Friday, October 5, 2007

Whiskey Fires....Updated Draft

Winny dropped the unopened letter down on the coffee table and walked into the kitchen. She opened the cupboard above the stove and took down the fifth of Jack Daniel’s she kept tucked away behind the bag of sugar. She grabbed a shot glass from the collection that lined the back of the stove. The tall skinny one was her favorite. She had found it while browsing through the local Goodwill store. The wolf etched into the side of it looked very much like the one she had tattooed on her left shoulder and she had had to buy it.

The smell of stout whiskey drifted up to her nose as she opened the bottle and poured the first shot. She hesitated, staring at the tiny glass in her hand, almost afraid of the warming relief it would bring. But a glance back at the letter on the table told her she would need to relax and go numb for a while and she downed the shot. Shaking her head she made that slight growl in the back of her throat as the whiskey seared its way down. She didn’t really like the taste but she loved the way it lit a trail down her throat to warm her belly and it’s effects were quick.

She poured another shot, still standing at the kitchen counter not hesitating this time to drink it down. Another shiver and growl. Her eyes went back to the letter again. Maybe she had read the sender’s name wrong. But it had been addressed to Winifred. There was only one person in the world who had ever called her that. She abandoned the shot glass on the counter, grabbed the bottle of Jack and plopped down on the couch. Without inching any closer to the letter she tried to read the words written on it. She couldn’t quite make them out but she was afraid that if she leaned any closer she would actually see what she was dreading was there.

She sat herself cross-legged and nestled the bottle between her legs. Her cigarettes were on the coffee table but if she wanted one she would have to lean closer to the letter. After several seconds of debating, she took a long pull off the bottle, a deep breath and grabbed the letter, her cigarettes and her lighter. She dropped the letter next to her on the couch, careful not to look at it and lit a cigarette. She tossed the lighter back onto the table, took a deep draw off her Camel and picked up the letter. She looked it over carefully and her stomach turned. She knew the handwriting instantly.

“Grandma”, she whispered. She hadn’t spoken to her Grandma in twelve years, since the night Winny had told her Grandma and her mom and dad that she was pregnant. She had been 16 and her Grandma considered it an unforgivable mistake. She had stormed out of Winny’s parent’s home, vowing that she no longer had a granddaughter, much less a bastard great-grandchild. Her parents had agreed to her keeping the baby but made their daughter promise to finish high school and Winny had kept that promise. She had delivered Ian, 9lbs. 6.4ozs, halfway through her senior year but with the help of her parents, still managed to graduate with a 3.0 average.

Edna, as she had come to call her Grandma, never came to see Ian and would not come to her parent’s house if Winny or Ian were there. A year after Ian was born Winny’s parents were killed when their house caught fire. She still felt like if she would have been there it somehow wouldn’t have happened.

After her parents death Winny tried to reconcile with her grandma but it was no use. She would not answer the door when Winny would come by and would not answer or return Winny’s calls. Ian’s father, Danny, wanted nothing to do with either one of them. He never came to see Ian and made it perfectly clear that he did not want to be a dad. Her parents had left everything to Winny and she had received a sizable amount of life insurance, so she grabbed what little she had, packed it and her Ian into her 1990 Celica and drove away without ever looking back.

Winny noticed that her hand holding the letter was shaking and there were tear stains on the envelope. She was crying. She set the letter in her lap and took another long drink from the bottle. She crushed out the cigarette that had burned to nothing and lit another. She picked the letter back up laying it against her leg. As she looked down at it her hair fell across the cigarette dangling from her lips, sending the smell of smoldering hair into the air. She hardly noticed, swept her red hair back over her shoulder and opened the letter.

It was not a long letter. Not even a full page.


I am not apologizing for anything. You need to know that first. But I have no one else to ask for help. You should know that your Grandfather passed away two years ago. I am sure you do not care since you never tried to contact him. Since he passed I have been trying to run Whiskey Fires alone but I have been unable to maintain it financially and it is starting to fall apart. I have been told that if I do not come up with a very large sum of money soon I will lose Whiskey Fires, my home and everything else I have. I have no idea if you are willing to help me and it is not an easy thing for me to ask, but as I said before I have no one else. Please let me know via mail if you will be able to come and help as soon as you can.

Mrs. Edna Pascal

Winny set the letter down slowly and carefully on the coffee table in front of her. She tried to take a deep breath but her lungs rebelled allowing only shallow, quick intakes. Tears fell violently down her face and her body began to shake with her sobbing. Her grandpa had died? Two years ago? She had wondered why his letters had stopped so abruptly but she figured her grandma had found out that he had been writing to her and Ian and put a stop to it.

He had contacted her 6 months after she had left Buckeye. He had been her only link to her hometown, not that he knew much about anyone at his age. But his love had always been there for her and Ian. Thinking about him made her wish she had gone back to see him at least once in the years she had been away but it was too late now. He was gone and she would never get to tell him how much his love had meant to her. How it had been his love and his letters that had made her life bearable those first years on her own. She would cuddle up on the couch with Ian, rocking him to sleep and reading his great-grandpa's letters to him. It was a tradition that the two of them had continued up until the letters had stopped coming.

She lifted he bottle again, sniffling, wiping the tears away with her sleeve and took another long drink. She put out her second cigarette that had also wasted away, unfolded herself from the couch and walked over to the bookshelf where she still kept her grandpa's letters. They were in a huge box on the bottom shelf. Ten years worth of love lay in that box. She sat down on the floor, setting the bottle carefully down and started to pull the letters out one by one, opening them and running her hands over the scratchy handwriting that was distinctly his. She took another drink, closing her eyes as the burn of the whiskey hit her throat and the pain of her grandpa's death hit her heart. "Grandpa", she cried.

Winny awoke curled up on the floor, letters spread all around her and the empty bottle on it's side. Her head argued against being lifted off the floor as she sat up.

"Its her isn't it?" Winny jumped at the sound of Ian's voice. She looked over at him sitting on the couch holding the letter, his eyes full of anger.

She swung her legs around to face him, her head throbbing in protest to the movement. "Yes its her," she moaned.

Ian threw the letter down and jumped to his feet. "We're not going! I don't want to see her!"

Winny sighed. She had hoped to have time to think the whole thing through before telling him and when her head wasn't splitting open. She looked up her son and smiled inwardly. He may look like his father but that temper was all her. "Ian," she held a hand out for him to help her up, "I don't know what I am going to do."

"Great-grandpas dead! She didn't even tell us." His eyes began to fill with tears for the old man he had never met.

"I know. I read the letter." She sat down on the couch and patted the spot next to her. He was defiant though and stayed standing.

"Mom you're not really thinking of helping her? She hates you! And me!"

She looked up at her son. "If you want to be treated like an adult you are going to have to start acting like one. Now sit down so we can talk about this."

He sat down on the opposite end of the couch. "Mom please. I don't wanna go."

She looked over at her son and scooted the short distance between them. His shaggy brown hair was always falling down into his eyes. She moved it away with her hand so she could see them. "I don't wand to go either but she doesn't have anyone else. We are it. No other family. Do you understand that? She is an old woman who is completely alone." She grabbed a cigarette off the table and lit it.

"No smoking in the house mom. You promised." Winny rolled her eyes.

"Um do ya think you could give me a break here," she reached behind her head and opened the window. "I'm a little stressed."

Ian half smiled at her. "So what are ya gonna do?" His eyes studied his hands as they fiddled with the latest tear in his Levis.

"I have to go," she sighed and watched as her son's shoulders sank in disappointment. "Your great-grandpa would've expected me to go."

"That means I have to go, right?"

"I'll try and call her today and see what I can find out. Maybe she just needs money and then we can be done with it."

"You have her phone number," Ian asked surprised.

"No but I can hope she is listed. Unless you want to drive all the way there just to find out we didn't need to."

He shook his head quickly. "I don't want to go at all."

"I know baby. I'll see what I can find out OK. Now go get your mom some Advil and leave out the lecture on drinking OK."

Ian stood and tugged a piece of her hair. "That's what ya get." On his way to the bathroom he stopped at the pile of letters scattered over the floor. "I sure wish he was gonna be there if we go," he said carefully picking up the letters.

"Me too."

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Simple Distraction

I was given the task of photographing my employer's property for a zoning hearing the other day. Normally people would love to be released from desk duty, but in Arizona where at 11am it is around 95 degrees, the last thing you want to be doing is walking around 5 acres taking pictures of the entire perimeter and everything inside it.

But like a trooper I tied my long, red hair up, donned my imitation Dior sunglasses and set out with camera and cigarette in hand.

As I reached the fence line, fearful of the usual scorpions and spiders we have in large numbers, I noticed a few friends on the fence. As you can see from the pictures, we have dragonflies in large numbers and for some reason they are very fond of landing on our wire fence. I love the picture of the three lined up. It reminds me of the F-16's that roar overhead everyday from the Air Force base next door. They appeared to be just waiting their turn for take-off.

These little buggers had no fear of me either. I walked right up and even touched the tail of one. Two flew off of the fence as I approached only to land in my hair. After I had taken all the pictures I wanted and had started my way down the fence I noticed that they seemed to be playing leapfrog to stay next to me. Believe it or not they actually followed me around the entire property.

I got so caught up in watching my new companions that I even managed to forget about the blazing heat I was bathing in. I returned to the fence line today and sure enough they were there. I do not know if they are the same ones because there were 6 today, but I like to think the original three told their buddies about the hot redhead who was flirting with them and the others had to come see for themselves.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Bubble Baths and Handguns....Part 3

Ray raised an eyebrow inquisitively. “Kitty Basher? Uh…that’s a….unique name.” He knew better than to ask a woman such as herself if it was her real name. If it wasn’t it was the identity that she had decided on for herself and questioning it anymore would only piss her off and he did not think his body could handle that. The look she returned to him was one with no humor whatsoever. Her eyes bore into him with little patience behind them.

“So what the hell would make you think it was a good idea to follow the best shot you’ve ever seen to her car? Do I look like a woman who wants company?” She had already noticed the gun strapped to his side but as she gave him a full once over she also noticed the bulge at his boot line. “What ya packin down there,” she asked motioning to his boot.

Ray’s eyes went to his boot. “Just a small .22, nothing that will do too much damage but it’ll sting enough,” he chuckled.

Kitty’s patience was wearing thin. “So what is it you want Ray,” she asked her voice dripping with sarcasm.

“Really I just wanted to see if you wanted to get a drink or coffee or something. If it helps any, I’m gay so you don’t have to worry about me hitting on you.” He kept as still as a rabbit cornered by a fox, afraid that any movement would set her off again.

“You’re gay,” she asked with surprise. Her body relaxed slightly. “I didn’t see that one comin,” she admitted. “It is almost noon so I guess a shot of whiskey wouldn’t hurt.”

They had spent the rest of the afternoon drinking and talking in the corner of a dark little bar. Much to Kitty’s pleasure Ray never asked any really personal questions. He was content to have her company and her knowledge of weapons, never once asking where this knowledge and skill had been acquired.

Late into the night, when they had had their fill of drink and talk Ray passed Kitty a cocktail napkin with his name and number written on it. The look she gave him caused him to throw his hands up defensively. “I barely survived just trying to talk to you, didn’t think I would live through askin for your number.” He lowered his hands at the small smile that crossed her lips. “Just call if ya ever wanna just hang out again. No strings.”

Kitty paid their tab, shook Ray’s hand and walked to her car, glancing one last time at Ray as he got in his car and waved bye.

It was a week later, as Kitty was packing up her guns to head over to the range when she found Ray’s napkin tucked into her bag. She really had enjoyed to talking to him and on a whim called and asked if he wanted to meet at the range and then head over for drinks again.

Over the next two years they had become as close as two people could get (without sexual interaction) and Kitty trusted Ray completely. A year into their friendship as they finished off a third bottle of Riesling, Kitty had confided in Ray what had happened to her as a child. The pain and humiliation she had suffered. They never spoke of it again. But Ray knew, on the nights that they were drinking heavily and she went quiet, her eyes staring at nothing, that she was playing out in her head what she would do to the man that gave her the scar if she ever found him.

It was almost two years to the day they had met when Ray came to her with a proposition.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Bubble Baths and Handguns....Part 2

She laid the pistol down on the toilet seat next to the tub and forced herself to climb out of the soothing bath. She had e-mails to check, guns to clean and she still had to eat at some point today.

Drying herself off in front of the mirror, she admired her tone physique. Not bad for a woman of 35. Her long red hair fell over her shoulders, barely covering her breasts. She noticed that there were a few more wrinkles framing her gray eyes now than she remembered being there last year. As she turned, glancing over her shoulder at her backside she cringed at the sight of the scars that covered her back. There were more here than anywhere else on her body. Most were only an inch or two long but the one that ran diagonally across her back, from her left shoulder to just above her right ass cheek was the one that had made her who she was today. The bastard who had left that mark on her when she was only a child had been her second target. The first had been the one that her sponsor had contacted her for in the first place.

Her sponsor, a wealthy Phoenix business owner, had heard about her from Ray, a mutual friend. She had met Ray while at the gun range. He had sat and watched her practice for over an hour before he finally tried to talk to her. She had blown him off of course but he could not be discouraged. He showed up every time she was there and sat and watched her. She figured it was because of the low cut tops or the way her jeans hugged every inch of her. She didn't figure him for a stalker or psychopath. He was very well dressed in slacks and shirt and tie. It was only his hair that didn't fit. It was almost the same shade of brown as his eyes, but it was always a mess. Short but tousled and not in the cool way the young men wore it these days. His hair gave the impression that he had just climbed out of bed.

He followed her to her car one afternoon after watching her again. He called her name as she pulled her keys out. Instinct made her spin and swing, landing her fist squarely on his jaw and knocking him to the ground. As he fell she came to stand over him, looking him in the eye she planted her 3 inch heel directly over his crotch. "Mister you just don't know how to take no for an answer do ya," she asked rhetorically adding pressure to her foot.

He looked down at her foot trying to sink his body into the concrete below him. "I just wanted to say hi and tell you that you are by far the best shot I have ever seen here, woman or man."

She added a tad more pressure, twisting her foot sideways. "Sounds like a come on line to me," Kitty sneered.

Ray put his hands up and looked her directly in the eye. "I swear Kit, that's it. Just that and thought we could get a drink sometime..." he inhaled deeply as her heel dug into his pants.

"Now THAT really sounds like a come on."

He struggled to catch his breath, squinting against the pain that was firing through his loins. "I swear...I'm not...h...hitting on you. Its just....interesting to see.....oh GOD....a woman who can shoot like that." He blurted out the last part as his hands flew to his heel, trying desperately to free himself.

She kicked his hand away but released him from her hold. Still standing over him she looked at him intently, trying to read his face for lies. She finally held a hand out to him, helping him to his feet. "Its just stupid to follow a woman to her car. And how the fuck do you even know my name?"

He took her hand and regained his footing. Dusting himself off and catching his breath, he looked up at her from his hunched position. "Marty told me. He and I go way back. I've been comin here since this place opened 10 years ago. He knows I'm no weirdo." He straightened himself to full standing, extending his hand to her. "Name's Ray. Ray Kinder."

Again she looks at his face, finally decided that he wasn't crazy, just stupid. She shook his hand. "Kitty. Kitty Basher."

Bubble Baths and Handguns

Kitty pulled the bubbles from the bathwater caressingly over her naked body. The hot water felt tantalizingly good on her aching frame, luring her body lower into the water. She closed her eyes, enjoying the slight tickle of the bubbles. The scars covering her body were not visible behind her closed lids but their presence could not be denied as her fingers traced each one blindly. As she lay her head back and let her body relax her hand instinctively went to the side of the tub where her Browning 9mm sat. Her hand slid over it, stroking the smooth expoxy finish. Her finger seemed to intimately invade the trigger, teasing it with her touch.

She places her foot against the wall of the shower and gently glides the the pistol across her thigh. It was a shame she hadn't just fired the weapon. This always felt a little naughtier when the barrel was still hot. Images of of her targets passed through her mind. Always pleading for their lives, repenting whatever sin had brought her to their doorstep. But in the end they all met the same fate. Their was no deliverance from what they were to face. At times it was quick, a bullet to the back of the head and other times she drew it out, shooting off one finger or toe at a time. The severity of their sin determined the severity of their punishment and no amount of begging could change what they had done.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Shut up, Sit Down and Listen Closely!!

Ok so here is the blog that will encapsulate my entire world all in one tiny, cracked little nutshell. Although I do consider myself to be above average intelligence, I still realize that I am full of flaws and that some of the people who know and love me (or hate me) will enjoy reading my little smidgets and rantings. There really is no specific theme to this page except...ME!!! My life, my world, my kids, my loves, my hates, my joys, my sorrows, my achievements, my failures and anything else I damn well feel like writing or posting pictures about.

So come in, grab a drink, light a smoke (yes you can smoke in my world) and enjoy the bizarre tales to follow.