I Smell A Rat #newcago #horticulture #pandemic #flashfiction #reading

 

New Cago was not a very cultured metropolis before the epi & pan demic. Kids were shoving things up their noses or in their veins. It made sense that there was no room for something for the mind to synthesize.

Then the libraries were closed. So most people read their cereal box for entertainment. But Lily kept a lovely assortment of classical and tasteful books.

Her favorite subject was horticulture.

I could read it and be out like a light at the end of a shift.

But after she died, I started noticing her hand writing and circles in the margins.

Hard not to notice what she had been researching before the wild fire epidemic.

Lil, this is bizarre- the night after you died circles started to appear in red.

One of her notes, ” good if given early but a little too much and they won’t wake up – ever.”

Another had lines through it and question marks. “I know this should work but I’m not seeing the results…” and another comment “why is this only working on a few people????”

And another one that rose the hairs on my back it read more like a sci-fi. “Subject should have demonstrated signs of immunity. I inoculated myself at the same time. If my research is correct, he will start to exhibit…”

“Oh Lil.   OH LIL!!!” I took my head and my hands wondering again if her research was the cause of her death.

“Death” some days it sounded so peaceful.

“Sam. Sam.” I heard a pounding on the steel grate of the door.

“Yeah coming. Hey Peely.” Here was the one good kid in the neighborhood.

“This is for you.”The errand boy that we were both so fond of handed me a box. Our eyes looked at each other then at the brown square.

I opened the box. It was that hat with rounded corners. “I’ve been looking at this for months.” The card underneath was in her handwriting.

“Peel, ya know what I hate most about this town?”

“Yeah Sam, I know. It’s so damned lonely.”

“and unpredictable.” My head felt like a pinball machine with the silver ball hitting every bumper and bell possible.

I looked in the envelope flap and saw the four names with the same prefix: R-A-T.

And that’s where we will start at cleaning up this mess Lil.’

 

Okay you caught me chasing a pandemic. I’m blogging about elderly issues, but sometimes I get sidetracked.

Reading is important for the elderly. One 90 year old (with Alzheimers) is reading one of his many favorites: a biography about Einstein. The only thing I can understand is the title and the pictures.

Keeping the mind engaged through reading and even the visuals in books is important. We can create new pathways even in an old brain.

 

How do you keep your mind active???

 

 

I’m revamping a Noir crime series I wrote in 2013. The story centered around crime in a metropolis called New Cago but the main antagonist was a deadly disease ( pandemic) lurking in dark corners. If you like Noir and you have time to read come back for more in the days to come. The stories do stand alone so they can be read in any order.

An Old Dilemma part 1

An Old Dilemma part 2

Whats the worst that can happen

Someone Needs to Survive

Someone Needs to Survive #covid #newcago #flashfiction

“Find Broken Nose” the guy gasped.

“Never heard of him.”

The guy grabbed my collar and pulled me close to his lips. “Get my kid brother outta this cesspool.  His real name is Gregory. He looks like me just younger.” The mic said as his number came up.

“Do I really need to pull this mask off to see what your brother is gonna look like?” I snapped on my stretched out latex gloves and pulled my cloth mask on.

“Lily, how do I get myself in these situations?”A breeze nudged past me; on it was her fragrance. “Lil, for you I’ll find the kid.”

I went to Buzz for info. That guy was as old as the boarded up hardware store.

“Sure at least I think it’s him. Only one I’ve ever met with that name.” I kept trying to put distance from the guy as Buzz leaned forward. “He’s not a little kid. He’s more like a sassy know it all.”

“Ok, ok just point me in the right direction.”

He was easy to find. Good thing cuz the mask did a good job of concealing his broken nose.

“It’s your brother’s.” I held up the watch as proof.

“Correction that was dad’s.” he snatched it out of my hand.

“I got a message for ya from your brother who died in my arms. Get out before its too late.”

“Too late already happened.” The kid hung his head “Ma died this morning. For some reason I’m immune.” I could hear the tears catch in his throat.

“I pulled out my wallet and gave him everything I had but a buck for coffee. There’s a bus at 3 be on it. Someone in your family needs to survive this…”

 

***

I’m revamping a noir crime series I wrote in 2013. The story centered around crime in a metropolis called NewCago but the main antagonist was a deadly disease lurking in dark corners. If you like Noir and you have time to read come back for more in the days to come. The stories do stand alone so they can be read in any order.

An Old Dilemma part 1

An Old Dilemma part 2

Whats the worst that can happen

 

What’s the Worst that can happen in Newcago? #newcago #noir #fiction #virus

 

 

It’s a messed up place full of crumpled and empty lives. Yeah there are some nice ones, but they are cowering cuz they’re afraid. They should be we’re in NewCago. She was the metropolis of the ages until something went wrong.

Now people know better than to go out after 6 at night,  even the cops.

As the clock chimes the hour in city hall, you can hear the clang of metal clad doors being closed and quadruple locked.

The fancy folks have doors that close without them even touching a thing. Lead bars  drop into feet of metal lined concrete. Our windows rattle from the collective thud.

I was getting antsy from being inside. I teased my girl, ” It’s like living in a coffin for half of our lives. Let’s go have some fun while everyone is inhaling the last of the day’s stagnant air behind bars. What’s the worst that can happen?”

“Sure Sammy, let’s go on the town for a change.” She put on her favorite shade of lipstick. It’s not like she needed anything to make her look pretty. She was a knock out without it.

So there we were linked arm and arm like kids.

“Having a good time?” She smiled as she wiped mustard off the corner of my mouth. I loved the way her eyes looked when she took a deep sip of soda from her straw and her laugh always made my heart skip.

“It’s always good with you, Sam.”  I noticed the catch in her voice; she sensed the motion first.

I felt her body tense and instinctively pulled her down against the wall.

I heard a shot. “We got lucky with that one.”

I looked at her usual steady gaze. The red wasn’t from her lipstick. She silently whispered sweet goodbyes but they were short. Too short.

“Lily, why this? Why now? You are…You were days away from a cure…

I SHOULD BE DEAD NOT YOU!!!”

It’s a messed up place full of crumpled, empty lives and I’m thrown into the cement mixer of black, white, and red.

I’m revamping a noir crime series I wrote in 2013. The story centered around crime but the main antagonist was a deadly disease lurking in dark corners. If you like Noir and you have time to read come back for more in the days to come.

This will take you back to the first installment “Life In New Cago Where Crime Never Sleeps

Alzheimers and Old Butcher Knives Part 2 #atozchallenge #elderly

“Millie came to visit…

The RAT never suspected. Never suspected a thing. Extra sugar can hide almost anything. The one thing my husband enjoyed was my home baked cookies.”

“Oh well. Thanks for your candor and for the cookie. I need to go now. Have a good day ma’am.”

I tried not to run off the unit as I spit into a hand-i-wipe what I could retrieve of the cookie.

***

“I was on a social call with your mother at the memory care unit.” I absently rubbed my hand through my cropped hair.

“How was mama today?”

“Uh, She was good. She gave me a cookie.”

“That’s nice. She changed her recipe; I stopped eating them.”

“Ahh well yes.” I felt my pulse and looked at my tongue in the mirror. ” Your mama mentioned Miss Millie. ”

“Aunt Millie… she and mama… were very close. They would always laugh about granmama’s favorite butcher knife. They said it was perfect for chickens. It hung in Millie’s kitchen.”

“Chickens??? Can you give me her contact information?”

“Millie’s? She’s in Raleigh.”

I sensed something stilted in her voice. Maybe she knew something.

“She’s in Mount Hope on Prospect… She’s been gone 7 years.”

I had started writing the address down. My eyes bugged out in surprise that my witness or suspect was dead. “How long?”

“7 years.”

“When did her husband die?”

“6 years ago from a heart attack.”

“Was she married before?”

” Umm, yes, but I don’t remember him. He ran off; no one ever saw him after that.”

I ripped the page out of my notepad. I realized people can say and think some mighty far fetched things.

Case Closed / Accidental Death was stamped on my report of a dead husband/ caregiver

 

 

Here’s a link to the first part of this post 

 

Today is day 2 of the A to Z challenge. The letter B

Most of my blogs will be info and anecdotes about the elderly.

I’d apply the letter B to elderly care this way:

Be kind

Be yourself

Be there for your family member

Be honest when you need a break.

Are you participating in the challenge?

What is your theme?

Any writing goals this year?

Alheimers and old butcher knives #short Story #atozchallenge

“Daddy was the main caregiver for mama who has had Alzheimer’s for several years. She never knows who I am when I visit. At home she always had a pattern: She would look out the window, get a plate and arrange some cookies,  sit on a chair and wait. She would do that three times. She then went to her room, turned on the light, took off her robe, crawled into bed and shut off the light. Daddy would shut the door and call “goodnight” through the door.”

“What was she waiting for?”

“I don’t know, but she never ate the cookies. I figured they were for someone else.”

***

The upscale Alzheimer’s ward was nice. That way children don’t feel guilty when they never visit.

She carried herself with such grace and was so polite.

“Would you like a cookie?” She held out a decorative plate.

“Yes, please. What was he like?” I asked her as I took a stale cookie from the plate.

“He’s a lady’s man. I knew that when we married. I thought he would settle down, he never did. He’s  better than Millie’s man though. Mama always told us ‘now girls the two best ways to keep your men in-line are with a sprinkle of that white stuff in sweet home baked cookies or the butcher knife that we keep sharp for the chickens’ necks.

“Hmm. uuuu”  I wrapped the remainder of the cookie in my napkin. I tried not to choke on the cookie in my throat.

“We knew no one would suspect two old gals.” Her smile was sincere as she fingered her strand of pearls.

“Did you ever want to use the butcher knife on your husband?” I was thinking as we talked that her mind seemed fairly clear.

“Certainly not! Millie had rat poison that she saved from daddy’s shed. She said rats came in all types and sizes.”

“Did you ever umm use it?”

 

Thanks for stopping by – you’ll have to come back tomorrow to read the finish of this flash fiction story for the letter B

 

 

 

 

***

 

Welcome to the A to Z Challenge where writers spend the month writing.

I presently work in Hospice and have a love for elderly people (I’m quickly becoming one)

Alzheimers is a hard diagnosis and as it’s constantly changing; its alot like Covid-19.

On the letter “D” I will discuss Dementia which presents in many ways like Alzheimers.

I have found with Alzheimers that a patient can have a little less stress with a few things in place:

Routine – offers stability when an Alzheimer patient feels like the floor has come out from underneath him. Getting up at the same time, eating at the same time helps the body and mind work together.

Diet – A good diet is essential and good fats (for the brain) need to be part of each day. With a generation that is used to non-fat everything this can be a challenge.

Exercise – taking safety into consideration exercise is key. Walking each day and doing some eye hand coordination exercises (make them fun) keep the mind and body in tune.

Safety – A patient can forget they are no longer an avid hiker or runner. Falls are an aged person’s worst nightmare. Identify risks before a fall can happen.

Activity – You patient will still enjoy activities that were once part of everyday life. One patient reads his book about Einstein everyday. He is more engaged in the pictures than the content but that book is an old friend.

Signs – you may laugh at this one but it worked. My male patient kept forgetting where the bathrooms in his house were. He would go in a corner of the garage or in the yard but he always could find the restroom at the store or a park. I put up a restroom sign with a picture of a man and an arrow pointing to his bathroom. it worked.

 

Most people have a family member or friend that has Alheimers. What have you seen that makes it easier to “live” with?

 

 

 

An Old Dilemma, New Crime #Newcago1 #fiction #disease

I inhale it every night before 6 – Courage (my dead lover’s not mine)

I looked at my watch.”5 pm time for the cops to crawl into hiding.” I chuckle. ” I don’t have the luxury of steel bars.”

A long banshee like scream bites into the last flicker of day and the night begins.

Decency’s doors are closed and it’s just me and the bad guys.

I threw the paper down. “Ramping up early?”

“I’ll try to stay decent baby.”

“I know you will Sam.” I heard her voice echo in my head as I inhaled her lily.

***

Another long night banging around in the trashcans of Newcago,  I needed a drink.

“A tall soda and a cheese steak at Tony’s sounds like the way to end a night.” I was the only company I kept these days.

I noticed the dame – she was a looker. I couldn’t get a read on the guy beneath the brim.

“Yeah, the regular,” I nodded. Sally and I go back to days when drinks came from the hose in the horse’s mouth.

I couldn’t help but hear dollface coughing then breathing hard. Her face turned blue in the matter of a minute.

Too late to call 911;  her beautiful lips were pinched and her brown eyes glazed over.

“The disease squad will be here soon,” I said under my breath.

When I looked back over, I noticed something was missing. The lout she was with had sprinted off. The sparkler around her wrist was no longer sparkling.

“Baby, Newcago is not like life on the farm…” I said to no one.  “Playing is for keeps.”

***

I pulled this series up from my 2013 archives. If you enjoy noir (more sepia) crime stories you might enjoy these as I breathe a bit of life through my Covid-19 protection gear into them.

 

 

If you were… #children #fiction

If you were a butterfly would you be friends with a lion???

I didn’t think so.

Personally,I wouldn’t either.  We know a lion who saved a butterfly while she was still in her chrysalis and she saw something about him that others didn’t.

Now this butterfly and (domesticated) lion go about the villages of Uganda teaching children.

If you listen closely, you might hear Judah roar. Don’t be afraid it is the only way a lion knows how to laugh.

Join us (Sean and Leslie) in 2019 as we write the story of the world where giraffes and orabi graze and children dance and sing in the village schools of Uganda.

 

The Lion and the Butterfly #poem

unlikely friends

need presses the issue

small sacrifice

generous rescuer

colourful child

king of all he sees

love conquers convention

our stories make children smile

 

What do a Ugandan cho and a la foufou have in common? They have found friendship in the Savanna when a lion rescues a helpless cocoon and gains a beautiful and loyal friend. The zoos and parks seem very responsible with their wildlife. This lioness will hopefully return to the wild when she is mature.baby elephant

motherless child

lake doesn’t claim this baby

large appetite

 

Poets United prompt today is Animals in recognition of World Animal Day

Stories in my head #poetry

golden fountain

spillway of imagination

words turbulent and frenzied

the hero anxious in the wings

 villain threatens with aplomb

a hushed sense of what’s next

blood and tears fall

innocence fleas the shadowed way

a woman saves the day

the sun rises all is well

time  is small in my hand

I brandish my weapon

 pen cuts through the marrow

***

Hours with sand and paint

dust particles tease the light

my mind writes

The prompt this week at Poet’s United is Conquest (or Conqueror). The writer holds so much in her hand – the pen a mighty weapon.

 

Space the final… #onewordprompt #fiction #amwriting

space shuttle

I packed my bags and my books

looking back my spaceship shook

always forward never back

all I need in my backpack

letting go of things behind

journey toward the edge of time

space was once the final frontier

but now its just a normal year

thrusters on toward dreams

looking forward to space ice cream

Today’s One Word Prompt  at WordPress – “Journey”