Wednesday, July 20, 2016

STORYTIME BLOG HOP – JULY 27TH, 2016 - THE DAY THE CAT GOT OUT                                       




*This is part of my “Nebraska Creepers” serial novel I've been working on. I want it to be able to work as a stand-alone, or be able to be read in one sitting. This is just an amusing little incident that occurred circa 2014 – 2016. People in later years, weren't rightly sure, because some didn't want to admit what they had seen and others claimed that they had not only been there, but had front-and-center seats; so many in fact, that, like Bob Seeger, who grew up in Ann Arbor, and shared his gym locker with 428,742 claimants, the number of people approached nearly the sum total of half of New-New Tampa, or roughly 578,943. It absolutely beggared belief.


Since his retirement, Paco had spent the sunnier and cooler part of the spring and late fall playing dominos in the old Brorein Park on the now-defunct part of Nebraska Avenue. Since the last and final election and Presidency of the United States, and ensuing Civil War, personal vehicles were banned, and public transportation was limited, although Paco didn't have anything to complain about. He enjoyed his time at the park, and loved talking to the younger folks who came to watch the Domino games and kibbitz. Public schooling was no longer a thing, but it really didn't seem to affect the kids; most are by nature, curious and enjoy learning. The time had come in which the social fabric had pretty much broken down completely, and frankly, Paco and his contemporaries felt the world was better off for it. Reliance on one another proved not to be such a bad thing, so, when the kids were around and asking questions about the math of Dominos, or begging for stories from the “before the War” times, Paco and his pals were happy to engage with them.

The one story they seemed to want to always hear about that had reached some legend or mythic status, was the one, everyone called “The Day the Cat Got Out”, but no one who actually was there, was really certain about what it was they had seen. Perhaps this was part of the fun and mystery of it all. It always led to a certain amount of speculation and stories that became whoppers. Such are all myths and legends started; albeit with a trace of truth at the heart of it.


The facts are these: one late night in October, not too long before Halloween, a woman, who had been living quietly on her own, with her aged cat, suddenly, burst out of her house, clad in black, like a Ninja Warrior, with the exception of wearing a tail and something that looked suspiciously like cat ears and whiskers, for a mask, and ran up the middle of her street, at oh say, around 1 a.m. It was surmised that she did so, because she didn't want to be observed. However, dis was da 'hood, and 1 a.m. may as well have been noon. As she ran down the street, her spine began to elongate, as did her heels on the backs and the claws on the front of her feet. She then began to run on all fours, and gained terrific speed. Startled neighbors and the local ne'er do wells, began to chase the creature, who didn't really seem to be going anywhere in particular.

Shouts of “It's a panther! A shape-shifter! I'ma shoot it!” were heard. The first round of gunfire was heard and the big cat took a quick veer to the right, a pack of people running right behind it. The big cat took a huge leap to try and jump upon a roof to get away from all of the activity and the gunfire, but missed by a foot and slid all the way down the side of the house, and left gouges in the side of the house in its wake.

Desperate, the cat attempted another leap from a sitting position and it's powerful leg muscles made the leap gracefully and nailed a solid landing on the roof. It turned around and sat, facing her adversaries, glowering. Said adversaries, now quiet, looked back. The cat lowered her head, looked at them furiously, and with a surprisingly orotund growl said “You idiots, I am your Super Hero! Knock it off with trying to kill me! This is my Trial Period on the Suit. If it doesn't work, I need to get a new one made! If ya put a hole in it, it invalidates the warranty!”

The cat then turned and ran gracefully off over the rooftops and disappeared. She was never seen again that obviously, but there were glimpses, and there was a noticeable drop in the high crime rate around the area.


This was the tale that Paco always tried to tell the kids, but over the years, (nearly forty of them!) the tale had transmogrified and become something epic, akin to something Thor-like coming down from the Heavens and single-handedly cleaning up the 'hood.

Paco would always shake his head and say, “No, it weren't like that, guys. She was a real flesh-and-blood human being who found out a way to use a bunch of techno Voo Doo to help her. She just a person, like you and me.”

One of the kids said, “I bet she was a alien! Or a ghost! Mebbe a shape-shifter!” Paco just shook his head. “Naw, man, she was a real person. I knew her. She bought her milk at my store. Did laundry right next to me at the Laundromat.”

The kids would look downcast and Paco would always relent; “well, maybe she did have a way about her. Who knows? There are more things unknown and unseen, here on heaven and earth. Sometimes, I still see her, sittin' watch on the roof... You could be right, although that would make her the most agile 110 year old I ever saw!”

This always made the kids happy for some reason, and really, why bust a kid's harmless dreams?                                                                       


Karen Lynn Dragon Smoke and Wind 
Katharina Gerlach Lobster One 
S. R. Olson Malakai's Gift 
Wendy Smyer Yu Into The Light 
Barbara Lund Separate Space 
Shana Blueming A Melting Heart 
Juneta Key Don't Drink The Water 
Angela Wooldridge Midwinter Lee Lowery All Aboard 
Elizabeth McCleary OverWhelmed

Tuesday, July 5, 2016


A few weeks ago, Alex Cavanaugh sent around an email to all #IWSG participants and suggested that he was going to “spice things up a bit” by asking a question for all of us to answer during the following month's check-in and for his first question, he picked a good one: “What's the best thing anyone has ever said about your writing?”

I have a great answer and it was also said to me by my mentor regarding my viola playing and it's quite an achievement, I think. But, before I answer it, I have to kind of explain the process of getting there.

We all start out learning the basics; what's excepted in music and writing and what is strictly forbidden. We learn the rules and build a foundation upon which to build our craft. Once we've done that, we then look to, or read other people that we admire and study their technique and we sort of pick and choose what we like about their practicing of their particular art, and discard what we don't care for.

We're starting to come into our own as individual artists and we start going down paths to see what works and what sucks. I've been down many a horrid path, before finding my way back to some kind of gold standard that works, yet still allows me to be me. My viola mentor worked with me one summer on the William Walton Viola Concerto, when I first came to Florida, and he had me change some of the fundamental ways I was playing and it freed me up and allowed me to express myself in ways I hadn't done before. I became a much better player and got out of my own way. When we finished at the end of the summer and I went through a run of the piece, he nodded his head, pleased. He said, “you took that piece and made it your own.” This is high praise. It wasn't William Primrose's Walton Viola Concerto, Or Patty McCarty's; it was MINE. Thank you, Ben. We worked hard on that!

This past April when we were doing the #A-to-Z Challenge, I wrote what I thought was just a little throw-away piece on the crazy entrepreneurs that pop up around here like Mayflies and disappear just as quickly. That piece can be found here. I was reading the comments, and Eden Mabee said, “Coming back here and reading these snippets in your distinctive and powerful voice reminds me of one of the real joys of blogging, Mary. Thank you.” I was just blown away. I write much the way I speak and think and often times I'm not sure I know where one leaves off and the other begins. But, again, I consider it high praise, because I've practiced enough writing/blogging and just fooling around with ideas that I'm not ill-at-ease, nor do I feel stilted or phony with it. It just happens; I'm a better “pantser” then I am a planner and all of that. But, I never realized that other people would see it as a powerful voice; I am so grateful for that; thank you, Eden!

So, to Eden and Ben, I thank you both for the love and encouragement you both have given me. I enjoy both playing and writing and am so fortunate to have the best of both worlds! 
This is being published rather early, as I will be in Clinical Research all day tomorrow and at the Dentist most of the day on Thursday. I will be reading y'all's blog posts on Friday sometime. Have a Happy July #IWSG!