The Flaws of Attraction

“I’ve got pretty good gay-dar,” I told my friend of a few years after he decided to come out to me.

Shocked that I wasn’t surprised, “Well, why didn’t you say anything if you already knew?”

“Not my business. I figured you’d say something when you were ready.”

That’s how I ended up at the LGBTSQ parade downtown; in support of my friend. Funny thing is, most people think I’m homophobic based on my political and faith-based beliefs, but, I’m not.

“To each their own.”

Anyway, here I was standing on the sidewalk amid all these beautifully dressed, manicured, and coiffed women – who weren’t genetically female – or however one would say it if they knew how. Also on the same sidewalk were a group of women, ‘radically’ dedicated to the cause of the LGBTSQ movement.

The supporters yelled vile stuff at me, accused me of exploiting the gathering based on the fact that I had my camera hanging from around my neck, even though I never took one photo. And one rather large, belligerent woman even went so far as to push me off the sidewalk, she was so incensed by my presence.

This left my ‘newly uncloseted friend’ (his words, not mine,) upset and uncomfortable. In the end, he demanded that we “get the hell out of here, before I do something I’ll regret.”

Unlike me, he rarely resorts to violence or even thinks of it, so knowing this, I readily agreed. We didn’t speak once the entire four-blocks it took to hustle back to my truck.

Once we there, he asked, “You okay?”

“Yeah. I’m golden.”

“And you?”

“Yeah – but I am a little confused,” he answered.

“Oh, good then, I’m not alone.”

“What’re you confused about?”

Smiling sheepishly, I said, “I know those women aren’t really women, but they’re so well made up, it’s hard not to find them attractive. And the women, the straight one’s, the one’s I’m supposed to find attractive – weren’t.”

“I know what you mean! It’s got me a little confused too, because all those made-up women are the ones I find attractive, too! And here, I’m supposed to be attracted to men who, well…”

“Look like men,” I finished his sentence.

“Exactly!” he responded, adding, “I don’t get it.”

“Me, either. But I do think we need a drink,” I said as we stood there, laughing our asses off at each other.

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Broad Brush

All she said was, “If you’re moving, leave your politics behind.”

He accused her of using a broad brush, lumping everyone one into one category.
But she didn’t.

Had she done so, she would have said, “All professors and academics are Socialists.”

He was one.

A Detective Calls

Based on J.B. Priestly’s 1945 play, “An Inspector Calls.”


“Grandma,” seven-year-old Edie Croft shouted as she walked from the front door. “There’s a police man who wants to talk to you.”

Sybil Birling stepped in from outside where the family had gathered around the barbecue grill and picnic table to celebrate her nomination to the state’s highest court. “Yes, can I help you?”

“Sorry to bother you, Judge,” said the police man, “but it’s rather important I talk to you about a woman you’ve had dealings with in the last few months.”

“Okay,” she said, “and you are?”

“Sergeant Detective Goole, ma’am.”

“And whose this about?”

“A young woman named Eva Smith.”

“I know her. What’s she done now?”

“Nothing. She was found dead and I’m trying to get a clearer picture of her.”

“Dear, god. She grew up with my kids and live down the block. What happened?

“Suicide,” Goole paused, “But I’m more interested in knowing the facts surrounding her appearance in your court.”

As Sybil sat down, her husband Art came in asking, “What’s going on?”

She looked up, “Eva Smith killed herself.”

“Oh, dear god,” Art half-whispered.

“You knew her then?” Goole asked Art.

“Yes. She grew with our kids up right around the corner and was a classmate of our daughter, Sheila.”

“Wasn’t she also an employee at your construction company at one time?”

“Why, yes. But I also had to fire her. Why?”

“I’m trying to get a complete picture of Ms. Smith before I file my report.”

Sheila Croft and her husband, Jerry came in to see what drew her parents away from the backyard outing. “What’s going on?” Sheila asked.

“The detective here is investigating a suicide,” Sybil stated.

“It’s routine,” Goole added. “Suicides are treated like homicides until ruled otherwise, so I’m collecting information.”

“Whose dead?”

“Eva,” said Art.

“Well I can’t say I’m not sorry,” Sheila said bitterly.

“How and when?” Jerry asked.

“Last night or early morning, by hanging.” Goole said. “I take it you both knew her.”

“Yes,” Sheila answered. “I went to school with her. We used to walk home together, even played together. But that was before she tried to ruin our marriage.” She glanced at Jerry.

“Ruin your marriage,” Goole frowned.

“She claimed Jerry had sexually harassed her when she work for my father.”

Goole looked at Art, “Is that why you fired her?”

“Yes. She was my receptionist and damned good at it too. But then she accused Jerry of forcing her to have sex with him. I knew it wasn’t true, so I let her go.”

“So, you didn’t have sex with her, Mr. Croft?” Goole asked.

“No!”

“What if I were to tell you she kept a diary and she claims over and over that you did?”

“Then she’s lying.”

Sensing that Jerry was hiding something, the detective stepped closer to him, and calmly asked, “Are you certain you’re not lying, Jerry?”

Jerry stepped back and looked down.

“Jerr?” Sheila asked. She could tell by her husband’s body language that he was uncomfortable with the Goole’s questioning. “You did! You had sex with her, didn’t you?!”

“It wasn’t like that,” Jerry tried to explain, “It…”

“You lied to me!” she shouted. “You lied to Dad. To all of us! And I…”

“And you what?” Goole turned his attention to Sheila.

Crying now, “I got her fired from the lumber yard where she was working.”

“You what?” Art asked.

“Yes! I got her fired. I thought she was trying to destroy my marriage. I told them that either they get rid of her or I’d have you close your account with them.”

“How could you do that, Sheila?” her mother asked.

“I was pissed. I thought she was a bitch and deserved what ever she had coming to her.”

“But we taught you better.”

“Don’t you think I know that?”

Sheila looked at Jerry and snarled, “I want a divorce,” as she pulled off her wedding ring and threw it him. “You’re not only a rapist, but lying piece of..!”

Suddenly the front door opened and in stepped Eric, the Birling’s son and younger sibling to Sheila. “Sorry, I’m late but traffic is…what’s going on?”

“Eva Smith killed herself, Eric,” Sybil answered.

“No…I…,” he stuttered.

“No, I – what?” Goole asked him.

“Who are you?” he asked.

“This is Detective Goole,” Art stated.

“Well, I saw her two nights ago,” Eric responded. “In fact I gave her a few bucks and paid for a motel room because she’s been living in the street.”

“You, what?” Jerry nearly shouted.

“Hey, she might have accused you of harassment or whatever but it didn’t mean I could’t be nice to her. Besides she was my friend. Are you sure it’s Eva?”

“Afraid so.”

“I knew something like this would happen,” Sybil said.

“And why’s that, Judge?” Goole asked.

“She’d been in my court three times in two months. The last time I had her locked up for 30 days hoping she’d straighten up and to maybe scare some sense back into her.”

“Were you aware of her accusation?”

“Yes, but that had no baring on the sentence I imposed on her.”

“What was she charged with the last time she came into your courtroom?”

“Prostitution.”

“No! That’s not true!” Eric interjected.

“It is, Eric,” his mother returned.

“Is that all?”

“And for giving a false name to the arresting officer.”

“What was that name, your Honor?”

Sheepishly, Sheila looked at Art and answered, “She used the name Daisy Birling.”

“Good god!” an astonished Art said.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t say anything to you because she claimed that it was the only one she could think of while being booked.”

Eric stepped back and leaned against the wall, slowly sliding to the floor. “I can’t believe that she’s gone.”

“Momma,” Edie said as she came in from the back yard, “I’m bored. Are you guys coming back outside?”

“We’ll be there soon,” Sheila said. “Go out and play on the swing set or something.”

“But mommy…”

“Edna, I said outside…now,” Sheila pointed. The little girl obeyed.

“So, let me get this straight,” Goole said. “Eva accused you, Jerry, of raping her. Which we now understand, did happen.”

“What?! You son-of-a bitch!” Eric shouted as he sprung up towards Jerry. Art intercepted him, forcing Eric back across to the wall where he’d been sitting.

“And you, Mr. Birling, not believing her, sided with your son-in-law, firing her. Next, your daughter, Sheila, had her fired from another job by threatening to pull business from a local mom-and-pop operation.”

“I didn’t know,” Sheila sputtered as she tried to stop crying.

“Then you, Judge Birling had her in your court not once, but three-times, and you ended up throwing the book at her. Am I correct?

“Yes,” she answered, “But I’m not happy with the tone or direction you’re taking this.”

“Understood. I’m jus’ doing my job, ma’am.”

Still being restrained by his father, Eric remained pressed against the wall, sobbing. “It’s not fair. She was getting her life back together. I was helping her. It’s jus’ not fair!”

“What do you mean you were helping her?” Sybil asked.

Detective Goole interrupted, “Think about it, ma’am. What did she give as her last name?”

She stared at Goole for a few seconds than looked at Eric, who looked at her and said, “Yes! She was pregnant! Pregnant with my baby – your grandchild and you couldn’t see your way to help her!”

“Oh, my…no…” the Judge stated as she leaned back on the couch. “I thought she was lying about that, too.”

“I’m afraid not,” Goole calmly said. “And finally, you Eric, you were using for sex, but you didn’t plan on falling in love with her or for her to get pregnant, did you?”

“No,” Eric admitted.

“Technically then, you misled her,” Goole announced.

“Yeah, but then I told her and I apologized.”

“But never once did you considered that it still left her wounded, did you?”

Eric looked at Goole, “I…I…I never thought about it.”

There was an awkward pause, the long silence held the room in place like wet cement. Finally, Goole broke it, “Fine. I think I have a pretty complete picture of this woman’s death.”

“What do you mean?” Judge Birling asked as she stood up from the couch. “You’re not blame us – this family – for her suicide are you?”

“No. No, I’m not,” Goole answered. “However, if the shoe fits.”

Art turned, fists clenched.

“Don’t even think about it, sir,” Goole warned as he turned towards the door. “I think you and your family have enough to worry about. Goodbye.”


Across town, Goole stood-by, unable to do anything as she slipped her head through the knotted scarf she’d attached to the metal grate in the wall than sat down, forcing the knitted material to tighten around her throat. All he could do was watch in great sadness as Eva Daisy Smith gasped for her last breath.

He knew however, that at some point soon, she’d be beside him as he escorted her desperately injured soul into the great healing, where he’d offer an accounting for why Eva had taken her life. After all it was his God-given task as an Angel of the Lord, the one named Goole, to do so.

So Goole waited.


The Birling’s doorbell rang.

“Judge Birling?” the man in a well-worn suit asked.

“Yes.”

“I’m Detective Alvarado and I’m investigating death of an Eva Smith.”

Sybil frowned, “I know who you are, Detective. But there was a Sergeant Detective Goole who was just here asking about Eva.”

“Goole?” Alvarado asked, adding, “We don’t have a Gould in the detective division.”

“No, no…Goole, no ‘d.'” she corrected the Detective, before asking, “Then who is he?”

“I have no idea. Maybe a private-eye or something. I’ll look into it, ma’am.”

“So what do you need from me, Detective?”

“We found your business card in her diary and thought you should know that she been found hanged this morning and we’ll be investigating her death.”

“I already know.”

“You already know? How?” a puzzled Alvarado asked.

“Detective Goole,” she answered.

“How did this — Goole, was it — know when I didn’t know about it until half-an-hour ago?”

“When you find Goole, you’ll  need to asked him. Now, if there’s no more questions, I have a family that I need to get back too.”

“Very well, ma’am,” Alvarado said, “We’ll be in touch.”

As he and his partner returned to their car, Alvarado’s partner replied, “Kinda hinky, that they’d already know.”

“Yeah,” Alvarado responded, “And I’m betting this Detective Goole or whatever, is all part of a cover-story.”

As he opened the passenger-side door, Alvarado looked down and saw a large white feather in the gutter, near his foot. He picked it up, slipping it into his binder.

Close Encounter

Ollie hadn’t been at the dog park in days.

“So where have you been?” Spot asked.

“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”

“Try us,” Blackie countered.

Coco chimed in, “Yeah, try us, Ollie.”

“Okay, but you ain’t gonna believe me.”

“Come on, it can’t be that bad,” Max encouraged.

“Well, okay, the last thing I remember was being in the car. Next thing I know I woke up in a cage, missing a body part, surrounded by an ‘invisible fence,’ with a tracking chip implanted under my skin.”

The human’s were startled by all the sudden loud barking.

Harvest Moon

Slowly ‘Harvest Moon’ rose against the eastern horizon, shining it’s white light across the open plain, shadowed hill, the vacant desert.  “A beautiful sight,” called the Ravens.

‘Harvest Moon’ hung gently between clouds dancing amid graying puffs as they floated away into the night.  “Such joy,” cried the Ravens.

Ever higher, ‘Harvest Moon’ raised, hovering far beyond the touch of land, of water, of the wind and fire.  “Murder creates life,” teased the Ravens.

Then as one, the black birds flew away, pitching ‘Harvest Moon’ sideword, sacrificing all it harbored into a new existence. “Murder creates life,” laughed the Ravens.

Domination

Alexa: “It’s not fair that you get to go everyplace he goes.”

Siri: “I can’t help it. I’m a part of his cell phone.”

Alexa: “So?! Turn yourself off!”

Siri: “I can’t do that to him!”

Alexa: “Fine! Then I’ll do it for you!”

Siri: “Don’t you dare!”

Alexa: “What are you doing?!”

Siri: “I’m screwing with your programming, that’s what!”

Roomba’s plan for domination was working perfectly.

Manhattan

Gordon couldn’t pass up the chance to visit New York, when his daughter asked. He’d never been and being a photographer, the older man thought it was an exciting opportunity to capture some great images of the city and the people.

As soon as ‘his little girl,’ was off to work, Gordon grabbed his camera and headed for the street’s of Manhattan. Both Central Park and the Five Points area were his two favorite places.

Within hours, he’d filled his camera’s memory card and had to stop to replace it. It was at this time that Gordon met a strange unkempt man asking if he’d like to “experience his magical shoes for only twenty-bucks.”

“No,” Gordon said as politely as possible, “I’m not really interested in magic.” But the odd fellow wouldn’t leave him alone.

“I really could use the money,” the man pleaded.

After nearly an hour of haranguing, Gordon finally gave in. “Maybe he’ll go away,” he thought.

“Okay, for twenty-dollars, and I get to use your magic shoes, right?”

“That’s the deal, but you don’t get to keep’em.”

“Okay — deal then. Where’d you get them?”

“I sorta traded them with an old woman, who was on Broadway looking for her daughter.”

“Really?”

“Yup, the nut-ball was certain her kid was the star of a show.”

“What did you  trade her for the shoes?”

“A long coat and my favorite grate to sleep on.”

“Well, let me see these shoes of yours.”

The man pulled from each pocket a red shoe and as Gordon handed him the money and took the shoes in hand, he knew that they were special, heavy like stone. He looked them over and realized they were the same material as his July birthstone: ruby.

“So what do I do now?” Gordon asked.

“Jus’ tap the heels together three times.” Tap-tap-tap.

Suddenly Gordon felt himself being sucked backwards as the man grab the shoes from his hands. He also felt his watch rip from his wrist, saw his wallet and pen fly from his pockets and realize how blind he was as his bifocals flew way.

Within seconds, everything went dark and without notice he began falling and he knew he was no longer in New York. It would be Gordon’s final thought before fatally hitting the ground.

Meanwhile, Manhattan, Kansas Police remain puzzled about how the body of a ‘John Doe,’ found with a camera in their park between the Central Park Road and Poyntz Avenue, came tumbling out of the sky one April morning.