Member Monday: Due for Discard by Sharon St. George

XG8D1047 web email 100dpiWelcome back to Member Monday.  Today we feature the work of Writers Forum member and Program Chair Sharon St. George.  Enjoy an excerpt from Sharon’s first book, Due for Discard.

Due for Discard (Chapter 9)

by Sharon St. George

Saturday morning I checked my disguise in the mirror. In my shortest skirt, highest heels, blue contact lenses and a blond wig left over from a grad school Halloween party, I was ready to visit the Natural History Museum where Bonnie Beardsley had flirted with her alleged stalker. Odds of running into him, if he existed, were astronomical, but I liked the museum and had nothing better to do.

After an elderly gentleman docent gave me an absurdly detailed lecture on the skeletal structure of turtles, I wandered over to the aquarium’s viewing wall to wait for a highly-touted visitor favorite: fish feeding time. The gathering crowd squeezed together for a better view of the fishy antics. Feeling slightly claustrophobic, I tried to step back, but whoever was behind me didn’t budge. Meanwhile the space in front of me had closed, and I couldn’t step forward. The body behind me wasn’t quite making contact with my backside, but I definitely felt my personal space being invaded. The mini-skirt that barely covered my behind wasn’t helping.

A low voice spoke near my right ear. “Awesome creatures, aren’t they?”

I responded with a barely perceptible nod of my head. This was creepier than I’d expected. What would I do if this was the stalker?

After a few minutes of watching various forms of marine life snatching and gobbling their breakfast, the crowd dispersed. I wondered if the man behind me would make a move. I didn’t have to wonder long.

He stepped alongside me, still watching the fish-viewing wall. I was surprised to see how harmless he looked. Probably in his late thirties, only a couple of inches taller than my five foot four, he was slender, clean-shaven, and handsome verging on pretty. His clothes were Eddie Bauer. His light brown hair was thick and well-cut. The term metrosexual came to mind. A straight guy, apparently, but with a flair for grooming and style. And not creepy in the least.

He turned to me. “Hi. Do you come to the museum often?”

“Once in a while,” I said.

“Do you live in the area?”

“Uh, huh.”

“I hope you won’t think I’m too forward,” he said, “but I haven’t met many people since I moved here. Could I buy you a cup of coffee? Pick your brain about things to do in Timbergate?”

The museum cafe was a short walk within plain sight of staff and visitors. I figured that was safe enough, so we headed for the coffee shop where we found a free table.

“I should introduce myself,” he said. “I’m Arnie Palmer. No relation to the golfer. I suck at sports.”

Holy crap. Of all the fish exhibits in all the natural history museums in the world, Arnie Palmer had walked into mine. He had to be the Arnie Palmer from Manton who popped up in my online search. And he was a guy, so he sure wasn’t Arnetta, but was he Bonnie’s stalker?

“And you are . . . ?” he said.

My mind raced in warp speed as I tried to invent a name for myself. What came out was really stupid.

“Ingrid.”

“Ingrid . . . ?”

Damn, I needed a last name. A lock of hair from my wig tickled my cheek.

“Wiggins,” I said, feeling a little faint. “Ingrid Wiggins.” A waitress came by to take our orders. I asked for coffee and apple pie. Arnie ordered green tea and pecan pie.

“Lots of apples where I live,” Arnie said.

“Oh?” I played dumb.

“Manton. Thirty minutes east of here. Up in the pines. Do you know it?”

“I’ve heard of it.”

“Not much to do there, but it’s cooler than Timbergate, and the rent’s reasonable.”

I took a tiny bite of pie and washed it down with coffee. I was torn between the need to know more about this guy and a yearning to get the hell out of there, but there was one question I had to ask.

“We have a newscaster here named Palmer. Are you related?”

“No.” He shrugged. “I get that a lot, though. It’s a very common name.”

True. I’d discovered that during all those people searches.

I glanced at my watch. “You asked about things to do in Timbergate. I have a couple of suggestions, then I have to be going.”

“So soon?” His obvious disappointment was flattering, and just short of pathetic.

“We have community theatre, a concert series, a convention center, art exhibits, a sports arena, but you said you suck at sports, so I guess that’s out.” I took a breath, trying to slow my rapid-fire delivery. “Anyway, you can get more information at the Visitors Bureau. When you leave the museum parking lot, make a right at the intersection. It’s just down the street.”

“Any singles bars in town?”

“Probably, but I don’t do the bar scene, so I’m not a good person to ask.” Considering my mini-skirt and four-inch heels, he probably found that hard to believe. “It’s been nice meeting you, Arnie, but I really have to go.” I stood. “I’m meeting my boyfriend for lunch at the gun club. He teaches marksmanship there.”

“No problem. In fact, I’d like to meet your boyfriend. I just bought a gun and I could use some pointers. Can I get your phone number? I’d like to follow up on this.”

Mr. Harmless just bought a gun? Great. “I just moved,” I said. “I don’t have a new phone number yet.”

“No cell phone?”

“Sorry.”

He looked disappointed, then brightened. “What’s your boyfriend’s name? I can call the gun club and ask for him.”

Would this never end? “He doesn’t like me giving out his name. He’s a little paranoid. Besides, anyone at the gun club could help you.”

I walked out of the coffee shop, pinched toes screaming in pain, stomach growling protest at the apple pie I’d left behind.

What a fiasco. Ingrid Wiggins with a paranoid, gun-totin’ boyfriend. Not the alter ego I’d have imagined for myself. Worse, I had no hard evidence that Arnie Palmer was the museum stalker. And yet, there was the bizarre coincidence of his name. I sensed there was something connecting Arnie to Bonnie Beardsley, but short of seeing him again, I had no idea how to figure out what it was.

 

In Memoriam: Magical Shoes by Gayle Madden

Welcome back to Member Monday.  It’s with heavy hearts that we feature a piece by Gayle Madden.  She recently passed away and we offer our sincere condolences to her husband, Michael.  While we mourn Gayle’s passing, we celebrate her life, a life well-lived indeed.  This is the second of two pieces by Gayle we featured this month and we encourage you to read more of her body of work at her blog, aptly titled The Sweet Life: La Dolce Vita. -Writers Forum Board of Directors

Magical Shoes

by Gayle Madden

Walking a mile in my Magical Shoes

I finally know what it’s like to walk a mile in my shoes!

In January of 2011, my husband, Michael, bought me a new pair of pretty RED ones as a surprise.  The surprise turned out to be I wouldn’t wear them until recently, 14 months later.  But what a sweet walk it was!

The shoes are magical.

Just ask Debbie, our adventurous friend who joined us.  She has a pair of magical shoes, too.

Magical Shoes are made to keep a traveler afloat in a storm.  I wore out my last pair!

You might think I need a really big size to weather my current storm, but part of the magic is that one size fits all.  Another part of the magic is that we all have magic shoes.

What color are yours?

A Note from the Webmaster: Writers Forum has the author’s permission to publish this work. The author retains full copyright ownership and protection. This work may not be reproduced or used in any way without the permission of the author.  If you’re a member in good standing, please consider submitting a piece of your work to share.  Essays, poems, songs, articles and any other stand alone pieces are welcome.  To submit your piece, please e-mail it to webmaster, Alicia McCauley, at writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com.   Members featured here are guests in our Writers Forum house.  Treat them as such in the comments section and enjoy this beautiful thing we call writing.

In Memoriam: Backpacking the Trinity Alps by Gayle Madden

Welcome back to Member Monday.  It’s with heavy hearts that we feature a piece by Gayle Madden.  She recently passed away and we offer our sincere condolences to her husband, Michael.  While we mourn Gayle’s passing, we celebrate her life, a life well-lived indeed.  We’ll be featuring another of Gayle’s pieces next week and we encourage you to read more of her body of work at her blog, aptly titled The Sweet Life: La Dolce Vita. -Writers Forum Board of Directors

Photo courtesy of Gayle Madden

In what poets refer to as the dead of night, poets who obviously have never slept beside an alpine lake in the high country during a warm summer night, I got up and stepped out of the tent.  I gazed skyward, looking into the purple-black heavens in absolute awe, breathing out slowly, imperceptibly.

Stars hung low, big, bright, too bright to even twinkle, more like a glow.  Silent stars tinkling their songs over the millenniums like sirens, luring, rendering one powerless yet powerful at the same time.  I called softly to awaken my husband, luring him out to see the starlit sky.

He stepped into the night and scanned the sky with the practiced eye of a pilot and the heart of a mystic.  “Look,” he whispered, then nodded.  “The Big Dipper.”

There it was.  Not only huge in the sky but closer than I have ever seen it, dipping perfectly into the outline of the black-inked mountaintops, cradled like a babe held tenderly in arms, resting before resuming its eternal journey in the sky.  It was in that moment that I saw what I had never seen before.

The smooth black water of the lake transformed into sky.  The Big Dipper, along with hundreds of other stars, glowed golden white in the watery sky.  A perfect mirror image of the lights rose from the bottom of the liquid blackness, mysteriously dancing.  I stood frozen in time, gazing into the bigness of nature that man has gazed into since the beginning of man, the Bigness that fills man with a sense of being a part of something greater than himself. There I stood, with ancient man, with every man, filling myself, feeling myself.  More than myself.  Alive.

A Note from the Webmaster: Writers Forum has the author’s permission to publish this work. The author retains full copyright ownership and protection. This work may not be reproduced or used in any way without the permission of the author.  If  you’re a member in good standing, please consider submitting a piece of your work to share.  Essays, poems, songs, articles and any other stand alone pieces are welcome.  To submit your piece, please e-mail it to webmaster, Alicia McCauley, at writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com.   Members featured here are guests in our Writers Forum house.  Treat them as such in the comments section and enjoy this beautiful thing we call writing.

Member Monday: The Child Within by Melva Henderson

Member Monday: Soar Within the Story by Linda Boyden

Welcome back to Member Monday.  It’s a pleasure to feature a poem by poet, storyteller and children’s author, Linda Boyden.  You can purchase a hardback copy of Linda’s newest picture book Boy and Poi Poi Puppy at All About Books.  Be sure to come to the Authors Fair and pick up your signed copies of Linda’s books.  Welcome, Linda!

Soar Within the Story

By Linda Boyden ©2014

disappear

into a story

melt

onto the strands

of the teller’s voice.

dig

into the layers

search

for the gem

the spark

that grabs

your heart

that whirls

and whittles

down your troubles

lets you soar

within the story

within the colors

of the words.

 

 A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com. Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free. Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links. The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter. Thank you!

Member Monday: I Saw My Mom Today by Patsy Parker

Welcome back to Member Monday.  Today we welcome first time poster, Patsy Parker.  Grab a cup of something warm and a tissue and enjoy Patsy’s poignant essay.

I Saw My Mom Today

by Patsy Parker

 

I saw my mom today, even though she’s been dead for eight years, two months, and nine days.  She rose from her bed in the late morning.  The aroma of fresh coffee tickled her nose.  The sounds of creaking and crackling filled her ears as she walked down the hall.  They weren’t coming from the floor.

When she reached the kitchen, she pulled her favorite coffee mug down from the cabinet.  It was the only one she used; it read simply “Mom.”  Her daughter had given it to her one year for her birthday.

I saw my mom today.  On summer days such as this she stayed in her loose-fitting clothes all day since she didn’t have to drive kids to school for three months.  She liked to read in the mornings while she sipped her coffee. Then she did some chores here and there – laundry mostly since her teenage daughter did the dishes for her every day.  Her son took out the trash.

Occasionally, she sat in the backyard to listen to the morning birds.  Then she walked around the lawn looking for a few weeds to pull.  If her neighbor was out, she waved hello.  She used to have a favorite neighbor many years ago.  Slowly the neighborhood became filled with younger women who had jobs and children in school.  It changed too quickly she thought.

I saw my mom today.  She went back to her bedroom to read which she often did in the afternoons before it was time for dinner.   She read mostly novels, but sometimes non-fiction such as short stories.  She loved any story that had a happy ending, always the optimist.

In the evenings after dinner,  she sat in her room with her whiskey and soda and watched her favorite shows or a good movie.  She made the trip down the hall a few more times before she turned out the light to go to sleep; instead she lay awake for hours tossing and turning.

I saw my mom today.  Her white hair fixed nice with the smell of hairspray freshly spritzed.  She stood in front of the mirror putting her make-up on.  Flicking off the bathroom light, she walked down the hall as quickly as she could to get her purse and go grocery shopping.

When she arrived home, she came in the door tired and sighing heavily as she put bags on the dining room table.  She put the groceries away, made herself a glass of iced tea, and went to sit on the couch for a few minutes.

I saw my mom today when I looked in the mirror.  Same color hair, reading a novel, lounging in my loose-fitting clothes.  Drinking coffee in the early morning from my sea turtle mug,  minus the nightly drinking and insomnia.  Not quite the optimist mom was, seeing the worst case scenarios first.  I went grocery shopping today, but I treated myself to a movie and a trip to the library first.  In addition to reading tonight, I thought…I wrote…I remembered.

I saw my mom today when I looked in the mirror, but mostly I saw myself.

A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com. Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free. Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links. The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter. Thank you!

Member Monday: Gusty by Larry Watters

Welcome back to Member Monday.  Today we welcome our beloved Writers Forum President, Larry Watters.  Welcome, Larry.

Gusty

by Larry Watters

It was a dark and stormy night in Beeville, Texas, home to a naval air flight training squadron during the early days of World War Two. Air Traffic Controller 2nd Class Adel Schwartz was in the tower, and she was talking down Lieutenant Mort Feinberg in his T-2, a navy training plane. An experienced ex-civilian pilot, he was smart enough to know that he had to rely on her, since she was familiar with the winds that were gusting in from the gulf. Mort was so taken with her voice that the next day he asked around to find out who she was. While fraternizing was not allowed, he was determined to meet her.

Loitering between the WAVE quarters and the chow hall a few days later, he bravely asked others if they would point her out. Seeing the sturdy young woman, he excitedly rushed up to her, on the pretense of wanting to thank her for guiding his plane to a safe landing during the storm. He asked her to meet him for a cup of coffee off base later.

They hit it off and enjoyed each other’s quirky humor. He graduated from that flight school, and shipped out to the war in the Pacific. But they stayed in touch. In their letters they fantasized about what they, if married, nah, when married, would name their first child. After the war they hooked up and got married.

And they named their first child Gusty. After all, when they first talked, it was a dark and stormy night.

A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com. Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free. Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links. The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter. Thank you!