Secret Lesson


8 year old Isabelle walked into the kitchen where her father was reading the morning newspaper.

She held a pensive yet excited look on her face.

The father looked up from behind the print and waited for her to announce her presence.

“Daddy?….if I tell you a secret…do you PROMISE and I mean PROMISE not to tell aaaaanyone?”

The father replied, “Well…that depends honey. Is it YOUR secret….or one that someone else asked you to keep?”

“It doesn’t matter! I have to tell someone if I don’t I might explode…I’ve already kept it since yesterday!!” She pleaded.

“But, it does matter. If someone trusted you with a secret…you have to keep that trust or you might lose a friend.” He calmly said.

“Then what do I do???” She frantically stated.

The father thought about as he looked at his daughter in obvious 8 years old distress and came up with a plan.

“There is a way….but only 1 way you can tell your secret and keep the trust with your friend….but to do that I have to tell you my secret that you have to keep. Are you willing to hear my secret AND to keep it?”

” To tell a secret I have to keep a secret?….then I will 2 secrets…yes I’m willing!”

The father shook his head at her mathematical deduction of more is better and said, “Ok, sit here. I have to get a few things.”

She sat as requested and attempted to be patient until he returned.

The father returned with a piece of paper,a pen, and a Mason jar with a lid and placed them on the table.

The father sat opposite his daughter and began.

“Here is what you have to do. Take the pen and write down your secret…to the last detail. Then fold the paper and place it in the jar. Then we will get dressed, take the jar and head to the ocean. Once we get there. I want you to throw the jar as far as you can into the ocean.”

Isabelle interrupted, “But why, Daddy”

“Because we are going to send it to the island of kept secrets.” He replied with a bit of excitement.

“Where’s that?”

“Only the outgoing ocean tide and the kept secret knows the answer to that dear.”

She anxiously asked, “How will I know if it makes it to the island?”

“As long as you forever keep the secret…it will make it safely. If you don’t…..it won’t. Trust me…you’ll know.”

“OK LETS DO IT!!”

He watched as she painstakingly wrote the note. He giggled to himself as he watched her reread it a few times to make sure she got it right. The neatly folded it and wrote secret on the outside.

She then took off the top to the Mason jar and placed the note inside. She then placed to top back on and screwed it as tight as she could.

She then nodded at her father, jumped down and ran to get dressed. He made sure the lid was extra tight and grabbed his keys.

They arrived oceanside.

Isabelle yanked off her seat belt and clutched the jar waiting for her father to exit his seat and come around to get her.

They walked to the end of the pier.

He looked as Isabelle and said,

“You know, I have a few secrets on the island. I’m glad you’re gonna have one too! Whenever you ready…give it a toss.”

Isabelle reared back and threw the jar as hard as she could. It landed in the water with a

PLOOP

“Can we watch it until we can’t see it anymore. Daddy. I’ve never kept a secret before….”

The father smiled and nodded. They sat in silence until the jar floated out of viewing and continued on to its final destination.

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Toopid Moose (the reboot)


The child holding the string cheese triggered a mental flash from her past that she did not remember.

Kind of odd when she thought about it. Not knowing her past was not a new thing. She was adopted from the agency when she was 9. She loved her adoptive parents and felt no need to find out who gave her up or why it was done.

Until she saw the child in the park.

She was going on a stroll through the park to clear her head and enjoy being outside. People were riding bikes, sitting under trees and basking in the warm summer glow. Kids were running around, like kids do, and it made her smile.

She saw a family having a picnic. She glanced over and saw the pretty young girl hold up a strand of string cheese, cock her head sideways and giggle.

That was when the image overtook her vision. It was her, as a 5 year old child, head cocked sideways. The face held a blank expression. She was holding up something and the words she saw herself mouth were, “Toopid Moose”.

She stopped in her tracks. She couldn’t understand what it was. She tried to shake it and just couldn’t do it.

She went home and thought about it. The one thing she could remember was when she lived at the adoption home, she was always watching “Rocky and Bullwinkle”. A cartoon with a flying squirrel and a moose. But it just didn’t fit with the image.

The image wouldn’t go away. In her sleep, she heard her own childhood voice repeat that phrase, “Toopid Moose”. When she looked in the mirror, she would be sitting behind her in child form holding up…..whatever it was with a tilted head and blank face. She had to know what it meant.

To find they answer she went to her adoptive mother and father.

She normally had dinner with them once a week. Upon arrival they knew something was up. She wasn’t herself.

“What’s wrong, honey. You look a little pale. Have you been sleeping well?”

“No Mom I haven’t. Can I ask you a strange question?”

“You know, you can ask me anything.” she replied as she began placing the the dinner plates on the table.

“I’ve been wondering about my childhood…..before you and Dad adopted me….do the words toopid moose ring a bell with…

The plates hit the floor with a crash. Mom lost color and held the chair for support.

“Mom? What is it?” she asked.

“Well, I had a feeling this day would come …..but I prayed to the good Lord that it wouldn’t. Your Father and I can’t be the ones to tell you the truth. The only one who can is your old caretaker from the adoption agency. We made a promise to her to let her tell you. You know how we are about our promises. We keep them. Just like the promise we made to love you as if you came from my womb on the day we adopted you.”

Mom reached into small box and pulled out a piece of paper and handed it to her. ” Here is her address. Go visit her and ask for the truth. She promised she would.”

She left her parents house and went directly to the address. She pulled her car up to the curb and got out. An elderly lady sat on a bench on the patio. As she approached the steps the old woman spoke,

” My, My….I knew it was you the second you got out.”

“it’s been over 15 years since I was adopted. How could you possibly remember me?”

“The look on your face now matches the one you had when you came to us. Bright green eyes, blank expression. You came for the truth, didn’t you?”

“Yes, I keep having this image of me holding up ….string cheese….and saying toopid moose. What does it mean?”

“Sit, child. I have to get something.”

She went inside and returned with an old cigar box. She back back on the bench and placed it beside her.

“Child….When you were brought to us, you were in a state of shock. Your biological mother loved you dearly but could not handle the state of her affairs. Financially, emotionally and spiritually broken she was. You were not a burden to her….she wanted you to have better but did not know how to accomplish it. The more she tried the more depressed she got…….

for right or wrong I took it upon myself to attempt to train you to hide your memories of that night. That cartoon with the moose was the best I could come up with. I had you watch it continually to cloud your memory of the words you always repeated. Toopid Moose. I thought because of your young age you would forget the truth. Eventually the truth always wins out.”

She opened the cigar box and handed her a newspaper clipping…..

The headline read- Single Mother Commits Suicide While Child Watches

Police were dispatched to a home in response to apparent suicide. The woman was found hanging from a noose tied to a basement ceiling rafter. Her young daughter was found in the room. Name withheld due to her being a juvenile…..

A white flash erupted in her vision. A scene from her childhood began to play.

“I need to end this sweetie. Someone will find you. If I could just figure out how to do this knot right….”

She tied her 4th attempt at a noose to the rafter and got up on the chair. She placed her neck into it and kicked the chair out.

And for the fourth time the rope came unloose and she came crashing down.

“Stupid noose. I can’t even kill myself right.”

The child lifted up the first discarded attempt at a noose, tilted her head and said,

“yeah mommy toopid moose.”

The mother became frantic. One more try…..

She picked up the thick rope from the hardware store and REALLY concentrated on the instructions she got online. She tied the square knot around the rafter and pulled it tight. It seemed secure. She calmly figured out the height of the noose she needed and formed it at the other end. She looked at her daughter.

The child looked up, cocked her head, held up another piece of rope and said, “Toopid Moose”

“Hopefully not this time sweetie. I love you” before getting on the chair she picked up the phone and dialed 911, and left the phone receiver lying on the shelf. She got up on the chair and placed her neck in the noose….

“Emergency services, how can we assist you?…..hello….is anyone there….hello….”was heard in a muffled voice

She kicked out the chair. The rope tightened. She struggled for a moment….then swung in the air until she stopped.

The child looked up, holding a piece of rope, and said, “Toopid moose!….. Mommy?….mom meeeee!!…”

Her normal vision returned…and she began to cry. The old woman held her and rocked her like she did when she first met her 19 years before and said,
“There, there child…. It’s over now.”

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This was the first story I wrote on this blog years ago.

Entertainment wise….the world seems to love reboots.

As I attempt to break in my new story writing boots…..

I’m trying on the oldest to see if they still fit.

I hope it caused some sort of stir of emotion, as stories should.

The Fix


The young boy wandered the streets in a frantic daze. His eyes would jet back, forth and he would look behind him to make sure he wasn’t being followed.

He needed a fix.

It seemed, to him, that all the kids at school were experimenting with new things.

He wanted something new, too.

He didn’t fit in and had a hard time making friends because he was transferred from the “bad side of town”.

His clothes weren’t right. His hair wasn’t right.

He just needed something to make him “feel”…..right.

The other day, he overheard talk about a guy nicknamed “the fixer”.

They said he knew a place that had some stuff that would take your mind to places you couldn’t even imagine!

They said he promised that one fix from him and you would be hooked.

No joke!

They talked about going to look for the man with the raven tattoo on his arm, but they were all talk.

He wasn’t.

He was on a mission to get the elusive fix that all the kids were talking about.

He combed the downtown city blocks, glancing at every male arm he could to hopefully catch a glimpse of the raven.

As the heat of the day wore on and perspiration began to drop off his cheek to the concrete below, he knew he needed to take a break from his search.

He glanced across the street and saw a single water fountain at the edge of the downtown walking park.

He crossed the street and jogged up to the fountain, where he pressed and held the button and drank until he thought he would burst.

As he drank, a voice from behind him scared him into stopping.

“Are you planning on draining the cities water supply or are you gonna leave some for others to have?”

The young boy stopped, turned around and began to reply,

“I’m sorry…I was thirst….”

That’s when he noticed the tattoo.

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He stepped out of way and let the man in torn jeans and long hair by.

The man with the tattoo pulled his hair out of the way and drank slowly from the fountain.

The young boy just stared at the tattoo and gulped, waiting for him to turn around.

The man finished drinking, turned around and gave the boy a quizzical look.

“You look like you’ve seen a ghost? You ok?” He asked the boy.

The boy quickly replied before he changed his mind.

“Are you the fixer?”

“Huh?”

“The…the fixer…I heard a man with a raven tattoo has some stuff that promises to take you away for a while….I heard one fix from you…and…and…I would be hooked…are you him.”

The man with the raven tattoo studied the boy.

He then asked him to sit with him on the bench, so they could talk.

“Look, kid..I don’t have “the stuff” as you called it….but I can take you to the place that does. But I have to warn you…..the one fix and hooked deal is real. It’s not one of those new fancy drugs that I hear about. This one has been around…a long time..and isn’t used much anymore…it lost its ‘cool factor’ a long time ago…..but it still works better than anything else. How much money you got?”

The kid shifted his eyes, stood up, turned out his pockets and replied.

“I don’t have any money….”

The man rubbed his tattoo and answered.

“First fix on me…..but here’s the deal. I will take you, but, when you come back for more, which you will, you have to bring a friend. When we get there you will have to talk to the woman who also has a raven tattoo….she monitors the joint to make sure anyone who goes there gets their “fix” in silence…..she will set you up for future fixes. Deal?”

The young man stared up at him and pondered if he could really handle what he was getting himself into. In defiance to his normal unconfident self, he stuck out his hand and said,

“Deal.”

The man stuck out his arm with the raven tattoo and shook his hand gently with his hand.

“Let’s go.”

They walked two blocks down from the park, and up a stairwell that was in between two buildings.

At the top was a clearing of trees that had a walkway and two flights of stairs that led up to an old building.

A few people hung around outside.

They each nodded to the man with the raven tattoo as he and the boy passed.

No words. Just nods.

As he opened the large oak front door, the young man was stuck by a silence he was not used to. At first it was uncomfortable but soon it began to soothe him.

They walked up to a large desk, where a woman with long red hair sat.

The man with the raven tattoo cleared his throat.

The woman looked up and brushed her hair behind her ear, revealing a small raven tattoo on her neck trailed by stars.

“This kid is looking hit his first fix. I told him we could fix him up.”

She looked at the boy and then at the man and replied,

“Kinda young…isn’t he?”

The man shrugged his shoulders and answered,

“Hey…he came to me…if we want to keep this place going, they need to get hooked as young as possible. I told him first fix was on me…you set him up for a return visit?”

“I suppose…take him in…and don’t bother the others…I’m unusually busy today.”

The man with the raven tattoo led him to an opening that was covered by a curtain.

As he opened the curtain, the young mans eyes grew wide. He slowly looked in each direction and asked,

“What is this place?”

The man with the raven tattoo knelt down to be able to quietly speak into his ear.

“This place is the only fix you will ever need, it will open your mind, expand your imagination and take you wherever you want to go…..welcome to the library.”

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Call Waiting 5- Highway To Haven


To start at the beginning, type “call waiting” into the search bar to retrieve it and the corresponding parts from the archives.
**************

The trip to Haven was only about 50 miles, but the excitement of being amateur investigators had made Macy sleepy.

As Patricia turned onto the highway, Macy drifted off into a dream state while she clutched the 1919 telephone with the frayed cord.

She found herself in the same dimly lit hallway that her mother was in while in her own dream, facing the closed bedroom door.

She heard the voices of a man and woman arguing on the other side.

“I TOLD YOU THAT YOUR GIFT OF SEEING INTO THE FUTURE WAS ONLY FOR MY USE….NOT FOR EVERY WRETCH IN THE TOWN!!”
He screamed.

“But…but..I can help people with my gift of sight….save them…” She replied

Macy recognized the voice as Penny from the telephone. She reached for the handle and thought about opening the door….then reconsidered…she remembered what her Mother told her about privacy. Instead, she put her eye up to the skeleton keyhole to catch a peek.

20140112-220943.jpgWhat she saw was a man in old time clothes, red faced and yelling.

The argument continued….

“SAVE THEM?….TOO BAD YOU CANT SAVE YOURSELF…GOD DAMN IT PENELOPE I TOLD YOU WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF YOU EVER DEFIED ME AGAIN!”

Macy watched as she saw the man pick up a phone, that looked just like the one she found in the attic, that was on the desk beside him, ripped it from the wall, and began to swing it and move around the room.

As he went out of her sightline in the keyhole, the woman with the voice of Penny came into view, wearing an old time dress, ducking the swings with her arms out in front of her.

Macy saw the face that went with the voice that she knew as Penny…..

And awoke with a scream because the face…was that of her Mother.

Patricia was startled by the scream in the back seat of the car. She looked in the rear view mirror at her daughter, who was ghostly pale, pulled over to the side of the road and said,

“What happened, honey? Are you alright?”

Macy looked around the car, regained a little color in her face and replied,

“Bad dream, Momma…real bad.”

“You still want to finish this trip or should I turn around?”

Macy thought about it and replied,

“We gotta finish it Momma, now more than ever we have to free her from wherever she is…”

Patricia paused to try and read her daughters face. Unable to catch a bead on what she was thinking she said,

“Ok…..It’s back on the highway to Haven then.”

Macy half heartedly smiled and gazed out the window as her mother pulled back out onto the road.
_______

They drove another 10 miles and came across a sign right before they entered the town that read,

“Welcome to Haven- Where a Penny goes a long way!”

Patricia drove by the sign slowly and couldn’t help but get a chill.

They decided to drive down the main thoroughfare to look for a place to eat and to ask for directions to the home movers location.

Macy seemed to still be in a daze and did not notice what her Mother was noticing.

Each shop on the main strip was named after Penny. There was “The Penny Arcade”, “The Copper Penny” bar and grille, “The Penny Slots Storage”. “Penny Coat Junction” department store and soda fountain.

She decided to stop at the “Penny Counter Deli”.

Patricia gets out of the car and opens the back door so Macy can get out.

Macy gets out but leaves the phone in the car.

For it being late afternoon, the streets are deserted. The bell on the deli door goes off as they enter the establishment. There are no customers. One gentleman is wiping the counter next to the soda fountain.

The gentleman looks up and stops wiping and just stares at Patricia with his mouth open until her and Macy sit at the counter in front of him.

“This is some kind of joke right?” He says. “There is a hidden camera here somewhere for some Hollywood TV show…right?”

“What are you talking about?” Patricia asks, “we came in to get something to eat and to ask where the Haven house movers company is located.”

“But….you look just like her….” He says dryly.

“Like who?” She irritatingly asks.

“Like…Penny…the woman every shop in town is named after…look” he grabs the menu from the holder and puts the front cover in front of her. In the center of the cover is Penny, who, with the exception of the hairstyle and clothes is Patricia.

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Patricia looked at Macy, then back at the man and asked,

“So….what’s the story behind this woman and why all the fuss with her?”

The man’s eyes light up with the anticipation that he was about to tell the story of Penny to the mirror image of Penny.

He cleared his throat, took a deep breathe and began.

To be continued…..

Motion Shift 2, The Letter


This is part 2 to Motion Shift, for part 1
Press-

Here

It has been 18 years since the Jansen’s have seen their son, Michael.

The last they saw of him, was 2 days after his release from the mental hospital at age 12.

They were good parents who had no where else to turn. Their once bright and loving child changed seemingly overnight, and became someone they didn’t even recognize.

For one, he insisted his name was Dave…just Dave.

When they would call for him, he would throw a fit and say,

“WHO IS THIS MICHAEL YOU SPEAK OF? I AM DAVE…JUST DAVE!!”

From there he began to say he saw things…the dead in spirit form, that stole energy from the living.

He would sit in the park and watch people….for hours. He wouldn’t speak…he wouldn’t eat.

He would watch….just watch.

Until he saw someone twitch or swat at a flying insect.

He would then rush over to them and assault them by trying to shake them by the shoulders and say-

“SPIRITS BE GONE. LEAVE THIS SOUL ALONE!!”

The Jansen’s were not well off, but they were not poor either. Just a working class family trying to get by.

In order to avoid charges from the assaulted, they agreed to have him psychologically evaluated at the state run mental health hospital and have him committed for 90 days.

He ran away shortly after his release.

Their 12 year old boy. No money, no identification, no idea what the world was like.

It has been 18 years since then. The Jansen’s never gave up hope.

Their hope was answered by a knock at the door.

The mailman handed them a certified letter addressed to them.

The sender info was in the top left corner. It read-

Dave….just Dave.

They closed the door and returned to the sofa.

They looked at each other with concerned eyes.

Before opening the letter, Mr. Jansen took his wife’s hands in his and said,

“Whatever is that is in this letter….just know that we know he is not dead. I love you.”

The wife wiped tears from her eyes, took a deep breathe, exhaled and opened the letter.

The letter was written in meticulous cursive writing-

Dear Parental Figures,

The calendar has changed many times since I last saw you in person, but know that I have seen you many times. I am far from sight but not far enough away to where I can not watch over you. I have kept you safe from the motion blurs. It has taken me years to learn their purpose. It was through this learning that I am able to use them to watch your progression in life without me.

I am a marked man. The keepers of the blur are continually after me. I came to this realization after many encounters with the state run mental providers. They work for the blurs. They try to keep me from learning their ways.

This world is bugged.

Clouds of vapor are sent through the vents of those places to read my mind. They have radio antenna threaded into the bed sheets to listen to me dream.

This world is not real.

I have tried to return to the place that was once home. Each time I am stopped by the aura dome that surrounds the block.

I continue to circle the perimeter in wide expanses.

It has taken me far and earned me many labels.

The people of this world call me-

Junkie
Schitzo
Freak
Crazy

I long for a place where I can be Dave.

Just Dave.

This letter was scanned and void of all measures of tracking.

Mrs. Jansen looked at her husband and broke out into tears.

Mr. Jansen just held her and rocked her and tears of his own ran down his cheek.

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The Shine


“You are a human interest reporter and the last 3 stories I have gotten from you do not hold my human interest!” The editor screamed.

“Dad, it’s not my fault…this city sucks and doesn’t have any interesting humans living in it.” The reporter retorted.

The editor sighed, calmed down a bit, and looked at his young reporter son dead in the eye and spoke.

“Look son, you think just because you work for me that I am supposed to let this mediocre writing slide by? When you are here…you are a reporter, not my son. Go find me a story worth printing and give me a reason to pay you for it!!”

The young reporter stomped out of his Father’s large office and out of the building, determined to find something worth writing about.

The kid was just a few months out of college with his journalism degree in hand when his Father hired him.

Sure he barely graduated, but as the old saying goes, “A ‘D’ still gets the degree.”