Category: Writing

Awkwardness Becomes Brady Chilton

Awkwardness Becomes Brady Chilton

A housefly somehow survived the spray and swatter and mingled among the guests at my celebration party, honoring the fact that miracles can happen. I, Brady Chilton, made it through law scho0l and passed the strenuous Arizona Bar Examination. The housefly would not be the only irritable pest of the evening, just, the first. No, that little pestilent pest fly made its way to the high and lovely sculpted ceiling, there to look down on all the killer giants of its world.

To loosen the knots of pre-party apprehensive jitters, I drank two jiggers of a highly touted Kentucky bourbon, mixed sparsely with wisps of soda and a twisted lemon peel which was submerged on the bottom of my highball glass. In fact, feeling not quite the effect desired, I had another. Then, to make certain there were no pre-party nerves, I had a third libation. It was my wish to ‘shine’ with those present at the party as a wizard of the word, chatter that would enlighten and show the charm, the bold intellectual ability befitting a man of the law.

Suffice it, I arrived in a nether world of alcoholic confidence and jolly attitude at the beautiful Arizona Country Club. A surprisingly large gathering of well-wishers was in the grand banquet room, and an immediate trickle of applause came and grew into a loud mixture of hands clapping and voices shouting. Even in my rather bourbon enhanced mood, there was still the emotional stir that comes and almost brings tears.

After a few embraces and handshakes, I went to one of four bars set up to handle the crowd of people. It was my wish to fortify my initial bourbon intake with at least one more highball and possibly more. This meeting would mean a lot to my future as an attorney, and I wanted to be reinforced and loose enough for my words to form the phrases of competency and surety. In short, I wanted to be true to my game plan, impress those present with my ease of communication and depth.

All went well at the celebration until the near ending when an inebriated man I did not recognize took the mike on the bandstand and made a few asinine remarks, closing with this:

“Mr. Chilton, won’t you come to the podium and say a few words, among which you might explain how someone like you can leave a gorgeous woman broken-hearted by calling off an engagement to be married, then parlay that into why anyone would hire you as an attorney…”

Finally, one band member escorted the man out of the room, his embarrassed lady friend following behind.

It became very quiet in the banquet room and hundreds of curious eyes sought me out. The ACC person in charge of the room came to the microphone to apologize for the interruption of ‘everyone’s good time’.

Emboldened by Bacchus I weaved my way to the bandstand. It was my feeling that the ‘drunk’ would not have the last word. The ACC gentleman gave me a consoling half-smile and handed me the mike.

I stood uncertainly for a moment, not really knowing what to say but knowing that some words should come from me.

“Hi, everyone. I feel I should respond to the gentleman who spoke of my calling off an engagement to a lady… Please, do not feel too hasty to dislike the man. He was obviously a friend or relative of the lady in question and urged forward by the alcohol he consumed tonight.

“The man was not untruthful. I did what he perhaps ineloquently spoke of my doing. It is true that the ‘gorgeous woman’ was not happy with me for calling off our engagement, and I can only say that I felt very much like a total ‘ass’ for doing it. My only defense is that factors dwelling in my mind caused me to make the decision to call off the engagement. I won’t get into those factors, but they led me to believe at the late hour that it was better the option than proceeding and causing more harm later. She was, is, a most lovely woman, a woman any man would be proud to call his wife. You may feel free to think of me in any way you wish. I can only say I’ve learned from that experience and can say that it will never happen again. A private matter such as this should never have been aired here in public and cause unease to a group of people out to enjoy an evening, and, hopefully, no one knows but the culprit involved and not the lovely lady.

“One last thing. You folks did not need to hear any of this tonight, and I only hope it will not diminish your enjoyment too much from this party in my honor. While mentioning that, thanks so much to my colleagues and friends for giving me this wonderful evening. Now, please, let’s converse, dance, imbibe, and leave us enjoy these precious moments together.”

From that point on in the evening, I could not reignite myself, felt a remorse not felt for some time. No highball or light talk could rid me of that. In the end I thanked my new colleagues and went home to a troubling sleep.

The next day I called the lady who was the unfair subject of part of the previous evening. Our talk was congenial and warm. I was surprised the evening’s flare had gotten back so soon to her, but she was well over the topic and apologized to me for having to endure that part of the evening.

We had cocktails together a few nights later.

Billy Ray Chitwood – June 17, 2019

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Living in the Moment

Living in the Moment

Are you living in the moment!

Well, sure, I must be. I’m still breathing. I just crammed a bunch of almonds in my mouth to crunch up – you know, like baseball players in a dugout cram those little pistachios in their mouths, or, whatever they are.

No, no, what I mean is, what is meant by the phrase, living in the moment?

My moments are solidly predictable. At this exact moment and for the rest of the moments during this day, I’m sitting in my comfy recliner writing a blog post and/or writing in my WIP…a new genre for me – a paranormal piece that I absolutely don’t know where it is leading me.

Now, if you’re after the philosophical living in the moment, I need to explain some not so healthy, not so philanthropic, some wacky and wild truths about myself. One truth is, I’ve already written a lot in blog posts and books about my living in the moments, and I am not taking a huge risk here of overamplifying just who the hell I really am. Nobody knows me anyhow.

Living in the moments of Childhood was psychologically conflictive in terms of inharmonious family situations where ugly behavior was pretty much the norm. My wonderful Mom tried very hard to make life good and wholesome, but she was a child of her times, as was an itinerant Dad, and the latter and former would argue, the latter placing thug emphasis on his side of any argument and beat my Mom. Now, I won’t dwell on those bruising one-sided bouts that left two siblings collectively traumatized ‘big time’, except to note that, well, they were children of their times.

Living in the moments of Adulthood was so much like those little wedges of vanilla fudge I would buy for a penny at the local grocery store – delicious, sweet moments…actually, I allowed my taste buds to rule my existence – that is, my moments. I joined the Navy and saw ‘the world’ of Adak in the Aleutian Islandsnot living in the moments of frivolity and fun, just a barren wasteland where booze, jokes, and dreams of naked women helped us 150 dit-dah-dit boys in what was called ‘Radio City’ get through eighteen months of isolation, snow, and gray skies.

Ah, but back in the states, the country boy came alive to the neon glitter, California, and gorgeous ladies. Now, those of you who have read my blog posts know of my use of the words, lotus eaters…if you have read Homer’s Odyssey, Book IX when the Greek hero, Odysseus, was on his return from Troy, he encountered a tribe of people who ate of the lotus fruits and flowers because they were the only food source, and because of their narcotic value. Today, lotus eaters are the figurative euphemism for people who spend their time indulging in pleasurable pursuits in lieu of dealing with the practical concerns of their lives.

That was I for a long spell, drank, loved the ladies, and slept until mid-morning, neglecting my work. I did manage, after a time, to get a college degree in English, taught school for a while, started books that never got finished, did a little acting, some commercials, and continued living in those moments, until I met, married Julie Anne and started writing for real. I’m currently working on my 20th book, and I just throw them out there and see if they might sell. I surely don’t live in the moments marketing the books I’ve written and cannot tell if they are indeed marketable. Do I think they are? Darn tooting, I live in those moments. My books meet my standards, and, yes, that might seem foolish, but that’s who I am – I write them, I edit them, I publish them, and truly believe people would like them. Julie Anne likes them, and she’s, people.

Maybe the bigger question on readers’ minds at this point is, why did I write this post?

Well, dagnab it, I knew a minute ago when I was in those moments…

BR Chitwood – June 20, 2019

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Together We Go

Together We Go

“Each writer has a style…”

“Well, now, aren’t you the savvy one? Where are you going with this bit of ‘old news’?”

“Oh, come on, Alter-boy, play nice. Let me show off just a tad. I’m just practicing my Phrase Prompt?”

“Well, you are the ruling member of this august group of two, so sally forth, my main man. This Phrase Prompt thing is what gets you to writing, ain’t it?”

Alter-boy, don’t you ever again use that pedestrian verb combo. It reminds me too much of my time in the Writer Wasteland. Now, I can’t get rid of you, but I can control your impulses, so I’m going to push the pause button on you. Just stay inside my head and let me know when I’m getting in a writing warp that I should not be in. Just, behave yourself. Generally, I love your good humor and those beady little bon mots with which you suffer me…”

“Hold it, before you push that pause button, don’t you believe you might be using a dab of affectation here, I mean, bon mots, really? Why don’t you just write, quip, or, pun? I know you want to show off, and I’m not going to bother you again, but, get real, son, I live in here, too. You…” Pause button time.

“That’ll hold you a while, Alter-boy. We’ll have a big laugh about all this a little later.

“As I was saying/writing, each of us has a style that goes a long way in identifying who we are. For example, back in college, being an English major and studying one semester American authors who had discernable styles. Take, for example, Edgar Allen Poe, the south’s, Thomas Wolfe, I loved those gentlemen and their writing, styles, but the southern author who was challenging for me to read was Oxford, Mississippi’s contribution to literature, William Faulkner, Nobel Laureate, Pulitzer Winner twice. Faulkner is likely best known for his The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, Absalom, Absalom! and The Reivers. I’ve gone back and read Faulkner, and, well, who am I to argue with the literary rankings? William Faulkner was a great writer, but I didn’t particularly enjoy him as much as the almost poetic narrative style of Thomas Wolfe.

My writing was influenced mostly by my study in college of the American Naturalists in literature. Emile Zola, the French writer, was to formulate the naturalist standard in writing, evolving from the so-called Realist writers of the day. Realism and Naturalism began to lead writers away from landscape-style writing to the ugly happenings of the streets, the under-belly of society dwellers. Writers like Jack London, Frank Norris, Theodore Dreiser, Stephen Crane came on strong to pick up from the great early narratives of Samuel Clements (Mark Twain). The Naturalist style of writing appealed to me, and my books likely show that influence.

There are many authors I’ve read and enjoyed over the years, the poetry and writing of an ex-Catholic priest, James Kavanaugh, whose book of poetry, Will You Be My Friend? and There are Men Too Gentle to Walk Among Wolves ‘matched so well with me’ and hearkened me back to my early Appalachian roots. I still remember how very ‘eager to write’ I was after reading Theodore Dreiser’s, Sister Carrie, about a young girl coming to the big city to find her fame and fortune, only to be used by the corrupted moth to light characters of the street. Crane’s Red Badge of Courage and Maggie, Girl of the Streets gave me the same thrill, made me want to write… Do you know Stephen Crane wrote The Red Badge of Courage over a weekend? At least, that’s the anecdote I heard at the time, and never checked it out for authenticity.

One last observation from William Faulkner. He was a self-made author. Faulkner believed and stated, a writer learns to write from writing, from the mistakes you make as writers. He also stated in fairly clear language that a writer had to believe he/she was the very best out there. Pretty bold, but I like it. That’s how I want to think…

So, long story short, I can easily trace my reason for loving to write back to childhood mimicking of singers I liked and childish poetry plus the foregoing influences.

So, each writer has a style, and I won’t be claiming to be in the same league as the great authors I’ve mentioned above. There are always the factors to consider of brain power and latent talent. We are all blessed with some – is it enough to author a best-selling mega-hit?

Each of us must determine that for ourselves…

“Well, isn’t that obvious?”

Oops, I accidentally hit the pause button.

“Okay, you want to have dialogue with me, Alter-boy? Go for it!”

“Want a drink?”

“Yeah, a highball. You, pouring?”

“You know, that’s an amusing question. To each his own!”

Billy Ray Chitwood – June 11, 2019

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Writing: Is It The Pits?

Writing: Is It The Pits?

There is no earthly or worthy reason why you should heed any advice I might give on the topic of Writing. Oh, I can claim to have taught briefly a course in Advanced Writing to high school seniors on their way to college, and, only my Deity can explain it, but I have written nineteen books and am working on the twentieth.

Having written those books, I’ve done little in the way of marketing them. I’ve deliberately eschewed seeking out a publisher because of the rejection slips I received many years ago when I was writing my six-book ‘Bailey Crane Mystery Series’. When self-publishing came into popularity, I went crazy and madly published too many books too fast, subliminally thinking readers were going to gobble them up. Talk about Chutzpah.

Okay, the truth is, I’ve always been frugal with money – except for the very large and expensive things in life, like, cars and luxury homes…yes, I like luxury living and won’t give it up. Well, there’s more than one truth. I spent most of my earlier years in the neon lights of lotus-eating, getting married, getting divorced, getting married, getting…you get the picture. So, some common sense came via ‘air mail’ to the left-side of my brain (Or, is it the right-side?) somewhere around the Gail Sheehy’s ‘Forty-Plus Crucible’ stage in Passages. I married a lovely down-to-earth lady with the common sense I never had and have somehow metamorphosed into that sensible place…well, for the most part. I’m still dilettantish to a fault.

Now, I just write, literally, write – blogs, novels, romance, mystery, thrillers, memoirs, even inject some fantasy occasionally. To the exclusion of, say, keeping up with the social media mélange of tips for writing, how to get an agent, how to write the next great novel, common mistakes made in writing, how to market your book, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, really, need I go on? I just WRITE.

Somewhere along the way, I discovered that I was likely never going to get discovered by a publisher or by an agent who could get me published, so, I WRITE. No, the sales of my books are not making me zany with joy, far from it – think of an antonym, like ‘zensible’. Think of the smallest grain of sand. That’s I, me, or my nineteen books – under a tall and wide five-ton pile of pebbles. So, I WRITE.

I’m in Twilight now, and I use that descriptive word so as not to admit to an age I don’t feel nor care to reveal…ah, see, a rhyme. I’m amazing, to me, I’m amazing. You don’t have to think so. You might think so if you read one of my books, particularly, if you read Dominique, or, Daddy, No! or, Mama’s Madness, or, Stranger Abduction, or…well, just go to https://billyraychitwood.com and pick one. Many of my books in the Mystery genre are fiction from fact, because evildoers have always held a morbid fascination for me, you know, how could any person do some of the hideous crimes we see on TV and in daily newspapers? Many of my books are in the Romance genre, love stories with some suspense and intrigue.

Finally, with all I’ve written here, here’s a writing tip that works for me. If you have the penchant for writing, feel like you can write, you might try it. Here’s what I do: I look over at my lovely wife and say, “Hey, honey, give me a phrase, any phrase, known, not known, just give me a phrase.” She’s reluctant because I’m taking her away from her book-reading or her genealogy, but I pick on her enough until she finally gives me a phrase.

From that phrase, I will write a blog post. That post might one day become a full-fledged book. That simple phrase unlocks my mind and the words flow. Maybe, in the scheme of things, my blog posts are not so great, but I like them, my wife likes them, my friends like them, and maybe that must be enough. That phrase gets me to writing, and the more I write the better wordsmith I believe I become. Hopefully, it can work for you.

So why not leave me a phrase in the comments below, it might form a blog post, or, trigger another new book.

Happy Writing.

Billy Ray Chitwood – June 8, 2019

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Close Call

Close Call

Just a bit tipsy when I left the Cannery Row bar, the hour was Ten PM, and I knew there were business calls to be made in Monterey the next day just as there was with this day ending. I walked down the lighted street until I came to the alleyway where I earlier parked my car. It was a short alleyway from the main street into a relatively small unlighted parking lot between a cluster of tall brick buildings.

The thought did occur to me that I could be an easy prey in this special part of the California I once knew. Maybe it was more than a thought. Perhaps it was a premonition.

John Steinbeck made this little piece of the world famous with his book, Cannery Row, in 1945, a story set during the Great Depression about the ‘earthy’ people of the author’s memory going back to 1930 of the men and women who lived bawdy lives, drank, and died. 1945 was the year the ‘seiners’ brought in 250,000 tons of sardines, the final year of such heavy yield. The following year was 25,000 tons of sardines. Despite the warnings from marine biologists, the sardine cannery and sardines would be seined out of existence.

Back to my woeful tale, I stepped from the alley into a parking area of pitch-black darkness. My tie was loose around my neck and my white shirt was slipping out of my trousers all rumpled. I looked the part of a drunken sot, but without the weaving and swaying. To some extent, that rumpled image can be taken as true…just a bit too much entertaining the clients seen that day.

So, into the blackness I went. Suddenly, from the darkness came two young men, each grabbing an arm, the one to my right was consistently punching me just above my bicep.

“Give us your wallet, mofo!” one thug whispered with emphasis that begged to be heeded.

Dumbfounded, I complied with the demand and handed over my wallet. The hoodlum on my right was still punching me above my bicep while gripping so tightly I could only feel the jolts.

Just as quickly as the two bad boys grabbed me, it was over. They ran quickly away into the blackness, while I stood momentarily staggered with incipient anger and frustration building. It quickly dawned on me that all my credit cards and some hundred-plus dollars were in my wallet.

I hurried from the parking lot down the short alleyway and called the police. When two officers arrived, I gave them the information that I had which was precious little, gave them my temporary lodging address – the Casa Munras, in Monterey, if memory serves correctly.

It was only when I returned to Casa Munras and began to pull my suit coat off that I noticed my blood-soaked right sleeve. The young punk was not punching me. He was stabbing me with a pocket-knife. The police prior obviously figured I knew about the bloody coat arm.

My wallet was found sometime during the next day in a street near Cannery Row.

Thankfully, my credit cards were all there. The money was gone.

I love John Steinbeck, studied him in college along with Ernest Hemingway and other notable American novelists, but, John, I won’t be visiting Cannery Row again – except through the pages of your classic book.

Incidentally this little scrap of a story is true of a younger me during my educational rep days.

Billy Ray Chitwood – June 1, 2019

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Some Thoughts on “Dominique”

There’s a guy in our neighborhood that is ‘dumb’ as squat – whatever the hell that means! At least he is when it comes to the machinations of the internet! Now, don’t get me too far wrong. I’m really fond of the guy. He’s smart, just likely not as smart as he thinks he is, he’s got this genetic structure inside that brain of his that goes a bit haywire at times…

Okay, let me nip this quickly in the bud because this guy is super nice most of the time and does in fact write some great books. It is humble I, says me, the author of this post…

Now, don’t be splitting a gut laughing at me. You know how the blood pressure rises when you’re tormenting your wife and cat – substitute, dog(s) if it’s more fitting to your clan. Hell, I had to start this post some which way, so I decided I might as well soothe my nerves by writing in this sort of ‘free-wheeling’ style. Indeed, writing is my ‘forte’, not only am l one of the very best authors you will ever read, I’m also so focused and locked in when I’m writing, and, today, well, I really needed some ‘existential love’. Hey, that sounds like a really good title for a book. I just might have to write it.

Okay, here’s the itch I’m trying to scratch, the ‘rub’ for the day…well, for the last three days actually! 

I just published a book entitled, Dominique, and it was so much fun to write. AND, I do believe it is one of the best books among my many happy labors – really close to “Mama’s Madness,” “Stranger Abduction,” “Hammer’s Holy Grail,” “The Pickett Factor,” well, yeah, I believe all my eighteen books are darned good, warts and all. With “Dominique,” I played ‘graphic designer’ and did my own book cover, didn’t like it, and, for the past three days have been working my brain overtime changing book covers on that really good novel, Dominique. I’ve gone through three covers in the last three days, and I’m really expecting to hear some angry words from those good folks at Amazon about these ‘cover turnarounds’! But, good news, finally, I did come up with a cover I’m not changing. Funny thing, I liked all three except the first one into which I inserted my good – no, my excellent, prose!

So, although unlikely, some of my followers might find different book covers of Dominique running loose on Amazon – MY BAD! Apparently, like so many of my titles, I’m doing a lousy job in the marketing area, doggone it! I would welcome some sales and some reviews. I’ve got my marketing armor on this evening, just in case, but I just know you’re going to like my books. They are almost dainty and dignified like literary stuff I once read in college – almost, I say, but it surely won’t interfere with your enjoyment…I promise that!

Okay, I’ve had my say!

I hope you like my new cover for “Dominique,” but along with that I hope you buy it and leave book reviews.

No more begging for tonight! 

It’s bedtime here in ‘Twilight’. Between cursing and my wife shaking her head at my madness, I’ve watched bits of news this evening I could have easily done without, but, by my reckoning, this orb we call earth will keep right on orbiting and I’ll keep right on tweeting, retweeting, and, yeah, writing and begging!

Billy Ray Chitwood – February 28, 2019

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writi

 

Oo-La-La

Oo-La-La

I was fixed to the spot, could not move, did not wish to move, my eyes absorbing every nuance of movement her body made. She was without question the most beautiful model ever seen by these aging orbs. Her curves caused me to emit an unexaggerated ‘Oo-la-la’! All my senses were alerted to her beauty, and it no longer mattered that the people standing nearby could see my drool. If ever there was a more exquisite shape of loveliness, lines so perfectly molded…Ooh, be still, my heart! Transfixed as I was in those moments, nothing mattered more than that body in front of me. I had to have it, and have it I would! No one would talk me out of having that body! It was mine! All mine.

I grabbed the nearest hungry-looking salesman and purchased that dream-car on the spot.

Eat you heart out, world!

She’s all mine!

Shiny and New!

All mine!

Billy Ray Chitwood – February, 2019

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Lost in Moscow

Lost in Moscow

I gently touched the man’s arm as he walked by: “Sorry to bother you, sir. Do you speak English?”

The man turned quickly to face me, angry with my touching, shook his head from side to side, pursed his lips, looked me up and down, and finally spoke, “Nyet!” the Muscovite said in a low angry voice and walked away, disappeared around a corner.

“My God! What am I going to do? I’m freezing”

I stood slumped over, leaning against a cold gray brick building on a near-deserted street corner in Moscow. My hands were stiff from the cold Moscow weather.

Does the sun ever shine in this God-forsaken city?

The thought lingered in some stoic wilderness of my mind until my plight hammered its message to some core of my being and tears came. Stop worrying about ‘sunshine’! You’ve got bigger problems!

My plight?

No memory! I have no memory of coming to Moscow. I’m, just, here!

Ask me, what were you doing fifteen minutes ago?

My answer to my own question.

I don’t know.

Now, I’m shaking my head. What did I just say? Did I just now ask:  what were you doing fifteen minutes ago?

Yes, I did ask that question. Just, now, I asked that question. Well, what’s your answer?

My answer? Did I just say, what’s your answer?

Yes. Well, do you have an answer?

Do I have an answer to what?

To, what?

I don’t know.

A woman is passing.

“Maam, sorry to bother you, but do you speak English?”

The woman smiled slightly and continued walking.

A Young boy, maybe fourteen, fifteen, is coming down the sidewalk.

My head is spinning.

I’m falling, sliding down the side of this cold gray brick building.

The young boy is stopping, leaning over me, asking me something. His words are lost in my spinning head and I feel my body falling sideways to the snow-covered sidewalk.

*

“Can you hear me, young lady? Young lady, can you hear me? Her eyes are open. She must hear me. Please, young lady, we’re trying to help you. Can you hear me?”

I can hear a man’s voice, a gentle voice, asking me a question. I’m trying to answer, but I’m having difficulty forming my words.

“She’s trying to speak. Her lips are moving… Quickly, let’s get some water down her…slowly, lift her slowly, that’s good. She’s having trouble, but she’s getting some of it down her…that’s enough for now…she wants to say something…”

“You speak English,” I say so quietly. I have no volume to my voice. I’m scared.

“She’s trembling! She’s frightened! Yes, we speak English. You’re okay, young lady. Do you know your name?”

“Becky Whitsel.” Still lacking volume.

“Where are you from, Becky?”

“I’m from Philadelphia. Why am I in Moscow?”

The people dressed in white and green look strangely at each other. The male in green asks me: “What’s the last thing you remember, Becky?”

“A street corner in Moscow.”

The doctor has a suspicion, and asks: “Are you an avid reader, Becky?”

“Yes.” My voice is coming back.

“What have you recently read, Becky?”

Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak.”

The doctor smiled. “Are you taking any medications, Becky?”

“No, sir.”

The doctor smiled again. “It’s okay, Becky. I want you to feel really comfortable. I’m only doing an assessment. Don’t be afraid to answer my questions. You will not be punished for speaking the truth. You said just a moment ago you were on a street corner in Moscow. Do You remember saying that?”

With some timidity, I answered, “Yes, sir.”

“Okay, have you by any chance – and, again, please don’t be afraid to answer. We’re only getting to the root of your problem. We will tell no one what you tell us here – have you by any chance taken any drugs or smoked marijuana recently? Please, don’t be afraid to answer. You will not be disciplined.”

Embarrassed, I answer, “Yes, sir. It was my first time – and, only time, I promise. Some school friends and I, just experimenting after school.”

“Okay, Becky, tell me about last week, about your family, and where you live.”

Somehow, with the smiles all around me, I opened up and gave them more information than they likely needed. When I was finished with my short bio, the doctor sent a nurse out to call my mother. Geez! I’m home…good old Philadelphia!

“Don’t worry, Becky, your mother will not hear anything from us, but you must confess to her yourself – and promise her you’ll never do any kind of drugs again… You have had what we in the profession call ‘Global Transient Amnesia’. You will be fine now…but, again, young lady, no more experimenting with drugs. You do understand, right?”

“Oh, yes sir! I can easily answer that question!”

The little gathering with my close friends after school had given me an unexpected reaction I would never wish to go through again… Indeed, me, in the great city of Moscow…and in the winter.

NO MORE GRASS!

We have our own snow in Philadelphia AND it’s much friendlier!

A ‘Flash Piece’ by Billy Ray Chitwood – January 27, 2019

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Winter – 2039

Winter – 2039

Flash Fiction by a New Model –‘Dialogue Only’

“My God, Frank, are you…you?”

“Of course, I’m, me! The treatment took less than two hours, Gracie. The transformation took hours, and it was amazing to feel the not unpleasant tingles and tightening of skin. When I looked in the examination room mirror I almost passed out with elation – and, or course, the anticipation. You’re scheduled for 6:00 AM Friday morning. Your procedure will take less time than mine, the doctor says. At Five O’clock that afternoon we fly to Nassau and ‘Paradise Island’. We’ve wanted to return there for years. Now, we’re going back younger than when we went the first time.”

“Frank, we talked about this. I thought we decided we were not going to do this, our Faith, all our discussions about the costs involved, about the altering of our belief in God…”

“Grace, Grace, please, sit with me…

“I know all of that… Costs? The business is doing well. We have good people we trust running it. We talked about the ‘Micro-Bots’ Micro-Biologists have been working on for many years. We also talked about it being part of God’s plan for us people of Faith to find this ‘Manufactured Man’s Immortality’, and about this being ‘His Plan for us’ – that Humankind seek and find their immortality with their own cognitive powers of discovery in Science and Technology. We talked long and hard about this, Grace… I changed my mind and kept the appointment with Doc Burrell.”

“But you said…”

“I know what I said, but those thoughts changed for me with a sudden mind-spark just before arriving at the doctor’s office. Then, when the Doctor gave me documentary information my mind was totally satisfied with the decision. Dr. Crosley had his doubts as well until he had seen the evidence…”

“What evidence? Don’t stop now.”

“Well, you can’t speak of this to anyone, and I frankly don”t know why it should be such a big secret. It has something to do with endemnifying the doctor and government regulations. While it’s been rather media-hyped, I think it might have something to do with people coming to their own conclusions about ‘Immortality’ without outside source information. Even today, in 2039, this in not a universally adknowledged and approved by everyone. Of course, when we see our friends, we will be forced to talk about it all to some extent. Just, no ‘pressuring’.”

“So, why were you given the information?”

“Because, as I said, just before getting to the doctor’s office, the truth – for me – struck the chord and I concluded it was the right thing for me to do. The doctor just cemented the decisio for me, for us, to do this procedure… and, yet, you must come to this conclusion on your own, Grace. You must come to this conclusion for yourself. Can’t you see the truth by looking at me?

“Look, The micro-biologists have been working for years developing this ‘Miracle of Humanity’. They can now provide to the medical profession the navigational training necessary to inject these Nano labs into the blood stream, into the veins, to replace dead cells with new cells, cure cancer, heart disease, arthritis, COPD, the long-feared body dysfunctions that have plagued all of humanity in the past. It is God’s way to helping MAN help himself… Can’t you see that, Grace? I thought your seeing me would convince you. Do you not want to be young and vital again – with me, Gracie? Why are we even having this conversation? You see me! That should be enough.”

“Of course, I want to be young and vital again with you. It’s just there is a nagging that comes from my mind and likely my soul that I can’t quite dispel… But, seeing you, listening to you, loving you so much, how can I do otherwise? I shall keep the appointment and join you and the other ‘Immortals’ as I’m sure the world will convert to MBT.” [Micro Biological Transformation]

“Just think, Gracie, we can do some of those things we’ve talked about, the travel to places of history…best of all, we can now solve your infertility issue and bring children into our world…”

“Why the long pause, Frank?”

“It just occurred to me… Other people will have these thoughts we’re having. Infertile women will become fertile, bring children into the world. Those children will bring more children into the world… My God! Earth will be over-run with people…

“Perhaps that is why intensive extra-planetary studies and exploration are taking place…

“My God, Gracie, think about it! God’s design is to populate the Universe, and, perhaps, beyond… makes me wonder, Gracie, just how long this MBT business has been with us. People have often pondered what their governments keep secret from them.

“Perhaps, this is the ‘Grand-daddy’ of them all!”

Flash Fiction by Billy Ray Chitwood

January 18, 2019

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A Private Session at the Way Station

A Private Session At ‘The Way Station’

Guess I write quite a bit about my feelings, about my life and times. Thought I

would allow a small portion from one of my books to do the ‘talking’ in this

post… The following is a section from ‘The Way Station’ (a euphemism for a Care

Facility) in my book, “The Cracked Mirror – Reflections From An Appalachian

Son.”Prentice Paul Hiller is recovering from a complicated hip surgery, meets and

bonds with a former Clinical Psychologist, Greta Fogel. Over the weeks of teasing and

mental jousting, Greta has encouraged Prentice to write about his life and times,

suggesting that it might be not only good therapy for him but that the end product

should be a great read.

 

It should be noted this memoir is 90% true, and I am Prentice Paul Hiller — but I have never been in a ‘care facility’ (other than hospital stays for hernia and appendectomy operations). The remainder is pretty much true except for names and some places… I might be a bit generous to myself regarding the 90% – but too far off.

Also, this memoir is written on ‘two tracks’ – one chapter for ‘The Way Station’ followed by chapters from periods in my (Prentice Paul’s) life. The section noted below has followed a chapter regarding Greta’s reading of one of my personal chapters.

***

EXCERPT – from “The Cracked Mirror – Reflections Of An Appalachian Son” by Billy Ray Chitwood:

Having just settled in with my laptop, Greta came into the sun room. Without too much preamble, I moved the laptop to her lap, with the cursor set to start on the last two sections. “See what you think of these two sections,” I said with a doubtful expression, “I’m ambivalent! Don’t know if I went too overboard.”

It took some time for her to read the sections. She paused time and again in very thoughtful poses.

When she was finished, she asked: “You want to talk now or later? Want me to leave you so you can write?”

“No, let’s talk! First, Dorie seems really nice,” I said.

“She’s a really good lady. I’m very impressed. You’re going to like her.” She sat on the wicker chair near the window. Greta was wearing a lovely lavender sweater and beige pants outfit plus a new hairdo. Her eyes glowed with the combination.

“I already do. We had a chance to visit when she got here. She’s a version of you, really!”

Don’t know about that, but I like her and I’m glad you do…” She paused for a second. “Shall we talk about these last two sections?”

“Really! You want to talk about the last two sections? Why do you think I shoved the laptop on your lap? Of course, sweet lady, let’s talk about these sections…you read it and acted like you wanted to leave. You don’t like the sections, do you?”

“Of course, I like the sections! You know I like your writing. You raised my eyebrows a bit, that’s all. You surprised me!” She said with a slight nod and a wry smile.

“Bet I know why!” with a nod and smile of my own. “The ‘Vickie’ sex snapshot?”

“Well, certainly, that raised my eyebrows! And we won’t dwell too long on that bit of memorabilia! However, it might surprise you to know that that kind of experience is not so uncommon, particularly when you consider the environment in which you lived, notwithstanding the criminal implications of Vickie’s complicity in the seduction. No, it is not a pretty snapshot, and  it does surprise me somewhat that you would make it part of your ‘reflections,’ although your penchant for honesty and ridiculing yourself would preclude your leaving it out.” She was about to say more when I interrupted.

“It was such a vivid recall, Greta, like the earlier sex encounter with my pre-puberty aunt. It was somehow important for me to put it in, even knowing that is was highlighting depraved behavior…”

“I understand, Prentice. You need not justify it to me. You want the writing to portray the ultimate true picture of who you were then. It couldn’t be any other way for you.” She paused again, then went on.

“The ‘Vickie snapshot’ is not necessarily what I meant by ‘raising’ my eyebrows.”

“Of what then do you speak, dear lady?” using my chivalrous tongue.

“I speak of your ‘isms’ section, EST and ‘Tao Te Ching,’ and your ‘political views’ section to the larger extent. What raised my brows and surprised me a bit was the length to which you’ve gone to find yourself, your belief system as it relates to your political morality. In other words, you’re a man who strives so hard to find integrity in yourself and in others. You fight in your mind the battles of our times, wanting desperately to find a Utopia which you know does not exist. In some ways, you are an incurable romantic, a Don Quixote chasing ‘windmills’ you think are giants to be slain. You know your sins, Prentice! You know your faults, your errant ways! Your missed opportunities! And you’re trying to make up for it all with the pages of your book.” She paused, eyed me carefully with a fondness she would not hide. “And, you’re doing a damned good job!”

“Whoa, wait a minute! There’s something else you want to say. ‘A damned good job’ doesn’t quite say it all, Greta. Come on, I can take it. It might hurt, a lot, but I can take it. I might never speak to you again, but take it, I shall!” She could see the last bit as mock and tease.

“Yes, a damned good job! I say what I mean, Mr. Hiller. And, yes, Mr. Hiller, there is something else to say…” Again, she paused, looked out the window at the lovely blue sky day. “What you put down is well written. You would be aware that some of your reading audience might not share your views. That, I know you know! Incidentally, I’m not one of those ‘really smart people’ to whom you refer, but I am non-partisan. What you want, I believe most people want. You write about it passionately and sincerely. How could I fault you? The chivalrous battles you fight with your writing are noble, patriotic, and good…” She paused yet again, then wistfully continued.

“Why, I’m not completely sure, but I’m thinking of those two great volumes of Spanish literature.” She waited, pursed her lips in that cute little habitual way she had, and went on. “His neighbors thought him mad for all his dedicated reading of chivalry, but Alonso Quixano gave himself a new name, ‘Don Quixote,’ put on a suit of old armor and went off on his chivalrous quests with wild imaginings. He was at times beaten, ridiculed, and ultimately unintentionally betrayed by his dull-witted squire and neighbor, Sancho Panza. His quests, his imaginings, ended in a great melancholy. Alonso would put away his armor. The melancholy worsened with his age, and Sancho in the end tried to restore his faith. But Alonso Quixano died a broken man, and, with him, his alter ego, ‘Don Quixote.’

“What does ‘Don Quixote’ have to do with what you’re writing? The chivalry part, mostly. Though, at times, you do seem daft and wildlyimaginative!” A pause for chuckles. “You write about many differnet things in yur life. You bemoan at times the sad states of your existence, your life style, your ‘images’ of the good life, your moods, your legacy. And, to repeat myself, you do a damned good job of it. If I have any concern, it comes from my fondness for you. I don’t wish you to become ‘melancholy and broken,’ Prentice.

“Don’t try so hard to make up for your life! This writing business, the process, is good for you. Use it for all the right reasons: the legacy thing, the self-ablution, as it were, the process itself. You are who you are. You will try too hard. You will continue to beat yourself. It’s too late for the couch, not that you really ever needed it, but, if I could push but one button for you, it would be the button that makes you believe in yourself and makes you have more faith in the God who made you and accept whatever it is He intends for you. You are really a dear, dear man, and I don’t wish to see you hurt so much.”

She stopped talking and looked again out the big window, her face creased with a sadness beyond the mere interpretations she had rendered on the sections of my book. That sadness held me for a moment. Then, I decided to revert to my easy tactic of light patter. 

“Well, Greta, you’ve totally blind-sided me! What the hell am I supposed to do with Don Quixote, Sancho Panza, and you?” smiling, with raised eyebrows. “Okay, methinks I get it. You’re a sweetheart!” I closed the laptop and got up. “Come on, let’s break out of this joint and find a Big Mac, fries, and coke.”

Actually, ‘Don Quixote’ and I likely had a lot more in common than I might be willing to admit. Then, again, there might be more Sancho Panza in me than I might be willing to admit.

[End of Excerpt…]

Billy Ray Chitwood – January, 2019

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