Mastodon bones

I stood in the dusty and fly-blown museum before a display of mastodon bones. All the tiny building’s doors and windows stood open to the blazing July heat radiating from the ancient Italian rocks lining the street outside.

The stone floor echoed with the clicking of high heels. I looked up to see a chic woman in a business suit, her hair immaculate in a dark twist atop her head, her eyes flaming with anger. Paolo! she shouted, and burst through a small door into what looked like . . .


Code A

Okay, then. You want the Code A plan? The phone salesman looked at me expectantly. I realized I hadn’t listened to his last five minutes of sales pitch.

Code. That’s the thought that kept sticking in my head. If I could dream up an outgoing voice mail message that was in code, then the one person I wanted to know where I was going would understand. I could disappear, just me and my cell phone.

The mob wise guys wouldn’t have a clue . . .

The best

The best time I had as a child was playing hide-and-seek in my grandmother’s three story rooming house. With the basement and the front porch thrown in, the house was a treasure chest of hidden alcoves, narrow stairwells, obscure corners and roomy built-in cabinetry. You could move silently from floor to floor on the downhill route because you could slide down the banisters. If you held really still and didn’t breathe, searchers would pass right by your hiding place and not notice you there. Of course, you couldn’t go into rooms that were rented out to grandma’s roomers, but you could . . .

Lingering whiff

She held the box under my chin. I poked my nose in the Celestial Seasonings package hoping for a clue about what to expect from the Blueberry Zinger. Instead I inhaled a lingering whiff of hand soap. The smell of skin and soap seem much more interesting than the aroma of the tea, so I took her hand and pulled it closer.

Her skin was warm and dry and I turned her hand so I could explore the innerside of her wrist with my nose and mouth. Oh, she breathed, and dropped the box of tea to cup my face . . .

Seniors in love

Who woulda thunk that Anthony Hopkins would become a romantic leading man in his older years? But he is in the movie The World’s Fastest Indian, a wonderful story about achieving lifetime goals. There’s an undercurrent of seniors in love (or at least in bed) in the story.

The highlight of the movie for me (not counting the speed-racing success) was the very real looking Diane Ladd, whose skin is not stretched to the slickness of a skating rink. She looks natural and more beautiful than ever.

Now, about that little prostate problem the hero . . .

Shoot to kill

Darlene stopped at the ticket booth and Junie crowded up beside her. “How many tickets you want to get?” Darlene asked.

“I’ve got ten bucks,” Junie said.

“Okay.” Darlene turned to the woman in the tiny ticket booth. “We’ll each take ten bucks worth.” A wad a tickets came snaking out at them and they turned to weave their way toward the shooting gallery. Junie didn’t even have to think twice about it, she knew that was the first place Darlene wanted to go. Darlene thought she was some kind of reincarnation of Annie Oakley, always talking about what a great shot she was and how she wasn’t afraid to shoot to kill.

Junie thought it was just bluster. Darlene wouldn’t shoot anybody, even though a lot of people really pissed her off…

Flaming lips

She’s a stubborn old poot. Set in her ways and prone to blast with flaming lips at any opinion that differs from her own. It’s no wonder she lives alone; there’s no way another human could put up with her 24/7.

Since I don’t live with her, I’m free to enjoy her friendship. The benefits of her friendship are many, surprisingly. She’s funny and affectionate when she’s not bitchin’ someone out. She loves to . . .


He presented his library card to me with a trembling hand. He smelled of alcohol, and was unshaven, dirty and disheveled. Yet for all that, he didn’t appear to be homeless or drunk. He was intent and concentrated and something about him made me believe he was trustworthy. And, after all, he did have a library card.

I glanced at the title of the book he wanted . . .

Public speaking

There’s nothing more terrifying to a shy person than opening your mouth in public. All the more reason to be a writer, no? What do you do when you want to be sitting quietly in the back row, yet you find yourself standing in front of the crowd, expected to speak? And even to make sense?

Here are some helpful tricks to get you through this ordeal . . .