Bottle Rocket Blaze
By: Colleen Boehm and Brittany Adkins
Lights fade in to the news room. The anchor desk is manned by Bridget Angles and John Davidson. Both are seasoned news reporters that have been with the station for several years. Their small town of Bunker everyone tuned in at six o’clock to see them. Today, however, was not going to be a normal news day.
“Good evening everyone.” John began. “Today we bring you some upsetting news from one of the local farms.”
“Yes.” Bridget began. “It seems the inventor Earl Jenkins has passed away this morning from injuries he sustained when his homemade jetpack exploded on a test flight. Let’s go live to reporter Jared Evans at the scene of the tragic event.”
The camera cuts over to Jared at the a worn down farm house. The sounds of pigs and chickens in the background. Jared is up high sitting on a black shingled roof, next to a rough looking, salt and pepper bearded man, in extremely worn overalls and a trucker’s hat. “Thanks Bridget. I am here today with Georgy, lifelong friend of Earl’s and witness to the tragic event. Georgy would you like to tell our viewers about what happened here today?” Jared said turning to look at Georgy and pointing the mic in his direction.
“Well, it was like this.” Georgy started. “Earl had been tryin’ t’come up with a way t’fly and he called m’over yesterday sayin’ that he had built himself a jetpack and he wanted to try her out in the mornin’. So I get over here to find ol’ Earl up on the roof here with his favorite beer, The Best, and the most ingenious contraption I had ever seen. He hollered at m’ to get on up here and help him light all the bottle rockets so he could take her fer a spin. So I climbed m’self up on this here roof and got m’ a lighter out and started lightn’ them all up. It didn’t take very long for the sparks to start a flyin’, so I stood back and told Earl to get her going. That’s when he took off into the air like a bird-man or somethin’ arms flappin’ and all. It was the greatest thing I ever sawed. Then, BOOM. That’s when the damned thing blew up like a rundown Chevy on a hot day. That’s when Earl there landed in with them there pigs over yonder. He musta forgot to feed them this mornin’, because they started gobblin’ him up like thanksgivin’ dinner. I mean they were all over him like black birds on a gooseberry bush. I ain’t never seen pigs act like that before. That’s when I called for Edna. I said, ‘Edna, Edna, call them there reporters we got a story a brewin’. It’s a tragic thing Earl dieded, but at least he got to go out in a blaze of glory. Now if ya don’t mind I needs to finnish m’ beer. It’s gettin’ hot. Nothin’ worse than a hot beer.”
With a shocked look Jared pulled the mic back towards himself. “Well there you have it Bridget. Back to you at the news desk.” The camera fades out.
A special thanks to Colleen and Brittany for collaborating on this--probably closer to real-life than any of us are comfortable admitting--story. If you'd like to contact either of these ladies, please send me an email to: Tony@tonywassom.com, and I'll pass on your message to them.
A Moment of Honesty
By: Jennifer Kent
I know it was wrong to run away from Landon that way but I am so mortified. Not to mention, I have no idea how to tell him that I freaked out because I thought I saw my ex. I don’t know if I’m ready to open that can of worms. After getting a glass of water from the kitchen, more to have something to occupy my hands, I grab my purse that I dropped in the entryway in my haste to get away from Landon. That is when I notice his car is still parked at the curb. Taking a deep breath I move closer to the front door and I can hear him talking to Gram, I never even noticed her sitting on the porch in my rush to get into the house.
Standing to the side of the doorway, so as not to be seen, I listen to the two of them talk for a moment. Gram is telling Landon the reason she suspects I’m really here. I suppose it was a little weird for me to come all the way here to go back to school because in this day and age, I could’ve taken my classes online. I had no idea she was so sneaky as to call my mother though. I realize now is most likely the best time to come clean.
Just as I am going to push through the screen door I hear Gram say, “You remind me of my late husband. You seem like you’ll be very good for Emily.”
“I sure hope so. I have a good feeling about us.” When I hear him walking towards the stairs I duck further out of sight then hear Landon add, “I really appreciate our talk. Thank you.”
I was coming to the same conclusions myself. Just after everything I went through with James I think I was a little weary to trust so quickly. After breathing a sigh of relief, that he didn’t immediately give up on us, I decide it’s now or never. Opening the screen door I step out onto the porch.
A combination of shock and I think relief flashes across Landon’s face before he whispers, “Hey.”
“I’ll give you two some privacy.” Gram says as she starts to stand.
“No, Gram, please stay. You need to hear this too.” I say with a smile for her then look at Landon, “I am so sorry.”
Smiling that amazing smile of his Landon says, “There’s no need to be.” Slowly he steps closer to me and reaches for my elbow to steer me to the chair, I assume, he just vacated. After I am seated he leans back against the railing.
Surprisingly, I don’t feel nervous at all. I think I’m happy to finally be able to get this out in the open. “I overheard a little of your conversation and Gram you were right. I did come here to get away from my ex.” In for a penny, in for a pound. I know the best thing is to get it all out at once so I blurt, “He was very abusive.”
Mustering all my strength I look up at Landon and can see how tense he is so I add, “His father is a Police Chief and he’s a cop so there wasn’t much I could do. Mom and Dad suspected something early on but James threatened to plant drugs in their house or worse if I went to them. I felt stuck.” Realizing that there are now tears running down my cheeks I angrily swipe them away, “I know now I should’ve done things differently.”
“Sweetheart, you probably did everything right. When dealing with a coward like that you have to be very careful.” Gram says as she leans over and grasps my left hand.
Trying for a smile I look at Gram and say, “It wasn’t until the physical abuse started that I went to my parent’s.” Landon came to crouch down in front of me and he held my other hand. His strength seemed to flow through me so I went on and told them more. “The mental abuse had already been going on for months so the first time he hit me I thought I deserved it.” Landon’s hand tightened and I looked into his eyes with a small smile.
“No woman deserves that.” Pulling his hand free of mine he frames my face in both of his hands and I don’t think I have ever felt so safe. “It wasn’t your fault.”
“At first he only hit me where no one could see. I took pictures to have proof. The one time he bruised my face was when he came home drunk after going out with some guys from work.” Gently pulling Landon’s hands from my face and resting them in my lap I look at Gram then back to him and say, “That was the day I went to my parents.”
“Please tell me you got him arrested.” Landon says ducking his head trying to meet my eyes.
Giving a small nod as another tear slips down my cheek I go on, “His father was livid, of course. But to our surprise he kept James in jail. He spent the weekend in lockup and was arraigned the following Monday. His parents came to the house to apologize.”
Looking over at Gram I see a lone tear streak down her cheek and feel bad for having her sit through this. “Gram, please don’t cry. I’m fine.”
Wiping cheeks with her hankerchief she says, “Dear, I’m so sorry that you went through that all alone.” Getting up she leans over to kiss my forehead and adds, “I’m going to go in and lay down.” With a wistful smile she looks down at Landon, who is still crouched in front of me “You take care of our girl now.”
Meeting my eyes he says to Gram, “You can count on that.”
If you'd like to learn more about Jennifer, please email her at email@example.com, or you can email me (Tony@tonywassom.com) and I'll pass the message on to her.
Two Sides in Time: Lucille
By: Jenness Jordan
“Enough mom, I’m sorry but I don’t want to hear about Duncan and I being bound by God. God would not allow any of this to happen.”
“I’m sorry that you feel that way, however, I feel in my heart that you’re wrong. I know that you’re hurting dear, but I believe in my heart that this is all part of God’s plan for you. When I was praying tonight, I was in my pajamas and in bed. I did not plan on coming here tonight and as late as it is. God’s presence was very strong tonight, more than I normally feel. As soon as I was done praying, you popped into my head and heart, then a soft voice told me to go to you. That you needed me.”
I do need you, mom. It’s just very difficult for me to believe that God would put me through all of this crazy stuff and sit by watching me suffer so.”
“Vicki, I know that you’re suffering, but there are people out there going through far worse and you know that. Do you think that God enjoys watching his children suffer? No, he doesn’t. Sometimes we bring it on ourselves by the choices that we make and most of the time things just happen because each of us live in a fallen world.” She explained.
“I know you’re right, mom. Sorry.”
“Nothing to apologize for. Now, I think that we should all get some sleep and continue this tomorrow.”
It was late when Stephanie pulled into the Red Oak motel. Surprisingly, the vacancy light was on and the office was open.
“I need a room, please.” Stephanie told the lady behind the counter.
“You got here just in time. I was just getting ready to close. “She smiled, placing a paper in front of Stephanie.
“Thanks.” Stephanie said quietly, filling out the paper.
“Is everything alright, Miss?” The clerk asked
“Yes, I’m just tired.”
“Oh okay, well, how long will you be staying with us?”
“I don’t know. Maybe a week.”
“That will be fine. I have the perfect little cottage for you. My name is Ms. Thompson. If you need anything just let me know.” Ms. Thompson told Stephanie handing her a key.
“Thanks, I will.”
“Your cottage is at the other end of the lot. There should be plenty of blankets, pillows and towels. Again, if you need anything just let me know.”
“Okay, thank you, Ms. Thompson. Goodnight.” Stephanie said, walking out of the office then across the yard to her temporary home.
Morning in northern New Hampshire holds a magical beauty. The sky freshly painted with soft tones. Colors softly brushing the mix of white puffs, stretched out across the sky. Stephanie and Vicki both admiring the picturesque landscape in front of them, unknowing to either of them that soon their lives would entwine.
A few weeks after Stephanie arrive in North Conway, and after the encounters that Vicki was experiencing stopped, both women began new jobs. Stephanie worked at the Grand hotel as a Front desk clerk, while Vicki began working at a Victim’s Resource Center at the center of town. Now, why I mention all of this to you now, is because it is key to remember all of this. Where these two young women have come from, where they are now and where they will meet is all part of a bigger picture. We don’t always see how the simplest choices in our lives play such an important role in our lives. Sometimes, a random act, an act that seems unimportant can be the one thing, the one tie that binds everything together.
“Lucille, would you to start today’s group?” Vicki asked, a young girl sitting across from her.
Lucille was about fifteen, dark complexion, with tight little chocolate curls surrounding big chocolate eyes. Every week Lucille came in excited. Excited and eager to be there at the center. She was usually the first one to talk, and help others who seem a bit fearful to talk. See her mom was diagnosed with Leukemia about 6 months ago, and wasn’t able to get around much. Lucille’s dad, a former cop was forced to retire early because her mother needed to be taken to the doctors frequently and taken care of at home. His years on the force allowed them the financial capability to do so, but he still worried. That’s a nice way to put it.
When Lucille first showed up at the center, she was fragile. Quiet as a church mouse, unsure, and marks of her life at home appeared throughout her body. It took Vicki and others at the center weeks to break Lucille’s silence. She was not allowed to have a social life at home or outside the home. As far as her father knew, she was being tutored at school. This lie/diversion seem to be working.
“No, I don’t feels much like talking, Ms. Whitley.” Lucille mumbled.
“Is everything okay at home, Lucile?” Vicki inquired.
“Don’t mean no disrespect, but said I don’t feel much like talking.” Stated Lucille shifting in her chair to face away from Vicki.
“”I’m sorry, Lucille. You don’t have to talk if you don’t want to.”
When group was over, Vicki tried again to reach out to Lucille after the other girls left, but Lucille just avoided her.
“Mary, I think something happened again to Lucille. She seems to be very withdrawn and scared.” Vicki said to another counselor at the center who was helping Vicki put away the chairs.
“Yes, she did seem a bit distraught, the poor thing. It’s such a shame, she worked so hard to get to where she’s been lately. Damn her father!!!” Mary’s tone raising as a chair slammed on her foot.
“You okay, Mary?”
“Yes, it’s my own fault. Happens all of the time when I curse or get frustrated. Things seem to fall on me.” She chuckled.
“I know what you mean.” Vicki smiled, helping Mary to a nearby chair.
“Hopefully, Lucille will come around again. She seems to be really taken with you Vicki.”
“Yeah, she is special to me, too. I’m not saying that the other girls aren’t special, but I just feel closer to her than the others.”
After a few more minutes of chatting and cleaning up, Vicki and Mary left the center.
“Excuse me, Ms. Whitley. Could I talk with you?” A voice called out from behind her.
“Sure. I’ll catch up with you later, Mary. Take it easy on your foot.””
“Okay, I will do my best, Vicki.” See you on Thursday.” Mary waved as she walked carefully to the parking lot.
“I’m sorry to have interrupted you and Ms. Mary, Ms. Whitley.” Lucille whispered.
“Don’t be, Lucille. I’m glad you’re here. Would you like to go back inside?”
Vicki began walking back toward the front door.
“No, ma’am. I just wanted to apologize for my behavior earlier. It’s hard you know with momma being sick and all.”
“I know and you don’t have anything to apologize for. You sure that you can’t stay and talk some more.”
“No, ma’am. Daddy expected me an hour ago. Have to make him supper and get to my homework. I’ll see you next Thursday, Ms. Whitley.”
“Ok, see you next Thursday then.”
The next several days were busy in the North Country. What with school over for the summer and the peak of tourist season about to start. All the shops, restaurants, motels, hotels, B&B’s were all prepping for the thousands that soon would be showing up for their summer vacation. Stephanie handled all of the prep work as if she had been doing it for years. She was a natural. Her boss told her how impressed he was with her work in such a short time, and said that if this kept up, she would be looking at a promotion. Stephanie felt as if her life was finally starting to look up.
Although tourist season doesn’t directly affect the Victim’s Resource Center, the phones were ringing off the hook with potential donors, victims or their family, politicians, and church organizers. Every counselor was called in to help man the phones, as well as, volunteers from the local schools. Some of the victims themselves even came in to help with anything that needed to be done. Whether it was cleaning, welcoming in new friends to the center, or making meals, they just wanted to not only get out of their homes for a while, but also give back to the center.
Wednesday, Vicki returned home after a long and tiring day at the center to see her mom’s car in the driveway. Mishka was laying under the apple tree on the side of the house next to someone in a wheelchair. As she neared the house, her mom greeted her on the porch.
“Mom, who is that over there with Mishka? Did you bring a date to my house?” Vicki questioned, chuckling a bit.
“Oh heavens, no! You should know me better than that, Vicki. I’m way past the dating life. “She replied, smiling, and then continued, “Now, Vicki, I need you to listen to me and don’t interrupt me.”
“Of course, Mom.”
“Now, I know that you may be mad at me for getting involved and in bringing him here…” Patsy began saying
“What are you talking about Mom? Please tell me that you didn’t.”
Vicki began trembling. Anger rising like fire and seething throughout her body.
“Now, Vicki, you need to calm down. He just wants to talk with you.”
“Mom, how could you? How could you bring him here, and now after everything that we’ve talked about? Please, Mom, get him out of here now, before I do something I may regret.” Vicki stated, heading to the front door.
“I’m sorry, but you really need to give him a chance to explain himself to you. I know that you still love him and he still loves you…”
“Love! He knows nothing about love. He is like every other man out in this crappy world. And for the record, I don’t love him! Do you hear that Duncan McKrae, I DON”T LOVE YOU!”
Vicki storms in the house, then returning with a poker from the fireplace.
“Vicki, what are you doing?”
“I’m taking care of an intruder on my land.” Vicki replied, walking towards the apple tree.
“You get out of here now, you crippled bastard. You’re not welcome here. Now, get out of here before I’m forced to use this. Don’t think that I won’t because I will.” Vicki expressed sternly, walking firmly along the needles of green, and not releasing her tight grip on the iron poker.
“Vicki, that is uncalled for! I did not raise you to talk to people like that. Now, you stop this now!” Patsy reprimanded, following not far behind Vicki.
“No, you didn’t but I’m tired of letting people walk all over me. Oh, wait, you can’t walk can you, Mr. Wonderful! “Vicki sneered as she stood inches from Duncan and Mishka, raising the poker.
He did not move. Duncan sat there looking up at her with deep sadness.
“Vicki, stop this now before someone gets seriously hurt.” Patsy told her, standing in between her and Duncan.
“Mom, get out of the way, please. This between me and him. If you don’t want anyone to get hurt then take him and leave. “
“I will as soon as you calm down and give me the poker. Then I want you to give him a chance to talk to you.”
“No, mom. I’m sorry, but he had his chance. His time is over. Now, please Mom, get him out of here.”
Mishka stood up, walked over to Duncan, and then jumped up on his lap. It was as if she too, was trying to prevent Vicki from hitting him.
For more information about Jenness Jordan, check out her site: jennessjordan. You can also reach her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet her @jazzyjenness, and check out her Facebook Page, Pinterest, Instagram, and Goodreads.