#My52 Writing Challenge 2019

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It’s a brand new year… are you ready for a new writing challenge?

In 2017, I participated in the 52-Week Writing Challenge (and was the randomly chosen winner) and in 2018, I did the #52weeks52stories Writing Challenge.

When I asked around about a writing challenge for 2019, none popped up, so I decided to go my own way, and you’re invited to join me!

If you’ve participated in any type of writing challenge, you’re already aware of what a useful writing tool they can be. If you’ve come to an impasse in your current WIP, stepping away for a moment to focus on something else can sort through the cobwebs, flick on the light, or move the forest so you can see the trees.

Parts of a current WIP can also be used in a writing challenge. The difficulty of character profiles, scenes, world building, and even book blurbs can disappear when task are tackled as flash fiction.

As the Queen of Many Wurdz and champion of the run-on sentence, I took part in challenges to focus on short stories.  I needed to focus on telling a complete story in as few words as possible. I’m partial to longer standalone books, but not everyone wants to read a 180K epic psychological family saga.

Okay, I lied. I don’t either.

So, after 70+ short stories, how am I doing? It’s an ongoing process. 🙂

What I enjoy most about writing challenges is the accountability. Someone is watching, keeping me honest, cheering me on during the good weeks, and talking me off the ledge during the bad ones. Writing is a solitary endeavor, but many times it helps to get out of your own head.

What are the rules for #My52? That’s the best part—there aren’t any.

  • Writing in any form counts. Haiku, Poetry, Drabble, Flash, short story… they’re all welcome.
  • Genres are also limitless. Suspense, Mystery, Romance, LGBT, Fantasy, Science Fiction, YA… it’s your choice.
  • The writing week is Monday through Friday with postings on Saturday and Sunday. (Posting earlier in the current week is acceptable too.)
  • Tweet a link to your post with the hashtag #My52 for retweets and likes

OR

  • Grab the banner at the top and link back to this page and I’ll feature your post during the challenge.

Don’t let the word challenge stress you. It’s not a contest and the challenge is only against yourself… to keep you writing-focused.

Life gets crazy and cluttered, so do not beat yourself up if you miss a week. Keep writing!

Word counts can be anywhere from a 17-syllable Haiku to a multi-week short story.

Have fun with it. Write outside your form or genre—I’m not a paranormal writer and I wrote paranormal stories last year and enjoyed doing it.

If you have questions, leave them in the comments or find me on Twitter – @MsFelicia, or Instagram – @fle_d.

Happy 2019… and happy writing!

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#My52 “Captive Heart”

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#My52 – Week 15

Word Prompt – sweat

Word Count – 1470

Reading Time – 5 mins, 4 secs

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Mark Kelly arrived at Colton Contracting’s latest job site at four in the morning hoping to complete the job and end his day by noon. Two other firms before them were fired for shoddy work and missing deadlines, but Mark knew he had the best, and most experienced team in the city. However, hearing his crew foreman unleash a litany of expletives while staring at blueprints, Mark knew his day took a turn for the worse.

“What’s up, Dale?”

The foreman removed his hard hat and gestured toward the blueprints, his arms flailing.

“It’s all wrong. This shit is all wrong. No wonder those other assholes got fired. How did they get hired in the first damn place?”

Despite the bad situation brewing, Mark rolled his lips inward and hung his head, holding in a chuckle. Raising his head, he tried again.

“What exactly is the problem, Dale?”

He threw his hands up in air quotes. “The problem is those morons put these systems in backward. Any current running through here will fry this son-of-a-bitch like my wife’s overcooked pork chops.”

Mark laughed out loud this time, but his guffaws were cut short when Dale walked over and threw back the lid of one of the housing boxes.

“At least one of those moron firms already knew this to be true.”

Clenching his fists in anger, Mark approached the junction box… or what was left of it.

The large generator was a mass of melted components and burned wires. It was an eighty-thousand-dollar piece of equipment and one of ten.

After dozens of calls to his boss, the site owner, the site manager, and exchanging more than a few curse words with both fired electrical contractors, Mark sat in his vehicle thirteen hours later, ready to rip someone’s head off.

And the freeway was a parking lot.

A broken air conditioner meant he had no choice but to roast inside his Tahoe, drenched in sweat.

Not wanting to touch his precious house fund, he’d saved money from two paychecks for repairs, then gave the money to Yvonne for culinary classes… her latest bright idea.

In the four years they’d been a couple, Yvonne had opened a yoga studio, taken florist classes, real estate classes, and tried her hand as an Instagram fashion stylist… all paid for by Mark.

The ventures all ended before classes were completed or websites built because Yvonne got bored and moved on to the next big thing.

Mark was unperturbed. He loved his girlfriend and would do anything to make her happy, regardless of costs.

He leaned over and dug left-over takeout napkins from the glove compartment and scrubbed them down his face and across his neck.

The digital display over the rear-view mirror read one-hundred-seven degrees. Twenty degrees higher than the temperature outside his SUV.

Traffic inched forward six-feet and stopped again.

Mark gripped the steering wheel in frustration.

All he wanted was to get home, shower, drink a beer, then fall into a coma in his bed and life was conspiring against him. He and his crew solved the bulk of the problem, but tomorrow would be a day of getting it all down on paper for the lawsuits sure to be filed.

His cellphone chimed and a quick glance showed Yvonne’s name on the display.

He always took her calls but at this moment, he wasn’t in the mood. He’d make it up to her later.

Yvonne Bellgoode was his dream girl, and he’d loved her since junior high school. Mark didn’t mind she never acknowledged his existence until he returned from college thirty pounds lighter and with an electrical engineering degree. He at last felt worthy of the brown-skinned beauty.

He’d spent five years trying to win her over, but it wasn’t until Carl Peete, Yvonne’s high school sweetheart, went to prison for drug distribution—and Mark received a promotion and significant salary increase from Colton Contracting—that he got his chance.

His cell sounded again with Yvonne’s name on the display and he ignored it… again.

Honking car horns brought his attention back to the road, and he pulled forward another six feet.

His phone beeped, signaling Yvonne left a voicemail this time. Against his better judgment, he played the message.

“Mark, where are you? Why aren’t you answering your phone? This is important.”

He grimaced. Everything was always important with Yvonne.

“Mommy and Daddy were so happy to hear about me going to culinary school, they drove up to help me celebrate. Isn’t that wonderful? I called Toma’s and ordered charcuterie trays and two bottles of Dom. Be a sweetie and stop by and pick the order up. After the appetizers, I’ve made reservations for us at Luminarias for eight. And wear your black suit, not the blue one. I hate those narrow lapels. See you soon.”

He fumed, increasing the sweat pouring from his bulky frame.

Toma’s. The most expensive food shop in Burbank. Two bottles of Dom Perignon alone was three hundred dollars, and the trays were almost a hundred each. Dinner for two was three hundred dollars at Luminarias, so before this day ended, he’d spend close to a thousand dollars for a celebration planned without his input when all he wanted to do was go home.

The throbbing in his head increased, guilt trying to worm its way in.

He loved Yvonne and would do anything for her, but it wasn’t lost on him their relationship was growing more one-sided. His older brother, Prentiss, had said the words just last weekend as they watched basketball playoffs.

“Was that your phone?”

Mark slipped his cell under the sofa cushion. “No, I’m good.”

“It was too. It’s her again, isn’t it?”

Pushing his phone deeper into the sofa, Mark shook his head.

“Don’t even try it. It was her. Call number six in less than two hours.”

“Prentiss-”

He held up his hand, cutting Mark off, and muted the television.

“Hey! Virginia’s winning.”

“I hate Virginia.” Prentiss tossed the remote aside and considered his brother.

“Look, man. We don’t step on each other’s toes. Private business is just that, private.” He leaned closer. “But, Markie, this isn’t normal. She called twenty minutes after you walked in the door asking if the game was over because she wanted to go shopping. Twenty-six minutes after that she wanted to go to dinner.’

Mark waved him off, chuckling. “You know females have no clue about sports. She just misses me.”

“Not true. I know women who know more about sports than I do. And Yvonne well knows of how long a basketball game lasts.”

Mark threw up his hands. “Okay, she knows. What’s your point?”

“She’s selfish.”

“Oh, wait a damn minute-”

“You asked.”

“Yeah, but I didn’t expect you to diss my woman.”

“Calm down, little brother. I just call ‘em like I see ‘em.”

“And how is this your business? What happened to the private part?”

Prentiss Kelly walked over to the mini-bar, grabbed two beers and tossed one to Mark.

“Are you happy with Yvonne?”

Dragging his hand through his dreads, Mark was incredulous. “What kind of question is that? I’m happy. Yvonne is my dream girl.”

Re-taking his seat, Prentiss smirked.

“Yeah, man, I know. Everyone knows. You’ve mooned around behind her since we were kids and she didn’t even know you were alive.”

“Who could blame her? I was a pudgy, science geek.”

“You had at least half a dozen girls trying to get your attention.”

“But they weren’t Yvonne.”

“So? They were smart. Ambitious. Pretty… and nice. They weren’t mean girls like Yvonne.”

“She wasn’t a mean girl, just outspoken, and none of them were even in the same class as her.”

“No, they weren’t—and they still aren’t. Teresa Banks is a full partner in the Beckes law firm. You know them right? The city’s attorneys? Lily Townes owns one of the largest event-planning businesses in the state. About Towne handled the birthday party for the governor’s wife last month. And Cynthia Rivers’ name is moving up on the top local pediatric cardiologists’ list. Successful women. And Yvonne?”

He swigged his beer. “What’s the latest career you poured money into for her?”

Slamming his beer down, Mark leaped to his feet. “You don’t know a damn thing about what Yvonne and I have.”

Prentiss was unmoved. “Chill and sit down, dude.”

Instead, Mark paced around the sofa, his jaws tight with anger.

“Fine. Have it your way.” Prentiss leaned forward, resting his arms on his thighs. “I know you believe I don’t like Yvonne, but that’s not the issue.”

Mark whirled around, glaring at his brother. “Then what is? Why are you so concerned with my private business?”

Prentiss’ expression was stern. “Because I don’t enjoy seeing my brother get used like an ATM.”

To be continued…

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©2019 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

 

Song Lyric Sunday | “Coldest Day of My Life” – The Chi-Lites

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Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time and author Jim Adams from A Unique Title For Me is our current guest host. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

This week’s theme is  “Freeze/Cold/Ice.”

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A Lonely Man is the fourth studio album by The Chi-Lites.  Released in April of 1972, it was also the group’s most successful album, topping the R&B chart and peaking at No. 5 on the pop chart. It is frequently cited as the group’s best recording. AllMusic reviewer Craig Lytle describes the album as “flawless” and “exquisite”

The album opened with The Chi-Lites’ most successful single, Oh Girl, and ended with the eight-and-a-half-minute epic, Coldest Day of My Life.

FUN FACTS:

  • The group was formed at the Hyde Park High School in Chicago in the late 1950s as the “Chanteurs”. The original members were Eugene Record, Robert “Squirrel” Lester, and Clarence Johnson. This quartet introduced themselves at the Hyde Park High School “Senior Varieties talent show. They later recruited Marshall Thompson and Creadel “Red” Jones from the Desideros to form the Hi-lites. Noting that the name Hi-lites was already in use and wanting to honor their home town they changed their name to “The Chi-Lites” in 1964.
  • The Chi-Lites scored eleven Top Ten R&B hits from 1969 to 1974. They also charted 21 songs in the Billboard Hot 100 Pop Chart, and had chart hits in Australia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Canada, as well as in the U.S.
  • Eugene Record wrote or co-wrote (often with singer Barbara Acklin) a long series of hits for the group, including million-sellers, Have You Seen Her and Oh Girl.
  • 76-year old Marshall Thompson is the last living original group member.

Enjoy!

See my Song Lyric Sunday selection on Nesie’s Place.

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Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.
 coldest day of my life
by The Chi-Lites
Songwriters:

 

I remember, oh yeah
The signs of springtime
There were birds, music
Everywhere, everywhere

Some of us played, oh yeah
And some of us cried
Can’t you see, oh, can’t you see
The tears in my eyes?

And what I had dreamed of, oh Lord
I thought it was here
10 feet tall, oh, I was riding so high
With eyes of a child, oh
Shining so bright, yes they were

Coldest days of my life
They were the coldest days of my life
I had to run for cover, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Cold, coldest days of my life
I thought there was no other, no, no, no, no

Lord, take away the pain
Oh, You know, You know
That it falls like rain
And it couldn’t be much worse

Down below, down below, down below
Low, down below
It just couldn’t be much worse
Down below
It just couldn’t be that bad

#My52 “… and so shall it end”

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#My52 – Week 14

Word Prompt – lizard

Word Count – Drabble – 100

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He looked peaceful.

It had been a traumatic day for them both, but more so for him.

During a lucid moment, they’d giggled about their trip to Arizona and the lizard who found his way into their SUV.

He always could make her laugh at their darkest moments.

A nurse appeared in the doorway.

“Ma’am, I’m sorry, but it’s time.”

She took his left hand into both of hers and kissed the wedding band she’d placed on his finger nineteen years ago, then turned and left the room without looking back.

She wished he could make her laugh right now.

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©2019 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

 

Song Lyric Sunday | “Serpentine Fire” – Earth, Wind & Fire

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Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time and author Jim Adams from A Unique Title For Me is our current guest host. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

This week’s theme is  “Burn/Fire/Flame.”

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Two in a row for EWF!

However, most of us know Serpentine Fire as simply a great dance song and an Earth, Wind, & Fire classic!

Enjoy!

See my Song Lyric Sunday selection on Nesie’s Place.

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Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.
 Serpentine Fire
by Earth, Wind & Fire
Songwriters:

 

When I see your face
Like a mornin’ sun
You spark me to shine

Tell all the world
My need is fulfilled
And that’s a new design

As long as you’re near
There is no fear
Of a victory
All right

But when I’m away
Influences stray
My mind to disagree

I wanna see your face
In a morning sun
Ignite my energy, ow

The cause and effect of you
Has brought new meaning
In my life to me

Gonna tell the story o’
Morning glory
All about the serpentine fire

Gonna tell the story o’
Morning glory
All about the serpentine fire

Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah
Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah

I need to see your face
Like a morning sun
Ignite my energy, huh

The cause and effect of you
Has brought new meaning
In my life to me

The moments I find
When I’m inclined
To do my best, oh

The negative wins
When I give in and
Then I lose the test
(Not many times)

Gonna tell the story o’
Morning glory
All about the serpentine fire

Surely as life begun
You will as one
Battle with the serpentine fire

Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah
Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah

Surely as life begun
You will as one
Battle with the serpentine fire

Surely as life begun
You will as one
Battle with the serpentine fire

Gonna tell the story o’
Morning glory
All about the serpentine fire

Gonna tell the story o’
Morning glory
All about the serpentine fire

 

#My52 “And So It Begins…”

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#My52 – Week 13

Word Prompt – pillow

Word Count – Drabble – 100

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Dena leaned back against the pillow, panting.

It was over, and it was a new beginning.

The searing pain she’d felt only moments before vanished.

She pulled fresh air into her starved lungs.

Emotions overwhelmed her and tears streamed from the corners of her eyes.

Her life would never be the same.

She stretched out her arms pulling the new love of her life close.

Dena giggled as she smoothed the frown lines between his eyes and caressed his cheek.

He was everything to her.

Joy filled her soul as he held her gaze.

“Hello, Tristan Alexander. I’m your mama.”

~~~

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©2019 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

 

Song Lyric Sunday | “Turn On (The Beat Box)” – Earth, Wind & Fire

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Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time and author Jim Adams from A Unique Title For Me is our current guest host. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

This week’s theme is  Record/Jukebox/DJ/Radio.”

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Jukeboxes shrunk and took on a new look in the 70s and 80s. Everyone carried their music with them using cassette players, Walkmans, and beat boxes (aka ghetto blasters not the engineering device!)

Turn on (The Beat Box) was written by Maurice White, Rhett Lawrence and Martin Page and appeared on the soundtrack of the feature film Caddyshack II. The song also can be found on EWF’s 1988 compilation album The Best of Earth, Wind & Fire, Vol. 2.

The single rose to No. 26 on the Billboard Hot Soul Singles chart and is still an Earth, Wind & Fire concert standard.

I didn’t want to sacrifice sound quality (or time) so I went with a still video, but turn your speakers waaaay UP! It’s time to dance! 😀

Enjoy!

See my Song Lyric Sunday selection on Nesie’s Place.

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Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.
 Turn on (the Beat box)
by Earth, Wind & Fire
Songwriters: Maurice White, Rhett Lawrence & Martin Page

 

Turn on
Have you been thinking nothing ever changes
And you could be making a difference tonight
Why are you waiting – anticipating
Can’t find the feeling when you know it’s right

Oh I just want to see you smile
Forget about yesterday
Nothing can stop you now
So what are you waiting for

Turn on, turn on the beat box baby
We’re walking on the party line
Crank it up and let the music
Turn every night into a Saturday night

Whenever you’re ready – we’ll be rocking each day
You’re gonna get lucky – leaving it all behind
Time’s ticking away – it’s another Saturday
So it’s time to bring out on the party line

Oh I just want to see you smile
Forget about yesterday
Nothing can stop you now
So what are you waiting for

Turn on, turn on the beat box baby
We’re walking on the party line
Crank it up and let the music
Turn every night into a Saturday night

It’s so bright
I know your beat box baby
Are you ready for a good time
So come on move with the feeling
And every night is a Saturday night

Turn on

Turn on, turn on the beat box baby
We’re walking on the party line
Crank it up and let the music
Turn every night into a Saturday night

It’s so bright
I know your beat box baby
Are you ready for a good time
So come on move with the feeling
And every night is a Saturday night

Turn on

Turn on, turn on the beat box baby
We’re walking on the party line
Crank it up and let the music
Turn every night into a Saturday night

It’s so bright
I know your beat box baby
Are you ready for a good time
So come on move with the feeling
And every night is a Saturday night

Beat box – beat box baby

 

 

#My52 “Night Light, Conclusion”

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#My52: Week 12

Word prompt: socks

Word count – 1685

Reading time – 4 mins,  19 secs

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Part IV

Jo walked to the stove, donned two large oven mitts and removed a deep casserole dish from the oven. Turning, she presented her surprise.

“Shepherd’s pie!”

“Dad’s favorite!”

The boys fist-bumped each other and raced off to clean up for dinner.

Jack went to the bathroom in the hallway while Kent took the small half-bath on the back porch.

While washing up, Kent raised his head and looked into the mirror.

A young version of Wes Tanner stared back at him.

Though he was often reminded of his resemblance to his father, Kent never saw it.

Until now.

Light brown hair, velvet brown eyes, pug nose.

He smiled.

There was the crooked grin.

The one dimple on the left side.

He shook his head remembering the last time he saw his father.

“Hey buddy, you finish your English homework last night?”

Kent gave his dad the thumb’s up sign, his mouth full of eggs and toast.

“And are you ready for the quiz today?”

He swallowed and grinned. “I will leave no participles dangling.”

“I look forward to being moved to tears by the glowing red A at the top of your paper.”

“Well…”

Jo entered from the back porch carrying laundry. “If you want to be moved to tears, next time you can wash his socks.”

Wes Tanner laughed aloud at his snarky wife as Kent buried his face in his hands.

“It’s okay, buddy. We’re manly men, not dainty flowers. Our socks are supposed to smell.”

Father and son high-fived.

Jack rushed into the kitchen wearing his backpack and carrying Kent’s.

“Let’s bounce, K-man. Old man Gantz is supposed to wait ten minutes but if he can’t see us from the road, you know he won’t even slow the school bus down.”

Jo frowned. “Is that old man still speeding? Why is he even still driving? Isn’t he like a hundred and forty years old?”

Jack chuckled. “Nah, he doesn’t speed. He just floors it over dips to shake up the kids in the back.”

Wes and Kent snickered.

Kent gulped his orange juice then headed for the door behind his brother.

“Don’t forget, kiddo. I’ll be at the field at 4:45 sharp.”

Kent whirled around, grinning. “You have band snack duty today?”

“Yes, I do. Juice boxes and graham crackers are already loaded in the truck.”

His face fell and he looked to his mom. “He’s kidding, right? Mom, please tell me he’s kidding.”

Jo Tanner turned away and buried her face in the towel she was folding to muffle her giggles.

Kent turned back to his father. “C’mon, dad. We’re not kinder-…”

“Bottled water, turkey jerky, Zone bars, and trail mix.”

His grin returned. “Turkey jerky and Zone bars? I’ll be the most popular kid in band.”

Wes folded his arms across his broad chest. “Wouldn’t that make me the most popular band dad, or cool… sweet, or whatever you guys call awesome?”

Kent walked over at fist-bumped with his father. “You’re all those things already, dad and more.”

Wes beamed at the compliment but before he could respond, they were both distracted by Jack calling from the driveway.

“K-man, let’s do this!”

Hiking his backpack up onto his back, Kent bolted for the door, stopping to kiss Jo’s cheek on the way.

“Bye, mom. Cya’ after band practice, dad… with turkey jerky!”

He could hear his parents laughter as he ran down the driveway to catch up with Jack when Wes called after him. “Make me proud on that English quiz!”

Kent Tanner averted his eyes from the bathroom mirror.

His dad never knew about the B+ Kent received on his English quiz and he never arrived at the football field with band snacks. By 4:45 that afternoon, Kent and Jack sat huddled together on their grandmother’s back porch, numb after learning their father was gone.

Staring again into his own eyes, Kent’s lips twitched as Wes Tanner wisdom invaded his thoughts.

“Kiddo, bad days are a part of life, but any day you live through is a good day and goes in the win column.”

He smiled despite the pain and irony of his father’s words. He wasn’t putting anything in the win column yet.

Kent returned to the kitchen and feasted on the shepherd’s pie. More stories about Wes were told. Some brought laughter, others brought tears.

Jo wasn’t surprised when during dessert, Kent told her about his nightmares.

“I’m so sorry you didn’t feel you could come to me sooner.”

“It’s okay, mom. You were so… sad. I used to have two or three a night. Now, it’s just a couple of times a week.”

“Don’t let me off so easy, sweetie. We’re all sad. It’s no excuse, but I do promise to do better.”

“Okay, momma.”

“Ooooo! “Momma,” Jack quipped.

“Leave him alone, Jackson Alan.”

“Ha! Full name! You’re in trouble!”

Kent arched away from the elbow jab Jack aimed his way.

“Kent, do you want to talk about the nightmares?”

He froze, hanging his head.

“I’m sure it’s not uncommon to have bad dreams about losing a parent, honey.”

Neither Jo nor Jack could hear his mumbled response.

“What did you say?”

He raised his head, hesitant and embarrassed. “They’re not about dad.”

Jack grabbed his wrist. “But K-man, you said-“

Kent cut him off.

“I said they started after dad died. You said you understood me having nightmares about him because of the way we lost him.” He ducked his head again. “I just didn’t correct you.”

“Baby, what are the nightmares about?”

Kent didn’t respond.

“It’s okay. You don’t have to tell us.”

He spoke without raising his head.

“I wake up for school just like always. I know dad’s gone… but I can’t find you and Jackie. I go from room to room, searching and calling your names. It’s gets weirder because it’s our house, but there are so many more rooms. And I can’t open doors to leave. The more rooms I pass through, the darker and warmer it gets until I’m drenched in sweat in the darkness.” Kent looked at his mom. “I wake up screaming… and sometimes crying because I can’t find you or my way out.”

Jack set his fork down, staring at his dessert.

Jo reached over and clasped Kent’s hand.

“You said you don’t have the nightmares as often, but you do still have them, right?”

“Yes.”

“I’m glad you told me, Kent, but I can’t explain them. What if I call Dr. Riley tomorrow and get a referral for counseling? Talking to someone who has knowledge about these things might help.”

Kent remained silent until Jack touched his arm.

“I’ll go too, K-man.”

Turning to his brother, Kent saw the love and concern siblings of a certain age dance around, but at that moment Wesley Kent Tanner knew nothing would ever come between him and his brother.

“Okay, mom, do it. I’ve got nothing to lose at this point,” he glanced back at Jack, “and everything to gain.”

JoAnna Tanner leaped from her seat, rushing to the other side of the table to hug the two boys. “I love you both madly, and we’re going to be okay.”

After exchanging man-hugs with Kent, Jack decided things were getting too mushy for him, and excused himself to take his evening run.

Kent helped Jo clean the kitchen while she quizzed him on biology terms and international capital cities.

Jack returned and after a shower, the family settled in for another Wes Tanner-favorite, the movie Spaceballs.

Jo shooed them off to bed when the movie ended, and Jack had said, “May the Schwartz be with you” one time too many.

The brothers made their way down the hall to their rooms, engaged in a duel with invisible light sabers.

Jack dropped his arms to his side and Kent moved in for the kill with a run-through.

“Hey. What gives? You gave me that one.”

Jack rested his hands on his hips Forrest Gump-style.

“K-man, I just thought of something.”

“You want me to alert the media?”

Kent laughed at his own snark, but Jack silenced him by holding up his hand.

“We know mom is out of Aunt Pearl’s good graces, but dude… what if she cuts us out of her will too?”

Frowning, Kent was about to lash out, but Jack waggled his eyebrows then moonwalked through his bedroom door.

Kent guffawed at Jack’s antics and stumbled through his own bedroom door, grateful again for his older brother.

So used to a sense of anxiousness when he entered his room every night, Kent Tanner took notice of its absence.

Pete Michaels was right.

An open conversation with his family had alleviated much of his fears. Talking with a family therapist… and time could only help take him the rest of the way.

Stripping out of his clothes, Kent pulled on a pair of flannel lounge pants and went to his dresser.

Opening the drawer, he pulled the threadbare Crowded House band t-shirt out and slipped it on.

He’d taken it from the laundry room two days after Wes Tanner died.

Every morning, Kent would open the drawer and stare at the shirt, missing his dad.

But now it was no longer a remnant of what he lost, but a reminder of who he was.

He switched off his light and crawled into bed.

His gaze went to the glow-in-the-dark night light next to his bed. Its luminance appeared brighter than usual, almost harsh. Kent considered it for a moment and decided not to drop the light into a drawer.

He wasn’t ready for that.

He hoped the nightmares didn’t come, but if they did, he would deal with them… and tell someone.

He wasn’t alone and never had been, he understood that much. Until the rest was sorted out, the night light would be his comfort instead of his protector.

Kent snuggled deep into his bed and sleep came with ease to his exhausted mind.

His last thoughts were to thank Pete for his kind words… and that he would try out for the basketball team.

Part 1    |  Part II   |  Part III  |

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©2019 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

 

Song Lyric Sunday | “Midnight Blue” – Melissa Manchester

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Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time and author Jim Adams from A Unique Title For Me is our current guest host. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

This week’s theme is  “Minutes/Hours/Days/Weeks/Months.”

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This week’s theme encompasses time and I chose the time of midnight for this selection.
Melissa Manchester released two hit-less albums on Bell Records before signing a deal with Arista, which issued her third album, Melissa, which contained Midnight Blue. The song went to #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart and established Manchester as both a songwriter and artist.
Co-written with lyricist Carole Bayer Sager, Midnight Blue was written in 1973, and released two years later, causing George Harrison to re-title his (totally unrelated) song of the same name. The Manchester song was a big hit, and has become a standard.
The song is about a relationship that has been through the ringer and the singer is looking to give it another try, approaching it from a different angle: “Think of me as your friend.”
FUN FACTS:
 

The video is a live performance from The Midnight Special.

Enjoy!

See my Song Lyric Sunday selection on Nesie’s Place.

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Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.
 Midnight Blue
by Melissa Manchester
Songwriters: Melissa Manchester & Carole Bayer Sager

 

Whatever it is, it’ll keep till the morning
Haven’t we both got better things to do?
Midnight blue
Even the simple things become rough
Haven’t we had enough?

And I think we can make it
One more time
If we try
One more time for all the old times

For all of the times you told me you need me
Needing me now is something I could use
Midnight blue
Wouldn’t you give your hand to a friend?
Maybe it’s not the end

And I think we can make it
One more time
If we try
One more time for all the old times
Midnight blue

I think we can make it
I think we can make it
Oh, wouldn’t you give your heart to a friend?
Think of me as your friend

And I think we can make it
One more time
If we try
One more time for all of the old, old times

One more time
I think we can make it
If we try
I think we can make it
If we try
Looks like we’re gonna make it
Looks like we’re gonna make it
If we try
I think we can make it

 

#My52 “Night Light, Part III”

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#My52: Week 11

Word prompt: house

Word count – 719

Reading time – 2 mins,  11 secs

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Part III

Kent whistled. “You said that? To Aunt Pearl? What did she say?”

“Well, she wasn’t happy with me, but she said she hoped to hear from me soon and hung up.”

Jack pointed his finger across the table. “You are so out of the will now, no question.”

Jo ducked her head. “Yes, sucks to be me right about now.”

“Why didn’t we know she and dad were so close?”

“They weren’t that close.”

“But, you just said-”

Jo held up her hand.

“Aunt Pearl’s boys were like their father—loud, brash bullies… they still are. Your dad said he was grateful he didn’t share the same last name because they were always in trouble all the way through school. Aunt Pearl did what she could to keep them in line, but Uncle Ed let them get away with everything, then used his influence to protect them from being held accountable.”

“When he died, they went buck wild and ignored Aunt Pearl. Your Grandma Nettie felt sorry for her and sent your dad to run errands for her and take care of chores around the house. Pearl latched on to him for dear life. Tommy and Dale saw how she doted on your father and straightened up by their early twenties. Your dad said that was when she figured out the power of her wealth and began to use it to get her way.”

“But no matter how much your dad meant to her, I couldn’t allow her to barnstorm in here and take over our lives.”

“And as long as I’m being honest, it felt good to stand up to her. I’ve spent too much time being angry at your dad for leaving me and myself for being a wimp about it.”

“But dad didn’t leave you, mom. Not in the walk-away kind of leaving.”

“I know, baby. My mind gets that, but my heart doesn’t.”

She reached out, touching their hands. “Last revelation of honesty… I feel like a fraud for telling your aunt I’m here to help you when I haven’t been.”

Both boys opened their mouths to protest again, but a stern look from Jo stopped them.

“Look, this isn’t about absolution, deflecting blame, or even forgiveness. It’s about accountability and responsibility—two things I’ve skated on.

We lost an important part of our family, but we’re still a family. I’m your mother and Wesley Cameron Tanner would haunt me to the end of my days if I acted like anything less.”

Kent smiled at the mental pic of a ghostly Wes Tanner in a Crowded House band t-shirt and camouflage lounge pants, his favorite around-the-house attire.

“I’m a blessed woman to have shared my life with your dad, but I’m just as blessed to have you two as my sons.”

“So, going forward, new rules! One, it is okay to be sad and it is okay to cry… but it is not okay to hide it. No more hiding in my room for me, no more skulking in corners for you. Two, it is okay to talk about your father… share things, good and bad. He wasn’t a saint, and neither are we. Jack, I know you were ready to run away from home when he took your bike away for a week last year.”

Jack’s cheek’s flushed a deep crimson as he hid his face. “Oh man, the grass wasn’t even that high. I didn’t think waiting another day or two would hurt.”

“Yeah, but dad thought otherwise.”

Jack jabbed his elbow into Kent’s side, but he continued to laugh anyway.

“And rule number three,” Jo said in a raised voice to get their attention. “it is perfectly okay to ignore rules one and two.”

The Tanner brothers exchanged confused glances.

“Your mom’s not loopy or trying to be facetious. It just goes back to what I said earlier. No one can tell you how to mourn. What’s important is that you do… in your own way, and I’ll always be here for you.”

Kent stared at the genuine love and affection on his mother’s face and anxiety he’d been holding onto for too long seeped from his body.

Jo rose from the table. “Now you two go wash up for dinner and I’m going to share a happy memory of your dad.”

 

To be continued…

Part 1    |  Part II   |

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©2019 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

 

Song Lyric Sunday | “Rocket Man” – Elton John

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Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time and author Jim Adams from A Unique Title For Me is our current guest host. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

This week’s theme is  “School/Books/Learning.”

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Week two for Elton John! 🙂
  • The first stanza of Rocket Man was thought of by Bernie Taupin whilst he was on the motorway heading to his parents’ home; he had to “repeat it to himself for two hours,” which was “unfortunate”, but in later interviews he said that since it gave him a hit, it was all worthwhile.
  • Among numerous other performances, John played Rocket Man at the launch site of Space Shuttle Discovery in 1998.
  • The song includes the line, “”And I’m gonna be high as a kite by then”. The website Schmoop commented, “The phrase “high as a kite” is a common idiom almost always used to refer to drug use. There’s nothing to suggest that lyricist Bernie Taupin really intended the double entendre, but the song did come out at the peak of stoner ’70s culture. The usual meaning of the expression, which Taupin would have been familiar with, is highly intoxicated.
  • The most commonly misheard lyric in this song is “Rocket Man, burning out his fuse up here alone.” This was the centerpiece of a 2011 commercial for the Volkswagen Passat, where folks came up with all kinds of interpretations of the last few words: telephone, cheap cologne, motor home, provolone. A couple in a Passat can correctly interpret the words thanks to the car’s premium sound system, and all is well. This wasn’t the first time the song was used in a commercial; it was also featured in ads for AT&T.

The video is from a live performance in Madison Square Garden in 2000.

Enjoy!

See my Song Lyric Sunday selection on Nesie’s Place.

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Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.
 RocKet Man (I Think it’s going to be a long, long time)
by Elton John
Songwriters: Elton John & Bernie Taupin

 

[Verse 1]
She packed my bags last night, pre-flight
Zero hour: 9:00 a.m
And I’m gonna be high as a kite by then
I miss the Earth so much, I miss my wife
It’s lonely out in space
On such a timeless flight

[Chorus]
And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time
‘Til touchdown brings me ’round again to find
I’m not the man they think I am at home
Oh no, no, no
I’m a rocket man
Rocket man
Burning out his fuse up here alone
And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time
‘Til touchdown brings me ’round again to find
I’m not the man they think I am at home
Oh no, no, no
I’m a rocket man
Rocket man
Burning out his fuse up here alone

[Verse 2]
Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids
In fact, it’s cold as hell
And there’s no one there to raise them if you did
And all this science I don’t understand
It’s just my job five days a week
A rocket man
A rocket man

[Chorus]
And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time
‘Til touchdown brings me ’round again to find
I’m not the man they think I am at home
Oh no, no, no
I’m a rocket man
Rocket man
Burning out his fuse up here alone
And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time
‘Til touchdown brings me ’round again to find
I’m not the man they think I am at home
Oh no, no, no
I’m a rocket man
Rocket man
Burning out his fuse up here alone

[Outro]
And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time
And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time
And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time
And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time
And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time
And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time
And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time
And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time
And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time