Flea Market


Homage #Bad Barbies

He had brought forty bucks with him

But couldn’t imagine what he’d spend it on.

He followed her up one aisle and down the next

Passing tables burdened with crap that

Had the church not held a flea market would have been tossed.

She had bought an occasional table that they had no place for

And a single place setting that almost looked like their good China.

He handled a couple of Civil War books that he already had

And a broken faux Tiffany lamp that might have been worth fixing

If it had been real.

He was ready to slip out the side door for a smoke

When the Barbies caught his eye;

Dozens of them on a back table-houses, cars, outfits.

He moved in that direction and picked one up.

Then another, looking for something until she caught up.

What are you going to do with those? She whispered low.

She caught the glint in his eye.

For Chissakes!, she said.

This is a church you know. The basement,

But still a church!

He laughed and bought six for five bucks each.

She wouldn’t walk with him to the car.


Merry Christmas


(It’s isn’t “A Charlie Brown Christmas” or “A Wonderful Life” but after posting, then reposting, this the last two Decembers, I beg your indulgence again… )

On his knees, head cocked against the smoke from the cigarette in the corner of his mouth, he spun the tree slowly.

“How’s this?” he asked knowing it was not so good. It had looked OK in the lot.

“It’s fine”, she said. “Better than fine. Beautiful.”

“Just like this then?”


He tightened the screws in the stand and sat back on the floor. It had been two years since she’d been cancer-free and half that since he’d had a drink. They had decided that drought would end tonight though-an exact year from when it started. One year in the desert was enough.

He’d bought a bottle for the occasion. Later though. First he had to turn two boxes of too many parts into Tony’s spaceship and Tammy’s dollhouse.

“I can see the twins have been good this year”, he nodded at the toys. “What about you?”

“Me? I’ve been good…I’m always good…” she said with a slight-almost shy- smile. “Mostly…”

“Mostly? Do you have something you want to tell me?”

“Nothing specific…just general…things…”

“Well”, he drawled, “I might have to take care of that.”

She reached for his pack and tapped one out. She held it between her fingers but made no move for the lighter.

“It’s been awhile.”

“Like you said, you’ve been mostly good…”

A light blush dusted her cheekbones. “You won’t break me, you know.”

He ground the cigarette out in the ashtray beside him and exhaled into the silence.

“What will we drink to?” he asked.


“Yeah, like what will we toast?”

She looked up at the spruce that was really too big for their living room.

“How about ‘being’.”

“Being?” he asked.

“Yeah.” She said. “Being. Sometimes that’s enough.”

He followed her eyes to the bare tree top.

“Sometimes that’s plenty.”

Wishing you Peace and All Good Things…

“Hey pastor…”

Hey pastor,

Hey pastor she cried,

Runnin’ up red-eyed and blotchy

After the service.

Lookit this she said,

Opening the postcard that had been folded in her purse.

Lookit what he sent.

He’s in Wyomin’ now, she said.

Settled up on a place, she said, hissing

Giving him no time to read the note.

He’s fixin’ fence, he says, runnin’ wire and is that walkin’ horses?

What’s he know bout that? She asked,

With his rickety knees and balky hips.

He’s a townie kid like me…and I never wanted to run off like that.

What’s to become of him?

Of me?

You mustn’t worry about him, little darlin’, the pastor said leanin’ close,

Allowin’ his gaze to hungrily crawl acrost her bodice.

The lord will pervide for them such as him.

You come with me lil darlin’, he said.

I can’t tell you what he was thinkin’, but

I allus thought you were a sweet little one.

Let us git you into the back…

Git some coffee in you….

Front Nine

“Then”, he said, after striking his ball cleanly and watching it disappear over the top of the crest before them, “She said I was an alcoholic…and mean.”

Peter gave no immediate indication that he had heard. He approached his ball with a seven iron, comfortable that he could get to the green. “But you are”, he said casually measuring with an easy practice swing.

“Yeah but it wasn’t a problem until…” Evan paused to allow Peter to hit.

“Fuck!” He topped the ball and it skated up to the top-almost got over-then rolled back a foot, then settled.

“It wasn’t a problem”, Evan went on, “Until….”

“She quit drinking.” Peter finished the sentence for him. “I know. You’ve said.”

That was the bitch about golfing with your internist. There were no secrets.  “Go ahead, hit again.”

Peter walked to the top and looked over scanning for Evan’s ball. “Where are you?”

“I’m betting ninety yards down-ten o’clock…”

Peter squinted down the fairway and, satisfied, stepped to his ball. He looked comfortable on the hill, one long leg bent on the uphill side-the other straight. One practice swing then a clean stroke and with the clear CLACK of a well hit shot the ball flew up and out of sight.

“One twenty”, Evan said turning abruptly toward the cart. “You got me by thirty but you’ll never make up that stroke.” Peter grinned as he got in and they whirred silently down the cart path.

Peter reached into his bag and pulled out two cigars handing one to Evan. He admired it in spite of himself-it was a favorite but he wouldn’t buy them. No matter how much money he had, spending thirty bucks on a cigar was stupid especially when his old man happily smoked himself to death on generic cigarettes. He took the offered cutter and sliced the end, then lit up. It was a Wednesday morning and they were not pressured. There was time to enjoy a smoke. Even a thirty dollar smoke.

“There was the time you told me you didn’t fear cancer because you were married to her”, Peter said picking up a thread of conversation that should have died.

“I did say that, didn’t I?”

“Many times”, He said exhaling a plume skyward.

Evan puffed deeply and considered the lighted end of the Cuban. He flicked the ashes from the red glow gently and blew on it, suddenly swallowed by the thought of jamming the fiery tip into someone’s eye. Reflexes would win out and undoubtedly the eyelid would close and there would only be a burned eyelid and the requisite screaming.

But what if he were quick enough to get the smoldering tip into the eye proper-would it sizzle like water hitting hot grease and fall into itself? Or would it pop like an egg, oozing down the face and dripping from the cigar like yolk from a burnt toast tip?

Peter stepped out of the cart and picked through his five thousand dollars-worth of clubs. Ridiculous clubs-he wasn’t a good enough golfer to be outfitted this way. Evan came out with eight clubs in an old bag he’d had since college. That’s probably one of the things she liked about him-he was flashy. She’d come to like flashy it seemed.

“I imagine you’re going with your wedge for this one, right?” Peter asked from behind him.

Just don’t pick today to tell me you’re fucking her, Evan thought darkly. Not today.

Peter chose his club and walked brightly to his ball eyeing the flag on the green. He didn’t really notice that Evan hadn’t answered as he was distracted by a sumac leaf. It was a beige sumac leaf shaped birth mark that Evan’s wife, Janie, had right along the inside of her ass cheeks. It was hardly visible until she opened to him-her favorite sex position was face and knees. He ran his thumb over it as he rode her, imagining the skin felt rougher there. It didn’t though; the inside of her crevasse was as soft and luscious as the rest of her.

“How about double or nothing on the next hole?” he called back over his shoulder without really looking.

“Sure. Why not?” Evan answered. He was up fourteen hundred over the first seven and wasn’t giving anything back. He watched Peter take that lazy practice swing of his and smoked.

Don’t be THAT mother-in-law…


“That’s right Tim. I said I will help you two over this rough patch and we will definitely do it together. But before we can work as a team, we’ll have to go over some things individually. As soon as I have this little discussion with my daughter I’ll come into the drawing room and speak with you. Run along now. Oh-before you go, would you be a dear and hand me the hairbrush on the bureau there? Thank you honey.”

…On second thought…

Image uncredited on Tumblr.

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.

King Ragnar


My queen was otherwise engaged so I kicked around a few local watering holes unattached.

Usually content with silent rumination I was pulled gently into conversation with a comely drinker on the next stool. “Describe yourself to me” she said “As a TV character.” Easy enough; insomnia and on-demand keep me current.

“King Ragnar”, I said. “From Vikings.”

“Huh. Really? How so?” she asked, then quickly added “in five words or less.”

A deliberate, if not particularly effective, editor I chewed for a moment before saying, “Aging alpha. Going mad.”

The crooked half smile would have been enough. Would have sufficed. But then she reached over and tousled what’s left of my hair. Get it? She tousled my hair! What was I to do with that? By her hands, I figured her a decade my junior. At least. She wore no ring but neither did I. She patted my hand and slid off the stool for the ladies room. I was careful not to watch her walk away.

Leaving a twenty on the bar I followed my hard-on out the door where the chill December night hit me like a splash. Little Tommy led me down the street to a place where the drinks were cheaper and women were scarce.