I Said, She Said … Middle Earth

 

See Dick. See Jane.
Run Dick. Run Jane.
Run. Run. Run.
Run you fools. Run.

“What do you think?”

“Amusing … and clever.”

“I thought so too. Clever though … more than amusing.”

“Whatever.”

“Oh well …”

“Recess is over, Mister Author.”

“Back to the novel?”

“Back to the novel.”

James F. Ross
2014

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I Said, She Said … Adorable Company

“I’m at a disadvantage.”

“Well, hey … I’m at a crossroads, Briget’s in a tizzy, and Pete’s not really with us.”

“He’s sitting right beside you.”

“No. Not really. He’s actually incognito. So …”

“So?”

“Just do your best to go along with the delusion. To ignore him is to know him.”

“Sounds kinda sad and pathetic.”

“It empowers me,” Pete replies.

“Who said that?”

“Not me,” answers Pete.

“See. It’s already working. Join us for lunch?”

“How could I resist?”

“You can’t. We’re adorable company. Oh, not that chair. It’s taken.”

“Looks empty.”

“Nope. Rough day. I’ve been beside myself since morning tea.”

“I stand corrected.”

“Suit yourself, but lunch will go down a lot easier if you sit.”

 

 

James F. Ross

2014

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I Said, She Said … Spice of Life

“Mystery and intrigue, cleverly written of course, are entertaining. On the other hand, deception within secure confines drains marrow and meal … a potent poison similar to hemlock’s poorly dressed sojourn into shadow.”

 

“If the chicken’s too spicy, just tell me.”

 

“It might be a tad over the top.”

 

“A tad?”

 

“A smidge … that’s all.”

 

“I’m glad you like it.”

 

“I do. What’s this wonderful tantalizing volcanic glaze covering the breast?”

 

“Oh … you noticed the glaze?”

 

“Couldn’t help but notice; it jumped right off the fork and inflamed my palate.”

 

“Oh, that’s great!”

 

“Every bite’s a winner. What is it exactly?”

 

“Well, the recipe called for honey, but I didn’t have any.”

 

“And so you substituted?”

 

“I borrowed a jar of five-alarm jalapeno jelly from my neighbor.”

 

“That explains a lot.”

 

“I’ve never had an opportunity to use that, so before I brushed it onto the breasts, I blended in a tablespoon of cayenne pepper … to give it a little zing.”

 

“And that would explain everything else.”

 

“I’m glad you like it. You do … right?”

 

“Absolutely. However, I’m disappointed that there’s just this one serving for me.”

 

“Oh, don’t worry about that. I cooked four breasts. You can take the other two home with you.”

 

“Really?”

 

“Really.”

 

“Such a joy.”

 

“My pleasure.”

 

“I don’t know how to thank you. Do you mind if I have another glass of water?”

 

“Help yourself. After the swelling in your lips goes down, I’ll let you thank me properly.”

 

“I might be too numb to feel anything.”

 

“No worries. I’ll provide the narration. You won’t miss a thing. Hey! Careful with the water. We’re in the middle of a drought, you know.”

 

 

James F. Ross

2014

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Time

I need to stop.

,…james

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I Said, She Said … Another Volley

 

“This has been an attempt to get attention?”

“Are you certain you heard me correctly?”

“Pretty sure I did.”

“Typical. Selective listening is one of your strengths.”

“Would you like to give it another try?”

“Sure. What I said was … ‘This has-been attempts to get attention.’”

“To thine own self be true.”

“One can only hope.”

 

James F. Ross
2014

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I Said, She Said … Writing

Personal limitations notwithstanding, traverse along paths unknown … sail waterway and sea to ports unnamed, harbors not yet tested.

 

 James F. Ross
 2014

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I Said, She Said … Magic Happens

You like what you see? Maybe you should take a picture.

“Pardon me?”

Do you like what you see? You’ve been staring long enough to have formed an opinion. My money is on ‘like.’

“To know what exactly?”

Whether or not you like what you’ve been staring at ever since I walked in here.

“Staring? Me? Was I really?”

You may have looked away once or twice, but not that I could see.

“Sorry.”

No harm.

“Thank you.”

They are perky.

“Outstandingly so. I mean that in the nicest way possible.”

Compliment made and received. My suggestion still stands. Maybe you should take a picture.

“Oh. I thought you were being sarcastic.”

Maybe a little. But you can, you know, take a picture.

“That’s very kind of you to offer.”

I’m serious.

“Thanks, but I don’t have a camera.”

You’ve got a smartphone.

“This thing? I use it mainly to write brief notes to myself … and dialogues.”

Like this one?

“Yes. Similar to this one.”

Well, I’m sure you’ve got a camera there as well.

“Yes. I think I might, but I don’t know how to use it.”

Here. Let me take a look. You don’t mind if I sit here do you?

“Not at all.”

Good, because I can check out your equipment better in this light.

“Excuse me?”

Your smartphone.

“Oh.”

Nervous?

“A little.”

I promise I’ll be gentle.

“This is out of my ordinary.”

Oh really?

“Typically, I don’t allow someone I’ve just met …”

Yes?

“Allow them to handle my … phone.”

You’re in good hands. Besides, parts of me feel like they’ve already bonded with you.

“Oh my. You’d think they’d open a window in here once in awhile.”

Getting hot?

“I am experiencing a slight rise … in temperature.”

Well look! You do have a camera. Megapixels galore … impressive.

“Imagine that. Lucky me.”

Whoa … Listen to you, running to first base already. It’s too early in the conversation to make that call.

“Oh … I didn’t mean anything by it.”

That’s too bad. I was hoping you did.

“Well in that case …”

Anyway … Look. You have a camera and an app. It’s just like the one on my phone.

“That’s great.”

Here. I’ll open it for you. There we go. Can you see me?

“I sure can. Up close and personal.”

Am I in focus?

“Just a tad fuzzy.”

Here. You hold the phone. Better?

“A little.”

Tap my chest with your finger.

“Pardon me?”

On your screen.

“Oh … Why would I do that?”

To get me into focus. It only takes a little nudge … to get me to focus.

“Just anywhere?”

No.

“Where then?”

Put your finger close to my button. Then push. That’s when the magic happens.

“I’m sorry, but now I’m having a hard time focusing. What are we talking about exactly?”

See my top button? Right here on my sweater. See it … through the camera lens?

“Yes. I do now. Did it just come unbuttoned?”

Sometimes that happens.

“Sometimes?”

Whenever I get …

“Yes?”

Excited.

“I see.”

Hold the phone so that my unbuttoned button is the center of the photo.

“Okay. Got it.”

Now, push my button with one or two fingers.

“Done.”

Am I focused?

“Yes, but I think I am more so. Let me try that again. Hey, now there are two buttons undone.”

Oh really?

“You’re busting out all over.”

I don’t mind, if you don’t mind.

“Well, at least one of us should be blushing.”

Do it a couple of times.

“What?”

Tap me. Keeping pushing my button.

“You bet.”

Finished?

“Reluctantly so. So, when do I take a picture?”

You’ve taken several already.

“Really?”

Every time you tapped me.

“I hadn’t realized …”

That happens sometimes … more often than I like.

“You don’t mind if I have photos of you stored on my phone?”

Not at all. Email them to me. I want my own copies.

“What if someone sees them?”

On your phone?

“Yes.”

Tell them that your wife likes to play.

“That’s it?”

That’s more than enough. Leave them to wonder.

“We told the sitter we’d be out for another hour yet. Are you going to button your buttons?”

No.

“Good.”

See … You are a lucky man.

“The night is young …”

James F. Ross

2014

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I Said, She Said … Beyond Relief

Every now and then, I become less and less tolerant of that screeching nails-across-the-chalkboard voice you’ve been blessed with, and feel compelled, beyond relief, to share it with the rest of the world. Is there any question as to why I maneuver my frame towards inner sanctuary … curled into cotton with a folktale tome that was bound to bring me joy?

“What’s that, Dear? I was drying my hair.”

Oh nothing … just reading aloud some dialogue I’m working on.

“Coffee?”

Please.

 

 

James F. Ross

2014

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I Said, She Said … All In Your Mind

 

If she moves at all, I just might explode right here
This pipe bomb has a hair trigger
There could be significant collateral damage
However, in any light, the complete package is breathtaking

Although confident that I could pull this off alone
Knowing that two hands are better than one, I invited her to come with me
Earlier in the week she had complained about getting the short end of the stick
I didn’t want to see her get shafted again by someone else.

That last gasp and her firm grip, tell me that she has fully grasped the situation
I can see that she is committed to taking the full load of my equipment
From experience, I know that there might be a small discharge
Just a few moments before the main eruption

I lean forward and whisper how good it feels
To know that she is trusting me right now
Rough? Yes, but this ride is one I will remember
The engine on this train pulls a pretty smooth line

She too will remember riding this iron rail
Pulling out slowly, working up a head of steam, picking up speed
The main piston thrusting a melody,
Producing a steady rhythmic chorus of “I think I can’s”

Pressure building, our objective approaching
Her eagerness to help causes the rod to bury even deeper
Without hesitation, I quickly pull it out
Working together, after a few powerful tugs
Its contents are released into the air

Safe, relieved and exhausted
We are looking forward to the next encounter
I promise her that she will take the lead
And be in complete control

 

New York Daily
Staff Reporter

“Another pipe bomb was discovered yesterday on a local train. Found wedged inside a compartment of the main engine, the train was brought to a stop in an isolated rural area to minimize any possible damage. Although an attempt was made to disarm it, the bomb was successfully detonated on site by a unit of the NYPD bomb squad. No terrorist groups or individuals have claimed responsibility for the bomb’s placement”.

 

 

James F. Ross

2010
Written permission required to reproduce in any medium

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The Arrival

Oh to have leisure charmed in such a way
That your disposition is envied by the freckled calico grimalkin
Vacillating between trepidation and cunning, a gentle push precedes my entrance
My presence, betrayed once again by my own handiwork

Your lack of acknowledgement strengthens my hope
That feigned resistance truly is an invocation for attention
Improbable as it may be, this moment’s splendor surpasses my expectation
The long bluestem and Junegrass now have competition for my hand.

Soon, late season petal and bloom will mantle meadow and pass
An enchanting fragrance awaits those prepared to dance and linger
Majestic pines cathedral their praise and worship toward heavens gate
Innately, beneficiaries of nature’s gift, aspire to learn their harmony

A weary gadabout seeking refuge, I’ve missed sharing our expressions
Free and open discourse however, is not wise in an unsecured epistle
The content of which might become prattle and wag for even the closest of friends
We share not long-winded rumor but instead meaningful respite from loneliness

Own this gaze forever; allow the seasons to mark our time
I am waiting for this moment to unfold
To capture your awakening, in the manner of dreams
A gentle initial touch; pressed from tender, passionate, unfurled affection

 

 

James F. Ross

2011

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The Reception

Your elusive matter not withstanding
The moan of the worn spring-gate declares your arrival
Confidence warranted without confirmation, until…
The creak of the porch stoop matches your pace

A shoeless absconder from normalcy
My eyes resist the sun’s midday intrusion
Color, as well as shades of gray, ineptly incurs detection
Unfinished reflections of sincerity rest at my side

In a language commonly reticent for adoration, I eavesdrop as you
Decipher the signs and wonders of the pending solstice
Nature’s essentials distilled to realize their purest form
A gift so potent, cries for frugality resonate with their use

As usual, your intentions are absent of pretense
Treated am I, to a well-rehearsed impromptu recitation
A dialog this time, between a couple so clever and coy that…
I hardly recognize myself… Nor you

Although you would have others deem you capable,
Never could I imagine your lips purse an astringent word
Patiently waiting for courage to arrive, I open my eyes to silence
A tender affectionate kiss captures my blush with perfection

James F. Ross

2011

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My Life … My Sea

My Life…My Sea

How long…will this continue?
When will I have peace of mind?
My Mind
Statues have better odds and get more attention

I can remember buttoning my own shirt
Combing my hair by myself
Saying Grace
Giving Thanks

I still give thanks
No one can hear me
My hands brought together in prayer

Life
My Life
Now a spectator sport of monotony

By the way,
I perceive sound…hear everyone plainly
Every word…Every syllable
Sounded out e∙v∙e∙r    s∙o    s∙l∙o∙w∙l∙y
Like a jackass trying to get my vote

Shouting at me…doesn’t help

I am responding to you morons
Can you not see how happy I am?
I am drooling, just so that you’ll take the time to touch me again
And, for the love of God,
Would someone please throw away the sandpaper wash cloths!?

The window to my soul
Is no longer open…alive
Shuttered now

A blank stare is all I can offer

When I am pleased…When I feel good
I give you my Sunday Go to Meeting stare
And in return, you gift me with your worn out
Buckner impersonation, letting it go right through you

Blue has always been my favorite color
To your irritation, I choose it everyday
It is brings me joy

Every thought echoes in my memory
I know Mary had a little lamb
But, I can’t remember why

My mind wanders
Adrift in bewilderment
No longer staying by my side

I am not parched
I am trying to get your attention
I can’t drink thirty glasses of imaginary water
I am trying to get your attention
I am wearing my blue shirt
And…I am thirsty for life

My Life…My Sea

All those photos
I never finished sorting them
No one will know where they go

Or the names of relatives
Who know and enjoy the rest I seek

Friends
Parade by me as if I were already dead
I can hear, and no, you are not in my will

I miss the ocean breeze
Always cool to me
Comforting
Casting my line was an art
Artistically believing I might actually catch something
I know now….that when wearing my lucky shade-hat
I caught a boat-load of memories

Closing my eyes to this cruel twisted existence
A mind-movie loops
The sea, My Sea…calling to me…calling My Life
In each and every frame
I can walk…and cast
You can hear me
Singing songs

My Life…My Sea
Embracing me again

james


Copyright 2010, James F. Ross
Written permission required to reproduce in any medium

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I Said, She Said … Absence

A colorless omission, silence is not; nor has it ever been golden. Although cherished when desired, and for the most part, a welcomed comfort, there are those times when quiet interactive discord is quite excruciatingly painful to bear. Your absence the rule … not an exception.

James F. Ross

2014

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I Said, She Said … Good Morning

Ravenous, passionate, ruminations

Delicious

Sensuous

Consummated declarations commenced before dawn’s early light

Playful munificent indulgence

Embrace for impact

Your moment has arrived

James F. Ross
2014

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Fortunate Man

I am a fortunate man
Sight and sound aplenty
Make favorable my way

The blues and grays
With layers of yellow
Are a pleasant comfort

Not a second thought
Would I render
For anything to be otherwise

A taut canvas
Buoys the breeze
We are sailing

 

 

James F. Ross

2014

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Paint The Moon

Away away seafaring brood
Away to ships and sailing
Traverse again to distant shores
Remember those awaiting

Away away ye kindred kind
Away to gathering be
We’ll paint the moon ’til starry night
After you’ve come home to me

James F. Ross
2014

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I Said, She Said … Treasure

How do I know? I know something’s wrong because Miles is a creature of habit … almost to the point of being obsessively compulsive.

I thought that was his friend, Davis.

No. Davis is just a little quirky.

But you’ve told me that Miles teases him for being an obsessive.

That’s Miles covering for Miles. He always finds a way to protect himself.

Hmm. So, Davis isn’t obsessive at all?

Only his morning routine.

Which is?

Wake. Coffee. Read. Coffee. Write. Coffee. Blink. Coffee.

You’re terrible.

Ok. So sometimes he doesn’t blink.

Ha ha ha.

But, there certainly has been a pattern. Actually, I think everything he does is just an excuse to drink more coffee.

I don’t blame him. Back to what might be troubling Miles …

I don’t know what’s bothering him. I just know that something has turned his world upside-down.

How? How do you know, but not know?

Towels.

Towels? As in bath towels?

Bath, beach, tea, or hand towel … take your pick.

He’s stopped using them?

No. He folds them a certain way.

Your husband does the laundry?

He sure does. Bless his heart.

I asked Schroder to pitch in with the household chores. You know … actually do something.

How’d that work out?

He volunteered to do the laundry. All my whites came out pinkish red.

Oh good God! No!

Yes.

That’s hilarious.

Turns out, he did it on purpose.

Oh my God … he did not!

He did … bought a pack of dark red shop towels from The Shade Tree. Threw them in with the whites. Claims he didn’t know no better.

Sometimes, men can be so stupid.

They sure can … especially when it’s to their advantage. So what’s up with Miles and his towels?

He make two stacks when he folds them. All the towels get folded the exact same way, and then he divides them into two stacks before putting them in the closet.

What are the two stacks for him? How does he divide them?

Bath towels for the immediate family in one stack. Swim, beach, and towels that no longer have a match in the other. When it comes to laundry, he’s the Crown Prince of Meticulous.

So what’s the problem?

Follow me.

Remember, before I open these cabinet doors, we’re talking about a man who’s world is managed purposefully to be the epitome of organization.

I’m ready. How bad could it be?

He we go …

Oh my God! If that’s not a cry for help, I can’t imagine what would be.

It’s disturbing.

Appalling. Atrocious. All of the above.

There’s nothing that distinguishes the two stacks from each other.

That I can see.

And, he does have the fold spines facing outward.

It’s a mess by his standard.

No doubt, because he’s a mess as well. Something must have happened … something out of the ordinary.

Obviously.

Any clues?

I’ve got nothing. Not a clue.

Oh darn. What time is it?

A couple of minutes before five. Why?

We’ve got a raid scheduled.

A raid? Are you attacking Central Pier?

No, silly. My guild has a raid scheduled. We’re attacking The Promised Land. There’s a treasure there we haven’t captured yet. Enough swag to go around to everyone.

You’re still playing … online?

Just a few hours a week. Maybe more.

How much more?

I don’t know. Maybe three hours or so each night. Usually pretty late … after Miles has gone to sleep.

That’s when the wolves come out.

I know. It’s exciting. Fun.

Maybe too much fun.

Na. It’s all a great tease.

A great tease that takes up a good … what? Maybe twenty hours a week? That’s all.

I meet my friends there … in the game. It’s social as much as a game. Maybe more so.

Anyone in particular?

Well, and don’t tell Miles, there’s one guy …

So he says.

He’s a guy. We’ve chatted. He makes me feel young and alive. Vibrant.

Text? In the game … right?

Sure. In and out of … and video chat a few times.

You’re risking everything. Everything you have.

It’s just teasing … flirting. You’ve done that.

I’m not in a committed relationship.

What’s the big deal? As long as its private, what could go wrong? There’s nothing to lose but good fun. Did I mention how good it really feels?

What could go wrong? What’s to lose? Wake up already.

What? Sorry. I’m logged in already. I’m in the game. But, yea. I heard you. What’s to lose?

Towels.

Towels? What on earth are you talking about? Oh do you mind? I promised to use headphones. You know, just in case someone comes in unexpectedly. Towels? Really?

There’s a lot of value in having a linen closet organized with care and attention by someone devoted to you. In love. Don’t take it for granted. Don’t take them for granted.

Will do. Gotta go, the team needs me. Can you let yourself out? Woohoo! We’re going after real treasure.

James F. Ross

2014

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I Said, She Said … A Perfect Fit

 

Miles:          Wynann’s … Remember when that opened?

Davis:         I sure do. We were in kindergarten.

Miles:          Yep.

Davis:         My mother shopped there religiously. I used to have sit there while she tried on clothes. Sheer torture for me. Not only did I have to wait for her, every woman who tried on clothes asked for my opinion.

Miles:          Awkward.

Davis:         Very. You know, some dresses actually do make people look fat.

Miles:          People? You mean women?

Davis:         Well, a couple of times Mr. Henderson …

Miles:          From First Church?

Davis:         That’s him. He’d come in there to try on dresses.

Miles:          For?

Davis:         Always claimed they were for skits for their annual fund drive carnival.

Miles:          Go figure.

Davis:         All dressed up …

Miles:          Yea?

Davis:         He made a real handsome woman.

Miles:          That explains a lot. Doesn’t it?

Davis:         It does now. Yes. When I was a little guy, the ladies who shopped there felt compelled to tousle my hair and pinch my cheeks.

Miles:          Nowadays, I’d pay someone to get my cheeks pinched.

Davis:         You can hire someone to do that?

Miles:          I’ll send you the link. My mom was too cheap to shop there. Actually, I think my old man was the cheap one. Mom was too passive. Anyway, I never had to go inside Wynann’s

Davis:         Mother would make me wear my Sunday clothes.

Miles:          Just to go shopping?

Davis:         She did that even if we took the Country Squire in for an oil change.

Miles:          Wynann’s is like some kind of a magnet for you.

Davis:         It hasn’t been all bad. I sold a lot of high school band candy there over the years. This latest adventure though, is another chapter in a book I’ll never write.

Pete:           I’d buy that book.

Davis:         Hey there, Pete. How long you been standing over there.

Pete:           Long enough to feel less informed.

Miles:          Tell it one more time, Davis … for Pete’s sake. I don’t think he eavesdropped the entire adventure.

Pete:           Yeah, Davis. Start at the beginning. All I caught was something about your hands sizing up a saleslady’s headlights. Is that right? You did that right there in plain sight?

Davis:         No. Not exactly, Pete. That wasn’t my intention.

Miles:          Headlights? How old are you? Sixteen?

Pete:           Three times over. Man alive! You lead the good life. Don’t ya, Davis?

Davis:         At times … a peculiar one.

Miles:          Better than the rest of us lonely heart slobs.

Pete:           Spill the beans, Professor, before your memory trail gets cold.

Davis:         Well, like I told Miles, I went into Wynann’s to purchase a gift for Celia Moon.

Pete:           Who is…?

Miles:          That’s the latest woman of his dreams.

Pete:           A one hit wonder?

Miles:          No. She’s hanging in there a lot longer than most.

Pete:           Blind? Gullible? Homeless?

Davis:         Hey now … Do you guys want to hear this again or not?

Miles:          We do.

Pete:           Amen to that, Miles.

Davis:         Okay then. Let me continue … and, for your information, she is not blind.

Pete:           Two out of three there, Miles.

Miles:          Not bad for a couple of ne’er-do-wells.

Pete:           Not bad at all if you ask me.

Davis:         Gentlemen? Peter? Please, guys. I’ve got to make the next bus.

Pete:           We’ll be quiet.

Miles:          Promise.

Davis:         Pete?

Pete:           Cross my heart and hope he dies … promise.

Davis:         Okay. So like I said, I went into Wynann’s to buy a gift.

Pete:           For the optically correct Ms. Moon.

Davis:         Yes. For Celia. To find a birthday present.

Pete:           Hers or yours?

Davis:         I said I went into Wynann’s.

Pete:           And?

Davis:         And … you know for a fact that Wynann’s is a clothing store for women.

Pete:           So?

Davis:         So … it was a present for her. Do you actually believe I would go in there to shop for something for myself?

Pete:           Here in Sandalpier, you never can tell. My mind is wide open to alternative approaches to whatever puts a smile on your face. The town’s full of like-minded wiz bangs like me.

Miles:          Maybe the present was for you. It’s more for your benefit than hers.

Davis:         The present was for her, Pete. Not me … because I don’t wear women’s clothing. Do I?

Pete:           I’d say you’re walking a pretty thin line.

Davis:         What?

Pete:           Some of your spring wardrobe …

Davis:         Yes?

Pete:           Is leaning toward the pretty side of life.

Davis:         For Pete’s sake, Pete! I was shopping for Celia. Not me. And there isn’t anything wrong with dressing nice.

Pete:           Gotcha. It was a present for her … wink wink nudge nudge. So, what’d ya get her, Davis? Matching sweaters? Socks? Unmentionables?

Miles:          Yes.

Pete:           All three?

Davis:         No. An unmentionable. Underwear. At least that’s what I was attempting to do.

Pete:           How, exactly, did you make this attempt?

Davis:         I walked inside, you know, at the east entrance.

Miles:          They got more than one?

Pete:           Where’s the east?

Miles:          In direct opposition of the west.

Pete:           Ain’t that the gospel truth.

Davis:         Fellas … please.

Pete:           A thousand pardons.

Davis:         Thank you.

Pete:           Do continue.

Davis:         I walk inside, with purpose. I know what I have in mind … what I want to purchase.

Pete:           You gave it a lot of thought? Beforehand?

Davis:         Three weeks. Narrowed my choice from a list that started with thirty possibilities, and then was narrowed down to twenty somewhat-likelies, ten probables, five more-than-likelies, and three I-can’t-go-wrongs.

Miles:          Wow.

Davis:         I’m thorough.

Miles:          Obsessive.

Davis:         Diligent and thoughtful. I like to be certain when it comes to giving a gift.

Pete:           My dear mother, God rest her soul, is afflicted with the same degree of thoughtfulness.

Miles:          Since when did your mother die?

Pete:           Oh, she ain’t dead. Not yet anyway. But she always says she’s a restless soul. I suppose that’s why she moves around a lot.

Miles:          A real thoughtful giver, is she?

Pete:           Tells me, “Sometimes when I’m in my favorite fast food joint, I say to some random stranger at the next table, I bet my Pete would love to have a meal like this one.”

Miles:          So she buys you a gift card?

Pete:           No. In my honor, she orders another meal for herself.

Miles:          Amazing.

Pete:           Ain’t it though. And, she’s right. It’s always something I would have liked.

Miles:          The model of mothering skills trapped inside the body of one restless soul.

Pete:           Too true, but she hasn’t ever thought to buy me a pair of underwear for a present; not since high school. Is that what you decided, Davis? Underwear?

Davis:         Oh, so now I’m part of the conversation again?

Pete:           You’re the pack leader. What’d you decide to get her?

Miles:          A bra.

Pete:           Whoa! You’re the adventurous one. Aren’t ya?! Lord, I would not have the nerve. I don’t think it’s something I could pull off.

Miles:          I think that might be a story for another time, Pete. On the other hand, selecting said delicate garments comes with an uncomfortable degree of difficulty … if you’re not of the female persuasion. Isn’t that right, Davis?

Davis:         You can say that again.

Pete:           It’d take a lot of persuasion to make me want to be something other than not-a-female.

Miles:          Trust me, Pete. There isn’t a lot of demand on the street for you to be otherwise.

Pete:           Thank heaven for that. Continue on, Sage of the Metro.

Davis:         I have to believe that in most places around the country, a man entering a women’s clothing store might draw some attention from the sales staff.

Miles:          Not here in Sandalpier. Not in this country. Which 50’s decade are you stuck in?

Davis:         I’m not stuck in any decade except this one. I might be the only guy to get embarrassed, but I do.

Miles:          Men of the current modern age … we’re free and easy about things.

Davis:         Yes you are, Miles. However, while I walked around, I kept my head up, eyes forward, doing my best to stay focused.

Miles:          However …

Davis:         However, I’m only human.

Pete:           Some would say that’s an advantage.

Davis:         For the most part, it is. So anyway, I made my way over to where they have bras on display.

Pete:           You left the store and walked down Atlantic Ave?

Davis:         Not those bras, Pete … the ones for sale in Wynann’s. Stay with me already.

Pete:           Gotcha … Wynann’s … The bras over in back, on the left.

Miles:          How’d you know that, Pete.

Pete:           Uh … a feller told me.

Miles:          A feller?

Pete:           A feller … says he goes in there sometimes to get warm.

Miles:          I can imagine.

Pete:           I guess he can too, because it works really nice.

Davis:         Guys?

Pete:           Yea, Davis?

Davis:         You’ve left me stranded in Wynann’s … in the front of what we used to refer to as ‘God’s gift to mankind.’

Pete:           Agony for most women.

Miles:          Is that so? I wouldn’t mind relieving one or two from their burden.

Pete:           I’m sure you would, Miles, but I’m thinking that Mrs. Miles might have a thing or ten to say in protest about that.

Davis:         Ok. So, I’m just going to go ahead and share this story.  Both of you can decide whether or not to listen.

Miles:          No worries, Buddy. We’re listening.

Davis:         As I’m standing there …

Pete:           Checking out the merchandise.

Davis:         Yes. Looking at what they have to offer … and let me tell you, they have a lot to offer! I’ve never seen so much stuffed into, well, so little … you know …space.

Pete:           Bustin’ at the seams, were they?

Davis:         Considerably … and while I’m admiring their engineering ingenuity, a thought crosses my mind.

Pete:           I can imagine, but just in case I’m wrong, what thought?

Davis:         I’m looking at all the sizes available, and I realize that I have no idea whatsoever which size Celia takes exactly.

Pete:           You don’t know her measurements?

Miles:          Off-hand? No he does not.

Pete:           Bad news. What’d you do?

Davis:         At first I tried to use the box cover photos as a guide.

Pete:           No go?

Davis:         No help at all. It’s the same model on every box, no matter the size.

Pete:           So, size doesn’t matter to them either?

Davis:         Apparently. So … while I’m still working out a plan of action, I hear a voice. Someone behind me asks, “How can I help you?”

Miles:          Busted.

Davis:         Absolutely. I don’t know if there is a world record for cringing, but I think I might have set a new one right at that moment.

Pete:           What did she say? Better yet, what did you say?

Davis:         I said I was “Just browsing.”

Pete:           Really? You said that in a brassiere store? You are courageous.

Miles:          How’d she take it?

Davis:         She told me that the bookshop down the street has a nice rack of magazines that might suit my purpose more.

Pete:           Pretty cold …

Davis:         I said, “No. I’m comfortable with your nice rack … the one here in this store. That rack. This rack right here in front of me suits my needs just fine. All these nicely stacked bras.”

Pete:           Good Lord! You must book the confessional a year at a time. How’d you wiggle your way out of that one?

Davis:         We both stood there, quietly staring at each other … and then she smiled and again asked, “How can I help you?

Miles:          At least she’s polite.

Davis:         I’m shopping for a gift for a close friend. An acquaintance. She’s a woman.

Clerk:         Well good for her. What did you have in mind?

Davis:         Breasts.

Clerk:         Oh really?

Davis:         No …no … no … no … no … no … I meant bras.  Bra. One. Just one bra for her … my good close friend.

Clerk:         She couldn’t come with you?

Davis:         Not today. It’s that time of the month … you know.

Clerk:         I’m familiar with the time of the month, but wondering if you are.

Davis:         Of course I am … final exams. It’s exam week and she’s too busy.

Clerk:         Pity. It’s usually a necessity, when selecting the correct bra, to be here in person.

Davis:         This is my surprise, for her.

Clerk:         Your close friend?

Davis:         Right … just really good friends.

Pete:           Polite and congenial.

Davis:         And then she asks the question I’ve been dreading to hear. “What size bra does she need?”

Davis:         What?

Clerk:         What is the size of your friend’s breasts? Bra size? You do know … don’t you? You said you are close friends.

Pete:           What did you say, Davis?

Davis:         Well, nothing at first. But …

Pete:           Nothing? Nothing at all?

Davis:         Nothing at first, but then I replied, “No, actually. I don’t know her numerical size.”

Clerk:         Well, you’ve got to have some idea. I need something to go on … to work with. Otherwise, we’re just going to be groping at straws.

Miles:          She actually said, “groping,” not grabbing? Are you embellishing?

Davis:         She said groping.

Miles:          What a tease.

Pete:           I can’t wait to meet her. What happens next?

Davis:         Well, for some unknown inexplicable reason, I slowly raised up my arms from my side until my hands were approximately chest level.

Pete:           Chest level? Whose chest? The saleslady’s?

Davis:         No. Celia’s. I raise my arms up, stop right around her chest level, and then cup my hands a little before …

Pete:           Before?

Davis:         Giving a little squeeze.

Pete:           Wow!

Miles:          Exciting.

Pete:           Have you ever actually …

Davis:         Absolutely not! We’re just good friends.

Miles:          Typically, friends don’t buy friends underwear … especially the opposite sex friends.

Davis:         Okay. So we are very, very, good friends.

Miles:          Very, very? Not just very?

Davis:         Very, very.

Pete:           But you two haven’t …

Davis:         Absolutely never! She has brown eyes, for Pete’s sake.

Miles:          And?

Davis:         Mine are blue. It would never ever work out. Never. As in NO. We have never ever. Got it?

Pete:           Got it, Mr. Insistent.

Miles:          You know what they say about people who protest too much?

Davis:         No, what?

Miles:          That they protest too much.

Davis:         So she says, “Oh, this is really helpful. Hold your arms still. Stay perfectly still. Don’t move your hands. Olivia … Olivia, can you come over here for a minute? I need your help.”

Davis:         Is that really necessary? Can’t you just figure it out on your own? You look more than capable.

Clerk:         Maybe, but I want a witness. Hey Olivia, can you come over here for a minute?

Olivia:         Just a sec.

Davis:         Seriously. I don’t think we need any help.

Olivia:         What’s up?

Clerk:         This man has a friend …

Davis:         A close friend.

Clerk:         A close friend. He wants to buy her a bra for a gift, but doesn’t know her size … her numerical size. As you can see, he does have a clever approximation.

Olivia:         He sure does. And I am so ever in your debt for calling me over to help. I wouldn’t have missed this for anything. Where’s your cell phone?

Clerk:         Charging.

Olivia:         Bummer. Is that her actual size, or just some wishful thinking on your part?

Davis:         Sorry about that. My hands are relaxed. I am cramping up just a little.

Olivia:         Could you tighten it up a bit? Maybe a little squeeze? There you go. See? That wasn’t so hard, Was it? You’re a natural.

Davis:         Can I put my arms down now?

Olivia:         No. Not yet.

Clerk:         What do you think, Olivia? Mira or Madison?

Olivia:         A close call, but I’ve got to go with Maddie. She’s in the back. I’ll go get her.

Davis:         No. No. Please, could it not be anyone else? This is embarrassing to me.

Olivia:         You want to gift a little support to your friend. Don’t you?

Davis:         Yes.

Clerk:         Well then, Olivia, ask Madison to join us.

Pete:           Women … If they ever gain control of the military, all our wars would be over in a month. They are professionals. So this Maddie woman shows up to help?

Davis:         She did.

Pete:           What’s she got that they don’t?

Davis:         A similar size and shape.

Pete:           To?

Miles:          Celia.

Pete:           And you know this how exactly?

Davis:         Madison Farmer …

Miles:          The Maddie from the step aerobics class? You didn’t mention that before.

Davis:         One and the same.

Miles:          Humiliations galore.

Davis:         It got worse. She and Olivia come out from the storeroom.

Madison:    Well hello there. Davis … isn’t it?

Davis:         Hey there, Maddie.

Clerk:         We think you might be a close match to this gentleman’s close friend.

Madison:    In what way? Is she on to you too?

Olivia:         We are trying to find a good match for her bra size.

Madison:    And?

Clerk:         We need you to step up to the plate, so to speak. It’s all in your hands now, Buddy.

Davis:         So … Madison takes a couple of steps towards me.

Miles:          No mercy.

Madison:    If you make contact with me, I’m calling the cops.

Davis:         Wouldn’t think of trying.

Madison:    We both know that’s not the truth.

Davis:         A misfortune, that’s all it was … nothing but a terrible accident at the gym.

Madison:    We’ll see … Well? What’s the gentleman’s verdict?

Davis:         I do see … Perfection.

Miles:          Amazing.

Davis:         Seriously … it was a total accident. I wasn’t wearing my glasses, and the locker room doors really should be more clearly differentiated from each other.

Madison:    Whatever …

Davis:         You and Celia seem to be pretty much the same size. It’s just a guess.

Madison:    Here’s a nice brand for her. Tiger. A 36-C. A perfect fit.

Davis:         Wait! I was hoping for something that might be half-off.

Clerk:         It’s marked down 40%.

Davis:         I meant less material.

Madison:    Oh really?

Davis:         Well this looks more like a small overcoat. I was hoping for something that jumped out at me.

Olivia:         Is this a present for your friend or you?

Pete:           What did I tell you? What did I say?

Davis:         It’s for her.

Clerk:         And?

Davis:         And I suppose … me. And then the three of them walked into the back storeroom … laughing uncontrollably.

Pete:           Wow! Can I follow you around for a week, Davis?

Davis:         No more than you do now, Pete.

Pete:           Compared to me, you lead a marvelous life.

Davis:         Oh look! It’s my bus … late as usual, but still on time.

 

 

James F. Ross

2014

Posted in Humor, I Said, She Said, Relationships, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Innocence

Boys of summer
Valiant and true
Run safe to home
Retreating for a time
Into forts of wonder

Triumphs and defeats
Shared and savored
Embellished to amusement
Cataloged … stored
Treasured to the end

James F. Ross
2014

Posted in Poetry | Leave a comment

I Said, She Said … On The Level Smooth

“On the level? Although it’s little more than a draft, I’ve made a rough sketch of the crime scene.”

“To scale?”

“Precisely.”

“According to this rendering, it looks as though the puncture wounds were made at 30 and 60 degrees.”

“A lot of damage. Whoever was the architect of this murder needs to have their moral compass re-calibrated.”

“An interesting perspective.”

“I’ve approached it from every conceivable angle.”

“Are you being square with me?”

“Yes. As I said, it’s a rough sketch, but you are certainly free to draw your own conclusions.”

“Thanks, but no can do.”

“Why’s that?”

“I’ve got a plane to catch…”

“That was fun.”

“I love playing Geometric Crime Scene.”

“I love…”

“Yes?”

“I love playing it too.”

“Smooth.”

James F. Ross
2014

Posted in Humor, I Said, She Said, Relationships, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment