Pigeon Heaven

Alastair’s Photo Fiction

pigeon“Come on guys, it’s time to go. He had a good life until he hit that window” said Vinnie.

“We were the best of pals, weren’t we”, said Joey.

“Hey, I wrote an Eulogy for him” chimed Bobby. “It goes like this:”

“When newborn on his fledgling wings,
A pigeon dreamt of lofty things,
But elders warned of what’s in store,
“You’re just a pigeon. Nothing more.”

“Perhaps,” he thought, “I’ll be a swallow,
So swiftly flying none could follow,
Or maybe with great eagles soar!”
He was a pigeon. Nothing more.

“Or a poet! Scholar! Mathematician!
Saint, philosopher, great magician!
Like ravens, I’ll quote, ‘Nevermore!'”
Alas, a pigeon. Nothing more.

He dreamed of being other birds,
But in the end ’twas naught but words.
‘Twas just a pigeon–nothing more–
Who’d never heard of glass before”.

“I have something to inscribe on his tombstone” said Vinny.

“Accept the fact that some days you’re the pigeon and some days you’re the statue”.

 

DNA Analysis

“Right Brained” – intuitive, thoughtful and subjective
“Left Brained” – logical, analytical and objective
DNA Double Helix

“Wow, you speak/act exactly like your mom/dad!” Sound familiar? Genes play a big part in shaping our physical characteristics, traits we inherit from our parents are not limited to our looks, body types, and balding patterns. My dad was 6 foot 1 inch; I’m 5 foot 8 inches. My dad was going bald at my age and I have a full head of hair. My mother had kinky hair and I have long wavy hair. My dad weighed close to 185 pounds; I weigh around 145. I share almost no physical characteristics (except perhaps my large ears).

But there are certain personality traits my parents have passed along to me. The classic Nature vs. Nurture debate that says the difference is being that traits like wealth, education, and social privilege can be passes to a genetic offspring but these traits are not part of the biological system and can’t be DIRECTLY attributed to genetics.

The bits and pieces that make up me.

Temperament — My parents were typically calm and collected and so am I. I have a close friend whose parents were hot-tempered individuals and so is he. I tend to internalize negative feelings and ideas and hold on to them for one terrific explosion. This has only happened twice. You don’t want to be around!

Control — Our need or refusal of control may also be a habit learned from our parents. My parents were nonchalant and detached and I don’t have a problem relinquishing control. Ask my wife! Fight or Flight? I’m a big Flight fan.

Social and Communication Skills — I am very quiet and reserved. I do however have a social life, sense of humor (dry some would say), and listening skills. All a mirror of my parents. I hate public speaking. At one time is was a requirement of a position I held. I would be well prepared but had the “dry heaves” just before the presentation. I have a degree in Psychology so I am well-trained in saying “and what makes you feel that way.” 🙂 I need to work on this skill. In my flight mode I say “things can only get worse” if we discuss this. This has been paraphrased back to me as “go ahead and dig that hole a little deeper.”

Way of Life — My childhood fantasies were shaped by my parents way of life. Both worked hard to provide my well-being. I am accustomed to the life my parents provided me, and often strive the same for my family. My parents led a simple life, and I am content with that also. No burning desire for a life of luxury. However, I do love to travel; especially international travel. My whole family, except me, lives within 30 miles of where they were born.

Outlook on Life — Is the cup half-full or half-empty? Depends if you ask the question of the bar tender or the customer. Even though I had encouraging parents who continuously looked on the bright side, their own outlook of life shaped my behavior more than their words. I’m a very optimistic person (even though the government has shut down). Even at my age my investments objectives are long-term.

Weekly writing Challenge:DNA Analysis

The Trip to Tucson

Leaving (Part 1)

Gloria told her parents she would be leaving home in exactly one year. They didn’t believe her. She had said this many times before but both sensed that she may actually leave this time.

She was an only child, now 35 years old. She was a graduate of Montana State University with an undergraduate degree in Sociology, with a major in Women’s and Gender Studies. A hell of a lot that did for her here in Deer Lodge. She did a Google search and found out their were 48 job openings within 25 miles of Deer Lodge. Most of the jobs were on ranches, restaurant’s, or the largest employer, the Montana State Prison. Working there would be a nightmare.

She hated her job as an Office Manager with a local law firm. Ok, she had started out as an administrative assistant and then “promoted” after a year to Office Manager. It was the same old shit with a different title. She knew they did not want to lose her because they knew they could not get anyone else as efficient and dependable for what she was being paid. But what could she do to improve her life. She did not want to spend the rest of her life in this desolate place.

Her best friend Holly had been accepted at the University of Arizona. She would be working toward her Masters degree in the Drama Department.

At dinner a few months ago Holly had floated the idea of them both moving to Arizona and sharing an apartment together. For sure this would be better than living in her little run down trailer which was parked on her Aunt’s property. The rent was reasonable, but she always felt that her Aunt was keeping an eye on her.

Gloria had thought about this for a couple of months before making her final decision. She would go with Holly.  Her decision was hastened by the fact she did a “Johnny Paycheck” with her boss and told him “to shove it”. And then to add insult she added that if he were twice as smart he would still be an idiot. She knew where the door was but he showed it to her anyway.

According to Google Maps it was 1,219 miles, almost a straight shot south from Deer Lodge to Tucson. They figured a 3 to 4 day trip would get them there.

Since Gloria rented her trailer and Holly had a small unfurnished apartment, they were able to get all of their worldly possessions into one 4 by 6 U-Haul. Gloria had the better car, a 1977 Buick regal. Holly had a 1963 Ford Ranchero that her brother gave her. He was a carpenter and had build a wood top for the back of the Ranchero. Looked like hell but it still ran and she did not think she would need a car in Tucson anyway.

They had a small going away party, which her parents never attended, the night before. They had planned to leave around 10 the next morning. But they did a through cleaning of all the liquor containers, beer cans, and roaches that were the result of their little party. It was almost noon when they finally departed. Holly led the little convoy. As they left an empty beer can fell off the back bumper of the U-Haul.

Their adventure had begun.

Seven Stops, Ten Hungry People

He was already in a grumpy mood when he arrived at the Church to pick up the meals. His regular employer had cut him back to 30 hours a week which eliminated  his benefits. Now he would have to purchase his own medical insurance. The price would be staggering. His oldest son was going into rehab. His wife had left him late last year. His confirmation that he was experiencing a lot of stress was  that sometimes he just wanted to run away from it all and hide. He didn’t want to face each day; he fantasize about escaping the job, home, and country.

He looked at the sheet he was given and saw that he had seven stops and ten meals to deliver. He should be done in about two hours. The sheet gave him directions but he found it easier to just plug the address into his Garmen.

His first delivery was to an apartment complex just behind the Baptist Church nearby. “KNOCK HARD” was written beside the name on the list. Do he did. A voice from within: “Just a minute, I’ll be right there.”

The door opened and he saw a very elderly small lady. She was dressed immaculately. Black sweater, black dress slacks, a silver necklace and the most brilliant white hair he had ever seen. She was glowing. The small apartment was entirely furnished in religious paintings, statues, and some porcelain lace figurines that looked extremely expensive.

He introduced himself and asked where he could put her meal. “The kitchen table will be fine” she said.

As he walked toward the table to put the meal down she asked: “What’s your name”.

“Leon”  he replied.

“Guess where I am going Leon? I’m going to Wal-Mart to pick out a new dress. Like the one in the flyer there Leon”

“Looks nice,” he replied.

She suddenly took his hands, put them together and kissed them. “Thank you Leon for what you do”.

As he opened the door to leave she said: “Jesus loves you Leon… And so do I.”

A little stunned he looked at his list. Delivery number two note indicated “PLEASE RING DOORBELL UNDER CARPORT AND THEN DELIVER TO BACK DOOR AT DECK”.

His mood was beginning to improve.

Walking Away

Friday Fictioneers 100 Words Challenge: Walking Away

IAAM

Copyright – Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Mom said she never changed anything after they took me to prison. Except Howdy Doody. “Hi Mr. Doody!” He was on the floor the last time I saw him.

The man had entered my room and threw him at me and called me a baby before he left and hurt my mom. I killed him with that big knife mama used to cut up meat. The courts said I didn’t know right from wrong. I knew. You stab someone 34 times you know. You keep count.

The guards tell me it is time to return. I keep saying “It’s Howdy Doody Time, It’s Howdy Doody Time!”

Pistol Packing Mama

Betty finished packing her purse; keys, cell phone, wallet with her credit cards and her Ruger LCR .38 Special Revolver. Her husband, Roger, had purchased if for her with a laser sight since she was not used to firing guns and it would help her during gun safety classes at the local indoor range. It was light weight and compact and fit her hand perfectly. It was also very user-friendly for her and simple for her to clean. The only down side was that it was extremely loud to shoot and made her flinch every time she fired it.

Living in this remote part of North Carolina, Roger had insisted she learn how to use it for self defense. “You never know who lurks in the woods around her. You remember that guy that went missing for over two years and in that time he lived around here and killed two innocent women. They finally caught him behind the dumpster at the Roy Rob store in the early morning scarfing up some garbage that had been thrown out.”

She regretted the marriage from the start. They were married in Atlanta. He was a skilled computer software engineer and she had a good paying job as an administrative assistant for a local drug manufacture. After 3 kids, with Nelson being he youngest, he wanted to go back to “nature”. They bought a small cabin in the remote area in Yadkin county. Her life now consisted of getting Roger up in the morning, feeding him breakfast, taking him to work at the local lumber mill (he couldn’t drive because of two DWI’s). She did all the chores at home including going to the store for supplies; which she was now getting ready to do. She would then pick him up from work; he was already half drunk by then, and take him home so she could prepare dinner. He would have dinner, drink 4 or 5 beers, and then go to bed. It was the same day after day. Their weekends consisted of going to the local bar on Friday and Saturday nights and drinking beer and  watching sports on Sunday. She had no girl friends except for the two druggies next door.

She hated her life. She hated Roger. She would love to move back to Atlanta and be near her family. Her sister and mother could help take care of the kids while she looked for employment. Then she would get an apartment and make lots of new girlfriends. Leave Roger here in the boonies by himself and his drinking buddies. But she knew Roger would find her and her life would be even more depressing than it already was.

She loaded her 2 year old son, Nelson, and headed for the local Super Wal-Mart. She needed to buy groceries for the week, some personal items, and of course a couple of cases of beer for Roger.

She put Nelson in front of the cart with her purse and headed down the beer isle. She had just put the first case of beer in the cart when she noticed her son reaching into her purse where she was carrying the gun and it went off with a roar.

When the police arrived she explained that when she noticed her son had his hands in her purse, she reached in to get hold of the gun and it fired one shot, hitting her in the right hand. Luckily, Nelson was not injured.

She fully expected the police to charge her with failure to secure a firearm from a minor, a misdemeanor. But after consulting with the local District Attorney’s office decided  not to charge her because she had a legal concealed-carry permit for the gun and was not in violation of the law. The District Attorney said the incident would be similar to a person wearing a holstered gun and a person running up and putting their hands on the weapon, causing it to fire.

Now, if she could just get Roger to put his hands in her purse….Hello Atlanta.

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.

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.

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………