Category Archives: short stories

The Shed.

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CHAPTER THIRTY TWO.

They always drove used, beige American cars. Unmarked could be many things, but never exotic. Only the marked dressed outlandishly, she’d read. To these, standing out in a crowd was purposeful; for the subversive, bland was the order.

Such was the descriptor of the vehicle and driver she’d registered that Easter Sunday morning in 2002, just missing it pull away from her curb opening her own car door and stepping in.

She’d always been able to know a face, particularly one which had become the object of her fixation.  And, this white haired balding Anglo-Saxon profile staring straight over the steering wheel was unmistakeable through her side view mirror, the sedan slowing briefly at her corner Stop sign as she passed by heading toward the boulevard.

Her white trimmed navy sheath suit with the covered buttons all the way down the skirt looked smart, her dark hair fluffed full with the last gasp of peri-menopause. If only the side entry shed were not completely overrun with garbage in bags, too many, the stench of rotting food wafting upward through its confined space every winter thaw.

She’d been a good seven years shy of early retirement from public ed and spring, still the season of accelerated chaos, over the more recent five (and, final) years had morphed into rehearsal and production for the school musical, interrupted most inconveniently by Easter vacation.

This year, the living room floor cluttered with the customary foamboard and prop pieces, she’d been invited out. Private studio parents, Ukrainian first generation Americans, he a urologist and she mother to three sons, members of the west side country club for the wealthy elite. Would she meet them for Easter brunch?

Their eldest son her student, readying for high school, was most enamored of the liquid chocolate fountain, driven by soy oil and some obscure solvent. She, recently diagnosed gluten and soy intolerant, would pick at the lavish buffet, a tiny salad, some fruit, relieved to eat sparingly so as to be more comfortable in public dressed in her white buttoned navy sheath.

Congruent with the formality of the grande dining room, tables set several feet apart like the upper classes preferred, his mother – who always spoke in hushed, rapid delivery – would choose this luncheon to disclose to her a history with the NSA. His father, a Venezuelan, confirmed.

Even her tax accountant and his wife, seated just a table away, he, feigning nonchalance, deliberately sniffing around the buffet well within her field of vision, would never be the wiser.

Listening to this revelation, she wondered whether the stink in the side shed had so put off her curious visitor that he’d made a hasty exit, never to return. Perhaps he had placed a bug on her wall, some high tech chip capable of recording her every utterance, her goings and comings, or perhaps that had merely been his plan until he’d caught a whiff of the decay. She’d been reading his best seller, published soon after 911 and thought, sitting there over brunch that, if he had placed one, it would be well hidden from any chance of her discovery; he was certainly impossible to trace, though she’d made several attempts at locating contact info. On the way back home across town, she’d settled for one fleeting hope that he might have considered the foul mess residue from a renter, and herself the lady of the manor.

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Fifteen years hence, the shed was still a catch all for the loose ends in her life. It had, however, taken on a more refined character, transformed to reflect the subtle but evolved nature of her existence. Gardening tools, political yard signs, several Green Blender boxes, and a large cluster of dug up dahlia bulbs now filled the space formerly suffocated by trash.

He’d published several more books, and she was reading his latest, a novel, one or two chapters at a time before sleep in the wee hours after practicing her trio program on the new Steinway. He’d won a prestigious award, his acceptance speech archived on YouTube, he, standing in classic grey suit, slacks draping the kind of body which preferred boxers to briefs. She marveled at his vitality, and wondered if he played tenor sax like the hero in the novel, or whether this was merely a nod to the former leader of the free world.

The world had come at quite a price, anymore, bond or free; as for herself, she could no longer fit into the white buttoned navy sheath, which had faded to maroon.

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© Ruth Ann Scanzillo 1/20/17         All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line. Thank you for reporting all ghost written plagiarisms.

littlebarefeetblog.com

Watch What Happens.


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[*THIS was the post that disappeared. Let’s see if it sticks, round #2.]

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No fiction to anyone, we live in an increasingly hostile world.

The Information Highway has opened up access to far more than the latest navigation options; rather, because anybody can now say anything – even fabricating and mobilizing back up witness to their cause – be it noble or nefarious what is borne is a sea of data, swarmed by both predator and prey.

So, how does one ascertain the truth?

Suppose we borrow from the tactician.

Remember an old movie, “The Sting”, starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford?

The criminal mind is, to varying degrees, shrewd; stealthy; meticulous; even rash. But, the criminal? In spite of his or her level of sheer intelligence, human weakness is never more easily manifest – and, can be capitalized upon to productive end.

Should one seek to prove out the actions of a suspect, one need only create a scenario. Choose as the setting a work of fiction, being sure to include key, identifiable facts known only to the guilty; in this way, only the incriminated will know for sure what is being portrayed. To these, the story becomes a revelation.

The novels of Tom Clancy, et al, come to mind, here, as do numerous Hollywood blockbuster thrillers. To quote “Fats” Waller, in “Ain’t Misbehavin'” : “One nevah knows, do one?”

Awhile ago, I published another chapter in my series’ category, Short Stories. After leaving the piece up for a couple days, I pulled it.

Interesting things began to happen.

First, a certain individual promptly extracted from all contact with me on social media.
Then, the individual’s extended associates behaved strangely; though the time stamps showed evidence of their having been viewed, chat messages were ignored. No further voluntary contact with myself was made by any but one of them.

In fact only one, solitary associated player has maintained any communication with me since, said one at a very great distance from the rest, though closest to me emotionally.

Now, the most useful aspect of logic is its immoveability.

Were one innocent, of any implicated actions discovered in a work of alleged fiction, one might simply respond not at all; conversely, should one believe one’s actions to be exposed, one might set about – either voluntarily, or subconsciously – to react.

The scientific method is loosely applied, in this case, but serves our cause fairly.

The Bible says: “Be sure your sin will find you out.” This holy admonishment merely provides caption; those who know full well what they do are already branded.

And, these need no story to tell the tale.
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© Ruth Ann Scanzillo   12/29/16     — All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line. Thank you for your respect. Judge not, lest ye be judged. Selah.

littlebarefeetblog.com

Pickleball.

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CHAPTER THIRTY.

Even from the track above her silky voice could clearly be heard, carried away by self-critique, salting the stuffy air more accustomed to beads of human sweat than the constant caption with which she underscored every volley.

In just one full lap, two of their doubles’ foursome had left the gym court. Alone with the man who had been her partner she sat, then, over under the basketball hoop, he in a preferred squat, and segued to conversation.

Her voice was the kind one would associate with a bedside nurse, light, childlike. One wondered if these were born to sustain such tones, or cultivated in families where being unbearably kind was the order. Hers, incongruous with the acoustics inside the gym at the YMCA, a sound unexpected.

Reference was made to the care of an elder, possibly her mother or father, and from the track above she could be seen demonstrating the method by which her elder utilized a mobilizing walker, describing its function in detail. The man who had been her partner, from his squatted position, offered well placed affirmations, watching her talk.

She wore grey flared slacks and a light, cream colored knit long sleeved sweater appropriate for office work during the transition from fall to winter; the man who had been her partner was clad in gym shorts and a sleeveless, hooded boat jacket. Her elder was 97 now, she said, and he listened as she expanded her narrative to speculate about what could or could not be expected of someone who had reached such an age. There was so much to say. Was he married?

He was, he said.

Her head bowed slightly, rendering her words less intelligible, and she looked from side to side as she spoke. The man who had been her partner stood. One of them suggested returning to the court. The other obliged.

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© Ruth Ann Scanzillo  11/17/16    – All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line. Thank you for the respect. Your volley.

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