Monthly Archives: July 2017

Fish Market Drifter

“If you don’t write your own story, somebody else will write it for you.”

“Just be yourself.  No need for pretense.  Write your own story.  If they write your story, will it be about them or you?  Be yourself and your story will be about you,” said the fish market  drifter. “Who are you?  You seem to be a very wise man.  How did you know that I wanted to write a story, one about me,” said the somewhat startled, surprised young man. “I know a lot about life.  Been there, done that.  I know a lot about writing, that’s what I do.  I’m a ghostwriter.” “Are you a ghost?  What is a ghostwriter?”

“A ghostwriter?  Let’s see.  Someone hidden, not visible, not known, writing a story for you. Why do you ask such a question young man?” “I have a draft of a story I have written and I think it isn’t very good.  I don’t write very well.  I need someone to polish it up.  Make it a worthwhile read.  It needs to be inviting.  Like the neon sign behind you,” said young Mark. “Your name, bright young man?” “I’m Mark.  Mark Twain.” “Mark Twain?  Do you know who you are?  Your style of writing was a new genre of literature.  A little rough around the edges, but your books were, and still are, some of the most read books to this day,” said the ghostwriter beneath the neon light.

“How do you know that about me?  I never knew it.  I want to write an engaging and provocative story.  One that makes people think.  Imaginative and adventurous.  A ghostwriter, I hear, can bring a story to life.  A ghost never reveals himself.  Remains anonymous.  One told me on the telephone that she could write me a story that will shine. As bright as that neon light behind you.  You see it?” “Yes, I see it.  It’s bright and sends a message that there is something of value in there. ‘We have crabs’ must be in demand here.  You know this is a fish market?  People come here for the best and select.  You already have that gift with your writing.  Thought you ought to know,” said the gravelly voiced old man. “I really do?  I already have what I need to write my story?” said young Mark, and said, “I’m only a diamond in the rough.” “That’s what makes your writing so special.”

“How do you know me?” “All ghostwriters know about you.  They try to copy your style, but have never been able to do it.”  “Who are you and where do you come from?” “Maybe  I’m someone from your past.  Maybe you.”

Miami Coconuts

En route to Miami, Florida

“I think it’s great that we can get away for awhile just to bask in the Florida sun.  Looking forward to seeing ‘The Coconuts’ again.  It’s been a long time,” said Jeb as he adjusted his shades and ball cap while driving their nineteen-fifty-seven, red Dodge finned convertible.  “I know, dear, a long time ago.  It will be great to see them again, and the coconuts, too.  I mean the Miami coconuts,” said Millie as she sipped her cream soda through her red striped straw.  “Let’s see, Miami, two-hundred forty eight miles.  We’re almost there,” said Jeb.  Both laughed.  And the red Dodge finned convertible moved on down the road.

“Welcome aboard flight 2020 en route to Miami, non-stop.  My name is Ethel.  We will be lifting off momentarily, but first let me point out some things you need to know.  There is one restroom located in the back of the plane.  Must wait your turn. Your baggage must be secured to the twenty-four wall hangers.  Twelve on each side.  There are twenty-four passengers.  Twelve seated on each side, please.  We need to make sure that all the cargo is evenly loaded.  We don’t need this plane to tip off balance.”

Ethel went on to say,  “An important safety item. Parachutes are to be worn at all times. Pass these out, please.  If we have to bail out for emergency reasons, you must jump and pull your cord as soon as you fall out of the plane.  If you can’t or hesitate,  step out of the way so those eager to leave may go first.  No baggage may go with you.  This is a six hour flight to Miami.  Every hour, two passengers may walk through the plane to the restroom. Must wait your turn.  Snacks will be passed out every two hours.  One soda and one marshmallow pie.   Let me remind you that no children or pets are allowed on this flight.    A senior flight only.  A one way trip. Now relax and enjoy your flight.”

“Miss Stewardess, I have a question.  Do we get water on this flight?   I get awfully thirsty and need to keep myself hydrated,” said elderly Zell.  “Sir, we all need water.  You were supposed to bring your own.  Each passenger does get a canteen of water, but you must drink it sparingly.  There is no more and this is a six hour flight, remember?  Any other complaints, I mean concerns?”

“I’m prone to having panic attacks.  I’ve never flown before.  What can you do to help me, kind lady?” “I can’t do nothin’, lady.  I’m not a licensed medical professional.  Are you too afraid to fly?  Then, I suggest you leave the plane now and consider other modes of transportation.”  “I’m going to complain about how you treated me.”  “Please do, kind lady.  I get at least one complaint per flight.  What did you expect for a discounted flight at nineteen dollars and ninety nine cents?  Thank you for choosing Budget Cargo,” said flight attendant, Ethel, wearing her military fatigues, parachute, oxygen supply tank, aqua blue cat-eyed sunglasses and her coral pink colored ball cap with “Miami Coconuts” embroidered  in yellow across it’s front and two green palms with coconuts balanced on each side.

“Hey, Ethel, who do you work for?  You don’t look like a stewardess to me,” said the Mad Hatter.  “I don’t look like a clown either.  Just go back through the looking glass.  I get a joker on here every once in awhile.  Actually, I work for ‘Miami Coconuts.’  I’m your tour guide once we hit the ground.  I mean, safely land in Miami. You will be treated well.  You think I like this job?  I do it for nothing, but it’s how I pick up business.  Soda and a marshmallow pie, anyone?  Oh yes, there are three choices, chocolate, vanilla, and coconut.  You will notice a sticker on the bottom of the coconut pie.  It’s a coupon for a free box of salt water taffy with a purchase of twenty-five dollars or more at ‘Miami Coconuts’ souvenir shop.  One coupon per customer only.”

“It’s been forty-five years since we’ve last seen ‘The Coconuts.’  They just live in a tropical oasis.  And the beautiful palms that line the road to their place, just magnificent.  I can just see them now, as they were then.  I sent a note to them a month ago about our anticipated trip to Miami and how much we’d love to see them again.  Coco penned me back with a gracious welcome.   She said not to worry about lodging, as we can stay with them.                I wonder what they have been doing since we saw them last?  They’ll ask us the same question, Jeb.  What can we tell them?”   “Just tell them the truth.  We are retired and spend special times together walking ‘Yogi’ around the block and entering him in dog competition.  You know, once, someone, a neighbor said that ‘Yogi’ was quite a ‘show dog.’  He always raises his hind leg higher than the rest at the corner hydrant,” Jeb laughed.

“We have to tell them we’ve done more than that.  Oh yes, remember our wonderful cruise to The Bahamas.  It’s just paradise there.  See, I have my straw bag to prove it.  It’s coral pink with Nassau woven on it’s side in aqua blue.  But, I must remove the tags that read ‘Miami Coconuts’ and ‘Producto de Honduras.’  We need to be authentic.  Here’s your visor from our trip to Hawaii years ago.  I loved Maui and snorkeling in it’s crystal clear water.  ‘Made in Japan’ tag needs to be removed.  Also the tag ‘Distributed by Miami Coconuts.’  See, we are somebodies and have been somewhere.  Would you like a marshmallow pie, Jeb?  We only have coconut.”  Both laughed.  One hundred-fifty miles to Miami.

“How is everyone doing?  We’re one hour from Miami International Cargo Terminal.  If you need lavatory breaks, do them now.  You must wait your turn, but be considerate.  Time is of the essence.  Okay, everyone, fasten your belts and harnesses.  We are fifteen minutes from touch down at Miami.”  Captain to passengers, “We have been cleared to land. Ready, set and down we go.”  “Welcome to Florida and welcome to Miami!” exclaimed Ethel, the part-time flight attendant and tour guide.  “Everyone, make sure you take all your bags with you, this plane will be loaded with another cargo of passengers right after you exit.”

Ethel to passengers, “Follow me.  There are two trams waiting to take us to the main terminal baggage claim.  Your baggage will come to you there.  After all baggage is claimed and checked, we will proceed to the buses waiting for us to take us to town to our lodging location.  Compliments of ‘Miami Coconuts.’  Tomorrow morning our sightseeing will begin.  Enjoy your evenings.  Thanks to  all of you for your cooperation.”

“Look for our ‘Miami Coconuts’ tour van.  It will comfortably seat all of you,” said Ethel with a smile while counting cash in her hand from tips received. “Let’s see, there’s four quarters, one-dollar bill, two dimes and this folded piece of paper. Let me open and read.” “You’re hot, baby.  Lookin’ for a hot Miami night. Can you show me the town? Here’s an extra tip of twenty.  Kiss, kiss, mi amor,” signed Gustavo, aka Zell.  Ethel thinking to herself…Well, extra is extra.  More bucks and he may get more for the money.  I don’t come cheap.  I am a lady.

“Jeb, I’m  getting excited.  Miami is two miles away.  Next exit.  I don’t remember the exact directions to Loco and Coco’s.  We’re off the expressway.  Turn left here.  There’s a lighted business straight ahead on the right,”  said Millie as she searches for her phone in her straw Bahamas’ bag.  “Okay, Millie.  Here we are at ‘Miami Coconuts.’  Sound familiar? Open twenty-four hours.  Souvenirs and gifts to remember your place in the sun.  We have coconuts here.  Let’s go inside so you can make your call,” said Jeb in a tired tone of voice.

“Welcome to ‘Miami Coconuts.’ said the store cashier.  We have it all here to remember your trip to paradise.  Salt water taffy, first aisle on your left.  Fresh coconuts in our produce bins located on the back aisle.”  “Hello, Coco.  This is Millie.  We are here.  Such a long trip, but we made it.  Looking forward to seeing you.  Can you meet us at a place called ‘Miami Coconuts?'”  “Absolutely, Millie.  It’s so good to hear your voice.  I’ll be there in about twenty minutes.  I know the location well.  Be there soon.”  “Coco, how will we recognize each other?  It’s been forty-five years,” said nervously by Millie.  “Don’t worry, baby.  I’ll be wearing my coconut printed moo-moo and sandals and I know you will remember my alluring Latin face.  I know you still look the same.  If you’re carrying that straw bag from The Bahamas, I will remember you. Bet it still has the labels ‘Miami Coconuts’ and made in Honduras,” said laughingly by Coco.

“Jeb, let’s go to the back and see their fresh coconuts.  There’s the bins.  I can see them from here.  Why don’t we go ahead and get two of them?  One for us and one for Coco and Loco as a gift for their hospitality.  Wait, the label on crate reads ‘Producto de Panama.’         I thought these were coconuts in Miami.”  “Well, they are, right in your hands, coconuts in Miami grown in Panama.  Can’t get any more Miami than that,”  Jeb smiles with a grin.  “It’s all about marketing.  This is nothin’ but a tourist trap.  I know Coco would never have anything to do with this sham.  She is authentic.  Loco doesn’t care.   Toto, their dog, just likes hot dogs and his walks.  He’s a ‘show dog,’ too.”

“Millie, a car just pulled up.  The door is opening.  There is a short woman in a coconut moo moo.  Must be Coco.  And that must be Loco.  He looks like he did forty-five years ago. Maybe a game of dominoes again.  Still has that Latin ‘stache and that aromatic Cuban cigar.”  “Coco, so glad to see you,” said Millie as she gives Coco a big hug and a kiss. “I knew it was you,  No one like you,” said Coco.  “How did you know it was me?” said Millie.  “Your Nassau straw bag gave you away.”  Loco to Jeb, “That nineteen-fifty-seven, red Dodge finned convertible hasn’t changed a bit.  But you, Jeb, I wouldn’t recognize you, bud.”  “I remember you, Loco.  I see you still smoke those cheap Cuban cigars.  You still smell the same.”  “We both have good taste,” said laughingly by both.

Millie to Coco, “Do you still live on Coconut Bend?”  “No, we sold the place.  You know how developers are, they flash some cash and it was a lot, so we took it and looked for something else to do.  A luxury hotel is there now.  Well, exactly, what are you doing now, Millie?”  “Well, we walk our dog around the block and pretend we travel a lot.  You know, we’ve been to Hawaii, The Bahamas, and now Miami.”  “What more could you ask for, Millie?”  “Well, we came here for Miami coconuts, but none are here,  only those in the bins from Panama.” “Well, you’re right, they are not Miami coconuts, but they are coconuts in Miami.  By the way, about ‘Miami Coconuts,’ it’s our business.  We have several locations. We give the tourists what they want.  If they want ‘Miami Coconuts,’ we give them ‘Miami Coconuts.’  How about a bikini made in Mexico?  A halter made in the USA, I mean California, or a straw bag from The Bahamas with ‘Miami Coconuts’ made in Honduras with Miami Coconuts tagged on it’s side?  Millie, let’s get you some coconuts now, the tour buses will start arriving early tomorrow morning.  Also, here’s some boxes of assorted salt water taffy.  All on me, dear friend.”

Miami Coconuts, a souvenir shop, merchandise from elsewhere, and coconuts, all from Miami, so they say.  Lasting memories with friends count most of all, but don’t forget the salt water taffy made authentically in Miami.  Family and friends will appreciate your thoughtfulness and it will serve as a reminder to them that you are somebodies, that do go somewhere, and travel in style in a nineteen-fifty-seven, red Dodge finned convertible. Would you like a piece of taffy?

Silly Obsessions

The Leisure Guide.  Support Groups.                                                                                                           For Women Only.  Silly Obsessions.

“Welcome, ladies, to ‘Silly Obsessions.’  Thanks for responding to my ad.  I assume most of you found me listed under support groups.  I applaud you for having the courage to be here.”

“Let me take a count.  Eleven of you plus me makes twelve.  Perfect.  There are twelve chairs.  Choose a chair and have a seat.  Notice that each chair is numbered, one through twelve.  Once seated, that will be your assigned seat for every session.  There will be twelve sessions.  The cost of each session is twelve dollars.  Cash up front.”

“One rule.  What we share in here remains confidential.  It’s our secret.  We never use names, only numbers.  I’m seated in chair one, so I’m number one.  Number seven, you’re seated in chair seven.  That’s your number.  And so forth.  We are numbers and nothing else.  That way our identities are protected.  Perfect.”

“Now, let’s get started.  Just say your number, then your obsession.  Any volunteers?”    “I’m number seven.  I’m obsessed.”  Number one to number seven, “Obsessed with…?”   “That’s all I can say for now.” “Thank you for sharing.  You are courageous.”

“Anyone else?  Number four, you seem like you want to say something.  It’s okay to share.”  Number four shakes her head no while staring down at the floor. “Thank you for sharing.  You are courageous,” said number one.  Number four thinking to herself, I’ll talk when I’m ready to talk.  First, I’ve got to see what cards are placed on the table by the others, then I’ll know what to say about me.

“Go ahead, two.” “Dust bunnies are running wild in my house.” “So brave of you, number two.  Thank you for sharing.  You are courageous, said number one.  Dust bunnies seem to be one of the most common obsessions with women.  All having a need to keep a perfectly clean house.  I suspect there are others here with the same obsession.”

“Number ten, you seem to be delighted with what you’re doing.  Would you like to comment?” “See, I have ten of them.  Five on each hand.  I just love painting my nails.     That’s my obsession.” “If you like painting your nails, then why are you here?” “I always read the personals.  I was applying my new shade of color, missed a nail, and painted your ad red.  That’s glossy apple red.  Then I read, ‘Silly Obsessions.  For Women Only.’   I thought, ‘that’s me.’  So here I am, along with my glossy apple reds.  I know it’s a silly obsession, but it’s what I like to do. I have a sample for each of you.”

Number one thinking to herself, Why is she here?  So, she polishes her nails.  Nothing wrong with that.  But if she wants to be here, and wants to share, she is welcome. That’s twelve more dollars in my treasure chest.  She’s up to something.  It’s rumored that a cosmetics peddler has been making the rounds to the women support groups. Could it be her?  I do like the glossy apple red.

“Go ahead, number five.” “I’m obsessed with my refrigerator magnets.  All  one-hundred of them.  All kinds.  They know their place and I put them there.  I spend five hours each day arranging them.  Organized in sets of twenty five.  Five across and five down.  Five hours is way too long.  If I could just cut the time in half.  But, then, what would I do with the rest of my half-time obsessing?  I’m sure I can think of something else to do for the other two and one half hours.  A magnetic force just pulls me to the fridge.” “Thank you for sharing.  You are courageous.  High five to you, number five.”

“How about in the middle this time?  Number six, I have a sixth sense about you.  I sense you want to say it.  I can’t say it for you.  Go ahead.  You can do it.” “I’m into…” “Say it, number six,” said number one. “I’m into…” “I know it’s the unthinkable, a bit of madness. It’s time to say it.” “I have a fetish.”  Every woman is listening intently bracing to hear the confession of sin. “I’m into…nothing.  Nothing at all.  Okay, I really enjoy keeping people on the edge of their seats.  I just get a thrill from it. Such a rush.  See, I just did it.” All women sigh with relief.

“Let’s move to the top of the ladder.  Number twelve, tell us about your obsession.” “Well, I’m into cracking eggs.  A dozen each morning.  Must be fresh and Grade A Large.  It gives me such a release.  I perform this ritual every morning at the crack of dawn.  A great way to start my day, every day.” “What do you do with them, number twelve?” “Placed in the fridge until twelve noon.  Two scrambled for lunch.  Three added to my mixing bowls to bake three cakes.  Four boiled for no reason.  And three over lightly added to my man’s plate with a T-Bone steak.  Ready for him at noon every day, just as he likes it.  Always been told to always please my man and to always keep a clean house.” “Number twelve, you have told a tale of twelve.  How can any woman today believe that one?  No woman takes care of her man these days.  She takes care of herself and does the housework, too.  Thank you for sharing,” said number one.

“May I speak, please.  I have someone to sell, I mean something to share.” “Number eight, to sell or share or both?  Go ahead, this must be worth hearing,” laughingly said number one. “I’m obsessed with the yellow pages.  I turn each and every page.  If I miss one, then I start all over again.” “Oh my.  How many pages and what’s your interest?” Number eight pulls out from under her chair a large book.  She holds up the book, points to the cover and flips through it’s pages. “See, it’s him.  He’s on the cover, the back, and the spine of the book.  He is on every page.  A photo for all pages.” “Who is he, number eight?”  “He’s an attorney.  We all know him.  He is everywhere.  Notice his smile and his wink.  His line, ‘at your service.’  Now, what is that about?  I’ve got his number.  Always ready to help a woman in need.” “Thank you for sharing.  You really are obsessed with him, I mean the yellow pages.  Thank you for your courage.”

“What are you looking at, number nine?” “I see two, three, four of them rolling across the floor.  Just like tumbling tumbleweed rolling across a dusty street of a deserted ghost town.  The saloon doors are slamming back and forth, and the shutters are rattling in the howl of the wind.  The piano is playing, but no one is there…” “Number nine, number nine, are you there?  Please return.” “I’m back from the ‘Old West.’  That’s what dust bunnies do to me.” “Such an imagination.  Thank you for sharing.”

“Whew, I hope someone has something lighter to share.” “I do, light as a feather.  I have what they call a ‘feather fetish.’  I’m a bit superstitious.  My feather has some magical power.  See, this one, it’s a pheasant feather.  Long with colors of brown and red.  It can lighten a heavy load.  Need the laundry basket lifted?  One swipe of the feather can lift from floor to counter with ease.  Arranging furniture?  This one feather can move a trunk across a room with no effort at all.  I have many others, but this feather has power, magical power.” “Wishful thinking, don’t you think, number eleven?” “No, it works.  Worried about dust bunnies?  It can lift a bed to search for them.  One fan and it removes them.  All of them.” “Thank you for sharing, number eleven.  An obsession worth keeping for sure.”

“Okay, number three, then me. “You’re in a chuckle, number three.  Share the laugh.”  In the light lilt of a British tone of voice, “These preoccupations with dust bunnies, painting nails, organizing magnets, and a love affair with the yellow pages are utterly ridiculous. Rather silly, I think, really.” “Number three, you’ve made a good point.  Silly and ridiculous, but important to those that are obsessed.  Do you have a little, teensy-weensy, obsession to share?” “Yes, I do.  It’s…dust bunnies…really.” “I just knew it, number three. We’re all obsessed with them.  Thank you for sharing.  You are really courageous.  You had the nerve to say what most obsessions really are.  Silly and ridiculous.”

“Now, me.  My obsession is…with obsessions.  I just love them.  Nothing like being fixated on something.  I’ve enjoyed every one you’ve shared.  If you enjoy them, why not keep them?  If not, maybe change to something else.  I’m sure we, obsessives, can always come up with a new one.  Session over.  Remember next time-twelve, twelve, twelve.  Twelve noon.  Room Twelve.  Twelve dollars.  And that’s cash up front.”

“Silly me.  Silly you.  Silly obsessions.”