July 2018 – Dave Bailey


Monthly Archives: July 2018

Street Smart

I sat on the corner of 34th Street and 6th Avenue. I felt tired and cold. I tried to huddle up farther under the awning built into the side of the building where the walls indented a bit. It was cold and rainy. Chilly for a summer night in the middle of July. One of the those crazy weather weeks. It had rained almost every day for the past week. It had actually cleared up during the day. The sun came out blazing in all its glory, but it didn’t last long. I had actually thought that the tonight would be the first night that I would get to sleep well without waking up cold and wet. But my hopes were soon shattered. Before the afternoon was up, the clouds had rolled back in over the sun covering it completely. Drifting in with the cold north winds that the blew them back in. I had been downtown about that time. I knew there wouldn’t be anywhere warm around to sleep in that neighborhood. So, I started pushing my way back up to the center of the city. Back into the heart. Hoping to find someplace dry. Hoping some tender soul would take pity on me and offer me a warm morsel before I felt too tired to stay awake any longer.

I walked about a mile up 6th Avenue before the first drops started to fall. I kept on pushing my way through cold droplets till I came to a subway entrance. I walked down the steps. As deep in as I could go before hitting the turnstiles. I had a metro card with a couple of dollars on it. I had found it a week or so back. It was a godsend. Already used it a time or two. But it was running low on credit. I didn’t want to use it unless I had to. I was saving it for an emergency or when I had somewhere farther to go. I could make it to where I wanted to go with a good, solid two hour walk. It was only a couple of miles on up 6th. I had huddled there in the corner. Watching people coming down the steps. At first they ran in. Dripping wet. I could tell when the rain had started slowing down by the way they came in and how went their head and shoulders were. Once the rain slowed down, traffic started picking back up again. So, I made my way back up the steps out onto the street. Rain wasn’t too bad. Slight drizzle. But nothing that that would make me melt. I glanced at the sky. It was still pretty dark. I probably wouldn’t make it very far before it started up again, but I decided to make a go of it. Get as far as I could up that avenue. People up around that section tended to be a little more kind-hearted. Even a slice of pizza would help tide me over till morning.

Fact is, I never asked. Never held up one of those little cardboard signs telling my sob story. If people knew what I had been through, I’m sure they would have even been more generous. But I knew I felt before I got into this mess. I hated seeing those signs. Never believed most of them anyways. So, I refused to use them myself. Yet people still often generously shared a meal or offered me something each day. I never starved to death. There were places I could go if I really needed to. People I could turn to if I absolutely had to. But I hated the thought of giving in. That for me was the last resort. Besides, I had already been at this for too long to give up now. It was going on two years. I was still alive. I had survived this long. I knew that someday my luck would change. Someday, I would get back on my feet. I didn’t know when and I didn’t know how. But I knew someday, things would change. The tide would shift. My luck would change. And then, everything would go back to the way it had been. Maybe even better. So, I was waiting. Biding my time.

I had been through rough times before. Never this bad of course, but I had always made it through. I knew I would make it through again. Don’t ask me how or why, but I just knew I would. So, I patiently bided my time. Patiently waited for my luck to change. Every night, I would lay my head down on a small cardboard pillow that I rolled up for myself. I’d watch the stars. Say my prayers. Well, on the nights when it wasn’t raining that is. I probably wouldn’t see any stars tonight by the looks of those clouds even if the rain did stop. I’d just have to hole up there under one of those scaffolds along the way. I’d go as far as I could up 6th avenue and crash under some scaffold between a couple of doors. Preferably a store that didn’t open before ten. Maybe even a eating joint that didn’t serve breakfast. Not that I needed to sleep in. I was usually up on my feet before the crack off dawn, but it just felt nice to drift off to sleep knowing that I could sleep in if I wanted to. Silly. I know. Right? But I just slept easier knowing that I would wake up well before anyone got there to shoo me away.

I kept walking. Making my way under the scaffolds. Running down steps into subways that came out on the other side of the street. Every little bit off covering helped keep me dry. I had on an old, white poncho that I had found in a trash can. One of the sleeves was torn, but it still kept me dry. I also had an umbrella stashed in my backpack. Not that I needed it to keep dry, but I usually put it up anyway. Even if just to keep others at bay. Hide my face. Even on nights when it wasn’t raining. I knew it wouldn’t really protect me from someone who was intent on harming me. But if I couldn’t see who was walking past me when I opened my eyes, it made me feel like they couldn’t see me. Made me feel invisible. Not that I really needed it. I already felt invisible anyway. A million people walked past me every day. Most didn’t even notice me. Not that they seemed to notice much of anything around them anyway. All running to and fro. Hustling. Bustling. Back and forth. Rushing madly up and down the same streets every day. Every. Single. Day. Going to the same places. Doing the same things. Day in and day out. I watched them rush by. Every day. Never stopping. Never observing what or who was around them. Most of the time, their heads looking down at their smart phones. Ear buds in their ears. Blocking out the sounds around them.

I think that was the one thing that didn’t miss from my old life. I didn’t have a phone anymore. I didn’t have all that technology to tie me down. I don’t know if I would have wanted it, even if someone had offered me the best technology money could buy. In the last two years, since my fate had changed, I had learned to slow down. To truly see. To observe. To listen. To pay attention to everything going on around me. Where ever I was. Whatever I was doing. And I liked it that way. Some told me it was called zen. Others told me they were doing it to achieve a minimalist lifestyle. I didn’t really care what it was called or why it had happened. I didn’t really have much of a choice after losing my job. Losing my home. Losing my family. Losing my health. And everything else that had befallen me. Sure, I hated it in the beginning. I didn’t think it would last long. I figured I’d get right back on my feet before the month was up. One month rolled around. Then another. Soon, I lost all hope. It took me a while to pull myself out of that deep, dark pit of despair. Eventually, I came to grips with the fact that this was real. That this was really happening to me. After that, I started to work my way through the immediate issues I faced. I learned how to survive on the street. I learned the rules. I learned what to do and what not to do. I learned who I could trust and who to avoid. I mastered the necessary skills to survive. Eventually, even to thrive in my own sort of way. Not that it was anywhere close to what I would have considered thriving before. But in its own unique way. In my own sort of way, I developed new standards. I learned to enjoy the little things. Things I had always taken for granted. Things I had never enjoyed before. Things that now gave me immense satisfaction. It was weird, because as sure as I was that things would eventually change. That my situation would change. That I would get back on my feet. I also knew, in the same way, that I had already changed as much as I would ever change. I had changed completely. And even when that day came, where I found myself back on my feet, I knew that I would never again be the same. I wouldn’t change back into the person I was before. That this whole life situation had changed me. Made me a new person. Deep in my mindset. I was already doing things to bring about the changes I wanted. Building my networks. Doing good to everyone around me. Even when I didn’t have enough for myself. Barely had enough to give, but I always found a way to help those in need. I hated asking for something for myself, but I had no qualms about asking for someone else in need. That was something that I had only begun doing in the past few months. I took me a while to simply get back onto my feet. Then to master the self-awareness of everything going on around me. Then to notice what was going on around others. I could already feel it paying off dividends in my life. People who never noticed me before, now knew my name. People who never noticed anyone else seemed to notice me. It was such a strange feeling. So many were like ghosts. Mere shells. Bodies walking up and down the street. Never noticing. Never being noticed. I was once like that. I could see myself mirrored in them. All those walking through life half asleep. Sleep walking. Unaware. Wondering what it would take to shake them out of their slumber. To get them to wake up and take notice. To actually start living.

Oh, yeah. And back to myself. I finally did make it all the way back up to 34th and sixth. I did want to get a little farther up into the city. But this was far enough. I just sat and waited. I didn’t worry about a thing. I knew that soon enough, someone would notice me. Offer me something. And even if not, I had already eaten that day. Tomorrow was a new day. I knew where I could get food if I really needed it. Saturday was a good day to get food. There were several places that offered brown bag meals in the late morning. Others offering soup in the evening. I wouldn’t starve. Sleep would come soon enough. So, I just sat there and watched the hustle and bustle. Even in the drizzle. People still racing up and down the sidewalks. Looking down at their phones. Wireless ear pieces inserted. Talking to themselves. To someone far away. Racing along, late into the night. It was almost midnight before some young fellow came along. Offered me a box of pizza. Four large slices. Half a family-sized pizza. He mumbled something about his wife not eating and his kid already asleep. He ate half and didn’t want the rest to go to waste. I thanked him. “God bless you,” I said. More than I needed. I’d wouldn’t eat more than two. Didn’t want to eat too much. Too much pizza gave me nightmares. Or at least that’s what my mamma always told me. Maybe I should try eating the whole thing just to see if I really would have nightmares. That was another thing I learned over the past two years. To question everything. All the things I believed all my life often turned out to be myths and silly superstitions. I never would have realized it if I hadn’t gone through these hard times. I learned to be grateful for this stripping away. This cleansing time in my life. But I knew I wouldn’t eat all four slice. They were large. One would be plenty to tied me over. Maybe two if it tasted as good as it smelled. It was still warm. The rest I would share with some others I had seen earlier that evening. I knew some of them could use it more than me. Some of them were new to the street. Still learning the ropes. Needing a helping hand. Hadn’t learned to trust the system. Or better yet, hadn’t learned to trust themselves. I kept my eyes peeled. I watched the street closely as I munched the first slice. I soon saw one of the newbies making his third round. I called him over. I offered him a slice. Shared my story. Gave him a few tips. I knew it wouldn’t do much good to tell him everything. Most of it wouldn’t even make sense yet. He’d have to learn most of it on his own. We would chat again some day. We would exchange stories. By then we would speak the same language. Share a common bond. A common culture. So, I didn’t try to cram any of my sage wisdom down his throat. No use tossing pearls before swine like the good book said. So, I mostly let him talk. Asked a few questions to let him know I was interested. Let him tell his sob story. He still played victim. He wasn’t willing to accept the fact that his own actions had led him here. Just like I hadn’t in the beginning. It was hard. To accept the blame. It was easier to point our fingers. Some still refused to take responsibility even after twenty years on the street. I think that was the difference between me and most of them. I knew it was my own fault. My own actions that led to me ending up here. I repented. I acknowledged my mistakes. I fessed up to everything I had done. I refused to play the role of the victim. I had gotten myself into this mess, and I was going to do whatever it took to get myself back out of this mess. I’d been trying hard for the past few months. Come close a few times to pulling myself out, but things went wrong. I made sure to learn from my mistakes and try again. It was close. I could feel it in my bones. I wanted to get back on my feet. Get a job. Own my own home again. Take care of myself without having to depend on handouts. But tonight, I was still here. So, I would make the most of it. Told my new friend good night when I had had enough of his griping. Bid him farewell, as he continued on his next round. Still looking for someone else to complain too. I set up my little black umbrella. Put it up between me and the bustling crowd still going strong at eleven thirty. Rolled over. Closed my eyes. And quickly drifted off to sleep. Grateful for a warm spot to sleep and a full belly for the night. But mostly grateful just for having learned to pay attention to the little things as I fell into a deep and dreamless sleep.

Rain And Hair Don’t Mix

It was a dark, cold, and rainy night. Too chilly for a summer evening. Eve stood at the corner under the awning. Wondering how she was going to get home. She had just left the salon. Hair perfectly done. Spent a fortune on getting it just right. Everything set to make this the perfect night. And yet, here she was. Stuck under this stupid awning. Starting to sprinkle. A light drizzle. Threatening to ruin her perfect hair. Every strand perfectly blow dried and hair sprayed into place. She muttered under her breath. Blaming the weatherman for not having forseen the coming shower.

Eve had seen the dark clouds rolling in. Checked her phone. Surprise storm rolling in. Sudden shift in wind patterns. She thought she could beat it home. Make it back before the rain started falling. It wasn’t far. A half a dozen blocks to the subway. At the very worst, she could flee down one of the other subway entrances and make her way around with a few extra stops.

She told the hair dresser to step on it. Wrap things up. She paid quickly. Made a run for it. But the rain started quicker than she expected. She wasn’t even halfway to her line when the first drops started to fall. Eve checked her phone. She was at least a block away from any of the other entrances. She looked up at the sky. It wasn’t going to let up anytime soon.

Eve sighed. She had just over an hour to get home. Get cleaned up. And then get to where she needed to be. But there was no way she was going to get to the subway with this rain. Why hadn’t the weatherman even hinted at the possibility of the rain. She would have brought her umbrella. Or better yet, her poncho and umbrella. The big, bright, colorful umbrella her sister had given her for last birthday. She had picked it up in France. Brought it back. Wrapped it up and given it to Eve for a nice gift. Eve loved it. It wasn’t one of those things that someone gave you that you never really used. It was practical as well as beautiful. She used it as often as she could. As often as it rained. Or even looked like it was going to rain. But today, when she had left her house, she had no idea that it was going to pour like this. Eve sighed again.

She looked up and down the street looking for a taxi. A cab she could hail. She didn’t really have the money for it. It would cost her and arm and a leg. She had already blown most of her budget for the month earlier in the week while some friends were in town. Eve had taken them out almost every evening to show them around town and to grab a bite. Then this even came up which she hadn’t been expecting either. Surprise. Surprise. And she wanted to look her best. So, she had scheduled this session at the salon for today. Cost her an arm and a leg. Money she really didn’t have, but it was important to make a good impression. She decided to make the sacrifice. Pulled the trigger. Paid half up front. Put the rest on her card. And now she needed to catch a cab. Only there wasn’t one around. No familiar yellow cars to be seen. She never used them anyway. She didn’t even have any of those ride apps on her phone either. Never needed them. Till tonight. The one night she absolutely had to have one, none were available. She growled under her breath and muttered again. It seemed like the whole universe was conspiring against her tonight. She wanted to shake her fist at the sky. Only she couldn’t because to do that, she would have to step out into the rain. And that would get her hair wet. She wasn’t about to let that happen, no matter how upset she was.

“Excuse me, miss. Could you tell me where the closest entrance is to the C line uptown?” she heard.

Eve whirled around. She hadn’t heard anyone coming up behind her. A man. Tall. Sharp. Handsome. Her heart skipped a beat. She self-consciously ran her hand through her hair, completely forgetting that every strand was perfectly brushed and sprayed in place. She put her hands back down to her side. Trying to compose herself. Clasping her hands and and remembering to smile.

“Yes. Three blocks down that way and then you make a right. It’s on the following corner.” Eve said. Pointing with her fingers indicating the direction. “I’d take you there myself if it weren’t for this rain, but I just had my hair done.”

“Well, then let me walk you there.” he said indicating his umbrella.

It was large and black. Larger than hers even. And hers was already pretty big. It looked like it could keep her dry. Keep her hair hair safe. She would have to walk pretty close to him. Not that she would mind. But still, would he keep it constantly over her or wave it around and walk crazily. He seemed to sense her hesitation.

“Please, allow me. And don’t worry. I have a mother and four sisters. I understand how important it is to keep your hair perfectly dry after a day in the salon.”

A mother and four sisters. That sounded safe. He couldn’t be bad if he understood how she felt about her hair. Eve nodded. He stepped forward and held out the umbrella.

“Here. You hold onto it. I might not keep it perfectly centered. You can control it better and tilt it in the right direction if the winds changed.”

Eve smiled and nodded. She breathed a sigh of relief. She felt like he understood perfectly how she felt. She clasped the handle of the umbrella. The gentleman didn’t let go of the handle. He kept a steady hand on it. She could feel his skin light brushing against hers. His strength and firmness. Purpose. It made her feel secure. She blushed slightly. She trembled slightly and put her other hand up to steady herself.

She looked up and he was watching her. Smiling.

“Ready?” he asked.

Eve nodded.

“Allow me.” he said as he put his other arm around her waist to pull her closer right before stepping out into the rain. Eve caught her breath sharply, but didn’t have time to think about it as he pressed her forward into walkway out from under the awning. She tensed up as she heard the drops of water dripping onto the umbrella. But then relaxed as she realized they weren’t going to ruin her hair.

He walked quickly but surely. Matching her pace. Perfect sync and rhythm. He walked her through the dusky darkness as the lights started to come on around them. He moved her firmly around the puddles that formed in the path before them. He crossed the street. Then walked her straight up through the square to the following corner.

It was a perfect moment. One of the most perfect moment she had ever experienced. The lighting around her. The flowers around her. The scent of the rain in the grass and on the warm asphalt around them. The same asphalt that had been beaten by the sun all day. Now being washed clean. Cool. Refreshed.

That was how she felt now. Refreshed. Clean. Beautiful.

It was a moment that she never wanted to end.

Two lovers walking through a park on a lovely evening.

That was how she imagined them.

This was the kind of man she wanted to be with.

The kind of man she had always wanted to find.

They made it to the subway entrance and walked briskly down the steps. Once they were safely at the bottom of the stairs and deep inside, he stopped. He tilted the umbrella a little to one side. She loosened her grip. He gave it a short twirl. The droplets spun off in a circle around them. A few drops hit someone beside them. The person turned and scowled. The man smiled apologetically and shrugged. The person moved on.

“Go ahead and move off to that side. Your hair is safe.” he said with a smile.

“Thank you,” she said without moving.

Eve didn’t quite know how to thank this fine, gorgeous man who had just saved her hair. She really wanted to grab him and kiss him. But that probably wouldn’t be very appropriate. Maybe a hug. He didn’t make any move to step away from her which she took as a good sign. Or maybe he just didn’t want to get her hair wet and was waiting for her to move out of the way before closing it. In the end, she reached out and touched his arm lightly. He smiled and bowed his head slightly. She stepped off to the side. Out from under his umbrella. Out from under his protection. She didn’t know why she felt so safe there, and then so vulnerable once she moved out from under it. She saw her subway arriving, but still made no move to leave. The next one would be along in twelve minutes. There was no rush. Well, there was. But she wasn’t going to be the one to leave first.

The man didn’t seem to be in any big hurry either. She took that as a good sign. He stood there still holding the umbrella over his head underground. It probably did seem a bit silly to anyone just coming down the steps. It would definitely be an interesting scene. They both stood there for a full minute. Neither seeming to want to leave. Looking deep into each others eyes. Each trying to think of something smart to say. Not wanting to say anything. Afraid to spoil the moment. Afraid to say something silly.

She saw the C train coming up the tracks. Eve smiled and nodded toward the tracks.

“I think that’s for you,” she said softly.

He looked over and nodded in acknowledgement.

“Well then. Guess I had better get going. I don’t want to hold you up either for your party.” he said with a smile.

He stepped away from her as he folded up his umbrella so he wouldn’t get her wet. He held it off to the side away from her and shook it gently. He reached into his pocket for his subway card.

“Good bye,” he said.

He smiled. A warm, beautiful, energetic smile that made her forget the rain. Forget her bills. Forget her commitment. Forget everything.

“Take me with you,” she wanted to scream. To beg. To plead.

But she didn’t. That wouldn’t be right. Wouldn’t be appropriate. So, she just raised her hand and waved.

“Thank you for saving my hair,” she said.

He nodded and turned to leave. Stepped though the turnstiles. Her heart caught in her throat as he passed his card and walked on through to the other side. He half-turned. Smiled and waved. Then walked towards the open doors of the waiting cars.

Suddenly, she realized what she was about to lose.

“Wait!” she half-shouted.

Eve grabbed her purse and pawed through it looking for her card. Found it. Swiped it. Pushed her way through the turnstiles too. The man turned and looked back at her as she ran toward him.

“Call me sometime,” she said breathlessly.

She winced as she said it. It sounded half-pleading. Desperate. She hated sounding desperate. Especially to a man she had just met.

He looked back over his shoulder at the sound of the closing doors.

“I’d love to talk with you more sometime. Maybe take another walk with you. Have a coffee. That is, if you want to.” she stammered on a bit awkwardly but picking up her pace and courage as she continued.

He smiled widely.

“Sure. I’d love to.” he replied.

“You would? So, why didn’t you tell me that earlier and ask for my number?” she complained.

“You’re a beautiful woman. Hair done up on a Friday night. I assumed you were off to meet your man.” he said with a goofy shrug.

Eve wanted to slug him.

“Don’t assume things. Just ask. It’s just some stupid company party. I was hoping for a promotion. Trying to suck up to the boss. But it’s a stupid idea. I hate him and I hate the company anyway. I’d rather spend some time with you. That walk through the square back there with you through the rain was wonderful. I’d do it again anytime. I’d do it right now with you even without the umbrella.”

The man smiled broadly. Straightened his shoulders. The edges of his eyes crinkled warmly. His his brightened.

“I was just going home for the night to my two calico cats and a golden retriever. But they can wait a bit longer. I won’t be able to walk the dog tonight in this rain anyway.”

He held out his arm. She took it. They walked back through the turnstiles to the exit. He paused at the edge of the steps to pop open his umbrella. Tilted it to the side for her to step under. Put his arm around her as she stepped towards him. Then walked her up the steps out into the cool, damp breeze.

They walked back through the park. They walked through several more along the way to his house. He introduced her to his cats and dog. Then they walked through several more parks on the way to her house. She dropped off her purse and changed her sandals. Slipped into something a little more comfortable.

They kept walking down through several more parks. Stopped for coffee along the way. They passed the building where her company was meeting. She laughed at the thought of all her colleagues all sucking up to the man they hated. Hoping for a raise they probably wouldn’t get. Then they kept on walking all through the night. Laughing and talking under his big, black umbrella. Under the trees. Under the lamp posts. In the rain.

None of the rain drops ever actually landed in her hair. But the wind and humidity soon made a mess of it. She complained once after coming out of a bathroom at a coffee shop. He just smiled and said she looked even more beautiful then when they first met.

They kept on walking till the crack of dawn. He finally stopped at the edge of a park overlooking a lake. Still holding his umbrella open over her head. The rain had long since stopped. Her hair was a total mess after getting whipped in the wind.

Eve pushed the umbrella away. He shook the last remaining drops off gently and closed it. Tossed it to the side. Placed his hands on her waist and turned her toward him. Kissed her full on the lips as the sun came blazing over the horizon signalling the start of beautiful, new day.

Joe Goes Home

Joe. That was his name. At least that’s what he called himself. And that’s what he told everyone else his name was. Nobody ever gave him a name. Nobody that he could remember anyway. For the longest time, he didn’t know what to call himself when anyone asked. It was rather embarrassing. But one day, he was walking down the street and overheard someone yelling out that name. A little boy answered back and came running around the corner towards the house. So, he assumed that it was a good and proper name. The next time someone asked what his name was, he told them it was Joe. No one ever questioned it. It sounded good. Later he found out that it was a fairly common name. He met lots of others who had the same name. It didn’t bother him though. It was better to have a good name that was common, than a unique name that sounded strange to the ear.

Anyway, he lived on the same block most his life. Slinking around back alleys. Digging through trash cans for food. It wasn’t a great life like some of the others he saw living around him, but it wasn’t terrible either. He had a pretty good time. Hung out wherever he wanted. Did what he wanted. Came back whatever time he wanted. It wasn’t anything to complain about. Not like some of the others he saw around him. Time to be home. Time to take a bath. Time to go for a walk. It seemed a bit more rigid and structured than he was willing to make a go of.

But sometimes, however, when he was all alone at night, old Joe missed having someone around. Not that he would have admitted it. Especially, on the dark, cold rainy nights when the clouds covered the sky and he couldn’t see the stars. He felt so alone. So, as much as he enjoyed living this way, it sometimes seemed like the grass was greener on the other side of the fence. Or in this case, the other side of the door. So, one day, after a particularly dark, cold, and rainy night, Joe decided to adopt himself a human. He wanted to try out this life of having a warm place to sleep. Even if it meant having a set time to go home. Regular food to eat. Even if it meant eating the same old food day in and day out. And even having a set place to go to the bathroom. Even if it meant having to put up with kitty litter. He hated the smell of it whenever he went to visit his friends.

Joe asked around, but none of his friends wanted to share their owners with him. They already caused enough trouble they said. They didn’t want old Joe to spoil their good lives.

“Don’t worry,” they told him. “You’ll find a good owner soon. You just gotta to know what you want in an owner. And don’t go looking for someone special. They demand to much time and attention. Make sure to find a common owner who as already had a pet. They’re easier to handle.”

Joe thanked them and went out looking for a new owner. He walked down the street and sniffed around each one. The ones with strong scents, he avoided. They already had a pet. The ones without scents he avoided. They had probably never had a pet. He kept sniffing his way around the block. He eventually found a few that smelled like they had had pets in the past, but who no longer lived there. He kept an eye on those places to see what the potential owners he could adopt looked like.

The first one was really cute. A nice lady who put milk out for him whenever she saw him coming around. But she took him to these smelly places and sprayed this awful smelling stuff all over him. He could barely sleep for three nights. And after she took him the following week, he gave up on her. No wonder her pet had given up on her.

The second person, was pretty cool. Always had parties at his house. There were always people around. But everyone wanted to touch him and rub him and pet him. Old Joe didn’t care for that very much. There was just too much noise. He usually fled back to alley after a few hours, and only go back in the morning when the last guest had gone home around the crack of dawn. No wonder his pet had abandoned him too.

The third person was this old lady who lived alone. She never had anyone come around. No noise in her house. It was peaceful and quiet. She never took him to the stinky place. But she was often forgetful. She didn’t always put food out for him. So, Joe had to go get food back in his alley. And she didn’t wait up for him. If he stayed out too long, she locked the door and went to bed. He didn’t like getting locked out, but neither did Joe like having to be home at a certain time. The food was okay though, so he kept going back.

One night, it started to rain though. He raced back to her house, but she had already closed up all the doors and windows. She hadn’t even waited for him to come home. How rude of her. Joe was furious. He meowed and howled. He scratched on the door. But she never came to open it for him. He hissed and growled and threatened to scratch her face off. He finally feel asleep in a dry corner of her porch. But it wasn’t the same thing. He had slept in drier places on his own. If this was what adopting a human meant, he didn’t want to keep doing it. It was too much work for too little benefits.

The next day, Joe moved back to his alley. It was still there. Just the way he left it. His friends were all happy to see him back again. He had his freedom. Who needed to put up with all that hassle of trying to keep a human healthy and happy. Joe sighed and crossed his paws in front of him. Rested his head on his paws and drifted off to sleep. Happy to be back home. Back on his own.

Writing Update: 42 Day Streak & 5,017 New Words

So, today was one of those days where I just didn’t feel like writing. Kept pushing it off. Wrote a little at lunchtime. Then a bit more in the afternoon, but once I got home from work…I started writing like a madman. Managed to crank out 5,017 words today for Kobe & Katrina.

It’s an amazing story. I was shocked when I discovered who one of Kobe’s clients was and how his family got involved in this whole mess. Katrina still hasn’t figured out a way to get them out of this mess.

And we’re already in over 20,000 words for a short story that was supposed to be a quick 1,000-word short story. But this is too interesting of a story to stop now.

Yes, I know! We left old Art hanging back in the middle of Edge 1.4 which I don’t really like doing. But he is just going to have to hang on until we can get back to him. Especially since he is looking for Kobe, at least now we know where the old geezer is hiding and why.

Wow! All I can say is wow! So, let’s get to it. Eh? I don’t want to give away any spoilers of course. But I can’t wait till you get to read this story. I think you are going to love it.

Meantime, I’ve got to go get some shut-eye here. It’s way past my bedtime, and I’ve been hanging onto my desk here for the past hour or so, just to get these character worksheets up that I created today.

And whatever you do kids, don’t go out trying any of these Radical Road Rolls that kids are doing these days.

Character Profile: Marina Gemma van Willigenburg

Marina Gemma van Willigenburg is Kobe’s daughter. She studies Biological Engineering at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. She gets involved in one of Kobe’s business deals and gets kidnapped herself.

1460 Randall Drive

Height: 5′ 2″ (157 centimeters)
Weight: 115.1 pounds (52.3 kilograms)
Blood type: O+
Favorite color: Blue
Vehicle: 2003 Suzuki Grand Vitara

Age:30 (Kobe/Katrina) 40 (Edge)
Birthdate: January 27, 1978 (12:42 AM)
Death date: June 29, 2049 (8:54 AM)
Lifespan: 71
Cause of death: Diabetes

Mother’s maiden name: Engel
Nationality: Dutch
Location: North Brabant, Netherlands
Language: Dutch

SSN: 750-03-XXXX
Phone: 852-1285
Email Address: MarinaLuimes@jourrapide.com
Username: Immirty
Password: yaeyu2Hazie
Website: begetmore.com

Visa: 4929 3219 9339 6274
Expires: 1/2022
CVV2: 141

Company: Top Secret (Clone Collection Crew)
Occupation: Biological Engineer

Character Profile: Dr. Tonya Marina Samoylova

Dr. Tonya Marina Samoylova is the psychologist that Kobe helped set up to filter people who remembered their experience of being kidnapped. Dr. Tonya is the alien abduction specialist who works with Iva after she thinks that she’s been abducted by aliens.

3469 Russell Street

Height: 5′ 2″ (157 centimeters)
Weight: 170.7 pounds (77.6 kilograms)
Blood type: B+
Favorite color: Blue
Vehicle: 2000 GMC Terradyne

Age: 60
Birthdate: December 13, 1957 (2:43 AM)
Death date: February 10, 2039 (9:39 PM)
Lifespan: 81
Cause of death: Cancer

Mother’s maiden name: Ibrahimova
Nationality: Russian
Location: Perm Krai, Russia
Language: Russian

SSN: 021-30-XXXX
Phone: 897-3811
Email Address: MarinaSamoylova@jourrapide.com
Username: Gring1962
Password: ohg9eeK4ph
Website: BrimhillAlienAbductions.com

Visa: 4539 0649 6243 1738
Expires: 6/2019
CVV2: 962

Company: Brimhill Alien Abductions
Occupation: Psychologist


Character Profile: Iva Caterina Trevisani

Iva Caterina Trevisani is Tony Blanchett’s niece who appears in Kobe & Katrina’s story. She is kidnapped by a mad scientist collecting samples from people of interest so that they can clone their subjects. Iva remembers part of the experience even though she thinks that she was abducted by aliens. She disappears before she can get to the feds with her information.

4131 Lakewood Drive

Height: 5′ 1″ (156 centimeters)
Weight: 194.7 pounds (88.5 kilograms)
Blood type: B+
Favorite color: Orange
Vehicle: 2009 Ford Fiesta

Age: 42
Birth date: June 14, 1976 (3:58 PM)
Death date: October 3, 2053 (7:59 AM)
Lifespan: 77
Cause of death: Cancer

Mother’s maiden name: Ricci
Nationality: Italian
Location: Veneto, Italy
Language: Italian

SSN: 150-12-XXXX
Phone: 201-880-0684
Email Address: IvaTrevisani@rhyta.com
Username: Bech1997
Password: ChieCie1ae
Website: ChampNames.com

MasterCard: 5394 0040 1939 1734
Expires: 10/2023
CVC2: 398

Company: Sandy’s
Occupation: Restaurant chef

Character Profile: Katrina Baier Strohkirch

Katrina is a hitwoman for hire who also runs a small-time mob organization under the guise of an electronics factory. She first appears in Edge 1.4 while Art is looking for Kobe. Katrina loves Kobe and tries to protect him from the mess he is in with Tony.

I kind of envision her like Hellen Mirren in Shadowboxer as Rose while writing her part in Kobe’s short story.

4772 Pointe Lane

Height: 5′ 8″ (173 centimeters)
Weight: 190.7 pounds (86.7 kilograms)
Blood type: B+
Favorite color: Purple
Vehicle: 2015 Chevrolet SS

Age: 58
Birthdate: June 4, 1960 (12:35 AM)
Death date: September 25, 2038 (6:28 AM)
Lifespan: 78
Cause of death: Heart Disease

Mother’s maiden name: Winkel
Nationality: German
Location: Berlin, Germany
Language: German

SSN: 262-17-XXXX
Phone: 954-971-7890
Email Address: KatrinaBaier@jourrapide.com
Username: Hishoupers
Password: oogae1Xah0
Website: chieftronics.com

MasterCard: 5203 7131 5066 2510
Expires: 6/2019
CVC2: 637

Company: Chieftronics
Occupation: Human Resources by day and assassin by night

Let me know how you imagined her while reading this story. Any actresses or celebrities that you think would be a good fit? Let me know in the comments below.

Character Profile: Kobe Kasper van Willigenburg

This is the lawyer that Art is looking for in Edge 1.4 because he wants a lawyer with a vendetta against Tony. He comes highly recommended by April. However, she doesn’t know where to find him.

Kobe is also getting his own short story where he stars with Katrina.

2321 Boggess Street

Height: 5′ 9″ (176 centimeters)
Weight: 218.0 pounds (99.1 kilograms)
Blood type: B+
Favorite color: Silver
Vehicle: 1993 Oldsmobile Achieva

Age: 63
Birth date: February 28, 1955 (11:47 AM)
Death date: May 7, 2028 (10:57 AM)
Lifespan: 73
Cause of death: Diabetes

Mother’s maiden name: Huntjens
Nationality: Dutch
Location: Overijssel, Netherlands
Language: Dutch

SSN: 272-02-XXXX
Phone: 924-2442
Email Address: KobeKasper@VanWilligenburg.com
Username: Beeptund60
Password: Im3dah9cee
Website: VanWilligenburgLLP.com
Company: Van Willigenburg LLP
Occupation: Lawyer

Visa: 4485 3563 7807 2716
Expires: 2/2021
CVV2: 617

After reading about Kobe in the stories, let me know what actor or celebrity he makes you think of in the comments below.

Writing Update: Kobe & Katrina

Happy Sunday to you all! This was a good week of writing. Wrote 33,372 words. Basically spent it finishing up Edge of the Universe: Season 1 – Episode 3 and then started Episode 4.

I got some really good writing days in with the help of Focusmate, which is great for helping me stay on track with my writing.

I’m participating in Camp NaNoWriMo and I’m in a cabin full of other great sci-fi writers. And I’m already over halfway to my goal in the first week. Wooo hooo! Hope to keep up the pace.

I’ve actually got to write more because I’ll be traveling the last half of this month. So, I’ve got to cram it in now.

I also started writing a short story for the lawyer that Art is looking for in Edge 1.4 because I wanted to understand why Tony tried to kill him.

It was supposed to be something short and quick, but I started writing from Katrina’s point of view. I was instantly captivated and extremely intrigued by the relationship between the two.

And I was absolutely blown away with the whole incident that started this mess.

I don’t want to give away any spoilers of course, so I won’t say much more about it here.

But I can’t wait to share Kobe & Katrina’s story with you.