Tuesday, February 26, 2013


An audio version of this post can be found at:

  I ran up the steps, cursing myself for not bringing the phone downstairs with me and hoping to get to it before it stopped ringing.
   "Yeah?" I didn't have time to see who was calling.
   "It's about time ... where you in the john?" said Uncle Billy.
   "No," I panted, "just downstairs."
   "What were you doing there?"
   "What do you want, Uncle?"
   "I need you to pick me up."
   "Where are you?"
   There was pause.
   "Alma Beeler's," said Billy.
   I smiled. "So, the crab leg buffet wasn't enough, eh?"
   "You just couldn't resist, could you? Just come and get me, okay?"
   "Can't Alma give you a ride home?"
   Another pause.
   "I told her you were taking me to the Red Wings game this afternoon."
   "You lied to her?"
   "Can you just come and get me ... please?"
   "Okay, Uncle ... I'll pick you up ... but if Alma asks me anything, I'm not going to lie to her."
   "She won't ... just pull into the driveway ... I'll come out."
   I sighed. "All right ... when to you want me to come?"
   "Right away ... I'll be watching for you."
   "Why do you do this?"
   "Don't give me a lecture. Do I tell you how to live your life?"
   "I'm not telling you how to live your life ... I don't care if you spend the night with Alma Beeler ... I just don't like it that you're not truthful with her."
   "Look, I don't want to talk about that right now. Will you just come and get me?"
   "I'll be there."
   "Oh, and if we see Clara at the apartments, don't say where I've been, okay?"

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

High School Confidential

    An audio version of this post can be found at:

   Cheryl set the tea kettle back on the stove. "Do you want some more coffee while I'm here?"
   "Sure," I replied.
   She grabbed the coffee pot and brought it over to the table. "So, does Clara know that Uncle Billy went out with Alma?"
   I held my cup out. "She knows."
   Cheryl filled it. "What did she say?"
   "Thanks, Hon." I set the cup back on the table. "She said, 'I hope William gets lucky ... at the casino' ... I think the pause was deliberate."
   Cheryl swirled around the few ounces of coffee left in the pot. "Are you done with this?"
   She walked the pot over to sink. "That's funny."
   "Clara's response about Uncle Billy."
   "Oh ... yeah. Anyway, she's going to dinner with Alex tonight."
   "Alex Heath ... the book store owner?" She rinsed out the coffee pot and set it on the counter.
   "That's the one."
   She walked back to the table an sat down. "Is this a retaliatory date?"
   "What do you mean?"
   "You know ... is she going out with Alex to get even with Uncle Billy?"
   I watched her bob the teabag up and down in her cup. "I don't think so ... I think the date had been set before she found out about Billy and Alma."
   "Hmmm ... so maybe Uncle Billy was getting back at her?"
   I blew on my coffee and took a sip. "No, I don't think he knew."
   "So, are they just going their separate ways?"
   "Who knows? I actually think they care about each other."
   She squeezed the tea bag and set in on a napkin. "They have a funny way of showing it."
   "It's complicated ... you should know about these things."
   Cheryl smiled. "It would make sense ... if they were still in high school."
   I nodded. "Yeah, I know ... sometimes I feel like I should be passing notes back and forth for them."
   Cheryl picked up the paper. "Oh, hey, did you read this article about the guy who restored his Volkswagen Van?"
   I cringed. "Ah ... no, I didn't."
   She looked over the top of the paper at me. "He says it took him three years."
   "Yeah, well, a van is lot more complicated than a sports car."
   "So, when are you going to start on your toy out there?"

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Place Your Bets

 An audio version of this post can be found at:

"An escort service? No kidding?" said Uncle Billy.
   I cruised slowly down the isle, looking for a parking space. "That's what she said."
   "I knew there was more to that woman then met the eye ... oh, hey, there's one." Billy pointed.
   "I see it." I turned the corner to the next aisle. "Yeah, she's an interesting lady."
   "Well, I would have never guessed that," said Billy.
   A Ford Focus sped up the isle from the opposite direction and slipped into the empty spot before I could get there. "Can you believe that?" I sighed. "What the heck is going on at Manny's today, anyway?"
   "I think the lotto is getting fat ... over 200 million," said Billy. "You want me to give that jerk a little grief?"
   "No, he beat me fair and square." I watched a blue-rinsed, older woman exit the Focus. "Besides, it wasn't a guy at all."
   Billy shook his head. "Well, she sure drove like a wildman ... you just can't ever tell about people."
   I turned back to the first isle again. "No, you can't ..."
   Billy continued, "I mean, who would've guessed that Clara ever worked for an escort service?"
   "Not me ... but she was emphatic that she only provided escort services." I saw the back-up lights of a mini-van go on. "Hey, is that guy pulling out?"
   Billy nodded. "Looks like it ... so, that's her story, eh?"
   I stopped and flicked on my turn signal to lay claim to the parking space. "Yep."
   "She's entitled to her fantasies ... I'm not gonna launch an enquiry."
   I buzzed down the window to wave a Malibu around me. "That's gentlemanly of you."
   Billy watched the Chevy squeeze past. "Especially since I'm going to the casino with Alma tonight."
   I turned to look at him. "I thought you were on the out's with Alma."
   "I was ... but she called yesterday and said she had enough credit for two at the crab leg buffet and wanted to know if I was interested."
   The mini-van still hadn't moved. "What the heck? I thought that guy was pulling out."
   "Must be experiencing vapor lock," said Billy.
   I pointed to the billowing exhaust pipe. "No, it's running."
   Billy laughed. "I mean of the brain."
   "So, you're back in with Alma, eh?
   Billy stopped laughing. "I wouldn't go that far ... I'm just going to the casino with her."
   Slowly, the mini-van started moving. "Finally!" I exclaimed. Then I turned back to Billy. "That's your story, eh?"

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Jack of all Trades

 An audio version of this post can be found at:

   "What do you think?" asked Clara.
   I leaned in closer to the computer screen to read the post. "Wow, I didn't know that once worked for an escort service in San Francisco ... are you sure you want to share that kind of information?"
   "That was a long time ago, Chris ... and back then escort services were just that ... we accompanied traveling businessmen to dinners or parties ... and that was it."
   I looked at Clara. "If that's your story ..."
   She seemed surprised. "That IS my story ... but I was young ... and I did learn a lot about the world ... I thought that was the kind of thing that the 'Allow Me to Re-Introduce Myself' blogfest was looking for."
   "I suppose your right ... but still ... I mean, I don't know if I could reveal something that personal about myself."
   "So what are you going write about?"
   I rubbed my chin. "I don't know ... maybe I'll mention that music is my hobby."
   "Oooo ... that's revealing," said Clara.
   "Well, it's a big deal to me."
   "Yes, but how has it impacted your writing?"
   "I imagine everything I've done has had an impact on my writing."
   "That's true, of course, but isn't there something more personal, more intimate that you might reveal that would help people get to know you?"
   I though about it for a few seconds. "There is one thing ... but I don't know if I dare mention it in public ..."
   "What? You can at least tell me."
   My face reddened. "Well, one time I was on a trip with some of my golfing buddies and I locked the car keys in the trunk and ..."
   "Chris, you're just not getting this are you?"
   I shook my head. "I guess not."
   "You should use this opportunity to tell folks something about you that they would never guess ... and would help them understand what has shaped you and your writing."
   I thought some more. "Gee, I don't know ..."
   "I'll help you get started," said Clara. "When you were a teenager, what did you think you'd be doing for the rest of your life?"
   "Well, that's an easy one," I said.
   Clara smiled. "Now, we're getting somewhere. So, what did you see yourself doing?"
   "Nothing ... I couldn't imagine doing anything for the rest of my life."
   Clara looked puzzled. "Really? You couldn't see yourself doing anything?"
   "Well, I saw myself doing things ... but nothing that I would do forever ... and you know what?"
   "That's pretty much how it worked out."