Song Lyric Sunday | “Let’s Hear It for the Boy” – Deniece Williams

Song Lyric Sunday banner

Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

This week’s theme is  boys.”

 ~~~~~

Let’s Hear It for the Boy was the second song released from the soundtrack of 1984’s Footloose and became a #1 song for artist Deniece Williams.

In the film, the song was used in a scene where Kevin Bacon tries to teach Christopher Penn how to dance, and Penn is having a hard time.

Fun Fact: When Williams recorded Let’s Hear It for the Boy the first time, Dean Pitchford thought it sounded too girlish, so she flew from Los Angeles to New York to quickly do another take under deadline pressure. She ended up doing the proper take late that night after a long flight, but it was worth it. When she saw the film, she thought the scene where they used her song was incredible.

George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam of the duo Boy Meets Girl sang backup,  and also wrote Whitney Houston’s songs How Will I Know and I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me).

Enjoy!

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

~~~~~

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.

Let’s Hear It for the Boy

by Deniece Williams

Song Lyric Sunday | “You Send Me” – Sam Cooke

Song Lyric Sunday banner

Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

No theme was posted for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday and I pray all is well with Helen as she hasn’t been feeling well. Sending love and prayers out to her.

Which leads me to go my own way this week and use the prompt of send/sending.”

 ~~~~~

Recorded by American singer Sam Cooke and released as a single in 1957, You Send Me was Cooke’s debut single and  a massive commercial success, becoming a number one hit on both Billboard‘s Rhythm & Blues Records chart and the Billboard Hot 100.

It was named as one of the 500 most important rock and roll recordings by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. In April 2010, the song ranked #115 in Rolling Stone magazine’s The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

In addition to the original version by Sam Cooke, You Send Me has received numerous covers over the years, the most important being the versions of Teresa Brewer (1957), Aretha Franklin (1968), Ponderosa Twins Plus One (1971) and The Manhattans (1985).

Fun Fact: Most sources credit Sam Cooke as the song’s writer, but some sources say the song was written by Charles “LC” Cooke, Sam’s older brother and member of The Singing Children, the Cooke family gospel group.

Not the best video–this performance is from American Bandstand sixty years ago–but his vocals are spot on!

Enjoy!

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

~~~~~

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.

You Send Me

by Sam Cooke

Song Lyric Sunday | “The Last Song” – Elton John

Song Lyric Sunday banner

Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

The theme for Song Lyric Sunday this week is “last.” 

 ~~~~~
With yesterday being World AIDS Day and the current biopic of Freddie Mercury, Bohemian Rhapsody, holding its own with movie theater audiences, this selection was pretty easy.

Elton John’s The Last Song was written shortly after Mercury died of AIDS. At the time, AIDS was becoming a pandemic and little was known about the disease or how to treat it. Sufferers were shunned and feared. This song narrates the story of an estranged father coming to terms with his son’s disease and homosexuality, while the son is coming to terms with dying.

This beautiful song was on John’s 1992 The One album, and all proceeds from the single went to benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation. The song is used during the closing montage of the 1993 HBO docudrama And The Band Played On…

Enjoy!

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

~~~~~

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.

The Last Song

by Elton John

Song Lyric Sunday | “Just Dropped in (To See What Condition My Condition Was In” – Kenny Rogers and the First Edition

Song Lyric Sunday banner

Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

The theme for Song Lyric Sunday this week is “first.” 

 ~~~~~

While the neither the title of the lyrics contain this week’s theme, the featured group’s name does! 😀 😀

Just Dropped In … by Kenny Rogers and the First Edition (with Kenny Rogers on lead vocals) peaked at number five on the Billboard charts. It was Rogers’ first top ten hit. The song captures the short-lived psychedelic era of the late 1960s, stands apart from the country folk harmonies that characterized most of the First Edition’s catalog,  and got the group their first national TV audience on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.

Enjoy!

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

~~~~~

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.

Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)

by Kenny Rogers & the First Edition

Song Lyric Sunday | “Stop, Look, Listen” – The Stylistics

Song Lyric Sunday banner

Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

The theme for Song Lyric Sunday this week is “listen.” 

 ~~~~~

Stop, Look, Listen (To Your Heart) is a soul song written by Thom Bell and Linda Creed that was originally recorded by the Philadelphia soul group the Stylistics.

An R&B ballad, it was the first track from their 1971 debut self-titled album (and first major hit) and was released as a single in 1971 and reached #39 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. In addition, it also climbed to #6 in the Billboard R&B chart.

Motown stars Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross released their version of the same song on their duet album in 1974 as a UK-only single and that version also is part of the 2001 film, Bridget Jones’ Diary.

Enjoy!

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

~~~~~

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.

Stop, Look, Listen (To Your Heart)

by The Stylistics

#52weeks52stories “Christmas is Love”

Christmas is Love banner

~~~

This short story was so much better twenty-four hours ago before SCRIVENER ATE IT without having the decency to auto-save it the way it’s supposed to. I had to step away from NaNoWriMo and try to recreate it from notes and memory and well, you know who this brain works. I hope I recaptured the sentiment even if the words escaped me. (Thanks for nothing, Scrivener!)

#52weeks52stories: Week 44

Word prompt: family

Word count – 2662

Reading time – 8:37

~~~

The holiday season held no joy for Mavis Landry.

The thirty-four-year-old stood in the supermarket check-out line cringing as Christmas carols blared from the store’s sound system.

The First Noel used to be her favorite carol, now she fought off tears and a panic attack as the second verse began.

She wasn’t always like this, in danger of becoming a soulless Scrooge.

Her earliest holiday memories were happy ones. George and Carol Landry believed in living life to its fullest, and the period from Halloween through New Year’s Day was one long holiday for Mavis and her older brother, Michael, with Christmas being the focal point. Carol Landry’s love of Christmas and its magic was unmatched and she surprised them all each year with a new tradition.

But life for the Landry family changed the year Mavis completed pharmacy school.

Living and working three hours from her parent’ home, Mavis coordinated her arrival with Michael, who lived two hours away on the other side of their parents, as a surprise for George and Carol.

When she arrived just before five on the evening of the twenty-second, Mavis wasn’t concerned Michael wasn’t there yet. Despite living closer, her brother was from a more metropolitan area and had more freeways and traffic to contend with.

But worry did creep into her thoughts as each hour passed and her calls to his cell went straight to voicemail.

George talked Mavis and her mother into sitting down to dinner at eight but they hadn’t finished their salads when a knock at the door lead them to find two highway patrol officers in the doorway.

Mavis would never forget her mother’s mournful wails.

Two SUVs engaged in racing and road rage caused a multiple vehicle accident which took five lives, including twenty-eight-year old Michael Landry.

Mavis spent Christmas Day waiting for the medical examiner to release her brother’s body.

The Landrys went on because that’s what families do. George and Carol still decorated and Mavis still made the trip home but the holiday was like re-opening an old wound that would never heal.

Four years after Michael’s death, Mavis cut her holiday trip short. Instead of staying through New Year’s Day, she was going home on the 27th to ring in the new year with a new man in her life.

George went out to clear the walkway of the overnight snowfall and never returned.

Carol’s mournful wails became the center of Mavis’ nightmares.

She didn’t return home for three weeks, seeing her mother through the autopsy and funeral.

Altering her work schedules, Mavis made monthly visits to see her mom, whose depression appeared worse with each visit.

Inspired by her boss, who’d lost his wife to breast cancer, Mavis took a six-month leave of absence from work, moved in with Carol Landry and got them both into family counseling.

The slow process was cathartic for the Landry women but bought them back to the land of the living. Two years after George’s death, Mavis took her mom to Paris for Christmas. There was still tears and grief but Mavis was grateful they were together sharing new experiences instead of locked inside the family home sharing space with ghosts.

With her sixtieth birthday approaching, Carol went back to volunteering in the community and surprising the neighborhood with baked treats.

Mavis returned to work with a new outlook on life. She still felt the loss but refused to allow it to drag her down. Her father and brother wouldn’t approve.

There was humor and fun in the Landry home again when Mavis took James home with her for Thanksgiving.

Mavis knew her mom was excited over her relationship and hopeful for the future.

But futures aren’t guaranteed.

After speaking with her mother last on the twentieth, Mavis and James loaded his Range Rover the next day and made the three-hour-trip to Carol’s.

Mavis’ pulse quickened when they pulled up in front of the Landry home.

Unlike every other home on the block, the recent snowfall still covered the driveway and sidewalks.

Even after George’s death, Carol was still fastidious about keeping access areas free of snow during the winter.

Mavis trudged to the front door, dreading each step.

Using her key, Mavis entered the house, not bothering to remove her boots. Carol’s anger over wet floors was the least of her concerns.

Mavis stood in the foyer as James came inside.

“Mavis, where’s your mom?”

She didn’t respond.

“Mavis?”

She walked into the living room and her heart sank.

The Christmas tree stood in the corner…dark. Neither Santa’s Village above the fireplace nor the nativity scene on the floor next to it was lit.

Mavis knew.

She turned and raced down the hallway to her mother’s bedroom, but she froze when she reached it, resting her forehead against the door.

James’ arms slipped around her waist from behind. “Do you want me to do it?”

Mavis clasped his hands and squeezed. “I have to.”

She opened the door, surprised to find both bedside lamps on, but not surprised by anything else.

Surrounded by books, magazines, and with a notepad on her lap, Carol Landry appeared to have fallen asleep while making holiday plans.

Mavis crawled onto the bed and pulled her mother’s stiff, cold body into her arms… and her mother’s mournful wails from the past became her own.

James sat on the bed behind Mavis and held her as she cried.

He knew he should call someone, but he also knew they would separate mother and daughter. Mavis needed this time with the last member of her family.

Losing Carol broke Mavis, but she didn’t sink back into depression. Mavis’s anger boiled over and she lashed out.

When the medical examiner told her that like her father, Carol, too, had died from a sudden, massive coronary, Mavis flew into a rage and railed about how two people living a healthy lifestyle didn’t just die because of bad hearts.

She screamed about the inability of two people to share a road made for everyone taking her brother from her.

Exhausted, she’d fallen into James’ arms and it was only because of him, Mavis got through it all.

But as the newness and rebirth of spring arrived, Mavis was still angry and pushing James away.

Having lost his own mother, and only family member, while in high school, James knew what Mavis was going through and stuck by her side, enduring her hurtful comments and apathy. He also hung onto the engagement ring he’d planned to give her right after dinner with her mother.

Guided by fear, Mavis refused James’ offer to spend Christmas together. Saying she needed the time alone, Mavis made the solemn journey to the family home she refused to part with.

“Merry Christmas! How are you this afternoon?”

Pulled from her thoughts, Mavis realized it was her turn in line and stepped forward.

“All set for Christmas?”

Mavis considered the woman, close to her own age, in her red sweater and matching Santa-hat. Her name badge read, “Patty”, and Mavis also didn’t miss the wedding rings on Patty’s left hand. Patty, no doubt had a perky husband and 2.3 perky children waiting for her at home.

“Yes, thank you.”

After swiping her debit card, Mavis took her bag from Patty, anxious to flee her cheery presence.

“Have a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year!”

Mavis didn’t turn around or respond, but guilt and shame hit her in the face along with the frigid temps as she left the store.

“Would you care to make a donation to We’re Rollin’?”

Glancing to her right, Mavis saw a young woman bundled against the cold seated at a table.  She was in a wheelchair, as was the older man next to her.

“Excuse me? We’re Rollin’? What’s that?”

“We’re a local nonprofit organization that provides free rides to medical appointments for seniors and the disabled.”

“Free?”

“Yes, ma’am. Not everyone can afford the fee-based transport services. They’re income-based and there are forms and a process applicants must go through. Many get denied because their monthly income is over the required limit, but full fares are still out of their reach.”

Mavis approached the table.

“Sounds like a good program but I’m sure you get taken advantage of.”

The old man laughed. “There’s always someone who going to game the system, young lady, but we know they’re outnumbered by good folks who need a service like this one. Even though they can’t afford fee-based rides, most folks always make a donation. They’re glad we’re here, so we never turn down anyone.”

The sincerity in his eyes brought a smile to Mavis’ face. “I’m sure your dedication is appreciated.” She pulled out her wallet.

“Thanks, young lady, but I owe this program to my wife, Marianne. She was a retired nurse and a doer—always lending a hand to someone somewhere—providing rides to doctor’s appointments and taking up collections to help someone meet their prescription copays.”

Mavis had lost count over the years of the prescriptions she put back on shelves because customers couldn’t afford them.

“Even after I lost my legs to diabetes, Marianne took care of me, our home, and half the neighborhood. She was something else. When I lost her five years ago, I didn’t think I could go on. I just sat in my house waiting to die. This story came on the news about the increase in local 911 calls because people didn’t have any other way to get medical help, and most of those folks were seniors and the disabled. I heard Marianne in my head saying, “So? What are you waiting for?” He laughed again. “In a month’s time, I had a van and a volunteer driver. After one year, we were a registered 501(c)(3) with three vans and more volunteers than we can use.”

Excited, the young woman finished the story. “Now we have eight vans and sponsorship from local businesses that take care of insurance and vehicle maintenance, but we still fund-raise to cover fuel expenses so rides are always available when needed.”

“And the name, We’re Rollin’, how did you come up with that?”

“It’s what Marianne said every time she got behind the wheel.”

The chains of grief eased their grip on Mavis’ heart. Ignoring the loose bills in her wallet, Mavis pulled out the two bills hidden behind her driver’s license. Unfolding them, she handed the bills to the young woman, whose eyes widened.

“Ma’am? All of this?”

Mavis winked at the old man. “Yes, for Marianne.”

She dropped the two one-hundred-dollar bills into a money pouch, then reached for candy canes to show their thanks. But the old man stilled her hand, and instead handed Mavis a red envelope.

“Merry Christmas to you, young lady, and thank you.”

She accepted the envelope. “You’re welcome and Merry Christmas to you both.”

Mavis headed to her car, her steps a little lighter, her mind not as weary.

She wasted no time starting the SUV and turning the heat up to high. As she waited for warmth, Mavis opened the red envelope and pulled out a Christmas card.

The photo on the front showed a group of smiling people posed around a Christmas tree. In the center of the group was the old man in the wheelchair.

“Merry Christmas from Mitchell Pierce and the dedicated volunteers of We’re Rollin’!”

She opened the card and one side read, “May the joy and warmth of this holiday season be with you now and always”, and the opposite side had three linked candy canes and above them were the words, “Peace, Love, Joy.”

Tears erupted from Mavis Landry… and she leaned her head back and let them flow.

Clutching the card to her chest, Mavis didn’t cry for her brother and parents, but she cried for what she’d allowed her loss to steal from her. She cried because she’d forgotten the joy and peace of mind that came from love of family. She cried because she’d allowed her grief to blind her to all the good around… and inside her.

Wiping her eyes, Mavis knew she had to do better… try harder, and she headed home, grateful for meeting an old man who’d found strength in his grief to help others.

James.

She glanced at her watch.

It was getting late and traffic would be heavy in all directions. She had no right to call James and ask him to make the trip down, but she could go to him. All he’d ever done was love her and stand by her side and she’d pushed him away. James had proven the kind of man he was and what Mavis meant to him, now she had to step up and do the same… and pray she hadn’t lost him.

Pulling into the Landry driveway, Mavis felt joy for the first time in months.

James stepped out of his Range Rover and walked to her car as she jumped out.

“I know you said you needed to be alone, but I needed to be with you more.”

He didn’t have time to say anymore. Mavis launched her body at him and they fell over into a snowbank.

She covered his face in kisses, all the while apologizing for blocking him out and not considering his feelings.

He kissed her then stroked her cheek. “Mavis, why are we laying in the snow?”

She giggled as he stood and pulled her up, but realization dawned on her when she glanced at her watch.

Grabbing James hand, she dragged him toward her SUV. “C’mon! We have forty-six minutes before stores close and there’s nothing in the house for Christmas dinner.”

James laughed, stopping Mavis in her tracks.

Leading her to the back of the Range Rover, he opened the hatch and she was floored by the bags of food. He even brought firewood.

“I kind of figured you’d try to get through the holidays on pizza rolls and coffee.”

Mavis bit her lip, remembering the two bags of pizza rolls she’d just bought.

He shook his head laughing. “Let’s get this stuff inside. We’ve got a tree to decorate.”

“Tree?”

James pointed toward the front door and she saw a large, bound Douglas Fir leaning against the door. When she glanced back, he was already filling his hands with bags and Mavis joined him.

After everything was inside—including the pizza rolls—James went to work building a fire.

In the kitchen, Mavis emptied shopping bags, in awe of James’ attention to detail. There were even bottles of champagne for New Year’s.

She hadn’t lost her chance and she wasn’t alone.

Mavis had a sudden need to be close to James. Abandoning the groceries, she headed for the living room.

Her steps slowed in the hallway. She’d almost trapped herself in a dark place, consumed with all she’d lost. She caused herself pain by hanging onto nonexistent ghosts instead of letting go and reaching for what was right in front of her.

Michael and their parents loved her and that’s what she needed to show. People needed to see them live on in her and through her.

James had a fire going and was opening boxes of decorations when Mavis entered the room.

Kneeling at his side, Mavis opened a tote. Her chest tightened but a smile graced her lips as she pulled out the mahogany box. It contained one of Carol Landry’s most treasured decorations, a gift from her mother-in-law, Granny Helen when Mavis was still in her teens.

Opening the box, Mavis ran her fingers over the inscription on the mirrored candle tray’s edges and knew she would be okay.

James looked over at what she was holding. “What’s that?”

“Wise words I’d forgotten.” She held it up for him to read the words that held so much meaning for her this year.

“Christmas is about family; family is about love. Rejoice in Love.”

~~~

 

©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

Song Lyric Sunday | “I Want to Take You Higher” – Sly & the Family Stone

Song Lyric Sunday banner

Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

The theme for Song Lyric Sunday this week is “take/taking.” 

 ~~~~~

Unlike most of the other tracks on their 1969 album, Stand!, Sly and the Family Stone’s I Want to Take You Higher is not a message song; instead, it is simply dedicated to music and the feeling one gets from music and is a highlight of the psychedelic era in tune, instrumentation, and lyrics.

Released three months prior to the legendary music concert, Woodstock, I Want to Take You Higher was just one of the group’s stellar performances during the four-day event in the Catskill Mountains in August of 1969.

The crazy video is a live performance from the Mike Douglas Show in 1974.

Enjoy!

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

~~~~~

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.

I Wan to Take You Higher

by Sly and the Family Stone

#52weeks52stories “…a time to every purpose under heaven”

Every Purpose banner

~~~

#52weeks52stories: Week 43

Word prompt: superhero

Word count – 2180

Reading time – 7:07

~~~

Being a superhero had its off-days.

Setting the city bus filled with passengers down in the center of the street, Dex winced at the sharp pain in his right hip.

Shaking off the discomfort, he approached the mangled guard rail. Gripping the jagged, twisted metal, Dex pulled the ends together and squeezed them tight within his fist, creating a seal better than any welder.

Dex found it difficult to open his clenched fist and release the railing. He rubbed his fingers over the knuckles on his right hand.

Dex couldn’t remember the last time he felt pain.

Well, he could but it wasn’t important. He turned and approached the bus passengers gathered outside the bus. They cheered and called out his name, some with tear-stained cheeks.

They loved their hero.

Tilting his head to the left, Dex heard the sirens of the first responders.

After finding no injured passengers, Dex assured the frazzled bus driver help was moments away.

He waved to the crowd and turned to leave when a blue-haired senior citizen stepped away from the crowd, calling his name.

“MegaDex?”

Puffing out his chest, Dex flashed his winning smile. “Yes, madam? How may I help you?”

She walked right up to him, her movements agile and fluid for a woman of her years. Standing on tip-toes, she reached up and cupped his cheek.

“Young man, are you okay?”

His eyes widened in surprise. “Yes, ma’am.” He pointed at his chest. “MegaDex, remember? Nothing can hurt me.”

“Yes, dear. I know your personal superhero mantra, it’s just…” Her voice trailed off.

“Ma’am? You were saying?”

“Well, it’s just my Harold had that same look in his eyes you have… right before he got sick.”

Dex’s heart went out to the old woman. Her husband was ill, and she was seeing sickness everywhere. He took one of her frail hands into both of his.

“I’m sorry your Harold is under the weather, ma’am, but I assure you I’m fine.”

“Oh no, dear, he isn’t sick, Harold died ten years ago.”

Her response shook him and he heard conversations in his head from long ago but pushed them away from the front of his mind.

“I’m sure the two of you enjoyed a wonderful life together, but I can’t even catch a cold. MegaDex is fine, but I am touched by your concern.”

She smiled as she flipped her hand over in his and squeezed, but it was sadness he saw in her eyes.

“Take care, dear.”

He watched her walk away to rejoin the others waiting for first responders.

The gentlewoman stopped, turned her head and spoke over her shoulder. “But I know that look when I see it. I’ll never forget it.”

She disappeared into the crowd as unease settled in the pit of his stomach like a rock.

Dex saw the news station helicopters before he heard them and his inner turmoil grew.

Not wanting another microphone shoved in his face by an over-eager reporter looking for the big story, Dex turned to leave the scene.

Instead of being satisfied with saving several lives from disaster, Dex’s mind hummed with confusion.

I heard the first responders when they were still six miles away. I heard the old woman’s soft voice, and she was twenty-five yards away.

How did the helicopters get right on top of me before I knew they were here? It had to be the old woman. I was thrown off and unfocused.

Dex was moved. Her concern appeared to be genuine, and it had been a long time since anyone had cared about Dexter Richard Jacobs.

He smiled remembering she’d called him young man and wondered how she’d gotten that wrong. Everyone knew MegaDex was the oldest living human.

If he was still human.

Convinced his creation was ready, Earlie McGinty asked Dexter Jacobs to grab a pair of his dungarees from the clothesline for testing.

Just as Dexter opened the door to the workshop behind Earlie’s barn and stepped back inside, he heard Earlie laughing with his two brothers. “How could I forget the secret ingredient?”

Earlie held a jar of red liquid over the boiling vat and poured.

And Dex walked through hell.

The blast of the explosion doused him in Earlie’s secret formula and blew him into the far wall. He crumpled to the floor in a heap. A deafening cacophony of bells blared through Dexter’s brain bringing with it a wave of nausea. Dexter clamped his hands over ears and cried out at the pain the movement caused. Something wet caused his hand to slip off his ear and Dexter stared at his hand for several seconds trying to focus before realizing it was blood. His blood.

The ringing in his ears died down only to be replaced by screams.

Still unable to stand, Dexter propped himself on one arm and looked across the room. He froze in horror. The three McGinty brothers twirled in circles and writhed on the floor… engulfed in flames.

A second explosion blew out the wall near the vat and took one of the brothers with it.

Dexter leaned over, emptying the contents of his stomach in violent heaves.

He caught one last glance at the angry flames dancing toward him then passed out.

Dexter awoke thirteen days later in a hospital bed surrounded by faces hidden under surgical masks.

He stared back at the eyes full of curiosity and what appeared to be surprise. When his eyes found the lone female eyes in the room, Dexter relaxed. They belonged to his wife, Janet.

“How are you even alive?”

The question didn’t come from Janet but a tall, bearded man next to her.

He considered the man. “I don’t understand.”

Janet Jacobs gripped her husband’s hand as the man recounted the last thirteen days to Dexter Jacobs.

The McGinty workshop burned to the ground. Even the bones of Earlie and Elliott were little more than charred ash. Brass buttons on his coat identified oldest brother, Eason, blown through the wall by the blast.

Janet told the authorities her husband was headed to the McGinty’s when he left home earlier that day, so they assumed Dexter had perished with the brothers.

However, four days later, after the site had cooled, volunteers went through the debris searching for clues to the explosion… and something for the McGinty widows to bury.

Moving a large mangled section of the tin roof, workers screamed for the coroner several yards away supervising the packaging of bone fragments.

Dexter Jacobs was found… alive. Other than singe marks on the cuffs of his pants, Dexter showed no signs of being in a fire.

The year was 1865.

Dex reached his Kawasaki Ninja H2R but paused before mounting the powerful machine. Bitterness mixed with regret consumed him. The memories of all the years he was studied and tested, all the questions about what Earlie was working on and if it was a weapon, of all the time spent away from Janet and the boys caused Dex to bury his face in his hands.

When Dex’s condition couldn’t be explained, doctors gave up and researchers stepped up efforts to duplicate Dex… make more men like him. They were never successful, and more men showed up wanting to send him on missions for the good of his country.

Dex had enough and walked away. His strength had increased to immeasurable levels and efforts to stop Dex from leaving… by any means necessary, failed.

He tried to live a quiet life, returning to the profession of his father and opening a small lumber mill. But there were always shadowy figures around, lurking and watching. Some even approached him with satchels of cash, and others with threats against his family. He made it known any harm to his family would bring devastation no one wanted… or could stop.

Dex’s family had been his pride and joy. His boys, Rowan and Maynard, grew into fine young men who attended college and distinguished themselves. Janet was his rock, supporting his decisions in his new life. When Dex was inundated with offers, requests, and threats, it was Janet Jacobs who stood at the front door and dared anyone to cross the threshold.

In a newspaper interview, Dex said while Earlie’s concoction had changed him biologically, his true strength came from his wife who was a force of nature all her own.

Which is why it was even more heartbreaking when Dex and Janet, at last, broached the subject they’d both been avoiding.

Janet was aging—as she should—but Dex wasn’t.

The years passed and Dex watched his sons marry and become fathers—as his wife looked first more like his mother, then his grandmother.

Janet tried to send Dex away to start a new life, but the thought horrified him. He could not leave the woman who had been a part of his heart since he’d first laid his fourteen-year-old eyes on her at the county fishing contest—the only girl to enter.

He would never leave her side.

And so it was in his arms Janet died on the morning of April 18, 1906, her seventy-fifth birthday.

Dex could only shake his head days later when he learned his beloved Janet passed away at almost the same moment an earthquake devastated San Francisco and northern California.

One force of nature unleashed as another was extinguished.

He mourned with his boys but it wasn’t easy. They were aging too.

He lost them both before Hitler invaded Poland.

Dex’s three granddaughters were now grandmothers. He stopped calling them and dropping by twenty years ago. What was the point? He had all these powers that were useless to save those he loved most. He couldn’t watch another generation die.

He lived as a recluse, selling lumber from his property, only venturing to the city for supplies.

Returning from one of his trips into town, Dex came upon a flurry of activity at the Hadley farm. He slowed his old Ford pickup and figured out they were trying to upright an overturned tractor.

Not wanting to interact with people, Dex moved his foot from the brake to the accelerator but his conscious stopped him. Pulling over and parking the truck, Dex headed into the field.

No one saw him approach. Four men and two young boys called out to each other as they positioned two-by-fours under the tractor. Miriam Hadley stood on the edge of the commotion crying. When Dex reached the tractor, he understood.

Both Jonas Hadley’s legs were pinned beneath the tractor.

In one move, Dex lifted the tractor and set it down several feet away. When he turned the men and boys all stared at him, their mouths agape—then they cheered.

But Miriam was on the ground next to Jonas, her arms wrapped around his neck, still crying.

Despite his obvious pain, Dex watched the man lift his hand to pat his wife’s arm, comforting her.

He found his mission that day. His calling, his purpose.

Jonas made a full recovery and went back to working his fields with only a slight limp. He and Miriam added two more children to their family.

Dexter Richard Jacobs sold his lumber mill and moved to the city.

Sitting on his front porch, Dex focused his hearing, listening for accidents, explosions, fights, and calls for help.

It wasn’t the praise and hero-worship that motivated and spurred Dex on and it wasn’t simply saving lives.

Everyone had someone waiting for them somewhere and he didn’t want them robbed of time together.

Dexter Richard Jacobs became MegaDex, superhero to all, for love of family… and the loss of his own.

He mounted the bike, wincing again at the hip pain.

Those people with clipboards and test tubes and medals on their chests all those years ago had part of it right.

Earlie McGinty’s formula was intended for the military, but not as a weapon, because if it worked, he’d also planned to approach the garment industry, and farmers, law enforcement, firemen—anyone who wore a uniform.

After his wife’s many complaints about the endless mending of work clothes, Earlie, infamous in the county for his tinkering and crazy inventions, only sought a way to make fabric more durable and lasting.

Dex wished he could tell Earlie his invention worked… on him.

He fired up the engine but instead of riding off, Dex looked over his shoulder.

Back up the road, the scene was much calmer and shuttles had arrived to get the passengers to their loved ones.

But she was still there, standing apart from the crowd again, as though she’d been watching him the entire time.

She waved, and he returned the wave, then turned the bike toward the mountains and his secret retreat.

Her words ran through his mind.

“But I know that look when I see it. I’ll never forget it.”

He thought of his new aches and pains and all the human things happening to him.

Earlie’s formula had made him durable and long-lasting.

But nothing lasts forever.

~~~

 

©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

Song Lyric Sunday | “Give You My Heart” – Babyface & Toni Braxton

Song Lyric Sunday banner

Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

The theme for Song Lyric Sunday this week is “give/giving.” 

 ~~~~~

Recorded by R&B singers Babyface and Toni Braxton, Give you My Heart was part of the soundtrack for the 1992 film, Boomerang, starring Eddie Murphy and Halle Berry. The collaboration was released as a single the same year, reaching #29 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #2 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart (behind another song from the Boomerang soundtrack, Boyz II Men’s End of the Road).

The song can be found on two of Braxton’s greatest-hits albums, 2003’s Ultimate Toni Braxton and 2007’s The Essential Toni Braxton, and as a B-side on some editions of her 1993 single Another Sad Love Song.

The upscale R&B Remix version is played during the end credits of Boomerang.

Enjoy!

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

~~~~~

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.

Give You My Heart

by Babyface & Toni Braxton

#52weeks52stories “Like Minds”

Like Minds banner

~~~

#52weeks52stories: Week 42

Word prompt: schizophrenia

Word count – 1313

Reading time – 6 mins

~~~

Anna Furlong was a weirdo.

At least, that’s what she’d been called for most of her thirty-seven years.

Sometimes people were kind and referred to her as offbeat or quirky, but no one had any use for kindness or manners in the new social climes. Taunts of kooky, strange and crazy no longer fazed her.

Anna knew she was special. Her Aunt Sadie told her so… right before the family had her aunt committed to a mental institution. Sadie Preston was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic with a high probability of being a danger to herself and others.

Anna’s thirteen-year-old heart broke watching her beloved aunt sit in the straight-back chair in the corner of the family room while her parents, Tarla and Deacon Furlong, gathered the few things Sadie was allowed to take with her.

Motionless as a Greek statue, Sadie did turn her head when Anna stepped on that one squeaky floorboard across the doorway.

The stone face disappeared, replaced by the sparkling eyes and the mischievous grin Anna loved so much.

They held each other’s gaze for only seconds before Sadie held out her hand to the young girl.

Anna rushed to her aunt, wrapping her arms around her neck.

“I was hoping I’d see you before I left, Anna-banana.”

“I don’t want you to go, Sadie-milady.”

“There’s nothing can be done about that now, child. I doubt they’ll bring you to visit me, so never forget how much I love you. You are the daughter I was never blessed with.”

Anna pulled away, her face wet with tears. “I don’t care what they say, milady, you’re not crazy as a road lizard.”

Sadie chuckled and swiped at the tears on Anna’s cheeks with her thumb. “I see my brother-in-law still isn’t shy about sharing his opinion of me.” Her smile faded. “Anna, I am sick -”

Anna tried to protest.

“No, let me finish. I’m sick and everyone knows it, even you, Anna-banana -”

“But, milady -”

“Please, child, hush. We don’t have much time. I’m not going away because I’m dangerous. They’re locking me away because I’m an embarrassment. The old pills don’t work for me anymore, Anna, and I need such high dosages of the new pills I can’t think, can’t function, so I stopped taking them.”

Images of her aunt arguing and railing at voices only she could hear flashed through Anna’s mind.

“Ever since I turned twenty-three, I haven’t been quite right in the head, but it’s not only me, Anna..” She grasped both of Anna’s hands and pulled her close. “Several of the women in our family have dealt with or are dealing with different levels of schizophrenia. As far as we can tell, it began with your great-grandmother—the one you were named after—Anna Preston.”

Anna stiffened in horror and tried to pull away from her aunt, but Sadie held on.

“I know this is a shock, baby, but you have to listen. I left a journal in your closet under the black shoe box. It contains some of our history… of those of us who are… sick. Your great-grandma, her cousin, Bertha, Bertha’s daughter, Lois Jean, me… and your mother.”

Anna’s face crumpled. “Mama? I don’t understand, milady. Please -”

“I wish I had the time, Anna-banana, but you must read the journal, and don’t let your mother see you with it. I told her I burned it by mistake twelve years ago.”

“I’m scared, Auntie.”

“I am too, baby. I wish your mother had talked you last summer when you complained of headaches and hearing voices. But, she’s lived in denial most of our lives and said you were too young for it to be schizophrenia. When you didn’t say anything else about hearing voices I thought she was right.”

Anna averted her eyes and her aunt shook her. “Anna, no! It did happen again, didn’t it?”

She turned back to her aunt as her eyes welled with tears again. One simple nod caused the tears to spill, leaving new tracks on her face.

Sadie pulled her into a tight hug. “I’m so sorry, baby. So, so sorry. I hoped and prayed this ugly thing would never touch you.”

She paused, hearing footsteps in the upstairs hallway.

“We’re out of time, Anna. Promise me you’ll read the journal. Promise me!”

The lump in her throat made speaking impossible right then and another nod was all she could muster.

“It’s time, Sadie.”

They both turned to see Deacon Furlong’s massive frame fill the doorway.

Sadie averted her eyes as the voices told her Deacon was Satan intent on killing them all and she had to kill him first. To stay safe. To keep Anna safe. Instead, she shook her head and stood, pulling her beloved niece into another tight embrace.

“I love you, Anna Rose Furlong. Never forget that.”

She released her niece and strode across the room with her head held high. She pushed past her brother-in-law in the doorway without a word and walked out the front door to the car.

***

Anna closed the journal.

Now in her possession for over twenty-five years, she’d had the family keepsake longer than any other family member.

She caressed the dark burgundy flowers hand painted on the thick fabric cover. This beautiful book held the story of her family and its joy and celebrations, births and losses from three different centuries.

It also bears witness to the anguish and cost of mental illness to women with like minds and tortured souls.

From Anna Preston who was seen as fragile and eccentric and lived most of her life on her own terms, to her cousin, Bertha Riley Williams who never acknowledged her illness and lived life in a riotous circle of confinements to prisons and mental institutions until drinking herself to death before her sixtieth birthday.

Bertha’s daughter, Lois Jean, took her own life after her diagnosis of schizophrenia and the man she loved walked away.

Anna’s mother, Tarla Furlong, with a few exceptions, lived a normal life on medications that affected everything from her temperament to her weight. But her need to control and fear of being ostracized ensured Tarla never missed a pill right up until her death last year.

Unlike her sister, Sadie Preston, who grew weary of higher and higher dosages just to be normal and gave in to the mania… and lost her freedom. The irony was that after Sadie’s committal, she was medicated every single day, only showing the presence of mind during Anna’s visits.

After Sadie was sent away, it took another eight years for the disorder to fully manifest itself in Anna. Because she had the misfortune of finding doctors who believed in less traditional medicines and more homeopathic treatments, it took another two years for Anna to find new doctors and have a manageable life.

She finished college with a degree in library sciences.

She met a man and they planned to marry, but his family didn’t rest until they’d torn the couple apart.

Always upfront about her illness, Anna had a small supportive group of friends who made the taunts and shunning from others bearable.

And she had milady, never missing a weekly visit in seventeen years.

But there would be no more visits. With only Anna at the graveside, Sadie was laid to rest yesterday morning.

And now Anna was not only alone, but she was also the last family member diagnosed with schizophrenia. She had five distant female cousins who were living happy, healthy lives. While men aren’t immune to the disorder, none in her family had ever shown any signs.

Folding the journal in her arms, she hugged it one last time then slid it into the desk drawer.

Anna hadn’t decided which cousin she’d pass the journal on to but it would be passed on because life goes on.

~~~

 

©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved