Back in The Saddle

Well, technically, the saddle is a chair.

 

At my desk inside the master bedroom. That’s where I keep my laptop.

The Fall Semester has ended and the Holidays have passed, (Thank God! They were exhausting, weren’t they?)

While I am awaiting the start of Spring classes at my local Community College, I’ve been trying to make use of the downtime with WRITING!

And just in case you’re interested, I am working on the third and final book in my thrilling Sci-Fi trilogy!

The book is called REACTION and I’m planning on releasing late this year.

Still tinkering with the cover

INERTIA  and …

*free with Kindle Unlimited!
*free with Kindle Unlimited!

FORCE

*also FREE with Kinlde Unlimited
*also FREE with Kindle Unlimited

were the first two, and as exciting as those plots were, this last one is going to blow them both out of the water. AtomicBomb

I’m just over 20k words so far, but the book is already plotted out in my head! The final, BIG ending is going to be SO much FUN to write. I can’t wait for you all to read it.

terX20j

 

Plots and Socks: a writing process

(2014 re-post)

I like my plots the way I like my socks. Tight and free of holes.

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And, let me tell you, it isn’t easy.

I never really thought about ‘my process’ until this past weekend, when my husband and I had some friends over. I am one of those people who never really talks about their writing unless asked because I will go on and on and on until you are sorry you ever asked the question.

But, at some point during the many conversations, some unfortunate soul made the mistake of asking me how I come up with ideas for my books.

After the initial, “I don’t know,” it got me thinking about how, thus far, my stories have ended up nothing like the way they started out. And that lead me to the realization that I am an odd-builder.

Yes, I said odd-builder.

Let me explain it you you, reader, like I explained to my company:

I start with The End. It’s an image in my head, or a feeling that I get about a certain situation or story. Usually sparked by some event I read about or see taking place within the lives of people around me.

Then, I hit the internet. I search blog after blog, read endless amounts of advice on the creative process and the proper way to structure a story. But then, after a week or so–less if I’m really inspired–I remember that my brain won’t let me do it the usual way. I cannot tell you how many unfinished outlines I have stored in my computer.

Then, I jot down all the ideas about my ending (how it might have been reached and by whom) into a spiral notebook which then finds it’s way into my bedside table. It’s like binder after notebook after binder inside my nightstand.

This is my only form of organization when it comes to writing. Each idea, each plot, and character that graces the pages of my  books gets it’s own section in a binder. The binders are labeled with the wroking title and the notes on plot or character are tossed in there like a paper salad. It’s messy, but it works for me.

From there, I go back to whatever it is I am writing at the time. I try to finish one project before moving along to the next. This way I dont have a million manuscripts I feel pressured to finish.

Then, once I have had time away from the idea, I go back to my notebooks and re-read everything. If i am still stoked about the idea, I start constructing.

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UNDER CONSTRUCTION 

This is where it gets a tad messy. See, I have my ultimate ending, but I don’t know who the characters are yet. So here is the place where I begin the inquisition. I ask myself

What events must happen for the story to reach it’s ending?

What motivates the characters to make the choices they must make to lead to the end?

What type of person makes those choices? A pschopath, a lonely girl, a guy who’s strapped for cash…the posibilities are endless.

Who do I want my character to be? What age and/or gender would fit best with the situations presented?

What traits do they have that I can relate to? What type of upbringing would they have that might influence their choices?

And the list goes on. These questions are also helpful when I reach that point in the story where I’m not sure what the character should do. I can go back to these questions and find an answer.

Once I reach a point of comfortable familiarity with my main characters, I begin free-writing. And through the process of turning on the voice in my head and letting it flow to the page, I find out who they really are, beneath the choices.

Well, that’s my crazy process.

Flash Fiction Friday: Re-post Part 4

Beacon for the Metaphorical Penis: Part 4

It had been several weeks and still Dee was jobless. Her best friend, Layla, was convinced Dee was doing something wrong. The other day, when Dee dropped by her house for a visit, the two friends were standing in the kitchen as Layla leaned against the counter, beer in hand, grilling Dee.

“You complain about not finding a job, but are you really looking? Because there are jobs out there. I know a guy who works with Steve. He’s a teacher, looking for an aide.”

Dee knew who she was talking about. Well, sort of. She’d never met the drama teacher, Mr. Collins, but she’d heard about him plenty. Layla had asked about setting Dee up with the guy.

“I want a job like the one I used to have. In publishing.” Dee tipped her beer glass up, downing the last few gulps.

Layla waved her hand dismissively at Dee. “I’m trying to help. Not set you up. Although, if I were single….” She didn’t finish, but changed the subject. “I want you to come out with me tonight.”

“Where?”

Layla opened the refrigerator. Pulling out two more bottles of Blue Moon she answered in a deep, television narrator-type voice. “Jimmy’s Pizza is proudly hosting The Corporate Games.”

Dee laughed. “What?”

Layla popped the top off the first bottle and began refilling her friends glass. “Steve and I got invited to the school’s annual game night. Basically, it’s a bunch of high school staffers acting like teenagers. They separate the staff into teams of three or four and all of them have to play Guitar Hero.”

Dee laughed again. “No. I’m not doing that.”

Layla shook her head. “I don’t expect you to. I’m not doing it either. But it’s a chance to hang out and eat free pizza, courtesy Los Angeles Unified. And we get to watch all the teachers make fools of themselves.”

Dee thought about it while sipping at her beer.

“Alright. I’ll go,” she consented, with one condition. “But just to watch.”

Jimmy’s Pizza was not easy to find. Even Google was getting it wrong. The kind voice of the GPS kept telling Dee to go into a Denny’s parking lot. She drove around the block a few times before finally spotting the small, short sign half-hidden by an overgrown Oleander shrub. Apparently, Jimmy was quite confident in his pizza making capabilities and didn’t need to worry about minor things like foot traffic and street visibility. The place was small, with low ceilings and was located right behind the Denny’s restaurant.

The front door opened into the alley. The parking was non-existent. The outside lights were flickering and Dee was sure she saw a group of teenagers drinking at the corner.

The pizza had better be worth it. Dee thought, stealing into a compact space on the corner across from the restaurant.

When Dee opened the front door, there was row after row of long family-style tables in a long room. The center of the long room, was a tall projector and screen. And a Playstation. Dee noted a small group of people in brightly colored punk-rock wigs fiddling around with wires and instrument shaped controllers as she got in line to place her order.

Just before her turn at the window, Dee heard her name being called. It was Layla. She was waving from the end of a long table across the room, near the bar. Dee could see Layla pointing to a large pizza in the middle of her table.

The pizza is free, Dee remembered and set off for the table.

The two friends stuffed their faces and people-watched as the semi-empty restaurant filled up. Dee caught echoes of conversations from all over the room. It seemed every teacher from nearly every high school in the area was present. There were History teachers discussing their political affiliations, several English teachers talking about Romeo and Juliet—which film version they preferred to show once the class was done reading the play—and several other conversations which had nothing at all to do with school or work. The one Dee honed in on was taking place behind her. It was the voices of two men standing nearby. Their hushed tones indicated they were having a private conversation, but rather than deterring Dee’s interest, it piqued.

“… and I can’t figure out why.”

“Wait. You mean she left? Like, for good?”

A pregnant pause had Dee holding her breath, wondering if the responder had nodded his head—yes, or shook it—no.

 “When?”

“Three weeks ago.”

So it was a yes. Someone—a woman—left one of the men who were standing behind her.

“She must have said something—gave some indication. Wives don’t just leave without a reason.”

Dee’s heart thrummed wildly. His marriage ended? How devastating. She shouldn’t be listening. She knew that. But she couldn’t stop herself. Obscene curiosity was one of her many flaws. Hearing other peoples stories made her want to write her own. She lived for that inspiration.

“She did. Give a reason.” The tone of this stranger’s voice was so soft, so poignant, it made her bones ache.

“Are you going to tell me what it was?” The second man asked, obviously just as nosey as Dee herself—only difference being, he had a right to be. He was the one being confided in.

“No.” Sort of.

There was some mumbling, some shuffling and Dee realized that the pair behind her was moving. As she turned her head, she noticed that she’d been leaning far over; an unconscious effort to hear the strangers conversing.

She was the reason they were leaving.

Lifting her gaze, Dee only saw their backs. Even so, she noted that one of the men was clearly older than the other—having thinning grey hair. And the younger man had longer hair, probably down to his shoulders, she assumed but couldn’t be sure since it was pulled back into a low ponytail.

And then Dee had a sudden hunch that she knew that long-haired stranger, een though she’d never seen his face.

#FlashFiction Repost Part 3

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A Beacon for the Metaphorical Penis

3.
Dee often felt sorry for people that had to sit beside her in traffic. She liked her coffee strong and her music loud. She also liked to sing along and would often nod unashamedly at the unfortunates stuck beside her as they rolled up their car windows.
She loved her little Jetta. The sound system came stock with the car which was, by far, the nicest and most dependable model she ever owned. It was also her first brand new car. She’d made the down payment with last years’ Christmas bonus from her former employer.
Stopped at one of LA’s many traffic lights, Dee sang at top of her lungs, idly wondering how delinquent her payments could get before the dealership sent out the repo-men.
It was still Friday and with her clothes smelling Tide-fresh, Dee felt invigorated on her way to the local grocery store.
As she drifted through the crowded parking lot, a compact space near the front of the store opened up. Dee hooked the wheel left and snagged it. On her way inside, she noted the spot was also close to two Basket Return stalls and smiled at the small stroke of luck.
Inside the store, Dee pushed her cart, feeling dazed by the ridiculous amount of devilish makeup and costumes that cluttered the stores usually neat aisles. But it wasn’t long before her drifting gaze came to stop on the enormous display of Halloween candies.
No, she told herself and moved on.
Dee didn’t need much. Just odds and ends and she was running low on Cup ‘O’ Noodles. She didn’t need candy. There were never trick-or-treaters in her building.
Standing in the slow check-out line, Dee stared at her microwave food products. She was going to get high cholesterol if she didn’t start eating better. And she wanted sugar. Badly. But it made her lazy and Dee had too much to do. As the conveyor belt rolled forward, her sugar craving grew ravenous. Turning to her right, Dee searched the small display of candy bars. They had Reeses. Well, the holiday version shaped like pumpkins.
Dee turned to the check-out clerk mindlessly swiping her items. “Excuse me. Do you have the regular peanut butter cups?”
“There should be a box of them on the third shelf.” The girl gestured to the very spot where the pumpkin shaped confections rested.
Dee smiled. “I don’t mean the jack-o-lanterns. I’m looking for the standard, round cups.”
The clerk’s forehead crumpled. Dee was not surprised. No one understood her aversion.
“I need the flat, even cups. Those lumpy pumpkin things don’t taste the same. The mound-shape throws off the chocolate to peanut butter ratio.” Dee didn’t indulge her sugar addiction as often as she used to. When she did, though, she had to get what she wanted or the splurge was pointless.
All her items were scanned. And still, the check-out girl just stared at her. “I don’t understand. Aren’t they the same chocolate and peanut butter?”
Dee could see that the line behind her had doubled in size. “Yes. They are.” She dug into her wallet. “But they don’t taste the same. I need even distribution. The peanut butter in the holiday shape is too thick. I prefer the regular cups. Do you have any of those?”
Dee noticed more than a few wry smiles on the faces of surrounding customers. Every time she explained this eccentricity of hers, people shook their heads as if it were unbelievable. It wasn’t as if she was asking the Reeses’ company to separate the peanut butter and chocolate, she simply wanted some consistency.
The checker shook her head and took Dee’s payment. “If you don’t see them over there, then we don’t have them. Sorry.”
Dee pushed her basket out to the parking lot, still craving sugar. Her car cheerily chirped when she pressed the key fob. If Dee hadn’t been so hangry, she might have smiled.
After placing her bags in the car, Dee found herself in the middle of another conundrum. Her car was in the exact middle space between two basket returns. And Dee could not decide which one was closest.

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This is a Larry David moment, Dee thought, laughing to herself. It was the type of simple issue that the brilliant writer Larry David — co-creator of Seinfeld which birthed the terms ‘close-talker’, ‘man-hands,’ and ‘chat-and-cut,’ — might write about. The type of silly social awkwardness that made Dee laugh her ass off. She was tempted to take the time to count the steps between the car and return stall.
“This one’s closer.”
Dee turned in the direction of the voice and was dumbstruck. Parked just beside her Jetta, was a king cab pickup; white with barrels of paint and ladders strewn in the back. There was a man standing behind it. He looked to be Dee’s age, with soft brown hair that hung smoothly to the tops of his shoulders and big blue eyes.
“What?” Dee managed to ask, taken aback by the striking masculinity staring back at her.
“This cart return,” he pointed to the right, “is closer than that one.” He shook his head almost like he was embarrassed and Dee nearly fainted.
Damn. He was pretty. Masculine, but beautiful. Like Brad Pitt in Thelma and Louise pretty.
He was Jared Leto pretty.
And he was talking to Dee.
“I’m sorry. It’s just… you looked like you couldn’t decide. I figured since most people don’t bother to return the baskets in the first place, that you were probably looking for the most efficient way—” He shut his mouth and walked towards her, reaching.
Dee’s heart sputtered to a stop and picked up again, double-time as Mister Gorgeous came within striking distance. Then he was inches away, passing a hand in front of her. Dee took a deep breath. Oh, he smelled better than he looked.
How the hell is that possible?
“I’ll just take this for you.” He smiled. And she stopped breathing. “You have a nice day.”
She watched him walk through the parking lot, taking her empty basket with him into the store

Sneak Peek at Force, Releasing 10/10!

Here’s an excerpt from my forthcoming novel, Force, the sequel to last years, Inertia … this is from the non-copy-edited version, but it’s still awesome!

Enjoy!!


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A massive blue funnel stretches up from the ground. It’s at least five times the size of the one in Ivanhoe. As it materializes, stretching up to the clouds with its heat and wind, snaking gracefully between the buildings, coating the bricks in heat and soot, I’m mesmerized.

The firm lines of the buildings beyond it bend from the heat. The mouth of the burning cone doesn’t face the ground like it did in Ivanhoe. It faces upward like it’s waiting for Daemon who’s still drifting in free-fall.

Are you really going to jump off a building? I ask myself as I take in the scene, trying to recall how many flights of stairs I climbed chasing Daemon. How many stories? Couldn’t have been more than seven. Maybe eight.

That’s survivable. Right?

“Sack up,” I tell myself and then take a gulp of air and hold it. He’s got my stones, not my balls.

Daemon blurs into the rainbow interior of the gateway. And I leap, just like he did, only less dramatic. I dive headlong after him rather than placing my arms out at each side like a moron.

After I’ve flung myself into the scorching storm, as I’m sailing through the blazing wind, that’s the moment I realize how stupid this is.

The rocks are what protected me from the gateway. I’m not in their protective bubble. I’m outside the funnel, contorted by the violent blue fog that burns and pushes me back from the upturned opening instead of suctioning me inside.

I’m not falling, but twisting and thrashing through the wind, making for the window that hovers high above the ground. Moving my arms and legs like I’m swimming against the current.

Hope rises as the rainbow wheel looms closer. I’m going to make it!

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I’m screaming on the inside as I fly through the mouth of the vortex just as it starts shrinking. My skin feels too thin, but the rainbow wheel inside the tunnel is beautiful as ever.

And then it’s gone. I’m surrounded by darkness, folding into a forgiving surface that feels moist and smells of wet earth. I splatter like a pile of laundry hitting the end of the chute.

There’s no sound except the shuffling of feet as I get up.
My eyes adjust quickly and I don’t feel sick. This is good, makes it easier to keep pace with Daemon. And I do keep the pace right behind him, kicking my legs high.

Reaching for the tails of that damn jacket, I’m glad he’s still wearing it. I’m about to close-in on the fabric, about to feel it sweeping against my fingertips… and then the tell-tale blue fog appears again, with the crashing sound of the gateway opening.

The rainbow wheel illuminates the night ahead. I leap inside right after Daemon.

The next world is bright. Warm rays of sun are blinding. I shade my eyes and keep kicking, noticing that everything looks normal, older than the 1990’s, but normal.

My legs are stiffening from all the running while Daemon’s stride is still vigorous and quick. When I trip over a surprised kid on a huge skateboard and fall a half-block behind while getting up, I know that without a huge stroke of luck there’s a good chance he’ll get away.

A black Saab pulls up to the curb just ahead of me. A woman wearing a wide-collared power suit hops out of the drivers’ seat and casually walks around the other side of her idling car to pop a stack of mail into blue drop-off box on the curb.

My father used to say that luck is there for those that need it. He also used to say that success was for those who recognize opportunities. The empty Saab looks like both to me.

The engine purrs, smoothly shifting into fourth as I hit the intersection, taking my chances at the red light. I can see Daemon up ahead; hard not to notice a huge bald guy with a snake head tattooed on his bare scalp. He’s still on the move but looks to have slowed a little, assuming that he’s lost his tail.

He spots me at the perfect moment. Right as he comes up to the next intersection, when there’s a break in foot traffic on the sidewalk. I see the way his eyes widen when the Saab jumps the curb.

The victorious thunk of the tires hitting their target is short-lived. I don’t know how, but instead of thrashing over him, Daemon somehow ends up on top of the hood.  His big ugly beard blocks my view of the road as I veer off the sidewalk and back into traffic, nicking at least one other car.

A few screams. More horns. And a black stare from the man that killed my father. I make sure to look him directly into those beads of emptiness as I make for the side of the nearest building and give my parting words.

“See you in hell.”

He glances behind him, sees the wall he’s about to munch, then turns back to say something that sounds like he’s asking if I can swim. But that can’t be right. I mean, I can swim, but what does water have to do with—

A huge vortex opens and I’m going too fast. It’s all there: the bustling city, then rainbow colors, the heat, and blue fog.

In a heartbeat it’s gone, replaced by water. Lots of water. Everywhere. Gushing in through the doors and windows.

Shit.

The car is completely submerged and filling fast. I take a deep breath and brace myself, trying to think through the surprised panic.

It’s just water. Rushing into the car through open half-open windows. It’s filling with bubbling cold and Daemon is gone. Through the windshield, I make out his wavy form getting smaller and higher as the car sinks and he swims away.

Part 2: #flashfiction re-post

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2.
A Beacon for the Metaphorical Penis

Beacon might have been the wrong word. A magnet was what Dee considered herself, but men of the wrong kind were an enticement to her. They exuded the pull or lure, an attraction that seemed to trip Dee up every single time. It was as if she was drawn to the jerks against her will, pulled in as if by a magnetic field she had no control over. So she was not a beacon because it was the wrong word—she did not draw them in. She was not the puller, but the pullee. Dickheads were the magnet and she was just the metallic dust they collected.
Dee scowled at the thoughts she was having. There were at least ten other items on her list of problems that she should be concerned about first thing in the morning. Nine of which would drop off her list when she found a job. But her mind kept going back to her blog, pondering the title.
Single cup coffee makers are for light-weights, Dee thought, as she placed the paper filter in the top basket of her twelve-cup coffee-maker and filled it with three round scoops of freshly ground beans. She inhaled deeply, taking in the wonderful scent. Her mind woke up a little more, anticipating the imminent caffeine rush.
She showered while the coffee brewed and didn’t let herself think about anything except what she was doing in the moment. There were too many things she had to get done and if she thought about them in the shower, she’d forget to write them down later.
Clean and freshly dressed, Dee poured herself a large mug of coffee with milk and sat at the cold metal table on her third-floor apartment patio. As always, she kept her laptop to jot down ideas and the days to-do list. She looked over the edge of her mug, sipping and watching employed neighbors scramble into the parking lot and leave for work.
Lucky bastards.
It was barely seven a.m., and Dee had no job to go to, but she still kept her routine of waking early and dressing for the day. She wanted to be ready to go on the off-chance that someone called her for a last minute interview.
The job hunt was not going well. Dee felt as if full-time employment in her chosen field was nearing extinction. There were jobs for writers out there, but they were elusive and hard to catch wind of. Usually by the time she’d heard of an opening, it was already filled. For all her striving over the last three months, all she had to show for it was a dwindling savings account and a growing stack of bills.
Being independent, living in Los Angeles, and building a career in writing had always been Dees dream. But dreaming of doing something was not the same as actually doing it. Dee expected it to be hard, still it was a lot tougher than she expected.
Dee felt herself unwillingly pointed down that reclusive path—the way of the starving artist. The unread writer; that’s what she would be if she didn’t start pursuing work outside her favored spectrum. That feeling was what made her start the blog. It was her way to vent about the frustration she faced in her personal and professional life.
After a breakfast of cup of noodles, Dee took two five dollar bills from her remaining twenty-five dollar food allotment, and headed downstairs to the apartments laundry room with her full hamper and laptop.
Dee had appliance-rich friends who offered the free use of their facilities whenever she needed it, but none of them were home at eight in the morning and she didn’t want to impose. Using someone elses’ washer and dryer was an imposition, no matter what her friends said. Laundry took time. Dee had the soiled clothes and the free hours needed to babysit the machines as they worked. She could live on noodles for the rest of the week, but she had to have clean, non-smelly clothes. The only thing anybody wanted to do with a stinky person was to hold their breath and step away.
Besides, Dee didn’t really want to sit at a friend’s house. The apartment laundry room would give her privacy. Her companions knew how much unemployment bothered her, so they didn’t ask, but their spouses did. And Dee couldn’t endure another awkward silence after she answered, “Nope. Still looking,” to the innocent inquiry of her job status.
Finding a job. Jobs are something given and taken away. They are never lost or found.
The laundry room was in the back of the ground floor of the apartment building. It was the last door at the end of the main hallway, where other corridors crossed and branched off to front doors. It was near the epicenter of the drama. Where most of the younger, single people lived. They were cheaper and almost always occupied. After work hours and on weekends many of the first-floor residents would mingle in the sitting area just outside the laundry room, talking about their busy lives, their education and future prospects. They were sickeningly optimistic.
But it was Friday morning and the valuable, contributing members of society were not home. Dee was content to listen to the gentle swish of machines while taking advantage of the buildings’ free wifi.
She faced many problems for sure. And there was no end in sight. But Dee was an optimist, even when she wasn’t. And she would use the empty time wisely, to her advantage.
She would write.

#FlashFiction Even though it’s not Friday

Hello, fellow bloggers and faithful readers!

I’ve had my head buried in school books and am putting the final touches on my latest book (which I am SO ridiculously behind on) that I literally have zero time to blog.

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But I don’t want to leave anybody hanging, or make you all think that I forgot about my readers the same way I forgot all about this flash fiction thing I started doing last year.

Truly, I came across it on my Wattpad page and was like, “When did I write this!?”

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So, I reread it. A fell in like with it all over again, and decided it was worth sharing here. Again.

(there’s a smidge of strong language, so reader beware)


1
A Beacon for the Metaphorical Penis.

“A what?” Layla stared at the laptop and shook her head. “I don’t get it. Sorry, Dee.”
Dee sighed, letting her shoulders drop. “I couldn’t call it ‘Dick Magnet.’ No one would want to read it.”
Layla laughed. “Or everyone would.”
“For all the wrong reasons.”
“Okay. So what’s it’s supposed to be about?”
Dee sighed again. It was about everything in her life turning out wrong. It was about being thirty-one and still single. It was about still losing her job after all the crap she put up with to keep it. Like unpaid overtime; they wanted the work done, but they didn’t want her to charge them for it—and she was stupid enough to believe her selfish boss would remember her dedication when the next editing position opened up.
“Generally, it’s about how independent, intelligent women in this age have no taste in men.”
“So it’s a biography.” Layla’s face was dead-pan.
Dee was the one laughing now. She should have known better than to try and fool her best friend. “Yes. But no. It’s an idea I’ve had for a long time, now I’m finally putting it to paper. Metaphorically, since it’s digital.” She shrugged, crossing her arms.
“It sounds good, but since when did you become a blogger?”
“I’m out of book ideas.” Dee plopped on the short sofa beside her friend and grabbed the laptop—saving and closing the document file.
“So…Dick Magnet? Are you going to feed the stereotypes about men wanting nothing more than to get into a womans pants?”
“You mean tell it like it is? Yes.”
Layla rolled her eyes. She wasn’t as cynical as her lifelong friend. But she had no reason to be. She married the man who took her virginity a month after high school graduation. And amazingly, they were still married. And happy. They still had sex. Regularly.
Dee shook off the image. “Not all of us are lucky enough to find a guy like your Steve.”
“Luck had nothing to do with it. Love is an investment, Dee. The wedding is like a down payment that gets you the house. But marriage is what you live in. It takes time to repaint and remodel. It’s a lot of work.”
Dee’s eyes nearly crossed. How many times had she heard this metaphor? Ten, twenty, a hundred-thousand times?
“Alright-awright. I get it. The secret is in real-estate research.”
“Metaphorically.”


Dee didn’t like the name she chose for her new, fabulous website. Yeah, it was only to keep her busy as she searched for another job. It was a part-time thing. A hobby. There were millions of bloggers out there, but none of them—at least the ones Dee came across—were filling the gap between what you learn and applying that knowledge in everyday life and situations.
For instance, Dee now knew, from past experience that it was important to see your potential date in a well-lit space before agreeing to any outings. The typically soft lighting of a night club does not lend itself to inspection. To search, to make absolutely sure there was no slightly lighter strip of skin on the left ring finger.
She learned this one night—well several nights after—a few fuzzy navels and a screwdriver, compliments a la Asshole. The haze of alcohol eased her into accepting his phone number scribbled on a napkin. The man had paid for two of her four drinks that night and she was reduced to thinking that somehow indebted her. But all he wanted was the chance at a phone call. And Dee was not going to call. But he hadn’t demanded Dee’s phone number. He’d left it up to her to make the next move.
And in that simple act of letting her think she was in a higher position made her fall.
The high-point of the first date was the conversation and the sweet, boyish peck on the cheek that followed. Boy, did he reel her in. Slowly, like a fat, stupid tuna. He let her thrash about on the baited hook like one of the giant marlin her father used to catch when he took her deep sea fishing.
The second date was where Dee learned her lesson. It was right after she let him talk her into seeing a terrible movie. A major motion picture, expected to be a box office block-buster.
Well, it was shit. Dee knew it would be. She rarely agreed with film critics and never agreed with pop-culture’s ideas of ‘good’ on anything. Film or otherwise. Except maybe Green Mile and Forrest Gump, but that was more a Tom Hanks anomaly.
Neither one really watched the movie, but they made good use of the dark. They were all over eachother. Dee was going to take him to her apartment. As the two left the theater, walking hand in hand, it happened.
A beautiful woman with bright strawberry curls was blocking their path on the crowded sidewalk. Asshole threw her hand away and stuttered something to the woman. Dee was confused at first. But then she took in the womans tired, hurt expression, her thin arms that held an impossibly tiny infant, and her slightly doughy middle. Then the womans thin hand and the large stone that rested over her fourth finger.
Automatically, Dee checked her dates’ fingers. Low and behold—there was a thin, slightly lighter line around his ring finger.
Dee did the only thing she could think of; listened and watched the screaming match. The poor woman cried at the unfairness; it wasn’t her fault she had to wait six weeks to have sex. She’d just had his baby! And her husband of less than two years was an unfaithful bastard!
Bastard was right. Who the hell was he to make Dee the slut, to turn her into the other woman?
Dee’s knee swung up into his groin before she had a chance to think it through. “There! Now he can’t have sex either!”
She charged through the watching crowd on her way home to meet her second dates for that evening, Ben and Jerry.
It was a tough lesson. But one Dee was glad to have learned. Thanks to that experience, she could relay the importance of good lighting at a first meeting.


635939429028651305-747438658_storyteller

You are welcome, World.

Rivera–out.

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