Monday, December 5, 2011

For The Birds

Harry B. Sanderford

Ray jerks his head around quickly and sees nothing but the same sad drinkers. He’s attended too many of these wakes over the last couple of years. Each time he reminds himself to begin living each day as if it were his last. Life’s so unpredictable. Just look at Miles, or Frosty before him. Nobody ever sees it coming.  Well, maybe you could see it coming for Frosty. The point is, life is short, man. Nobody on his death bed, regrets not working more. You only go around once, so stop and smell the roses. Clichés all, sure, but he means it each time. And each time, as time goes by, best intentions fade and life falls back into dull routine. It’s not so bad really, it’s comfortable. Living each day like it’s your last is exhausting. If you spent every day climbing mountains or jumping out of airplanes, you might truly wish to spend your last day in your bathrobe eating freezer pizza and watching Netflix. He whips his head back around only to see Miles’ Uncle Paul hoist his hi-ball. Ray nods and returns the salute.

Lately he’s been catching flashes in his peripheral vision, fleeting glimpses he can never catch in full, spectral shadows scuttling just out of sight. They began right after Frosty twisted his motorcycle into a mesquite stump down in old Mexico. Ray could not explain their nature; not visions exactly, but if not visionary, surely cautionary. It would be loco to speak of them, so he keeps them to himself. A sparrow (or was it a bat?) darts from the corner of his eye too fast to draw a bead on but trails in its slipstream a foreboding of gathered vultures roosting beyond the periphery.  He tosses the last inch of whisky back and slams his glass down on the bar with a resounding bang. Now, all the other heads in attendance swing around.

He has everyone’s undivided attention, so it’s as good a time as any. He wants to say something about his friend. Something uplifting he hopes, but it is not what’s in his heart.  He considers and rejects standard platitudes. He especially hates that consolation prize: At least he died doing what he loved. 

Ray had been first to find Frosty. Well not the first exactly. He couldn’t have been more than a few minutes behind when he rode up to find Frosty crumpled in a lifeless heap. The carrion birds were already on the ground, waiting for him to cool. He pulled his cell from his back pack and called Miles, told him to bring the truck. Then he pulled his pistol from the pack and shot every buzzard already on the ground and each new one drawn to the carcasses as they landed. He had to reload.

Miles drowned on a head high day at Calafia, a break he knew well and a swell that was big enough to be fun but not particularly dangerous for a surfer of Miles’ experience. Ray had been out with Miles but couldn’t save him. Even as he trieed, seagulls inched closer.

At least he died doing what he loved. There's another classic cliche for you.

Memo for Last Will & Testament:  The thing I loved most about that thing I it never killed me! After that, it’s over between me and that thing I loved. You have to draw the line somewhere.

Ray decides to wing it.

“Friends...,” he begins and then dodges abruptly to his left, swatting wildly. He does not connect with the pelican poltergeist and in missing, spins himself all the way around. The other mourners follow his antics unblinking and to their credit, with a minimum of chittering. Embarrassed but determined, he composes himself. “Our friend Miles lived life hard…” he resists the urge to drop to the ground, gripping the bar and closing his eyes until he is sure a great blue heron has found a perch behind him. “…Miles feared nothing and no one...” he soldiers on but something is not right.

The other mourners, mostly family and friends that have known him since he, Miles and Frosty were kids, are looking at him differently somehow. He feels the odd one out, they are different but the same. It is he who is alien. Their eyes, no longer damp, are red but not from crying. They are sharp now, penetrating and focused on him. Awaiting his words they cock their heads from side to side in unison and stare unblinking with those eyes, blood red now and shiny as beetles. Ray’s apprehension, once limited to avian apparitions twitching at the edges, has turned to full centered dread. Uncle Paul regards his diminished hi-ball, no longer raised in encouragement, narrows his gaze and pecks at the last cube of ice in the glass.

* image above by Terrie Boruff Yeatts
borrowed from Artmenow's Blog

Monday, October 17, 2011

Luke & Abby...So far

Dark thunderheads loomed menacingly on the horizon throughout the afternoon and upon Luke's arrival at Abby’s house made good on their threat delivering well spaced dime size drops of rain that sent him dashing for her porch. Abby had prepared herself to endure dinner, perhaps a movie, whatever it took to appease her mother and possibly curtail any future efforts towards resurrecting her love life. It had been 18 months since she and Jack split up and her mother had decided it was high time she, get back out there. When her mom’s friend Trudy mentioned that her nephew was home from Iraq, her fate and this date were sealed. Her new suitor barely stood a chance.

"You must be Luke," she offered in greeting.

"And you must be Abby. Y’all ready?” Luke asked.

“As I’ll ever be, I reckon,” Abby shrugged.

Luke grinned and opened his jacket wide for her to duck under.

“My aunt tells me you’re a singer,” Luke was first to break the silence of the ride. He thought he detected a slight blush in Abby’s fair complexion. His aunt had not exaggerated when promoting her as pretty. Her hair was too red to be called auburn but was not that orangey hair that’s often called red. Her eyes were a deep shade of green and so far had not met his own. He did not know that she wasn’t wearing underwear or that the blush that rouged the tops of her ears was not out of shyness but of anger at her mother’s meddling. “I just sing in the Midbrook Presbyterian choir on Sundays,” she said modestly. But in fact she had a beautiful voice and had often dreamed of singing professionally.

“Where are we going?” she asked hoping to steer the conversation away from herself. They'd turned left onto State Road 16 from the graded road that led away from her house. A right would have taken them into Midbrook. It wasn’t much but it passed for civilization in these parts. Scratch the movie she figured, they were heading towards Burnett where their choices would be between the Dairy Queen and Lulu’s Bar and Grill. It should really be renamed Lulu’s Bar and Microwave since a grease fire had closed the kitchen 6 years before. Abby was resigned to an evening of Slim Jims, Beernuts and remaining unimpressed.

"I was thinkin’ if it’s okay with you, we could ride on over to Weaver and have a look around.” Weaver was the county seat and 17 miles beyond the turnoff for Burnett. Abby only visited Weaver to re-stock household staples at the warehouse grocer or when she needed something from the new Home Depot. Weaver also had a variety of restaurants, a new mall with a multiplex theater, and a night life that wouldn’t have to include shuffleboard or darts. A trip to Weaver with no attached errand held promise. “Sounds like fun,” she said relaxing a bit. Luke’s quick smile loosened her resistance another notch.

Luke reached down and switched on the pickup’s radio...erectile dysfunction effects one in...cringing, he gave the knob a twist...MY MONEY,MY BITCHES,MY...then one more again half-spin...take another little piece of my heart now Bay-bee...finally. Janis worked for him, he gave a sideways glance and detecting no objection thumbed the volume up a touch. Returning his attention to the road, Luke was dumbfounded to see illuminated in his headlights what appeared to be an Indian brave dressed in buckskin and war-paint, clutching the reins of his rearing pinto in one fist and thrusting his be-feathered lance into the night with the other. The truck bore down fast. In the time it took Luke to move his foot from the accelerator to the brake they were nearly upon the wayward warrior. Lightning flashed and Luke braked hard yanking the wheel right, avoiding a collision so narrowly he made eye contact with the now electric brave. Even as he fought for control of the careening vehicle, Luke’s mind etched a surreal image of the warrior on horseback, his lips peeled back in the gaping grimace of his war-cry, “Whaa-Hah uh TAKE IT!

Luke forced the wheel back hard to the left avoiding a run of fence and sending the already fish-tailing pickup into a broadside slide along the shoulder that shot a wave of black mud into the air for forty feet before coming to rest hard against a speed limit sign.

“What in the hell..?” Abby fairly screamed.

“Are...are you okay?” Luke asked, close to losing it himself.

“Are you trying to kill us?” Abby’s fear was giving way to anger.

Luke, still gripping the steering wheel was trying to make sense of what had just transpired. “Jesus Christ, what happened?” Abby demanded.

Luke looked back to where the Indian should have been and saw nothing. He reached over and popped the glove box open, retrieved a small flask of whiskey, unscrewed the top and took a generous pull before offering the bottle to Abby. “Are you drunk, just what the hell was that all about?” she fumed...but she took the drink. Luke didn’t answer, he opened the door, stepped out of the pickup and saw the black swath the truck had cut leading all the way back to the pavement. He saw no horse. He saw no Indian.

Abby was out of the truck. The liquor might have calmed her nerves a bit but it had not quelled her anger. “Hold up there,” she demanded squaring herself in front of him. Luke knew this time she expected an answer, trouble was he had no idea what the answer might be.

“Didn’t you see?” he probed.

“See fucking WHAT ?

Abby fed up, wound up, and hurled the flask. Luke fielded the silver projectile inches from his face and with cool he did not truly possess, calmly took another belt to buy time. She hadn’t seen it and Luke was beginning to doubt what he'd seen himself when the warrior’s image flashed again in his mind. Whaaaaa-hah-uh-TAKE IT!

“I don’t know, a dog, coyote maybe,” he lied. If she didn’t see it, and he couldn’t prove it, he wasn’t willing to be judged crazy as well as incompetent. “Damn I’m sorry, you okay?” he asked a second time.

Abby eased a little and took the flask from his hand. “I never even saw it... we missed it?” she asked before taking a sip.

“Yeah, that one got away,” Luke said reinforcing his fabrication.

“Well that’s good I...I guess. Listen, I’m sorry about freaking out on you there, I was a little scared.”

“You and me both,” he agreed.

“Are we stuck?”

“Naw, I’ve been in deeper than this. I’m afraid to look at the other side of my truck though.”

They piled in on the driver’s side, Luke would hold off surveying the passenger side damage until daylight. He started the engine and dropped the pickup in gear, the ground was soft and they showered another blast of the black earth but easily pulled away from the sign and back onto the blacktop. 

“You sure you’re okay?" he asked a third time genuinely concerned.

“I’m OK. To tell you the truth I think I was over-due for a little excitement.” Abby did feel good too; alcohol and adrenalin seemed to be just what the doctor ordered.

“Well then, look out Weaver, we’re on our way and powerful thirsty,” Luke joked.

“Woo-Hoo!” Abby cheered surprising them both. Luke broke his fix on the rearview mirror and eased the clutch out sending the pickup Weaver-ward.


Jack Thacker locked the doors of Thacker Hardware at 6:00 pm. The store hours were from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm Monday through Saturday but Jack knew there would be no more customers. Even if there were it would only be Mrs. Perkins for another tube of Superglue, or Jedidiah from Eli’s Fixit needing a washer or a screw. Since the Home Depot had opened in Weaver, Jack couldn’t sell a faucet or a lockset or a power drill. If folks would rather drive thirty minutes each way and hand their money over to those evil bastards in their orange vests then fuck ‘em. He’d turn off the lights and save the electric bill. Mrs. Perkins could wait until tomorrow if she needed any Goddamn Superglue. What on God’s green earth did she do with it all anyway?

It was still happy hour when Jack walked into Nadine’s. “Happy” he whispered, the word foreign in his mouth, the emotion attached to it only a vague recollection. He caught the barmaid Jenny’s eye and she began drawing him a pitcher as he collapsed into his usual booth, lit a cigarette and began stewing over the long list of hardships and injustices he felt kept him from the life to which he was entitled. His list always began with the hardware store his granddaddy had built when there were more horses than cars in Midbrook. Thacker hardware had a hand in the squaring and plumbing of nearly every structure in town. It had thrived since before the First World War and had weathered the great depression and every subsequent recession. His father Zachery kept it going while raising four kids after granddaddy retired and now it would be on his watch that the family business, after surviving every adversity for three generations, failed. Jack Thacker took no notice of the happy hour that swirled around him, the sharp crack of pool balls, the tinkling of ice against glass, the jukebox spewing out "Freebird" for the millionth time, or the carefree laughter of labor unburdened. He just drank and quietly reviewed his list, which always ended with Abigail Deautrive.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Regular Peculiar Day

A Triple Play By, Paul Phillips, Absolutely*Kate & Harry B. Sanderford

Once upon a tome in a bustling bookshop far, far away, toiled a man who loved fast cars and loathed slow books. Peculiar customers with peculiar customs were a regular occurrence for this regular man but one morning, all records were broken for kookiness. As was the fashion, customers milled lazily about the rows of neatly stacked volumes with little intent of purchase while this regular man in his regular way ignored them, skimming Cliff's Notes on Othello, (being extra careful not to crinkle the corners thereby rendering it un-saleable) just as typical as Tuesday until the most horrendous metal twisting chrome crunching crash interrupted this regular man's regular morning and he looked up to see the huge black Hummer backing slowly away from the rear of his formerly pristine 1967 California Special as if seeking a better vantage point from which to fully appreciate the modern sculpture it had just made of the Mustang's rear bumper. CRASH went the California Special - CRUNCH went the chrome - COLLAPSE went the Cliff's - CLANG went the taut strings of the heightened heart palpitations of the regular man who owned the bustling bookshop where peculiar customers milled lazily and swift skimming was the secret rage ~ no typical today taunted this tainted Tuesday! Arising from his chair, this regular man swept all the peculiar customers aside on his way to the exit, palpitating heart bashing harder and harder against his chest, his stride becoming faster and faster, his face becoming redder and redder, until he made his way outside to the parking bay (parking bays were reserved for one car at a time, right?) to confront the definitely UNregular but extremely peculiar owner of the Heavy Metal Lunchbox On Wheels who had just turned his California Special into the short wheel-base model. He was boiling with rage, ready to read the regular riot act to the rear ending road hog but when the driver’s door popped open he watched the tallest teal heels and the most beautiful legs slide into view for the longest time before being followed by the shortest skirt, well, his heart went BOOM and when he saw her standing there, the way she looked was way beyond compare, and suddenly there was syncopation to his palpitation, and as his heart skipped a beat to the cha-cha samba rumba, he gazed into her beautiful eyes and spoke the words his heart could not, “Might have known it, woman driver!”

Check out:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Who Is This They?

Harry B. Sanderford

In 1963 I was in the first grade. Pterodactyls had ceased crossing overhead but clocks still had hands on them. My teacher, Mrs. Miniard was teaching my class how to tell time when the news came that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated. It was the first time I'd heard the word. They rolled a television into our classroom to let us watch the coverage. They say that anyone who was around back then remembers exactly where they were and what they were doing. They say this about most significant historical events, murders, and moon landings. They'll say it about the most recent horrors at the World Trade Center too, and they'll be right.
They also say it about your first love. And while I don't recall exactly where I was when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., John Lennon, or Jack's brother Bobby, were gunned down. I do know that in 1963 my brother Roy was in the second grade and in love with a second grader named Becky Heron. It could have been monkey see monkey do, or merely coincidence but I was secretly smitten with another Becky, a first grader named Becky Brown. Work as I would against it, I could not staunch the flow of cartoon hearts which streamed embarrassingly from my juvenile cranium in her presence.
They're right of course, about remembering important events that occur during your lifetime. As for first love, I reserve that particular first (as well as a few important others) for a girl that would not come along for another twelve years. A girl I vividly remember. I don't know about Roy, but I can't really picture those pioneer recipients of our affections. I do recall that Becky Brown had whatever it takes to make a six year old boy who professed to hate girls, think of little else. I also recall of her a marked absence of teeth. Zero front, uppers or lowers. What a woman!

Hard to believe it's already been 10 years since I wrote this.  But I was right about them being right. Right?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Eat, Pray, Love - Alternate Ending

The movie that comes directly to mind when pressed to think of a movie I hate is: Eat, Pray, Love. My recollection of the movie is mainly of an over privileged woman focused largely on her own dissatisfaction who tells her not so bad husband to shove it and sets about figuring out why her not so bad life isn’t way greater. The fact that I found the movie too insufferable to actually stay tuned until the end makes it a perfect candidate for me to write my own ending.

In my ending (which would happen about 14 minutes in) Julia is scarfing a platter of scampi, donkey braying ecstatic if insatiate and licking each glistening finger clean of the buttery garlic salve that soothes her indulgence starved soul when a crack opens in the restaurant floor and she is sucked down into the bowels of hell where she meets a dashing devil played by Steve Buscemi. Buscemi turns in a career performance as the droll demon king who sheds humorous and ironic light on the perils of being so self-absorbed. Unfortunately, the lesson is lost on Julia who is delighted by the new level of sorry she is able to feel for herself with the added legitimacy of eternal damnation.

Jared Handley over at Lit Fire is now offering daily prompts. Tuesday's challenge was to write a sequel or a new conclusion for a movie you hate. Check out Lit Fire for some daily inspiration.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

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.

It has been awhile since I posted anything so I figured I'd give this one some more air. It was the first thing I posted on this blog when I began it last August. I wrote it after my good friend and oldest surf buddy Frankie Banks passed away from brain cancer. (That's him up there ripping in his backyard.)

It was first published by Rob on the main Six Sentences site. Thank's Rob!
And, has since been published in actual print in the Australian Surf Magazine: Kurungabaa, a journal of literature, history and ideas from the sea

Friday, July 15, 2011


Guest Post by Wendy Sugar Staley

Driving south on I-95 I am aware of white lines blinking by and the murmur of music streaming from the radio. Passing the North Carolina state line, 100 miles closer to you, my mind is on autopilot driving the monotonous miles that remain between us. I focus and refocus on the cars ahead of me…deep breaths…more AC… a sip of water. I realize I'm struggling to keep my eyes open, keep them on the road, and panic sets in. How can this be happening when to finally arrive is all I ever dream? I stop worrying about falling asleep, giving in to dreams of you, and worry instead the alarm will ring once again before my dream comes true.

Sugar is the sweet combination of Tinkerbell and all things pink who occasionally channels  Mae West. Why don't you come up and see me sometime? She is proprietor of the 6S Sugar Shack where she goes heavy on the spirits and easy on the eyes.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

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

Today is the the Bikini's 65th Birthday!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Calling All Angels

Sappy’s cowering whimper ended with the dual report of Jeanette’s derringer pistol. Click…Click. “Damn it!” Jeanette broke Virginia open to stare in disbelief at the two empty chambers staring back. Sappy uncoiled from his fetal position still reeking of urine and cowardice and never once thought of counting his blessings.  He swept a leg catching Jeanette off guard and sent her sprawling. He leapt upon her and seized her by the throat. Jeanette hammered with her fists and bicycled her legs but the fall had knocked the wind out of her and she hadn’t drawn a good breath. Her vision was growing dark at the edges and she knew she was leaving. She hated going at the hands of such a pussy. She did not close her eyes. She wouldn’t give him the satisfaction. If looks could kill, she meant to stare this son of a bitch straight into hell.

Over Sappy’s shoulder, an angel appeared. Oh please, what’s next trumpets? she thought. How utterly cliché. Then, the angel clobbered Sappy with an enormous nickel plated pistol and sent the bastard tumbling. The angel went on to kick and stomp the living shit out of the once again cowering sap and with each gasp of sweet oxygen Jeanette's angel came more fully into focus. “Harry!”

“Harry, thank Christian Dior! How on earth did you ever find me?” Jeanette exhaled.

“You just wait until my uncle hears about this Harry,” Sappy whined sitting up now and holding his ear.

“Who the hell do you think sent me Eugene? You had one simple thing to do. If you had a brain in that punching bag on your shoulders you’d know to steer clear of your uncle right now.”

“Wait, Eugene? Harry, you two know each other?” Jeanette’s jubilation was taking a turn she was becoming all too familiar with.

“I’m sorry, Jeanette meet Eugene. Eugene is just leaving,” Harry said hauling the man to his feet. Harry whispered in the ear the man was not holding. The man struggled to pull away like a petulant boy who doesn’t like being told what to do. Harry clamped a hand on Eugene’s throat and finished what he had to say. Releasing him, Harry said loud enough for Jeanette to hear, “Leave the keys to the T-Bird in the ignition. Catch a bus or hitch-hike, I don’t care but get some real gone between you and the boss.” Then he shoved the shaking, bleeding and stinking man in the direction of the door.

“Just a damn minute here Harry, that man’s not going anywhere. I’m calling the police!” Jeanette said, brandishing her phone.

“Go!” Harry ordered and Eugene actually ran down the hall.

“I’m sorry Jeanette. I really am, but I’m going to need for you to give me that phone,” Harry said raising the 45.

“What the hell are you into here Harry? Who is that boy’s uncle?”

“You already know Jeanette,” Harry said with a sad smile. “He’s The Boss’s sister’s boy, 215 pounds of total fuckup. Eugene Gabardine.”

“Avery? You’re saying Avery had me abducted? My God Harry, I have to say I’m surprised and more than a little disappointed to find you've fallen in with that bastard.”

“I haven’t fallen in with that bastard Jeanette, and nobody calls him Avery.”

“I’ll see that he’s called a hell of a lot worse before this is over Harry and I’ll think up a few things to call you too.”

“Sticks and stones Jay C, but for right now you must be able to see our predicament,” Harry waggled the gun and shrugged, what can I say?  

“Why are you doing this Harry, what the hell does he have on you? It’s not exactly like you are hurting for money.”

It was true, Harry had always been lucky. He’d been lucky in business, lucky with the ladies and more often than not, lucky picking the ponies. Anyone would say his life was charmed. That is at least, until Boss Gabardine set him up.  

“Jeanette, you’ve been out of the loop, so let me fill you in. Eugene was just supposed to keep you company long enough for the city council to ok breaking ground on The Boss’s proposed sports park and gaming facility. It passed without your vote yesterday, by the way. I had no part in any of that. I was called after the fact. You can believe that or not but so far, one person is dead and the Professor's wound up in the hospital. I was on my way there to ask him about something he’d said when I got the call to check up on Eugene. I think you have to admit things were not going all that well for you when I got here," Harry meant to be sarcastic but when she touched her throat he felt ashamed. "Look Jay, you’re just going to have to trust me when I tell you that it’s not a very good idea for you to be popping to the surface right now.”

“Who…who is dead? Is the Professor ok?” Jeanette had to sit down.

“Spangler or Spackler, the new projectionist At The Bijou, anyway. Word is he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was Chester Hanks they really wanted. Do you believe that, Hookem Hanks? Some kind of bloody mess in the ladies room there too. I don’t know about that or just how Chester fits into all this but what I do know is The Boss very clearly wants you out of the picture.  As far as everyone knows, you are missing. I aim to keep it that way and I think I know someone who can help.”


Eugene Gabardine was a sulky, spoiled, boy and never one given to following orders. He did not leave the keys in the T-Bird as Harry had instructed. With the warehouse door barely closed between him and any immediate consequences, he exorcised a small tantrum that had been building in his chest by kicking the side mirror off of Harry’s Charger. “You aren’t the boss of me!” he screamed with huffy school-girl conviction. Then he hopped in the T-Bird and backed it straight into the Harry’s car. There was a satisfying crunch as the Charger’s plastic tail light puzzled, and Eugene found he felt much better. He shifted into drive and blasted Harry’s car with a spray of gravel before schweeling out of parking lot. Foresight was not a characteristic that would ever be associated with Eugene but he was not one to dwell on the past (or learn from it) either. As his spinning tires barked onto the asphalt of the county road, Harry and Jeanette ceased to be of concern.

Jeanette's troubles all started right here:


Friday, June 17, 2011

Meet Virginia

Ringing brought Jeanette out of her trance, probably saving the man’s life. Still straddling the sap she could now see was sapped, she released him allowing him to slump back unconscious and fished the source of ringing from his shirt pocket. Another damn Iphone, the german cockroach of electronics. She was fingering the talk button when she noticed her formerly subdued sap had not only roused but had the actual audacity to be eyeballing her inner thighs where her skirt had hiked over. Looking down where he had drawn a bead she said, “Enjoying the view? Well, how about a nice close look?” She reached down between her legs, slid her fingers along her left thigh and holding Sappy's rapt attention, retrieved the silver derringer from her garter and poked the muzzle in his face. “Meet Virginia. You got about one second to start talkin’ Buster. Who’s on the other end of this phone?”

“Careful with that pea-shooter Ma’am, I’m just following orders. I was supposed to keep you in the dark for a spell and that’s all. I never meant you no harm, I was just coming to see if you needed some juice, I swear.”

Jeanette wasn’t buying it and Sappy’s sniveling only repulsed her. The phone had stopped ringing. She drew Virginia back keeping the gun aimed between his eyes and held the cell out. “Call them back. Tell them you were in the bathroom. Tell them everything is ok and make it convincing.”

The man began to blubber and Jeanette realized he feared making the call more than he feared being shot. Who the hell are these guys, she wondered. She had an idea of course. But, would he really go to these lengths?  She felt suddenly hot-and worse-wet! She jumped up standing over the pathetic whimpering excuse for a man who had just quite literally pissed himself.  Enough is enough, she thought and squeezed the trigger.

Jeanette's troubles all started right here:

Friday, June 10, 2011

Jeanette Unravels

Jeanette sawed on the ropes with the emory board that was now nothing more than limp cardboard. She kept at it though, working her wrist raw straining against her bindings. In the dark as she was, it was easy to focus on this task alone. In her mind’s eye she saw each individual fiber as it snapped relinquishing its hold and knew she was closer to escaping. Her diligence paid off. She could not pull her hand free altogether but she had loosened it enough to push her arm through further. Straining her fingers to their most outstretched they slid first over the edge of her pocket. She curled her fingers back finding the edge again, this time slipping them inside and touching the smooth plastic surface of salvation. Fingertips stretching deeper into her pocket, she visualized the Iphone. Thankful to find it business side up, she began working a series of maneuvers she was a little surprised to find her hand knew quite well. Soon she heard faint ringing followed by her friend Kate’s voice answering in the distance. The joy and triumph in this moment was so tremendous that it needed to be expressed but of course high fives were out of the question. The height of Jeanette’s joy quickly plummeted to the equal depth of her despair when her whole body burst with laughter that only muffled into her forgotten gag.

Jeanette might have sat there and cried were she not fit to be tied and the fact that she already was, only served to make her madder. She wanted to scream but she knew it would do her no good. So she focused her fury on her confines. She no longer felt the pain when she yanked her arms against the ropes. She pumped back and forth, lunging forward then pulling back like a girl on a swing pumping to go higher. She felt the chair rock and she built a rhythm with each tug. The front legs cleared. She now understood the exhilaration a foolish schoolboy feels balancing his desk for attention. Upon settling back she leaned forward bringing the back legs up. She was rocking now and when she arced backwards again she twisted with all her might, balancing briefly on one rear leg before toppling over sideways. The crash slapped her head to the floor and dazed her a bit. It also loosened the arm of her wooden prison. The ropes had gone slack and she was able to work her hand free. Triumph may have been postponed but it was only sweeter for the delay. Before even freeing her other hand she yanked the gag from her mouth and pushed the blindfold up from her eyes. Even without the blindfold it was too dark to make sense of her surroundings, the only illumination a horizontal slit of light below what she knew must be a door. As she struggled to free herself completely, she focused on this sliver of light. Her passage out. Her escape.

As Jeanette untied the last rope from her ankle, her beacon blinked out, only to be replaced by a new vertical and widening strip of light. This time Jeanette did scream.

Jeanette’s scream was not one of fear but more a release of pent up rage, only further exasperated by this ill-timed reappearance of her tormenter. A body could take only so much disappointment before snapping. There was no crying in her war-cry and no hesitation in her actions when she seized the wooden chair by the arm and hurled it at the figure silhouetted in the doorway. There was no weeping and there was to be no mercy when she charged and tackled her stunned and stumbling jailer. She scrambled on top of him and grabbing an ear in each hand, began bashing his head on the cold concrete floor. Each time she pulled his head up she hammered her knee home between his legs. She was fighting for her life, and once again she'd found her rhythm.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

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 down. 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 in for another stretch.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Commercials, They're Grrrrreat!

Harry B. Sanderford

I was watching the tube recently and when I watch TV I like to watch the hell out of it. The remote control is key to my viewing pleasure. I don't watch commercials as a rule, this is ordinarily my prompt to move along. So, it is mildly ironic when my interest is caught by one of those deals where the whole point of the show is to count down a list of TV's most memorable commercials. It's pompous self-indulgence on my part really; I'm only hanging on to verify my prediction that the old commercial where Mean Joe Green scores some Coke from a kid and then tosses him his filthy sweat-soaked jersey will win out. It does of course and I revel in my astute ability to predict clichéd predictability. For my money though, the best commercial of all time is that one with Mr. Whipple sitting on the crapper noisily grinding out some grundlers and since he has nothing to read, he's left with just his thoughts. The camera moves to the little thought bubble over his head where a gore muzzled Tony the Tiger is plop-plopping Alka Seltzers into a glass of water with the freshly mauled carcass of Captain Crunch visibly oozing entrails dotted with pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars and green clovers in the background. Not sure just what they were selling there.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

WoooHoooo! I Got Mail!

I was the lucky recipient of a super surprise package that landed on my damn doorstep all the way from Ontario Canada! WOOHOOO!

What cool stuff I got! I am feeling like an honorary Canadian (hankerin' for a Molson) in my new hat and T-Shirt! Since I don't have a Molson handy, I think I'll pour a cold Coors Light in my spiffy new L.O.T.M.R. coffee mug! Really the coolest Damn Mug Ever!

Don't be jealous. I won these elaborate prizes for my uncanny Damn Door picking abilities in Cathy Webster's Damn Door Contest. Turns out, I'm something of a Damn Door savant. Unfortunately I've not been able to focus this asset on lottery numbers or fast horses. Working on it, it's Derby Day. But wait, that's not all..yeah, go ahead, jealousy is now warranted. I also got the coolest little MukMuk keychain, a travel bottle of bubble stuff so I no longer need leave home without it, and some groovy new tunes entitled, "Mushy Music" ...I know. Who's luckier than me?

Cathy you are the coolest and I loved your Damn Door contest and all the really cool stuff you sent me!

                                      Thank you! Thank You, Thank you Cathy!

                                                             Beauty Ay?

Friday, May 6, 2011

* Sports of Kings * ~ A Daily*Double from Absolutely*Kate and Horsey Harry

As Jim Dandee opened the Daily Racing Form with customary crackle to jaded eye, his glance glazed over the chess set his kid made him for Christmas. Plasticine royal blue and hunter's green of deeper hue, it sat there just gathering dust on the side table ~ where unprovoked, the king toppled clearly in his view. It was a sign he knew. What sort would work it’s self out soon enough. He righted the fallen ruler and returned his attention to the form. Not all clues would just present themselves.

Yes! How’s this for a clue? ~ “Clueless” was running in the sixth at Tampa Bay Downs and with what Monday's meteorologist Mandi precipitationally predicted, a muddy track it could be -- gul darn it, his majesty's crown was once again down; hadn't he just - - - Oh, whoa it up there Nellie! A photo-finish flashbulb popped enlightening like and Jim Dandee pulled up mid-stretch from restoring royalty to his horizontal highness, poked a nubby finger under the running line and followed it out to see that Clueless was out of monster mudder dam, “Topple Two Times" and in the irons today was none other than Elvis (the king, baby) Trujillo!

Thoroughly bred to bet a hunch, Jim Dandee was no pawn of fate come lately. Odds on, how could he be rooked with The King among jocks atop this Clueless colt born for the slop? ~ Hell, heaven can wait, but when Elvis took off from the gate he won 35 straight in his native Panama, then 55 more from Mexico City to set the pace of the race for three graded stakes titles from South Florida to Churchill Downs.

Kerplunk -- the royal chess piece took another clunk -- "Why that's a triple crowner,” Jim mused unconfused. Third time’s a charm.

At the finish-line rail Jim Dandee patted the plastic talisman and slips of paper in the pocket of his lucky shirt and felt the first drops of anticipation, perspiration and Meteorologist Mandy's predicted precipitation as Elvis Trujillo gave Clueless the reins leading into the stretch in the rain and all the king’s horses stared idly back at all the kings men, no longer subject to their round-heeled ruler’s reign.

* * * * * *

Thanks for enjoying our Daily*Double*
Together we wish you a great Derby*Day and please remember to bet responsibly!
~ Absolutely*Kate & Horsey Harry

Actually A*K say's, "bet responsibly." I say, the less you bet the more you lose when you win. Go nuts!

This is the first Kentucky Derby in years that I haven't had my pick sewn up by now. Tough one to figure this year. Who do you like?

137th Kentucky Derby
Purse: $2 million; 1 1/14 miles; Grade 1

1. Archarcharch, J. Court, 10-1
2. Brilliant Speed, J. Rosario, 30-1
3. Twice the Appeal, C. Borel, 30-1
4. Stay Thirsty, R. Dominguez, 30-1
5. Decisive Moment, K. Clark, 50-1
6. Comma To The Top, P. Valenzuela, 30-1
7. Pants On Fire, R. Napravnik, 30-1
8. Dialed In, J. Leparoux, 4-1
9. Derby Kitten, J. Castellano, 30-1
10. Twinspired, M. Smith, 30-1
11. Master of Hounds, G. Gomez, 20-1
12. Santiva, S. Bridgmohan, 30-1
13. Mucho Macho Man, R. Maragh, 12-1
14. Shackleford, J. Castanon, 20-1
15. Midnight Interlude, V. Espinoza, 12-1
16. Animal Kingdom, R. Albarado, 20-1
17. Soldat, A. Garcia, 20-1
18. Uncle Mo, J. Velazquez, 5-1
19. Nehro, C. Nakatani, 6-1
20. Watch Me Go, R. Bejarano, 50-1

Odds by Mike Watchmaker
Post time: 6:24 p.m. Eastern
All carry 126 pounds

Friday, April 29, 2011

You Really Kinda Had To Be There

Harry B. Sanderford

The picture jumps then stops and before the heat from the bulb can burn through the image completely, Marlon Brando tells Rod Steiger, “It wasn’t him Charlie, it was you.” The film melts away altogether and the theater is bathed in bright light. The trailing edge of the film slaps loudly against the projector behind me. My fellow patrons are craning around in their seats annoyed with this interruption as I make my way down the aisle and hop up onto the stage.

“I’m ready for my close up Mr. Kazan,“ I announce to ticket holders twisting back around.

 “Remember that night in the Garden you came down to my dressing room and you said, "Kid, this ain't your night. We're going for the price on Wilson. You remember that?” My audience isn’t quite sure yet but a few are digging back into their popcorn. "This ain't your night"! My night! I coulda taken Wilson apart! So what happens? He gets the title shot outdoors on the ballpark and what do I get? A one-way ticket to Palooka-ville!”

Palooka-ville, yeah that slays ‘em. They know what’s coming. It’s nobody here’s first time On The Waterfront.

“You was my brother, Charlie. you shoulda looked out for me a little bit. You shoulda taken care of me just a little bit so I wouldn't have to take them dives for the short-end money.”  They’re with me now, hanging on every word and right on cue one audience member sets me up delivering Charlie’s line, “Oh I had some bets down for you. You saw some money.” A hundred more voices join in unison: “You don't understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let's face it. It was you, Charlie!”

I take my bow to thunderous applause. The projector rolls, and  awash in hehehehehheh--Woody Woodpecker, I take my leave. 

* all in itallics are taken directly from the movie On The Waterfront, written by screenwriter Budd Schulberg.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Morning Mr. Hanks

Harry B. Sanderford

Chester Hanks awoke with a Schlitz induced headache that while not uncustomary was never the less annoying.  Eyes closed, he sleep-walked to the bathroom to relieve himself. Eyes still closed, he flushed, shuffled the 14 steps to the refrigerator, popped the top on a cold can of good morning and drained its contents entirely before squinting out at the day.  The replenishing effects were immediate but short lived as the events of the preceding night crept home. He heard soft snoring coming from his bedroom followed by an awfully official sounding knock at his door.

FUCK, is what he thought. “Hold your horses, I ain’t dressed,” is what he yelled at the front door before hurrying to close the bedroom door; hoping like hell the bulk under the blankets was Ruby. He buttoned his fly and finger combed his hair before opening the door. “How can I hep ya?”

“Good morning, Mr. Hanks. Sorry to wake you.”  It was 11:15 and the boozy, bodily, funk of debauchery issuing forth from the unsealed capsule caused Detective Stine to take a shallow breath and a step back.

“I was already up Sergeant Smartypants. What brings you around?” Chester asked. He’d opened the door only partially so it would not be confused with an invitation inside. Stine saw his invitation over Chester’s shoulder should he decide to use it, in the form of the bong standing General over an army of dead soldiers lined up on the coffee table. “I need to ask you a couple questions about your replacement at the Bijou, Sparky Denton.”

“I ain’t sure I can hep ya there chief. I didn’t rightly know the boy. So if that’s all then…” Chester figured it was worth a try but he wasn’t exactly surprised to see Dan Stine’s brogan step in before he could get the door closed. “Something else officer?”

“I know it’s early.” Crack of noon, Stine thought and rotated his head side to side working out a kink. “So let’s try again. It looks like you had a little party here last night. Maybe if you can’t think of anything pertinent to my investigation into the murder of your replacement, one Sparky Denton, you’d prefer to tell me about the bong I saw on your coffee table.”

“Well the short answer there officer, is that it’s not mine.” This was true but Chester knew it made no difference to the detective. Chester had a hard and fast rule about cooperating with revenuers. He didn’t. He was going to have to give this one something though. Because for the life of him, he could not recall where the owner of that bong, one Eugene Gabardine, had gotten to and he did not want Sergeant Stine helping him figure it out. “You know, now that I’ve had a moment to study on it, I do remember that Sparky feller was referred to me by another feller workin’ off his debt to society in Alice.”

“Do tell,” Stine said pushing the door open a little wider and stepping back from the threshold.

“Dudley, Malcom Dudley is his name. Ever’one just calls him Malc-Dud. Get it?” Chester smiled his I’m on your side here partner smile, hoping that would be enough.

“Go on.” Stine prodded.

“I don’t know if it’s true, but word is Malc-Dud walked from a murder two rap with time served and 120 hours of commie service.”

“So what’s his connection with Sparky Denton and why did he want him working at the Bijou?” Stine circled Malcom Dudley, Malc-Dud on his note pad.

Chester now knew Malc-Dud had been setting him up all along. Apparently Sparky had accidentally taken his fall. He intended to settle that score himself but he didn’t mind if the cavalry helped a little bit. “Boss Gabardine provided Malc-Dud’s defense,” he answered.

"Open a window Hook," Stine said flipping his pad closed indicating they were done.

This is a small bit I wrote for a collaboration with A*K that we started last year and will resume sometime soon. In the meantime, you can play catchup beginning here: if you are so inclined. H