Long time ago, when I was first back, it was set up that I’d have this studio
apartment near the park. Just use the name “Walt Sizemore” they said, and the place was mine. It was up on the third floor and looked out over a ball field.
On Sundays, during the good weather, there would usually be a softball game.
I’d nurse my hangover and half read the paper, half watch the game.
I was spooky back then about talking to people outside the center, so watching
the game from my balcony was all the socializing I could handle.
Maybe three hundred yards north of the police station, maybe less, there was a car accident. Nobody was hurt but the red car hit the back of the blue car hard enough that the red one now sat in the wrong lane, and the blue one was on somebody’s lawn with it’s trunk stuffed in.
It must have just happened. A few cars were stopped, pulled over to see what would happen next. I noticed that out of the nearby houses had come men, all men, and all bout my age. Retirement aged, and they were all talking on their smartphones. There were five or six of these guys and I thought it was funny,
them calling the cops when the police station was within sight. Anybody in the
parking lot would have heard the crash, and by now traffic was backed up past
their front door. Also I noticed none of these guys were wearing legitimate pants.
I don’t mean they were unclothed, just they had on pajama bottoms, lounge pants,
sweat pants, one older gent was wearing tennis whites!
So what happened to wearing pants once your retire? I’m not being picky about
jeans, or what ever constituted “business casual”, or anything but pants with a
drawstring and no zipper just don’t count.
The brilliance of my insight was dimmed somewhat when I realized I was wearing
my old dark blue sweat pants, but I have an excuse! I was coming home the gym, and did intend to change. Well, change after I run some errands, and check my email, and have lunch, and do some stuff around the yard.
While underlining what she especially liked on the take out sushi menu, she laid out what I was to get. Then she underlined the sushi she hated, and other ones that would be poor choices for different reasons so I would know not to get them. Then she went through menu a third time and underlined all the sushi that would be okay, as backups if the first choices were not available today.
She stayed to welcome any early arrival luncheon guests, and I drove to the sushi place with the menu in my pocket.
My memory is still pretty good still, but my concentration wanders, so when I got to the sushi place and looked at the little menu and almost everything on it was underlined! I had no idea what to do.
Good thing there’s a pizza place in the same plaza.
“Don’t put your tea where the cats can get it.”
“Oh, they must like the milk.”
“Yes, yes they adore having milk.”
I agreed but knew it was the caffeine they were after.
How else could they tear around the house all night?
This is 50 words right on the button, a format I dearly love. It was recently published (by me) at Blink-Ink www.blink-ink.org So take a look see right here and now. Thanks.
After an alarming number of rapid twitchy side to side glances, Isabella spoke. “This is such and Inky story” she nervously whispered, switching personas. It was only then I noticed she had somehow enameled playing cards on all of her teeth. Spades on the top, and hearts on the bottom.
Here we have another visitation from our dear companion Kitty Wang, everyone’s favorite time refugee. A publication in the UK was having an issue on “Foreign Travel”, or “Traveling Abroad” or something along those lines. A friend of a friend asked me to write something so I did. At 400 plus words it was declared too long, so I cut it to 299 words overnight and resubmitted. I was assured they said of being “long listed”. Little did I know that apparently in the UK “long list” is about the same as “shit list” is over here. So here is my shit listed piece, in it’s full length wide screen version complete with all the charming details and clever asides. My friend got long listed too.
The Way Back Home
The problem never seemed to be where you were going, it was more about where you were coming from. Having to establishing a plausible place of departure. Kitty Wang was well accomplished at navigating customs with their baby-steps of logic. Normally she kept a portfolio of travel documents that would be useful in any situation, but this time she had been caught off guard. Kitty is one of those rare people afflicted with “Billy Pilgrim’s Disease”, a condition where sufferers become “unstuck in time”. Without warning she could be swept away to absolutely anywhere, future, past, or “other”, her name for alternate universes. Most recently she had been swept into a remote portion of the Austro Hungarian Empire, charming enough of course, but not new to Kitty who was intent on getting back home. Choosing where to get back into our worlds travel document system is key. Letters of transit and safe passage from a long dead Duke are of no use.
Kitty had often slipped back in at Carnival, where ever it might be. Any small country whose economy depends on tourism is forgiving of paper work problems which can be overlooked. Kitty often plays the part of a circus performer and promise the examiner free tickets. Other reentry scenarios involved being an airship captain attending a UK Steampunk festival, or shouting incomprehensible slogans to all questions regarding her attendance to a World Cup match. This time getting back might be harder. She didn’t have any of her “good” passports with her. Her worse case back up passport was a long out of date, tattered, and pre-digital. At least the photo in this one was Kitty, but there were so many conflicting dates from the future and distant past along with validations from places that don’t exist yet. It would have to do.
The single engine propeller airplane taxied close to the only building near the unpaved landing strip. It was a small one story concrete block combination laundromat, convenience store, bus station, and customs house. Inside the lone
government representative, an older gentleman with a badge pinned to his sleeveless mess shirt, flipped pages trying to make chronological sense of things. Finally Kitty said “I’m sorry, you can see how difficult this is.
The passport was actually my grandmother’s. She was a powerful witch, and I use it in her memory”. With eyebrows up, and rubber stamp down, he called out “Next”!
My friend Catfish McDaris asked me to write something about Vincent van Gogh for a book he is publishing in the Netherlands. I didn’t think I really had much to say or add on the topic, especially that the book is over 500 pages so far, but Catfish kept after me so I wrote this, which will be published under a different title. Thanks Catfish!
Kitty and Vincent, Sitting in a Tree
My friend Kitty Wang, wanted to get together so I could meet her new boyfriend. She’d had a few over the years but nobody she wanted to show off like this guy. It’s hard to imagine she’d be looking for my approval but who knows? We work out of the same office, just she’s not around much. Kitty has that same thing with time that Billy Pilgrim had where you just become “unstuck” and get moved through the years back and forth with no warning. That’s where her old boyfriends had come from, all different eras, distant places in time. I guess that’s why I never got to see them.
So we meet up at this hip new place Kitty likes. She always catches on to the trendy-trends. This place is micro-brews, kale salads, with strange and exotic paninis. It’s nice to see her. She’s with this guy who she introduces as “Vincent”. She says he’s a painter and doesn’t speak much Americanese. He seems nice enough, a little odd maybe, but so what? We order and sit down. Me on one side of Vincent and Kitty on the other, then I notice he only has one ear. As you might imagine Kitty has put herself on the side with the ear and is filling it up with gushes and giggles in something I don’t speak. He’s smiling and flirting right back so I’m odd man out and start drawing on my napkin. That’s what I do at work. I draw (not on napkins usually) art for some of the books and comics we publish. Mostly I do science fiction and fantasy. Maybe horror or romance if we’re slow. Anyway I’m drawing spacemen and moon maids and old Vincent gets real excited and starts drawing in all this amazing background stuff. Big starry night skies behind my guys with ray-guns, and pin-up girls riding six legged purple space bears.
We were both laughing like crazy and shaking hands, when the food came and Kitty told us quit it. Knock it off and get back to lunch.
We meet at “Lou’s Liquor-n-Lotto” every month on the 16th, which is funny since neither one of us drink.
Assistance Checks come in on the 15th, so she is there to make her Grand Father’s bad check good, and I’m there to pick up the walker my Mom was forced to abandoned so she could carry home two cases of beer.
I started another small publication called “Wood Lot”. I wanted something with a different feel to it that Blink-Ink or The Mambo Academy of Kitty Wang (which are my two other publications). I hope that Wood Lot will be something with a life much like one of my favorite flash stories “Magic For Beginners” by Kelly Link. She describes a cult TV show that has a very strong following, but no known schedule. The central characters remain the same but every episode has a different cast. No one know when the show will be on, or what station. I like that idea a great deal. Hear is my purposely untitled piece from “Wood Lot” #1 that mailed as an insert with issue #26 for Blink-Ink.
I’d recognize her easy enough even without the rodeo number pinned to her back. Would’ve stopped no matter when I saw her old truck with the hood up.
We both smiled when it was ah easy fix.
Then it came to me, farm girl knew how to fix the damned thing herself.
After almost nine, well eight really I guess, of editing and publishing Blink-Ink I included one of my stories. Blink-Ink is a quarterly print journal of 50 word fiction. I’ve put a lot of time and effort into this project and hope the results show that. More info @ www.blink-ink.org where you can find links to our podcasts with Rocky Mountain Revival, news and updates as well as info on submissions and how to subscribe (which is cheap and you should do).
This piece is 50 words right on the button and appears in issue #26, our “Space” issue.
Grandfather Mutton-Chops was basically a nutcase, but it was his money so he called the shots. Straightening his crisp white vintage Captain’s cap, he announced we were changing course for the Dog Star system. With a longing glance towards the picnic basket, my brother and I began to paddle.