“So you know I broke up with Shelby?”

He had been dating Shelby off and on for almost ten years. We, his friends, gave a collective sigh of relief when he finally and seriously declared that they were finished. Sometimes you don’t know why people got together and you sure as hell don’t know why they keep it up. Although I’m sure they had their good moments, it really seemed like they hardly liked each other. They’d break up. We’d sigh. And it would all start over again.

“For real, this time. I told her we were through and she seemed good with that. We laughed and said good-bye. I got on a plane and just flew away.”

He’d just returned from Vegas, full of excitement, full of stories. He’d met a girl and made some friends. He considered moving out there, taking his business to the big time. It all seemed perfect.

“I got back and do you know what she told me? She’s pregnant.”

Break-up sex does it every time. He’s still serving that life sentence.

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my evil minions

When I was eleven, just a few days after sixth grade ended, I spent a week at church camp. Nestled in the forests of the flint hills of south-eastern Kansas, Camp Wood was a rustic collection of cabins, a mess hall and a chapel that was really a theater. On Thursday night, we put on a play for the rest of the campers, a motley collection of twelve, thirteen and fourteen year olds. I was young for my age.

At that age, I was a curly-haired, mischief-making little smart-ass. One of the adults, who attended my church back home and would later be the drama teacher at my high school, selected me to play the lead of this production. I was cast as the devil. With a laugh, one of the ladies twisted some of my curls to form horns. No one objected to the decision to put me at center stage, although I was substantially younger than all the rest. It somehow seemed right to them.

I sat at a desk, stage left. Two girls of fourteen, one blonde and one redhead, easily the most beautiful girls I had ever been near, sat by me, my evil minions. The campers filled the chapel, staring silently at me as the spotlight drowned my vision of them. I began to read my script as the chorus of crickets faded from notice. The girls stared mesmerized.

On stage right, a small group representing a church meeting, sat in illustration of my speech. I explained to the girls how a kind, thoughtful, wonderfully christian church could be led easily into the sins of the world, into pettiness and jealousy, into coveting and a terrible sense of worldly pride. Scene by scene, I destroyed the tranquility of the church until they were a snarling pack of heathens. Score one for the devil.

At this point, my blonde minion objected, declared my works evil and stormed off, leaving me with the much more compliant and sinful redhead. Good would fight on. I didn’t care, caressing my crimson haired harlot. Why should I care?

Applause and accolades followed, a celebrity that only lasted an hour, until the next camp activity filled our minds, a campfire or a service, a horseback ride or canoe trip. I would act again but never to such heights.

People who know me know why I tell this tale. My whole life can be seen in the microcosm of the play we performed at Camp Wood.

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Silver – a novel in progress

The last seven posts are the start of my new novel, Silver. A supernatural romance, the basic plot derives from Ligeia by Edgar Allan Poe. The underlying theme will be an homage to literature. The novel after that will be an homage to painting, completing my artistic series of novels.

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each demonic letter

The words illuminated in the ancient tome were obscure, heady, lost. In the deep gloom of my library, the page seemed to glow, as though a fire might suddenly erupt from within the thick paper. I began to intone the syllables represented, struggling with the pronunciation of unfamiliar expressions, striving to capture the feelings evoked by each demonic letter. A mist seemed to fill the open space surrounding my desk. I closed my eyes, swimming in the opiates of infectious dreaming. I would have her. I would bring her back to life.

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define my joys

I long ago lost count of the concerts I have attended. I am proud to have seen many of the best bands in the world, at the time, in my estimation, but a few truly define my joys. I sat on the lawn as Stevie Ray Vaughn played one summer night with only a few hundred others in attendance. I survived the savage push of the Ramone’s mosh pit on a rowdy Saturday night at Hammerjacks in Baltimore.  I listened and watched in awe, mesmerized to the Cure’s Disintegration show, tripping balls. And that’s just the tip of my live music iceberg. The years keep rolling by.

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a sinister dance of death

I sat in the dark hall, head in my hands, despairing. A cold wind rustled the long drapes, leading the golden figures embroidered upon them in a sinister dance of death. My breath escaped painfully, broken by furious sobs of grief. As Silver lay dying, I thought I perceived a shadow, a glimmer, a floating red spot rising and drifting away. The journey would begin this very night. Time was of the essence. Silver would have to be found, again.

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long legs doubly exposed

Silver left the dance floor in the flow of a transitioning crowd and mounted one of the four foot speakers flanking the DJ, her long legs doubly exposed under the all-too-short plaid skirt, a bright flash of white satin erupting in each sway of her lean hips. The music ascended to make the place throb and she danced, mesmerizing a growing throng of admirers, necks craned to capture each flashing glimpse of her undulating curves.

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