they would spend on Shrinks. But, look at it this way, you’ve made it this far without Shrinks. Sure, we’ve been through some tough times, but you have ‘hung in there’ like a real trooper. Hey, there are some ‘Real Me’s’ that don’t get through it all – you know, different interior networks, and they can’t handle the stress. Hey, we have all kinds of people with their ‘programs’ set differently. You don’t stress as much as you once did before you began writing your books, putting down thoughts via your characters that you had experienced… This stuff does not happen JUST to you, ‘Real Me’.

*

REAL-ME

Okay, I somehow feel better… Here’s what I’m thinking…

Who truly knows how all this life business starts? The loves, the memories, the realities we face, how we handle them… Everyone has her/his way of handling their emotions, their decisions, their memories, and, you’re right: I’ve made it this far, have a great wife and family, and I also have love memories I don’t wish to shed, but, put them into perspective with all the other realities…label them:

 FOND MEMORIES.

*

BR Chitwood -August 6, 2020

*

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Mood Shifts of a Romantic

“…a foolish, soulful ‘Quest’…

Mood Shifts of a Romantic

 

-Poetic Thoughts by BR Chitwood-

*

The mirror shows six days without a shave,

My beard grows long and white…

Lips smiling inanely at the ruddy face as

Thoughts so long I’ve known come to me…

With the same silly youthful flow…

So much I could have hoped to give our world

Save for the pursuit of Love and Romance –

It became the ‘all that mattered’ focus

Of a foolish, soulful ‘Quest’…

 But, then, fools such as I must exist

To Confound the minds of wizards.

*

BR Chitwood – August 1, 2020

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Butterfly Hearts

©Butterfly Hearts

  • – AKA The Souls of Romantics

By BR Chitwood

*

Close the gates to reason,

Defy the constancy of doubts

You know of only one season.

Tis the season that fades not away,

But lingers like butterflies in flight

Flower to flower on a summer’s day.

Call it a Butterfly Heart, this joyous toy,

That ticks wildly at likely signs of love,

For the soul that captures ultimate joy.

If World’s woes try for intervention,

And cause a temporal rush of rain,

Butterfly Hearts pay it no attention.

©Butterfly Hearts

  • AKA The Souls of Romantics –

By BR Chitwood

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The Power Merchants

5-STAR Book Review for:
“The Power Merchants”

The Power Merchants (1)

JUST PUBLISHED IN JUNE – 2020!!!

by BR Chitwood

Here is my first book review for “The Power Merchants” –  A 5-Star Review Beauty!

Diogenes
5.0 out of 5 stars — Chitwood At His Best!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 1 June 2020
Verified Purchase
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.

*

AND

I give the reviewer:

♥♥♥♥♥

BUY SITE AT ANY ‘AMAZON STORE FRONT’:

Click Here to Buy:

mybook.to/ThePowerMerchants  

OR:

https://www.amazon.com/Power-Merchants-BR-Chitwood-ebook/dp/B088HFQQGG?pf_rd_r=6YC1W5DDQMSDQF30QKTX&pf_rd_p=be25f964-4afb-442f-819e-9e628b270a7c&pd_rd_r=5d869cd5-f975-4f16-8409-cb6d6f243b3e&pd_rd_w=5mpdj&pd_rd_wg=Fa24D&ref_=pd_gw_ci_mcx_mr_hp_d

*

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HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!

Those Romantic Moments

By BR Chitwood

To be sure, there are rare, unique, and special romantic moments in our lives. Some, we will pledge to posterity with all the poetic and prose talent we have…sure, it might come out as gilded prose, but the words will still carry some heart messages that convey what the possessed lover intended.

Being a ‘charter member’ of The Romantic Anonymous Club of Misfits and Sly Scoundrels, I am drawn to the soft violin strings, the meticulous wafting notes of a harp – which, at times, has drawn me to the lovely Harpist – and the gentle soul-seeking keys of a piano. Ask any active member of the TRACMSS, and they will validate my wordsif they do not, they will be heavily fined.

Some readers might question the value, the worth of such a blog post… C’mon, man, who wants to read about this kind of stuff? Man and woman, meet – BOOM – they get it on. End of story.

I will not pigeon-hole my readers. If they are truly too offended by my words here, it will actually please many of our TRACMSS club members…you know, without too many pickers, there are more luscious fruit on the trees.

At this point, allow me to explain the presumptive reason for this particular post…

On July 4, 2020 we celebrate our great country’s ‘Declaration of Independence’. This year, with all that has come upon us – the ‘Covid-19’ Pandemic’, the many deaths, the Isolation, the Masks, the trepidation of our people about future riots and the unrest of tens of millions of people – it somehow seemed appropriate to write about Love and Romance.

It will take a hellava lot from the bad folks who are creating all of this death and destruction to defeat the good people of our country. The good people of this country want freedom and liberty to stay its course, law and order to prevail, and government malfeasance to disappear – to STOP stealing our money.

So, on the fourth of July, My wife and I are going to put on some Mantovani, some harp music, some violin music, and some soft floating piano notes, and celebrate our Independence Day – and Evening – and, we won’t be forgetting candlelight and wine… By the by, that TRACMSS  CLUB is looking for members… We love belonging but it’s just the two of us.

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!

By BR Chitwood – July 3, 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.

*

download (1)

*

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

*

download (1)

*

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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The Truth of Kay – ‘aka Kate’ –

Image Art by: Christian Holzinger – Unsplash.com

*

©The Truth of Kay

AKA Kate’

by BR Chitwood

*

In a post a few days ago I wrote a post entitiled, ‘A Pimple on Her Cheek’. While the short story was all that I wished it to be, a lingering nostalgia occupied my mind…there was indeed more to that story from a past that will stay active in my oft wandering mind until the end of my time.

There was indeed a beautiful raven-haired lady named, ‘Kate’, her real name was ‘Kay’, an actual name, an actual person, with whom I shared in a past time some happy, sad, confused and affecting weeks and months, drinking the nectar of love which I had never ever really known…

I had just left a marriage and three children after ten swirling years of Appalachian Mind Control, that is to say, a mind unable at the time to catalog and make sense of the world around me, a mind too young to make reasoned choices and decisions, a mind too eager to go to the next moronic level.

With the divorce, I began my odd California wandering. Bakersfield was a favorite spot so I decided to settle there for a while in morose mind-handling, feeling sorry for myself, sipping my cocktails, in and out of sorrow with my thoughts about my beautiful kids, when…

Kay Bruce came into my life, and she was a wonderful elixir to my grieving soul, that prior Appalachian Mind Control thing. Not only was she a needed and wonderful tonic, she was also beautiful, so delightfully English, a smart lady with a refined accent, long dark hair, and a sympathetic cushion for my cluttered head filled with bible belt guilt, remorse, and self-serving melancholy.

Kay and I were together for a time and she pampered me with her love and her good cooking, tried to assuage my mind and soul quakes. We went to nice restaurants, even met the great Hoagy Carmichael’s son, Randy, he a pianist of the first order, and we had a few pal-around weeks…even met his father, Hoagy, at an Airport dinner. Hoagy was between stops.

Beautiful Kay, for whom I did care so much, loved me, fed me her wonderfully prepared meals, and I fear I might have broken her heart. Too unsettled, at a crossroad in my life at which I could not emotionally deal or maturely understand. Hmm, perhaps that is still so.

Beautiful Kay, a singer with a lovely voice, while singing a wistful song of love and loss, all the while sadly and steadily looking at me as I sat solemn at the lounge bar of the nightclub. With tears about to come from a place of pain and poignancy on both our faces, I left the lounge and drove off into the night – where the tears did fall and I felt as small as a man could ever be.

That was the last time I saw the lady of beauty and love, but the haunt of her memory is there in the darkness as I try to sleep with all the crowded days and nights of yesterday.

Beautiful Kay, so many years have passed and yet your memory will never leave me.

I pray your life has found much happiness in it… Shortly after our time together I wrote a ballad for you. Were it possible, I would, together with Randy Carmichael, hop the first Time Machine to where you are, and I would sing it for you.

Here are the words…sing them softly, Kay. Bless you, dear Lady…

*

©Eyes That Dance

So beautiful the night

So beautiful and bright

So wrapped up in delight

Am I…

With you here near to me

Then heaven cannot be

So very far away,

Just but a kiss away,

Oh, you,

With the eyes that dance.

Eyes that dance,

Eyes that dance,

Put me in a trance,

I don’t stand a chance –

I’m in love with the night

So beautiful,

And, you,

With the eyes that dance.

©by BR Chitwood

May 22. 2020

[Please forgive my huge Romantic, generational leap back!]

*

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Happy Mother’s Day, Mom

 Happy Mother’s Day, Mom

By a Grateful Son

 We have not figured out this riddle down here, Mom:

The mood shifts,

The happy faces,

The lonely times,

The Haves

The Have Nots,

The Love,

The Hate,

The Good,

The Evil.

Hearkens me back to Childhood days with you, Mom:

Boarding house days,

Your home cooking,

Your long work hours,

Your difficult choices,

Your body bruises,

Your reassuring smiles,

Your devotion to God,

Your heart’s charity,

Your devotion to Family.

 *

Your Love was shown in so many ways, Mom:

Through the gentle bedtime caress,

Through the selfless hours of toil,

Through the Faith you never lost,

Through countless heart agonies,

Through days of grievous pain,

Through a tangled life and time,

Through courage and hardship,

Through unimaginable sorrow,

Through all seasons and times.

*

My wish is that you know my forever Love,

There, where you now abide with God.

There in a safe and sacred dimension,

There in the Love and Grace you sought.

There surely where you can now smile,

There where you watch in milli-seconds,

There where the good and righteous dwell,

There where Mortals can only imagine,

There where Earth’s mysteries are riddles no more,

There I wish to be with you and eternal Love.

*

In Memory of my departed Mom

By BR Chitwood – May 10, 2020

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The Power Merchants

The Power Merchants

I cannot stop writing, so I’m throwing another book out there, and, hey, Twilight and back to my beloved desert in Arizona has given me either a brain-strain or a pleasant sense of longevity.

Whatever the hell it is, I am in step with it. The mind seems to be working well until I miss putting a period at the end of a sentence.

The book is the thing, though, and I’m feeling spry enough to say this novel of over 40,000 words is one of my best, tho I thought “Mama’s Madness” or “Stranger Abduction” or “A Common Evil” or “An Arizona Tragedy” or “Dominique” or – okay, I’ll stop ‘showing off’ – would bring me a small zephyr of success. Coupled with my lack of book marketing sense and my trying to be a comedian at the same time have completely embarrassed me to the point of tears. It is okay if grown men cry…a lot.

The book, dummy, get to the book.

The Power Merchants has a lot of themes about which to narrate: Love, Murder, Love (oops), Political Intrigue (or, Disgust, if most of you prefer), and our ‘Isolation Pet’, Covid-19, and our world today, drawing it all down to Scottsdale, AZ, the US, and, well, the world.

Putting Charlie McCarthy away for the Summer, here, please, just read ‘The Prologue’ and ‘Chapter One’ for free, decide if it might be a novel you want to read further. I am in the final stages of editing, so the book will be out in a week or so.

The only commitment I need is that all 500,000 of you lovely people BUY the book AND write AMAZON REVIEWS, and the first 100,000 people get their costs back. That is not so tough, right?

(Charly, you are down for the Summer. Be quiet, please.)

He is just kidding around, folks.

Can you let me know how you like the book cover?

Believe me, this is my best work since my last twenty books. Without that ‘further ado’ some people talk about, I give you the Prologue and a scary Chapter One

Please, enjoy.

*

[From BR Chitwood’s – May 2020 novel:

“The Power Merchants”]

*

Prologue

She was a dazzling lady with long platinum hair in a perfect rhythmic bounce on her shoulders, without a stray maverick wisp out of place. Her cameo face, a near gemstone carved by a Master, her joyous blue eyes twinkling as she walked toward me. Her tanned body was covered by a soft mauve fabric that possessively clung to every curve of her body with every magical step she took. She could have been a Hollywood starlet made up beautifully for her role in an epic movie, portraying a ‘golden girl’ of Hollywood’s early days.

Watching her approach, I stole a glance over each of my shoulders to see if she was making those erogenous steps for me or someone behind me.

No one behind me, just a wall I forgot was there. OMG, she is walking to me.

With a coquettish smile of full lips made up of a soft and non-glaring shade of red matching her dress, she took loveliness to a completely new standard. She came to a stop at my high table and stools. All eyes in the posh Princess VP Lounge were upon her as she strode elegantly toward me.

She spoke and her voice matched all the rest of her, like mellow harp music in a grand arbor of lilacs and roses.

“You are Bradley Benedict and you match perfectly the description given of the gentleman with whom I was asked to keep company this evening – in a ‘nice way’, of course.” She gave me another erogenous move that I suspected no other woman could ever duplicate.”

I attempted a response, but she was obviously not through with her introduction…

“Do you mind terribly, Bradley, if we go to the lower tables and cushiony chairs in the Princess Dinner Lounge? It is more comfortable, and the music is so soft and pleasant there.”

“I don’t suppose…” The lounge music began its long session, and she was unable to hear me above the rumble of drums, bass, guitar, and horn.

I stood, smiled, loudly told the waiter to transfer my tab to the restaurant lounge, and the lovely lady and I strolled slowly the short distance to the other, more sedate, lounge.

The Princess Lounge was a large intimate room clothed in a magical lighting that seemed to sweep through the room with unobtrusive and delicate alternating shades of pleasing colors – if the shades were colors at all, but only subtle shifts at certain locations of the room. I could never tire of this lounge were I to have dinner with a special someone like the gorgeous lady who just joined me. The room was elegant in its leather comfort and sundry accouterments – fresh flowers, their scents an intoxicating pleasure in breathing, sculptures of high quality, notable portraits of prominent dignitaries on the golden-hued walls. The Princess Dinner Lounge was the epitome of consummate beauty, luxury and refinement.

In this truly magnificent environment, our drinks ordered, I spoke: “This is quite sudden, but then, how could I not accept such an offer from one so beautiful? You have me awkwardly off-balance, lovely lady. You know my name. I don’t know yours.”

“Christie Conway. Oh, Bradley, this lounge takes my breath away in its beauty.”

She paused, about to say something else, so I asked: “Yes, it is a magnificent room, and I’m delighted you like it. May I ask: to whom do I owe for such lovely company this evening? I can hardly wait for the answer to that question.”

With a slight shift in her soft lounge chair and a subtle smile that invited me to end all protocols, to rise from my own comfortable chair, to take a stride to her side, to lean and kiss those luscious lips, she said, “I’m sorry, Bradley, I’m sworn to secrecy.”

When I recovered from that impulsive moment, I responded. “So, are you with an agency that caters to requests like, ‘keeping company’ with men who might be in the throes of divorce, middle-age, or senility?”

“You know, it just occurred to me, we have names that form ‘BB’ and ‘CC’. Can we use those initials tonight?” Ah, she was changing the subject.

“And, pretty Miss, you didn’t answer my question. Are you with an agency, CC?”

“No, BB. I’m an unworking actress.”

“Here in Phoenix? Wait, wait, I have seen you on TV commercials. Did you act in California on one of the daily ‘soaps’?”

“Yes, and yes.”

“Okay, tell me, what is this all about? Is someone playing a colossal joke on me?”

“I don’t know about that, BB. I was just paid to give you company at dinner and to give you an envelope at my departure.”

CC reached into her purse and pulled out a small manila envelope.

I reached for the envelope, and she pulled it out of my reach and said: “I was told to give it to you upon my leaving tonight, so, if you want to skip buying me dinner I’ll give the envelope to you now, and leave.” She smiled sweetly.

“Would you like to leave now, CC?”

“No. I find you a handsome man, easy to talk to. I think we would have a fun evening, again, in a ‘nice way’.”

“I’m flattered. Thank you. Can you tell me anything about the person or persons who asked you to be here tonight? You are beautiful, and I would love to buy you dinner and spend the evening with you – in a ‘nice way’.” I smiled but I was sure the smile and eyebrow lift conveyed no gallantry at all.

“I was only told by the agency to be here tonight. The agency gets a percentage of the money. I can only say that I would not expect my agency to send me out for anything not lawful.”

Soft romantic music began to flow through the hidden speakers, audible enough to enhance and please any mode of conversation.

We talked, had dinner, and, at our parting in the parking lot we instinctively kissed – not a kiss of lovers but with perhaps a hint of that ‘goal’ in mind. She handed me the envelope and walked away to her car, stopping once to look back and give me a wave. That had to mean something.

Yeah, she was making sure you were not following her.

I absently put the envelope in my sport coat inside pocket and went to my car.

My mind berated me with thoughts…

You dummy. No phone number. No address. You are daft.

I tried, but she changed the subject.

You should have tried again. You are some ‘Romeo’.

*

Chapter One

The bikini-clad blonde on the large billboard looked down on me with a smile that said she loved me, and some uncontrollable part of me had the gall to convince my middle anatomy to get alert for action. That, as a full-body numbing buzz came and filled my total awareness with razor-sharp pains in all parts of my disabled bone and flesh.

First, though, I needed to remember why the hell I was lying in this ditch some fifty yards from what looked like a state highway. The area was too isolated to be a major road. At this point I saw no traffic at all.

Uh-oh, another sharp jolt just sparked my brain, letting me know where the pain was coming from. Just when I figured the pain was coming from the right side of my body and figured it was time for me to move, the left side of my head near the eye urgently warned me, ‘do not move quite yet’.

I closed my eyes tightly as though that might offer some sanity to the moment, but it only added to the pain. After softly touching my rib cage, carefully moving my feet and hands, after touching a spot above my left forehead, I felt the large wide lump with a long gaping valley running along my forehead, I let out a sharp cry when I touched bone some centimeters down, a half-inch above the eyebrow. The exquisite pain threw me back, slamming my head into a boulder I did not know was there, and one more yell came. With the yell came more pain, and some part of the engine inside me was fit enough to allow me some self-pity.

Self-Pity?

How did I get to self-pity when I did not even know my name? For whatever the stupidity, that thought had a consoling effect.

I lay there, not moving because both sides of my body were denying that simple task. So, I lay there, thinking. How the hell did I get here? That thought was swallowed up with the previous jarring truth. I did not know who and what to call me.

I did not know me.

Oh, my God.

The panic now lodged there in my crowded brain made me try again to get up out of the ditch, but I only fell back to my earthen bed of the moment – dusty earth, gravel, and the afore-mentioned boulder.

Some knowledge bade me take long deep breaths and not try to figure it all out. I guess some ruling gene from the cranial pool was trying to settle me down with the fact that my mind and body were going through a totally awesome shut-down, and, again, how do I get ‘there’ when I don’t even know my name and how and why fate put me here?

I lay there, taking deep breaths until sharp stabbing ouches hit me. I tried to calm my thinking. All events have reasons, good and bad. It would come to me. ‘Just relax’, I kept telling myself.

Lying still there, the pain was not so bad, and that bikini-blonde beauty was still trying to get me erected. In this state of pain, how the hell can that be?

Smiling lamely and with pain at my silly thoughts I kept my gaze on the billboard.

At some point, I felt like I was going to pass out, a slow swooning sensation, not pain so much.

That is when I heard movement among the dirt and gravel.

The thoughts came hard and fast. What can I do? I can hardly move.

Then I screamed at what I saw within ten feet of me.

It was a Mojave Rattlesnake.

Once again, how the deuce would I know about Mojave rattlesnakes when I do not even know my name? Then, another weird thought hit me, a movie I saw – Harrison Ford in Temple of Doom. Indiana Jones hated snakes, and he ran like hell from them.

That thought came at me from Hell’s murky furnace, and, hating snakes with good movie company, I rushed on ‘auto-pilot’ to get up, and the excruciating pain took me back to sudden darkness on my earthen bed of dirt and gravel.

Thoughts can be obnoxious – my last bit of thinking as the pain took me again to the nether world of abject unconsciousness: at least I will not see the wiggly bastard finish me off…

*****

Okay, you friends and readers out there, that is all you get for now, so, let me know your thoughts.

 Best wishes to all.

BR Chitwood – 5/1/20

 *

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