Not Any Balcony

The Bal
The Balcony in Verona

I, Friar Laurence, almost knew, even then, that this balcony would become famous after the story of the two star-crossed lovers became widely known. The families were reconciled by their children’s death and had agreed to end their violent feud but at a tremendous human cost.

The Montague and Capulet families had a long history of despising each other. But the turning point was that damn ball at the Capulet house. Romeo, in an effort to cure his depression over Rosaline, one of Capulet’s nieces, crashes the party. A relationship between a Montague’s son and a Capulet niece does not bode well. But Romeo compounds this shaky ground by meeting and immediately falling in love with Juliet.

I told Romeo there could be dire consequences from a meeting like this. Why stir the pot? Let the families work out their differences without you adding fuel to this toxic environment. But did he listen to me? No! Bastard fool that he is. Then he slinks into the Capulet’s orchard and guess what he finds there? You guessed it–Juliet! In spite of her family’s hatred for the Montagues she is wailing like a little girl from that balcony about how she loves him! The fool can’t just hide in the bushes in the orchard and watch from afar, no he has to jump out and proposes marriage to her. And she agrees!

Both Romeo and Juliet appear at my doorstep and ask me to marry them. I had only hoped to reconcile the two families through their union and I did secretly marry them the next day.

In just a couple of weeks Juliet comes to me for help after relating what has happened since I married her to Romeo. After hearing her story I was in a different community within this providence of Verona. After all, as a Frier I have been called to live the evangelical counsels (vows of poverty, chastity and obedience) in service to a community and after hearing Juliet’s story I wish I had not got involved in this mess.

She tells a story of Romeo being challenged to a duel, refusing to fight, someone accepting the duel on Romeo’s behalf, Romeo killing Tybalt, who is Juliet’s cousin. Romeo being exiled from Verona, with the threat of execution upon his return. Romeo consummating their marriage. Her father Capulet ordering her to marry someone else. When she refuses her mother rejects her.

Lord in your mercy, here my prayer! What advice can I, a lowly Frier, give her? Ah…I have a solution. I will give her a drug that will put her into a deathlike coma for just under two days and I will send a messenger to inform Romeo of the plan and then he can rejoin her when she awakens. We agree on the plan.

That’s the last time I saw Juliet.

I have since learned that not everything went according to our plan. The damn messenger does not reach Romeo to inform him of the plan. Instead Romeo learns of Juliet’s apparent death from his servant. Then Romeo does a very stupid thing, not the first stupid thing but the most damning. The fool goes to the drug store and buys some poison. And this is where (if not before) it gets really weird. Romeo drinks the poison (silly fool) and then Juliet awakens and, finding Romeo dead, stabs herself with his dagger.

This will be my last look at that balcony before I head to my new providence in Milan. Hopefully a much quieter one. Rest in peace Romeo and Juliet.

Her Memory Has Escaped. Please Help!


They were on their dream vacation. A trip to Egypt. The trip included stops at Cairo, Luxor Temples, Karnac Temples, Valley of the Kings, and Abu Simbel Temples.

The part of the tour he was excited about was the boat trip up the Nile just relaxing on the top deck by the pool, getting caught up on some of his reading, and just generally meeting new people.

As they were preparing for dinner he turned to his wife and said “What’s the name of the couple we are sitting with at dinner tonight?”

His wife responded “I can’t remember, my memory has escaped me.”

Alarmed he turned to her and said with a straight face “Do you think we should go and try to find it?”

“What,” she said?

“Well, your memory is a terrible thing to lose. We MUST find it! I’ll inform the Captain of your loss and he can announce it over the PA system alerting everyone to be on the lookout for your memory, he said.”

“And I will notify the NSA as they keep track of everything today,” he added.

“What the hell are you talking about, she said.”

“I think dear, you meant to say “It escapes my memory, not my memory has escaped me,” he replied.

“Whatever”, she said.

A Proposal

A Proposal
A Proposal

He wanted it to be very private. It was something he had been thinking about for a long time. He wanted it to be a surprise. This would be difficult considering that this was Venice after all and prime tourist time. He did not what it recorded or documented. He accomplished everything except for me.

Abandoned Again

Word Fix At 56

He felt alone. And cold. He knew this adventure would not end up in success. This was a different feeling than about 2 hours ago. They had fun just talking about different things. Nothing earth shattering but enough that they could make each other laugh. That was important to him. And now she was gone.


Pink Acres

Sandra knew that she had committed to pick up her ride at 2:30 P.M. today. Since her retirement 3 years ago she had immersed herself in community service. Today was a day she was taking her ride to her Doctors appointment up in Durham.

Today was going to be an especially hectic day. She wanted to spend  an hour at the gym, a new year’s resolution she was still clinging  to, an appointment to get a pedicure before she left for vacation to Japan with an  old  friend from New England. International travel was one  of the things on her “budget list” to  accomplish before she  was six feet under. She had been to 13 different countries since  her retirement. After finishing her role as driver she felt obligated to attend one of her “hen’s party” as her boyfriend called it. It seems like it  started with  Mary Kaye and now included Pampered Chef, Thirty One Party, even a Picture Frame party. It seemed to her that every two weeks she  was attending one of these events or God forbid hosting  one herself. She felt she was expected to buy something when she attended one and by golly her friends better buy something when she hosted her own party. She wondered why men did  not have these types of parties. Perhaps because the best they could come up with would be a Bowling Shirt or Golf party. Or a “Big Ball” or “Little  Ball” party. She smiled at the thought of her boyfriend hosting one of those ball parties.

She was able to get a 30 minute workout at her gym and a pedicure by 1:00 P.M. That left her about an hour to go home and fix a quick snack before heading out to pick up her ride. Shit! Less than that now  that she  realized  she had to fill her gas tank up. This would  set her  back around $50. Her resentments were growing at an alarming rate. She hoped her ride appreciated all that she was going  through to make sure she got to her Doctor’s appointment.

She plugged the  address given her by her coordinator and the Garmin  showed an  arrival time of around of 2:35 P.M. Double Damn! This was cutting it close. This was her first time picking up this  ride and her Garmin  was a fickle piece  of  equipment. Even when she knew the way the Garmin  would sometimes take her through every neighborhood to a destination she  knew damn well there was a better and quicker way. And yes she did  know how  to program  it to take  either the  shortest or quickest route thank you  very much.

As she  neared the  address she saw it was going  to be a trailer park. And not just your average trailer park but a very run down and extremely old one at that.  The address was  on Pink Acres. Great she thought. Who would admit they lived on a street called Pink Acres? Another small problem was that there were no numbers listed on the trailers. She was to pick up her ride at #7. Then a terrible noise shattered her thoughts as she hit a pot hole the size of Denver. God she hoped she had no broken a shock absorber of a strut or whatever they called them today. But the car recovered and she was creeping along at 5 miles per hour when she saw her ride right in front of her. A bald headed lady was waving her arms  at her to come over to her.

“M s. Jennings?’ Sandra called.

“Are you my ride? questioned Ms. Jennings.

“Yes. If you are ready lets roll”

Sandra had been doing this long enough to be prepared either for  a rider that  said little  or nothing, or one that told you every symptom they were having. Ms. Jennings was the latter.  Sandra kept thinking this ride will only last twenty minutes, then 15 to 30 minutes for Ms. Jennings doctor appointment, and then the 20 minute drive back to her trailer. Tack on her time to return to her home  will add another 20.

On the way to Ms. Jennings appointment  Karen learned just about her whole life story and how she ended up in a run  down trailer with so many cats she can’t remember  how many much less their names. Although she did learn ones name was “Little One” because she was so tiny. When Ms. Jennings found out that the cat belonged to the “Mexicans” next door and its name was Juan. So  it was still called “Little Juan”. Karen couldn’t help but chuckle at  that. Maybe the ride  would provide some entertainment  after all.

Karen fiddled with her Ipad while  she waited for  Ms. Jennings to finish her doctor’s appointment. Playing around on Facebook and Twitter, checking emails. One good thing about this  office is that it provided free Wi-Fi.

On the way back Karen found out that the  government had a cure for every disease known to man but was keeping it secret so that they could  all become rich.

Karen kept quiet hoping the ride would be over soon. Please let me catch all green lights on the way she prayed.

The ride home had tired Ms. Jennings and she had fallen asleep. Karen woke her and helped her into the house and to her couch in the living room. As she said goodbye Ms. Jennings just weakly waved to her.

Ms. Jennings quickly faded from her memory. She was going home, have a glass of white wine, and soak in a hot bath before going to her ladies party.

The party lasted longer than she  thought and she had more wine  than she cared to admit. When she unlocked the front door and headed for the  upstairs bedroom she  noticed the  red flashing light on her answering machine. Screw who every left the message, it could wait until tomorrow morning.

She awoke late that morning. It was a Saturday after all! After her second cup of coffee and having finished the local paper she remembered the flashing light on her answering machine. She hit  the  little red triangle and a very professional voice said…”This is Doctor Rulney at McLaren hospital and we are trying to reach a “Karen” at this number. Your number was found and listed as a contact on a “Ms. Jennings” who  was admitted early last night after being struck by a hit and run driver on Pink Acres Drive. Would you please return our call so we may………