Dreaming of You (unfinished)

“If I sleep, I’ll dream, and it might not be of you,” I whispered. “Stop it,” she said and hit me with a pillow, “it’s been a long day, and I’m leaving in the morning for Thanksgiving break.” “Without me,” I moaned. “I’ll be so lonely here. I don’t want to sleep. I don’t want to miss a second of us. We just met, and I can’t imagine being without you by my side.”

“Stop, we discussed this,” she said. “I can’t take you home with me. No one would understand. We haven’t just met, anyway. You’ve been calling me Ms. Anderson, for two months, now. It’s hasn’t even been a week ago that I became Betty to you. That you really saw me – as the adult I am.

“I had seen you. Noticed you,” I whispered, sleepily, a different seat, every class, seemingly looking for a home, not a chair. Always prepared for my lecture, never shying away from an answer, but I never knew where I’d find you..”

“Until last Thursday.”

Last Thursday she made her move to the end of the third row, just as a classmate did the same. It is a coveted seat. One where you are close enough to the front to be seen as studious, but not too close to be seen as a brown noser. Close to the door, for easy exit if the need arose, and across the room from the windows, so day dreaming could be discreet, as I was in between.

Last Thursday, though, that was the clash of titans. A guy who wants to be my TA came to class – her to learn, him to see if I was worthy. I am. But that’s not the point, but it is why he shouldn’t have even appeared in this story.

Anyway, the got there at the same time, each with a hand on the chair. Betty dropped her bags on the chair, like she was moving in, like she had finally found her home, when he, of all people, said “NO!” She looked at him and said “WHY?” “It’s mine,” he said. She whipped out a Sharpee, and before he could do anything but blink, she had written, in big black block letters, BETTY, on the seat back.

He gasped, astonished. She smiled and smirked. I read, “Betty, hmmm, wow,”

As she sat in front of the stunned TA wannabe, I started my lecture.

At the end of the lecture, I asked to speak with her a second, I saw him coming, out of the corner of my eye, and thinking quickly, I said, “I need a TA for some of my classes, would you be interested?”

He stopped in his path, mouth agape, she turned to see him, picked up what happened immediately, smirked again, and said, “I’d love to.”

Since that moment we have been inseparable. Not as a couple, but as a one. Two pieces of a brain, a heart, a soul, became one.

“I don’t want to sleep. Not until I have to, you should, though. Stretch out on the couch, and I’ll rub your feet.”

“Write an apology letter to a place.”

It was called, “Booeymonger’s”. A late night oasis for those of us who partied into the late night in the 70s and 80s. I just Googled them and am stunned to see they are still there, in the same Friendship Heights location in Washington, DC.

I owe the store, and its employees, a huge apology for a late night event in the summer of 1979.

My girlfriend really wanted to see the second Rocky movie. It had opened a couple of weeks before, in mid June, of 1979, and we went to see it in a theater over near Chevy Chase Circle. I picked her up about 7 PM from the Little Falls neighborhood of Bethesda, MD, and we got high, and drank some on the way over for our 8 PM movie. That was normal for those growing up – late teens and early twenties – in that era.

I often over imbibed, however, and as we walked into the theater, I took, unbeknownst to my girlfriend, a Rohrer 714 pill. A Quaalude. I settled into my chair, and never felt the drug take effect – until I tried to stand up, and my legs buckled for a second.

I rallied. I’m a big strong guy – bigger and stronger back then – and we walked out of the theater, and got into my car. I was driving a 1976 Honda Civic – a tiny car, but with a 4-speed stick, a very fun car to drive.

We decided we were hungry, and headed over to Booeymonger’s for some late night food.

The “Patty Hears” sandwich was a favorite of mine – turkey and bacon with melted cheese and Russian dressing, on a baguette. Freaking delicious. They also had some good loaded fries, long before being called “loaded”, for fries that is, was a thing.

We got our food and headed up a short 3 or 4 steps to a table. The more I was up, the sloppier I was getting.

I ate about half my food and excused myself to the bathroom – a single room men’s room with a lock on the door. I waited for someone to finish up and leave and then entered, turned and locked the door, and then, with no warning, it happened, exorcist like.

It was horrible. Vomit spraying everywhere away from me. I seemed to not get any on my, but the walls and counters were soaked in vomit.

I reached behind me, unlocked the door, set it so it would lock behind me, so no customer would have to experience the mess. As I went by the cashier, I whispered, you need a clean-up in the bathroom.

I walked to my girlfriend and said, simply, “we gotta go!” and she could tell I was serious.

She grabbed her purse and out of the place we went.

She asked, as we got to the car, “what happened?” “Nothing good,” I replied, and accelerated away from the front of the place.

As I drove her home I explained, and started to feel better. We were both amazed I seemed to have nothing on me.

Through much of my teenage years I would get a flash of a room destroyed, if I lost it, but it was usually tables and chairs broken and tossed around the room.

The reality was more horrifying.

I AM SO SORRY Booeymonger’s! I deeply apologize to any and all crew members who had to clean that up. You are a wonderful restaurant that just had the wrong me, at the wrong time, eating there.

Write about a character who doesn’t want to go to sleep.

“If I sleep, I’ll dream, and it might not be of you,” I whispered. “Stop it,” she said and hit me with a pillow, “it’s been a long day, and I’m leaving in the morning for Thanksgiving break.” “Without me,” I moaned. “I’ll be so lonely here. I don’t want to sleep. I don’t want to miss a second of us. We just met, and I can’t imagine being without you by my side.”

“Stop, we discussed this,” she said. “I can’t take you home with me. No one would understand. We haven’t just met, anyway. You’ve been calling me Ms. Anderson, for two months, now. It’s hasn’t even been a week ago that I became Betty to you. That you really saw me – as the adult I am.

“I had seen you. Noticed you,” I whispered, sleepily, a different seat, every class, seemingly looking for a home, not a chair. Always prepared for my lecture, never shying away from an answer, but I never knew where I’d find you..”

“Until last Thursday.”

Last Thursday she made her move to the end of the third row, just as a classmate did the same. It is a coveted seat. One where you are close enough to the front to be seen as studious, but not too close to be seen as a brown noser. Close to the door, for easy exit if the need arose, and across the room from the windows, so day dreaming could be discreet, as I was in between.

Last Thursday, though, that was the clash of titans. A guy who wants to be my TA came to class – her to learn, him to see if I was worthy. I am. But that’s not the point, but it is why he shouldn’t have even appeared in this story.

Anyway, the got there at the same time, each with a hand on the chair. Betty dropped her bags on the chair, like she was moving in, like she had finally found her home, when he, of all people, said “NO!” She looked at him and said “WHY?” “It’s mine,” he said. She whipped out a Sharpee, and before he could do anything but blink, she had written, in big black block letters, BETTY, on the seat back.

He gasped, astonished. She smiled and smirked. I read, “Betty, hmmm, wow,”

As she sat in front of the stunned TA wannabe, I started my lecture.

At the end of the lecture, I asked to speak with her a second, I saw him coming, out of the corner of my eye, and thinking quickly, I said, “I need a TA for some of my classes, would you be interested?”

He stopped in his path, mouth agape, she turned to see him, picked up what happened immediately, smirked again, and said, “I’d love to.”

Since that moment we have been inseparable. Not as a couple, but as a one. Two pieces of a brain, a heart, a soul, became one.

“I don’t want to sleep. Not until I have to, you should, though. Stretch out on the couch, and I’ll rub your feet.”

A Day in the Life of My Future

08/20/2026

I turned 70 today. I expect I will finally retire from working in 4 months – sometime in January of 2027. I started taking my Social Security benefits at the 66 and 4 months (12/20/2022) “full retirement age” for my birth year, and used the monthly cash to pay off all credit cards and as much home debt as feasible. I want my wife to be positioned well when my time comes.

I always half joked that she was my retirement plan, as she is 25 years younger than I, but I want to plan to be hers as well.

It’s weird to look mortality in the eyes. It never blinks. I try my best not to as well.

These last 4 years I have felt myself start to age. All the fun I had as a youth, has come back to me in both memories, and concerns. My multiple head injuries have me wondering about possible dementia ahead. My car accidents and other injuries seem to be exacerbating the level of arthritis in my body – knees, hands, and shoulders to be sure. In addition, my lower back is in a precarious state.

That’s the bad, but there is good to. Kasi makes me very happy, we have been traveling finally, and expect to take 2 months in Europe in the summer of 2027.

Back to my mortality. I always hoped I would live into my 90s, and I still hope so, though I worry my body will not hold up past 80. When I am gone, my biggest hope is that Kasi will not be alone. She should not hesitate to try to love again. I also hope John and Veronica will remain in touch with Kasi, as she loves them deeply. She also loves her friends, and I hope they stay in her life as well.

Kasi is naturally an introvert, but still loves her people when she is with them. Be patient, but continue nudging her.

Things are getting back to normalcy after the pandemic, and European wars. The coup by the Russian people was slow in starting, but has turned the world around. Democracy is flourishing. Religious litmus test are falling away worldwide, as a new age of enlightenment seems to have come over the world.

The levels of hate and sectarian violence have dropped off dramatically, and the anti-education “Mini Dark Ages” was short lived. We seem to have dodged the vision of “Idiocracy” that for awhile seems inevitable.

My first, and probably only, novel was just published to zero fanfare or acclaim, but I finally did it – and not self published. Like the rest of the world, Fresno has gotten better – hotter, but better. I don’t envy the future for my kids, and I’m good without having grandchildren, as their future would be an unbearable cross to bear – at least at this point in time.

Hopefully the demise of the anti-education cults, will bring a rise of innovation, along with the arts that have already taken off. Technology is the only hope for the future of this planet, after the state the Russian war left it in.

I have hope, looking forward, but it is balanced by the reality of all the damage done in my lifetime.

Writing Prompt 7:

Rewrite: Take any poem or short story that you enjoy. Rewrite it in your own words.

Submission A: – The Lovesong of J. Alfred Profrock – TS Eliot

The Unloved Song of B. Lee Rekab

Who am I but pieces

jumbled and tossed to the ground

Dirty and tired.

I walk these lonely streets

scared and alone in life,

one night stands, cheap eats

the voices, knowing in my head.

What am I doing

where can I go?

In the streets the ladies come and go

speaking of what’s in vogue.

I slip through the night, looking through window frames

looking for signs of life in homes rich and poor

searching the evening for delights

standing quiet in the shadows, watching

dancing and prancing my way in the dark

sliding over porches, silent as a mouse

feeling the fall chill as I snuggle a house

slipping under the decks, for a night of rest.

There will be plenty of time

to search and find,

to connoiter and spy

Yes, plenty of time

to seek and find,

my soul,

hung out like laundry on every line.

Time to play lost and found

with my heart on every round

a time for us

our scattered pieces, reclaimed

rearranged and returned

long before dinner and she.

In the streets the ladies come and go

speaking of what’s in vogue.

Plenty of time

to be weak and then brave

to ask them out, or chicken out

Wondering if my looks are fine

will they think simply meh?

Oh what will I wear to make a good first impression

All I have seems to reflect my depression.

They will see the weakness in my knees

the sweat on my palm

what will I do?

go forth, or hang my head in retreat?

I’ve been down this road too many times before

I know how it ends

I know where it ends

I see the past retreats

I feel their weight on my shoulders.

               Why would this time be any different?

This road is long and dark and sad

I can travel all day to get there

but it always ends the same

it always ends the same.

How can this be different

where is the new road?

it hasn’t appeared as of yet?

All those before, I see in my mind’s eye

Beautiful and fair

many colors of hair.

Their aromas so divine

Like Grenouille, I want them mine.

Beauty that makes me cry and hide

               Why me?

               How could it be me?

Do I talk of my nightly dance

the way I sneak and prance

of what I saw through darkened windows? …

I should have been a pair of ragged claws

Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

Here we rest by the sea

Waves like fingers, roaring

never asleep, jus constantly roaring

stretched out on the sand, all the pieces of my mind regathered

will we be able, after we eat,

to regain any pieces that we lost?

I have hunted, we have hunted,

but pieces are lost and we are not the same without them.

Who am I? No one who matters,

the great imposter, waiting for the inevitable fall.

My future is passed, I am now left out to pasture.

I am, afraid.

Maybe it would have been better to have tried

to speak my mind

to tell you, or them, how I felt

Maybe I should have tried

to say the words with a smile

to say I really like you, all the while.

To get on one knee and profess my love.

to say, “I will cherish you and love you,

if that is what you want me to do”-

but then I expect the look,

               and the voice, “what are you on about:

               that’s not what I meant at all.”

Maybe it would have been better to have tried

to speak my mind

to show you what I mean, to dance with you in the streets

to show you my nightly retreats

to let you know the beauty of my streets!

But I fear you could never see,

the beauty the streets hold for the likes of me.

would it have been better to show you

but I, once again, expect that look

and your voice as you rest your book:

               “what are you on about now,

               that’s not what I meant at all.”

I’ll never be a Prince Charming, that’s just not me

I was built for management, not speed

An idea man, get things going, and pass it along

somewhat of a jester, a self-deprecating fool

hat in hand, always ready to lend a hand

careful and quiet, not footloose

Full of promise, but never quite fulfilled

At times a ridiculous tool,

or even a fool.

I grow old … I grow old …

I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Luckily, no need for a comb over.  An iron stomach on most accounts

Can I still pull off a speedo at this age?

I hear the ladies whistling on the beach, each to each.

I do not think they whistle for me.

I watch them on their boards

surfing the white waves with their hair ablaze

the waves now dark and ominous

with sea beasts down below

I remember that scene in Jaws, as it tossed her to and fro

I hear their screams, and run.

Submission B:

Writing Prompt 6:

Fire-starters: Write about building a fire.

Submission A:

The Fire Starter

No,

not Drew Barrymore.

the book was better, anyway.

Are we talking kindling?

a lighter?

matches?

a kiss?

Yes, a kiss,

or a look,

or a touch,

or a smile.

All can start a fire.

All can keep you warm.

Until the flames die.

So, it’s not just about starting fires.

It’s about feeding them, nurturing them,

willing them to grow.

It’s stunning how long an untended coal can smolder,

buried deep

forgotten.

And then, with the right mixture of oxygen and fuel,

burst alive,

all consuming.

But it’s a risk.

A dangerous way to love.

Sometimes the coal dies.

No spark remains.

But then, a random event,

a lightening strike,

the heat, the power,

finds its way to that dead coal,

and breathes life into it again.

Fire is life.

Do your best to keep it alive,

or give up and hope for re-ignition,

or rebirth.

I am an ember

floating on the breeze

hoping for fuel.

Writing Prompt 5:

Closed Doors: What’s behind the door? Why is it closed?

Submission A:

A Metaphor

The door

Always a metaphor

Open or closed, or swinging. . .

Closed these days, but not locked

Open it, if you feel the moment is right.

But enter at your own risk.

Sometime the inside is bright,

often it’s dim,

sometimes,

Dark.

Somehow, thankfully,

the light always seems to return.

Who or what turns it on

I never know.

A spark from somewhere

Igniting

lighting

ebbing and flowing

such is life.

Maybe a candle – one wick or two – or more?

Together,

or at both ends?

My heart prefers the former,

but my soul leans toward the latter.

Either way darkness always comes.

I could prop the door open,

But that would just invite the wildness in.

I love the wild in me,

But I’m too old not to be tamed by now.

Best to close it.

Maybe lock it.

Give the keys to those I love,

to come, and go.

Bringing the light,

to light my soul.

So I don’t fumble,

in the dark

Alone.

Submission B:

Writing Prompt 4

Smoke, Fog, and Haze: Write about not being able to see ahead of you.

Submission A:

Submitting to the Fog of Life

I was six years old when we descended the steps of Carlsbad Caverns.  It was there, probably 200 feet below the surface, where I first felt the helplessness of blindness.  The stopped us on the steps.  Suddenly the lights went out, and darkness reigned.  A darkness so deep that I couldn’t see my hand an inch from my face.  This was the early 1960’s. The summer of 1963 to be exact. Normal darkness was easy to find, especially for a kid from a small, rural, Ohio town, but this was different, somewhat horrifying, and somewhat exciting too.

They turned the lights back on, and we toured the immense beauty of those caverns, but of all that, it was that darkness that has stayed with me for almost 60 years.

While I am not visually impaired, I have lived my life in a weird fog.  Not quite a darkness, but akin to it.  Not seeing or planning the future, but riding the waves of time, wondering where I would end up.  Falling in and out of life, out of friends, of lovers, of wives, of jobs.  Reinventing myself as needed.

Many years were spent in a drug and alcohol fog.  Self-medicating for what was probably years of undiagnosed – or before they actually diagnosed kids for – ADHD, and teenage depression, which, in turn created addiction to a high, and the crash that followed.  A temporary break in the fog came when I realized my hand was shaking as I reached for my first beer of the day, at the Zoo Bar, in DC, as my best friend, Jerry was pouring from a pitcher.

I quit drinking the next day, for four years.  I have been able to control it since.

I also lived in the fog of religion much of my life.  Southern Baptist and Presbyterian.  I believed deeply in a God, but not in religion as a home.  I prayed directly to God, and let him steer my path in love, life, work, and play, until things went awry.  Then I realized it was all a fog.  A fog of control.

Now, my work takes me to the Internet, constantly.  What I witness is a national malaise of smoke, fog, and mirrors, designed to confuse, mislead, and control people, for profit.  While the truth can be found, and is available, the fog of scientific writing, makes it easy to be misinterpreted by those wanting to mislead, and feed to those willing to consume without doing the hard work of critical thinking.

Smoke, fog, and haze are the tool to control, to blind those from the realities around them, and place them in little silos – millions of little silos – hearing only what the other silos are hearing, and seeing only what they want you to see.

The fog of life, overwhelmed my senses, and I allowed it to hold me back, giving up control, to the fog of religion, leading me by the nose down the garden path, that way and this, this way and that, training me to give in to the fog of politics – control of knowledge, pitting tribe against tribe, creating enemies within.

Thankfully, I was educated – at least at some level, against my will – a different, personal fog of imposter syndrome – and intelligent, and knew how to cut through all the fog, with the super power of Critical Thinking.

Now, I just want to go to Cambria, and bask in the natural marine layer fog.

Submission B:

Missed Connection:

Shouldering the Weight of an Ending Marriage.

Writing Prompt #3

Prompt #3

Dictionary Definition: Open up a dictionary to a random word. Define what that word means to you.

Submission A:

Level

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is ds.png

Am I level? Not really. 

Have I ever been truly level? Only to my friends

Honest, always. 

But to others, it comes and goes.

I tilt, I tilt the truth, I become unlevel

watch the bubble slide, right or left.

I am levelheaded in most cases,

but then, suddenly,

at the drop of a hat,

I’m not.

I am a marble on a floor, not level

Seeking the lowest point.

T.S comes to mind

“I should have been a pair of ragged claws

Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.”

Bubbles rising.

Left Right or Center

Regaining levelness

To see the eyes of loved ones.

DS al Coda

Submission B:

Pandiculation: Noun

A favorite gesture

Sleepy, sensual

Your Song of Myself

Intimate, involuntary

Paired best with your laughter

The alto voice

(The alternate voice)

Your coy smile rising from my lips

Nowhere to go

Nowhere to be

Just this

Submission C:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is adversary.png

Writing Prompt 2

Prompt 2:

Eye Contact: Write about two people seeing each other for the first time.

Submission A:

Green into Blue & Blue into Green

I looked up from my grocery store sushi when I heard the cough. I was eating at the few tables at the front of the Whole Foods. I had a few hours between classes at the University. It was raining outside, and I realized that all the tables but mine had filled up since I started eating.

There she was, a beauty, a stunning redhead, my throat tightened, I couldn’t talk. I stared into those big green eyes, and raised my eyebrows to say, “yes?”

This dude, nerdy, but in a cute way, was taking up a table alone. WTH? It’s raining outside, the place is packed, and he eats alone, oblivious? I’m going to sit. I don’t have time to wait. I have to get back to work. Maybe if I clear my throat, I can get his attention. “MmHmm!”

He startled and looked up, mouth agape, as we became aware of his surroundings. His eyes though, wide and blue, and what a blue, bright and inquisitive, I felt like I could fall right in and be happy forever. He raised an eyebrow and made a sweeping gesture of welcome.

I shed my raincoat and sat, across from him. As I opened my sandwich I heard a tremulous whisper, “I’m Mmmark, what’s your name?” I looked up into a blushing face and a sweet smile, and those amazing blue eyes, hesitated, and said “Susan.”

“Hi Susan,” he said, voice suddenly more confident, “I’m sorry I was so lost in thought, and hogging a table. Good on you for stepping up, and waking me.” “Thank you, Mark, I appreciate that. It’s just so wet out, and I have to get back to work soon.”

She was so pretty, and brave, and seemed kind and smart, and those green eyes, I just wanted to fall in them and swim forever. She checked all my boxes. I had to say something to keep this encounter going. As she took a bite of her sandwich, I said, “what type of work do you do? I’m so sorry, eat, I’ll talk, and my sushi can wait. I’m in grad school at the University. I have a couple of hours between classes. I’m working on my library science masters.”

I took a few more bites, swallowed, and said, “really? You want to be a librarian? Cool! I’m a paralegal for a firm across the street. I’m working there as I study for the LSAT. I’ve always wanted to be a legal services attorney. Helping those who are on the short end of the legal stick.”

“Really? That’s way cooler, and a great coincidence. All mylibrary work experience has been at the University’s Law School Library. If I can ever be of help to you, Susan, I’d be happy to,” I said, and fished out a business card and handed it to her.

I looked at Mark’s card, and said to myself, nice. Nice guy, smart, cute, helpful, and seems to care about others, and those eyes are sucking me in. This is a happy coincidence. “Mark,” I said, “thank you, I will take you up on that. I’m going to have to run and get back, though. It was really nice meeting you – seriously.”

“That’s too bad Susan, I wish we had more time to chat, but, I understand. I have to say, though, I think you’re special, and I’d love to take you to dinner – nothing fancy – maybe that new El Salvadoran restaurant over on Barton Street?” She smiled.

I smiled, “maybe, Mark,” I’m pretty busy, but, do you want my number? Here’s my card from the firm,” I say and jot down my number on the back, “call me, Mark.” “I will Susan, and thank you. Oh, my cell number is on my card, too.“

We stared briefly into each other’s eyes, blue into green, and green into blue. Then she was gone into the rain.

Wow! What the heck just happened, I thought to myself, I’ve never had such an intense reaction from meeting a person, before. She’s someone. I HAVE to call her, soon!

I was out the door into the rain fast. Meeting Mark was like being hit in the heart with a hammer. I’ve never felt that feeling before. He’d better call. If not, I’m calling him. 

“I need to know if that feeling is still there next time,” they both said to themselves.

Submission 2:

Your Eyes

Looking into them
The most magical thing is
Each time is the first.