Heat Wave – Trying out ideas on a new site

Heat Wave draft on Rooster Short Stories

Just knocking around a few ideas, that’s all….




I felt her presence. Somewhere. Somehow. I just couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

I looked outside. The wind had set the tumbleweeds to rolling. Not a soul was in sight. Would Clint have lit a cigar, while he waited? My mother would have cringed at the thought. Her son. The coming mayoral candidate having kept himself pure and clean for marriage and a life of political service. “Smoking!” she would have raged about the house, spraying canned room-freshener smelling of the Canadian Alps, making the rest of us choke, while wondering if that was the smell that made girls mad with desire?

“Girls”, my mother would have said. “Girls are no good for an impressionable young man like you. There you are standing there with your diploma in one hand, your parents clapping in the bleachers, while little Miss Congeniality would be pointing at her stomach saying that you were the father and would have to provide for hers and the baby’s needs. Your budding career with the local lawyer’s office, the shiny car with your own secretary, all down the tubes just because you ended up on the wrong side of town with the Girl Next Door.”

All she did was put a misplaced letter in our own mailbox, to which I said “Thank you” and she smiled, but my mother knew differently in her heart. She knew that my future plans, the membership on the church’s Council of Elders, the key to the Sister City in Japan, and, and…

My mother started to cry at that thought. Sobbing profusely, she went to the kitchen to bake some cookies for the church bake sale, or look out of the window and wonder why Alaskan birds seemed to be fighting with the Canadian Geese. “It always goes bad with those Northern Latitude Girl Birds, mark my words, “she said, before leaving me to my own thoughts once again.

Like I said, I was looking outside wondering if danger was there as well? Waiting and watching. A bullet with my name on it was being placed in the barrel of the sawed-off shotgun by the man with the bad mustache, or was it his brother whose girl from the Saloon, was always glad to see me when me and the boys rode into town with the cattle. “Time for a hot bath, Honey?”. Lola was always ready to help wash off the prairie dust, before we got down to business. That’s what they always said in the movies, but Mom would suddenly have a coughing fit, and make me go and get her a cup of soda, missing out on the best part of the movie. When I got back, they were rustling cattle, or John Wayne was telling about how he shot Liberty Valance, and not Jimmy Stewart. Nobody would believe him, but I knew how he had done the deed in Flashback. Mom would complain on the way home, how unrealistic those movies were, with loose women running about and only the good dying young.

I knew I was in trouble when I failed to show up at our planned rendezvous with the Girl Next  Door. It was like asking for trouble or, his brother who would be drinking Sarsaparilla down at the local watering hole when Clint Eastwood would show up wearing his Serape. Mom might have shushed me, saying that “this Country didn’t get where it was today by using foreign words like that.”, but I thought it was rather worldly watching Clint as he rode around Mexico, or someplace else, shooting or blowing up the others, just happen to having a stick of TNT, or two in his pocket. That’s why I told Mom that smoking cigars wouldn’t lead to my wreck or ruin, but might just save the poor migrant workers from the ruthless bandits, with the Southern State’s General in the lead from being robbed and raped of their Christian Ideals.

“That was quite enough young man”!, my mother yelled loud, that the usher began to flash his light baton at us, motioning us towards the Exit Sign, with a less than charitable look on his face.

“Cigars, Women of the Night, Rape of Christian Ideals! Now we are going home to where I might just wash your mouth out with soap once and for all.”.

Now I’d never get to see how John and Clint would ride their horses alongside the runaway train, saving both Raquel Welch and her assets from the bad hombres from the wrong side of town. The Hardy Boys never had excitement like that, but they did have guns and speedsters which Mom would most likely have objected to as well.

A twig cracked in the background as I rounded the corner. Or was it the sound of a trigger being pulled, or a whip being uncoiled?

A match was lit. Taking the dynamite out of his back pocket, and pressing the cigar to the fuse…..”Congratulations! You’ve made it with flying colors”. A voice awoke me from being blown to smithereens. It was none other than the Girl Next Door holding a Twinkie with a candle lit, and ready to be blown out.

“I knew you could do it” she said, smiling from ear to ear. “Today is your graduation day”.

I just waited for one of those polecats to show themselves out among the rocks. Today is as good a day as any to get your God darned head blown off, my saintly mother might have said, but as she were pushing up daisies somewhere outside of Anchorage, I would  have to face the rest of my life without her loving care.

“Today” she said with a bit of hesitation. “Today you are graduating from Ninny to full fledged Nincompoop!” She was shaking my hand, and kissing me on the forehead, as if it were my first day at school, or if the Caribou had won First Prize at the County Fair, or something. “I knew you could do it. All that daydreaming has paid off, hasn’t it?”

Honestly, if I hadn’t been right there, I’d swear someone else had kidnapped my life, leaving me somewhere in the back lot of some Western Studio, waiting impatiently for Rosalita to come by, shaking her Maracas, as if it were the 4th of July, and me standing there with my fireworks getting ready to explode!

“Listen you”, her voice getting stern-sounding, not unlike my mother’s voice. Just think, if she will grow into a woman like my mother, or worse than that, if my mother had grown up from some young girl like my friend! The thought gave me the willies, and I thought about riding away into the sunset, drifting across the Great Plains, stopping on the overlook to El Paso. I could see Rosa’s Cantina below me, waiting for me to arrive, offering me a plate of steaming tamales, clapping her lips on mine, when….

“Like I just said, even though you weren’t listening again. This Girl Next Door is back and there ain’t nothing anyone in this world can do about it!”

Wow. A girl who swore, kissed and didn’t tell, and lived next door to me to boot. Some guys are born lucky,

-while others have to earn their place in the sun…..



Her stockings, silken
tumbled out of some old movie
black and white, while the bombs exploded,
during the Great War, when such silk
came at a price, traded for
bartered with
a pack of smokes, a chance
to attain her heaven
at the price of my own salvation,

Sitting there watching her
draw them upon her legs, sleek
one at a time, while I
while I entertained my thoughts,
my hands helping her, caressing her,
though my thoughts,
those less than savory, those that I usually
kept to myself, thinking while looking
for someone like her to chance on by,

Silken stockings caught her eye
while mine caught sight of something else
something I wanted, had to have
the price was negotiable, wasn’t it?
she held them up, as we talked about
this and that, how she could, why I wanted her
only her, now and then, when she could, would
find another Joe, someone to warm those sleek legs
again, while I, while I took a new pack from my coat

There is always someone new to tempt, isn’t there?
what some wouldn’t do for a trifle, a trinket
while the rest of the world drove fast cars propelled
by the call of the night, when anything was possible,

Her silken stockings, many
one pair for each night of the week, the catch being
not to be discussed, non-negotiable,
not even for the poor fellow, dressed in his coat
lacking something that once filled his pockets

Strangled, he was,
his once warm neck, gone cold,
strangled by a pair of silken stockings,
unsigned, with nothing but a tight knot
to adorn them,

His death
with the call of the night
fading to black….



Her hands forming
the curvature of my back
my neck,
the form the earth takes
when caress, the sun moving
over hills and valleys, the light
illuminating, the shadows chased
back into their corners, their niches
waiting for darkness again to strike,
a firm massage
her fingers, soft yet warm
the firmness, taking me away
while my thoughts wandered
alongside hers,
the paths, the aisles endless
what we couldn’t achieve
in the waking world, could we
would we, be taken away
letting the thought, hers, mine
float away on some wayward breeze
the winds increasing, blowing the sands
disguising, covering our tracks, our traces
where our memories chose to take, leave us
I felt, again the movement of her hands
how she chose the direction, we moved in
while I pleaded, asked her to join me,
my hands, caressing her as well
The world turning, the shadows returning
while I, she felt the warmth of the closeness
the feeling, one we never experienced before
perhaps never attaining such

Her hands, mine
knowing what we wanted from each other
letting our feelings flow
along some desert road
where the windblown sand
disguising our tracks, our traces,

While we floated away
on some wayward breeze….



Not just one piece
but many, professing to be
evidence in the trial of someone
who resembled someone like me,

Paper, a thin wafer of cellulose, crumpled then smoothed out,
when held up to the light
translucent, echoing the watermark a faint recollection of my memory,
when I once walked these streets
as a free man,

“Struck down in her prime”
A woman, whose company
I chose to be in, when someone
ended what she knew to be life,
and what I would now know to be death
the gallows, a single rope, twisted
I felt my neck grow longer, as the hooded man
eager to get home to his wife, a modest repast
to enjoy, when the day’s work was over and done with

I felt a bit guilty, making everyone wait
my pardon being delayed from the Governor,
while the steak and kidney pie lost its heat and flavor
allowing me no sympathy from the jailers present,

“A woman of means”, was what they said
those that found what few dollars and cents
about my pockets, when the local constabulary
felt the need to break down the door of my home,
my children, screaming for their father, while my wife
covered her face in shame and disgrace,

I’d like to profess my innocence, but her lipstick
still residing on my collar, the disturbance
in the dust, surrounding her body,
when her frail form managed to hit the floor
causing distress and loss of ability
to hold her alive, until the police arrived,
My alibi only spoken by ghosts and spirits
remained only for me to tell about,

This day, when sunny and bright, began
seemed to be like any other, but now
my plans, shattered and changed
as I waited for the next train out of town
bearing my remains, something
waiting for internement in a pauper’s grave
someone, no one wanted to know
no one to cry over, just a nobody it seems

A single piece of paper, crumpled
bearing my name, something
that suggested a meeting between myself
and a chance companion, not my wife of many years,
but someone who wanted the same as I

Someone to share eternity with
our wishes being fulfilled

Just a single piece of cellulose….


Doing It Right

She told me, I wasn’t doing it right. Women today. They know what they want. Know what I mean? They’ve been talking to their friends, hearing how their husbands, boyfriends do it, and they want it as well.

Press there, just hard enough, but gently, forcibly, but not too much so, if only you did, what you did before, there, yes, but not like you have done the time when it didn’t feel right!

I didn’t keep a running record of what I did, when, and how, if she seemed to be happy about that? I suppose, I could have had a questionnaire which could have been completed after each time, I we. Nope. I really don’t think that would have gone over well, but it might have saved me some time, when if the next time were to come?

I tried asking my friends, then hers, but they seemed oblivious to my intentions. Were there really so many problems in our relationship, that I had to ask others for advice? No. No and no. Now I’ll be in the doghouse with her, when she discovers I’ve sought advice elsewhere. I’ve tried asking her, you see. Keeping our situation at home, between our own four walls, but it was as if she mocked my attempts at improving my techniques.

“I might as well as the upstairs neighbor, if he can assist me in my search for perfection” what she told me one day, while we enjoyed a cup of coffee out on the veranda. I wasn’t sure if he would climb down the downspout, or would he just show up at the front door, displaying his wares for all the world to see?

I really believed, I could be better, if only I had learned the right techniques. I wouldn’t want her to seek outside help, if I couldn’t execute my duties as her husband, the sole provider of her well-being and happiness.

Before I threw in the towel, I consulted a few online resources. They came up with some good advice, but I lacked some good old “hands-on” experience. I asked the single girl next  door to help me, as she professed to have mastered all the newest ways, and types, without  judging my inaccuracies as someone lacking in this area of expertise.

That night, armed with all my newest knowledge, and the memory of what the next-door neighbor did and showed me, I was ready to try it out on my lover, my wife. I made a romantic candlelight dinner before showing her what my endeavors had done for me, her.

She seemed to hold her breath, when I tried pressing, turning, and otherwise taking great care in my actions. She began to breath heavily, almost squealing with delight, when I showed her how adept I was with my newfound ways of the world. She wrapped her arms around me and gave me the biggest kiss, I could remember from recent times.

It goes to show you what new techniques in the art of making your partner happy, can be had after having mastered how to separate the different colored clothing into the various temperature settings, and performing a perfect wash load by pressing, turning, caressing the right buttons, at the right time.

If I can do it, anyone can….


The Skies

Oh, how I’ve been searching
the nighttime skies
for a sign, just a passing note
a folded dog-eared page
something scribbled on my wall
what I couldn’t read until the moon
was high, and I

Our stars
shining on your face
drop dead gorgeous were you
making me bow and you curtsy
such an elegant dance, while the wolves howled
and the coyotes cried,

On the desert floor nearby the arches
where the moon rose, with you
in silhouette, while I just sat there
eating my popcorn while the speaker crackled,
what it told about your favorite
drive-in movie, when the lovers kissed
and I closed my eyes, then you kissed

Your robes flowing
while I watched the wind catch you
take you in its arms, love you
like you’d never been loved before
while the stars sang, and danced around
the North Star, while I
just waited and watched
sitting on the bench with the other hopefuls
screwing up my courage
wanting to ask you, but allowing my fear
and my insecurities rule my day, my night

The nighttime skies painting stars on the ground
catching the light hiding behind the nighttime fabric
shining on you and I, feeling the warmth
the day’s heat, still warming our bed
throwing off my inhibitions, so they lie
in piles on the ground, and you laughed
and I smiled,

Knowing it was my turn to dance with you
first in line now, brushing away all other
would-be suitors
just a trip of the light fantastic
while the ground shook
and the stars burned hot
in your hair, while I stroked it
while the wolves howled
and the coyotes cried,

While our memories made
the sweetest love
we ever could imagine,
exhausted in the thought
of knowing someone like you
knowing someone like me,

Oh, how the desert grows colder
as the sun approaches our camp
I’ve gathered the last vestiges
of the warm tendrils, clinging
to each other while the sun painted
the edges, wrapping itself around
the sandstone, the dry river beds
where our feet swayed in the rhythms of
the fast fading night,

While the last light
the very last stars winking out
spread upon my lightening
stellar blanket, I kissed you again
seeing your smile alight
when the sun found us
and took us away…


The Sleigh Ride

Where would we be traveling this winter? I’d asked that question a lot, even since our trip to Tibet, whose icing on the Roof of the World, was sweet enough for me, but what about now?

She’s been saving our savings for a while, but I thought about using them on something other than travel. I don’t know about her,  but the roof did tend to leak, and the car needed new tires, but those were considered extravagances to her, and not necessities.

I took a look at our alternative form of transportation, our Sleigh. It was one of those that would rival Old Saint Nicks, but was lacking in the Reindeer department. I looked high and low for such a beast, but they never seemed to visit our latitude, other than on the posters that adorned the walls of the dog house.

Rudy was your average-sized dog with average dog wants. He wasn’t satisfied without barking up a storm whenever he considered danger to be afoot, even if that meant that the TV dogs, or the non-existent cat deserved a good thrashing, just to show them who was Cock of the Walk in this neck of the woods.

My old lady was puttering about in the kitchen, when she leaned over the wood stove, getting herself all hot and bothered, but not in the way that would have made me park the old clogs outside the bedroom for a quickie on this an otherwise ordinary Wednesday! She just fanned herself with her travel brochures, in a way that made me want to be yodeling with her in the Swiss Alps, or yelling “Guten Rutsch” to the Germans in Bavaria as we skied down a high mountain slope on the First of January!

She usually called me Sly, that being short for Sylvester, which, at this time of year, made me think of champagne bottles popping and our Lederhosen rubbing together until the wee hours of that most memorable night.

Rudy barked again, showing us that we needed to make up our minds, before all of the snow melted away, thus leaving us high and dry once again. We were actually high and dry without a reindeer, or motor there of, which I kind of forgot to tell Julia, something I was known to do quite often.

“Do you remember Tibet?” she asked me as if I had gotten senile in my old age, and couldn’t, wouldn’t remember the trip that defined our whole life together. Oh, we had been together for years and years before that, but our first view of the Snow Lion Flag flying over the hotel where we stayed, made a statement that will live in our hearts and minds forever. Granted it was rather short-lived as the border guards managed to tear it into shreds, before we could take a picture with the old Instamatic, but it still wasn’t something I’d forget this side of age 70!

“Just how old are you today?” was another one of her questions. How old do I feel, or how old am I really? Hard to answer the one or other, especially with Rudy chomping at the bit for us to hit the road.

We threw our Gnu skins in the sled, where Rudy promptly settled down, with all but his nose being warmed by those Tibetan beauties. I sat on the driver’s seat and pulled out my whip, while Julia sat next to me, humming Christmas songs and munching on cookies usually marking the Buddhist festival Gaden Ngamchoe. I raised my glass filled with Raksi and said suk-bo de-thang, which everyone knows is Cheers in Tibetan!

Rudy just poked his head up during this commotion, displaying his reddened nose, but wagging tail, knowing in his heart that we were bound for yet another fabulous journey together. I swung back the whip as Julia snuggled closer to me, and envisioned us riding along the snow-covered hills of Germany, Switzerland or Tibet, depending on how strong the Raksi was this year?

Yep. I told her and Rudy. The savings just fit perfectly to this trip, said as I stepped out of the Sleigh to close the door to the house, not wanting to waste any energy while we were out on our Sleigh, traveling light in our imaginations.

“Oh, Sly”, she told me at once. “It’ll be just like our Honeymoon again. Just the 2 of us…”

Rudy barked at the number 2, knowing that he would be barking the whole time showing that any activity without him would most certainly call for constant noise outside our Yak Hair Tent.

Any activity whatsoever………


The Last

Waking up
next to someone
someone who could have been

The skies first overcast
then filled with the smells
of kitchen and fireplace,
you were wearing
that apron, so ugly
while I, wanted to tell you
how I couldn’t survive
another year without

Without you living with me
here, where we once called home,

The trees enclosing, the fires burning
while the wood was chopped, quartered
stacked in cords,
while we held hands, watching the cold
exit as a cloudy mist,
our warming coats, slung over the chair
while we, warmed the bed
with our love,

The snows were demanding this year
almost as bad as last, when you
when you couldn’t, wouldn’t stay

The springtime missed you, making
me lonely for your touch, melting the ice, the cold

The summer flowers gathered I, in bunches
in vases, while your memory, just sat there
absorbing the faint warmth, the sun
could give, with your radiance, giving back
paying back in full what you’d taken,

The autumn also held watch, from the fields
from the hedgerows with harvest, and those
that fell into song, the work, hard, the days
turning into the nights, lonely, while I looked
while I scouted about, sensing your presence
feeling your loss,

The winter finally, heralded your arrival,
the warmest bed, the most beautiful pressed
wildflowers, the leaves of autumn covering the floor
from the bedroom to the door, the welcome mat
brushed clean, though fading about the edges,
as I, as I felt a bit weary of this day, wondering
if you’d stay this time, just to stay,

I awoke to someone, soft and warm
murmuring in her sleep, “come closer”
which I felt myself adhering to, the voice
not yours, as you, a mountain and the prairie
two cities, and 5 towns away were you,
with no return ticket in your last letter,nor the
promise of hope, no promised to break, then,

The last train, the last bus
the last walk down the path leading you
away from me, the last tear, but no promises
to break, no return ticket necessary,
no wonder I can’t remember who
or why the someone next to me is not you

it just isn’t you….


The Railroad Tracks

She tied me down
the cold steel rails
not a soft pillow under
my aching head, my fingers
bloody and raw
hoping to free myself,
free to run away, before,

“You look just like him”
she told me, sporting a far-away look
in her eyes,
her hands, delicate and soothing
just on someone else’s skin, making sure
I wouldn’t be home for dinner,
not on time anyway,

“He romanced me. He took me in his arms”
she waltzed along the tracks, in a daze
while the sun blotted out all but
her image, her shapely form,
darkened around the edges,
my eyes watering and burning
the love letters a bonfire burning
at my feet,

“Are you feeling the heat, my love”?
she asked me, as she threw a valentine-shaped box
on the flames, the red colors turning brown and ashy
in my smokey sight,

“He took me, in the middle of the night. Then the day after,
he left me for someone younger, more attractive”.
said while painting her lips again, and again,

“You used me, like you used all the others” said while
lying next to me, feeling my trembling muscles
my whole body shaking, yielding to her touch,

She reached over and kissed me, her warm lips hesitating
while we enjoyed a moment, a brief moment, before..

“The trains are rather regular in these parts” she told me,
as she consulted her schedule
You’d be surprised how often they don’t even notice
this stretch of tracks”,

“I took a ride, once” she murmured almost asleep in her thoughts.
The train hit something. A little bump” which she explained while
raising hapless form up, with her long sleek hands,
“It was over in a moment, but I felt a tingle, almost like when
he touched me, all over my body, before he, he…”

“I” tried to say something, while she told of my life and death.
I lived and died, but not before we made the most perfect love,
right there on the tracks, the train coming, and I, and she…

but that was my imagination, telling, bragging to my friends, while
we shared a drink at a nearby bar. Toasting Death, as it were.

“Listen” she held her finger to her lips. “Can you hear its whistle”?

Quite honestly, I didn’t, couldn’t, but just nodded, hoping that she’d come to her senses and let me go.

“Well” she said at last. “I’ll be going now, but don’t worry. It’ll be over before you know it”. and gave me one last kiss, before applying more
lipstick, and going on her way.

Was it her cries, I heard when we made love on those tracks? Was she really hurt, when I never called her the next day? Women, I thought. They, she will be all right, forgetting me as just another conquest of the night…

Was it her screaming, I heard, when we almost reached ecstasy together,

was it?