Monday, December 29, 2014

Settling In- Christmas in Florida

The next day after arriving we got the bikes out, and they still run! We took a little ride around to get the feel again. I even remembered how, imagine that! Feels good to be back in the saddle. Oh how I missed my Harley!

The following week we took a tour to check out the new Harley Davidson, Six Bends in Fort Myers that was recently built. 

(Here is a video of the construction if you are into that ) 

I would describe this place as the ‘Disney’ park for motorcyclists. Within the 54,000 square foot building are enough Harley’s to have you drooling and wishing you had even a fraction of the pocket money to get one. 

Outside is a zen-like atmosphere any self-respecting motorcyclist would love to hang out at and admire their bike that sits a few feet away from them. Tall palms line the park like setting with several fire pits to chill out at after a long ride (I am guessing J ) The concert area of Rocker Field sprawls out in front of the store where they offer live entertainment on Wednesday and Sunday. (Will have to add that to the list of must do). So far I have not been able to find out if this live entertainment costs anything, I looked at their event calendar but it does not mention a fee, I can’t see how they could put this on without a cover charge of some type, but you would think they would let you know either way. (Maybe the cost of their T-shirts affords them to offer free entertainment… ) I would recommend checking it out; it is quite the place.

Have not been on any really long rides yet, although we never do until after Christmas and New Years is over. I put up our mini tree that my mom had given me to bring to Florida the first year we started coming here before Christmas. I even brought a few more decorations this year to spread around the house. (Probably will bring a few more next year too) I still find it strange to be wearing shorts on Christmas day even after spending Christmas here for the last three years. I guess my many, many years in Canada with snow covering everything in a thick white layer has me associate Christmas with it. (Not that I am sad for not being buried in snow and freezing my butt off.) 

I hear all the snow melted back home this year and it was a green Christmas, however the temperatures were just above 0, way too cold for the likes of me And if I know Canada, I am sure there is much more of the white stuff to come…

Screech and Fred were quite happy Christmas morning; they got high on their catnip and then slept the day away.   

To keep in touch with my family we use Skype to say all our well wishes to each other on Christmas day, but this year my Dad’s computer just couldn’t connect, apparently Skype told him that his computer is too old for video chat. [Hmm, my laptop is six years old, should I be worried…]
At least the phone still works!  (However it would have been nice to see everyone). You don’t seem to need the newest phone in order to place a phone call, at least not yet. I am sure there will come a time when you will need to replace your telephone every three years… that is if there is still telephones…

Christmas dinner consisted of having a fondue, how retro of us. You can’t be in a hurry to eat when most of your time is spent with a little stick in the boiling oil. But I guess that is the point. Nothing says Christmas like a fondue, <sarcasm here> at least I put out Christmas Tree napkins. The plan was to sit outside under the Lani and have our nice intimate fondue, but it was a bit too chilly out for me – we had a cold snap Xmas day and it went down to 20C! -  (I am sure it would have been fine for most normal people, but I am far from normal <wink>) So instead, we set up the little fondue pot on the coffee table in front of the TV and over the next couple of hours had our Christmas Fondue Supper. I think we may have started a new Christmas tradition; it certainly had all the mess and work of a Christmas Supper that I grew up with. Next year we might even get to sit outside… 

I actually managed to get to the big five-oh as in 50! Imagine that… (Fate was especially cruel to me by having me born not only right after Christmas, but also in a freezing cold country!) But it finally rewarded me after years of shivering on this day. I am glad to finally be in the sunshine, especially on this momentous occasion rather in the wintery north.  Everyone was asking if I was going to have a big party when I turned a half of a century, they should know me better than that.  And it certainly did not bother me in the least to not be in Canada when this mile stone was to befall me. 

 Instead I celebrated my half-century my way and I got to do what I love. We took a nice bike ride and put on about another 90 miles, (yep, I can feel all 90 this morning) going through the quaint town of LaBelle over the Caloosahatchee River to stop at our favourite park along the river, Bob Mason. Travelled on through the country setting of Alva and then over to the picturesque landscape of Buckingham.

Afterwards we went to dinner at our favourite restaurant the Ale House in Fort Myers and sat on the patio to enjoy a drink and great meal. It was around 8 pm when we got home and decided to sit under the Lani with our newly bought Christmas Lights, (half the price after Xmas!) I mean Party lights, where I feel asleep in my chair before 9 pm – ah, so this is turning 50! 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Road Trip

Dec 9-14
We left the house at 8:19 am. The weather was clear, traffic was moving well and even the sun had made an appearance by the time we got to the 407 – toll-road. The plan was to exit at London and to cross at the Windsor border, then travel the I-75 to Florida. Plans change. 
We unintentionally missed our exit. Maybe, it was a subconscious decision or we were just so happy to be finally heading south. Either way, we blew past our exit and by the time we realized it, there was no point in turning around. We stayed on until the QEW exit that would take us past Hamilton and through onto the Peace Bridge in Fort Erie. (Personally, I think my other half wanted to go that way)

Thankfully Screech & Fred quieted down about an hour into the drive. They must of remembered from the last trip that it was going to be a long day… 

I would of thought that the Peace Bridge would have been backed up and we would have to wait to cross, but to my surprise there was hardly a car on the bridge. We breezed through and besides stopping for a few questions with the customs officer it took only three minutes from the time we crossed over the bridge and got back on our way down the highway. From the many crossings we made at Windsor, we half expected to be stuck in a long line of cars.

We had come back this route for the first time in the spring when we left Florida to go back to Canada and were surprised that it was a slightly faster and easier route, well easier in the sense the traffic is a lot lighter than heading through the more heavier populated cities through Detroit, Ohio and Georgia, not to mention sometimes the mass of congestion through most of Florida. We managed to shave almost two hours off our time. Add to that the stretch from Toronto to Fort Erie is a lot quicker and less boring than the flat, painfully long Toronto to Windsor route.

Only problem with the I-95 route, it has a few tolls – they really are not that expensive, all totaled a mere $5.80 US. It also takes you over the mountains in Virginia, (a breeze to drive in good weather but could be a nightmare to drive in a snowstorm – that is why we had never went this way to go down before, we usually leave in a snowstorm…) The only other problem with this route is there is a lot more watching for which highway to take next. Unlike just following I-75 all the way south, this route makes you work for it. 

In the six years we have been coming here I never drove, until now. We switched at our gas/pit stop in Angola NY at about 12:30 pm and I was more than happy to be the co-pilot again when we stopped again in Waynesburg PA at 4:30 pm. 
(Of course I managed to miss our first exit towards Pennsylvania – <grumble> I probably lost about 10 min. for that) 

Not that I minded driving, (I usually prefer to be a driver than a passenger) but I have to admit I was a bit stressed, more so because it was unfamiliar roads to me, and when the traffic got heavier it had an effect on me. Never seemed to bother me before, I must be getting old… 

We continued on to Hillsville Virginia where we stopped for the night. We pulled in at 9:14 pm. We now only stop at Best Western motels. Our experience with motels on the way down is that “pet friendly” rooms can be the most disgusting rooms that travellers can sleep in. At least at a Best Western we found them to be clean with slightly worn furniture. It is also nice to have a fridge and microwave in the room.

Virginia marks the halfway point to our destination. Making our first leg of our journey a 13-hour day. I would rather just make the one overnight stop than drag it out longer, I just want to get there! 

Screech & Fred were happy to finally get their bathroom break but then serenaded us the entire night. Pay back….
Dec 10-14
The next morning we were on our way by 6:44 am. Quite a chilly morning at only 4.5 C but I was hopeful that by the afternoon we would be in Florida and in at least double digits. We hit traffic through North Carolina, but I figure it was just the morning rush. The rest of the way went fairly smooth.

I didn’t offer to drive again, Screech and Fred had kept me awake all night so my head was so fuzzy I didn’t really trust myself to get behind the wheel. My honey slept a bit more than me, I heard him snoring a few times – that is always a dead give away.

Overall the traffic moved well on the I-95 route. Except for a couple of accidents along the way and running into rush hour that slowed us down to crawl a few times, I prefer this route over  I-75. 

About 12 ½ hours later we pulled in the driveway at 7:37 pm – I was right, it was at least in the double digits. I would of chosen higher double digits than 11 C degrees, but it is sure better than what we had left with snow covering the ground, holding at a steady 0.

Home Sweet Florida Home J
It is great to be back!

Florida didn’t let me down, the next day I was ready to sit in the sunshine by the pool… - now to get my bike on the road J 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Gearing up for the Sunny South

– Our home away from home

Well, it is getting close to that time again. Woohoo! Thought I would check in to warn you all that I am coming back - Ha! You might of thought I fell through an Internet black hole – because we all know black holes reside on the Internet not in outer space.  Well, I didn’t - So, did ya miss me? 

I have worked my tail feathers off this summer and now I am ready to get the hell out of this freezing winter land. It has been snowing here since Halloween! I should also mention that this summer consisted of rain, cold and more rain! What ever happened to the four seasons? I am not talking about the band either, for those of you who remember them (Does that make me sound old? – don’t answer that) although the Four Seasons Band happened to be from a time when we actually had summers. 

This year Muskoka's four seasons consisted of; cool, cold, getting colder and downright frigid. Case in point, when we got back at the end of April this year, there was still some snow on the ground – all traces eventually disappeared in the middle of May! When summer finally did appear sometime in August, it graced us with two wonderfully warm days – I even got to wear shorts on those two days.

Really, this is my yard! And its only November!
I was hoping to go south much earlier this year - like this weekend!  But forces beyond my control have held me back from my plan. Last week I was going to bring Screech and Fred for their rabies shot, but there was another snowstorm that closed the highway. So I ended up having to postpone it a week. – At least my cats are now good to go, however, I am not. L The furnace needs a part that had to be ordered – waiting. The car needed a water-pump, which has to come from Montreal! – also waiting. Crossing my fingers and toes that everything comes in this week and gets fixed before another snowstorm hits – it’s coming, I know it. I am hoping we can get going by next weekend. It’s a conspiracy I tell ya! - Even our own Canadian dollar is unfortunately not looking so good this year either. – Are there other forces at work here? Well, I am determined to bask in sunshine again, even if I have to get there by dog sled!

 Packing is never easy…

I tried not to pack so much this time. I really tried - honest. Even though every year I know I will only end up wearing the same Tee’s, my favourite pair of shorts and of course my jeans for the bike. (Swimsuits don’t count, I need all 10 – I don’t know why I just don’t leave them in Florida – come to think of it, I don’t ever remember it being warm enough to even wear one here…) 

None the less, every year I end up with an over-stuffed suitcase with most of my wardrobe in it. 

Maybe it is just a woman thing – you know, like when you put on a shirt that makes you look fat one day, so you dig through your closet to find that slimming one… you just never know on what day that particular shirt or those jeans are going to make you look like you gained 20 pounds.

If you think about it, going away for almost five months is quite a long time, so it makes sense that you bring lots of “stuff” – at least that is what I tell myself. J

My other half has packing down to a science, he grabs a couple pairs of jeans, a few T-shirts, shorts and a weeks worth of undies and ‘tadah’- he is done, which he accomplishes the night before we leave. His reasoning: we have a washer. (Men have it easy)

Me on the other hand, I start a couple of months in advance to pack. - Maybe I am just a compulsive organizer. - But in my defense, there is always the additional “stuff” that is coming with us for the house. It falls onto me to get the extra “stuff” in order. Like this year we are bringing the Fondue set that has been sitting in the closet collecting dust. We plan on using it over Christmas and New Year’s. - Then it can collect dust in Florida for the rest of the year. -

Of course I don’t pack any clothes that far in advance – really I don’t, I save that to at least a month before we are ready to leave J  Ok, I will admit, the majority of my clothes have been packed since October, except for the few items that will have to wait until the last minuet. At the moment my suitcase consists of only swimsuits, shorts and Tee’s and it’s busting at the seams already, couldn’t even fit a sock in it at this point. (On second thought, I could of packed in August, seeing I never used any of that stuff this year!)  

- Anyway, I am kind of glad my other half packs light, I can use up the rest of his space in his suitcase with the rest of my ‘must have’ clothes. J

What else is new?

I finally fixed up my website  
I had been wanting to turn it into a place for my other writing endeavours (like the ones I have been exposing you to lately – my darker side hahaha…) I had originally designed this blog to write about the time I spend in Florida over the winter. I really wanted to keep it focused, although I know I went a little off my flight path and added a few rants, a couple of stories, and the poetry interludes. But I finally had some time to change that, and moved it over to my Frozen Canuck domain where I will “wing it as a writer”.  I will leave the ‘off topic stuff’ that I have already written here though, seems people are still stopping in and reading those previous stories.  Thanks!  

That leaves this space free for me to pursue all things tropical J I want to expand on my experiences besides just writing about our motorcycle tours ~ Oh how I miss my Harley! …soon J ~  Of course there will still be lots of adventures on the bikes ~. You will just have to come back to see what I have in store for you!

As always, I appreciate any feedback so don’t forget to leave a comment. 

Well, that is all for now, next time I post I should be sitting by the pool sipping a cocktail J 

Look out Florida - here I come!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Story Time - The Peculiar Passenger

Copyright  June 23, 2014 SB-TFC
All rights reserved. This story or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

The Peculiar Passenger

Forty three years today I had been driving cab in this thriving city, young and old have slid across my back seat, most were quite engaging while some had a less than pleasant disposition. Countless lives whom in passing shared with me a tiny glimpse into their fragile souls. I spent my life living vicariously through my passengers, sharing in their successes and failures. Through them I travelled the world, through them I experienced love and loss. I had spent a lifetime living the lives of my passengers that I never gave much thought to experiencing it myself. I had no need or desire to do so until now.

It was on this rather blustery evening in late fall as the wind brought solid sheets of rain pelting across my windshield, I listened to rhythmic sound of the wipers whooshing back and forth lulling me into a melancholy mood as I came to terms with the realization that this would be my last time in the drivers seat.  I had no plan, no direction, I never prepared for this day. Maybe I was delusional thinking this day would never come. I was such a stupid old fool. I was to be retired like an old vinyl record. I had no family, no special person to spend my golden years with. I was alone. What will become of me?

I was manoeuvring through the slick wet streets when I passed the railway station. A rather meager looking man in his black rain slicker that looked a few sizes too big for his spindly stature flagged me down. The hood of the raincoat covered his head leaving his face in murk obscuring his features. It was when he slid into the back that I noticed he was holding a plain brown package no bigger than a shoe box that was wrapped tightly in clear plastic. He spoke barely above a whisper as he informed me of his destination. 

We left the throng and glare of the beating pulse of the city letting the horn blasts and random shouts fade into the night. Eventually the unforgiving pavement reluctantly retreated and gave way to the rougher uneven terrain of the countryside. A crisp freshness replaced the heavy exhaust fumes and the soft pungent scent of earth drifted along the passing streams of air currents. 

The rain had subsided and the thick black clouds parted floating off allowing the starlight and moon to cast a muted glimmer along the deserted roads. I glanced in the rear view mirror to check on my eerily silent passenger who began to lower his hood. As the moonlight shone through the glass his complexion appeared to have a waxen glow in the gloomy shadows. His eye sockets were hollowed as his translucent skin stretched across his face lending him sharp piercing features. I felt a twinge of sorrow as I got the impression that he was in extremely poor health and that there was a possibility he was nearing the end. 

My thoughts shifted to the package that sat in his lap. Maybe he was delivering a rare antique. Possibly he kept his life savings stored in that box. Perhaps it contained all his worldly positions or it could even be the remains of his lost love. He suddenly spoke sending an electric volt resonating through my body shocking me out of my reverie.

“Would you like to know what is in the box?” 

His voice was still barely above a whisper, as his words felt like a soft breath in my ear. His tone had an odd echo that vibrated through my head. I instantly glanced up in the mirror. He was still leaning back in the seat, appearing not to have moved at all. 

“Pardon me?” I stuttered, as I was still foggy from being so lost in thought that maybe I had just imagined that he had spoken to me.

“Would you like to know what is in the box?” he said again, although now there was a rough raspy tone that had etched into his speech.

“I suppose I do.” I answered so shakily that I could barely get the words out. 

“Pull over and I will show you.” he said as he indicated to a narrow pathway that cut through a corn field up ahead. 

The moon was as round as a saucer as it glowed high in the heavens above. The slightly soggy earth glistened in the moonlight from the recent rain but was solid enough so that the tires held their grip as I made my way a few feet from the road along the path. The spent stalks of corn towered along the edges of the path disappearing over a small hill and faded into the inky black horizon. I put the car in park and leaned over the back seat.

Never even hearing the faintest sound, my passenger had already removed the plastic from the box as I turned around. He held the box up with long thin fingers that were more bone than flesh. “Open it” he said as if he were offering me Christmas present.

My heart started thrumming in my chest and I felt a wet trickle of sweat run down my armpit. I stared down at the box about to lift the top with my aged spotted hand when I paused, just hovering above the lid and I looked up at my passenger. He met my gaze with an intensity of a raging fire burning in the depths of hell. Before my mind registered what my hand had actually done, I was holding the lid. I tried to scream but the sound caught in my throat only producing a gagged croak as thousands of shadows flew up out of the box and swirled around my mortal vessel and began to squeeze my essence from me. My arms flailed about banging into the steering wheel and smashing into the rear view mirror shattering it, spraying tiny shards of sharp points into my pallid skin, but I could no longer feel anything as the maelstrom of shadows frenzied rampage began to consume every inch of my being. 

I opened my eyes as the sun was beginning to peak up over the hill in the distance. The corn stalks slightly rustled as a light breeze brushed over their dried carcasses, I quickly turned around and my passenger was gone. All that remained was his black rain slicker sprawled out across the back seat. Next to me sat the plain brown box with its lid securely in place. My head hurt, but patting down myself all seemed to be in order. I got out and opened the back door and grabbed the raincoat and put it on. A perfect fit. 

I felt exhilarated as I drove back into the city and dropped my cab off at the taxi stand for the last time. I collected the box from the car and tucked it under my arm. Today I was officially retired, and today I had a new vocation to pursue. I was anxious to get started as the collector of souls. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Story Time - The Vault

Copyright  June 15, 2014 SB-TFC
All rights reserved. This story or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

The Vault

Quinn had been driving on county road 25 for almost an hour after turning off from the main highway. Nothing but dense clusters of Spruce and Pine spread out across the hills and valleys for miles. Nestled between the evergreens all the Maple and Birch trees had already shed their autumn coats leaving them looking exposed and vulnerable. Briefly the thick forest receded for a field of brambles and overgrown weeds, set back from the field a derelict farmhouse sagged to one side on its crumbling foundation looking like a forlorn sentinel banished to isolation for eternity. 

Quinn began to wonder where in the hell they were sending her as she glanced down at the Google map print out sitting next to her on the seat while considering the possibility that she might of made a wrong turn. This was her first assignment and cringed at the thought of having to call the office saying she was lost. The abandoned farmhouse faded from view as she crested a small hill and caught site of a small building tucked back from the road about 200 feet to her right. As the road flattened out she seen the wooden sign nailed to a weathered fence post at the beginning of a gravel laneway lined with tangles of sumac bushes. Slowing down, the faded red letters proclaimed she had finally made it to her destination, WHOLESALE FOOD DISTRIBUTION.  

Thin layers of sooty cloud moved across the deepening magenta sky as the last hour of sunlight began to fade. Quinn pulled her old Daytona next to a black Ford Explorer in the otherwise deserted parking area. Grabbing her backpack she got out of her car and made her way up to the building taking in her surroundings. 
The concrete structure was only about 1000 square feet and rectangular in shape. The front had a large corrugated metal shipping door and ten feet to the right, a plain grey metal man door. Hanging on the man door was a tattered orange plastic sign, in white block letters the words ‘CLOSED’. Quinn’s stomach knotted as she noted that the there were no windows on the front of the building, she hoped there would at least be one at the back. 

The door handle felt cold beneath her hand as it yielded easily when she pressed down on the lever and poked her head in. A buzzing like a thousands bees in a tin can assaulted her ears as the fluorescents flickered above, casting a peculiar greenish glow in the room. Quinn called out “Hello? Anyone here?” To the right stood a single cashier checkout and beyond that a few rows of drab metal shelving filled the rest of the small space. On the shelf closest to her a few super-sized cans of vegetables, ketchup, and mustard were scattered along one of the upper shelving units, but for the most part, at least what she could see the rest of the shelving stood empty. 

To her left about ten feet from where she stood she noticed a set of double swinging doors and made her way in that direction. Thinking to herself “What an strange set up for a food distributor” as she crossed into the stock room. The stock room was large enough to comfortably fit a small delivery truck. Towards the back to her right, three rows of heavy-duty blue metal shelving. The shelves in here were stacked to the ceiling with various canned goods that had been loaded on pallets and sealed in a thick layer of plastic. To the left was the large shipping door she had seen from the outside. She headed towards a door inset with a window directly across from her. The blinds were lowered but light filtered around its edges. Just as she lifted her hand to knock on it, the door flew inward. Jumping back, she swore under her breath, gritting her teeth.  

“Sorry to startle you. I just realized the time and thought I better check to see if you had made it, and here you are” he thrust out his massive hand. 
“The names Jake, Jake Grimmes. So glad they could send a security guard out on such short notice.”

His muscular frame took up most of the entryway. His short dark hair was slicked back giving him that sexy just got out of the shower look, while the shadow that played across his chin and up his cheeks lent to the rugged outdoors man. A slight musky scent drifted towards her tingling her senses. As soon as his green shimmering eyes fixed on hers, she was immediately lost in his gaze. A few seconds later she managed to compose herself, cleared her throat and grasping his hand she said “Um, Quinn, Quinn Sparks from Tweed Security” His hand swallowed hers as he shook it. In his firm grip her head started to throb while an icy trickle of sweat slipped down her spine, then as quickly as the sensation began it vanished when he let go. All Quinn could think of to say next was, “You can depend on Tweed Security, we are on call 24/7 even at a moments notice, Sir” As soon as the words left her mouth a flush heated her cheeks.  

A smile broadened across his face “You don’t need to be so serious and call me Jake. So how long have you been a security guard Quinn?”

The heat within her cheeks remained as Quinn self-consciously said, “To tell you the truth, I just started, and you’re my first.” 

Jake let out a loud burst of laughter and winked “Your first, well I am honoured.
You really think you are up for this challenge?”

“Challenge? I may be a rookie, but I certainly know how to handle myself.” Quinn said feeling slightly annoyed at his comment. 

“You would be surprised what kind of trouble can be stirred up way out here.” Jake said as he flipped off the light and locked his office door. He steered her towards the back of the stock room. “Let me give you a quick tour, but there really is not much to see other than a washroom that is back here behind these shelving units. The alarm company will be here first thing in the morning to fix the alarm system, the room is locked, but they already have a key for it.” As they passed he pointed to a utility room door next to the washroom. They were back in the store area heading towards the entrance door when he added “That’s it, hope you don’t get too lonely out here. Any questions?” 

“No, I think I got it, thanks” Quinn said as she held the door open. Watching him leave an internal shutter resonated through her body and her chest tightened realizing that there were no windows in whole place. The structure was just a solid mass of concrete reminding her of a vault. She had always managed to avoid places involving enclosed windowless spaces. She never considered herself as being claustrophobic; she just needed to be able to see outside that was all. Now, it looked like she was going to spend an entire night entombed in this concrete vault. “Could my luck get any worse?” she thought.

As soon as he was out of sight, Quinn stepped out into the twilight taking in a deep breath of fresh air. Grabbing her folding beach chair and portable radio from her car her thoughts turned to Jake and the unsettled feeling she had gotten when he shook her hand and the odd conversation they had. Something was off about that guy, but she couldn’t put her finger on it. She decided to grab her thicker security coat when the wind picked up making the temperature drop a few degrees. The road was completely deserted, as it had been all the way here. The only sound was a chorus of crickets starting up their nightly serenade and a protesting crow screeching as it passed overhead heading home to bunk down for the night. Locking the main door she glanced around the tomblike room when the idea of opening the shipping door came to mind. 

Pushing a big green button on the door panel, the metal door began to rattle and whine as it slowly rose up on its chain pulley system. Two feet up, she pushed a red button bringing it to an abrupt halt. A swoosh of cool evening air rushed in giving her a shiver. Next she set up her beach chair about ten feet from the opening to keep it far enough from the draft yet still be in full view to see out from a sitting position. Adjusting the aerial on her radio, static was gradually replaced with ‘We gotta get out of this place’ by the Animals. Quinn set the volume just loud enough so that it would drown out the constant hum of the fluorescents. Glancing outside the tightness in her chest loosened while she draped her thicker coat over her shoulders as she sat down. A faint yellowish glow started to pool along the threshold of the open shipping door from the outside security light, it stretched halfway across the bottom edge leaving the rest of the space in murky shadows as the rest of the day slipped away. 

Quietly singing along with the classic tune playing on the radio she reached into her backpack and pulled out a Ziplock baggie containing a ham and cheese sandwich and a can of Sprite. Taking a bite of the sandwich, she rummaged through the pack again and found a book, opting for a mystery rather than her usual horror and began to read. It was nearing midnight when her head started to bob and her eyelids fluttered like shutters opening and closing. Soon she was drifting on a cloud of semi consciousness. Walking through a delightful forest, a fresh pine scent filled the air, spent pungent leaves crunched under foot, while golden rays filtered through the bare branches of Maple trees. Stepping on a twig it made a snapping noise like cracking knuckles. When the next twig snapped under her foot the bright sunlight gave way to a murky gloom, fading the forest from view and replacing it with a cement room. A dim light began to filter through a narrow opening far off in the distance; then a soft scraping sound started gradually and kept getting louder and louder. 

Quinn’s eyes flung open “Oh crap” she muttered. 

As she tried to focus there appeared to be a raccoon just inside the shipping door. Its nose twitching, claws clicking on the cement floor as it made its way towards her. “Shoo, shoo, get out of here” waving her hands in the air, figuring that if she made enough noise it would scare the thing away. But so far it seemed to have little affect. 

 “Shoo” she said again raising her voice. Glancing down, noticing her half eaten sandwich she flung it across the room and yelled, “Here, have this, now git”
The creature sprung up on its haunches and snatched it in mid air, swallowed it in one gulp then continued towards her. Quinn’s blood started pumping quickly through her veins making her heart pound like a bass drum as she sprung to her feet thinking maybe it was rabid. Her only protection was dangling at her side, a Maglite.  Her supervisor had recommended that she buy the standard heavy-duty flashlight as part of her gear, she wondered how effective it was on rabid animals. She unclipped it from her belt hoping that by shining the light in its eyes the light might frighten it away. Thinking that right about now a nice illegal can of Pepper spray or better yet a Taser would come in handy. Flicking on the flashlight she shined it directly into the creatures eyes.

A low growl erupted from its throat, its pointy ears pressed flat along its head. Course black hair stood straight up on the beasts back, then it gradually transformed, changing into something, something she had never seen before. Glossy black eyes rimmed in red flashed with pure evil as foamy wet drool slid from the gleaming pointy shards in its gaping mouth. It grew to a height just over six feet and stood erect on its hind legs. As it advanced it started to lick at its snout excited for the main course. Quinn was transfixed with horror as it became a raging beast, she uttered in disbelief “What the f…” her eyes darted around the room looking for an escape, remembering that Jake had locked the office door. Maybe she could make it through the store and to her car. “Move it!” her mind screamed. She started to back up slowly then quickly turning on her heel she darted towards the swinging doors. With one leap the beast blocked the way. Quickly doing an about face she headed toward the back where the washroom was. The second she turned to run the beast reached out with its sharp dagger like claw and snagged the collar of her coat enabling her to keep running full tilt as the coat just fell off her shoulders. 

Throwing back its head a piercing howl erupted from the beast. Not looking back Quinn raced between the metal shelves heading towards the washroom. She was within inches of the door when the beast grabbed for her once more and this time it connected with its target grabbing her by the neck, spinning her around, and lifting her feet off the ground. Squeezing her throat, one claw pierced her flesh and a small drop of warm crimson trickled down her neck. Gasping for air, 
she could only stare into its bottomless dark orbs. As the beast sunk its razor sharp fang into her she caught a faint scent of musk emanating from it. A brief moment of recognition flashed through her mind as she slipped into unconscious bliss, Jake?

Gossamer clouds backlit in a reddish glow spread across the early ashen sky as a white van with ACE ALARM COMPANY written on the side pulled into the parking area between Quinn’s Daytona and a black Ford Explorer. A lanky young man with curly brown hair stepped out and gathered his tools. He sauntered up to the entrance of the building and tried the handle, the lever opened. When he stepped across the threshold Quinn attacked.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Poetry Interlude - Time Winds Down

~ Time Winds Down ~

Hear that clicking across the floor
Something waits outside the door

Pull the covers up, under the chin
Hear heavy breath, it really wants in

What beastly creature haunts from below
As the light fades and moon is aglow

Night after night fear it deepens
Strength to fight it slowly weakens

Prayers of forgiveness play on the lip
One day to plan that inevitable trip

Above or below
One never will know

Until one day we return to the ground

As life passes on and time winds down 

Copyright 2014-May 28 SM-TFC

Monday, June 2, 2014

Poetry Interlude - Evil Blossoms

 ~ Evil Blossoms ~ 

I be a garden nymph of bane
Victor Habbick
My sole purpose, to cause you pain

Toil you must within a garden so bright
I wreak havoc with delight

Something menacing, wicked did I
Just in spite to see you cry

While you slept I dug a hole
I ate the roots in your garden bowl

I giggled while I did the deed
Knowing how I made you bleed

I feed on souls, that is what I take
Pleasure is mine while you quake

All is lost when I appear
All that is left, undeniable fear

<Evil laugh>

Copyright 2014-May 27 SM-TFC
**bane : in the archaic meaning of > something, typically poison, that causes death.**

Monday, May 26, 2014

Poetry Interlude - The Purple Door

The Purple Door

I passed a purple door one day while out for a casual walk
Curiosity got the best of me when it began to talk

It said it was a magical door and welcomed me inside
It bribed me with indispensable knowledge if I would abide

Only a brief moment of my time it would need
Just step across my threshold it began to plead

I thought for just a minute and wondered if I should 
What really did I have to loose, this might turn out quite good

I clambered up the steps with haste and through the portal I passed
Immediately I was whisked away through a narrow shaft

As I tumbled through the darkness, I faintly heard the door slam shut
A queasy feeling erupted in the bottom of my gut

I shuddered knowing that I had possibly sealed my fate 
What an awful mistake I made, I should have opted for a golden gate

I think my soul was taken, had I completely lost my head
Eternity was upon me, filling me with dread

A second chance I dared wish, as a silent scream danced on my lips
A horrible thought flashed through my mind as I came to grips

I should have kept on walking, never going through that purple door
I certainly didn’t anticipate this and regretted it even more

Had destiny played some cruel prank I truly could not tell
But the moment I hit the ground I realized I had tripped and it hurt like hell

Copyright 2014-05-21 SM-TFC

Monday, May 19, 2014

My beastly short story from hell

It was 5:46 am on a Monday morning and it was my scheduled weekly posting to my blog. But this morning something was very different; I had NOTHING! I panicked. 
For months now I had been trying to write my first short story. I would start then it would fizzle out and die a horrible death on my page. Paragraphs had been dismembered in a grisly mass. Sentences appeared to have been sliced in half while single words were strewn together in incoherent heaps. I was riding a merry-go-round and no matter how much imagination I used to pretend I was galloping through the countryside on my trusty steed, I ended up just going around in a circle and ultimately became dizzy.

Everyday my cursor blinked in defiance, not wanting to give up a single paragraph that had bounced around in the crevices of my mind. Each sentence I started abruptly ended in mid thought. Something strange was happening to me, the once easy task of spilling out my thoughts had run dry and in its place a stagnant cesspool began to fester spitting out only incoherent ramblings. I listened to the grandfather clock tick away at my precious seconds. Soon the sound became deafening, nothing would drown out the relentless sound of passing time. As I struggled with beginnings, middles and ends a dark shadow crept into my subconscious while the corrupt oozing goo seeped over my neural pathways. 

I tried to relax, pat my cat, go for a walk, some how I had to rid myself of this evil presence that had slithered into my being and threatened to choke the life out of my creative process. Nothing worked. It persisted, taunting me, leading me to the brink of madness. Night after night characters I had created haunted my dreams. Lifeless eyes burrowed into the depths of my soul, while agonizing wails echoed in my fog. Freeing them would lift the encompassing darkness that invaded those hallowed halls where my spectres roamed. So again I returned to the fresh white page of beginnings. I struggled to regain some sense of control, but it was no use, I was being defeated by a force for which seemed more powerful than I could of ever imagined. 

As the last bit of my confidence faded, I spiraled downward into the abyss of no substance or structure. That dark insistent irritating flicker had drained every ounce of strength from me. That is when I realized that my curser had become the beast and my story had gone to hell.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Poetry Interlude - Nature's Blank Canvas

Nature’s Blank Canvas 

Muted tones of brown, pale green and smokey grey
As spent leaves crunch atop spongy soil along the way

Musky, pungent earthen scents adrift on each tread
Delicate old lace patterns of tenuous stems struggle in dread 

Barren tendrils entwine to rise toward the heavens
A sublime remnant of once what was beckons

Warm slivers of light dance along limbs shining through 
Coaxing the essence of radiant splendour to arise anew

| Copyright May 7, 2014 :SM-TFC

Monday, May 5, 2014

Poetry Interlude - The Storm

The Storm

The playful breeze turned angry, 
until it was slowly churning gentle waters;
The momentum of wind gained force and sent once peaceful hands of water, 
protesting their new disturbance on a violent rage towards protruding jagged rock;
Rolling clouds of darkness shadowed the fiery ball of sun;
Sudden flashes of brilliant white streaked the darkening sky, rumbles echoed in the distance;
Wild energy buzzed, as a mighty explosion sounded, 
opening the heavens to let swollen drops cascade to earth;
As waters grew violent, foam spit from its murky depth;
The nocturnal day was interrupted by the frenzy of illuminated white, piercing claps broke through the blackness, as the uncontrollable wind whipped at the earth, ruling with all its

Copyright – 1998 SM :TFC
Poem was published in New American Poetry Anthology – John Campbell, Editor & Publisher 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Poetry Interlude

Shadows of Life

I am but a shadow passing through life
Substance wanes wandering over barren land
The inner essence twists in strife

Flickering light casts its familiar glow
As I cease to exist and meld within the sand
Slipping deeper into the darkness below

2014 - TFC (April 22)

What is, Love

Love is, the leaves sweeping across the land in a cool gentle breeze
Love is, a blanket of snow covering the earth protecting all that is beneath
Love is, the bud on a tree entering a tranquil life of purpose
Love is, an early morning dew sparking in bursting rays of sunshine
Love is, a flower on a warm summers day outstretched petals to the sun

You are the breeze that sweeps across me
You are the snow and I the earth
You are the tree and I the bud
You are the sun and I the dew
I am the flower yearning for your tender caress

1994 SM-TFC