Friday, December 31, 2010

Stay Just As You Are

Harry B. Sanderford

It was coming clear to God that his booze-fueled midnight resolution to quit smoking, drinking, lose weight, and keep a more watchful eye on his cholesterol and sodium may have exceeded his actual resolve. He knew he wasn't getting any younger, but it was only 10:30 am and already he was chomping two packs of Trident and calculating angles that might justify his taking a wee hair of the dog. It'd been a hell of a party and he was slowly piecing together certain cloudy events that might just require his passing out apologies when he bit down hard and finally, truly, understood that verse in "Ole Dan Tucker" about Dan dying, "with a toothache in his heel." Howling oaths unblessed, the normally benevolent deity spat out a filling along with the glob of sugarless gum and when he was finally finished taking his own name in vain, he smote four out of five dentists with nary a thought and upon a moment's reflection, smote that contrary fifth one just for good measure. Later he would reconsider this reaction and think it perhaps a bit severe, but for now it felt like old times and it was good. 'Happy New Year', he thought as he sparked a blue-tip match to life with a thumbnail and set fire to his first Cohiba of the new year.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Harry B. Sanderford

Maggie leaned her forehead against the cool glass of the Greyhound bus window. Over the river and through the woods, she thought watching the snow west of Interstate 95 melt away into skinny pines and palmettos. 
Brunswick 2, Jacksonville 70, slid by riding a green rectangle.
It had been fifteen years since she’d been south of Atlanta, twenty since she’d been home. A lifetime, she thought shifting position to stretch her legs. As a young girl her curiosity and ambition had been far too great to be contained in any small town. Maggie grabbed her diploma, loaded her Corolla and left Middleburg and everyone in it behind like shoes that no longer fit, to run barefoot out into the world.
She flipped a coin at Interstate 10 to choose between Hollywood and New York City. Heads, the Big Apple. Tails, Tinsel Town. Heads it was, so she stayed on 95 North and headed for the Empire City.
She did ok there too, better than most. A pretty girl and smarter than some, she found work right away. She modeled for catalogs at first. An agent spotted her in J.C. Penney Ready To Wear and soon a couple of local commercials, then a part in a sitcom pilot came her way.  From there, she was off and running. The good life came easy, but it did not come free.
 Big Talbot Island State Park, I-10 Baldwin, Maclenny 2
Maggie arched her back and rolled her head side to side working out a kink. She’d been to so many exciting new places and met so many new people. She’d fallen in and out of love maybe a time or two more than she cared to recall. In the end, how much of it really mattered? Her name was short for Magnolia, not Margaret like most would guess. All those winters spent with the terribly cool and sometimes the down-right cold, had taught her one thing; not every tree is meant to drop its leaves and stand stoically awaiting the arrival of spring.
Lakeside, Middleburg 3
Florida was a coin she tossed. How could it now be burning a hole in her pocket? All she knew was, the closer she got, the more she just missed home. She wondered how home might feel about her. She had not called ahead so nobody met her at the depot. It wasn’t so far now.  She picked up her suitcase to walk the last leg of her journey down the dirt road that led home. At the crossroads where her daddy’s property began, she sat down on her suitcase and lit a cigarette. Maggie had seen the foot-lights on Broadway, the bright lights of Time Square on New Year’s Eve, and surely the lights of Paris brought a tear to her eye, but it was a thousand feet of Christmas lights strung on a barbed wire fence in the middle of nowhere Florida, that finally made her break down and cry. 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sugar's Six For Santa

Harry B. Sanderford

All Sugar wants for Christmas is coffee in bed. She'd like just one long lazy morning with the Sunday paper strewn all over tarnation and Buck there beside her reading her funny and bizarre bits of news. Buck with his own brand of commentary of course, making her laugh and telling her she's pretty. He could light the wood stove and make blueberry pancakes while she looks over the sale ads, hollering to him when she spots a bargain. Maybe they'd work the crossword together while they ate, Buck making up words, Sugar rolling her eyes. After breakfast Buck might tell her she has syrup on her chin and then leaning in, kissing it away, find more on her cheek, her neck, her knee.

Sugar's been a good girl Santa

Monday, December 13, 2010

Dr. Ramsey M.D. W.W.B.R.D

Harry B. Sanderford

Dr. Ramsey cleaned his nails with a set of dollar store clippers emblazoned with WWJD, that he picked from a peg board wall of similarly monogrammed items ranging from flashlights to forceps. He thought about his patients who gave thanks to Jesus. It seemed to bring them such comfort but for the good doctor, only doubt. He may well be the truth and the light, the good doctor smirked clicking the switch on a plastic penlight, but apparently batteries are not always included.

Ramsey finished his one dollar manicure with the notion of faith still lingering. It wasn't that he begrudged his patients their beliefs, fact was he longed for something to believe in himself. Maybe I could adopt an acronymic life philosophy for myself, he thought tossing batteries, pickles and packing tape into the cart. He continued wandering the aisles gathering kitchen and office supplies and pondering life's mystery until eventually arriving in children's toys as if led by a divine hand to the peg-hooked beacon dangling before him.

Back in his car he tossed the rest of the one dollar disguise kit into the back seat, adjusted the mirror to smooth his new mustache, yelped a giddy laugh, and punching the pedal to the floor, sped off into his new life guided by a single philosophical question: What Would Burt Reynolds Do?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tough All Over

Harry B. Sanderford

What I'm talking about are people who genuinely believe they are struggling because the antique Persian rug they do their yoga on is made of wool and therefore is too scratchy. The economy being what it is, they fear they'll take a beating trading it on the silk one that will not chafe Mistress's knees. I'm talking about people with crab quiche on their breath and cars that never had a payment book or leaked important fluids on the driveway, looking me straight in the eye and telling me about hard times.

The gentleman of the manor has an insatiable penchant for fine art and times being what they are, now regularly calls upon my services. Telling me his story about the economy is his soft effort at driving a hard bargain. I just keep looking him in the eye as I help myself to a Cuban from his humidor, light it with the silver lighter next to it, and put the lighter in my pocket.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Tangerine Unforseen

by Zelda Martin & Harry B. Sanderford

Sadie was outside looking for the newspaper and cursing the cold, December wind, when she spotted a bright orange tangerine lying in the middle of the snow-covered driveway. Like a beautiful painting, the incongruent image of the citrus in the snow seized Sadie for a moment, eliciting laughter even as tears formed in her eyes and her heart swelled with what she would later decide was joy, then quickly sank with what she knew to be sorrow upon realizing that the pretty perishable was cradled not in the snow as first thought, but rather perched just above it on the frozen tips of a man's fingers. Her mind raced wildly, wondering if she should brush off the snow and see who the man was, or if she should dial 911, or just grab the tangerine and run back into the house and eat it. Sadie's deliberations were settled when she broke into a run, arms flailing, yelling, "Shoo, GO-Wan, SHOO!" at a great black crow who had swooped from the power line landing inches from the fruit; more amusing than frightening her feathery foe when she slipped on a slick spot and slid in a butt-first beeline towards the frozen man, the crow and the fruit. She hit the crow with one cheek, sending him cawing into the air, and the tangerine with the other cheek, sending it rolling down the drive, and then she ground to a halt, stuck on those cold, stiff fingers. Horrified, embarrassed, verging on hysteria and to be honest just a little turned on by the cool fella's glacial grope, Sadie whipped around to see if her indignity had been observed. Finding the crow her only witness, she watched him peck twice at the frosty fruit before abandoning it to resume his post on the wire. Then she screamed and nearly joined him there when she felt those fingers move.

Madam Z Rocks all by herself here:
Check her out!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Give And Take

Harry B. Sanderford

Having found himself incapable of affecting the necessary reparations, Malkovich resolved to dismantle his alley prize. His intention was to harvest the laser and some of the many small motors from inside and reassemble them as a kind of mutant kinetic laserium. He envisioned a robotic configuration that when placed beaming and whirling beneath a mottled glass bowl would transform his ceiling and walls into an extragalactic extravaganza. This new idea excited him even more than the original prospect of once again listening to his small CD collection had when he first discovered the old Sony. Sadly just as he commenced calculating counter cohesion coeficients, (hammer selection) Bradley "the brain" Buzzkill dropped by and informed him that the lasers he sought were not to be found, "in the belly of no ordinary alley audio." Deflated, Malkovich wondered at the conspiring forces of the universe while Bradley, not usually known for his glass-half-full disposition, passed a joint saying,"Good place to hide your weed though Dude."

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Future: Heartbreak Is Epidemic

Harry B. Sanderford

Death by broken heart has become so commonplace that the accumulating corpses of the unrequited are now nearly as ordinary and invisible as the homeless. Busy bluetoothed brigades of moving, shaking, go-getters kick ass, take names and absently text URGENT missives while merely stepping over and around the weak of heart. Recreational shoppers deftly steer overfull baskets in the direction of much, much, more with only a peripheral perception of the heaped up hopeless for whom the motto "shop till you drop" was just never enough. In the know hipsters have figured a clever loophole that allows them to hate the game and the players by only having sex with people they can't stand while listening to separate IPods. Survival of the fittest focuses a blind eye on a guarded heart and this too is evolution. Cobalt splashes on aftershave and cranks up Roxy Music's Love Is The Drug on his antique stereo, knowing full well the risk but unable to staunch the flow of cartoon hearts that stream embarrassingly from his head in Gina 3.7's presence.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Rebel Ravel

Harry B. Sanderford

Jericho eyed the tiny cockroach marching boldly down the tiles behind the filthy urinal he pissed waveringly over. No attendant to brush imaginary lint from his shoulders fishing for tips in this joint. It was Bike Week in Daytona Beach and he was a rebel running free. Screw the corporate stiffs! Not the first second thoughts regarding hastily made and perhaps poorly reasoned decisions chewed the edges of what remained of Eliott Bernard Gerard's better judgement. He knew real rebels rarely kept up payments on fourty thousand dollar motorcycles or riverside condos, and he knew he'd be passing out apologies and excuses to superiors in the morning, but for the moment, deadline and duty were only pestering gnats the Cuervo spared his swatting. Tonight Jericho was calling the shots and right now he had a pool game to lose, another round to buy and his eye on a skinny little tatooed lady with a foul mouth, fake tits and dirty feet. He zipped up, spat in the direction of the bug missing by tiles and kicked the flush handle with a Ferragamo heel.

Friday, November 5, 2010


Harry B. Sanderford

An untended Ferris wheel turns slowly against a smoke streaked sunset. The tattered sails of beached sailing ships wave cheerless gray and brown party flags over soldiers of every stripe. Ragged throngs too weary to separate by uniforms sit on their helmets rolling tobacco or passing unlabeled bottles; the bitter local spoils of a global contest no longer possible to score. Some drink greedily thankful for another day, others drink just as fiercely regretting the very same thing. One soldier considers a childhood memory of snow falling on a boardwalk that no longer exists. The snow he knows will still fall. But this cannot be my life, he thinks, to melt into a puddle, swirling in the gutter like so much dirty snow.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lucky Streaks

Harry B. Sanderford

Roger blinked. This was it he supposed; soon his entire life would reel before him like a fast-forwarding video tape. Funny though, the things that go through a person’s head once it's been severed from his body. Roger thought of his wife Carla's perfect ears and the scent of her powdered neck when he kissed them. Then he wondered if he could still flare his nostrils or wiggle his own ears. Mostly he thought about how he'd wound up in this position, he'd only gone out for a pack of smokes. This fact would no doubt delight his many friends and co-workers who insisted smoking was going to be the death of him. A technical win at best but he knew they'd take it.

He'd hiked his usual route up Barber street to Cecil and over a block to Zip's package store. He bought a pack of Luckys, a Yoohoo and a racing form and was reversing his route when this zombie started having a cow about him dropping the cellophane from his Luckys. "Ok, ok sooooorry." he spat in exaggerated apology. The zombie shook his head and sneered self-righteously. Zombies were having cows right and left in this neighborhood anymore. He plucked up and pocketed the wrapper and continued on his way, stopping to very demonstrably dispose of the Yoohoo bottle in the bin on the corner of Barber and Cecil. Not a zombie in sight of course then.

He unfolded the racing form and noticed the date, October 31, 2010. Halloween. Roger was near panic realizing his blunder, none of the living ventured out on Halloween anymore. Kids didn't even Trick or Treat, it had just become too risky. He tossed the form in the bin and ran. A dozen houses, maybe only eleven and he'd be home. Safe.

With five houses to go and his lungs exploding Roger heard first the shrieks and cries, then the clattery scrabbling of hooves and claws on asphalt. He stepped it up angling through Mrs. Proctor's periwinkles and hopped her hedge right into Mr. Miller's damn cactus garden. He twisted mid-flight narrowly avoiding a nasty encounter with a century plant's pointy parts before thudding shoulder first in the gravel and rag-dolling his way through agave and aloe and every other assorted prickly and pokey thing. Rolling to his feet, his house now in sight, Roger scrambled to recover but a shadow of evil covered him like fog and he knew he would not make it. He turned to see a dark wave containing every vile and hideous nightmare creature spilling down Barber Street. Vampires and monsters with gargoyles and ghouls, ghosts and skeletons marauded the street in search of anyone foolish enough to be out. Roger's quick census of available fools revealed to his dismay that he was quite alone.

Leading the procession of the slimy, slithery, boney and fanged was the barnacle encrusted pirate Blackbeard. He swung from the unseen yard arm of a night sky ghost ship landing lightly in Roger's path. Roger's weary mind could no longer perform the calculations necessary for registering his fright; he tapped a Lucky from the pack. Rats entangling his beard and his breath like rotting fish, Blackbeard gave a hearty belly laugh, drew back his saber and with a single hack put an end to all of Roger's fear. Roger, simultaneously quit smoking.

Roger looked sideways at his body. He looked sideways at everything now. He noticed there was a hole in the sole of his right shoe and he was pretty sure he was wearing the underwear with the elastic half unraveled. Clearly he'd not prepared very well for his decapitation. His shirt was streaked with blood, still he might have tucked it in, he thought. He wished he'd gotten around to taking off that 10 pounds and with what felt like a grin on his face and his final synapses firing Roger thought, well in a way he supposed he had

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sweet Talk

by Zelda Martin and Harry B. Sanderford

Sadie loves to dress up for Halloween, but she's having a hal o' a time thinking up a costume she hasn't already done. She's been everything from Popeye to a demented nurse to a Martian, and oh yeah... a tube of toothpaste. This year she really wanted to push the envelope way outside of the ordinary and was mulling possible options when Stanley piped up with his annual suggestion that she should wear just her go-go boots and go as Puss in Boots while he puts a pot on his head and goes as Peter in a Pan.

"Stanley, I told you last year and the year before last, and I'll tell you again, WE ARE TOO FRIGGIN' OLD TO BE RUNNING AROUND NAKED IN PUBLIC, and if you mention my decrepit go-go boots one more time, you'll be gone-gone and your Peter WILL be in a Pan!"

There was a moment of poker faces before they both had to laugh. Then Stanley dumped the contents of a plastic pumpkin on the kitchen table, rummaged around for a Ring Pop and holding it up for Sadie said, "You will never be old in my eyes, girl goblin, Happy Anniversary!" Sadie accepted the tawdry treasure, and with tears of joy in her eyes replied, "It's been a lot of years since the day we made our lust legal, but you're still my favorite Tootsie-Troll."

Still uncertain about her costume, Sadie licked the new lolly seductively as Stanley laid her down on the mattress of miniature sweets and kissed her from her Mounds to her Whatchamacallit, whispering, "And you're my Bit-O-Honey, Sugar Baby."

Happy Halloween Everyone!
Madam Z Rocks all by herself here:
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Saturday, October 16, 2010


By Harry G. Peakman

(my Uncle Harry)


I've bolted all the windows

     and I've locked up every door

And I've spread much lovely garlic

     all around the floor


I'll not have interruptions

     from goblins, ghouls 'n such

(So highly overrated-

     they don't amount to much)


I've grouped the herbs and crystals,

     bat wings and turnip blood

There's mummied hand, a "skeeter" fin,

     foul waters from a flood


A wiggle of the uvula,

     five lopsided soles,

Pelargonium juices

     and some droppings from the moles


Seven twigs lantana,

     toad's eye a la carte,

A batch of hiccups from a muse

     and diced rhinocerous heart


There's toenails from new kittens,

     a mouse that's been giraffed-

Oh, all the stores and charms and things

     to keep my wiles a craft


So when Halloween is dawning

     and the night is turning rough

I'll be busy in the basement

     o'er a cauldron stirring stuff

Friday, October 15, 2010

Reach For It!

By Harry B. Sanderford

Julie made her living getting shot three times a day at Six Gun Territory. Deputy Scooter Baxter always warned Sheriff Handsome just before Julie got the drop on him and the Sheriff always wheeled around in the nick of time, firing up above the saloon where Julie would clutch her breast and stumble off the roof right into the horse trough. Julie understood folks expected to see the sheriff get the bad guy. Taking a dive at a horse trough beat dangling on the end of a rope. All in all Julie liked her job but like most folks, you could say she had regrets. She never got to ride off into the sunset like real cowpokes. She never got to leap her horse from a moving boxcar or pull her kerchief up over her face and pester the law abiding depositors of some unsuspecting First Bank. Most of all, Julie never, ever, got to kiss Viola Softerkisses, the resident rodeo sweetheart. She wasn't giving up entirely on being the one to get the girl and ride off into the sunset though. At today's 3:00 show, Julie aimed to shoot that loud-mouth Scooter.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Prickly Pears

Harry B. Sanderford

Early forays into the developement of the two piece swimsuit resulted in a series of near misses. One such example, the Bicacti, showed early promise before fading into also ran status and fashion obscurity in the shadow of the still wildly popular Bikini. Tall and tan and young and lovely, the girl from Ipanema's itsy bitsy, teeny weeny, yellow polka dot bikini pretty much preempted all prior predilections for this prickly predecessor. The Bicacti was perhaps ahead of it's time as it would be the mid-nineteen eighties before women ever willingly embraced the idea of spiked clothing. The Bicacti's designer Jose Cuervo, having failed in his fashion endeavor but still stuck with 8,000,000 tons of cactus came out ok though, going on to invent a wildly popular tonic that ironically has proven itself to have tremendous Bikini removal properties.
Bolstered by this success Jose is rumored to be back in the laboratory and working on a new watermelon based version aimed at the more amply endowed

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Summer Of Sam

Rod Stewart’s Maggie May spilled out of the transistor radio dangling from my Montgomery Ward’s Stingray. Samantha Honeycutt straddled its banana seat backwards smoking the filtered half of one of my dad’s Winstons while I smoked the other half spitting little bits of tobacco into the water.  We were at cane pole pond and Sam was telling me how “immature” boys her age were (I was her age). “Maturity” was all of a sudden a major issue with all of the girls in the neighborhood and at school I’d noticed. Samantha informed me that she no longer had time to hang out with “immature” boys and now only liked older, “mature” boys. At least teenagers! she emphasized.  Samantha was wearing one of those braless shirts that were popular in the 70s; basically a pillow case with holes for the arms and a draw string around the neck. It was an orange one I’d seen her wear plenty of times climbing trees or fishing for bream. There was something different about it on that day. When she twirled around on the seat of my bike and grabbed the high rise handlebars, I knew just what it was. I was still only 12 ½ , my birthday wasn’t until December, but I turned thirteen that summer.
From the Thinking 10 prompt: I turned thirteen that summer.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Vinny The Vegetarian Vulture

Harry B. Sanderford

When Vinny was little his grandpa told him stories of how the old timers could panic west bound pilgrims and prospectors into picking up the pace just by circling overhead. Well those days were long gone. The pioneers may have had to keep one eye on their canteen and the other one on Grandpa's grandpa but these days humans didn't go as far as the corner market without a cell phone, a bottle of water and their own personal GPS, so the likelihood of his ever tasting the chewy center of a thirsty cowboy was looking pretty remote.

Vinny spent most days loitering with his pals along the shoulder of US highway 17 between Peirson and Barberville, just waiting for a pokey gopher turtle or near sighted armadillo to wander into traffic; all the while day-dreaming of circling high overhead.

One day a carload of passing surfers hucked half a cheeseburger right to, or maybe it was right at him. Handout or hand grenade, it was an epicurean epiphany for Vincent. He'd never tasted seasoned, or for that matter, even cooked meat. When he thought of all the Uniroyaled roadkill he'd snacked sans any salty benefit, he cringed. But even worse, he'd unknowingly been on the Atkins diet his whole life and this crusty, pickle chip imbedded half burger bun, this castoff cache of culinary carbohydrates, triggered sensations of delight beyond any earthbound buzzard's bearing. And so began Vinny the vulture's vegetarian adventure.

He took flight soaring higher than he'd ever been before following the little blue maverick with the surfboards on top. He flew all the way to New Smyrna Beach where he can now be found circling overhead on the afternoon trade winds with his new girlfriend, a seagull named Sasha who taught him where to look for kid dropped ice cream cones, and his pal Pedro, a pelican pirate from the panhandle who introduced him to sushi and claims to have dined on every bait barge from Pensacola to Jacksonville the long way around.

Now knit something with that yarn!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Swine Actor's Guild

by Harry B. Sanderford

Like so many child actors, Arnold Ziffle struggled after the cancelation of his hit series Green Acres. Once considered heir apparent to the Porky Pig theatrical throne, Arnold bombed on Broadway with his self indulgent production of The Three Little Pigs in which he insisted on playing not only all three pigs but the wolf as well. He followed that debacle with leading roles in a succession of low-budget Star Wars and Top Gun type knock-offs which also failed miserably as Americans still just stubbornly resist the coupling of pigs and flight. No longer a piglet and really beginning to pack on weight, the plum roles began passing him by. Soon the only scripts being offered were from Jimmy Dean or Oscar Mayer. Offended, he considered such roles demeaning and vowed to end his career before accepting one. Arnold would work blue but he refused to work browned.

P.S. Don't worry about Arnold. True to his word, he gave up acting and entered politics, unseating six term incumbent Ned Beatty as President of the Swine Actor's Guild.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Bedtime Story

Harry B. Sanderford
We dine on Top Robin and Mac-O-Cheese, culinary euphemisms you can probably figure out. Spencer and Lauren are old enough now to know the real names but we still think these are more fun. Their parents have gone out for the evening leaving me in charge. Both girls love this knowing that no one runs a looser ship than Uncle Harry.

It's true and for the next few hours we’ll blow bubbles and soak each other with squirt guns and water balloons. We’ll eat animal crackers in a bed sheet tent on the living room floor, decapitating giraffes and turning elephants into hippos by biting off their legs and trunks. Lauren will teach their cat Kato what look to be some fairly advanced yoga postures and inescapable wrestling holds while we watch countless episodes of Sponge Bob Square Pants and laugh extra loud at jokes that are really just kind of funny.

Tonight I have brought a book to read to the girls at bedtime. This is not significant, my bringing a book. I have read to these girls many times. What is significant is that I've brought this particular book specifically for bedtime. To date on my watch there has not been a bedtime.

Many things prescribed for your own good, like bedtime, have only theoretical benefits. You're asked to believe in some imprecise, down the road goodness, while forsaking what you know to be the immediate and tangible goodness of another hour of T.V. or an extra slice of Birthday cake. When it comes to babysitting, I have my own theory. No bath? No problem. Maple syrup on your french fries? Make it so. And bedtime? Well when you're sleepy silly.

I have seen my angels transformed in the aftermath of one of our all-nighters though, and know I did their parents no favor. So at 8:00, for their own good, I tell them to put on their PJ's and brush their teeth. It's time for our story.

To my astonishment, my treachery goes undetected. Both girls comply brilliantly. Lauren shaves seconds off her teeth brushing speed record, while Spencer, who chooses to rinse with O.J. after brushing, discovers minty fresh and fresh squeezed to be gross-ly incompatable. Neither suspects that their normally allied Uncle Harry has defected to the other side.

I tuck them in, kiss them, turn off the light and take a seat in the doorway to catch the hallway's light on the page. The book I read from is a Harry Potter book, chosen for the obvious reason. I believe it's entertaining because for the first couple of pages the girls are quiet.

In bed, Lauren has never been able to control her lateral squirmage. She is the needle on a compass and Spencer is due North. "Stop it Lauren," commands Spencer. "I'm not doing anything," Lauren protests from her position of twenty past nine. I give Harry Potter a short break while I re-scooch Lauren, who is quite pleased with her interruption, to a position closer to six O'clock. I read on for awhile, occassionally glancing at my wards to see how my trick is working.

Listening to the story has made Lauren sleepy. And as she turns over, she tugs some of the covers along with her. This infraction does not go unnoticed by Spencer, who with a great yank, unfurls her sister from her slumber. "She's hogging all the covers," Spencer argues. Heartfelt testimony in the trial she knows she has started. "No I'm not," shouts Lauren, now wide awake and mounting her own defense.

After delicate deliberation of the facts, stacking "did nots" and "did too's" along side "Un-Uh's" and "Un-Huh's". I would rule in favor of Lauren, pointing out to Spencer that she is still fully covered and has quite possibly overreacted. But, even though there is a certain Yin-Yang balance, I know the offshoot gloating and subsequent pouting will lead only to further litigation. I declare a mistrial, re-tuck, re-kiss, and resume reading our story.

Lauren is asleep in a minute. Spencer hangs on to the end of chapter one. I close the book, and kiss them both once more. It's for their own good.

Now where did I put that remote?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sugar, Them's Ears Not Handles

Harry B. Sanderford
Sleepy's hand carresses Cowboy's cheek then tosses his hat and grabs a yank of hair. Cowboy's thinkin' Sleepy might throw dogies in the rodeo as the little lady hauls his face into place. But he don't mind the scenery none, kinda takes to it, thinks maybe he'll settle down here. Sleepy closes her eyes and her lips form a small o as Cowboy whispers his muffled story punctuated with kisses. Before long the sleepy cowgirl lets out a breathy sigh, gasps a new lungful, arches her back and shudders. Her small o is a larger molar showin' O, then it's "OOOOOmygod!" Cowboy, (thinkin' if'n he had his hat on he'd take it off) glances up for a second and Sleepy gives a look that sorta scares the cowpuncher, then in a voice he don't much care for screams, "DONTYOUDARESTOP!" Cowboy's ridden some 'n been throw'd by others, but he weren't ever meant for pullin' up short on the trail. He whoops a giddyup 'n kicks it in for another stretch.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Story Story

Harry B. Sanderford

It was one of those sweltering afternoons that San Diego endures only several times a summer. I’m riding on El Cajon Boulevard, with my friend John in his old Chevy pickup. John is a lifelong San Diego resident and fanatical Charger backer. He's talking up some pre-season game taking place somewhere in the world, between some team and his beloved Bolts.

The six months between the Super Bowl and the first pre-season games seems interval enough for most Charger fans to forget the bitter humiliation of the preceding season and throw themselves headlong and hopeful into the promise of a new and as yet unsullied season. John’s jacked about his beloved team’s prospects this year. This off-season the Chargers have acquired a couple of veteran quarterbacks in Jim Harbaugh, and Eric Kramer. B-guys for sure, but any change in this post would seem an improvement over the tandem fiasco that was rookie Ryan Leaf, and veteran bench-warmer Craig Whelihan last year. They have a new coach and a clean slate. It is undoubtedly the best time of the year to be a Charger fan.

Pre-season of course means nothing. Air conditioning however, can only truly be appreciated during temperatures of at least Floridian severity; a situation only rarely encountered in the agreeable climes of San Diego. The idea of luxuriating in the air-conditioned, dimly lit, confines of a local watering hole, drinking ice cold beer and watching football, even just pre-season football, well it’s the San Diego adult equivalent of a snow day. John is going on about Junior Seau, the Chargers schedule this season, and so forth. “You had me at air conditioning,” I say to John. The sign in front of the Nite-Life tells us all we need to know: NFL, GIANT TV, COLD BEER, AIR CONDITIONED. We pull in.

Stepping from the stark daylight through the heavy curtain that serves as a door into the cool darkness gives the sensation of entering a cave. After a moment our eyes adjust and we move to a table near the TV. The air conditioning, its nip exaggerated by the sweat drying on our skin, is Frigidaire frosty. The bar itself is practically vacant, our own little oasis. We order up, pour our beer and toast our good fortune. Here we sit, 97 degrees on the street, cool as your mythical cucumbers, happy as your proverbial clams, inside. And this is where we meet Jane.

She approaches us inquiring, “Would you guys like a table dance?” The NiteLife is, to use their terminology, a gentleman’s establishment. John and I decline the offer. We're saving our money for more beer during the game. But given the hour and the pace of things in the bar, we’re really the only patrons and so are engaged by Jane in conversation. It turns out that this is in fact Jane’s first day on the job. She is working part-time as a table dancer but does not intend to dance on stage where she would be required to remove her top. She is also working fulltime as a public librarian. The stereotypical notions regarding either occupation do not escape us and after much joking with Jane concerning the obvious disparity in her chosen career paths, I suggest to her that her experiences might well make for a good story.

Jane sees me coming from a mile away. Suspecting my motives to be less than genuine, she reminds me that she really doesn’t have any experiences. “My first day, remember?” she says excusing herself presumably to greener pastures. Her instincts, possibly correct, do not deter my interest. Though suddenly, I have renewed interest in football.

John, being the only one obsessed enough to realize that football is even occurring so early in the year, has dialed in via satellite what he thinks should be an awesome confrontation between some second string, and another. And you know what? He’s right. Damned if we don’t have the Chargers VS the Broncos. Here are the Super Bowl champs, squaring off against John’s Chargers. Live from down under. That’s Australia mate. Pitcher, please.

I am not without sympathy for John and the minions of annually allegiant Bolt Backers. Having served my time as a Bronco fan however, I cannot help but espouse an air of superiority under the circumstances. Elway, god love him, has himself gone on to even greener pastures than Jane. But the machine that Mike Shanahan built can easily be driven by Bubby Brister, or Brian Griese, or in a pinch, me. Give me Terrell Davis, Shannon Sharpe, and Ed Mccaffrey, and in the immortal words of Steve Martin, “I don’t need nothin’ else.”

The Chargers look good in the early going. It’s preseason, so I’m not worried. But they look pretty good. They’re up 17 points. It's preseason. Preseason doesn’t count.

“Jane! Where have you been, any new experiences?” Jane has no new experiences to report but has gotten the hang of pretending to be amused. She drains the last two inches of our pitcher equally into our mugs asking, "More beer fellas?”

"Well, yeah!"

The Broncos are coming back, but it doesn’t matter, the real game happened in the first quarter. Like I said, it’s preseason. It doesn't count.

The Bronco’s second and third teams come back to nullify the Charger’s 17 point lead. They win by 3 against the Charger’s number 2 and 3 guys.

Still, based on the early play of their starters the match is scored as a win among the Charger faithful. And so a new season, full of promise, begins.

John and I retire to the smoking room for victory cigars. Actually, it’s a twelve by ten smoke filled closet with tables behind the rear stage at the NiteLife. Across the table from me sits Jane. She is small and slender, delicate really. She is in her mid to late twenties. Her features are Asian though her hair is blondish or light brown. She is on a break and so dutifully smokes a cigarette as we talk. Jane is pleasant but still she's not buying my story story. It’s getting late and she indulges my attempts at sending the two of us into over-time. But just like preseason, it doesn’t count.

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Dog Eat Dog World

By Harry B. sanderford

By 1962, her beauty faded and promotional appeal diminished, Hillevi, in an ironic twist of fate found it necessary to seek employment in the factory that produced the very franks she'd helped popularize in her spokes-model days. She started in lymph-nodes and nostrils and after only 17 months was promoted to the cartilage and organ meats division. In no time at all she'd been through knuckles and spleens and was well on her way in colorings and preservatives.

Her rise was meteoric. Unprecedented, remarked Tube Steak Today, the industry journal that again and again profiled Hillevi's accomplishments. She was it seems, a natural. A term not tossed freely about in either spokes-modeling or the red-hots biz.

Sadly, despite her rapid advancement and apparent success, it cannot be said that Hillevi was happy. As a girl, Hillevi dreamed of a different life for herself. She hoped to one day settle in Bunnell, or Hastings, or some other cosmopolitan metropolis with an inordinately high rate of wiener consumption and open a roadside motel that featured the most glorious hot dog buffet ever imagined.

Such a sweet, simple, foolish dream. Alas, the unfulfilled dream of an idealistic young beauty queen, only a glimmer of whom remains.

Hillevi seldom plays her clarinet these days. And though she cannot imagine her life without them in it, she no longer regards the dogs as worthy of her charms.

* Hillevi Romblin was Miss Universe in 1955.

Other than charming wieners in the photo above, her career in the red-hots biz, as far as I know, is one of my own fabrication.

Bon Apetite! H

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Harry B. Sanderford
Dog winged the monkey's gerdonderplonk just past ceremony. Winkle-wizzened water garglers awoke wanderjanked while apple-gated confederates slept on. Rusty pipe smack-down cancelled water lily gumbo's two o'clock and Patsy sang Crazy for the millionth time. Cart-wheeling donkey kong cougar camp visionaries lament then relent and consent. Rotty board deliverance wiggles wormy can-can hula-hoops and a dirty dozen daisies die. Woman howls moon, monkey bites Dog, man slaps clock and Patsy still crazy, falls silent.

Frankie's Wave

by Harry B. Sanderford

It was down to him now, the last man standing and the only one left looking east on this chilly Saturday morning dawn patrol. "Screw it" he said and set his coffee on the old Rambler's dashboard before grabbing his wetsuit out of the back seat and tugging it right side out. A quick towel change later he zipped up, unstrapped his board from the roof rack, grabbed it by the rail and flipping it once caught it one handed before tucking it under his arm and trotting off down the beach. Near the water's edge he stopped to stretch and watched the lead wave of a new set build into a perfect feathery lipped peak at the exact moment that the first rays of sunlight topped the horizon glinting green and gold through the pitching lip of the unridden tube. It was a pristine and privileged sight witnessed only on rare occasions but on this morning such beauty was unbearable. This empty perfection would not last he knew as he turned his back on the surf to follow his shadow back up the beach.