Breaking the Mold (Lesson 3)

“Damn, I reminded you two times”! she said. She turned away, folding her arms around her waist. Lately, it didn’t seem to matter. Garret, turned toward Tonya, raising his eyebrows with a quizzical look on his face.

“And the point is”? his arms flailed into the air. Tonya took a deep breath, willing herself to remain calm, or at least calm enough to not just knock his head off his broad shoulders.

“Garret”, she turned, stomped one slender petite foot on the ground turned to face his amused look. “You know”, she began. “You were suppose to be at the meeting last night, remember”? she said this last with contained rage. She pointed her slim finger in his face. He swiped it away.

“So I missed a meeting”, he glanced up from his chair to see her face suffused with anger. “You are angry over a meeting”?

“A meeting”, she regained her composure. “You missed”, she said in a hushed forceful voice. “A meeting, with OUR son, the Father/Son awards meeting”, she said the last in a louder much harsher tone. “He was sitting in the front row glancing at the door repeatedly when he saw any little movement.” she flared. “You were my life when we got married”, but you became a stranger after Franklin was born. You turned into someone else entirely, a ghost, inconsistent ass, a disgusting, it’s all about me attitude.” she said slowly, looking into the air, into a memory long past. “Out of that love we created a little human being, a boy, your son, MY son”. but apparently that wasn’t enough or important to you. Our son, Franklin Charles Montgomery. A gift from God”, flicking her tears away, her face contorted with anger. “We promised, in that moment we held him he was to be the most important person in our life, he was to come before anything or anyone else.” she slid to the ground, depleted, no longer angry, just spent. She wrapped her arms around her legs, resting her head on her knees. Almost inaudibly, she told Garret about the meeting that apparently was not important to him, but she sighed. “Franklin”, she whispered, closing her eyes and seeing Frankie, in her mind. “he watched as each father’s name was called, and the father met his son so he could pin his music ribbon on his chest. It was the Father/Son meeting, if you even recall or care, even now, but way too late”. she huffed. “His eyes darted feverishly looking for your face to appear. As he sat in that front row his eyes would meet mine, beseeching me, where’s dad?”, he seemed to say. Her tears flowed freely, her hushed tones recalled the pain she felt as she saw the pain and expectation on Frankie’s eager but confused face. “He was crestfallen. His eyes would dart around the room again and again, his eagerness waning.”, she raised her blouse to her face to wipe the tears from her face. “I could scream how loathsome you are”! But that would make me the bad guy”. she sighed in defeat. “Do you realize you are his hero, his best friend, he looks up to you with shining pride”. she glanced over to Garret to see if anything she had said affected him at all. “Why can’t you make him your priority”?. “Seven years, he has waited for you to make him your best buddy, but each time you disappoint him. After the divorce, he looks at your picture on his cell phone eagerly wanting to call, or hoping you would call him. He needs you. As sorry as I am to say that, God, if I could change anything about this mess we are in, is Frankie’s disappointments and silent tears, all due to your inability to make him the most important relationship. I can’t give him you, only you can do that”. she said in resignation.

“So, I am not dad of the year”, he said with some emotion. “Is that what you want me to say”? Garret proceeded. He was pissed at her for making him feel guilty or because he was mentally kicking himself. “There’s nothing I can do or say, now”. he voiced into the air. “I know I am not the Father I—-we envisioned. Hell I am turning out more like my old man. Worse, I swore I would never go there with my kids”. He shook his head back and forth trying to throw an ugly image from his mind. He got up from the table bench, walked away, then turned and kicked an invisible object on the ground. He abruptly sat beside her. “Frankie is important to me and I love him. Hell, I feel worse than this dirt we are sitting on. “How did I become my old man”? he spoke in a vague questioning voice. He put his head down into his large palms pushing his light brown hair from his face, his tears were salty tasting, as he let a tear fall upon his lips. “I know I really screwed up”. he glanced at her, face flushed and fused with emotion, as rivlet of tears wetted his cheeks. “I know I’ve disappointed him on too many occasions. But Father/Son music award meeting. I know I really screwed up”. Garret glanced at her pleading for her to look at him without disgust. “I remember all too well how I felt, every time my old man said—NO. The times he promised the world to me, but all I did was wait and wait, time after time, day after day. Until one final day I realized he would never keep any promise. A very sad and disillusioned time that was. I spent too many years forgiving him, with hope still burning in my soul”.

She felt his remorse, his anguish and his releasing of the past.
He said, “he’s gone. He’s never coming back into my life, into my heart and never again will I let him come into our son’s life through my endeavor to cling to a ghostly and hopeful past that never came to life”. He turned to Tonya, he held her hand in his, his eyes pleading to give him another chance to be a better father to their son and possibly a better man that Tonya would once again begin to love.

“Frankie needs you as YOU as his Father—-not the father, your father was to you”. She stood, her hand falling away from his. She looked down at him sitting there listening to his almost silent weeping. He shook his head up and down.

“Yes, I’ll be Frankie’s father, not the disappointing father that raised me. I will not pass that message of hurt and anger and the lost feeling of never getting what had been promised…but a Father that keeps his promises and his word. I’ll learn to be someone I have never had portrayed to me. I can do this”. Garret glanced up at Tonya.

“It’s time to be a man to your son, instead of a ghost of your father. “Your son needs you more than me, right now. He knows I’m here for him all the time. You will have to build trust with him and keep your promises, do not let him regret that he will be putting his heart on a platter for you to carry and take care of”. She touched Garret’s fine hair, falling slightly over his left eyebrow and gently brushed it away, gave him a slight pleading smile, then walked away.

“Yes, I can be a man and a real father to my son”, he thought, getting up, dusting the dirt from his trousers and putting a smile on his face. A real smile. It reached down deep into him. It felt good and he wanted his son to feel that same feeling too. He grabbed his cell phone from his pocket, stared at it, waiting, for what he didn’t really know, then realized HE had to make the first move, he was the adult, the father, the screwup, but hoping a slight chance might be a beginning to a new relationship.
“Frankie?” Garrett said. “I’m calling to apologize for not getting to your music award ceremony. Will you give me another chance? Can we begin again and become buddies?” Garret heard Frankie’s intake of air.

“Wow, dad, yeah, what can we do? Something cool? Play ball? Go to the park? Can I bring Rusty with us? He is my friend next door. He knows you. I want you to meet, he’s a good guy too.”

Garret listened in amazement at this child, his son, his excitement, his forgiveness without Garret even really saying, I’m sorry. He felt a huge tug at his heart and knew then that he would be his Father that kept promises, to love him, to be with him just so he himself could always hear that excitement in Frankie’s voice. So Frankie would never have to experience the type of disappointment that Garret had suffered at the pretentiousness of his old man.
The cell phone had gone dead and the event of the moment sunk in, two forty five, he thought, no time like the present.

He called Frankie back, “Will you or do want to, grab a pizza and go to the game room close to the restaurant,

“Wow, yes, dad that’s great.”

“And, your friend Rusty, see if he would like to come too.” Garret heard Frankie in the background as he yelled ALRIGHT!
Garret sauntered to his car, lost in thought, smiled and opened the car door. As he sat down he felt a weight drop from his shoulders that he wasn’t even aware was there. My son—MY SON. Garret put the car in reverse, backed out slowly as the awesomeness of the moment washed over him once again.
He would pick up a glove and ball on his way home, he thought, yeah, that would be nice.

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Birthday wish

“Whoa, now that’s what I’m talkin’ about.” Frankie says, watching the waitress deposit their orders on the table.

The waitress asks if she can “Get you boys anything else?” and left with an order to top up Frankie’s coffee and another glass of o-j for Irwin.

“Thanks for this.” Frankie said and dipped the corner of his toast into one of the sunny-side-ups and tore into it with his teeth.

“Glad to do it,” Irwin said. “Not every day your buddy turns twenty-five.” He salt and peppered his scrambled eggs, forked up a clump and started eating.

“Yeah, about that.“ Frankie said. “I know all about the surprise party Janice is throwing for me tonight.”

Irwin stopped chewing, stared wide-eyed across the table and became pale.

“Doesn’t take a genius to figure it out you know.” Frankie continued. “Kinda strange that my girlfriend had other plans besides spending the day with me on my birthday huh? Besides, I overheard her talking to you on the phone the other day.”

“Sorry Frankie, supposed to be a surprise, so you heard everything huh?”

“Yup, you betcha.” He said – still with a little bit of food in his mouth. “I have to ask though, I know the plan was to take me out golfing today but you think we could do something a little more…exciting? It’s a milestone birthday after all…right?

“Uh, yeah sure.“ Irwin’s brow furrowed. He thought golf was a solid plan but now is frantically recalculating for a plan ‘B’. “What are you up for, go-karting or something?”

“C’mon Irwin, what am I twelve? Something more ballsy than that. I want to do something I’ll remember the rest of my life. What do you say, you up for something adventurous? C’mon man, I need you to commit to making this the best birthday of my life?”

“Yeah, I guess I can do that.”

Hahagreat. Irwin ol’ pal, you and me are going skydiving.

“Wha…” some spittle teased his airway so he cleared his throat several times.

“I knew you’d say ‘yes’,” Frankie said, “so three days ago I booked our time slot. First we got to take some sort of safety orientation thing, but after that we’re heading skyward to take our first jump, baby.” Frankie raised his fork slowly while making an airplane noise with his mouth and once it was above head level he used his other hand like a little person had jumped out.

“S-sounds exciting. So this is happening to-day?” Irwin shuffled some food around on his plate without picking it up.

“You betcha.” Frankie stabbed a sausage, bit off a sizable portion and continued speaking in between chews. ”Heading…out there…right after… breakfast.”

Silence fell between them for a moment as Frankie focussed on shovelling more food in his mouth. Irwin was less enthusiastic about the contents of his plate, which suddenly had the appeal of dry sand.

The waitress returned with Irwin’s orange juice and begins topping up Frankie’s coffee. “How’s the food?”

“Everything’s good, thanks.” Frankie said and suddenly had an idea. “Say listen, uh…” he looked for a name tag, “Betty – have you ever been skydiving?”

“Skydiving? Me? No way!” She responded, but much too quickly. Then decided to soften her response by adding: “Had a boyfriend once though that liked that kinda risky stuff; not for me though. Why’d you ask?”

“Well me and Irwin here decided to celebrate my twenty-fifth birthday by going parachutin’. Thought that if you’d gone up yourself you might’ve had advice for a couple of newbies.”

“Oh well happy birthday then. So you’re gonna celebrate by jumping out of a perfectly good plane huh? Takes all kinds I suppose. Hope I don’t hear about you on the news tonight. Can I get you boys anything else?”

They both responded in the negative and resumed eating once Betty left to serve another table.

Frankie noticed his friend wasn’t looking up from his plate. And when he lifted food to his mouth, his hand trembled slightly like the fork had a significant amount of weight to it. Irwin was on autopilot, eating ever slowly while locked in a daydream that sucked the colour from his face.

The booth across the way stole Frankie’s attention; the nails-to-chalkboard voice of a twenty-something brunette telling the older woman across from her about being left on hold for a ghastly amount of time while making a doctor’s appointment. Further back and closer to the kitchen entrance, a gaggle of smartly dressed men hooted and guffawed at a very animated crew-cut guy telling a story but from this distance he sounded like Charlie Brown’s parents.

“So what are you going to tell Janice?” with a forcedly controlled voice, Irwin instigated a break in the coagulating silence. “Don’t think she’ll be too happy once she finds out.”

“Oh, Janice just needs to lighten up.” Frankie said, his eyes darting left and right as they often did when he was about to dish out his own brand of sarcasm. “Besides, I’ll just tell her it was your idea.”

A smile stole over Irwin’s face and he bit into some bacon.

Frankie chuckled and at that moment, he knew Irwin was going to muster up the courage to jump from a plane with his twenty-five year old friend.

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Lesson 5 – Flipped House / Haunted House

“Kelly, I read that they have that flipped house for sale now.  It’s finally been fixed up and renovated,” said Jim.  “Looks like we’ll finally be able to afford a home.”

“That sounds great.  It’s a flipped house?” asked Kelly.

“Yes, that’s right,” said Jim.  “Is there a problem?  It is a cheaper mortgage when you buy flipped houses.”

“Where did you see the ad?” asked Kelly.

“In the newspaper,” replied Jim.

“Could I see it?” asked Kelly.

Jim went and retrieved the paper from a stack he had on the coffee table and gave it to Kelly.

Kelly took the paper and looked at the article and then went and sat at her computer to look up more information about the house on the internet.  “Look here, Jim.  It says this house had been in a fire that was really a cover for a murder.”

Jim then peered over Kelly to have a look at what she was seeing on the computer.  “Yeah, so,” replied Jim.

“So?” said Kelly.  “There was a murder.”

“Are you afraid of ghosts?” asked Jim.

“Of course not,” said Kelly.  “But it’s creepy.”

“There is a rent to buy option,” said Jim.  “I’m going down to the mortgage lender tomorrow.”

“Oh?” said Kelly.

That afternoon Jim returned home with the papers he signed for his new house.

“We’re moving in to the new house in thirty days.” said Jim.

“Oh, I see,” said Kelly.  Kelly then left the apartment, got in her car and went to the new house that Jim signed the preliminary papers for.   She came upon the neighborhood and house.  She got out of the car and stood on the sidewalk in front of the house.  A neighbor, a woman walked by.  “Are you thinking of buying that house?” asked the neighbor.

“Yes, I believe my husband already did,” replied Kelly.

“Did you know that the house is haunted?” said the neighbor.  “When the house burned down a woman was killed in there.  They say she comes out at night in there as a ghost.”

“Oh,” said Kelly.  “Thanks for the information.”  Kelly was hesitant about the whole idea of buying this house but she got curious instead.  After she thanked the neighbor she walked through the gate and into the yard of her new home and walked up to the front door and went in.  She walked into the living room.  She surveyed the kitchen.  Then she walked upstairs into a bedroom.  When she walked into the bedroom she was shook with terror.  KELLY was written on the bedroom wall in blood.  “Oh, my God!” Kelly screamed.  She raced back down the stairs and through the front door so fast she forgot to lock the door.  Kelly got into her car, revved up the engine and raced home to her apartment.

Kelly walked through the door of her apartment. “Jim, there are ghosts in that new house you bought!”

“What?” exclaimed Jim.

“There are ghosts in the house,” replied Kelly.  “I went over there and walked upstairs.  My name was painted in blood on the wall in the bedroom.”

“Nonsense,” said Jim.  “It was probably some prank played by someone.”

“A neighbor there told me the house was haunted,” said Kelly.  “That a ghost of a woman who died in the fire comes out at night.”

“Oh, really?” said Jim.

Thirty days later, in spite of the resistance Kelly and Jim settled into their new home.  Kelly and Jim sat on the sofa in the living room in front of a fireplace.  The logs were crackling from the flames burning.  Kelly and Jim were drinking Margaritas and resting after all the hard work of moving in to their new home.

“I’m getting sleepy,” said Kelly.  “It’s midnight.”

“Yes, lets go to bed now,” replied Jim.

They both left their Margarita glasses on the coffee table in front of them by the coach deciding to deal with the dishes in the morning.  They were exhausted from the move.

They walked upstairs together and entered the bedroom.  They got dressed into their bed clothes and snuggled together into the bed.  They both went sound asleep.  The clock struck one o’clock a.m.  There was a breeze that rattled the bedroom window.  Kelly woke up.  The window blew open and Kelly got up to shut it.  Kelly closed the window and climbed back into the bed.  It woke up Jim.

“What’s going on?” asked Jim.

“The window came open with the wind,” said Kelly.

The window started to rattle again against the wind but did not open.  The door to the bedroom started to rattle.  Something was trying to turn the door knob but couldn’t get in.

“What’s going on?” asked Kelly.

“That’s a pretty rough wind storm,” said Jim.

Then a woman’s voice came through the cracks in the wall.

“Help me,” said the voice.

“Did you hear that?” asked Kelly.

“Oh, it was probably the wind again,” said Jim.

“Help me,” said the voice again.  Then a ghost of the woman appeared in the middle of the bedroom.

“Do you see her?” asked Kelly.

“See what?” asked Jim.  He had his head halfway under his pillow and blanket.

“A ghost,” exclaimed Kelly.

“Are you sure you’re not seeing things?” asked Jim.  “My!  We only had one Margarita before going to bed.”

“Oh, come on, Jim,” said Kelly.  “Look.  Take the covers off your head.  She’s standing there beckoning us.”

Jim pushed back his pillow and rolled back his blanket and sat straight up and looked straight ahead toward the center of the room.  “It’s a ghost,” he said.

“My God,” said Kelly.  “A ghost!  We’re going to die!  Oh, Jim we’ve got to get out of here.”

“Not so soon,” said Jim.  “Maybe, we did have too much to drink but I’ll get the pepper spray.”

Jim got up out of the bed and reached into a dresser drawer and pulled out a can of pepper spray.  He moved toward the ghost.

“Be careful, Jim,” exclaimed Kelly.

Jim sprayed the pepper spray but the ghost only came forward with her arms spread out and said, “Help me.”  Needless to say but the spray went right through the ghost.  Instead of hurting the ghost Jim and Kelly started to choke on the fumes.

“We’ve got to get out of here,” said Kelly.  Still choking on the pepper spray, she ran for the door and tried to open it.  She yanked on the door several times but it wouldn’t open.  “The door won’t open,” she said.

“Oh, just go back to sleep,” said Jim.  “The ghost can’t hurt us.”

“Go back to sleep?” asked Kelly.  “The ghost is going to kill us.”

“It’s just a hallucination,” said Jim.  “There are no ghosts.”

“We can’t get out,” said Kelly.  “Make it go away.  Please, Jim.  I’m scared.”

Jim then thinking of the Middle Ages because what else is there to do, he pulled out a cross from his night table drawer and held it upright in front of him, walked toward the ghost with it and she then disappeared.  “What do you know,” said Jim.  “It worked.”

“Thank God,” said Kelly.  “The ghost went away but we’ve got to get out of here.  We can’t buy this house, Jim.”

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pre-Med MD 6


Sam returned home from his second year of pre-Med. Home was a palatial mansion on several acres of well-groomed gardens that befitted his parent’s status in the community.  His dad was a successful and respected doctor in town.  While his mother was a medical researcher at the nearby pharmaceutical laboratory.  For as long as he could remember, as the only child, he was on a path to become a doctor just like his father.  That was about to change.

After dinner, the family sat down in the living room. Bob, his dad, asked, “Would anyone care for a drink?”

Sam had a Scotch neat like his dad, while his mother Martha opted for a white wine. Bob asked, “Sam, how is your pre-Med going?”

“Well, I have something to tell you both. I am dropping out of the pre-Med program.”

“What!” they exclaimed in unison, “How can you do that to us?”

“Last time I checked my education and career was about me.” Why is everything about them? he thought.

“Are your marks down? We can get you a tutor,” suggested Martha.

“It is not a question of marks I am in the top ten percent of the class.”

“Is it a girl?” asked his dad, “You’re too young to be serious about matters of the heart.”

“It is not a girl.”

“Well,” echoed both of his parents, “What is it?”

“I don’t want the power and prestige of a doctor. I just want to help people.”

“Just how do you plan on doing that?” asked Bob.

“I am going to become a nurse where I can spend quality time with my patients. Not writing prescriptions but using the human touch to heal.”

“Poppycock, you’re too smart to be a nurse. You would be wasting your God-given talents.  You’ll be poor for the rest of your life,” replied Bob.

“If doctoring is not for you, why not use your talents for medical research? A single breakthrough can save many lives,” interjected his mother.

“You don’t get me, I am not interested in money and working for big Pharma. Miracle drugs can only be afforded by the rich.”

“Are you saying that you reject our professions and the life we have built for you?” asked Bob.

“No, I am saying I want to find my own path in life. Right now that looks like a career in nursing.  Can’t you be happy for me?” These people just don’t get it, I have no desire to mimic their lives, thought Sam.

“NO, I can’t be happy watching you throw your life away after all we have given you. Please excuse yourself from this house and find other accommodations for the summer.  No son of mine should be a mere nurse.”

“Please stop by for a visit when you have a chance. We would love to see you,” said Martha.

Sam was stunned, he knew his parents would not be happy but this was going overboard he thought. He went up to “his room” and grabbed the suitcase and pack he had brought home from school.  I guess I am truly on my own now.

He walked by his parents, suitcase in hand, they were on their third drink by now, and smiled. He would prove them wrong.  He would be the best nurse ever.

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over a cup of coffee.

Elizabeth was a creature of habit, every morning at 6 a clock sharp she ran four miles then would stop at her neighborhood Starbucks her favorite chocolate mocha. but this particular morning start out with a rain storm; so she opted out for the coffee, no need for the day to be a total bust. While she ordered her coffee she noticed a strange young man eyeing her from his table, and instead of bringing any unwanted attention to herself she pulled out her phone and pretended to text someone. out of the corner of her eye she noticed the young man began to approach her; not today she thought just not in the mood before she knew it he was standing before her.  Hello,  I couldn’t help but notice you from my table. my name is William do you come here often. Elizabeth looked at him as if he spoke a foreign language. He wasn’t attractive at all ,which made the situation even more akward and of course she would never consider being rude. Hello she said, and yes I come here for my daily fix while pointing to her cup of steamy joe, its close to work she said while making her way to the door. yeah its close to my place as well, said William so is there anyway I can convince you to maybe meet me here tomorrow morning. share a cup of coffee with a beautiful young lady it would be the perfect start of my day. well that sounds very tempting, as she was thinking I wish I was any where but here right now and now I have to find a new coffee shop, damn. thank you, William is it? yes he said with way too much excitement. I would but I am in a realationship I am sorry NOT; she thought, as she looked at her watch well I best be going don’t want to be late, but it was nice meeting you William. you as well he said, yeah I should be going as well tell your guy he’s very lucky, she gave him a nice farewell smile and said I will thank you, nice to have met you she said while leaving the shop. You as well he said feeling a little embarrassed, you as well.

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Lesson 4 tags&beats- The Cross and the Tree

The sky was a canvas of violet and gold, as the sun prepared to set.

“It’s a different shade every day. So beautiful, don’t you think?” asked the Cross to the Tree.

The Tree swayed in silence, looking up.

It was a first, this conversation between the Tree and the Cross which stood upon the church top. The Cross that had stood lonely for so long, that it thought it a good idea to make a new friend, and had invited the Tree for a twilight chat.

The Tree was a young cherry tree, who had reached the height of the Cross, but a few weeks ago.

“So for how long have you been here?” said the Tree ignoring the Cross’ question.

“600 years,” answered the Cross, “I have stood here through three wars, and seven generations of kings. Giving people hope and shelter.”

The sky was turning a dark indigo as the rays of the sun bid adieu.

The Tree looked around impatiently. “Where are the Owls?” wondered the Tree. They were fun and full of wit.

“What do you dream of?” The Cross said interrupting the thoughts of the Tree.

“I don’t know,” replied the Tree with irritation in its tone, “maybe to reach for the skies, and not stay in the same place for 600 years.”

“Ah!” nodded the Cross with a smile. “Do remember me when you reach those heights. For I will stay right here, for those who need me near.”

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Lesson 4 – Tags and Beats – Blind Date

Jill and John were seated at a restaurant.  The waitress arrived and brought the menus and placed them on the table in from of them.  They looked them over for a few minutes.  Then the waitress came back.

“I’d like the grilled chicken platter and a ginger ale,” said Jill.

“I’d like the spaghetti dinner and a coke,” said John.

The waitress wrote down the orders on her note pad and took the menus away off the table.

John’s eyes were surveying the restaurant and people.  He looked up and down and all around looking at people passing by.  He was in his own world.

“Well, what is on your mind?” asked Jill.

“Oh, nothing” replied John.

He began to space out again.  His eyes were wandering around the room looking at the walls and at people.

“How long have you lived in this area?” asked Jill.

“About twenty years,” replied John.

That’s odd, thought Jill.  He must be a lonesome type.  He doesn’t really talk.  Maybe, he can’t.  He’s been here for twenty years.  It’s not like he doesn’t know people.  He’s withdrawn.  This is what the she figured.  Her best friend wanted to pair her up with this man maybe trying to do him a favor.  Maybe, to help him break out of his shell and/or just to fix him up with a date.

He stopped surveying the room with his eyes then he just stopped and stared at Jill.

“Well, what have you been up to?” asked Jill trying to make conversation with him.

This time John didn’t answer.  He just sat there like a statue and stared at Jill.

Then Jill blurts out, “Do I have to do all the talking?  Are you alive in there?”  She pointed to her head.

The waitress arrived with the drinks and put them down on the table.  John began to drink some of his down.  Jill drank some of hers.

John put his drink down and sat there and stared at Jill.  He didn’t say a word.

“You know,” said Jill.  “I’d have better company if I brought my dog to dinner.  He doesn’t talk either.  He only likes to be pat and scratched behind the ears.”

John stuck out his tongue and panted.

“You’re incredible!” said Jill.  “Did you forget to take your meds or something this morning?”

John put this funny expression on his face, crossed his eyes and rolled his head from side to side and stuck his tongue out.  Then he reverted back to his vacant stare like a dog who can’t talk like nothing happened.

I believe that is all this man can do is sit there and stare and space out, thought Jill.

The waitress then arrived bringing the dishes that John and Jill had ordered.  John dove into his food and stuffed his gills like he was a wolf out in the prairies.

“It’s good food, isn’t it?” said Jill.

John replied with his mouth still full, “It’s good, good.”

Jill continued to watch him stuff his face so full he barely had time to swallow it.  She sat there perplexed for a few minutes looking at John.  Then she said, “I had a hamster once that looked just like you with his pouches so full after he ate his daily diet of sunflower seeds.”

She picked up her knife and fork again and slowly cut off a piece of chicken and put it in her mouth and chewed looking straight at John.

John swallowed his food, put his fork down, raised his two hands in front of his chest with his two arms bent like a begging rodent, took some air in his mouth which puffed out his face, he squinted his eyes and squeaked like a mouse.

Jill sat there looking at John.  Her mouth dropped in bewilderment.  A piece of food dropped back in her plate from her mouth because it was opened in disbelief at the spectacle before her.

“Do you think you are cute?” asked Jill.  “First you are a dog then you are a hamster.  They both don’t talk.  So, I guess that concludes for me that you don’t talk.  You can’t.”

Then John grew stoic and stared at Jill just like in the beginning before dinner was served.

“Did I just remove the gumption from you to sit there and eat your food?” asked Jill.

Then John started to wolf down his food again.

“You are a little puppet on a string,” said Jill.  “You do whatever I insinuate.”

“No, I don’t,” replied John.

“Yes, you do,” retorted Jill.  “You’ve been doing it all evening.”

“No, I don’t.”

“Yes, you do.”

“No, I don’t.”

“Yes, you do.”

The waitress returned to Jill and John’s table.  “Is everything all right?”

“It’s just fine,” replied Jill.

“It’s fine,” John also replied.

The waitress then walked away.

“My, he talks!” exclaimed Jill.

“Woof, woof,” said John.

“Oh, cute,” said Jill.  “Are you going to do this all evening?  What do you like to do?  What kind of work do you do?  What movies do you like?  What did you think of this past presidential election?  What church do you go to?  What hobbies do you have?  How’s your health?  Do you have brothers and sisters?  How are they?  Do you have friends?  Do you like animals?  How’s your love life?  Do you have one?  Do you like to read?  Do you like to write?  What did you do yesterday?  Do you remember?  What turns you on?  What is your level of education?  Where did you go to school?  What do you do with your free time?  Are you employed?  What are your dreams in your future?  Do you have any dreams?  In other words what are your goals in life?  Do you have a life?  I mean really.  I’ve posed several questions for you to strike up a conversation with me.  Are you really that shy?  Come on.  Say something besides, woof, woof, squeak, squeak and oink, oink.”

“Oink, oink,” replied John.  “That’s a new one for me tonight.”

“Hey, I didn’t tell you to say that,” said Jill.

“Yes, you did,” said John.

“No, I didn’t,” said Jill.

“Yes, you did.”

“No, I didn’t.”

“Enough,” said Jill.  “Waitress, I want the check now!”

“Oh, no,” said John.  “I was just kidding”

“I don’t think you are kidding,” said Jill.  “You’re hopeless.  And I wish you well in breaking out of that.”  And on that note Jill took the check, paid for her meal only and left the restaurant.

The pitiful little John just sat there and stared into space on his own little cloud like nothing had happened after Jill left the restaurant.

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The Haunting MD 5

The Haunting

Bob arrived home promptly at 5:30 pm as usual from his job as produce stocker at the nearby grocery chain. It pays the bills but is quite boring, so Bob often looked for other challenges in his life.  Sally, his wife, was more the shy stay-at-home type.  This was about to change.

“Sally,” Bob yelled out. “I got something important to tell you!”

Sally hurried to the living room to see Bob flushed and beaming. “What is it dear?” she asked.

“Count Chocolo Cereal is sponsoring a contest. If you spend one night in a haunted house, you win $10,000.”

“Oh, isn’t that nice.”

“I think we can win the contest.”

And just where is this house?” Sally asks, being distracted by the kids playing in the street outside.

“It’s in Montreal. People were actually beheaded in the house.  The one bedroom has had no occupants for over 200 years.  No one lasts the night they say”

“That’s appealing. How would we get there?”  Sally responded, hoping the kids didn’t kick the ball to her beautiful flower patch that she lovingly tends.

“That’s the beauty of it. If selected they would fly us out there and put us in a nice hotel with a final last meal prior to the haunted night.”

“Lovely,” Sally rolled her eyes. “What’s the catch?”

“No catch really,” Bob replied defensively. “They do require advertising rights and some TV appearances by us.”

“Oh, Bob, you know how shy I am,” as dread covered Sally’s face.

“Just think if we win, we could use half to go on a cruise and the other half to finance your home-based advertising business. The contest publicity wouldn’t hurt your business either.”

“Well, I can see you are really excited about this. Why don’t you submit an application?”  Sally continued to look out at the kids as a distraction.

“I knew you would see it my way. I already submitted an application early last week,” Bob gushed at Sally.  “We have been selected as one of the final six contestants.  Boy, this is going to be fun.”

“Fun?” Sally whispered.

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Lesson 4

( Sara is waiting at a restaurant  and every once in a while staring out of the window. She sees Jamil walk to the entrance of the restaurant )

Jamil: So you have been waiting? Sorry about that. (Pulling back the chair with a screech )
Sara: ( places her hands to her ears) Please don’t — Please!!
Jamil: ( nonchalantly) What will I NOT do, please? ( still Standing)
Sara: Do sit down. Nothing . It’s just that I cannot bear this kind of sound. The screech of the fork on a plate, and this screech of the chair.
Jamil: (sits down looks this way and that )
Sara ( hold his hand) I can’t believe that finally, we are here. It is our first date. We have been talking for the longest time.
Jamil: (Flipping through the menu) What will you have?
Sara: Let’s order the starter first ( she looks into the menu) while we decide on the main dish and dessert. How about calamari for a starter?
Jamil: For me just plain water.

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Lesson Four Homework

“Hey, Emily!” Jordan snatched up and shook her hand with fervor. “How are you?”

Flexing her hand surreptitiously after Jordan released it, Emily called up her most convincing smile and replied, “I’m—I’mfine, thank you. And you?”

Jordan, about to sit down, exclaimed, “I’m great; thanks for asking!” With a start, he jerked his head up and stood again, rushing around the table to pull out a chair. “Please sit!”

Emilia sat. “So, Jordan…” She opened and closed her mouth a few times, grasping for conversation starters. “Um, you have a cat, right?”

“Oh, yes! I’ve had Jack for years, and he hasn’t quite been holding up that well lately.” With that, Jordan launched into a comprehensive explanation of his cat’s health problems.

Fortunately for Emilia’s state of mind, a waitress stopped by their table to deliver menus and take their drink orders, forcing Jordan to halt his never-ending stream of dialogue. When the waitress left, Jordan turned back to Emilia and took a breath. Before he could begin again, Emilia interrupted him.

“Well,” she said, “I suppose that’s all very unfortunate for Jake.”


“Right,” Emilia said, “Jack.”

There was a pause.

“Here you go, darlings!” Emilia looked up to see the waitress setting their drinks down onto the tablecloth.

“Thanks.” Emilia swallowed. “So, like I was saying, all those health issues are very quite unfortunate for Jake—um, Jack.” Just then, the Duck Song began playing from the depths of her purse. Perfect timing, Laila. Emilia quickly pulled out her phone and answered the call. “Sorry, I’ve got to take this.”

Hurrying into the bathroom and leaning against the sink counter, she pressed the phone to her ear. “Laila, you’re a lifesaver! You called at just the right time.”

A laugh sounded from the other end. “I’m guessing this Jordan guy isn’t the greatest date material?”


“Are you ditching?”

“That’s one of your better ideas. I’ll head over in just a few.”



Emilia stuffed her phone into her pocket and headed out. Trying to look like she was in a hurry, she grabbed her purse from where it was hanging on the chair and slipped her jacket over her shoulders. “I’m so sorry,” she lied, “but I really have to go. Maybe another time? I hope Jake gets better. Bye!”

She slapped a few dollars onto the table to pay for her untouched lemonade and dashed out the door.

Jordan stared, stunned at her retreating figure. “It’s Jack…” he mumbled.


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