Blind Spot

Blind spot

I love my children, wife, and dog, not necessarily in that order. Yet, there are times I think I have a blind spot. Love is a weird emotion; it does not always have clear logical vision. I try to tell myself the vision is never clear when the heart is connected. Although I know as a man I am supposed to know the difference between love and reality. The reality of life we try to hide in amongst the wonderful reality of love. I say the reality of love because one day I know my daughter will ask me “Daddy, when do you know you are in love?’ I really do not have a concise answer because I know in part it is a spiritual connection. How do you explain the reality of love? Like the love between the creature and his creator? Scientist will never understand the equation. If they do not believe the soul is real then you cannot equate that into any compilation.

Life seems to whip by with a few speed bumps along the way. My daughter was born with jaundice they said it was normal she spent two days inside an incubator. That was our first speed bump the next few were the childhood illnesses, measles, mumps, colds, flu. Nothing really big came along until she was in her teens. Here is where the rubber hits the road. This is where your faith, love and hope are challenged.

My wife Linda and I are shaken to the core as we hold each other’s hands while walking down the cold, highly lit hallway of the hospital. Nurses, doctors and indeterminate personal are scurrying from one emergency to the next. No one to ask where our daughter is let alone how she is.

Carla has been a challenge since she reached puberty. She would challenge every rule as she broke them. We thought we finally reached the end of this bump in the road when in her sophomore year she made the list of top students in her class. She was voted class president and the girl most likely to succeed. Carla was coming into her own. Her specialty was biology and science. She wanted to be an astronaut of all things.

Linda answered the door when the police officers informed us that Carla had been hurt. The only information they gave us was she was at county hospital. Nothing of the incident or what caused her injuries.

Linda and I walked into her intensive care cubicle, the sight of her with tubes in her arm, nose, and abdomen. Her legs were both in casts; her neck had a brace on it. If it were not for the tattoo just below her right ear we could not have recognized our daughter with her face so disfigured.

We stood silently staring at our beloved little girl. I glanced over at Linda and noticed she had the same silent tear on her cheek as I did. Linda looked up at me as she turned we grabbed each other sobbing hoping to cleanse the evil from the room.

Many of my more liberal friends call me phobic. Mostly because I disagree with their view of the world and politics, I would much rather people attain professional help instead of going through radical physical changes to themselves and their lives. My friends say I lack empathy due to my lack of education. I respectfully disagree.

Finally a nurse came in asking if we were Carla’s parents. We said yes. She told us that a detective Bryant had asked to be called when we arrived; he wanted to speak to us. We tried asking the nurse for more information in regards to Carla’s injuries. The nurse said that she felt it was best to speak to the detective and that the doctor would consult with us in a couple of hours after all the blood tests and radiology came back.

Linda and I settled into the two small chairs that were available and waited for Detective Bryant. The only sounds in the room were the beeps and squawks of the machines  tending to our Carla’s needs.

I went down to the cafeteria to grab two coffees; by the time I came around the corner I noticed a tall lean man in a grey suit walk into Carla’s room. I reached the door to hear him introduce himself as Detective Bryant.

To sum up what Detective Bryant wanted to know about Carla and her activities nearly brought me to my knees: “Did you know that Carla was involved with a young woman who is going through gender transition surgery. The young woman who goes by the name of Tracy used to be Carla’s boyfriend Tom.”

I stood shaking my head while I said: “We had no idea. What does this have to do with Carla’s injuries?”

Detective Bryant answered: “Carla was in the girl’s restroom at school with Tracy, they were having a heated discussion about the surgery when another female entered and started to butt into the conversation, interjecting her advocacy for the surgery. Carla was heard to tell this girl that this was a private conversation. Carla also stated she felt the reason for Tracy/Tom’s decision was due to his relationship with his dad. At this point another girl walked in and joined the conversation. By the time the incident ended there were 4 girls screaming and getting irate with Carla. They were the ones that caused the injuries. Tracy is also in intensive care for trying to protect Carla.”

I was numbed by the information, angry by the evil intent of those who disagree with someone’s point of view; this causes more harm than it does solve a growing issue.  Linda looked up at me and asked: “Are the lambs being silenced?”

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In Cahoots

In Cahoots  Chapter 1

 

Mike said:“Growing up mom would tell me that you are judged by the company you keep. Later with the internet, Facebook, blogging, you are still judged by the company you keep. Seems there is a conspiring mentality out there that says your Facebook friends or your blogging friends describes who you are. I still wonder what is in the mindset of those who are in the social media arena? I do not use the word arena lightly, it is an arena; sometimes you are served up for sport. I learned to not get into conversations with those who start their blog with another bloggers username. It is as if you are calling them out in the street for a virtual dual.

At least when Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr dueled over integrity, because of perceived slander, now slander is a sport. Another thing seems to be a sport, this X generation is now adults they use the baby boomers lingo such as pulling a girls hair because a boy likes her. Sorry I cannot wrap my head around people who believe that hurting someone physically is a compliment. This Jerry Springer atmosphere has taken us back to the stone age of dragging a girl by their hair to the cave when we need a generation to understand domestic violence is not okay.”

He was hunched over as he spoke, a burden so heavy he would take a deep breath in and let out the air as a sail looses its wind. His shoulders slump, he downed another shot, took a pull on his beer while I attended to other customers. I came back leaned on the bar, just enough to face him. I do not think he noticed that the bars chatter quieted to a whisper. Everyone knew who he was. How could they not? They crucified him and his partner across that social media he was speaking of. I waited for a moment or two then said. “So you and Joe took the call, some guy was hurting his wife?”

 

Mike answered:“Sloan, the guy’s name was Sloan, domestic disturbance. I knocked on the door. Geraldine came to the door. That’s Sloan’s wife, screeching out her complaint, she needed to calm down for us to discern what was going on. Joe took her aside. He is good at calming the women down. Somehow he get’s them to believe he understands their plight. Doesn’t hurt that he looks like Rock Hudson. I walk Sloan into the kitchen, Geraldine was still loud but not as high pitched. Sloan could hear what she was saying. That he shoved her, that he threatened her. Sloan just shook his head no. I asked him his version all he said was “Don’t mind her she get’s like that when she has too much to drink. Got home from work at 6:30 worked some overtime. She had started drinking sometime after lunch. As soon as I walked in the door she yelled, “You better have brought home more beer” I never forget, but don’t mind her.

Mike paused his explanation a moment contemplated the burger someone bought him. He nodded to the person who was kind enough to buy it for him. I could tell he had no intention eating it. I left it there just the same. Someone else bought him a beer and a shot, which he downed as he did the first two rounds. Again he closed his eyes slightly took in a breath let it out. I really think the man wanted to cry but dared not because he would not be able to stop once he started.

 

So I asked, “How did you resolve that first visit?”

 

Mike answered: “I told Sloan he should pack some things. Go to a family members house or a friend and stay a day or two till things calm down. My partner will speak to your wife about getting some assistance. Maybe convince her to not drink for a day or two, think things through. Sloan nodded said he will call his brother tell him that he was coming. Tell him Geraldine just called the police on him. I walked Sloan to his room, he grabbed a couple of suitcases from the floor of the closet. Filled them with his belongings.I walked him to his truck. I told him my partner and I want to drive him, he said he was fine, I insisted. I promised him if he let my partner drive him I would follow in his truck. Sloan did not want to miss work. My partner came out told me that Geraldine promised to make an appointment the next morning with the doctor. We have cards for counselors, they have a good track record with those who call. I followed the squad car to Sloan’s brother’s place. His brother came out onto the porch to greet him and help with his belongs, Sloan’s sister-in-law came out with what looked like a 2-year-old on her hip, the little girl was sucking her thumb with sleepy eyes. I gave Sloan a card with another counselor’s name on it, told him to make an appointment, he said he would first break at work.”

 

Mike paused again, someone walked in the door, all heads turned to see who it was. Except for Mike, he was staring at the empty shot glass.  I refilled on the house. He thanked me, threw it back, took a pull on his beer, rubbed his face with both hands, let out a breath. I waited. He did not say anything else.  I got others their drinks, filled the drinks our waitress Millie needed. Came back and stood again my arms folded waiting for Mike to finish what he needed to get off his chest.

 

Mike:”Sloan made the appointment. He came to the station after work to make sure I knew. I suppose he thought we made a special connection, not realizing I was doing my job. He seemed to be a mild manner type. I could not figure him to be the abusive ass that Geraldine was making him out to be. In this job one never knows, the quietest, smiling guy can be a brute.”

 

The papers and other media said that Mike and his partner Joe were at fault for not seeing the situation for what it was. The character assassination included Mike and his divorce, womanizing, and drinking, Joe’s marriage took a hit because the media is never questioned as to their accuracy they just make the accusations for readership, not caring what it does to a couple.

 

 

In Cahoots Chapter 2

 

Mike: “ I went on my time off back to Sloan’s neighborhood. Asked neighbors about the couple. Everyone pretty much said the same thing, Geraldine is fine when she is not drinking, Sloan is just a nice guy who would do anything for anybody. The neighbor directly across the street said she and Geraldine were good friends until she made the mistake and suggested she stopped drinking every day. That sealed the fate of the relationship right there on the spot. Geraldine got up and walked out giving her once best friend the finger.”

Millie my waitress heard this part and said “You went on your time off to ask these neighbors, there was nothing in the paper about that, why did the neighbors turn on you? The Facebook account was just horrible, guess some don’t care about the truth they just want to seem important.”

 

Mike looked over at Millie and said “Sadly the police are the bad guys, until they need you, then you are their servant, there to do their bidding, there are still some out there that respect what we do, respect the uniform, the media seems to enjoy using us as the bully of the streets to enrage the readers who are so busy being busy bodies, and Springer anger management seminar they watch on tv, believing this is how civilized people problem solve.

 

Millie nodded placed her hand on Mike’s shoulder, leaned over and gave him a soft kiss on the cheek, whispered something in his ear which I could not hear, then took her tray and served her customers. Mike’s eyes were moist but he controlled the flow, this was a man on the edge of a breakdown.

 

Mike: “One good thing came from all this my X called and we are now at least on speaking terms. She had a sit down with Joe’s wife, seemed to help patch things over, the papers saying Joe and I went carousing after work chasing tail, which was not true. Joe is devoted to his wife Eva, his high school sweetheart, he would always say, there was no other. I believed him.”

 

What happened next just pissed me off royally, the door opened another person came in, camera running, I took the bat from behind the counter. Told the reporter if he wanted a quiet drink he was welcome if he was here to stir up more lies and shit, he needed to turn around and walk out. The reporter spewed out the rhetoric about freedom of the press, and such, I told him this was my bar and I had the right to serve or throw out, I suggest you leave. He continued to move towards Mike, Mike did not even look his way instead he stared into his empty shot glass, every customer got up and stood in the reporter’s way. One customer reached for the reporters camera, the reporter jerked to the right, lost his grip and the camera when careening to the floor, where another customer gave it a kick, the game started, the camera was now a hockey puck, everyone kept batting it; the reporter was swearing, the customers playing keep away. After one customer picked up the camera and walked out of the bar with it, the reporter followed, from that point, I do not know what happened.

 

Once things settled down, I placed a fresh burger in front of Mike, leaned in and said, “Please eat something, I will not serve you another drink till you eat that burger.” I set a glass of water on the bar told Mike he could wash it down with the water. Mike took a bite but you could tell he was having trouble swallowing it, Millie had made herself a burger grabbed a water sat down next to Mike and started to eat her burger after that Mike seemed to swallow a bit easier. I think he was finally catching on he was not in this alone anymore.

 

After Mike ate the burger, Millie went back to servicing her customers, by this time the place was packed, still subdued, someone started to play the jukebox, some old time country which seemed to fit the mood of the place.

Another big sigh from Mike, his shoulders did not seem as slumped but he was still a man that was beaten down. At this point I was hoping he and Millie would get together, the man could use some tenderness.

Mike:” I went to the meeting one night that Sloan said he was going to, he was thrilled to see me, said he was trying to talk Geraldine into joining him. Said that he was still staying with his brother and family, figuring to give time for Geraldine to come to her senses. She did not she only became angrier at Sloan, saying they do not do anything together anymore they may as well get divorced, Sloan told her that if she wanted a divorce she would have to do the filing, he told her he still loved her, loved her enough to wait till she got better.”

 

Another pause, Mike asked for a beer, I would not give him another shot, he shrugged and drank his beer.

 

Mike:” Joe and I got a call to Sloan’s place, when we arrived he was in his truck, Geraldine was taking a baseball bat to it, standing behind it so he could not leave, Sloan just sat still, she seen us pull up came around to the drivers side of the truck and wound up ready to hit the window, I caught the bat before it made contact, that put Geraldine off balance and she landed on her ass in the grass, screaming police brutality.”

 

I closed my eyes for a moment remembering how I heard about Mike being brought up on charges for unnecessary force, seems Geraldine went into the house locked herself in called the department and told dispatch there were two uniformed officers on her front porch trying to break the door down. Geraldine must have been on Facebook and Twitter because one of my customers said: “Hey that Mike guy, the cop, he is trying to break into a woman’s home she claims he took a bat to her.”

 

There were too many witnesses which disproved her account but that did not stop the media storm, which blew the whole thing so out of proportion Mike got a few days off with pay hoping the media dust would settle.

 

In Cahoots Chapter 3

 

It was getting late near closing time, I told Mike he should sleep it off upstairs. I have an apartment with one bedroom. I usually rent it out, but I was between renters at the moment. Mike got up turned to everyone in the bar and thank them. They all stood and applauded. Sometimes people astound me. Mike started to cry, he turned quickly for the back stairs I could see him slightly, his shoulders were heaving he needed he needed the release. Millie asked if it would be alright if she left to go grab some things and come back to stay with Mike. I told her I thought that was a great idea.

My customers were kind enough to clear the tables, I was washing the tables off when Millie came back, I locked the door behind her, she went up the stairs. One of my regulars, Larry, stayed helped mop the floor and clean the restrooms while I washed down the bar, washed and dried the glasses before putting them away. I told Larry tomorrows drinks are on the house, he said he would not hear of it, said he was doing this for Mike.

Next Morning when I came to open up Mike was gone Millie had coffee ready, refrigerators full chilling the beer. I sat with a coffee and asked how it went last night. Millie said okay, he just cried himself to sleep barely said a word.

Millie “Mike was wondering if it would be okay, he would like to rent the room upstairs, says his apartment building is uncomfortable, the silence from neighbors. The glares from people on the street knowing who he is.”

Millie gave me Mikes phone number, I called it and told Mike the first 3 months are on the house, it would be good to have him.

Mike is back to work, on desk duty the media frenzy has taken another turn, seems his partner Joe was at a traffic stop when someone came around behind him while he was handing the paperwork back to the driver, when Joe turned he got hit, with a bat, his partner Gary called out stop, took a shot at the guy with the bat, hit Joe, the guy with the bat ran, Gary shot the guy, he went down, the driver started to swear saying Joe deserved what he got for letting his partner take a bat to a defenseless woman.

Joe’s funeral was 3 days later. There were mourners, an honor guard, also protestors, against the police in general. Joe’s wife took it so hard she was hospitalized and did not make the funeral.

Some were wondering if the protesting was just a twirl and dance the put on media or someone with an agenda set in motion, secretly hoping for chaos, keeping the headlines sweetened with the violence.

 

After the funeral any police officer who wanted to blow off steam was welcome, on the house, Mike sat at the bar as he did the one night, slumped over his shot and beer. We did our little routine, Mike drank till he nearly fell off the stool, I insisted he eat, Millie sat next to him had a burger, the night was long, the grieving was heavy, there seemed to be no end in sight.

 

The cops that showed up started talking about the night Joe and Mike responded to a call for domestic violence, none of Mikes brothers or sisters in uniform second guessed the two seasoned officers. No one would have guessed Geraldine’s last move. The general consensus was women do not normally carry out this sort of thing Officer Jacobs, a lieutenant sat at the bar shaking his head

Jacobs said: “It is inconceivable to me that anyone would hold these two officers responsible for what a citizen did on their own volition.”

 

Even after Joe’s funeral, there were innuendos in the paper of how the two officers could have handled the call differently, including the subsequent calls.

 

The lieutenant walked over to where Mike was sitting, bought him a beer and said: “Mike this is not on you, I hold the media and citizens at fault, not you nor Joe.”

 

Mike: “There is no consolation sir when no one can be held accountable for Character assassination. Maligning Police officers in the media, they do this saying it is freedom of the press. As if it were a victimless crime, it was all in a days work. Sir there was no way after Joe and I took the complaint and Geraldine was beating the crap out of Sloan’s truck, that she would then do what she did. The media was so busy crucifying me over the nonexistent bat incident they totally breezed past the real tragedy and then when they acknowledged what a horrific thing Geraldine did she was set on a pedestal as a bereaved wife because her husband left her. Then stating we the police and the department were complicit because we talked Sloan into leaving, and going to get professional help. No one is responsible for their own bad behavior except those who protect and serve.”

 

The Lieutenant nodded, in agreement, Mike then said something which took us all by surprise “Sir, I am  turning in my papers Monday morning, along with my gun and badge, there is nothing more I can nor do I want to do for this community, my thinking is I would be better off working for a security firm, better hours and better pay.”

 

The Lieutenant said: “I can understand how you feel Mike, how about taking a week or to leave of absence to consider the 15 years you already gave this job, do not throw that away.”

 

Mike: “Sir, I do not need to think about it, I had thought about it as soon as I was benched for allegedly beating Geraldine, at this point in time I would be doing the department a disservice, because  I now wish I had done that, the family would still be alive.”

 

No one would have thought in a million years after Sloan left with his beaten up truck to go back to his brothers place, that Geraldine would get in her car, at 3 am, go over to her brother in laws and throw mulla toph cocktails through every window, taking out the entire family while they slept. Still, makes no sense that all this started with a domestic violence call.

 

When is someone going to say the media acted stupidly.

FEMA

FEMA   Chapter 1

All the things that happen, good and evil seems we are losing touch with our love for each other and our sense of humor. The political correctness is actually offensive to me. Acronyms are hilarious; when my girls and I get together for wing dings and beer we wear our FEMA hats. We are all seniors, not part of the red hat society we decided to be uniquely differently weird.

We can be seen sitting in a bar enjoying a platter of wing dings, you know you are getting older when the guys that whistle do it through dentures. Some look no one asks what FEMA means or we do.Those on the team become as family members. We love it when they ask, Female Emergency Medicinal Alcoholics.

One night, in particular, I should tell you; the night to us begins after the early bird special around 5 pm, we hit our favorite bar, Logger Depot, walking distance from our homes, or should I say staggering distance. I digress, this particular night we were celebrating my birthday, 62 years old, and have a few extra pounds but, all the right stuff. It was drizzling outside, instead of snow; February should have snow, I digress again you get that at my age mind wanders off to another thought then has to be dragged back only to wonder again so please be patient.

Ok so we were having a few beers, in addition to the wing dings we had mozzarella sticks, there were some young folks at another table, having burgers, they seemed to be having a very intense conversation every so often their voices went up a bit, then the girl at the table shushed them and their voices went back down. These are the young people you are asking me about Deputy so please stay with me I will get to my point eventually. So we were having our mozzarella sticks and Ruth made us laugh by saying “I have to be careful not to eat too many mozzarella sticks I will need dynamite to go to the bathroom.” After a few beers, that’s pretty funny, while tears are rolling down our cheeks, one of the fellas from the table which was having the intense conversation yelled across from us “Hey you old broads, hold it down people are trying to have a conversation here!”

The four of us joyfully flew the bird in his direction and laughed even harder. Then this young person got up and started to approach our table, the owner intervened said if he could not behave he would have to leave. The other young man from the table came up reached and touch his friend’s arm, which the rude guy yanked his arm away turned and hit the owner in the face.

Well, we could not just sit there eating wing dings we jumped into action, yielding our weapons, “overloaded purses” beat the tar out of that ass wipe.

“So you say he filed charges huh?”

“Yes, mam he did, assault charges on all 4 of you.”

“Huh, well now what?”

“Actually I may get him to reconsider, and drop the charges, seems the owner says the four of you came to his rescue, defending him.”

“Huh, Tony is great, just great, sometimes he gives us a free pitcher of beer, I like that guy.”

“Yes, mam he says he is fond of you as well.”

“Huh, he did?”

“Yes, mam.”

“Ok, now what are we free to go?”

“Yes, mam just stay where we can reach you in case we have more questions.”

“Oh, detective you do know where to find us.”

“Yes, mam Logger Depot.”

FEMA  Chapter 2

We got off easy the last time seems the young fella dropped the charges of assault in exchange for Tony who owns the Loggers Depot to lessen the charges to disorderly. I have seen that young fella around his name is Kyle, well when he sees me he glares. Seems Kyle holds grudges, well so do the FEMA broads. I hear that his tires go flat for no reason, also hear he thinks we have something to do with it. I will not deny it nor affirm it, seems so silly for old broads as he called us have the time or know how to do such a thing.

“Yes, mam he claims that Joy’s late husband owned and run the all service gas station here in town, Kyle believes you ladies have the means and ability to do it”

“Huh, has he seen us do it?”

“No mam and this is only a warning, I went to each of your friends and gave them the same warning.”

“Ok, I have been warned, what exactly is the warning? Is that like trick or treat?”

“Mam if you or any of your friends are seen in the vicinity of Kyle’s truck you will be arrested and charged with malicious destruction of property.”

“How can that be malicious sounds like someone is pranking him?”

“Mam, just stay away from the damn truck please.”

“Sure no problem I will stay away from the truck.”

Next visit this officer accused us of toilet papering Kyle’s front yard. He lives with his mom and she was darn upset, she came into the Loggers Depot and started to tell us she did not appreciate what we’re doing to her son. We asked her to have a seat, she did over a few beers we ordered her a FEMA hat, told her she should not enable her son, he may actually move out and get a life. I am sure Kyle is thrilled his mom is now part of FEMA.

Since Kyle’s mom, Sue is her name joined FEMA we play euchre every Thursday at her place. I guess us broads Yakking it up at their place rubs him the wrong way Kyle moved out and moved in with his girlfriend, she was the young girl sitting at the table the night we were arrested for assault. Her name is Rose.

We are all surmised Rose has no idea what she is getting herself into with such a hot head. Young girls think just cuz they are sweet their sweetness will rub off on a hot head turning him into mellow mush. That is not the way it happens, unfortunately, all too often the girl is left with a broken heart, and maybe a few bruises in the meantime.

Sue says she does not think Kyle would ever get violent with Sue, we told her if he ever did we will step in, the FEMA broads do not put up with any sort of abusive behavior. Sue said she would be there right alongside us if her son ever did such a thing.

 

FEMA Chapter 3

Kyle wasn’t going to press charges, his mom Sue is now a full-fledged member of FEMA even though she is 10 years younger and still works part time.

Kyle’s dad passed away a couple years back, he was a truck driver making deliveries all over the state of Michigan. Sue was working at the school in the lunch room serving kids their meals, Kyle had already graduated high school and was taking classes at the community college said he wanted to be a cop. I am not sure with his hot head it is a profession for him but who am I to say, he may actually mellow out and become a good cop.

Well the day Kyle’s dad passed it snowed like crazy, the county trucks do their best to clear the streets, sometimes light film of snow left from scraping can ice over, warms up from the sun then when the sun goes down the road can be treacherous, Mike, that’s Kyle’s dad was coming back from the UP, fog started to settle in, you know the icy fog in winter, some dingbat passed him on the expressway, pulled in front of him just as someone slammed on the breaks, making the dingbat slam on his breaks, which did not give Mikes rig a chance to slow down, plowed right into the dingbat, sent him sailing into the culvert, Mikes dads rig flipped on its side slid down into the culvert on top of the dingbat, the cargo Mike was carrying fishtailed and slid in a horrid flip landing on top of the cab of Mike’s truck. Sue told us girls since then Kyle has had a chip on his shoulder, sullen and angry.

As Sue was finishing telling us this about her late husband Mike, Rose walked in sat down heavily next to Sue.

“Hey, little one why the long face someone steals your glitter lipstick? ”I asked

She smiled slightly and said “No Christine, Kyle’s been in a foul mood lately, he does that this time of year, gets drunk, pouts, yells a lot, tonight he got right in my face; yelling about where I put the remote, that I should never move the remote. When I clean I put the remote in the drawer next to the chair he sits in, he knows that, but when he gets like this there is no talking to him.”

Sue asked, “Rose he never lays hands on you does he?”

“No Sue but sometimes he scares me enough to think he just might, like tonight getting in my face backing me against the counter.”

Ruth spoke up “I think that young man needs an attitude adjustment, we should do it Jeff’s style, Christine.”

We were ruminating on that idea, as I told Sue and Rose about my late husband Jeff, he was a Marine Sargent spent time in Vietnam, came back as an instructor finishing his 30 years, lost his life 4 years ago, Mesothelioma. Jeff was keen on hunting he would take me with him full camo, makeup and all. I remember how badly that stuff itched, but we both would get our deer, and enjoyed venison for the good part of the year.

Sue asked Ruth “So what were you thinking Ruth, how would you want to do this?”

Ruth answered “We get all geared up, camo, makeup, and sneak into Kyle’s bedroom while he is asleep, surround his bed, we say in unison Kyle if you do not get your shit together next time we have to come back here because you scared the shit out of your girlfriend we will duct tape you to the mailbox with a sign that says BULLY.

We all started to laugh had a few more beers, next thing you know we were all at my place getting dressed into what camo I had, putting the dark green cream and black, on our faces, we had to tuck our Q-tip colored hair under black knit caps,  Sue and Rose did the same. While we were trying to be quiet walking down the street to Kyle and Roses house, cute bungalow rental, 2 blocks from my place. Rose opened the back door with her key, still trying to be quiet, someone, which I will not name names, let out the loudest fart, and the stench was near unbearable, we were doing our best not to giggle, I had to pee like a racehorse. We surround the bed and said in unison “Kyle if you do not get your shit together next time we have to come back here because you scared the shit out of your girlfriend we will duct tape you to the mailbox with a sign that says BULLY.”

Or something close to that, Kyle woke up screaming “Oh mother F***er” he then jumped up pointed his finger in my face and said, “I am having you crazy broads arrested this time it is breaking and entering.”

I said, “Well girls I guess our makeup is not good enough he recognized us.”

Sue spoke up and said, “Oh Kyle you will do no such a thing.”

Kyle’s had a surprised look as he commented: “Mom what the hell?”

Sue said “Well they were right Kyle you should never get in my face and scare the shit out of me”

Kyle was now flailing his arms saying “Jesus H Christ Rose?”

Next day the sheriff had us in his office and said “Ladies, what can I do or say to get you to behave yourselves, Kyle is not pressing charges, but seriously take it down a notch.”

I spoke up “Sheriff it was an intervention that boy needs to cool his jets.”

The sheriff seemed miffed when he pointed his finger in my face and said: “Now Christine I know how you are, also I remember and respected your husband Jeff, but if Kyle ever decides to press charges there will be nothing I can do.”

Sue said “He will never press charges against his mom and I am now a full fledge member of FEMA”

The Sheriff placed his hands on his face shaking his head and said: “Have a nice day ladies, and please keep your festivities to the minimum.”

FEMA  Chapter 4

There are times Tony is shorthanded during the day at Loggers Depot; I pitch in bartending, which the guy’s like this round looking a blondish woman who can be sweet like a grandma if they want it or sharp-tongued and flirty I got all that going, and boy do I rake in the tips.

It was Friday 4 pm and in walks, Kyle sat down at the bar, I took a rag picked up his lighter and cigarettes made it a point to wipe real good in front of him set his stuff down and said, “Can I see some ID.”

He glared at me begrudgingly pulled out his wallet yanked out his ID shoved it in my face. I said, “Now thank you was that so hard, what can I get you Kyle, my lad.”

He growled “Bud Lite”

“Tap or Bottle?”

“I usually get it in the can.”

“I bet you do.” And I smirked

Handed him a can and an icy glass said: “This first one is on the house.”

He asked for a couple more during his visit before he finally asked the question “What the hell does FEMA stand for?”

Tony Answered “Female Emergency Medicinal Alcoholics.”

He rolled his eyes and laughed, I think that was the first time I ever heard that boy laugh. I leaned across the bar and said to him “Look here Kyle if you can deal with the old broads of FEMA you would be a great cop, seems Sheriff Howie is having a difficult time doing so, there may be a job opening soon.”

At that, we all three laughed pretty hard. Kyle shook his head paid his bill and bid us a good night. Well, now I wonder if I had won FEMA a mascot. I mentioned the thought to Tony he said with all the insulted pouty face he could muster “Hey I thought I was your mascot.”

I answered while squeezing his ass “No Tony you’re my boy toy.”

Tony got a big grin on his faces and said: “I will settle for that.”

I said, “You do more than settle.”

The girls came in for our usual nightly meeting of FEMA we stayed late, I told the girls I was going to stay and help Tony close up the bar, and they nodded with understanding, politely said goodnight and left. Tony locked the door; I finished cleaning the tables walked up behind the bar as Tony turned off the lights. Keep in mind this establishment is on Main Street in our little town, it has 2 large windows on the sidewalk side with pull in parking spaces also extra parking in the back.

Tony used my ass to clean the bar, I usually get a burn on my behind since the skin touching the varnished surface does not move all that well, I had just finished my crescendo and Tony was just starting his, when the whole front of the room lit up, seemed Kyle and some of his buddies pulled up in their trucks with their bright lights ablaze, I hear truck doors slam, footsteps then faces plastered against the windows.

I started to laugh as Tony crescendo came to its beautiful conclusion, Tony took a couple of bar clothes wrapped them around my behind and slid me off the bar, I crawled on my hands and knees, needing to pee like a racehorse, laughing, hoping I would not have any accidents, dragged my clothes on, went to the bathroom.

Tony stayed behind zipping up washing the bar as if nothing happened. Damn, I have fun in my life, this kid thinks he embarrassed me all he did was give me a great story to tell at the next FEMA meeting.

FEMA Chapter  5

Seems Kyle is beginning to have a change of heart if it is not fear, it could be respected for me and the FEMA team. I told the girls step by step as they leaned in for every salacious detail of that night, how Tony placed me on the bar, how he took off my top…m..y bra…and, then the lights and faces prints on the window which we choose not to clean off, cuz ya know Tony at the bar is telling the story his way and I am telling the story my way. All of all the sex is good with Tony and I know he is respectful when he tells of our escapades and swoops in to save my honor while I tell it as raunchy as I can. Yes even with only one beer it was really tasty and funny.

That evening when Kyle walked in with Rose, I got up sauntered over to him my hip against his saying “Say, Kyle, you went through a lot of trouble to see my stuff, how’s about doing a girl a favor and show me some of your young stuff.”

That put the hoot and hollering, back slapping into fine order. Yes FEMA was in rare form that night, I believe that was the first time I saw Kyle blush, Rose played it well coy head down winking at me. I am guessing I have made that boy laugh and blush in one week he is well on to his way back from the grieving dead and life is breathing back into his soul.

Our other acronym for FEMA: Females encompassing mothering authority

Not as catchy as Females Emergency Medicinal Alcoholics but just the same that is where our hearts are.

We all had a blast that night Kyle did not drink as much ate a good size burger with a plate of fries, Rose was just shining, you can tell she adores her man, probably see’s what most do not. That is not to say Rose is out of the woods, you never know when that demon comes back to haunt you, but she knows FEMA has her back; both of our acronyms.

I would like to tell you we stayed out of trouble, but you would never believe us, because Sue came to us said she thinks she has a stalker, she does not want to tell Kyle because he may go off half-cocked. Pshaw like we would right?

We listened with attention to every detail to see if she was imagining it or it was for real. By the third pitcher, we knew she had a stalker.

This guy shows up at the lunch room, says he is an uncle of one of the students and wonders if he can get a cup of coffee. He says his name is Rodger. Next thing Sue says he shows up at her house asking for donations to the children’s fund at St. Francis. Sue was shopping a Meijer, Sue was in produce, her cart was left unattended, he leaned on the side and said: “Well Sue we should stop meeting like this people will talk, what are you doing this Wednesday?”

Sue said she tried to keep her cool and said: “I have plans, a date if you must know.”

Rodger smiles and said, “Well then maybe next Wednesday.”

Sue is so rattled Joy came up with a plan; first, we need to know where this Rodger lives, then we need to know his comings and goings.

Sue said “ I know where he lives, he doesn’t come home until around 11 pm”

We all looked at our watches, twenty minutes till 11 pm.

“Ok now, what Joy?” I said

Joy said, “We meet him at his door, standoff into the shadows, come out and grab him ask him what his intentions are.”

I said, “That may work, for a while, we may have to get Sheriff Howie involved if this Rodger character is not DE swayed by our numbered force of FEMA.”

We were all in and quietly chanted FEMA, FEMA our hands met in the middle of the table, yeah let’s GO! I have not told you much about Laurie, she has been part of FEMA  as long as Ruth has, she came with Ruth as a package deal. Her husband was 10 years her senior, passed away while they were being intimate. If you ever saw Laurie you would understand why. Anyway, she is the quiet one who sits and listens always joins in on the festivities yet has more sense than us and hangs back when were go too far. Which is never right? But when Laurie does something it always adds to the fun, because you never expect it.

We positioned ourselves, myself and Sue to the right of the door, Ruth, and Joy to the left of the door, Laurie was hanging back a few feet,  Rose was busy with Kyle: we waited as quietly as we knew how; Sue signaled there he is shhhhh. We shushed.

Rodger walked up the steps, dressed all in black, pulled his key out, we rushed him. He was so flustered he dropped his keys, I reach down to get them as I came up I noticed the white collar, I did not have time to tell the girls to stand down so I hollered: “Double Whoopee, Well here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into.” Just then Laurie jumps in and pours a bottle of water over Rodgers’ head, all the while I am shaking my head NO NO.

The older girls knew that was from the show with Laurel and Hardy, Sue did not have a clue; she turned to me with the look of what?

I jumped in and said, “Sorry Father Rodgers, Sue here thought you were a stalker, seems you seeing her at school saying you were Janie’s uncle, then showing up at her house collecting money, the only one I do not get is at Meijer, what are you doing on Wednesday night?”

Father Rodger gaffed and said “Bible study.” He took his handkerchief out and was wiping the water off his face and head the best he could.

He was sweet and understanding invited us in for a drink. We are an amiable bunch we accepted.  We did have a great laugh about it all, good thing Father Rodgers has a sense of humor.

FEMA chapter 6

After the priest incident, we decided to be a little more careful before we get into some real trouble. Not sure how we will accomplish that pledge, once we get going we usually use each other’s synergy as a centrifugal force to be reckoned with.

Tony has asked me at least 3 times within the last year to marry him.  It has been 3 years since Jeff passed, yet the three times Tony asked I still felt as I would be unfaithful to my first love. Do not get me wrong I am in love with Tony; just recently I have realized this love is different, companionable, comfortable, meeting of the minds. With Jeff is was a wild ride, he had PTSD, not as bad as some, yet it did lend itself to me drinking as I do and needing an outlet for my frustrations, that is when FEMA took root one by one each woman came to my table, first Ruth came to my table after her husband of 25 years had a massive heart attack never was able to say goodbye, took her by surprise she is still reeling from it even after 2 years, Joy’s husband soon after Ruth’s husband was driving to work when he went into a low, being he was diabetic and lost control of his car ran the embankment at 55 miles an hour, went through the windshield, seemed he hated seat belts.

At first we met for coffee, each, in turn, had a bad day slowly we started to meet for drinks as well, and as they say, the rest is history. Now Sue has joined our club, hoping to gain some synergy from us and also aid in helping Kyle get back his emotional equal Librium. Which at this point seems he is starting to mellow a bit, he has asked Rose to marry him, she said yes. With that news I started to think of all the times Tony asked, I stayed to close up last night for the express purpose to ask him to marry me. He said yes, Kyle is not thrilled but realizes weddings are mostly for the girls, cuz Rose suggested we have a double wedding ceremony at the Loggers Depot with the FEMA crew as attendants, I loved the idea as did Tony. Yet I can understand Kyle’s miss giving’s cuz you know there will be alcohol involved.

I had considered wearing my camo makeup; Tony laughed and said he was fine with it, but thought better of it so as not to antagonize Kyle, hey I can be considerate at times. I did wear a Camouflaged colored gown, yes they make them, long, with a snug fit bodice, I made a shawl to match; I figuring Rose should be the only one wearing white. Tony thinks it is sexy, he likes me in my camouflaged attire, combat boots and all, we play, find the dissident I always find it, or does it find me, not sure.

Course the sheriff was in attendance and the patrolman which have handled complaints against FEMA. The priest we accosted agreed to do the ceremony even though we were not all of the same faith; he said we are all faithful to the same God.

The ceremony went nicely letting Kyle and Rose go first so it would be separate from mine and Tony’s: Loggers Depot was packed all the wait staff and bartenders did the night free for our wedding present, course drinks were on the house. Tony’s and my favorite restaurant is the Italian place on State road, the chef came used our kitchen and made our food, also as a wedding present, we just paid for supplies. It was grand; I actually saw Ruth, Joy, and Rose dance a bit. By the end of the evening the FEMA team started to sing, Black Betty, Shang a lang, over and over till everyone in attendance sang along; we even managed to do it as a round, what fun, I was sure I was going to have a hangover, surprised I did not. The staff is handling the next two days so Tony and I can get out of town for a couple of days. I am sure Sheriff Howie is sighing in relief; his town will be safe from the FEMA team since the president of FEMA is out of town.

 

FEMA Chapter 7

Since my marriage to Tony we both have put our houses up for sale, we plan on finding a house that will be ours. Tony owns the Loggers Depot portion of the building he suggested we use the money to buy the entire building which includes a large open space apartment above the bar. I loved the idea, neither of us like yard work. In the past we have gone up to the roof after closing for our interludes, I have envisioned turning that area into an oasis just for us, if we buy the upstairs living quarters no need for me to stagger home on Friday nights after the FEMA meetings, I can crawl upstairs.

Much to my surprise, Kyle put a bid in on my house, he said he doesn’t want to rent anymore but he and his new wife Rose will own their own home. I gave him the house for what he bid, it was a little low he knew it but I figured when he does become sheriff maybe he will remember me kindly.

It did not take Tony long to sell his place so we did our own bidding and now we are proud owners of the entire building. I put the extra money we had left from the sale of our homes to good use, fixing up the place especially the roof.

On my birthday this year we had the party on the roof, February is cold, but we had a cast iron wood burning stove set up there, started a fire, had plenty of seating and blankets for anyone who wanted, the temps were in the upper 20’s no wind, clear skies, stars galore, after doing shots you do not feel cold or fear.

The FEMA crew was sitting on the edge looking down over our little town when we noticed below us a woman about our age, short, thin was getting out of her car, these two idiots who had been coming out of the diner at the corner started to hoot at her, she was locking her car and walking towards Loggers Depot when they came alongside her, one guy grabbed her arm, she yelled “Leave me alone, back off.”  FEMA went into action by throwing Christmas ornaments which we were using as decorations for my birthday party, you know the large round non-nondescript type which adds color and glitz.

The guys looked up, so did Kyle he had walked out of Loggers Depot wondering what was coming off the roof, we yelled “Those ass holes are bothering the nice lady!” He turned to them they high-tailed it to their car. Kyle got the license number called it in. Oh did I tell you Kyle is now a patrolman? Kyle looked up and pointed his finger at us and said: “You gals behave up there.”

We yelled, “Ok send that nice lady up here for free drinks and friendship.”

That is how we added Val to the FEMA club. Val and I have lots in common she wears camo gear, she also has a skunk hat, not sure I am ready for that but I like her tenacity.

She has just moved into the area, outside of town, she has a farm and raises beef cows called Deters, miniature cows; I like that after our discussion we decided to go to her place and check it out next week.

I may talk to Tony about ordering our beef from her, we could then put in the menu Organically grown beef burgers, used also in our chili’s and stews.

FEMA  Chapter 8

Well, my birthday came and went with just two incidents, one was throwing ornaments off the roof at some hooligans, second was adding a member to the FEMA crew. Her name is Val I think she can be considered our pioneer person of the team, know her plants, herbs, mushrooms, we need to talk about things that make us happy if you know what I mean: it is legal to grow a certain product in our state, yet we get into enough trouble with alcohol so probably a bad idea.

Tony agreed it would be a plus to use the Dexter cattle for our beef and use it to advertise our food and her business.

Val’s husband has PTSD, that disorder reminds me of the changing seasons, as the weather changes thus the skies change, I always get the impression that the clouds are chasing each other as the light gets less and the darkness gets more, settling in for a denseness of sadness. Even those without PTSD use SAD lights now; I wonder what it is like in Alaska I hear there is a high suicide rate. Anyways it will be fun adding Val to the list, she seems eager who knows she may have the calmer head and we will not get into so much trouble.

I can relate to the ups and downs due to Jeff’s issues, in fact, those issues put a wedge between me and my only child; Melisa could not come to grips with why I stayed with her dad, she thought I should have left him. His mood swings he had; he did his best to keep her from the brunt of them, I suppose in some ways I caught the swings of his moods but I understood why, I never enabled, usually standing my ground trying to keep my verbal responses to a minimum and using them to redirect his to something more positive.

For something to do and get people outside this winter, the Loggers Depot decided to host a cow pie toss, especially since we now have our own personal supply. People bet on the squares, we used the snow to draw the grid; you are to take the frozen patty and see where it lands.

We did this in the back parking lot, one of our grumpy patrons did not like the idea we were standing in HIS spot like his name was written on it. Although the more I think about it, his name is probably written in invisible ink via his urine.

Well, Jasper is his name he got in a heated discussion with yours truly, so I told him he could use our personal parking space, he was not happy about it and said so in words which I will not put here.

After the event and all the winners collected their winnings the FEMA team was kind enough to help me clean up the frozen patties and place them in Jaspers front seat. I continued to buy Jasper drinks all night, borrowed his keys, told him with all he drank he will be driven home. Tomorrow he is supposed to call me when he is coming to pick it up; I will go out and warm it up for him. I did just that, Jasper being hung over got in with the car idling and toasty warm, sat down, the cow patties were pie by now.

Course I do not know who did such a thing; they were not like that when I started the car.

He knew in his heart of hearts and he knew better than say anything contrary cuz he knew I have a long memory and do not mind waiting, till I get my revenge. This one was easy and timely.

Well Jasper not being the sharpest knife in the drawer figured I had help, and he would go to the newest member of FEMA and complain cuz it came from her cows, so a thinking girl that she is decided she would let him know she is not a mere newbie in the FEMA organization, she has FEMA written on her soul. While Jasper was complaining about what happened to him and getting angry by the fact everyone applauded and laughed, he was busy being snarky with the patrons, so Val went out and after thawing some cow poop which we had leftovers we piled up on a humus pile, with surgical gloves, she thawed this poop, smeared a light coating on his steering wheel. Jasper lives close by, just around the corner, this night he was not aware of this thing done to his steering wheel until the next morning, his roommate, who is sick of the complaining said he watched Val do it bought her a drink, then shared the after effect.

Jasper woke in the middle of the night, accused his roommate of not keeping the fan on in the bathroom long enough and the whole place smelled like shit, yet it took him awhile to figure out the smell followed him, until he washed his hands, now remember he is not the sharpest knife in the drawer, he drove the car to breakfast, the waitress who is a regular at the Loggers Depot, (she may be the next inductee to FEMA) said to Jasper, “Gawd Jasper, you smell like shit!”

Now Jasper knew he’d been had, took his car to have detailed the 2nd time in one week. Yes, life is good as a FEMA member.

FEMA Chapter 9

Well, Jasper is under control he has actually taken his grump down a notch. I am getting the swing of things being a wife and now co-owner in Logger Depot, the regulars are now calling me the Misses, which is kinda nice. I still get my regular Friday FEMA meetings to be with the girls which are in rare form tonight, Sue is a bit unnerved one of our new Patron’s his name is Ron is paying undue attention to Sue even though she told him in no uncertain terms she was not interested.

He sends drinks, which she sends back she says she does not want to encourage his attention by accepting drinks when she gets up to go to the lady’s room, play pool, put money in the Juke box he follows her and tries to start up a conversation. She repeats her mantra “Ron, I do not want to hurt your feelings, I am not dating, I will not be dating, please leave me alone.”

Well the FEMA team came up with a plan to put a damper on his need to constantly follow Sue around the place. Sue will turn and talk to him the next time he walks up to her, we plan this as Sue is coming out of the lady’s room Ron will invariably walk up to talk to her, she will say something different to keep his attention, try to turn him so his back is to the restrooms. That is where Ruth comes in, she will come up behind Ron quietly, put a six-foot length of toilet paper into his waistband, also a three-foot length of toilet paper attached to his shoe.

I am sure the other patrons will notice when Ron walks back to his stool at the bar. Indeed they did the laughter started slowly, comments started to fly such as, “Hey Ron if you are trying to save money just ask Tony for a roll of toilet paper to take home with you, he is a generous kind of guy.”

My favorite was

“Hey, Ron how much paper did you think you need to wipe your ass.”

That was the remark that made Ron turn and look behind him; he found the toilet paper stuck in his pants and his shoe. He turned and looked at the FEMA table, we sent him a drink and nodded it was us.

He accepted the drink and the fact Sue was not interested.

Yes, you may be saying we were hard on the guy, although you might be right, but if we do not demand respect from our fellow men they will continue to step over the boundaries.

Now the problem arose Saturday when Sue went grocery shopping; Ron approached her and told her loudly “I do not appreciate you humiliating me like that at the bar.”

Sue stood her ground and said, “I do not appreciate it when I have told you multiple times in a nice way that I was not interested in dating you or anyone else.”

By this time someone called the police station and Kyle was dispatched, walking in he could see and nearly hear the conversation when he got closer he heard Ron say “I am not done with you.”

Kyle approached and said, “Sir are you threatening this woman?”

Ron turned looked at the name tag, looked at Sue,  Sue then said: “Kyle this is Ron, he is having a hard time understanding that I do not want to date him, and Ron this is my son if you have a problem with me you take it up with him.”

That finally gave Ron an attitude adjustment.

 

FEMA Chapter 10

Spring is trying to spring into action; we are planning an Adult Easter egg hunt. To participate you need to donate $10 the money will go to the local Humane Society. We are using the back parking lot and will put out eggs with a coupon inside or 1 free drink. Depending on how many donate will determine how many eggs will be hidden. Each participant is told in advance they are allowed one egg. Tony and I were surprised when we received 20 donations.

Each person found an egg and enjoyed their free drink. Inside we had a ham buffet the ones who donated ate free, the others the cover charge was $5 all you can eat. There were 5 side dishes included in the buffet. We worked like the dickens for this but it earned a thousand dollars for the shelter.

Tony asked me if I would like to adopt a dog, he or she could be a mascot for the Logger Depot. I said sure, Jeff had taught me how to train a dog, so I figured it would be fun, but I wondered if the health department would allow it. Tony said that since he has a doctor’s note stating his need for a service dog due to depression that this dog would be allowed. Tony has not been back to the doctors since him and I hooked up. He went into a depression when his wife passed from breast cancer also like Jeff he did his stint in the service and has a touch of PTSD, not nearly as bad as Jeff did. With Tony it flares up in the dark winter months he uses a SAD light which helped him tremendously.

We found this tall skinny greyhound mix male dog we call Fred, he seems to be easy going and always willing to please.

After a month of working with Fred, we felt confident to allow him in the Logger Depot. In fact, Fred helped with the Easter egg hunt. He received a treat for each egg he found and handed to a patron. They all loved it, I am surprised once again at how everyone fell in love with Fred.

Well not everyone, there is a patron that has been coming in for years, usually doesn’t give us any problems, stay’s to herself, has her drinks, then walks home. Her name is Betsy, well for some reason Betsy took a disliking to Fred, each time Fred would walk by Betsy; she would glare at her.

One night during one of the FEMA meetings I noticed Betsy gave her foot a slight swing when Fred walked by. I got up walked over to Betsy, who had a few to drink by then so I was going to give her the benefit of the doubt but I figured by my asking her this question it will be a fair warning if I find out what I suspected was true.

“Betsy, I need to ask you why you are trying to kick my dog?”

She did not deny it.

“That dog is a nuisance and should not be in here.”

“First off Betsy I have trained Fred to give this chair a wide berth, which he does, secondly if you kick my dog I will kick your ass all the way to jail do you understand?”

“I understand FEMA bitch.”

Betsy’s voice was loud enough for everyone to hear, as I walked away Fred walked uplifted his leg and pissed on Betsy’s shoe.

I gave Fred a treat and said “Good Boy”

The patrons applauded, Tony told Betsy she is no longer welcome in our establishment.

FEMA Chapter 11

We are having one of our FEMA meetings and enjoy actually a subdued quiet time if you can believe that. Nothing going on with us just enjoying each other’s company; then it happens our attention goes to the back corner of the place, large table which accommodates 10 people all guys, they have only been here a half hour yet have consumed more than we have been her 2 hours. We are figuring they are light weights. Turns out it is a bachelor party; I recognize 3 out of the 10 at the table as local boys who come here on occasion.

One in particular who is sitting at the table wants attention. Everyone look at me I am special. Anytime someone goes up and gets a dart game going he gives them his 2 cents, how they should use their arm, too much wrist, not enough wrist; you know the type. He starts in with those playing pool, same darn thing.

FEMA crew is wondering why none of the guys is putting him in his place, so I walk up to the bar to get us, girls, another round and ask Tony, he says “this is a bachelor that is the groom, they are giving him the night and attention he wants, my guess is he is not a drinker, just a blowhard when he drinks.”

Ok so I take this information to the FEMA group, we all agree he needs an attitude adjustment.  Joy is great at playing pool so is Val and Ruth, so they start a game up, I walk over to one of the guys who I know is a local, since he came to the bar to buy a round for the table, I ask him “So Ted who is your friend there?”

He turns and looks at me like I was speaking Spanish but answers “ that ass is engaged and is about to marry my sister, Catherine.”

I volleyed my response back to him “Well I am thinking he needs an attitude adjustment.”

He smiled and said, “I was hoping, that is why I suggested to bring him here for his bachelor party.”

The kid’s name is Allen who I was speaking to his sister is a sweet thing named Melisa.

Joy saunters up to the pool table as does, Ruth and Val, chalk’s her cue and racks the balls, leans in gives it the first whack. Blowhard which we found out his name is Morgan  meanders over like he is disinterested, and says to Joy, “ Now darling you need to bring your elbow down a bit.” As he said this he slowly moves forward.

Her response was priceless “If you are thinking about getting up close and personal and show me how it is done, I will shove this cue stick so far up your scrotum you will look like a gay pole dancer.”

Applause from the regulars, especially the best man and brother of the bride: I believe we need to have a talk with the bride.

I went the next day took some roses to the house I know her mom; Lola answered the door, I said: “Hey Lola these roses are for Melisa I was wondering if she was home.”

Lola said guardedly “Yes she is Christine, how did you find out about the engagement?”

I answered, “Allen had the bachelor party at the Logger Depot, I got a glimpse of the groom, I might say that she could do better, was hoping to have her come down for a bachelorette party at the Logger’s tonight on the house think you can arrange that?”

That sparked her interest, ha I am not such a bad penny when they need something.

 

FEMA Chapter 12

The FEMA meeting the following Friday was exclusively dedicated to how the bachelorette party will be handled. Joy has a better relationship with Lola so she handled that end. The party was scheduled for the following Friday, what we needed to do is get our ducks in a row.

Val knew this young man who has helped her with chores when her husband went through a bad spell, sweet young man, good looking helps his parents run their place just a mile east of Val’s place. Val has agreed to talk to Carl about meeting this young girl, she said she will not lie but will tell him our intentions as the FEMA girls. He smiled and said, “I have been so busy with helping my parents and school, which I just finished, I could use a night out.”

Val told him we are buying food and drinks for him all night; and will supply a designated driver, that is where Sue comes in, she asked Kyle, he said he did not want to get involved in one of our crazy schemes but Rose said she would do it.

Ok now that is set, the day arrives, all the girls showed up for the big night, come to find out the girls in the wedding party only agreed to stand up cuz they love Melisa, but none are too happy with her choice, so they have been clued in.

Carl brought back up to keep the wedding party happy and out of the way, his buddies were all too willing to meet the wedding party: so Melisa had no one to talk to except Carl.

All the wedding party was busy with the guys Carl brought, poor Melisa came out of the ladies room to an empty table, she looked around the girls were dispersed throughout the place, that is when Carl walked up and said “Hey seems I have been abandoned wonder if you would be interested in a game of darts?”

Melisa agreed but she told him “I will but; I need you to know I am engaged to be married the girls I came with, are part of the wedding party.”

Carl was cool as a cucumber and said: “Well maybe I am here to break up the party.”

Melisa laughed, they played pool, the girls danced with Carl’s friends, and Melisa sat at the bar talked to Carl.

Within a week we found out the wedding was called off, within a month on FEMA night Carl and Melisa walked in together asked Tony for the Microphone we use to say last drink; announced they eloped and are now husband and wife.

Yes! FEMA!!!!!!!!! Rules!!!!!!!!

That is when Laurie surprised us all and sang her heart out, her first song was Something in the way she moves; Tony came from behind the bar and asked me to dance. Life is good.

FEMA Chapter 13

Imagine my surprise when I saw this beautiful 20 something young lady walk into the Logger Depot. Sit down, she showed me her ID and I realized she was my granddaughter. Your mom Emily looked just like you at your age, I thought I was seeing things. Now you’re here saying you and your mom do not get along, you listened patiently to all my stories, but I have to tell you, sweetheart, your mom had trouble with the goings on at home, the stress was too much for her dealing with her dad’s PTSD, which I have told you already.

You do not want to be just like me, you need to find wisdom in all the things you find wrong in your life and in this world. That is something your mom has not been able to do. We are not computers you can reboot when there is a glitch, things in our lives crash; such as marriages, relationships, hearts, minds and sometimes even souls. In all that; it is where you need to find your wisdom, once you do you will be better able to understand and respect your mom. I am hoping your mom will one day find her wisdom.

Just then I heard a familiar voice “I have a mom, been listening to your stories and was wondering if I could join FEMA?”

Looking up at my daughter in all her sweetness I started to cry, Ann came around the bar put her arms around me and we both wept.

Tony said, “Christine why don’t you take the rest of the day off and get to know your daughter again.”

Ann turned to Tony and gave him a hug and a peck on the cheek then said: “Congratulations on your marriage to my mom, take good care of her.”

Tony replied, “I plan on it.”

The three of us went to a table in the back, Tony brought us drinks, and we chatted. Come to find out her and Emily’s dad have been having trouble financially and it has put a strain on the 3 of them. Emily has had a difficult time with all the bickering going on; the stress is nearly unbearable.

Ann’s husband Less has been out of work for 2 years now.

Tony overheard and asked, “If you are interested we could sure use help here, our students go back to school and it is hard to find good help, I cannot guarantee you get off all FEMA meetings but we could aim at that if you are accepted as a member.”

She answered “Wow Tony thanks; does this offer include Less?”

I said, “It does; he and you will have to learn to bartend, but once you get the hang of it the money is good.”

Ann pulled out her phone called her husband he said absolutely he used to bartend in college he knows he will be able to pick it up again.

It will be great having my family together and let’s face it Tony and I are not getting any younger and we would love to leave the place to family.

So we now have 2 more student members added to FEMA there is an initiation involved for these two.  Their initiation will be to quietly, while the other members are watching let the air out of the Sheriff’s personal car, and toilet paper his front yard.

They did a great job, they are going to be able to take over and keep FEMA going for years to come.

 

 

Annoyance

Annoyance -short story

 

I am accustomed to many things coffee in the morning, quiet moment to wake up. My new neighbor Murphy has a propensity towards annoying me. As an early riser, I always enjoyed the twilight freshness of the day. Rarely do I turn a light on. Maneuvering through my home with nightlight navigating my steps sets the tone for my quiet time. Coffee is on a timer, as I amble along my way, my brain foggy, blurry eyed reach for my cup setting next to the coffee pot. I look out my kitchen window and see Murphy has lights on in two downstairs rooms. Instinctively I pull back from the window not wanting to be seen until my appearance is something close to human. Holding my breath hoping Murphy has not glimpsed a shadowy figure passing by my window. Realizing it did not work I grabbed my long sweater from the hook near the back door. As I wrapped it around me I hear a rap on the door. Opening it I greeted Murphy “Hey Murphy what’s up?”

“I wanted to be sure you were alright. I noticed no lights on and someone walked past your kitchen window.”

“To tell you the truth Murphy I do not turn my lights on till after I have had two cups of coffee. I enjoy the peace of the morning.”

“Okay, I am glad you are okay, just let me know if you need anything.”

“Thank you, Murphy no problem”

When I am in the yard Murphy sprints overtakes the rake or whatever tool I am working with and continues my work. While explaining how I like to putter in the garden Murphy usually express his need to help when he sees me working too hard.

Now that I am retired and my husband has been gone for a year I do appreciate Murphy’s propensity towards being johnny on the spot. It is annoying and yet I should be great full.

At the age of 59, I am reasonably healthy. Still fit enough to work in the garden, clean house. I work out in the gym three times a week. I love gardening also I love to clean my house. I think it is time for me to have a conversation with Murphy. My husband used to be like this. Swoop down helping me with things I did not need help with. We nearly came to blows over him taking my rake. The day he took my garden shovel was the last straw.

I invited Murphy over for grilled burgers and a brew. Murphy insisted on grilling the burgers. As he was enjoying his beer flipping the burgers I talked to Murphy about how I viewed his helpfulness. He said “I do not mean to be annoying I am keeping my promise to your husband. He told me exactly how I should look after you.”

I said, “Hold on you mean to tell me every time you have come to my rescue your keeping your promise?”

“Yes, he told me you would sleep walk. When I saw the shadow I thought you might have been sleep-walking. He told me you have hurt yourself raking.”

Murphy went on through the list of things my late husband told him I needed help with. I explained to Murphy that my dear departed husband did those things purposefully to annoy me. Especially after we had a disagreement it was his way of getting even. We never screamed at each other. Nor did we throw things. We did things to each other knowing full well it would annoy them.

Murphy nodded his head “So even after death by using me, he is annoying you?”

“Yes, it seems that way.”

Murphy nodded again then asked, “What was the last thing he did that annoyed you?”

“I was putting in the rose bushes, he grabbed the shovel to dig the holes for me.”

Murphy nodded again took out his cell phone made a call spoke to the person “I believe we will find his body under the rose bushes.”

Damn!

The Toffee Recipe

The Toffee Recipe

Stan and I just moved into this neighborhood 5  weeks ago; I was surprised at the welcome we received from our immediate neighbors. Sandy, lives across the street, makes homemade Toffee. I told her I wanted the recipe, she promised to bring it over the next day. That was two weeks ago. I decided to give her a call and ask if she would be home and that I want to come over for coffee I will bring cookies. Sandy answered the phone on the second ring she said instead of me coming over, she would come to my place.

I said: “Okay, come on over do not forget the Toffee recipe.”

Sandy laughed and said: “No problem seems I meant to bring it two weeks ago and forgot all about it sorry.”

I placed cookies on a plate, started the coffee and tidied up a bit. Sandy was at my door within 20 minutes. We had a nice conversation about husbands, kids and being a stay at home wife and mother. We both agreed it is the best way to raise children but Sandy admitted that there are times the tedium gets to her. She wished she had a bit more stimulation. I understood what she meant you can only bake, clean and drive kids to all their events for so long before you feel the need to run away from home.

During the conversation, Sandy mentioned the Hometown Bakery in town just came up for sale. The owners Wilma and Fred Brimley are in their 70’s and want to retire. Tilting my head I looked at Sandy and asked: “Are you suggesting you want to buy the place?”

“Actually I talked to Wilma and she said they would consider selling on land contract to a local with very low interest. Lynn your cookies and cakes are the best around. I know Toffee and bread. Fred and Wilma said they would stick around once or twice a week to teach us other things.” Sandy said

I felt a rush of adrenaline just considering this idea. I would have to talk to Stan. Just as I finished that thought Sandy said: “I can tell by your expression you like the idea.”

“We could share responsibilities at the Bakery and carpool kids to their events. They could come to the Bakery after school. We could have a small area in the back for them to do homework or play games till our husbands come home from work.” I said

We both agreed to broach the subject with our husbands first before we jump into it. By the end of the week, we had decided to talk with Wilma and Fred. They were genuinely pleased with our ideas and wanting to buy the place. Stan agreed that I could dip into our savings. He said: “I always thought your cakes and cookies should be marketed. I am so glad you and Sandy are going to give this a shot.”

Sandy’s husband Kevin was not the least bit reluctant. It took us a couple of months to get started. We re-opened the bakery called it  Toffee and Cakes Bakery. Our neighbors were all there opening day, encouraging our venture. It has taken some juggling with the kids after school activities. One of the other mom’s said she would help with shuttling them twice a week. Now that we are a year into it, things are moving relatively smooth. The only time there is a crimp in the day is when one of the kids needs to stay home because they are sick. Thus far we have not had a problem with one of mine and one of Sandy’s kids getting sick at the same time. It makes it harder on the one who has to tend to the Bakery on their own. We decided on those occasions we will start a list of people who want to work part-time filling in. We were glad there were other mom’s that wanted to get out of the house once in a while.

Sandy and I are now planning our 2nd-anniversary grand opening in two weeks. We will be offering free coffee, toffee, and cupcakes to any patron who makes a purchase.

We stayed late the night before the anniversary celebration preparing extras. Our personal celebration started the night before. We were drinking wine playing music. We had fun while the guys took the kids to the show and pizza.

I was pouring our second glass of wine when Sandy went up front to lock the door. I heard the bells chime, then male voices. One was saying “Oh this is a nice looking one.”

Sandy said: “Do you guys want some coffee and Toffee?”

Another one said: “No Bitch we want the place to ourselves.”

I heard the gunshot. I froze wondering if I should rush to Sandy or run out the door. The next voice I heard said: “We should check the back to see if anyone else is here.”

I ran out the back jumped in my truck and sped to the police department. I was on my phone in the parking lot and a patrol car sped past me. I heard the sirens. I tried clearing my head so I could call Stan. My phone rang it was Kevin asking how much longer it would be. I just cried. By the time it was all over I was in the hospital suffering from shock. Stan next to me, he was crying the kids were on a cot in the corner crying.

Stan took a breath and said: “The police arrived just as one of the guys came out the back door the other one was inside drinking wine and eating a cupcake. Sandy was gone. They shot her in the head.”

Wilma and Fred opened the following week they said they would work till I felt up to coming back. I don’t know if I ever want to go back. Not without Sandy.