The Bird Watcher


There was the time that cousin Jeffy came back from a morning in the fields and breakwoods out back carrying an old cigar box full of songbird eggs that he had pilfered from nests. There were different shades of blue ones, white ones, brown speckled, black speckled…a kaleidoscope of small, some round, some oval, unborn birds. His father, a birder with a long life list positively raged at the carnage. “You must take them back immediately”, he roared. “Put them back where you found them!” Jeffy, the ever obstinate, said no. Then, to perhaps appear less confrontational said he couldn’t remember where he got them all. Uncle, not a big man, sputtered, balled his fist and punched him square in the nose. Jeffy was ten or eleven at the time and took the punch well though he sat down hard on the floor as blood flowed apace. With a stunned grin, Jeffy opened the box on his lap and picked out a sky blue egg that even I knew was a robin’s. He popped it into his mouth and swallowed it whole while Uncle, roaring, reached for the belt he wasn’t wearing because it was the weekend. Then, with both of us frozen, he picked out another-a small speckled one-and held it up between pointer and thumb. “It’s a chickadee Jeffery. Put it back!” Jeffy’s low giggle was more of a growl, coming from deep within his chest. This time, when he popped the egg into his mouth he bit down with a sickening crunch then opened his lips in a ghastly smile pushing yolk and bits of shell through his gapped teeth. His father, apoplectic, screamed and pulled the china cabinet over trying to brain the boy. He missed as dishes crashed into shards across the linoleum. His voice choked with fury, he ran into the next room looking for something to beat the boy with. Jeffy looked at me with wide, wild eyes and picked another egg, this one larger than the others. With another growl he smashed it into his forehead and laughed as the yolk and slime rolled down his face to mix with the blood. Fearing finally that whatever brand of crazy was going on might have been catching, I bolted through the backdoor, knocking it off its hinges and stumbled over the garbage can. “Not the Lark!!” I heard Uncle cry as the tea kettle came crashing through the kitchen window behind me. 

The Shack

The refrigerator crapped out at an opportune time. Not the dead of winter when everything would have frozen solid and not proper spring when everything would have spoiled but right in the middle when the outside temperature was just about refrigerator cold. While the repairmen spent days futzing about with blown motherboards and compressors that were apparently too small and ran too hot (whatever), I got used to going out onto the predawn porch in my robe for the milk and eggs. The cold slab on my bare feet was bracing and took me back to the time when we would actually have eggs and milk on the porch and to old Missis Timko across the alley stepping out in the snow in her bare purple Carpathian feet to snatch her cream.

And it’s true, I thought. Everything in the house-every convenience, every necessary imposition, is lying in wait. Waiting for just the right time to go bad and upend everything you had planned for the day or week. (Even if it’s nothing-because plans don’t have to entail the actual doing of things. They just have to be plans, ideally complete with lists and bullet points.) And the cost! What can go wrong with a root cellar, a cooking pit, a grill on the porch, an ice chest-provided there was a source of ice in the summer months?

She wasn’t happy when I continued leaving my dairy and eggs on the porch after the refrigerator was returned to it’s humming best. The neighbors were complaining, she said which I doubted but there were times when I’d step out sans robe enjoying the stunning chill first thing. They could just look away-nothing to see here. What are they doing up so early anyway? True, raccoons did abscond with my cheddar one night, but it’s a small price to pay.

Frustrated one night, she told me that I’d be happy living in a shack. The next trip out back, I measured the shack and thought I might get a couple of pallets in there next to the mower and be just fine. Then I could dig out by the compost. Always thought shitting in the house was barbaric and the plumbing, the piping and the water and the loud “whoosh” at night a complete pain in the ass. An outhouse would serve just as well.

The New Girl

Andy-Someone's gonna get it.jpg

It wasn’t a race but Steve got there first by just long enough to order a martini. Not actually order it; the bartender saw him and started the process. Bombay Blue Sapphire-tiniest touch of white Lillet and olives. Cold, dry, clean and neat. He was halfway through when Dan slid onto the stool next to him. “Hey” Steve nodded, looking away from his gin for only the tiniest instant as if afraid it would run off.

Danny ordered double Dewar’s, rocks. Or rock is more like it. The only bitch he had with this bar was its hipster ice-a single huge block almost the size of the glass. He didn’t used to drink doubles but had to start here just to float the fucking ice.

As protocol dictated, Steve had nothing to say until his friend had caught up with him drink-wise. He sat in silence reading the condensation on his glass while Danny sucked Scotch around the frozen abomination. Finally he was close enough to half way through that Steve felt comfortable in opening today’s line of discussion.

“I really can’t stand that new girl in HR”, he said.

“Karen?” asked Danny swallowing off the rest of his drink. He knew his only hope of conquering the ice berg was to keep pouring whiskey on it. He raised the empty glass and Kyle-the ever attentive-grabbed it from him. “Same thing-same ice”, he told him.

“She’s not so bad…” he continued to Steve.

“Maybe not for you. But wait until you’re late with an expense report.”

“I was late last week.”

“You were….Wait! You cheap bastard, you’re never late with expenses.”

“I am now….every Friday.”

Steve drained his glass and set it on the bar. “You dog”…

“Ruff!” said Danny, surrounding the glass that Kyle slid in front of him. The ice cube was noticeably smaller.

An Unquiet Mind…


I was listening to an early Murakami audio book on the train home. So, of course, I was horny. Just as reading Jim Harrison makes me hungry for rich food and wide open rivers, and Ron Rash makes me yearn for the hollows, hills and murders of my youth, Murakami fills my mind with visions of young women in white cotton panties-even when he’s writing about cats. Maybe it’s me.

So at home I go straight to the freezer for the Tito’s and pour three fingers into a short glass. No icy dilution needed when your liquor is teeth achingly cold straight up.

My beloved looked up from her ledgers to regard me coolly. Her glasses perfectly framed her dark eyes which showed the wear of the day, but still sparkled.  When she pushed them up onto her head her hair bunched and tangled roguishly around them-offsetting and accenting her perfectly formed cheekbones.

Rough day… she said more than asked unwinding her legs from underneath and standing. Without pausing she seemed to float over to where I leaned against the granite countertop still in my coat. She looked at my knuckles to find them unbroken and not bloody. She got up on her toes to pull my collar down to examine my neck for rope burns or the slice of the garrote. Nope. She gave a certain quizzical smile before sliding the back of her hand gently across the front of my pants. Ah…she said.

Ah, I replied. You still have those white cotton panties?


Would you put them on?

I’m wearing the black ones you like.

Has to be the white cotton.

She gifted me with that crooked smile and turned away, her body swathed in the long sweater she wore around the house. You want the skirt too?

Glass at my lips-warming fumes filled my nostrils. Sure I croaked. And keep the glasses.

In the study with a fresh cocktail I pulled a chair into the middle of the room and lit a few lamps casting almond colored shadows along the paneled walls. Outside the dusk had deepened with the first freshet of a cold February rain. Should have put a fire in I thought looking at the dark, lifeless fireplace. Too late now, though.

My wife walked tentatively through the open door. The plaid school girl skirt fell no further than the middle of her strong tennis playing thighs. Definitely shorter than would have been permitted at the Academy. We had established that previously. The knee socks were new and very nice. She wore the crested white oxford shirt we had found in a Shadyside consignment shop last spring.

Just inside the door she paused and looked at me with a perfectly rehearsed mix of anticipation and trepidation. She reached up a quivering hand and delicately pushed her glasses, which had slipped, up on the bridge of her nose. You wanted to see me Mr. Travis?

I explained as best I could about the missed assignments and the unrecorded tardiness and reminded her of what we had agreed at our last meeting. I’m afraid Miss Jensen, you’ve left me no alternative but to spank you.

She pouted beautifully and dropped her chin. I understand, sir. I’m sorry.

No need, Miss Jensen. Let’s get on with it then.

She walked haltingly to the chair where I took my seat. Eyes demurely downcast she lowered herself over my lap. My breath caught as I lifted her skirt up over her back revealing the white cotton panties tightly sheathing her bottom. I cupped her right cheek and was about to draw back when…a folder on the edge of the desk caught my eye.

It was the Kisama account folder that I’d brought home the day before. What a clusterfuck that had turned out to be! It had seemed simple enough-fairly straightforward Statement of Work but someone had neglected-it had been Elizabeth-to include the upcharges for the custom work outside of scope now they were balking at the cost.

Ahem, coughed my wife draped over my lap patiently waiting. Oh, right. Miss Jensen, I muttered. It’s time I dealt with you… I raised my hand then…I really couldn’t put it all on Elizabeth though. There was a team of five working on the document-that’s four too many to my liking. I would have one person shepherd it through from front to back…No matter. Done is done. I’ll just have to fly out there and…

Ah, Mr. Travis? my wife asked upside down. You may have to take my panties down so the spanking really sinks in…You have been rather naughty. Lift up. She rose slightly onto her toes and I rolled the white cotton down slowly revealing my wife’s bottom ready for Miss Jensen’s spanking which would …the word naughty struck me. We never really used it-seemed overly childish.

Like impure. Maybe impure was just mine. I had confessed to a priest once when I was eleven or twelve to having impure thoughts. He wanted details! I didn’t give him any-mumbled something about girls in bathing suits-right!-and he asked me if I jacked off. Just like that! I couldn’t wait to get out of there. What did you tell him?  Frankie asked me later when I told the guys about it. I told him no! You lied to a priest? We all laughed about that…

Tommy! I heard my name being called. It was my wife stuck in downward dog over my lap her panties at her knees. My shoulder’s getting a little creaky, she said lifting a hand off the floor.

Yes, right. Sorry. I reared back and delivered the first smack fully on her right cheek. She moaned lightly at the impact and relaxed-settling comfortably onto my lap. I regarded the perfect pink handprint on her bottom and thought a moment. It put me in mind of those turkeys we drew in grade school…where we would trace our hands on a piece of construction paper-I would go with the goldenrod color- then we would…

Tommy! Focus…

Yes, honey, I said lifting my hand.

You can’t judge a book by its…


Haley Nicole Permenter poolside topless

I give you this photo cadged from the digital pages of the Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette. Looks like a fun kind of pool party I might have liked to have been invited to. Even in black and white. Given my wardrobe, that would not be a drawback.

Point is, the image title was as you see it in the caption. “Topless”. Well, OK. Technically true. But, given my anatomical preferences, had I counted on the title of the image alone I might have passed on this charming piece…of art. Or as lovely Haley seems to be saying, peace.






Sitting on the deck overlooking the river, he had to call this another Airbnb win. They’d been lucky finding spots in cities-New York, DC-but this was the first go at a more rural location. Cabin on the river for three days, eagles overhead, hiking, biking, river access-it was great!

True, Jenny had been on edge since they got here but it always took her longer to get into the swing of a vacation than him. He couldn’t wait to get here and jump into the canoe that was tied to the dock and head out onto the water. She had even joined him for a moonlight paddle-but still had been a little tight. Whatever, he had thought. He’d just wait for her to loosen up. He listened to the last calls of the whippoorwill that he’d heard all night and watched the fog rise.

He dumped the dregs of his cold coffee into the weeds and was about to head back into the cabin for another when he heard Jenny banging around in the well-appointed kitchen. ‘Banging’ was the only way to describe it: cabinet doors were being yanked open and banged shut-drawers were sliding open and banging closed. He sat back down on the deck chair deciding it might be best to wait a few before that next cup.

The crashing inside stopped after one last bang and he saw his wife step out onto the screened porch and stalk to their bedroom at the other end. “Morning, Jenny”, he called after her getting no response whatsoever as she disappeared into the bedroom. “What the hell did I do now?” he mumbled watching the spot where she had been.

The bed creaked as she flopped on it and he felt it safe to get up for that second coffee. Half way across the deck he was stopped by a sound coming from the bedroom. It was a light slap-not loud but unmistakable. Then there was another, then a third.  It was a sound he knew pretty well.

He actually tiptoed up the three steps onto the porch and over to the open bedroom door as the sounds increased in frequency and intensity. Soft little grunts and bedsprings squeaking kept time with the slapping sound. He peeked in. Jenny was face down into the pillows and, having pushed her blue panties down off of her rear, was slapping herself with a spatula that she had evidently found in the kitchen.

Her slim freckled bottom was reddening in the morning light. As she was right-handed, most of the blows fell on her right cheek but while he was standing there she did extend to deliver a couple of smacks to the left. She was breathing heavily with the effort.

“Jen?” he asked. “Hey, Jen. You OK, babe?”

She paused in her exertions.

“OK. OK?” am I OK?”


She rolled onto her left hip and up onto her elbow. When their eyes met, hers were fierce and glistening. “When we were packing yesterday, you were bitching about how much I was bringing-like you always do and you remember what I said?”

“Uh…” he stammered, not remembering.

“I told you, I said…’I should stop being so bad’. Do you remember that?”

His eyes cut from her face to her white hip shining in the sun that was creeping through the window. Her panties, which she had hurriedly pushed down off of her bottom, bound tightly across her slim thighs where she crooked her right knee slightly.

“Last night, when we were out in the canoe I referred to myself as naughty. ‘Naughty’ Jeffery! But you were too busy with your fucking owls.”

“But Jen, that was a great horned owl we heard! We don’t get those back home. We only have screech owls and barn owls. Did you hear that deep ‘HOOOOT’…”

“Jeffrey! Focus please. When a thirty two year old woman describes herself as naughty it has very little to do with behavior. I mean, Jesus!”

He did focus then, pulling his eyes to the thick blonde bush peeking out above the stretched blue cotton. It disappeared when Jenny, in a final huff, flopped back onto her belly pulling the pillows tight to her face. Her bum was well colored on the right with little o’s from the holes in the plastic kitchen tool.

He set the coffee cup on the dresser and sat on the bed beside her.

“So you’ve been bad have you…?”

“Oh, great. NOW you’re taking the hint. Now you…Ouch!”

He pinched the soft skin at the bottom of her bottom and wasn’t about to let go. “Sooner or later, bad girls get what they deserve.”

She pushed her bottom back into his pinching fingers and he released her. With both hands he pulled her panties all the way down and off-tossing them onto the floor then knelt and pressed his left hand into the small of her back. His first smack was firm covering most of her right cheek-the second swatted the left. There was a small strawberry blooming where he had pinched her and he slapped it. Then again. Jenny’s breathing was ragged and she pushed against the hand that pinned her to the bed-not to escape but to more completely offer her bottom to his punishing palm.

Being slim, her freckled cheeks covered none of what was between her legs. Especially not now as she gyrated into his slaps. He could see her swollen lips glistening in the soft sunlight and a little trickle down the inside of her thigh.

“Oh, my”, he said stopping spanking long enough to touch her there. She reacted as to a shock when he massaged her shimmering cunt. “I know what my bad girl wants…”

But because he was Jeffery, he had to make sure and dropped his Daddy voice. “You want me to fuck you now, right?”

She sighed slipping out of the moment. “Jesus! Maybe’s there a school we could send you to….”

He slapped her on the back of the thigh and she jumped pulling her knees up slightly to bloom backward. “Sorry…sorry…” she gasped. He slipped his shorts off and knelt behind her. Her wet softness opened to him and he sluiced in to the hilt on first thrust. Then he pulled almost completely out and drove again hearing the bedsprings squeal.

His body covering hers, his hands pinning hers, he nibbled at her ear as he slid easily and deeply in and out of her sopping pussy. “This is what naughty girls get” he whispered into the ear he was nibbling.

She mewed softly and flowed into his rhythm.