A Heart Thing

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A Heart Thing

-Flash Fiction by BR Chitwood-

*

What was I doing here? It seemed a sad inertia was in control of my body.

Beautiful, yes, this sand and sun part of the world! And, it was a promise my heart compelled me to keep…after so many tears and a fragile restoration from the pain and finality of impending death. Those who have lost the warm cloak of love will know of what I write.

Before coming inside to sit on the big bed to write my thoughts of desperation and longing, I stood on the 9th floor balcony of the ‘Royal Tower’ and gazed out over the beauty that is all of Paradise Island Bahamas.

Close to my tower, people and kids watched the feeding of large Manta rays, while, in the next large pool, loud cheering came from children and their parents as brothers and sisters slid quickly down the steep, thick, clear round-tube through water where sharks swam all around them. My wan smile of acknowledgment came and lingered briefly from the shrieks of play and excitement in the large pool below.

I began my writing…

This is for you, Johnny, these words my heart and soul convey, words which I pray will give me sustenance to continue life – a tenuous blur in my mind during the past few days…

We spoke of coming here to the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort just two months ago at our most beautiful first anniversary dinner, one week before your cancer diagnosis came from your doctor. As always, you faced that awful information in your fashion, showing your acceptance and lack of concern. “Hey,” you said, “doctors make mistakes! I feel great and plan on living for many years with my lovely bride.” You kissed me softly on the lips and gave me your brave smile.

On our arrival home, I tried, too, for bravery, but failed. You saw my tears, gathered me in your arms, carried me to our bed and slowly, with moments of playful tease and tormenting delays, made spectacular love to me. You made me momentarily forget the terrible news of the diagnosis.

The days that followed were much the same. You took me with you on your business trip to Seattle, even allowed me to be present during your major appointments. You would not be without me for a moment. My love for you, always at its highest point, came near to eruption, to the degree of silly school girl antics. I clung to you, stopped on the busy sidewalks of Seattle to embrace, kiss you, in such a state of euphoria that I could almost forget the dreadful cancer news…almost! It hovered just above my consciousness, bringing deep dips of sorrow at the prospect of losing you.

Then, there came the Tuesday telephone call from doctor Dearfield’s office. You were to check into the Holy Cross Hospital at 8:00 AM the next day to start treatments. From your soft and inaudible voice while talking to the doctor, I knew the seriousness of the situation. I also saw the momentary closings of your eyes and the dropped chin.

After the phone call with the doctor, you insisted, without allowing my dissent, that night would be our last together. Your arguments were selfish, you said, that you would not allow me to see your declining days of health caused by Cancer’s newest treatments, including sessions of Chemo therapy. You made me promise not to show up at the hospital. You gave me the first-class ticket to Nassau, booked my ‘top priority’ suite at the Atlantis Bahamas for a three-week stay. You said, if the news proved good, you would be joining me at Atlantis. If the news were negative, our Tuesday night would be our last night until we met in God’s eternity. We were locked in each other’s arms all that night, me, saying silent prayers…

I stopped writing when tears began blurring my pages. I was hopelessly lost in my lassitude, laid back on the bed until feelings of anxiety hit me, got up, left the lovely suite and walked aimlessly around the grand resort.

Below ground, I walked along the thick concrete walls of the world’s largest marine exhibit, passing within three feet of all kinds of exhibits, sharks, rays, all kinds of water life, swimming up to the thick glass enclosure where families touched them safely via the glass. Even in a lethargic state, I managed to find some minimal escape from my despair.

After walking up and through the large casino, I returned to my room. It was 5:00 PM. I took a sleeping pill and soon fell asleep among the tear-blotted pages written some hours earlier.

For the next few days, it was much the same for me, ordering room service food, eating only parts of it, picking up the pen to write more thoughts on paper and giving up when the tears came. Johnny’s face I saw as an image on the glass sliding doors to the balcony, on the bathroom mirrors, in my mind when eyes were closed. The weather outside was beautiful, and, even in my grief, I could understand the popularity of this paradise.

Even with the beauty of Paradise Island, the walls closed in on me, forcing my movement, either to the pool area or the beach.

On Friday morning of my second week, I awoke with the same torpid lack of mobility, dregs from the sleeping pills, ordered room service coffee and eggs Benedict, drank the coffee, left most of the eggs Benedict. I picked up my pen to write more about Johnny, and, again, began crying.

Outside the weather was all sun and blue skies. I took off my pajamas and put on my bikini, grabbed a beach towel and noticed I was still wearing the last gift Johnny had given to me – an elegant diamond-studded pendant with a lush heart-shaped Garnet gem. I placed the pendant on the dresser, lingered over it for a few seconds until the tears thought about returning, and walked out the door.

The sun felt strangely good on my body, adding pleasantly to my lethargy. I tried not to think, but it was impossible. Johnny was so solidly in my thoughts, and I truly wondered if I could live without him. I turned my body on the beach towel to the tummy, my back needing some sun.

As I lay there on my tummy, my face upon my folded arms, eyes closed, reliving memories, I felt something drop to the sand in front of my face, a few sprinkles of sand touching my forehead.

Impulsively, I raised my head and glanced at the sand in front of me.

My heart skipped several beats! My head and entire body was tingling with titillating thoughts.

Quickly, I turned over onto my back and sat up.

Standing above me with a wide grin on his face was Johnny!

“Oh, my God! Oh, my God!” I blurted and jumped from the beach towel and threw myself into his open arms.

“You just buried your Garnet pendant!” he said, with a mock sneer. “That cost me a few bucks, you know! And you leave it on a dresser in a resort?”

“Oh, Johnny, Johnny!” I sighed deeply, “You’re here… Are you cured?” I kissed him so much he couldn’t answer.

He finally disengaged enough to mutter: “You ever hear of ‘remission’? That’s me! The ‘Remission’ man! On a mission to re-claim my lovely, lovely bride. Shall we get a drink and celebrate?”

“Not just a drink, Johnny! I have a lot more in mind for you!” A quick thought hit me. “That is, unless…” in my stuttering way, “there are health issues.” I gave him my raised eyebrows and soft smile.

Johnny slapped me on my ‘buns’, smiled broadly, and said, “Bring it on, baby! I’m up to the task!”

“Make that, ‘tasks’, please, Johnny!”

Flash Fiction by BR Chitwood – From My Archives

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Paradise Island Bahamas

Desperate Days of Winter

Desperate Days of Winter

The soul of man must feel the season of death, those December days and nights when the body’s joints stiffen and the morning strides become shorter from bedroom to bathroom, when the hot-faucet’s cold water takes so long to warm – and even the ‘recirculation system’ seems reluctant to work as advertised.

Aside from the lack of body comfort, the December months can easily take mind-trips to the gray fringes of thought, can speak of death and dying, can take an old man down a snowy memory lane to a younger day when December was still cold but also a time to rejoice, to feel the warmth of friendship, love, of gift-giving to those in need, of magical gladness and good will, of a little Baby lying in a small barn-stall in Bethlehem while Wise Men made their way to his manger to rejoice in His birth, and the stars marked their way.

An old man can think of the days that were but are not so much anymore, a day when it was not just okay but natural to say, ‘Merry Christmas’, a day when it was okay for mistletoe and kissing, a day when politics took a holiday as well as the people, a day when it was not so grim and ugly to be a democrat or a republican.

An old man can think of so many things in his desperate December because the world has gone on without him, to sing new songs to new generations with a panoply of new appetites and feelings, with actions and words alien to his golden years, with surprising new wishes for the world he will be leaving behind. The old man is mired there in that remote and desperate December, still with a modicum of hope that his family and its generations to follow will have a world that offers democracy, freedom, and the liberty to fulfill their wildest dreams.

The old man can still dream, still write his stories and, while he can have times of desperation in December, there is always a January and a new beginning.

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!!!

Billy Ray Chitwood – December 10, 2018

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♥♥♥

THE BRUTUS GATE – And Me

Continue reading “THE BRUTUS GATE – And Me”

“Ma”

“Ma, Pa wants to seeya down at the barn…”

“Ma, didn’t ya heah me? Pa wants to seeya down at the barn?”

“Ma, stop staring off in the distance thar, Ma… Doggone it, Ma, stop churning Old Bessie’s milk and makin yur butter… Pa wants to seeya down at the barn. Pa sent me to tellya, Ma.”

“Ma, you alright? You scuring me, Ma! You in one a’them trances?”

“Homer, why yu tuchin my knee? Yu scured me, boy. I was athinkin ’bout Pa, when he was younger and we wur coortin. Ah, he was sum kinda hansum, Homer… Well, whatta ya want, Homer?”

“I tolya three-four times already, Ma. Pa wants you down at the barn.”

“Well, why is he wantun me, Homer?”

“I dunno, Ma, but that fool mule, ‘Fred’, just stepped on Pa’s foot and Pa’s setting rite in the middle of a pile of ‘Fred’s’ wastings.”

“My Lordie be! You telling me your Pa fell into ‘Fred’s’ number two?”

“That’s what I’m tellinya, Ma, and Pa ain’t too happy ’bout it, I can tellya that! He’s madder than a fit of hornets.”

“Well, Homer, you go tell yur Pa to just set easy – tee hee – and I’ll be thar as soon as this churning’s done. I’ll bring water and clean ‘im up. Git along now.”

“But, Ma, Pa needs ya noaw!”

“Hush, now, Homer, don’t yu be sassin me. Git on, now, and tell yur Pa I’m on my way reel soon. Go on noaw, I’m almost finished with this here churnin!”

Ma broke out laffing as Homer broke out running back to the barn.

Billy Ray Chitwood – For Linda’s SoSC Saturday – December 1, 2018

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About My Writing

My love for writing began at an early age with simple poetry and words. Those words conveyed some wistful thoughts or wishes, but writing has always been, from the very beginning, my personal psychiatrist, my place for bravado, hopes, dreams, despair, loneliness. In my privacy I’ve performed for myself, emulating my favorite vocalists of the day by singing in the shower or while taking my trips in the car. I’ve play-acted scenes from some favorite movies…in short, always using words to describe my feelings, my dreams, my downs, my ups. A rather fanciful young fellow was I…when all alone.

The fictional books I write are as much about me as they are about the plot-lines found within their pages. It seems my life has been a long quixotic mystery to me. Some poems and thoughts I’ve written on bar room napkins, motel stationery, on the back of business cards, and on the StarWriter of the day or the current laptop. Some of the attributes I give to some of my characters I draw from my own, even some not so squeaky clean. Hey, it’s tough being ‘me’!

In all that I’ve written, there are pieces of me – in the characters that adorn my books, in the mysteries that hold my fascination, in the down moods, the up moods, and the in-between moods. Those pieces of me are not arcane and complicated because I likely could not write a Robert Ludlum, Nelson DeMille, or a John Grisham book, clearly authors of meticulous and thoroughly enjoyable characters and events.

As I write this post, I have penned seventeen books, some 400 blog posts, numerous ‘flash fiction’ items, short stories, and songs of love. If all my witings are coupled with my short tenure in ‘teaching’ the subject, one would think I could write. Well, surely I can, but perhaps not to the eagle eyes of publishing house editors. Of course, I allow for the crispness and excitement of the stories as well. Perhaps I’m too close to my stories and see them far more crisp and exciting than do editors.

Am I a traditionally published author? No, I’m one of the multi-million authors called INDIES. Do I think my writing is good enough to be published by a traditional publisher? With a healthy whimsy, I can quickly answer resoundingly, yes, but the question needs to be answered with honesty. Likely, I am not good enough to be traditionally published. I’ve submitted and been rejected a number of times.

So, I roll on, adding to my portfolio of writing, still ‘young of heart’ enough to dream of success and riches. Well, perhaps not so much the ‘riches’ as the success, NOT that I’m negative to wealth, heavens no! Hardly anyone I know would be adverse to riches. Perhaps, had we riches, we could help those who through no fault of their own cannot quite make it. In any case we should not deny opportunities to support those in real need.

So, now, as the wicker in my candle grows shorter, I’m still “Anchors Away” with my writing, still tapping the laptop keys, still trying to find some pieces of me hidden and unknown, some missing parts of my youth that haunt me, that beg to be found. I intend to keep on digging in the dirt and gravel of my past, and I’ll for sure let you know what I come up with. Just remember, though, I’ve got a tender heart.

It is not so esoteric as one might imagine. The easy way to be done with it all is to say, ‘I ate some emotional soup as a kid and I’m still trying to digest it’! I’m relatively certain there is no way I could be the only one wandering along in a romantic and wanderlust life. My bet is, I’ve got soul mates all over the world. If they’re not writing their own books, I’m inviting them to read my offerings. There has to be some ‘matches’ out there in this big old orbiting craft.

So, I will write until ‘Old Bessie’ comes home for milking, her brass bell tinkling with each slow step she takes, until some magical event occurs that signals me out for success in this world of writing, In my youth I rounded up ‘Old Bessie’, the cow, and herded her home for evening milking. I loved ‘Old Bessie’ and it was one job on the farm I didn’t mind. Now, I also loved my Aunt Bessie, so you ladies out there with the good name of Bessie, you bear a most noble name.

Knowing my lack of marketing skills, and, being realistic along with my nomadic and wandering soul, I suspect that magical event will just stay aloft or wherever it is and allow me to keep on writing, Once in a while my writing can turn people on. Maybe that’s enough. Well, take the ‘maybe’ away – it just might have to be enough.

How ’bout You? Wander over and take a peek on my Website –  https://billyraychitwood.com , read a synopsis or two or three or four or more and see if one of my books might turn you on. You will find books of mystery, romance, suspense, thrillers, most of which are inspired by real life situations. There are a couple of memoirs as well that cover me with a might too much accuracy… Just saying.

Billy Ray Chitwood – November 29, 2018

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“Role and Roll”

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“Role and Roll”

(Not to be confused with: ‘Rock and Roll’)

“Have you ever eaten a roll while playing a role?”

“What! Ah, you’re doing another one of Linda’s ‘prompt’ things, right? Role and roll, right?”

“Well, yeah! So, I know you were an actor…did you ever eat a roll while playing a role?”

“Yeah, I ate a roll while playing a role! Now, can I get back to my book?”

“The book you’re writing! You write about the rolls you ate while playing your roles?”

“Oh, for Pete’s sake! You’re bound to do this, interrupt me with your stupid ‘prompt’ for role and roll… No, I don’t write about the rolls I ate while playing my roles! Now, put a roll in your mouth and play the role of quiet mouse!”

“I know what you’re doing! You’re playing a role, being mad at me, right? Here, have a cinnamon/raisin roll!”

“I’m going to throttle you! You’re just trying to roll over me with this role-playing crap. You do this every week when Linda does her prompts! And, you play this role every week! AND, no, I don’t want your cinnamon/raisin roll…and, dammit, I like my cinnamon/raisin rolls with a glass of milk…”

“Okay, okay! If you’re going to play this role with me, I’ll get you a glass of milk to go with your cinnamon/raisin roll.”

“Give me a really tall glass of milk for these three cinnamon/raisin rolls I’m going to eat for this stupid role I’m playing.”

“Really! Three cinnamon/raisin rolls! My role only calls for you to eat one, because I like cinnamon/raisin rolls, too, a lot, and I only made six!”

“That’s it, this role-playing has got to stop. My three rolls for YOUR role-playing still leaves you three rolls to eat. It’s a small price for you to pay, interrupting my important writing role. The cinnamon/raisin rolls are good, but no more ‘Linda Prompts” while I’m in my writing role. I appreciate your rolls, but I’ve got to get back into this writing role. Kabish, Kook?”

“Well, if you’re going to be crude and rude, I’m taking my rolls and leaving for brighter roles people will play when I engage them.”

“Now you’re talking, Sylvester! Leaving my writing room so I can eat my cinnamon/raisin rolls while in my writing role is the best news I’ve had for ten minutes!”

“You think we did enough role-playing for Linda’s prompt, Homer? Here, take my third roll! I just dropped it on the floor.”

“Dropped it on the floor! Well, that roll can’t be that badly soiled, as long as the cats haven’t been up to their roles of leaving cat-hair and dead little bugs on the floor… I’m impressed with your Chef-role, Sylvester…go make some more cinnamon/raisin rolls.”

(Under his breath) “Geez, you’d think the prompt was ‘cinnamon/raisin rolls’!”

Billy Ray Chitwood – November 17, 2018

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Bad Day on the Laptop

Bad Day on the Laptop

May I say? In all humility, the digital world truly sucks!

The digital world is like a zany puzzle that doesn’t know what it wants to be, crossword or otherwise. How many frigging minds are destroyed by its wacky configurations? I Hate You, Internet! In all humility!

It is as though those who put all the strange turns and twists to this digital empire smile with elitist glee because THEY KNOW what it’s all about, and everyone outside their ranks will have to pay dearly for their knowledge, like, buying a brand new laptop every year because of its promise to do more than the one you just bought six months ago…you Idiot! Me, Idiot! You, Tarzan, big man!

Yes, it’s a frigging elite club to whom only those who have bizarre technical skills can belong. All others: here, have some scraps of our earlier too mucky bulky, too easy gizmos with which we can no longer torment you; here, you poor saps who put up with the gyrations, constant aggravations, try these new and better applications, add more to your insane cravings; here, you dumb non-nerds, have an elixir WE put together just for you, an ‘SEO Friendly Content Download’ to go with your WORD PROGRAM – you will love it! Oh, AND good luck downloading it with all our (heh, heh!) easy as pie explanations. (Heh, heh!)

May I say, ‘Go to HELL with your satanic torturing of one’s mind and ego. Up yours! I can’t be more hostile because the frigging ‘Space Cadet Internet Cops’ will come and put me out of my misery.

May I say, ‘Up your YING-YANGS, you merciless bunch of societal rejects. May all your stupid circuit boards turn on you and make you the morons you’ve tried to make me! Oh, hell, who am I kidding! the moron you’ve made me!

AND, for those of you who somehow kept your sanity and mastered this damned time-consuming nano-piece of nothing and walk around acting like ‘know-it-alls’ with smiles on your stupid faces, up yours, too!

May I say, I hate you!

AND, will the ‘Internet Ward Nurse’ take this damned straightjacket off me? It’s difficult typing with my proboscis!

Hate You!

Hate You!

Hate You!

Billy Ray Chitwood – November 15, 2018

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There is Room

There is Room

  Along the lonely road I met an old man who sang a soft melodic song that spoke to me in so many ways, his gnarled fingers chording an old guitar that seemed to know so exactly, so enchantingly, and so beautifully where his sad and lonely words were going.

  I stood and listened until his song ended, mesmerized by the sounds and the words. My tears were his tears, his tears mine, and his song was my song, words, music, and all.

  When I awoke the tears still flowed down my cheeks, the words and music of the song would lay upon me in the twilight of my days.

*

There is Room

There is room for you here – it’s not so crowded, now that night is over and the demon sleeps in his coffin of forgetfulness…

There is room beside me, though the heat in my body has dwelled for a while in the dampness of the past heroic epic of chance…

There is room for you here by this still infernal longing of my soul that speaks to me of a thousand things I could have done…

There is room beside the silent tempest that yet rages within the bounds my mind can reach in too much absurdity…

There is room here in the twilight of a life spent recklessly and with oft a hope some willing star would enter its pitiable tenderness…

There is room here near the weariness from joys sought, found, and lost through carelessness of one final salute to Bacchus…

There is room here among the decay of confusion and doubt, among the abandoned hearts of love’s labor lost, sought and found…

Come join me – read my tales, hear my soul’s somber chorus, hear a fool awaking to a yawning maw of darkness and despair…

There is room…

*

Billy Ray Chitwood – November 12, 2018

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SIMPLY SILLY

Simply Silly

Sweet Sarah Sat Silently, Softly Singing Simple Songs, Sharing Syllables Synchronized So Sea Shells Steadily Splashed Soothingly Shorebound, Silencing Sounds Shouted Shrilly, Squashed Surely Since Sarah Sat Safely Spaced-out Smoking Silly-weed! 

Silly Say Shitwood

AKA

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The First 5-Star Review

THE FIRST 5-STAR REVIEW

FOR

“The Pickett Factor”

5.0 out of 5 stars: Billy Ray Chitwood does it again!

by Dr. Timothy Tays

November 4, 2018

Format: Kindle Edition

I’ve come to expect solid storytelling from Mr. Chitwood and was not disappointed in his most recent effort. In fact, I was delighted that he once again created characters I loved to hate, scary characters, and heroic characters as well. His plotting is always strong, but it’s his characters that bring his mysteries to life (e.g., “Zig” and “Ape” are especially compelling in this story, two bad guys I found myself rooting for.). So, yet another gritty pageturner from one of our best mystery novelists. Highly recomended for lovers of crime fiction.

BUY SITES:

AMAZON US

AMAZON UK

AMAZON CANADA

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