Wednesday, July 25, 2012


The prompt this week was to STEAL a sentence!  We were to start our story with the first sentence on Page 84 of a book that we do not own.  Also, and quite appropriately, we were to include a robbery in the story.  The word limit is 1400.  I took my sentence from Page 84 of A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson.  Don’t ask…


“By this time, paleontological momentum had moved to England.  Well, will you look at the time.  Why don’t we pick up this discussion after the break.  I’ve graded your essays, and they’re on my desk.  You can pick them up on your way out.  Have fun.”

My students all looked at me like I’ve lost my mind.  I’m ending class a half hour early today, but I need them to get the hell out of here so I can confirm this evening’s plans.

“Professor Stanley, would it be possible for me to…”

Here we go again.  Amy Jernigan wants to make a deal to up her grade.  She’ll suggest preparing a display for one of my classes or picking up my dry cleaning for a week…  It doesn’t matter how ridiculous or offensive her offer would sound, she’ll present it anyway.  Whatever it takes to change that D- to a C, minimum.  I tell her every time that if she continues trying to negotiate her grades, she will face possible expulsion, but it does no good.  The girl has no pride.  Since I won’t be back after this semester break, I believe I’ll make my position on her insulting suggestions abundantly clear.


“Yes, Professor Stanley.”

“Fuck off.”

I believe she got the message this time.  Her eyes filled with tears and she ran out of the classroom.  There are two of my students, however, that I need to have a brief conference with.

“Mr. Whalen and Mr. Simpson?  If you would please remain for a moment, I need to go over something with you.”

They smile and nod and move to the side of my desk.  My favorites.  Straight As for them both, no matter how crappy their essays are; and, take my word for it, their schoolwork is garbage.  But I’ve learned to find good in everyone.

“Prof?”  Mr. Whalen always addressed me that way and made certain there was quite the sarcastic tone included, while Mr. Simpson simply spoke his mind and hoped his words would find their intended target.

I would have flunked them both out of my life had they not possessed the skills I required, among them being the ability to bypass state-of-the-art alarm systems.  Yes, you understand me perfectly.  They are efficient, and proficient, burglars.  How I learned of their special talent and hooked up with them, as the kids today refer to the process, is immaterial.  The point is, I did, and while I am going to be their ticket to untraceable cash, they are going to be mine for what I desire most of all:  freedom.

Freedom from my position here at the University as teacher to mindless trust fund babies, whose futures are set in stone with daddy’s corporation and only seek a degree to paper their office walls.  And freedom from a wife, whose wealthy father has always lavished her with expensive houses and cars, and who treats me as if I were the family’s gardener; that is, without any of the personal perks men of that occupation usually receive from the lady of the house as depicted in some movies.

Esther is not exactly unattractive, but she only married me to gain access to the University’s social structure, which includes politicians at the state’s highest level.  Why did I marry her?  She had access to lots of money, and I had dreams of travel, exploration, possible discovery of a lost civilization, and perhaps my photo on the cover of National Geographic.  Well, she’s still rich, but I’m confined to the house and my classroom.  I receive an allowance, and, on Esther’s orders, the cook packs a delightfully nutritious lunch for me to take to school each day.  Lucky me.

Kill her then, you might say, inherit her money, and move on.  Not an option, I’m afraid.  She’s willed everything to various charities, with my small allowance to continue, so I’ve come up with another way to get my hands on enough cash to allow me to flee.  And, it’s all legal too; well, sort of…

“We’ve scoped the house, Prof, and we won’t have any problem getting in.  Security there is a joke, and since we know exactly where all the valuables are kept, especially the one you want removed, we’ll be in and out in the blink of an eye.  We won’t mess the place up too badly, just enough to make it believable as a robbery by outsiders.”

I could feel myself getting all tingly.  This was all too exciting.  Mr. Whalen obviously had the situation well in hand.

“Once I get the money from the insurance company, I’ll wire the payment we agreed upon to your accounts.”  These two young men, at 20 years of age, had accounts in the Caymans.  I have no wish to get too close to them since they were both clearly sociopaths and quite dangerous, but the risk of dealing with the likes of them would be worth the reward--as long as I keep my end of the bargain.

“All is set, Prof,” Mr. Whalen stated in that eerily unsettling tone of his.  “We’ve also got all your documents ready--new ID, passport, license and all.  They’re in the storage locker, and here’s your key.  Just make sure you get the funds to us as quickly as possible since there are others involved that we have to compensate.”

I wondered who the ‘others’ were.  Gangster types, maybe?  I’m sure it would be to my advantage not to ask.

“One question though.”  For the first time since I’ve known him, I see concern on Mr. Simpson’s face.  “The house is yours.  You want us to rob you?”

I knew this would come up.  It was my home I wanted them to rob, but there was only one item I wanted them to steal.  It was a hand-crafted, jewel encrusted, tie pin my father-in-law presented to me on Esther’s and my wedding day.  It was gaudy and frankly, hideous, but it was also insured in my name for a nice tidy sum.  Once I got the check, I’d pay off the boys and leave the country.  It was all arranged, and I’d be able to live my life doing what I wanted.  I wasn’t sure what that was yet, but I’d have plenty of cash to sustain me until I made the decision.

“Yes,” I told them.  “I have my reasons.”

“Whatever, Prof,” Mr. Whalen didn’t question me further.  “Consider it done.”

When we pulled up, I could see the boys had left the front door ajar.  Nice touch.  Esther ran inside and made a beeline for her jewelry box.

“Walter, we’ve been robbed.  They took some of my favorite pieces too.  Go call the police, and I’ll call Daddy.”

My turn.

“Oh, look Esther.  The case that held that tie-clasp your father gave me is empty.  We’d better make a list of what’s missing for the insurance company.  They’ll need that to process our claims.”

“Walter, that tie thing wasn’t stolen.  The robbers did open the case, but it hasn‘t been there for months.”

I shouldn’t have had that extra cocktail before dinner.  I was beginning to get a bit light in the head.

“What do you mean it hasn‘t been in there?  For months?  What?”

‘Walter, Walter,” Esther shook her head in her usual condescending way.  “Remember my friend, Alexis?  The one whose husband died?”

Yep.  That cocktail was one too many.  I could feel my knees buckling.

“You know who I mean.  Anyway, her husband always wanted a pin like yours, but it was custom made and couldn’t be duplicated.  She couldn’t do much for him while he was ill, so I wanted to provide her some comfort.  I gave her your pin so she could bury him with it.  No point in paying premiums on it since you never wore it.  May as well put it to good use.  I guess I forgot to discard that case.

What’s the matter with you, Walter?  You look so pale.  Why don’t you lie down and I’ll call the police myself.  This violation of our home obviously upset you more than I had realized.  Look on the bright side.  You’ve got time to work through this before the semester starts back, and the insurance company will reimburse me fully for all my losses.  Doesn’t that make you feel better?  Walter?  Wal…”

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


The challenge this week was to tell a story of lost treasure found in your own house.  Is it luck or a curse?  Fortune or failure?  Heart warming or heart wrenching?  Is it an object or some truth?  What is it that we discover?  The genre was open and the word limit is 1414.  I hope you enjoy my story of family and secrets hidden and shared.


I’ve never understood my Aunt Delores.  I’m not sure anyone could ever understand my Aunt Delores.  I still find it difficult to believe she’s actually part of this family.  While it’s true she’s my father’s biological sister, she couldn’t be more different from us all if she were from another planet.  Now, there’s an interesting thought.

A bit of an explanation is probably due about now.  Everyone in my family is supportive and caring, with the exception of my aunt, who is quite possibly the most hateful, disrespectful, cynical, and suspicious individual I have ever known.  Going back a bit, we do have a black sheep in the lineage though.  I asked my mother if that was the reason why Aunt Delores was the way she was, but mom said that was only part of it.  Mom told me Delores was just born mean and left it at that.  Nowhere you can really go with that…

I do know that Great Grandfather Daniel’s misdeed, as it is referred to, made Delores bitter as hell.  All the ladies in her Bridge Club are descendants of accomplished and well-respected families, while hers had one really black mark.  Daniel had brutally murdered his wife, Cora, while their firstborn son was in his infancy.  He readily confessed, and was hanged.  But that’s not the worst part.

The house in which he killed her still stands today.  After Daniel was buried, his brother brought his family into the murder house and raised his children, along with Daniel’s orphaned boy.  The house was kept in the family, and I was raised there too.  I have a husband and my own family now, and we live in the next county over.  After mom and dad passed away, the house became mine, and I decided to rent it out and pull in some extra income.  I thought that was a great idea, but then Aunt Delores injected herself into the picture.

Before I seek tenants for the place, she informed me that she hired contractors to tear down the wall between these two rooms, and put up a new one between those two rooms, and so on and so on.  She’s decided that the entire house needs to be renovated and redecorated and in so doing, cleansed of all the evil it has possessed all these years.  I grew up in that house and have nothing but delightful memories.  I think she’s the only evil that house has ever known.

Before they begin destroying that which has stood solid and proud for all these years, I decided to pay it one last visit.  I wanted to walk its halls and climb its stairs and remember all the love I knew there.  One last time.

As I was leaving the back room that had been set up as a playroom, I noticed one of the wallboards was loose--again.  How many times had I pushed it back in place without a moment’s curiosity as to why it was the only one in the house that buckled every now and then.  Not today though.  Today, I pulled, and to my great surprise, behind it on the bottom boards was a small metal box.  I tilted it sideways and removed it from its grave, knowing it contained stolen diamonds, or the secret diary of a woman who had been kidnapped and held captive until one dark and stormy night, she made her daring escape.  I’m very fond of mysteries and old movies, by the way.  Just in case you were wondering.

The box had a latch, but no lock, so I took a peek inside.  There were no diamonds, stolen or otherwise, and no diary--only an envelope with our family surname written on it (Hollister), that contained a letter.  I took it out to the backyard and sat under my favorite tree to read it.

I hope a member of my beloved family finds this note so they can know the truth about my dear wife, Cora.  I had loved her always, and had never been happier in my entire life than after we married.  We went about our daily routines with joy and unending devotion to each other, until she gave birth to our only son.

Shortly after William joined our family, Cora became quite the different person.  She no longer arose in the morning to prepare my breakfast and some sandwiches to carry along to the workplace.  When I arrived home at suppertime, I found her still in her nightclothes, hair uncombed, face unwashed, sitting on the front porch, simply staring.  When I suggested contacting the doctor, she would begin to cry, and would lock herself in the bedroom.  I had difficulty getting her to eat, and after awhile, she hardly spoke to me at all.  Little by little, day by day, I was losing the woman I had married, and I felt powerless to help her.

Today when I returned home, I found her lying on the kitchen floor, covered in blood, her throat cut, and a carving knife close to her hand.  She had written a note and placed it on the counter.  It detailed her deep despair and fear for the safety of her child that she now despised.  She blamed the infant for her state of mind, and insisted if she allowed herself to continue living, she was certain she would murder him before he reached his first birthday.  She stated that taking her own life was the only way to alleviate her pain, and begged my forgiveness.  She was also very clear that a wound to the throat would guarantee her demise.  Apparently, she had obtained some information in that regard.

I have burned her note and removed the knife from her hand and placed it on the table.  After I complete this accounting, I shall notify the local police of her death and claim responsibility for two reasons.  One, without my Cora, all hope is lost.  I shall be arrested and incarcerated, and shall be content, because I no longer have purpose.  And two, William must never know his own mother wished him dead and named him responsible for her suicide.

I plan to put this entry in my document box and place it behind a wallboard in the den.  Hopefully, several generations will have come and gone before it is discovered.

Please do not think ill of me for tarnishing our good name by associating murder with it.  At this moment, all I can think of is how to protect her--even in death, and my infant son.  I know the court will permit my brother, Ronald, to raise him, and William will be well cared for and loved.  It is the only hope I have left.

I shall close now, dear one.  Please remember me always in your prayers.  And Cora, too.  Please.

It was signed Daniel Hollister.  Unbelievable.  All I’ve ever heard was what a disgrace he was, how the family name was forever tainted, and how we all had the potential for insanity showing up when we least expected it.  I’m going to send Aunt Delores’ contractors away, and put a for rent sign out on the front lawn.  I’d like to rent it out to a young family--a dad and a mom with a new baby.  I think Daniel would be very pleased with that.  

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

F3, Cycle 87: Who Do You Love - The Stories

Thanks to all for submitting to this week's F3.  Here's a link to all the stories.  Check them out, and don't forget to leave comments for all the writers.  We love to get your feedback!

Saturday, July 7, 2012


The prompt this time was my first one on F3.  I’m really excited about being part of this site, both as one of its contributors and as one of its hosts.  This time, I thought it would be interesting to write about a first crush, but take it a step further and reveal what happens when the crush is revealed.  My story is about a couple of kids.  Ah, young love…  Please enjoy.


I have loved Sarah Jean since First Grade.  I couldn’t always get put in a desk next to her, but I made sure I at least got put in the same row.  At lunch, I always shared whatever dessert my Mama packed for me.  At recess, when the girls were playing jacks, I made sure I was playing catch or climbing on the monkey bars--something that involved some kind of skill.  I’d catch Sarah Jean glancing my way and smiling, so she knew how strong and smart I was.

Our house was a couple of blocks away from Sarah Jean’s.  I followed her to and from school, even though it would have been shorter just to go to the corner of Maple and Fifth and take a left.  But, I wanted to make sure she was safe since she always walked by herself.  Her house was a lot bigger and fancier than ours, but people said that was because her Daddy got killed by somebody and left her Mama lots of money.  I wish we could have a bigger house so I wouldn’t have to share my room with my little brother, Bobby, but I don’t want my Daddy to be killed for it.  When I grow up and marry Sarah Jean, I’ll make sure we have a great big house so Bobby and I can each have our own room there.

From First Grade through Fifth, I never told Sarah Jean how much I loved her.  Since I was only a kid, I couldn’t do that.  But, now that I’m in the Sixth Grade, I can tell her and officially be her boyfriend.  That way, everyone else will know too, and Josh Miller will stop buying her chocolate milk from the machine in the cafeteria.  I can’t believe she lets him do that after all we’ve been to each other, but then again, it is chocolate milk, so I can’t really hold that against her.

Before I tell her about my feelings, I’m going to show her the surprise I made for her.  I’ve heard her talking to some of the girls in class about a new charm bracelet they have at Madison’s Department Store in town.  She said it comes with five animal shaped charms and you can buy extra ones for $1.00 each to add to it.  Sarah Jean’s telling them how much she wants one, with an extra five charms to make it an even ten.  Wait until she sees my surprise.  It’s way better than any old animal shaped charm bracelet.  I can’t wait until the final bell because today is the day Sarah Jean becomes mine forever.

We got lots of homework from Mrs. Greene today, but that’s okay.  School is done and I told Mama and Daddy I would be late because I was going to help with a class project.  They said to be home by supper.  That will give me plenty of time to get to Parkman’s Woods and escort my new girlfriend home.  Plenty of time.

“Sarah Jean,” I felt like my mouth was full of peanut butter.  I wondered if that was how it felt when you told someone you loved them for the very first time.  “would you take a walk with me over to Parkman’s?  I have a surprise for you, a present.”

Sarah Jean gave me the biggest smile.  I got scared for a second that I would faint.  Please, God, if I have to faint, let it be when I get to my own yard.  Please don’t let me faint here in the schoolyard, right in front of the woman I love.

“A present?” she said in that soft, little bird voice of hers.  “I love presents.  But, why do we have to go to Parkman’s?  We aren’t going in too deep, are we?  I heard there’s bears deep in those woods.”

I told her not to be scared because I would protect her.  I really hoped one wouldn’t though since I had already seen one early this morning when I was there getting her surprise ready.  While I was up on the branch hard at work, a big one came sniffing around.  It looked up at me for a minute and then just kept moving.  When I was done, I ran home faster than I’ve ever run before and I was so happy my Mama and Daddy were still asleep, so I wouldn’t have to explain why I had peed my jeans.  I buried them at the bottom of the dirty clothes pile, put my PJs back on, and got under the covers.  Mission accomplished.

I don’t know what I would have done if that bear had decided to climb up to me.  All I had with me was my pen knife.  I’ve got my slingshot with me now; although, I really don’t think it will do me much good.  I’ve heard you can’t outrun them either, so I guess I’d have to tell Sarah Jean to run and I’d stay and let it take me because I love her so much.  I hope it doesn’t come to that though.  I mean, I’d like to go to New York City at least once before I die.

“We don’t have to go in too deep, Sarah Jean,” I reassured her.  “Just in a couple of minutes’ worth and then I’ll show you your present.”

She started to walk toward the woods and I followed her.  I wasn’t sure if I should take her hand, but decided against it.  It wouldn’t be proper until she’s my official girlfriend.  I told her we were going to enter the woods by the mile marker sign a block from my house.  She said okay and told me to hurry because she wanted her present.  This is going to be so great.

We walked in straight behind the sign for a count of 150 because that’s how I did it this morning, and we ended up at the very tree that had my surprise on it.  I started to climb to the top branch.

“Where are you going?” Sarah Jean sounded kind of angry, but I know it’s because she didn’t know what was coming.

“You’ll see, Sarah Jean,” I told her.  “Wait until I get to the top.”

I got to my branch and moved away from the trunk onto it.  It felt a bit more shaky than it had this morning, but I wasn’t worried.  Everything was going to be perfect from this moment on.  I called down to Sarah Jean and pointed at the trunk.

“Sarah Jean, see what I’ve done?  I climbed up here early this morning and carved both our initials inside a heart on this tree because I love you.  This symbol of our love will be here forever.  Isn’t that terrific?  Now, we can be boyfriend and girlfriend.”

Sarah Jean didn’t say anything right way.  I figured she was overwhelmed with emotion.  It’s not every day someone does something that spectacular.

“You did what?”  She sounded angrier this time.  “You carved our initials in a tree?  What kind of present is that?”

Sarah Jean started back toward the road.  I knew it was probably too much at one time, so I decided to let it sink in gradually.  As I started to move toward the trunk to climb down, I felt the branch snap and I fell hard.  I hadn’t realized how high up I had been until I realized I had broken both my ankles, or sprained them both really bad, since I couldn’t stand.

“Sarah Jean?  I fell.  Could you come back and help me?”

My love came right back, just as I knew she would.

“Sarah Jean, could you go to my house and tell my Daddy where I am and what happened, and that I can‘t walk?  We can wait on the boyfriend/girlfriend thing.  A permanent record of our love maybe was a bit too much right now, but we can take it slower if you want.”

Sarah Jean smiled, and I knew all was right with the world again.  She started completely covering me up with leaves--so I wouldn’t catch a chill, I’m sure, and went on her way.  I thought I heard her say something about a charm bracelet, but I didn’t catch it all.  I’m sure she said this was way better.

My ankles really hurt, but I’m a man now, so I can take it.  I’m going to be in big trouble with Mama and Daddy for being in the woods, but Sarah Jean’s worth it.  Was that a growl I just heard?  I’m going to pull more leaves over me just in case that bear comes along.  That way, he won’t see me.

I’m sure Sarah Jean’s at my house right now telling my Daddy to come get me.  I hope it’s soon.  I’m getting hungry and it’s starting to get dark…

Friday, July 6, 2012


I wanted to share my prompt from Flash Fiction Friday.  Please check out the site and join in any time.  Prompts are posted each Friday, and deadlines are generally the following Wednesday evening.  Here's my first one.

He was Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire, Colonel Walter E. Kurtz in Apocalypse Now, 1st Lt. Fletcher Christian in Mutiny on the Bounty, and Maj. Lloyd 'Ace' Gruver, USAF in Sayonara.  Marlon Brando played countless other roles, but all it took was watching him in one for him to become the object of my first crush.  That role, of course, was how he's pictured here as Johnny Strabler in The Wild One.

Intense, brooding and so exciting to this kid.  We don't need to go into exactly how old I was at the time.  Let's just leave it at 'kid'.  Anyway, years later, I found out about the dark sides of the object of my affection.  Difficult to work with, arrogant, unfaithful, just to name a few, but did that diminish the power of my first crush?  Absolutely not.

This is where I want you to go with this week's story.  Let's make it about a first crush.  One of your characters develops a crush on another of your characters--doesn't necessarily have to be a celebrity.  It can be anyone of any gender.  Then, I'd like you to have your character reveal their feelings, and here's where I'm leaving it wide open.

How is your story going to end?  Will the outcome be a Spring wedding on the shores of a Honolulu beach? Or will the outcome possibly be the anguish of your character's family member or friend being forced to file a missing person's report with the local police?

Let's explore all the how's and why's, joy and uncertainty of that first crush, and then follow to find out what happens when the secret admirer ceases to be a secret.

Prompt:  Write a story about a first crush, and include the outcome when the crush has been revealed.

Genre:  Any.

Word Limit:  1,500 words.

Due Date:  Wednesday, July 11, 10:00 pm, EST.

Also, please put the name of your story and the link to it in the Comments section of this post.

This is my very first prompt on F3--hope you have lots of fun with it!

Monday, July 2, 2012


This week’s prompt was a starter sentence:  We need to talk about Kevin.  The genre was open, and the word max was 1,300.  Please enjoy my little tale.


We need to talk about Kevin.

Here we go again.  A couple of weeks ago, it was the Crossing Guard.  Apparently, our boy, Kevin, had flicked a lit cigarette on her shoe and spit at her on his way to the school yard.  Last week, it was the Manager at the local grocer.  Apparently, our boy, Kevin, had taken a bottle of soda he hadn’t paid for and in between sips, had poured it all over several counters of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Today, it is Ray and Mandy, the couple who moved into the corner house two days ago.  Apparently, our boy Kevin, had ventured onto their patio and placed their cat, Ginger, firmly on the same grill where they were preparing their burgers for dinner.  They informed us that they had originally planned to contact the police, but felt a sit-down with Kevin’s parents might suffice.  My husband, Cliff, and I assured them it would.  Our boy, Kevin.  What to do.

When Kevin first joined our family at the age of 6, we noticed his strength of character.  The child never allowed himself to be bullied; however, his reactions to personally unpleasant stimuli were only that--reactions.  He never presented as the aggressor in any situation, nor initiated any confrontations with other children or adults--until now.  It would appear our boy, Kevin, has begun his journey on a darker path than even we imagined.

Cliff and I find it fascinating how the innate personalities of two children in the same household can be so inherently different.  His sister, who is no longer with us, is a perfect illustration of this aberration.  When we took Carmella in, she was already ten years old.  The reason we agreed to forego receiving an infant was that we wanted the child to be well educated, and have her basic ideals and morals already in place.  I cannot begin to tell you that when it came to this child, my husband and I were sorely disappointed.

Carmella was quite an uninspired creature.  She had no desire to expand her scholastic endeavors, and no ambition whatsoever with regard to obtaining the necessary skills to provide for herself once she reached the appropriate stage in her life.  She was a complete failure, socially, in the elementary school environment.  Even children with the mentality of a doormat were able to coerce Carmella into performing whatever activity their demented little minds concocted.  She couldn’t make a decision, however inconsequential, even something as basic as whether to have vanilla or chocolate ice cream on her cone.  Conundrums of that sort would bring tears to her eyes and a tremor to her hands.

We could not continue to harbor such as she; however, it is not as if we could return her or even exchange her for another.  We had to put her down.  We had no other choice.  We did, though, move to another city since the neighbors most likely would inquire as to her whereabouts.  That would have been annoying, at best, and we chose to avoid having to invent relatives elsewhere Carmella was sent to reside with.  One lie always necessitates another, and we have better ways to spend our time than trying to keep track of deceitful details shared.

The problems we are having with our boy, Kevin, truly took us by surprise.  Having a strong and unshakable character and sense of morality is one thing; however, being bent on destruction of others’ property and actual living beings is quite another matter entirely.  Cliff and I have discussed the child at great length, and both agree that since Kevin has now reached the age of eleven, and his apparent fondness for causing harm continues to escalate, this situation is not on a path to a positive resolution.

My husband and I visited Kevin’s school and discussed his behavior with several of his teachers, as well as with the Principal, since he has continually shown a disturbed manner when in close proximity to his classmates, as well as those students in lower grades.  He has leveled very detailed, very graphic threats to them and their families; although, there have been no assaults of a physical nature to date.  Several conferences appeared to have reduced the incidents significantly, until the event with the Crossing Guard occurred.  Rumors abound that our boy, Kevin, faces some type of suspension, or possible expulsion.  While private school is certainly an affordable solution for my husband and I, the Principal informed us records of behavior, as well as grades, would be transmitted to the new institution.  Unfortunately, that deems that option completely unacceptable.

I went to speak personally to the grocery store Manager, Mr. Bob Jenson, who hadn’t been as forthcoming on the telephone as I would have preferred.  It was our understanding that our boy’s offense had been limited to the dissemination of some type of soda over their fruit and vegetable displays.  On my arrival, Mr. Jenson was most impolite, raising his voice to an uncomfortable level with me, and rambling on how Kevin had battered several toddlers while they sat in the carts waiting for their mothers to make selections from the shelves.  I was informed that no one in my household would be permitted entry to that particular market and I was advised that my husband and I would most likely be receiving communication from the attorneys of the mothers whose children had been assaulted.  I wrote a check to the store to cover the cost of the damaged food items, as well as a sizeable one directly to Mr. Jenson to cover his emotional distress.  We still are not welcome to shop at that location, but the potential lawsuits seem to have evaporated.

This latest occurrence with Ray and Mandy has brought my husband and I to our wits end.  There is no predicting how far our boy, Kevin, might go when unsupervised.  Since the cat was not killed in a late night attempt at cruel vandalism by person or persons unknown, but in broad daylight in their very presence, our new neighbors made it a point to impress upon us how strong their fear of our boy had become.  Mandy had taken me aside and informed me quietly of her pregnancy.  She had learned of it that morning, and that prompted their grilling out that evening on the patio.  She stated several people had warned her about our boy being dangerous, but she had attributed those remarks to petty and vindictive neighbors.  Having witnessed our boy’s alarming deed firsthand however, convinced her of their veracity, and she stated that no member of our family would be welcome anywhere near any member of hers--current or future.

Cliff has begun sending his resume to out-of-town firms and I have listed our home with several local realtors.  Our boy, Kevin, as his sister, Carmella, before him, cannot be returned, so he will have to be put down as well.  We will be a childless couple in a new home in a new town--no explanations necessary.  That really does make the relocation a much smoother process.

We would like a family though.  Perhaps next time, we’ll try to get a human child from the orphanage downtown instead of purchasing a ready-to-raise one from a kit.  The glitches are unforeseeable and the warrantees have always expired by the time you realize what you’ve been burdened with.  No recourse save dismantling them and setting them out at the curb in twist-tie bags.  Ladies in my Bridge Club say there’s plenty of human kids of all ages available since many were left parentless after the last great battle of ‘44.  Does anyone know if glitches could potentially occur with them too?  I don’t believe they have a money-back guarantee there either…