What you will find here

This is a place to examine plans filled with hope; plans which promise a refuge from chaos; plans which will shape our futures. Veterans with and without PTSD, Pentecostal Presbyterians, Adjudicated Youth, and Artists-Musicians-Writers: I write what I know. ~~~ Evelyn

Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday, August 18, 2014

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Island Remains by Evelyn Rainey book trailer









Excerpt from Perky's Chapter Four


May 3

 

“Looky, looky, looky!” Jeremy, our public relations coordinator foisted a massive foam hat at me as I walked into the back room. “Just in time for May.”

Two-foot masts blossomed with canvas sails. Hemp rigging attached the sails to the two and a half foot boat.

“It’s a ship,” I blinked, taking it from Jeremy.

“The Mayflower.” Jeremy identified the hat with a Scarlet O’Hara twang.

“Wait ‘til you see the pilgrims,” growled Doreen.

“Is this an anchor?” I asked.

“Yeah,” Calvin smiled coldly. “Turn your head just right and smack! You hook someone’s eye with it.”

Everyone laughed nervously because as much as we loved Calvin, sometimes he wasn’t joking.

Doreen clapped her hands for attention. “Good morning my Perky Ambassadors! Welcome to the first Monday in May!” She called our monthly associates meeting to order, and turned the meeting over to our newest of a long line of short-lived managers. He stood before us, trim, tidy, dressed in a black suit, white shirt, red power tie, and shiny leather shoes.

“Good morning. My name is Thomas Ambrose. I have been known to change traditions. I’m going to do so this morning. I would like us to go up into the café for our meeting. I think it’s very important for every employee to know all of our products, not just books, so I’m going to treat you all to breakfast. Tea, coffee, doughnuts, and bagels.”

“Please tell me you brought them in from Martin’s Bagels down the street,” Calvin gasped.

“I love humor in the workplace,” replied the new GM grimly.

“Then you’re gonna love the coffee!” Jeremy swished.

“A bribe by any other name,” suggested Sam Wayne. “You’d think these GM’s would leave notes for each other. GM number 572, treated staff to breakfast to get them on my side.”

“That’s a good idea, but then they’d have to keep tallies of how many died from food poisoning,” laughed my best friend Lilly.

“But NOW, they have to make another list of tallies for those who died from being ripped apart.” Henry shoved past us.

“Well, looks like someone didn’t enjoy being taken downtown for interrogation about Mrs. A’s murder!” Calvin did the teapot gesture, so I smacked him on the head.

“Interview, not interrogation,” I smirked.

“Did you get that detective’s phone number, Henry? He could ask me anything he wanted—at anytime,” cat-called Jeremy.

“Now, now, children,” scolded Angelique. This stunning six-foot blond with an hourglass figure, stiletto heels, size D cups, and blood-red fingernails’ real name was Adam. He smoothed his linen suit over his hips and tugged the hemline of his skirt a little closer to his mid-thighs.

“We’re not really going to wear that thing, are we, Uncle Billy?” Bessie was a new ambassador. She clung to Billy’s arm.

“There, there, little girl. You’ll get used to the h#%&&* things. Pardon my French.” He patted her hand.

Each of us sat with a steaming cup of Perky’s finest brew and a pastry; no one except Henry had touched them yet.

We looked up at the new GM without quite achieving the expectant hush most new GMs demanded. “My name is Thomas Ambrose.” He glanced around the tiny café. “I expected a larger turn out. I’m sure you are aware that these monthly meetings are mandatory.”

“Preaching to the choir, brother,” sang Jeremy.

“This is the entire staff. He fired seven people this week,” Calvin mumbled.

“Seven?” I usually keep my mouth shut at these meetings, but Calvin’s information startled me.

Lilly held up seven fingers.

“Yes?” Thomas pointed at Lilly. “The woman in jeans and the Have you martyred a Christian today T-shirt. Did you have something to add?”

“Sir, no sir!” she snapped. Despite a face like an angel haloed by glossy black ringlets which cascaded below her shoulders and were held back with a turquoise ribbon; despite size eight faded jeans and hemp sandals; despite rings on her toes and no need for a bra (due to firmness, not size); once a Marine, always a Marine.

“Mr. Thomas?” Bessie raised a trembling hand.

“Yes?”

“We don’t really have to wear that thing on our heads, do we?”

Thomas glared with obvious distaste at the Mayflower sailing on top of Calvin’s head. Calvin had almost managed to hook Angelique’s hoop earrings twice now. Thomas sighed in disgust. “Yes. They will help identify you as Percival Floor Ambassadors.”

“Or escaped loonies,” Sam Wayne snorted.

“Ain’t that the pot calling the kettle black?” Jeremy pointed at Sam.

“I notice none of you are eating or drinking. Or—few of you.” Thomas put his hands in his pockets. Henry snatched the shiny doughnut off of Doreen’s plate.

Doreen was a solid chunk of muscles and would have been happy plowing fields, baking bread, and slaughtering hogs on a prairie farm during the Western Expansion. At five foot one, she was the only Perky Ambassador shorter than me. She wore beautiful dresses that just didn’t look quite right on her, and scuffed Doc martens, which she’d gotten from the Catholic thrift store for two dollars. She brooked no insolence from anyone for any reason. But she had a soft-spot for Henry.

Thomas continued. “I’d like to take this time to thank,” he peered at an index card in the palm of his hand. “Elizabeth Smythe-Covington for filling in as café manager during your recent loss.”

“Who?” Sam asked.

“Elizabeth Smythe-Covington,” Thomas repeated.

“Who’s that?” Angelique questioned.

Thomas referred to his card again. “Did I pronounce your name wrong?”

“No. It’s fine.” Henry kept her eyes on the tabletop.

“Elizabeth? Your name’s Elizabeth?” Sam gawked.

“Yes.” She glared at him.

“Like, a girly girl’s name, Elizabeth?”

“Sam, don’t piss her off!” I warned softly.

“Well, I can see why you’d go by Henry. It’s a man’s name. Manly. For a man.”

“Sam!” Lilly hissed. “Don’t make it worse!”

“Sam, Henry’s real name is Elizabeth. She’s called Elizabeth because she’s a girl.” Billy said this in a stage whisper, behind his cupped hand.



Excerpt from

Perky’s Books and Gifts

© Evelyn Rainey 2013

Bedlam Press

ISBN 9781939065377

Friday, August 8, 2014

Excerpt from Possum Playing Poker Chapter Four



            The phone rang at precisely six a.m. the second Saturday of the month like it had every third month for the last fifteen years.  I reached to answer it, when all of a sudden, Josh grabbed my hand and growled, "Let the machine answer it."

            He looked adorable with sleep tussled hair and sheet wrinkles on his cheeks.

            The phone clanged a second time.

            "But I know who it is."  I reached with my other hand. He captured that one, too.  I remembered our kiss; he remembered our kiss, too and smiled.

            The machine crackled, "Ronnie, that you?  I'm having a lot of static on the line.  Listen, I know they're monitoring us, so think a minute.  Remember Huey, Dewy, and Louis?  Three days from now. Women at War.  My-my-my."  There was a pause.  "Whenever you can, kid."  Click.

            "Who else knows about this?"  Josh demanded.

            "Nobody else knows."  I pressed the stop, rewind/erase button on my new answering machine and crossed my arms.

            "You're tampering with evidence!"  He jabbed the stop, knocking the machine to the floor.

            "I'm erasing my own tape."  I walked into the living room.

            "That was some kind of code, wasn't it?"  He followed me, gesturing back toward the office.

            "Wow.  You don't miss much, do you."  I crawled back onto the sofa bed.  "I'm going back to sleep."

            He yanked the sheet off me.  "You are compromising your own safety.  Now, I demand you tell me who was on the phone and what it meant!"

            I stood up on the mattress and towered over him, furious.   "I have never compromised anything in my life.  And that's another thing -- this is my life!!  MY LIFE!!"  I stormed off the sleeper sofa and stomped into the kitchen.  "It used to be so peaceful, so--"

            "Lonely?  Boring?"

            I glared at him.  "Organized!"

            "Are you saying this is MY fault?  Don't get mad at me.  Your father --"

            "Leave the Mad Scientist out of this!"  I clanged an iron skillet onto the stove, jerked open the refrig, wrestled the bacon out of its plastic cocoon, and tapped my foot, waiting for it to sizzle.

            I spun around and hollered, "Don't just stand there, make some coffee!"

            "Yes, ma'am."  Josh stated calmly.

            I smothered bagels with cream cheese and finally commented, "I bet Claire's having a real laugh at me."

            "How so?"  Josh poured the coffee.

            "This terrorist slant makes no sense.  None.  What if Claire made up the note and got one of her friends to hire those people to make an attempt?  What would be the result?"

            "I'd get stuck here the rest of my life."  Josh mumbled around his bacon.

            "So go home!"  I pushed away from the table, terribly hurt.  "Nothing about this makes sense."

            "By 'makes sense' you mean like vacuuming in the middle of the night makes sense?  You mean like never having any clocks in the house that tell the right time makes sense?!"  He was standing, too.

            "I'll come back another time."  A sweet old lady stood inside the back door.

            Josh's hand flew behind his back, drew his pistol and dared the intruder to breath.  She screamed, dropped the jar she was holding, and crumpled into a heap on the floor.       

"Mrs. Jenkins!"  I cried.  "Josh Dylan, is that the best you can do: scare little creatures and defenseless old ladies!"

            Josh lifted her up and placed her gently on the sofa.  She moaned in terror, but I sat beside her, patting her hand.

            "How did she get in?"  His voice sounded strangled as he tried to control his rage.

            "She has a key."

            Josh pursed his lips, glanced around the room, and took a deep breath, “Why?"

            "Because she's my neighbor."

            Josh nodded fiercely.

            "He was going to shoot me!"  Mrs. Jenkins whimpered.

            "No, no dear."  I helped her sit up.  "He's just a Yankee."

            "Oh."  She accepted all the implications.

            "Would you like some coffee, Mrs. Jenkins?"  Josh pointed toward the kitchen.

            "I wouldn't presume," she replied.

            "There's bacon and bagels, too."  I added, accompanying her to the table.

            "Well, maybe just a little.  After such a shock, you know."

            Mrs. Jenkins consumed three bagels and four slices of bacon, regaling us about the Caribbean fruit flies that were devastating her papayas.

            I caught Josh's eye once and smiled.  He smiled back and stood up to retrieve the jar by the back door.

            "Here's your jar, ma'am."  He placed it in front of her.

            "Oh, I don't need it now.  Silly me, I was going to make pancakes this morning, but I didn't have any flour.  I saw you were up, and I knew you wouldn't mind."

            "We don't mind a bit, ma'am."  Josh went to the freezer, pulled out a bag of unbleached wheat flour, and handed it to her.  "I love pancakes, my grandfather used to make them every Sunday before church."

            He held her elbow as he walked her to the door.  "Maybe you could save me one or two, Mrs. Jenkins.  It'd bring back good memories for me."

            There were tears in Mrs. Jenkins eyes as she promised to do so.  Then she kissed him on the cheek.  "You be good to my Ronnie," she whispered.

            "Yes, ma'am," he replied.

 

            We spent the morning at the Public Library.  Josh finally sat down in the magazine section and I slipped upstairs to non-fiction.  I took an index card out of my pocket and copied down the four digit Dewy Decimal number from the spine of Women at War.  Next, I went to the Star Trek Encyclopedia and figured out the star date for three days from today, and rounded it to four digits.  Then I put 13 on the end, for 'M' if A = 1 and B = 2 . . .  Put all together in the proper order, it made a phone number.  I put the card back in my pocket and sat down next to Josh.

            "Ready?"  I smiled.

            "Whenever you are,” he stood.  "Aren't you going to check out anything?"

            "Oh, I'm not allowed to."

            He held the door for me as we left.

 


Excerpt from

Possum Playing Poker

© Evelyn Rainey

Available for publication.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Excerpt from Laughing Humans Chapter Four



Showers

 

            "What died?"

            Simple words echoed up to Hunter as she squatted in an air vent.  She was exploring new territory.  The cave she looked down into was full of 'chairs' and 'tables'.  It was a large, dimly lit room.  Three cave people sat at one table in the middle.

            Garbled words answered the understandable words.

            Hunter sniffed the air, not smelling death.  She listened carefully to the cave dwellers.  They were laughing and putting their hands over their faces.  They punched each other playfully and talked about 'bad smell'.

            Again, Hunter sniffed and smelled nothing different.

            She climbed out of the vent and cautiously approached the three, sniffing, trying to discover what caused their reaction.

            They saw her and stopped laughing.  She stood still.  Maybe one was leader and wanted her submission.  She watched their faces for signs of their rank.

            They whispered to each other.  One reassured the others.  It smiled at her and spoke softly.

Hunter smiled back.  Encouraged by their calmness, Hunter moved closer, running her

hand over the smooth 'tabletop'.  She said these words to herself.  Gods spoke

to her in the dark, telling her the names of things.  In light, she touched the items she'd learned and said the words mentally.

            One day, she would say the words out loud.

            The one smiling pointed to its chest.  "Mark."  It pointed to her.  "Hunterock.  Hun-ter-og."

            Did it sign 'same'?  Hunter came closer, about a table away.  She recognized the sound of her name.  Mark nodded and repeated its signals.

            "Mark.  Hunter Rogue."

            Hunter slapped her breast.  It sounded muffled against the material of the green outfit she still wore.

            "Yr Hunter Rogue."  The cave dweller tapped its chest and smiled.  "Im Mark."

            Hunter, Mark -- same!  Hunter was surprised.  She smiled and leaped onto the chair next to her new friend.

            "Dear God!"  The cave people at the table covered their faces and made strange noises.  They puffed out their cheeks.

            Hunter was scared.  She jumped away from them.  Mark was making sounds of anger.

            Hunter signed 'same', but as she bent to slap Mark's chest, it jerked away from her.

            Hunter slowly crept back up to her air vent.

            She returned to her troop empty-handed and angry.

            First New was there.  Hunter bowed to Bigfeet and then walked over and sat down next to her friend.

            First New touched her hair and hummed, "Hunter?"  Hunter grabbed First New's hand and held it to her nose.  She sniffed.

            First New had no scent.

            Hunter sniffed up First New's arm to her armpit and neck.  Her hair smelled like trees in summer.  Nothing else about First New smelled.  Hunter pried her mouth open and smelled.  Even her breath was nice.

            "Same,"  Hunter signed.  "Same," she repeated, hitting hard.

            "Same," Vivian signed gently.

            Hunter curled her lips and puffed her cheeks.  She took First New's hand and pressed it against her nose.  Then she pressed her own hand against First New's nose.

            Vivian gagged, like the people in the table-chair cave.

            Hunter stood up and walked away, deeply hurt.

            Vivian jumped up, then hesitated.  She clapped her hands and took a deep breath.  Slowly, she took off her outfit.

            The troop watched in habitual silence.

            Her skin was dark, hairless.  She walked to the flower and sat on it.  The water swooshed.  She stood up and walked into a niche in the wall.  She touched the wall.  Rain fell only on her.

            She smiled and laughed.  She exaggerated the motions of taking a shower.

            Hunter already had her suit off.  She began pressing the walls, asking the cave to give her rain, too.

            First New took her hand and let her stand under the rain.  Warm rain!  Like summer.  First New rubbed something on her skin that smelled like trees.  The dark layers of dirt smeared and ran down her legs.  The skin underneath was pale and freckled.  It was the most wonderful feeling Hunter ever remembered.

            The tree smell overwhelmed her own scent.  Her skin changed colors from rusty brown to shell pink.  The itches in her hair stopped.  Hunter let First New bathe her and didn't care that the whole troop was watching.

            Mark would not hold its nose now.

            Plenty of times, Hunter's scent had saved her life.  Most carnivores eat good-smelling animals, not strong musky animals like her.  But that time was gone.

            It was time to live like these cave dwellers.

            While the other females showered, Vivian brought combs and brushes in and showed Hunter how to use them.  Hunter recognized the small branch.  Now she would learn to use it right.

            Vivian's hair was short, but the colonists were tenderly impatient with their long hair.  Vivian left the cave and returned with something covered.  She went to Hunter first.

            "Same?"

            "Same," Hunter assured her happily.

            First New lifted Hunter's hair, then ran her fingers through her own short curls.  "Same?"

            "Same."  Hunter would learn whatever First New wanted to teach her.  She sat patiently as First New put a cold thing to her hair.  Her hair fell into her lap.

            Bigfeet was too busy enjoying her shower to notice.

            Hunter's rust-colored locks fell in a matted heap onto her lap.  She caught Darkarm's eyes again.  He smiled admiringly, aware that Bigfeet could not see him.

            Then Vivian picked up the fallen hair, covered the scissors, and left the room.  Dr. Arton begged for Hunter's first hair clippings.  They are still his favorite possession.

            Vivian ordered new outfits for every female.  The five males still refused to dress or wash.

            Dr. Rivers whispered, "Can you teach me how to bathe tonight?" for which he received a bruise.

             A few other females wanted their hair cut.  But for the most, the shower was quite enough adaptation at one time.


Excerpt from

Laughing Humans

© Evelyn Rainey

Available for publication.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Excerpt from Follow the Bees Chapter Four



          He was a huge Newfoundlander; dark and muscular.  Colette was a yellow lab, large by most standards, but diminished by her companion.  They looped across heathery fields and bounded over streams full of koi.  The sun never rose; it never set; it burned golden in the powder blue of the dream-world sky.  In a lucid dream, everything was brighter, smelled richer, felt fuller, tasted like heaven.  In lucid dreaming, everything had meaning.  The Labrador and Newfoundlander nipped affectionately at each other, as dogs do.

          They topped a rise and she heard murmuring.  A bee circled her, buzzing.  She snapped at it and continued chasing her friend.  More droning; three more bees joined the first.  They flew in front of her, diving at her tender nose.  She yelped. More singing, more bees.  She stumbled as a dozen sank into her thick mane, stabbing her with their stingers.  She howled and tumbled down the hill.

The Newfoundlander rushed to her side, devouring as many bees as he could.  The whirring deafened her as hundreds of bees attacked her, stinging and dying as she tried to outrun them.

          The phone was ringing.  Colette fell out of bed, gasping and sobbing.  Her skin was on fire, remembering the dream-stings.  She grabbed the phone blindly, “What?”

          “You’ve got a nosy neighbor.” The usually gruff voice sounded dulled.

          “Camp?”

          “You need me to come and clean his clock?” Slurred.  Camp loved Bushmills.

          “Camp, what time is it?”

          “It’s – aw fuck – it’s only midnight.”

          “In Wyoming.  It’s midnight in Wyoming.”

          “A-yup.”

          “I’m in Florida.”

          “Ah hell, Spooky, did I wake you?”

          “I was being stung to death by bees.”

          “No shit?”

          “Don’t call me Spooky.”

          Good natured silence balanced them.

          “Deputy Fife doesn’t believe I’m a credible witness.”

          “His loss.” The tinkle of ice against glass.  “You doing OK?”

          “Sure.” Colette crawled off the floor and sat on the bed.

          “Bees, huh.”

          “You tried to protect me from them.”

          “I was in your dreams?”

          Always, but she didn’t say it.

          “So, what do the bees mean?”

          She took a deep breath.  She realized he was giving her time to pull herself together, to slip into her safe teacher-mode.  “Bees represent betrayal, usually sexual in nature.  Mindless mob ruled by instinct and preservation of a singular concept, fanatically so.  Bees are ancient and the first insects to be domesticated.”

          “I know something about bees, too.  They can’t really fly.”  The ice and glass tolled again.

          “What do you know about Ralph Waldo Emerson?”

          “They were those mutant turtle things, right?”

          If she closed her eyes, she could still smell his skin.  “He wrote a poem.  Lots of poems, but there’s one in particular.  It’s creepy to me.  I keep hearing phrases from it.  ‘Alway, alway something sings’.”

          “Do you – need some company?”

          “Camp, this is the first vacation you’ve taken since Noah launched his ark.”

          “That wasn’t a no.”

          “Are you fishing?”

          “A-yup.”

          Metaphysically, she threw herself at him for a brief moment.  “Be careful where you put your hooks.”

          “I keep them in my tackle box.”

          “Nope.  There’s one scattered on your boat, hidden.  Be careful not to get stuck by it.”

          She heard him take a sip.  “Good night, Spooky.”

          “Good night, Camp.”


Excerpt from

Follow the Bees

© Evelyn Rainey

Available for publication.