Tag Archives: Virginia authors

Monday Morning At The Springtime Cafe (short story / flash fiction)

It’s Monday morning and I’m sitting at the Springtime Cafe once again, watching all the A.M. people get a kick start to their day. Coffee, danishes, breakfast, conversation, whatever one needs to begin is right here. There’s even a duo set up with their acoustic guitars in the corner playing a cute little Ingrid Michaelson song. Several waitresses move about, taking orders and offering their own voices to the conversations at the various tables and booths. This morning I spot two of them right away.

Mags, or Maggie for long, is a middle aged lady, perhaps 40 or so, but she moves through the place like she’s twenty-five. She has blond hair, from which I can spot a few grays, though I never try to look that close. She gets picked on about that enough by some of the regular guys who come in and perch at one of her tables while awaiting their carpool. Of course she usually just shoots them down with a look from her steely, gray eyes. If that doesn’t work she has a tone to her voice that might remind you of your mom telling you a whipping is coming. For this reason alone, I can’t help but like her.

The other waitress is just as likable, a little more bubbly perhaps, because of her age. If I had to guess she’s about 30, maybe a few years younger. If Mags acts and moves around like a younger woman, then her co-worker flies around the room like a college girl late for class. Her name is May, and perhaps her parents should have been scolded for naming their child Maybelline, but she too made the best of the jokes and cajoling from the guys who frequented the cafe, some of them drawn indoors by the sight of her alone.

I speak from experience here. I myself was just tooling down the street on the way to a cubicle job I hated when I looked over and saw the brunette waitress through the window of the cafe. Her hair was long then, falling over her shoulders and slightly down her back. From the street, I saw her smile at a customer, and from that day I knew I would want her smile to be at the start of my morning for the rest of my life. Perhaps that’s an exaggeration, but as if on cue she arrives at my table, while I sit here like a dumbfounded idiot watching her approach and jotting it down. If I drew instead of writing about her, she may take more notice, but as it is I’m just another guy, maybe a teacher at the local college, working on a thesis or grading papers while waiting for his coffee.

“Still at it,” she asks, as she steps up to the table, the soles of her white shoes tapping lightly as if a near perfect dance routine had come to a temporary stop.

“Yeah,” I sigh with a smile and fall in love again for the tenth time this morning.

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NaNoWriMo Day 15 update

Wow, the month sure does fly by when you’re broke, lol…okay so for today’s update, we are halfway through the month, and while some writers are already at the 25k mark I am struggling to reach 9k. Still, I feel like I’m being productive, if in short spurts. I almost feel like I’m writing flash Fiction, and I guess that’s correct in a sense because I’m not sure exactly where I’m going. In my story, or would be novel, I have introduced a whole host of characters in 8k words. Now I have to figure out what to do with them. Not an easy task when you can only write a few sentences at a time.

I am having fun with this however. Switching up my normal point of view has opened me up to all kinds of possibilities, though I’m not sure its all that well written. I guess my normal readers and fellow writers will have to judge that when i get around to sharing this latest endeavor. I’m hoping to post the opening soon, so keep an eye out and please let me know what you think.

Okay, so I’m out of here, to try and go bounce a few more sentences off the wall and see how they settle on paper. I’m really hoping to bash out another 500 words tonight so wish me luck.

Until next time….

NaNoWriMo, here I come….

Uh oh, here we go with another attempt at National Novel Writing Month. Though I don’t believe i will be as successful as I was last year due to time constraints, but I’m not here to win. I’m here to write. I doubt I will be able to complete the 50k words that NaNoWriMo considers a win, but if I’m lucky I’d like to be able to do at least half that.

I am trying to challenge myself a little this year by writing in a point of view I am not totally comfortable with. Most of my books or long form stories are told in the first person, so I’m going to try and toss that out the window this year. Wish me luck.

My title this year is tentatively called “Perhaps, Mina.” If I had to classify it, I plan for it to be a paranormal romance, though I’m hoping it will have some other elements to it as well. We’ll have to see where the characters take me. The story will start off with one of the sentences from my recent “Seven Days Of Sentences,” but I’m not saying which one….yet. πŸ˜‰

Now something I won’t be able to do this time around is post what I write everyday. I will still let you know of my progress as much as I can, but I won’t be able to post the story as it’s written, as I did with last year’s entry “Time Of Our Death.” However, when the month is over, depending on how much I’ve actually accomplished, I will get to posting the story I hope. Still, because it has a vampire theme, I may wait until my other long form bloodsucking tale “vampire boys of summer” is complete and posted to avoid confusion between the two. Well just have to wait and see, I suppose.

Ok, so anyway, I hope you all will wish me luck this year, and if you are doing NaNoWriMo as well, feel free to let me know and I’ll try to help cheer you on as well. Have a great Halloween night and I’ll see you in November. πŸ™‚

Resurrection Diaries Entry 28: The Nephew

Resurrection Diaries: 10th Anniversary Edition Main Page

Entry 28: The Nephew: Friday August 5

I thought about Wednesday’s night dream all morning. It wasn’t really the images of the dead kittens floating in the pool that bothered me, but the question of who had done the drowning. Did Mischa’s mystery friend really do such a thing? And if so, did that automatically classify him as a murder suspect? And just who was he anyway? Tommy Blaine said he was the Pastor’s nephew, but even he couldn’t remember his name. But was Tommy even telling the truth? I find it hard to believe he would forget the name of the boy who may have been competing with him for Mischa’s affections. I really wanted to know who this guy was, and if he was any way responsible for the girl’s disappearance.

So after doing a little cleaning this morning at the church, I thought I’d check its library and see if I could find anything on the Pastor’s elusive nephew. I went through all the photo albums from the seventies I could find. I tried to keep it to seventy-five and seventy-six, where I had once located the picture of Mischa herself. There were a lot of pics of the Pastor by himself, and I glazed these over, not even paying attention, until I finally came across the nephew’s picture by accident.

I had flipped a page and the photo came loose from the paper, falling to the floor by my chair. I leaned over and picked it up. Looking upon the picture at first, it meant nothing to me, but as I was putting it back in its place on the page, I saw the writing in the empty spot it had come from: “Pastor Shiflett, wife, daughter, and nephew. Easter portrait 1975.”

In the picture, the preacher was smiling, as his wife held a newborn baby in her arms. Beside them, a gangly teenage boy with pimples grinned at the camera. The boy had kind eyes and was a good-looking kid. But who was he? What was his name? And then something struck me about the caption. Pastor Shiflett? Could that be right? I looked closely at the woman in the photo. She was standing in the picture, but sure enough, it was the wheelchair bound woman who had told me to never come back to visit her.

So that’s why she has been lying all this time. Her own nephew was connected to Mischa. I found myself wanting to get in the car and go back over there to confront her. Instead, I flipped through the photo album some more, hoping for something else. Within a dozen or so pages, I found it. A picture of a Sunday school picnic. The pastor stood smiling, his arm around his nephew: “Pastor Shiflett and nephew Eric.”

Bingo! His name was Eric, his uncle was the preacher at the time of Mischa’s disappearance, and his aunt was the Mrs. Shiflett I knew. Now all I needed to do was find him. I knew the only way of locating him was by going back and confronting Mrs. Shiflett again. I didn’t look forward to such a thing, after my last visit there, but it seemed to be my only option. Either that or forget it. But something told me that Mischa would find a way to not let me forget it. I have learned she is a very persistent girl.

I sat in the car outside the Shiflett home for ten minutes before I could work up the nerve to go up the porch and knock on the door. As one could imagine, when Shaedra opened the door she looked pretty surprised to see me.

“Mrs. Shiflett is not receiving visitors,” she said.

“You mean she’s not receiving me,” I mildly corrected her, remembering the outcome of our last visit.

“She’s not receiving visitors,” she stressed.

I stood there for a moment, the silence stretching between us, as if one were daring the other to say something else. “Tell her I need to ask her about her husband,” I finally said. “And her nephew.”

Shaedra seemed taken aback for just a moment, but she told me, “Wait here.” Then she closed the door and was gone.

I had to wait there a little while. I think they both did that on purpose, but finally the door opened again. Shaedra had a smirk on her face, as if she were privileged to a private joke, most likely concerning me. “Come on in,” she said, and led me to the parlor where her mistress waited in her wheel chair.

“So what is it now?” the old woman asked. “Come here to blame my husband or nephew for that girl running away?”

“No ma’m, I’m just wondering where they fit in.”

“Fit in? Well, that’s easy. One was her Pastor, the other her friend. And like everyone else that cared about her, she let them down.”

“You had told me your late husband had worked in the barbershop. Why didn’t you tell me he was the Preacher at Resurrection, too?”

“You didn’t ask,” she grinned. “And what would that have mattered anyway?”

“It would have helped fill in the picture a little.”

She leaned forward in her chair. “I’m afraid your picture is made of conjecture and opinion, not facts nor the truth.”

I ignored her snide comment. “What of your nephew?”

“What of him? He’s a nice boy. He’d been friends with Mischa. Then when she ran off, his school studies slipped and he didn’t handle her leaving every well.”

“Why not?”

“Because she was his only friend. He never fit in with the rest of the children. Being the new kid isn’t easy, and teenagers can be cruel to each other at that delicate age.”

“Why were they cruel to Eric?”

She looked hard at me. I think she knew I was fishing around, trying to get her to admit something to me. “I think you already know,” she said.

“Because of the kittens?”

She nodded. “Rumors can follow you all your days.”

“So it was just a rumor then,” I prodded. “He didn’t really drown a bunch of kittens in a kiddy pool back home?”

She looked disgusted. “What does it matter now if he did or not? That was before he came here and stayed with us. That was before Jesus came into his life. It was a child’s prank that went too far, nothing more.”

“So it did happen?”

I could see her temper trying to flare behind her eyes, but she held it in check and smiled. “Have you ever done anything you regret?” she asked. “Something you knew was wrong, but you did it anyway?”

“Yes, I suppose.”

“What happened with my nephew and the kittens was just like that. He felt bad about it, but he got over it and went on with his life.”

“And when Mischa disappeared?”

“He didn’t want to stay here anymore. We sent him back home.”

“Is there some way I can reach him, maybe talk to him? A phone number or an address?”

She looked at me incredulously, as if I had just asked her the dumbest question in the world. “Are you trying to bait me again?” she asked.

“No ma’m, I’d just like to talk to…”

She held up her hand. “Stop,” she said. “My nephew adored that girl, and she broke his heart along with everyone else’s. He has done his best to forget her and live an exemplary life. If she is dead, as you seem to think she is, then let the dead rest and the living live.”

There was a hard look in her eye as if her pent up anger would spill over any minute.

“Sometimes the dead can’t rest until the truth is known.”

That did it. Her face turned beet red. “And you know the truth! Mischa was a bad girl. She got pregnant, she ran away, and that was that.”

“She didn’t run away.”

“So YOU say.”

“I doubt she was pregnant either.”

“Whatever.”

“And I’m having a hard time believing she was a bad girl.”

“Well you didn’t know her, now did you,” she spat.

“No, not then. But I know her now.”

“As I said before, your picture is guesswork and your own opinion. But the truth is, she wasn’t the good little girl you have placed on your pedestal.”

“Why do you dislike her so much, Mrs. Shiflett?”

She hesitated for a moment, and then answered. “She broke our hearts.”

I reached into my pants pocket and pulled something out. It was a Kleenex. “Here’s a tissue,” I said and dropped it in her lap. “Sounds like you’re the one who needs to get over it and move on.”

I turned around and left. I kept expecting to hear words of rage aimed at my back on the way out, but it was silent. Even Shaedra was quiet as she followed me to the door. As I stepped out on the porch, I thought of something. I turned around and Shaedra was standing in the doorway, leaning against the doorjamb, one hand on her hip.

“You don’t know her nephew, do you?” I asked.

“Not very well,” she replied. “Over the years he has come to visit on occasion, but I don’t know much about him.”

I nodded and turned to go.

“…But I may remember more over a candlelight dinner,” she suggested.

I stopped and looked at her. She was smiling quite seductively.

“It’s amazing what candlelight can do,” I replied.

She continued to smile and raised an eyebrow.

“But most of all, it reminds me how much I miss my wife,” I said. Her smile vanished and I went down the walk.

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“Resurrection Diaries” by Paul D Aronson.

Original text copyright 2007.

10th Anniversary Edition 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Resurrection Diaries Entry 15: The Phone

Resurrection Diaries: 10th Anniversary Edition Main Page

Entry 15: The Phone: Monday July 25

Shaedra called this morning. Of course, I was at work when she called, so you can bet Donna asked me who she was when I got home. I told her it was Mrs. Shiflett’s assistant. Maybe it was her exotically sounding voice, but I could see suspicion cross Donna’s face. And then there was the cryptic message itself: “Call this number,” followed by a local seven-digit phone number. I explained to Donna it was the number of a guy who knows a detail of church history I’m interested in.

She nodded. “Why are you so interested in the history of that place?”

“I’m just curious, that’s all. ”

She nodded again, but I don’t think she believed me. For the first time in our relationship, I get the feeling she may think I’m fooling around on her.

This brief conversation occurred when I came home from lunch, so afterwards when I walked back to church, I took the phone number with me. I called it, but there was no answer. Eventually, an answering machine picked up, but there was no recorded greeting, only a hiss of air like that of gas escaping through a pipe. Weird. I just hung up without leaving a message.

I went ahead and did a little work and then I heard the phone ringing from the secretary’s office. I figured if no one were in there, the answering machine would pick up after a couple of rings, but it didn’t. It just kept on ringing, over and over again.

I looked out the sanctuary window, and saw the secretary’s car was in the lot. Why wasn’t she picking up the phone? It continued to ring.

I put everything down and went to the office. Mrs. Mabel was at her desk. The phone was ringing off the hook beside her, but she seemed to be ignoring it.

“You going to get that?” I asked.

She looked at me with a strange look on her face.

“The phone,” I said.

Strange looks turned to a dumfounded one. “It’s not ringing,” she replied. But it was. I could hear it.

I reached out and picked up the receiver. The ringing stopped. I put the phone to my ear as Mrs. Mabel watched me with bewildered concern. I didn’t say anything to the caller, I just listened. But there wasn’t anyone there. Just the escaping hiss of air, like when I called the number Shaedra had given me. I set the phone back down in its cradle.

“Something must be wrong with these phones,” I said.

“Are you okay?” she asked.

I nodded and backed out of the office. It was apparent she hadn’t heard the phone ringing. No one had. Just me. Why was that? Is this a new kind of message from Mischa or am I starting to hear things? And what exactly was I hearing? A gas leak? Air conditioning? The breeze on a beach? Air leaking out of a tire?

Just one more mystery adding to the many that seem to surround this place…

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“Resurrection Diaries” by Paul D Aronson.

Original Β text copyright 2007.

10th Anniversary Edition 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Resurrection Diaries Entry 14: The Watcher

Resurrection Diaries: 10th Anniversary Edition Main Page

Entry 14: The Watcher: Sunday July 24

We all went to church this morning, Matt, Susan, Donna, and myself. We sat in the back because we didn’t want to feel out of place, but wouldn’t you know it, Pastor Chiles pointed us out to the whole church, trying to embarrass the new custodian. He did a good job of it, too.

As I sat in the congregation though, I couldn’t quite concentrate on his sermon. I kept looking to the ceiling, half expecting to hear sounds of footsteps running across the floor above. But nothing like that happened.

The invitation hymn was “What A Friend We Have In Jesus”, and my thoughts were drawn to Mischa with the line “thou will find a solace there”. I wonder if she will ever find peace.

We had lunch in the cottage. Donna fixed her specialty, spaghetti. I thought I would eat until I popped. Afterwards, Matt and I sat out back.

“What’s in the woods?” he asked. “Any trails?”

“Yeah there’s a few.” I wondered whether to tell him about the old playground in there.

“Take a walk?”

“Sure. Why not?”

We walked through the woods and I didn’t have to wonder whether to tell him about the playground or not. We were there soon enough.

“Wow,” he exclaimed. “What’s this stuff doing way back here?”

“I don’t know. I just found it the other day.”

Matt walked up under the old twisted jungle gym. “Remember how we used to play on these things all the time?” He began to climb it. “We were a bunch of monkeys.”

Once at the top of the dome shaped bars, he looked up into the trees that hung low over it. “They must have had something up here.”

“Why?” I asked from my spot below.

“There’s rope marks on this branch. Deep ones, too. Kids probably swung from it. Bet that was fun.”

He scrambled back down to me. “Man, I’d love to be a kid again.”

I grinned. “Yep, I know what you mean.”

We both turned to walk back to the house. Suddenly, there was a rustling noise in the woods, as if something was running across fallen leaves. Out of the corner of my eyes, I saw a figure through the trees.

“Hey!” I yelled, but the person didn’t stop. He kept on running into the woods.

“Maybe we were playing on his monkey bars,” Matt joked.

“Yeah, maybe so,” I agreed, but I didn’t like the notion that someone had been watching us.

Matt and Susan left this evening. It sure has been nice having them over this weekend, but I’m anxious for the work week to start. The mystery of Mischa’s ghost beckons to me.

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“Resurrection Diaries” by Paul D Aronson.

Original text copyright 2007.

10th Anniversary Edition 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Resurrection Diaries Entry 13: Matt and Susan

Resurrection Diaries: 10th Anniversary Edition Main Page

Entry 13: Matt & Susan: Saturday July 23

Matt and Susan arrived this morning. It was great to see our friends again. We all went into town and had lunch, but we didn’t go to the diner, just in case the waitress that “warned” us was working.

Then Susan and Donna went shopping, while Matt and I went to the movies at the town’s only theater. Afterwards, we met up with the ladies and went back to our modest little cottage. We played a couple of board games. Donna and Susan are the most competitive Monopoly players I know.

In the evening, Matt and I sat on the porch. He asked me how I liked it here with the new job and all. I told him it was great. I really wanted to tell him about the ghost of Mischa Martin, but I didn’t think that would be a good idea. Matt and I are close, but I don’t want him questioning my sanity.

As we sat and talked, the dog sauntered around the corner and came up on the porch with us. He sat down by my feet.

“Did you get a new dog?” Matt asked.

“No, it’s just a stray that has become attached to us.”

He chuckled. “You know Donna’s mom is going to have a fit.”

I nodded with a little smirk. “Yep, I suppose she is.” Donna’s mother is allergic to dog’s fur. I’m going to have to find a way to keep him away from her, or I’ll never hear the end of it.

It was late when Matt and Susan left. They are going to stay at a nearby hotel and then meet us for church in the morning. It will be our first time attending services at Resurrection, but I figure since I work there, and I’m not going anywhere else, we might as well attend their worship.

Okay, so today there were no ghosts, and to be honest, I was so distracted by our visiting friends that I didn’t think of Mischa much, but something tells me if I forget her for long, she will remind me.

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“Resurrection Diaries” by Paul D Aronson.

Original text copyright 2007.

10th Anniversary Edition 2017. All Rights Reserved.