The Hunter

Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday prompt is being held by one of my favorite followers of which I am also a ‘followee’ :), Mark Schutter! His blog has beautiful artistry and poems that come straight from his very heart. It is no surprise that he would be hosting FWF while Kellie is away and we are all in continued prayer for her beautiful baby nephew Khole.

The image prompt that Mark provided is of the magnificent ‘blood moon’. See his explanation here. At first sight, my mind immediately went to the historic Scottish Wars of Independence namely the Battle of Neville’s Cross during the time of the blood moon’s rising in October. This site is said to have been the place where David II led his troops to high ground to prepare for more battles after an unsuccessful battle with England‘s army. It is also said that the site’s erection of this stone cross was paid for by Lord Neville himself due to England’s victory of their battle with the Scottish ‘freedom hunters’.

The image of the blood moon symbolizes ‘hunting season‘, so my poem uses this symbolism (with some old Scottish phrases with meanings in the following lines) to portray the fight for the independence of 12th century Scottish people.

 

Old Scottish Sayings: These are brief definitions of some of the sayings in the poem that were not translated in the following lines after the sayings or words:

Dreich – drenched

‘We gie it laldy’ – Do it with gusto

‘Do ye dinger’ – Disapproval, loudly

‘Haud yer wheesht’ – Shhh!

‘Whit’s fer ye’ll no go by ye’ – What is meant will be

‘Fair Puckled’ – Short of breath

‘We’re a Jock Tamson’s bairns’ – We’re all God’s children

‘Lang may yer lum reek’ – Live long, stay well

‘Keep the heid’ – Be calm and wait

‘Mair’ – more

‘Ain’ – own

‘Gunnae’ – Going to

‘Frae’ – from

‘Greet’ – cry

‘Hame’ – home

‘Hoachin’ – busy

‘Failin’ means yer playin’ –  If you fail, at least you tried

 

Here goes!

The Hunter

 

hunters-moon-vegastar-carpentier

  Photo Credit: VegaStar Carpentier Website

Blood moon rises,

time has come;

For Death to prevail,

and survival to be won.

 

“Haste ye back!”

Will  our women say;

The hunter goes out,

Fer a long yonder’s stay.

 

Our harvest has come;

At the time of equinox;

But we must conquer flesh,

And mend our wee flocks.

 

 

A man’s belly must be filled;

With a hearty warm stew;

From that which is hunted

From that which we slew.

 

On the hunt for freedom;

“We gie it laldy, but it’s a dreich day!

Do yer dinger!”,

To England we say.

 

Wet lands hinder;

Cold winds make us weak,

Night is black as the Earl of Hell’s waistcoat;

“Shhh, haud yer wheesht!”

 

Silently, we approach;

And attack with all our might;

But ‘whit’s fur ye’ll no go by ye,

And null was our dinger strike…

 

The hunter is fair puckled;

Long bowmen make us short of breath;

We’re a Jock Tamson’s bairns;

All God’s children suffer death!

 

Safely, the hunter is led to prepare;

Under the shield of Neville’s Cross;

But our souls now linger,

In the heathered moor’s peat moss.

 

The blood moon drips;

With trickles of our life’s creek;

Our last wish for survivors is,

“Lang may yer lum reek!

 

Keep the heid – stay calm!

Accept this wee defeat;

There will be mair battles;

When our ain will nae retreat!

 

Bide ye the next gunnae;

For now, yes – for noo;

We shall hail our ain king,

At the next going to!”

 

Mair blood shall be shed;

“Frae the enemy!”, we greet,

Their hame shall be heathered moors,

Where hoachin’ ghosts linger in moss peat.

 

The blood moon rises;

In the auld lands that very be;

Failin’me ans yer playin’ – “Don’t stop!”

We shall keep the heid until we are free!

 

I hope that these old Scottish sayings did justice to this piece and I hope that you enjoyed! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Aside

Continual Resort Part #8 – Hopes Undone {From the FWF Prompt}

I hope that you all enjoy installment #8 of my story Continual Resort – Hopes Undone. This installment was inspired by Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday image prompt…it was freaking PERFECT for what I wanted to convey with this new character!!! You’ve done it again Kellie – thank you much! <3…I hope you all enjoy, here goes!

Continual Resort | Hopes Undone

jackson wedding

Image courtesy of Kellie Elmore

At the sound of the dial tone, Chelsea grinned a satisfactory smile knowing that she had thrown Donald for a loop. He had no idea that she would be calling him after all of these years, but she felt that he was well deserving of any bad vibe that she could send his way. After all, he had given her bad vibes all of her life and couldn’t care less. It simply was not fair for this man to have been allowed to have complete control over her life and not even be present in it, but her own mother was to blame. “Money talks and bullshit walks – you can do whatever you please once you’re grown.” Chelsea would never forget what her mother had told her and she eventually learned to live those words as well.

Her mother now lived in a nursing home after having a stroke four years ago. Chelsea had tried to care for her at home, but simply could not deal with this difficulty along with her mother’s attitude which had become even worse after she became ill. The nursing home served its purpose well enough and Chelsea kept up with regular yet brief visits to make sure that her mother was being cared for properly. It was not that they didn’t care for each other, but her mother’s attitude towards life had caused  their relationship to not be as one would expect a single mother with only one child to be. Things were so different when she was a small girl…back then she was a prized possession…later, a spoiled brat, but all of this changed during her teenage years.

Chelsea grew up with almost everything that she wanted, but the collector’s item dolls gave her no pleasure because she was not allowed to play with them. The dance lessons kept her occupied, but still did not replace the time that could have been spent enjoying a real family. The modeling classes proved that she was indeed the envy of the other girls because of her beauty, and her designer clothes made a nice cover for the unopened book that was her heart.

None of these things that other kids complained about not having fulfilled the emptiness that she felt. She was sure that this emptiness was what drove her to rebellion. Chelsea felt that she’d been nothing more to her mother and father (who she knew of but seldom saw) than a trophy lying dormant on its own personal shelf. Cutting school, drinking, smoking, and ‘being fast’ was her way of receiving the attention that she so needed, and for a while it actually worked – or so she thought.

She had grown tired of the jealousy and angry looks from her peers. Her job had been to be beautiful, look pretty for the camera, and win more awards, but high school had taught her that these things were no so much admired by all. Learning the hard way to either fit in or fight, Chelsea decided that she would go the non-violent route and began to let others influence her actions. Her grades began to fail, and the guidance counselor was constantly setting up conferences with her mother about her behavior.

This was right up Chelsea’s alley, because she relished those nights that her mother would fuss over her; almost pleading with her to straighten up or she would have to call her dad. Little did her mother know that this was exactly what Chelsea wanted.

Donald began to spend some weekends with her, showering her with more gifts on top of what he already provided through her mother. Although her interest in these things had begun to wane, she would still take whatever she could get from her parents and still be as fancy as her untouched dolls. She had become just like her mother. Get all you can while the getting is good was her main goal for attention as well as things, but after a time, when she most needed her parents’ love and understanding, they let her down miserably. Once they thought that she was improving in school and had begun to act better in school, the visits from Donald stopped. The late night talks with her mother ended also, but she went through the motions and acted as she should in school. She had to get her act together now because she had fallen in love.

The quarterback of the football team needed her by his side – especially for homecoming. They were the king and queen of the court. Despite continued jealousy from other girls, most of the school was glad to cast their votes in her behalf. They were the perfect couple and this attention made Chelsea feel as if she were on top of the world. She was the envy of everyone and Gary belonged to her. She realized that at the beginning of their relationship that he simply needed a pretty girl on his arm, but over time they had grown very close. She was glad that she’d had at least some experience with boys, so there was no problem with ‘going all the way’…Chelsea was sure that this was what made Gary stick to her like glue. He had not been like the other boys who were just trying to build their reputations. Gary was different…his family had money and his parents were much like her own in that they were basically interested in his being a winner and not much else. Their phone conversations became longer as they spoke on what they actually wanted out of life which seemed to be each other…they talked about being together forever.

Chelsea had been so afraid to tell Gary about her pregnancy that she waited until Class Day. She would be graduating with honors and could not wait to be seated on the front row to show how she had improved over that couple of years to come out on top despite her past. After the program was over, Gary’s response to her news was shocking to say the least. He had offered to marry her. “You know my folks got money shooting out of their asses, so we’ll be taken care of. You can live with us and I can still play college ball. Believe me, my folks have already let me know that if I ever got myself into a ‘situation’ to not worry. It’s alright, I love you!” Chelsea kissed him passionately outside of the gym in front of several onlookers and decided that she could now tell her mother the great news.

“You little bitch! Do you realize what you’ve done?  Here I am trying to make something decent out of you and you went and screwed up everything, but don’t think for one minute that you’re gonna fuck me outta my money!”

While Chelsea did not quite know how to react to her mother;s seething anger, she thought that she may as well act like the woman that she now was. “What can you actually do about it? I’m a grown woman now and I’m getting married. I won’t have to be under your thumb ever again and there’s nothing you can do about it!” She made this statement to her mother knowing full well that there was plenty that her mother could do about it, but she would make sure that this did not happen. No longer would she be a pawn for her mother’s pockets. She had a way out and she also had real love – there was no way she would let anyone get in her way.

“Oh, really…we’ll see about that.”

That very night, Chelsea’s mother called Donald to tell him that they had an ’emergency’.

*

Realizing that she had lain awake all that time going back over her life, Chelsea made herself comfortable in the king sized bed in her hotel suite. “Get some rest beauty queen…one’s been down for four years, but there’s one more to go…I am going to enjoy this. Let’s see how it feels for you to have all of your hopes undone, dear old Dad.”

Rolling over under the luxurious covers, Chelsea slept.

Aside

Continual Resort|Part 6 – Dandelion Season

This installment is also inspired by Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday|Pick a Title. I’m working on one of the twists in this one so enjoy!

Continual Resort|Part #6 – Dandelion Season

Dandelion season

Image courtesy of Evgeni Dinev at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The rest of Donny and Linda’s weekend had gone off without a hitch. Brianne had thoroughly enjoyed riding her da-da’s back around the apartment and playing with building blocks while learning her letters at the same time. The two young parents had spent quality time with their baby as well as with each other – it was the way things should be. There were no arguments, no misunderstandings, and no partying for that matter. It seemed that this relationship had always been that of blissful togetherness from day one, but they both knew that this was not the case howbeit, each one had their own problems that they somehow did not speak of, but rather self-medicated what ailed them mentally and emotionally, but this particular weekend had gone by peacefully and quite enjoyably.

Donny had brought in the pc, monitor, and keyboard from his car and set it up in their front room where he usually did his writing. Although his father had given him a hand-me-down of sorts, he was still glad that he would be able to save time, gas, and his cramped hand from writing everything all the time on paper and would now have the privilege to peck his words out and save them in the comfort of his home without having to listen to his father’s rants. The only time that he’d be dealing with Donald would be at work only, and for that he was glad. He could kill two birds with one stone by tolerating his father and brother at the same time, and then his destination would be – away.

He had already set his appointment for the technician to install his internet service for the following Monday when Linda would be home while he was at work. He was sure that his father had already replaced his old computer with a more expensive device, but Donny would not be going to his father’s house to save anything this weekend. He would simply have to write everything out for one last week and wait until his own system was up and running because we was not yet ready for whatever the payback would be for Donald’s nice gesture that was sure to have strings attached.

Just as he would not be paying his father a visit, he would also not be having any company from Derrick who frequented their apartment to bring them their ‘package’, drink with them, and end up crashing on the couch. He had seen the way Derrick looked at Linda and he didn’t like it one bit. He also was not comfortable with his brother constantly referring to his woman as ‘sweetheart’, so he would deal with his brother at work just as he would Donald and that would be the end of it. On many occasions, Donny had thought about asking Linda if his brother had ever said anything out-of-the-way to her, but he didn’t because of the fact that he trusted her. He was sure that Linda was not even remotely flattered by his brother’s flirtatious ways and he was sure that Derrick’s actions were just another way to get under his skin. He was determined to keep relatives out of his personal business due to that blackout incident which stemmed from Donald once again telling him something negative about Linda.

How could he talk about her this way when he never even attempted to hold a decent conversation with her? Donny vowed internally that his father could speak as he pleased, but from now on, saying bad things about Linda would not be allowed – at all. He made this vow to himself as his mind went back to just a few days ago when everything had fallen apart simply because of the hearsay that he now promised himself would never be allowed to rise up again. Donny did not want to have thoughts that angered him on his way to work, but he felt it necessary to free himself of this issue once and for all, but still…he wondered…

That Friday night after work, Donny had gone to his parents’ house to finish typing up and saving his lyrics when Donald informed him that he had something to say that he really needed to hear.

Donald told him that as he drove past ‘Sweet Styles’, he saw Linda outside the salon with a thirty-something, wavy haired, expensive suit wearing white man with a briefcase, and that they were standing so close to each other that it was impossible for them to not know each other… “Well son, they say once you go black you never go back…I guess in your case this is not so.” Donald’s demeanor had been calm and quite smug, but his attitude suddenly changed when Donny looked at him with a ‘so what’ attitude. Donald’s demeanor was now heated. “I told you boy…you keep walkin’ around with that trailer park trash like you got somethin’, but you look like a damn fool!  I don’t have a reason to lie, but you must like it, so keep on, but make sure that you don’t come runnin’ back to me thinkin’ that I won’t say – I told you so!”

At that very moment, Donny’s heart sank, but he let his father know that he would be the last person on Earth that he would ever consider running to for anything. He knew that his father had no reason to lie, but he also knew that lying would not be beneath his dear old dad for the sake of complete control.

Knowing this is what caused Donny’s confusion, discomfort, and unease. As he made his way to work, his thoughts arose yet again…”If she was talkin’ to somebody, who could it be and why would she lie?” His suspicion had grown from remembering the day that his father spoke of when Linda had told him that she was late coming home because the salon had so many walk-ins, so what Donald said actually made sense. This is what prompted him to stupidly come home and question her but she had been so ‘lit’ from the liquor and weed that she’d lost her temper (in a big way)…she was uncontrollable…a storm of fists flailing at his chest until she caught him smack in his left eye.

It seemed as if Donny was more surprised by his immediate reaction than Linda was when his reflexes drove him to strike her; almost unknowingly. Pain and guilt overcame him once he had ‘come to’, but Linda’s angry glare held a sense of understanding. This told him that no matter what may be going on with Linda that he didn’t know about didn’t really matter – unless Linda actually had something to hide…did she? Donny’s mind was trapped by this question during his blackout. He simply could not bare the thought of one more person that he loved to have betrayed him.

As he pulled into his reserved parking space at ‘Robertson’s’, the older brother prepared himself for Derrick’s downplay of the new dish that would be introduced to the staff. With the exception of the owner of this facility, Donny’s innovative ideas was what kept the menu up to date although Derrick got credit for it. Somehow, he did not care, but today he would be sure to let little brother know to either shit or get off of the pot and keep his mouth shut so that the rest of the staff could get what they came for and so that he would be able to keep the dish going over the weekends. After all, Derrick was the one who needed to know the dish like the back of his hand if he wanted customers to continue sending him compliments. The mahi-mahi with pineapple and mango salsa was sure to be another hit on the list, and Donny would rest well knowing that a large part of ‘Robertson’s’ currently growing clientele was due to his own creativity and talent. Well prepared to keep Derrick in line and help the staff to prepare, Donny wrote out his plans in the office and headed to the kitchen. He expected his father to be there, but for some reason he was absent. He decided that he would still introduce the dish to staff and show his father later. Donny also hoped that maybe his father would actually be happy for once with what he’d done as opposed to ignoring his creations and congratulating Derrick for being such a wonderful chef. “Whether he do or don’t, it’s still my shit, so oh, well.” With that thought in mind, Donny began his work day.

***

The twenty-minute walk across the street, up the hill, and into the field had become such a commonplace task that it was no longer considered exercise although this brief trek was still beneficial to his cardiovascular system. On days like this when the air was warm and partnered with a light breeze, it caused the field to from a short distance resemble a sunny winter’s afternoon with snowflakes drifting as if there were no ground on which to land, but rather riding the wind’s current until reaching their final resting place somewhere far away. It was dandelion season.

The soft hiss of tall blades of grass swaying under the breeze was an all too familiar sound as his footsteps followed the worn path between the grass to the small, tattered shack’s front door which was seldom locked.  This almost lean-to like establishment was hidden from the public due to the pines, oaks, and other various trees and foliage that blocked the view of the winding back road which would lead a driver the long way around and up the incline to this area. There were about two more very small houses hidden farther back that could only be reached by walking through the field, but they had been empty for many years as most poverty-stricken residents had moved to the trailer park for better housing, but this one little shack had stood for decades and was still well occupied.

One dented and small pot with a broken handle sat atop the 70’s model stove which amazingly still worked. One would not think that this humble abode had electricity, but the power lines that ran from the back road proved otherwise. He heated a dented can of tomato soup while searching for his spoon that would not be dipped into a bowl, but straight into the pot. His newspaper would be read while sitting in the old lopsided wooden chair set at it’s even older companion of a table which was found on a side street. He would eat more later, but for the time being, he would relax. Business mixed with a little pleasure would come later.

Just after gulping down the last drops of the now cooling liquid from his pot, he was now ready for work. Once again, he had read the same article found in his ten-year-old newspaper that he’d kept from day one. Never imagining the connection that would arise eight years later and change everything, his determination to end it once and for all was his daily mission. With his wife and son long dead, there was no need to sit comfortably in a nice house with all the fixings. He had screwed up royally because of his weakness, but no longer would he be this way.

He’d lost everything in his life that he had ever loved – “Almost.” He silently corrected his thoughts. There was still a reason to have hope; it was the hope of being able to protect, to set things right, even to love again.  No longer was he the sorrowful soul from the past and he was ready to settle the score once and for all…or die trying.

By this time, late evening had rolled around. It was time for him to be on his way, so he put on his blue tooth headset so that he would be ready for the call that came each evening like clockwork. The call came as soon he had settled himself inside the black luxury pick-up with windows so darkly tinted that the driver could not easily be seen.

“Main suspect has exited the building…two accomplices remain with six others out back. Closing time. Transaction done and suspect is headed west. The coast is clear so it’s time.”

The voice on the other end spoke quickly.

“I’m on it.” This was all he said in answer to the update. There was a job to do and he knew exactly where he was headed. First, he would order a nice dinner – whatever the special was and ask to be allowed a brief visit to the chef to shake his hand and offer his compliments. He had two options. Either the entrance to the kitchen or the office would be the site for the surveillance device to be planted.

With a mental diagram mapped out of what would take place on this night, ‘John’ parked his truck in a hidden alley that was two streets away from his destination. He walked calmly past tourists, and regulars who were out for a night of fun. Some going out to eat, and others out to drink themselves into oblivion, but none of this mattered. His time had been calculated and he would do exactly what was planned. “Here we go.” Was all that was said as John opened the door, walked in, and waited to be seated. He knew that there would be questioning eyes and strange looks, but this was the way he wanted it, because it all worked in with the plan. The line in the waiting area was not as long as he thought it would be and as soon as the couple in front of him were led to their table, another hostess promptly came to greet him with a smile which left her face immediately until she quickly regained her composure. Her pasted smile returned.

“Hello sir…welcome to Robertson’s…”

Aside

Continual Resort – Part #5| Phone Call at Midnight

Hey WP! I am moving at a snail’s pace with my story, but I have finally gathered my thoughts and I THINK that I am ready to move on. August was a crazy month for me, so I am playing catch-up with everything…reading, writing – everything! So this installment is from 3 weeks ago (I think) where Kellie Elmore prompted her followers to ‘pick a title’ and I used ‘Phone Call at Midnight’ for part 5 and I’m actually thinking about using all the other titles for future installments, so thank you Kellie! I hope you guys can forgive my ‘lateness’ but I will eventually get back on track. In the meantime, here is installment 5 of Continual Resort.

‘Phone Call at Midnight’

Linda and her baby were home now. She had filled Brianne’s wading pool with water from their next door neighbor’s water hose and Brianne along with the neighbor’s child splashed accordingly. Linda assured Patrice that the kids would be fine while she watched them as Patrice heated chicken nuggets and french fries inside. Linda had already brought home plenty of Kool-Aid packs and chips to add to their meal, but her mind could not veer from the strange questioning from ‘John’ as he called himself. She wondered about his past. How had he come to be a beggar? The strange thing was that she hardly ever saw him at the store at night, but during the day he’d be there like clockwork. Did he have another spot during the evening, or did he actually have somewhere to live. Linda noticed that despite John’s repeated ensemble of wrinkled jeans and t-shirt, he did not look very dirty, just extremely rough around the edges. He had really thrown her for a loop by starting up their chat that morning.

“Why had he been so serious, and why had he looked at her that way? Well next time, I may have a few questions for him.” Linda thought aloud. She had no problem giving someone who was homeless a couple of dollars, but she would not tolerate some con man taking what little she had while also dipping into her personal life. “Even if I’m not alright, what can he do about it?” Still, there was something very strange about this guy who sat casually in front of Walmart during the day and who knew where else otherwise…something strange and hauntingly familiar.

Linda shook off her suspicions as she wrapped the two small girls with an extra-large towel to dry them off so that they could have their lunch. Mere seconds before Linda was ready to lead the two happy squealing girls into her neighbor’s apartment, Patrice  pushed her back door open with her shoulder while carrying a tray loaded with nuggets and fries. “They can have their chips for a snack before bed.” Patrice grinned, glad that her daughter’s playmate had returned for the weekend.

“I decided that we may as well eat out here since everybody’s having so much fun!” “Girl, you’re just crazy! ” Linda laughed before making her next statement, “I already dried them off, and we could have come in as usual, but have it your way!”

There was a small card table set directly at Linda and Donny’s back door where Patrice set the tray and as if performing a magic trick, also pulled a bottle of ketchup from under her arm and set it at the center of the table.

Linda un-stacked the lawn chairs and set them at the table so that all four of them would have a seat as opposed to holding the girls in their laps.  The two barefooted two-year-olds gladly allowed Linda to help them into their chairs.  They all sat and enjoyed their midday meal as the babies sang their own muddled renditions of their favorite songs that all toddlers love. Neither of them were allowed to watch music videos and the only time that any hardcore rap music graced their little ears was when Donny or Patrice’s boyfriend had the urge to listen to loud beats from the speakers of their sound systems in one apartment while the children played in the other. They all tried to make sure that they were careful about what the kids heard and would eventually repeat, but by Donny being an aspiring lyricist some things were simply unavoidable such as the loud music that also resonated throughout their complex from other neighbors which they had no choice but to abide.

“Koo-wade, mama!” Brianne fully remembered that her mother had bought her favorite drink from the store, and she was now ready for it. Linda excused herself from their little table  to retrieve the drinks from her freezer…soon after coming out with a pack for each picnic attendee. Linda and Patrice opened and inserted the small straws into the pack for their daughters as well as their own as they discussed sending Taylor – Patrice’s daughter to the daycare center that Linda had Brianne enrolled in now that Patrice had finally found a job. She assured her friend that Taylor would be fine because her mother worked at the high school and would bring her home with Brianne. Patrice would only need to swing by and pick Taylor up when she got off work. That way the girls could have more time together.

Linda thought inwardly that once she became a salon owner, she would be able to pick up her own baby at a reasonable hour instead of just weekends and days off, but to make her heart lighter, she continued to joke with her friend.  “You can finally let go, and let God, girl!” They laughed casually at Patrice’s reservations about being separated from Taylor, but the issue of violence and accidents in public facilities for children was real despite their joking.

Linda felt a sense of pride in knowing that her mother cared enough to help her as well as her friend.

With the two babies apparently too full to enjoy their cakes for dessert, Patrice and Linda decided that they would dress the girls in dry clothes and put them down for a nap if possible. They thanked each other for a nice day before retreating to their assigned abodes to which Taylor went fast asleep, but Brianne insisted that she needed to watch ‘Spongebob’. Linda was glad that she kept children’s DVD’s for this very purpose, and her baby was fully occupied during the wait for Donny’s arrival.

He came in with the same attitude as usual on the weekend. He set their bottle of vodka on the kitchen counter and tossed the dime bag of weed right into Linda’s hands which she caught like a pro. She stashed her supply and came back up front to see how Donny’s day at his father’s house had gone, although she knew that it would not be good…it never was.

“What did you pick up to eat?” Linda had no intentions on cooking. It was Saturday so she knew that Donny had picked up fast food from somewhere. “I stopped by the restaurant…that’s where I saw Derrick of course. You wanna drink first or eat?” Linda declined both options as she was still full from lunch. She would eat something later. “Where’s Bri?” ” Donny made his way to his daughter’s bedroom where he found her lying on a blanket on the floor fast asleep. He knelt to kiss her forehead before returning to the kitchen where Linda sat at their small dinette table to hear the events of Donny’s day. Linda was surprised that Donny had not made himself a drink as he usually did, but sat at the table and began to speak.

“Shit’s been weird today. First of all, Dad wasn’t as much of an ass as he usually is. I didn’t get a sermon today, but he did have some questions. For some reason he was acting like he was interested in my work and get this – he said that he’s buying a new computer and that I can have his old one. All I have to do is pay for internet service. Can you believe it? I was in fucking shock at first and then I thought about it. I accepted the computer…it’s out there in the car, but I know there’s gonna be something else to this shit. I don’t know what he’s gonna want from me later, but hell – he’s still giving Derrick the fucking world, so tossing a used computer at me is the least he can do.”

Donny’s younger brother Derrick had done all that their father had asked of him. He graduated high school with honors and had also finished culinary school which landed him the position as head cook at Robertson’s, their father’s successful restaurant of 18 years which was in the downtown area. During their high school years, both boys were subjected to Donald’s long speeches about how hard it had been for him to pull himself up by his own bootstraps and make something of himself, which was not easy for a black man trying to start and keep his own business. Donny’s mind had always been set on becoming a famous writer while Derrick took all that his father told him and followed in his footsteps. He had been the perfect son. Never a harsh word between him and his father as when Donald told him to jump, Derrick asked how high.

Can a man love and hate his own brother? Donny had pondered this thought for years to avoid his underlying feelings of jealousy. Why couldn’t his father love him for who he was and simply accept his choices on who he had in his life as well as what he wanted to do with his life?

Shaking off this thought, Donny continued to talk about how busy the restaurant was and that he was glad to be off. He worked during the week as Derrick’s assistant. Donny knew that his skills were just as if not far better than his brother’s but he would continue working for, though not with his father while Derrick kept the title as long as necessary because he wanted no part in owning anything with his father and certainly not his brother. His day would come sooner or later. He was just having a hard time dealing with the fact that sooner was actually not in the plan.

While still going over the day’s events, Donny’s blackout never came up. The two of them continued on as if it had never happened , but somehow she knew that he simply could not help himself and was genuinely sorry for what he had done. She had seen that miserably guilt ridden expression on her father’s face many times, but never had the opportunity to find out what had caused him to be such a tormented soul. However, she knew exactly what Donny’s problem was and she knew that if she had not thrown the first blow while in a drunken stupor, the situation would probably be non-existent.

Linda listened patiently as Donny went on, but the next thing he said made her straighten her slightly slumped posture. “You know that old dude that sits at Walmart every day? Well, he was sitting in front of the liquor store across the lot and decided to hold a running conversation with me – well not really a conversation, but he was asking questions like he really knows me or somethin’. Stuff like – how’s the job goin’ fer ya, and even how’s my love life? I was polite and just gave some general answers , but I just thought that it was a little weird. I guess since we’re pretty much his best ‘givers’, he just wanted to shoot the shit a little you know – just to be nice, but still.”

“It is weird ’cause when I went to the store this morning, he did the same thing to me!”

Donny asked Linda how their conversation went and soon after, they both shrugged of their suspicions of John being a con artist and decided that this was his way of saying thank you for the dollars that he received from them on an almost daily basis.

Linda told her live-in boyfriend to not worry about Derrick and just keep working at the restaurant until he got his big break. “All you need is a paycheck. Things are gonna change for us both someday…I just know it.”

“I sure do hope you’re right ’cause right now I just don’t see it but shit’s gonna change one way or the other…I just hope it’s not for the worst for some reason.”

Linda hated it when Donny spoke that way because it was if he could see into the future. Each time that he became wary about ‘something’ happening, it usually did. Although she wondered why Mr. Robertson couldn’t stand the sight of her she never let it bother her. He could be an ass all he wanted to as long as he didn’t say anything to her which he never did. He always expressed his unwarranted disgust for her with his son. Linda knew full well that Donny’s strained relationship with his father as well as his close-mouthed mother played a big part in his anger issues, but she vowed to always keep the secret about dear little brother Derrick. In her opinion, he was the real and true ass. It was obvious to Linda and Donny both that his younger brother was no angel, him being the regular provider of their supply of herbal smokes, but not even Donny knew what a snake he really was and she intended to keep it that way – hopefully.

She would never forget when she came to realize the type of person Derrick was due to an unexpected, surprising, and infuriating on her part but apparently well thought out (on Derrick’s part) –  phone call at midnight.

Aside

Continual Resort| Part 4 – ‘Sunny Days’|Free Write Friday Prompt

Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday prompt (from last week – I’m late ) was very helpful in giving me a nice twist to add to the story which will come up later, so for the fourth installment of Continual Resort, I am bringing in this new character – John…here goes!

‘Sunny Days’

walmart-man

walmart-man

“Hey Mom!” Linda had  already called Sheralyn on her cell to let her know that she was around the corner and would be pulling up into the driveway. Sheralyn always made sure that she had her car port door unlocked for her daughter’s prompt arrival. Linda was happily greeted by her mother and two-year-old Brianne who waddled towards her ‘ma-ma’ in excitement with arms raised in contemplation of being picked up, hugged, and kissed. The three of them made their way to the kitchen table where Linda and her mother had their usual heart-to-hearts about nothing in particular most of the time unless they happened to be taking a trip down memory lane wondering about what had become of Stanley, but this type of conversation did not take place often. They would both end up saddened by the issue of not having the benefit of ‘knowing’, so usual day talk consisted of how Brianne was progressing with learning her colors, animal names, and anything else that would put a smile on their faces – especially when Sheryl was present with her sarcastic yet hilarious sense of humor. Sheryl and Linda both knew that Sheryl’s jokes were often the product of a broken heart in the process of finding a way – any way possible to heal from her own painful existence.

Thoughts of the past always managed to hang over their heads like a giant weeping willow branch that could not be lifted at least until some distraction – funny or not came along to change the scenery.

“Coffee’s ready…here you go.” Linda accepted the hunter green coffee mug from her mother who then set her own mug on the table before sitting directly across from her daughter.  “Well, I was thinking about getting my ends clipped today, but I think that I’ll just let it try to grow out a little more.” Linda took care of her mother and sister’s hair. She had received her license from the Missouri State Board of Cosmetology two years earlier and was working at a local strip mall salon a few miles shy of the apartment complex that she lived in with Donny. It did not take long for Linda to build up a nice clientele with her first customers being her mother and sister. After a year of working at ‘Sweet Styles’, Linda’s following had grown due to her passion for her craft and her knack for keeping herself current with the latest trends in technical skills. She had been able to attend several of the educational shows that had come to Kansas City and she always made sure that she had enough money saved up each year for any continuing classes on haircuts, styling, or equipment that would help keep up her clients’ word of mouth praise around town which regularly brought in new customers.

Sheralyn kept her own supply of products at her house because she rarely visited the salon. Linda’s work week span went from Tuesday to Friday, because she always took off on Saturdays for her mom knowing that she would be bringing her baby back home with her for the rest of the weekend. By her not having to style her mother’s hair on this particular Saturday, she would have some extra time to make a full day with Brianne. She couldn’t wait to take her shopping for snacks, a new outfit, and the toy of the toddler’s choice.

Linda lightly bumped Brianne on her knee as the happy child nibbled on a post-breakfast snack of animal crackers. “Well in that case, I don’t have to break out my new shears. I just bought some new ones last week…can’t wait to use’em.” Sheralyn smiled at her daughter knowing that she had such drive towards being successful in the beauty industry that the young woman could almost taste it. This middle-aged mother felt such a sense of pride in having been able to work her way up to not needing government help that she vowed to herself that when the time came for Linda to branch off into creating her own business, she would be there to help her come hell or high water. They had been through so much and she could clearly see that Linda was doing her best to create a better life for her child that it did not move Sheralyn by having to keep Brianne through the week so that Linda could work at the salon. The daycare center that she had found for her granddaughter was nearby and had a good reputation. Brianne’s time at daycare fit perfectly alongside her ten-year job as the current head custodian of the high school in the same area as the daycare. Sheralyn made sure that she saved most of her income tax returns to live comfortably during the summer although she still worked at the school through the majority of summer months. Her frugality over the years when her children were young had taught her well in the art of saving so that her now small but quaint home could be paid for.

Both women realized that the dream of Linda’s salon may be far off, but they still had faith that this dream would become a reality.

While they talked, Sheralyn made herself a salad for lunch. She assured Linda that she needed nothing from the store and that she could begin her day with ‘Annie’ as she called her rambunctious grand baby. Once their casual conversation was done;  Brianne announced her readiness to ‘ride wit ma-ma’, so Linda gathered her baby’s bag and they headed off to Walmart which was directly across from the strip mall.

She loved the freedom of having a large enough clientele which allowed her to pay a weekly booth fee as opposed to working on a commissioned basis like she did in the beginning. She could work any day that she pleased and take off just the same. They stopped by the salon to speak to her co-workers who always seemed to be glad to see the baby before they made their way across the parking lot to enter Walmart. Linda found a red and white polka dot short set and picked up some chips and juice packs to go with their sandwiches for lunch.  Brianne picked out a small wading pool as she always did at the start of summer.

Linda also picked up a pack of smoked turkey slices, cheese, and some fruit as well as the usual jug of orange juice. She would not have a drink until Brianne had played enough to fall fast asleep shortly after her bath that night.

During their little weekend shopping excursions, they always passed by the same man who would be sitting quietly in front of the store. He would speak to her and say ‘Hi, cutie’, and ‘Bye, cutie’ to Brianne as they made their way in and out of the store, but Linda made it a point to come out with at least two dollars to give him before she left. She maintained this ritual in remembrance of the hard time her parents had caring for their family until Sheralyn had found a job as a janitor.

The man at the store would thank Linda for the small amount of cash as usual and they would be on their way, but this time was different. He did wait until they came out of the store, but he actually had a question for Linda just after she handed him his two dollars. “You know miss, I wanna thank you for what’cha do fer’me every week. It ain’t yer job to be handin’ me money like that, but an old coot like me thinks that it’s mighty nice of’ya! You’re such a sunny lil lady, so I just wannid ta know – how’s life been treatin’ya?” At the very moment that he asked, he removed his shades and gave her a piercing look. His eyes were pools of green curiosity accompanied by a serious look while awaiting her answer.

Linda had her bags in one hand while holding Brianne’s hand with the other. She was completely taken aback by this change of events. He had never asked her anything. She didn’t even know his name for goodness’s sake! However, her mind went to the fiasco that had triggered Donny’s angry outburst the night before, but she was definitely not going to spill her guts to this perfect stranger regardless of how courteous he was. Why was he looking at her that way?

“Oh…well, life’s been treating me just fine…by the way, did I ever get your name?” He answered with a smirk and a nod…”Aw, yeah…the name’s uh – John. You and the lil one can call’me John, yeah…that’s what’the name is.” He smiled and then looked down at his feet which were tapping a rhythm as if to unheard music. “You sure life’s been treatin’ ya okay girl?” Linda was speechless for a moment at his repeated question, but at Brianne’s yell, “SHUN,” Linda stuttered a bit before uttering, “Oh, yeah…I’m – I mean – we’re doing fine. I’m getting ready for a fun day with my baby today, so I’d better be going now.” “Yep, today is fun day fer ya. Make sure that it’s a real good’ern too girl.” John made a funny face at Brianne which made her giggle a bit before Linda walked off; trying not to look as if she was in a hurry to get away. The baby waved at him…Linda turned as she walked away to see John’s big smile as he too waved back at them.

Aside

Continual Resort -|’Back to Life’

I guess that this is the making of a chapter, a part 2, or something else…I’m not sure how all of this will turn out but I will continue with it as I am able. Anyway, I used Kellie Elmore’s word bank from her Free Write Friday prompt from last week to help me out…thanks Kellie! ❤

‘Back to Life’… the next scene from an earlier post Continual Resort.

At first sight of his reality, Donny Robertson came to, finding himself standing dumbfounded in his kitchen with a look and brief feeling of disbelief at Linda who was huddled on the floor glaring up at him in anger, but strangely with no fear – no tears. Slowly she raised herself from the floor and defiantly uttered, “Well, I guess you feel better now huh?” Her statement brought on a sense of knowing that swathed him like a blanket as he realized what had just happened and why. It was yet again another blackout that had followed one of his outbursts of anger that seemed to overtake him from time to time though not often. He had ignored what he called his ‘fits’ because usually after it happened, there was no real memory of the cause and surely not the effect of them. “Damn!” The guilt that he now felt overrode his surprise of the realization that this was the first time that he had ever gone this far. He had never hit her no matter what. That is what he had been taught all of his life, but somehow what he had vowed to never do had crept its way into his life – he thought – without warning. “How could I have known that I would one day hit this bitch?” He questioned himself as if some other entity accompanied them at that time, but he knew that it was actually his own mind and conscience who had been the author of his questions, confusion, and actions. He was truly sorry for what he had done, but when he apologized (knowing that this was his system of survival at home with Linda, but with no one and nowhere else), Linda rubbed her cheek, still holding a light burn where she had been slapped. “Don’t worry…it’ll come back to you later.” With a calm demeanor, Linda casually walked off to lock herself into their bedroom, grabbed the remote, and flicked the television on to her favorite drama series.

Standing there alone in the kitchen, Donny immediately reached up to open the top right cabinet door to grab the bottle of vodka and his glass. “A good screwdriver will clear my head…yeah, right!” he thought to himself as he reached into the refrigerator for the orange juice. Overtaken by cumbersome mobility, Donny set his glass on the counter with shaking hands, but with each clink of ice to glass, he felt more comfortable with himself; especially once that first swallow made its way down the hatch. He needed to calm down, he needed his hands to stop shaking, he desperately needed to admit that he had ultimately fucked up royally this time. Upon gathering his ‘needs’ collectively in his mind, he knew that two out of three wouldn’t be so bad after having the same number of drinks. 

Finding comfort in the relaxed state that he was now in while still sipping and watching the sports channel, Donny knew that his last need would take a lot of work to get himself ‘right’. The problem was that he just didn’t know what it was that needed to be done about it, but not slapping the shit out of his girlfriend would probably help. “But, how can that happen when I can’t let go of what she did?, Where dey do dat at?” Swinging his past shoulder length dreds where they could all fall to his  back, Donny lifted his backside off of the worn sofa while still holding his half empty (half full) glass to reach into the pocket of his rough-dried jeans for a large rubber band. He had collected several of them from various dollar stores along with gathering them from his father’s newspaper subscription. It didn’t matter as long as he acquired the look that he wanted while also moving the hair out-of-the-way. “Moving shit out-of-the-way and still being fab rocks.” With the first glass finished, Donny returned to his kitchen and proceeded to make another screwdriver.

Meanwhile:

Linda was getting high. With a light cough she told herself, “Ahh, pleasantly relaxed again, hehe!” As she reached over to the nightstand for her pair of tweezers, she clamped the short of the marijuana cigarette so that she could savor the last puffs that remained.  Texting back and forth to her sister about the show only added to the funniness of their conversation which was full of mutual laughter. Her older sister had been through thick and thin with Linda.  The trailer park that they had lived in growing up had been their home as well as their worst nightmare, but that didn’t matter now – for once. “Girl, did you see that? Aaahaha! These people are so fucked up that it makes me feel like I’m not so bad after all!” “I know, right sis?” “Yeah girl, you would think that rich folks would act like they had better sense, but apparently you can take the bitch outta the ghetto, but you can’t take the ghetto outta tha bitch.” Linda burst into laughter loudly with her sister while in both the back of their minds, images of their past lay dormant despite its presence… each of them playing their own starring roles as if in a  best-selling cinema piece, but residing in the back of their minds…the presence danced menacingly…silently.

When Linda and her sister were done with their conversation about the series, she lay herself back on the bed…her mind went to the incident that had occurred with Donny, “Dude, get it together, it is what it is – ugh!” She nonchalantly turned on her side and fell into a liquor with hemp induced sleep. Moving images slipped through her psyche similar to one who held too much change in the palm of their hand as one lone coin managed to slip through the fingers of the holder…the sound of the series of pinging spins before lying perfectly still lulled Linda into a slumber filled with darkness without real dreams. There would be no valid thoughts or philosophies when she awoke…she would simply become conscious to greet the day ahead.

I AM SO GLAD TO HAVE FINALLY GOTTEN THIS DONE! I NOW FEEL THAT I CAN PROGRESS WITH THIS NOW, YAY!!!

Okay, it has been a while (about two weeks) since I have posted anything. In all honesty, I have dealt with some health issues and in the midst of that, my mind has been in a bit of a whirl spin. The only comfort that I have found has been to read the blogs that I follow as well as blogs that I have found because of the wonderful writers who daily lead me into another world straight from my WordPress Reader. There are so many other writers that I follow that have blown my mind with what they have and are still expressing on their blogs that I can’t even explain how you guys inspire me, but I hope that what I write will give you an inkling of an idea of how much I look forward to waking up each morning to log in to my reader.

I have learned so much from reading the work of Ms. Elmore and so many other bloggers here that I am not able to post every link that I would like to refer to, but as time moves on, I will get better at this tech savvy stuff. In the meantime, I hope that you enjoyed reading ‘Back to LIfe’. It was suggested by a fellow blogger that I continue with the story that I started 2 weeks ago, so I really appreciate that suggestion because it has put me in a place to break through yet another shell.

Thanks for reading!

 

Aside

The Wayfarers Foundation – A Hopeful Amendment

I came up with this title around a week or more before I was actually able to get my thoughts together for it today. It was inspired by one of Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday prompts, also ckisler’s Braking Points blog – post – Homelessness in Galilee and USA Luke 8:26-39.

In Memphis, the homeless situation is profound, but it seems to be ignored which really bothers me in a big way.

While my father was in the VA working very hard to recover from his first stroke. Several years later with the second stroke, he wound up in the same facility, but things were worse than the first time. I was faced with riding to and fro (with my husband, mom, and very young daughter) for visits that hurt my heart.

What hurt even more was knowing that I had survived these visits only to be more hurt by the man at the corner of the intersection, accompanied by a sign that read, ‘Help me, I am a veteran.’

Every day on the way and back from visits with my dad, I would see this man in the same spot with the same sign and wearing the same coat. Unshaven, hot, and uncomfortable in the worst way, and apparently unrecognized as important, because traffic – as if in a recurring dream, constantly passed by with no stops for me to witness or take part in any sort of grand attempt to take this man from where he was to where he needed to be.

Somehow I knew he was surviving somehow, but my mind could not fathom this possibility in a realistic way because – he was still there…every day, just as my father was in that hospital bed…every day with hopes of coming home to put finishing touches on his recovery which did  happen with the first stroke, not so much with the second, but a recovery non-the-less.

The fact is that my dad had somewhere to go, which was the house that he had and was still dearly paying for. But the veteran on the corner who had also served his country was left outside to abide the elements, traffic, and who knows what else for twenty-four hours a day – each day of his life.

Is he still there today, or has he gone on to a place where he need not worry about an ideal place for him to live in? I know not as this man and his unfortunate lifestyle is considered a negatively superfluous extension of our city and it was several years ago when I was visiting my ailing father in the VA.

What struck me more than the question of why I never saw anyone stop (including myself although I thought about it with no real helpful scenario to follow up with) was why the man couldn’t simply walk that one block to the VA for help. We eventually passed the veteran by one last time on the day we brought my father home, and I was overwhelmed with an undying sense of chagrin. With reluctant acceptance, I knew that while that building stood where and as it was, it – just as well as I had miserably failed that man.

Despite understanding that the VA was a hospital and not a shelter, I still viewed the homeless hero’s sidewalk station as an undeniable display of the actual ‘aide’ that any given veteran may receive following his/her signed and sealed service.

Years later, this man is still on my mind.

 

Several years later…

 

My family (husband and now 3 kids) and I were on our way home from church (which I no longer attend now but also question on the same level as organized facilities such as the VA etc.) and we saw a family of about seven crossing the street at the old end of Bellevue Blvd which becomes Elvis Presley Blvd once you pass the intersection.

The mom, dad, and about five small children were making their way across this very busy area…the mother making sure her children held hands tightly while in step with each other as they carefully made their trek from one side of the street to the other. Holding a smaller child’s hand and carrying a bag of snacks in the other with the smallest child on her hip, I could plainly see caution and fear on their faces. The father, protector, and head of his unfortunate family walked in front, playing the role of shield. His defensive attitude was obvious as he valiantly led his family from point A to B, and they made it. I had no idea where they were going, but I did know that the small bag of snacks they had just purchased with what little they had would not be enough to fill either of their bellies.

I saw them again last week in the same area, but this time they were washing cars in the lot of a restaurant that has been closed down for some 3-5 odd years, but the father looked as if he were on a cell phone (probably borrowing from the client), hopefully talking to a new customer. Maybe he was speaking to someone about finding somewhere to live, but his body language showed that the conversation was not going well. I saw nothing but desperation, frustration, and hopelessness.

No one asks for this.

That family has been on my mind since the first day that I saw them crossing the street that day. Seeing them as well as the homeless veteran and so many others that we pass by every day reminded me of  a dream (a hope for the future) that my mother and I had in common. Today, this hope has become quite urgent in my thoughts since her passing. She often talked about starting some type of self-organized foundation for feeding/helping the homeless as she was an excellent cook and all of her daughters would use what we learned from her to make her dream come true.  Although my parents participated in several charitable organizations that were big on feeding and helping homeless people, she still had the urge to do something on a personal level, but her dream was unfortunately not lived out as she succumbed to an inherited family history of silent killers.

This dream that my mother had still lives with me today and I am determined to act on it.  Although I am limited in what I really want to do later, I still give when I can, haphazardly and random as it may be. For now, I will simply have to settle for what works in the now. But if by some miracle, sudden stroke of luck, perseverance, or whatever it is that will make it happen, I know what I want to do with my life. If I am able to make another life better, my living will not have been in vain.

In the meantime, I come from the heart (as usual) with this poem called:

The Wayfarers Foundation

Many scores lasting forever and many years to date

We the ‘eyesore’ have been forced to patiently suffer and wait

For some action to be taken…shall more of you awaken

To the fact that our living quarters called ‘homes’ have been taken

In the midst of a dwindling and eroding economy

Do we seriously need to question the severe lack of money

Despite being a member of the land of the free and home of the brave

It should matter not my choice of which service I gave

The potential to lose my comfort or ability – namely my very life

Yet my bedroom is a cardboard box regardless of the weather every night

What about those of us who were simply dealt a bad hand

Booted from common livelihoods, now unable to lease a piece of land

Higher authorities casually ignore us

While inaction and self-piety beget more of us

Is there no law written

For the ones who have been smitten

By the force of abiding at the lowest grade

Possessing the need to find elms for mere shade

Are we not deserving of hand-built roofs also

Shall it be called justice as we travel to and fro

On pavement and gravel alike, even dirt roads to nowhere

Our destinations far beyond us just as our very welfare

As we the wayfarers are deemed non-contributers of supply and demand

Our miniscule supply is depleted while the latter still stands

It is unfortunate that holiday charities do not very long last

In order to satiate our hunger and lack once that time has passed

We set up quarters of blankets,various leftovers and if lucky – tents

In places that are public –  where privacy is not meant

To be obtained in weather such as heat, snow and rain

Our candles go out just as we do much the same

But we the ‘eyesore’ come strongly together as one

As a whole people working endlessly to get something done

For the betterment of The States which is sadly and sorely due

If nothing changes, this could happen even to the most wealthy of you

As a union we stand yet divided according to place

We ask to be rationed daily resources with which to wipe dirt from our children’s face

In order to be presentable as we stand before the great panels of our nation

To plead our God-given rights in the name of The Wayfarers Foundation!

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