“A really, really, bad pick-up line…”

By

Tina Nelson

It was a chilly and bleak November day in Minnesota.  Normally, I love bleak days but on this particular day I wasn’t especially happy with my life.

Too many people who should be nice to me…weren’t.

Too many people who should appreciate me…weren’t.

Too many people who should love me a lot…or even ‘just a little more’…don’t.

And the worst part about this was that I couldn’t understand why.

If I actually thought that the problem was with me, I would have done something…anything to change the situation.  But it wasn’t me.

I had spent many hours soul searching and many hours asking questions…trying to know what it was that I was doing wrong…or not doing right.  But no answers…so no solutions.

So I got into my car and took a little drive down to River’s Edge Falls, a wonderful little park in the heart of Minneapolis, to watch the icy, cold water race fiercely over the rocks and then crash down to the bottom.

It was always a soothing place for me to visit but unfortunately, I found I was coming here more often…needing more and more comfort.

Sigh.

The park was beautifully deserted.  Good.  Mondays are like that.

I could just lean against the ancient stone wall and watch the water crash down…over and over…the rhythm so relaxing and the deafening noise somehow comforting and calming.

I knew I would get my focus back…re-charge…decide the correct path and take it.  I’d figure it out…I always did.  I wasn’t born yesterday.   I had some life skills.

“Hey there little lady, how would you like to come with me to those bushes over there and warm me up on this chilly day.”

The man’s voice was mean and angry.  His words slurred.  Could I feel a tiny prick of a knife in my back…?  No matter.

As I slowly turned, I reached into my inside jacket pocket and pulled out my loaded Smith & Wesson .38 Special revolver that I always carried…because…why not?

And then I shot him through the heart.  Twice.

No one heard the shots as I watched him fall to the ground…left hand still clutching a very sharp-looking steak knife.

“Fuck …you…” he croaked as the blood flowed quickly out of his heart and in seconds he was dead.

“Apparently not…” I said and I walked back to my car.

The End

 

THE KIDNAPPING OF WESLEY

“Did I just say “kidnapping?”

By

Tina Nelson

When you are hopelessly in love, you will do anything.

You have no control.

You are ruled by your ever demanding heart.

You ignore the rights and listen to the wrongs.

You BEG your friends at recess to help you.

Did I just say “recess”?

You show off your most attractive physical feature (in my case…my legs) by not wearing corduroy pants under your pink dress when it is terribly cold outside even though your mother told you that you’d better wear them…or else.

Did I just say “corduroy”?

You brag about a lifestyle that doesn’t exist…except for the “pancakes” part.

“Did I just say “pancakes”?

And when all that fails…you lie.

“So, Jimmy…and you too, Wesley…my mother has said I can bring two friends home for lunch today and I have picked you guys because I know you are the best of friends…and I want to be your best friend too!”

Seeing the doubt in their eyes, you recklessly continue…

“My mother makes the best pancakes in the world!!”

And so on that Spring day in 1950 at noon, me, Jimmy (dearest love of my life) and his best friend, Wesley walked, ran and skipped the seven blocks from Cherryhill Elementary School…where we were all first graders…to my house where my mother was waiting for me to come home for lunch.

She had a tuna fish sandwich with soft Wonder white bread (it was 1950, after all) an apple cut in slices and a glass of whole milk (to build strong bones) waiting for me…just like she did every day since that was my very favorite.

There was no pancake batter sitting on the counter waiting to be added to a sizzling, hot skillet.

There was only one plate on the table…not three.

Suddenly, Jimmy stopped skipping and burst out, “I can’t go to your house!  If I don’t come home for lunch, my ma will kill me!!!!!!”

And then, Jimmy, the love of  my life, turned and ran like the wind down the street towards his house.

“I’m still coming!” said Wesley to me.  “I love pancakes!”

So Wesley and I slowly trudged the one more block to my house.  Okay.  Okay.  Only I trudged.

We dragged ourselves up the back stairs of the duplex where I lived.  Okay.  Okay.  Only I dragged.”

“MOM!!!” I shouted as I banged open the back-screen door.

“I brought my friend Wesley home for lunch…can we have pancakes?  I sort of promised.”

Did I just say “sort of”?

I walked further into the kitchen and sat down at my place at the table.

Wesley stood shyly by the door…not knowing where he should sit…a scared smile starting to appear on his little black face.

“Did I just say “black”?

My mother came out from the living room where she had been “hoovering” while she waited for me to come home for lunch.

Did I just say “hoovering”?

“Oh, hi mom.  This is Wesley.  I invited him and Jimmy Preston (the love of my life, although I didn’t say that, then) home for lunch.”

“I told them we could have your fantastic pancakes.  Jimmy changed his mind and went home.  But Wesley didn’t.”

“Hello…um…Judy’s mom.”  Said Wesley who didn’t know my last name or unfortunately…as it turned out later…his own phone number.

“Hello, Wesley! said my mother, giving Wesley one of her big, friendly smiles.  My mom was always happy and friendly.  Everyone loved my mom…and her pancakes.

She walked over to the kitchen table and pulled out a chair for Wesley.

“You can sit here, dear.” she said.  And as Wesley walked over to sit in the chair, she moved over to the kitchen counter, reached up to take down her big “pancake” bowl, grabbed it and then paused…as she looked at the two of us sitting at the kitchen table.

“Your mother knows you’re here, doesn’t she, Wesley?” asked my mother.

“No, ma’am” said Wesley politely.  Then he slowly tilted his head to the side…perhaps wondering for the first time if his choice to have pancakes this day was not a good one.

Here is the part where my mother swears a lot, drops the pancake bowl and somehow keeps smiling…

Here is also the part where Wesley’s unknown phone number complicates things…

“I think there is an eight and a six…” offered Wesley hopefully.

And further… no one at Cherryhill is available to answer the frantic calls made by my mother…since they were very busy looking for the missing Wesley.

Soon there were a lot of policemen and police cars…but no sirens.

“Did I just say policemen”?

I saw Wesley’s mother.  She looked like she had been crying but my mom was hugging her so I guess everything was all right.  No one was hugging Wesley or me.

The front-page headline of the paper the next day said:

“6-Year-Old Boy Kidnapped By Best Friend.”

The smaller headline had a quote from Wesley.

“I just wanted some pancakes!”

Jimmy Preston (the love of my life) moved at the end of first grade and I never saw him again.

P.S.  We never got any pancakes.

The End

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I just ate less…”

**DISCLAIMER** 

This whole series of posts (and I believe there are only six) are generally for older women (over 60) who want to lose less than 50 pounds.  I imagine it would apply to all women…but if you are younger, you can try it also.  It will just work quicker…

This is NOT a guide to eating healthy or a guide to “healthful eating/living”.

This is simply how I have lost almost 14 pounds in 6 months (beginning last October) and am still on track to lose 11 more pounds by November.

So, if you need to lose 100 pounds or if you are looking for emotional guidance as you lose weight or if you believe you can actually lose 15 pounds in 2 weeks…STOP READING!!

**END OF DISCLAIMER**

For everyone else…

One day last month (May) I was chatting with my 46-year-old daughter.  I am 75 going on…

I mentioned to her that I had lost 13.5 pounds since last October.

She actually stopped what she was doing…she was eating a piece of her excellent homemade cinnamon roll…and looked at me.

I was really surprised because she normally doesn’t pay much attention to anything I say…you know how busy these young people are…

“How did you do that?” she asked me…in a TRULY interested voice.

And…she really wanted to know…

“Well,” I answered slowly, “I just ate less…”

“And I tried to walk a little every day.”

“Huh.”   She said thoughtfully…and I was so encouraged by this outburst of interest and excitement that I thought that maybe I should share my weight-loss process with others.

My goal here is to tell you what happened to me and I don’t see why it can’t happen to you.

My blog is mainly for publishing my short stories…not for giving out weight-loss advice…but this is really good stuff…so I hope it works for you (it will)…and you can also search around and read some of my short stories if you wish.

So, as my delightful 11-year-old granddaughter said recently before giving a very impressive speech to a large group of people, “Let’s just dive right in and get started.”

 

“FIRST LOVE.”

By

Tina Nelson

(The Paperback Edition…)

You really can’t go back…can you?

They say you never forget your first love.  I didn’t.  But maybe I should have.  Sometimes when you play with fire, you get burned.

******

Prologue:

He stood across from me and I wondered why we were in this strange, smoky place with all these odd people milling aimlessly around murmuring words but not really saying anything.

He had his usual self-confident, self-assured smile on his face.  I loved that smile.  As he leaned toward me, perhaps to kiss me, someone in the suddenly silent room whispered for all to hear.  “She’s departed from her mind, you know.”

He hesitated then, tilting his head to the side, placing his hands lightly on my shoulders.

“I guess there will be no romancing tonight…”  His smile had disappeared from his face.

“Not me.  Not me,” I said softly.

Then he drew me to him, holding me so close…and safe…just like before…all those years ago.

“It’s not too late then?”  He asked with a wondering that lingered in the air.  His words brushing my ear so only I could hear.

“No,” I said quietly.  “I’ve dreamed about you for so long.  I thought I would never see you again.”

He pulled back a little, those dark eyes searching mine, and then…pausing slightly as he had always done…kissed me gently on my lips.

And then I woke up…cheeks wet with tears…

 

 

 

“I just ate less…among other things…”

UNBELIEVABLE!!!

WAY TO GO…YAY, ME!!!

140.0 !!!!!

Okay.  Ten minutes have passed…which (in my humble opinion) is quite long enough to celebrate this current weight loss victory.

MY NEW WEIGHT GOAL:  BY DECEMBER 25, 2020…drum roll please…is…

139.0

Now…I know there are “people out there” who may think that losing one pound in approximately 25 days is a ridiculous goal…but…

I would beg to disagree.

For all the countless people in this world…achieving a goal of any kind is awesome…

But if you are a person (like me) who struggles with weight loss or weight gain…you know, agree and understand the impact of losing just one pound…

…and more importantly…keeping that one pound “gone”.

The irony of this most recent move from 140.6 to 140.0…is that I can’t figure out how I did it…

Oh.  Wait…  🙂

“I just ate less…among other things…”

Have a nice day…

 

 

 

“I just ate less…among other things…”

“WOO HOO!!!!”

140.06 pounds…two days in a row!!!

I wanted to tell everyone this fantastic news yesterday…but then I thought…some really deep thoughts…

“What if this is just some quirk in the universe?  A miss-alignment of the planets?  A black hole…whatever…?”

I personally blame the ‘black hole phenomenon’ for everything…good and bad…because…well…why not?”

So yesterday I decided to just stop eating…just to make sure the weight would stay off…

HAH!!  Just kidding.  I actually ate normally…and may I suggest the “thin” little chocolate cookies with the white stuff in the middle”?  Okay I will.  Just one.  Dipped into coffee…so it doesn’t break a crown?  So yummy!

However…back to the beginning…two nights ago I was SO DAMN TIRED!  

Even though I have gotten just a “slightly bit older” (I have such a way with words, don’t I?) I don’t always know when to stop doing things and just take a little nap…

So…two nights ago I got into bed and because I was so EXHAUSTED, I skipped the small bowl of potato chips I now have (instead of the wheat crackers I used to have).

Will you quit yelling at me and let me finish? 

Chips can be very good for you…mentally…and…and emotionally! I’m pretty sure about that…

And…WAIT!!!!  I almost forgot!!  This little bedtime snack actually stopped my acid reflux!!!

SO…ANYWAY…I read one page and my eyes started to close.  My head started to droop.

And before I could even put one chip into my mouth, I shut off the light and went to sleep.

Weight in the morning was 140.6!

I danced around  for about 10 seconds… make that 3… (you read the ‘slightly bit older’ part didn’t you?) and then wondered why my weight has gone down. 

Being the unrecognized genius that I am…I then remembered that…

I had skipped the chips!  

So…last night I did the same thing and this morning I ran…I am so funny…I dragged myself slowly to the kitchen, eyes still almost shut and weighed myself…

140.06 pounds!!!!!!

Don’t you just love science?

Have a nice day…

 

 

 

“I just ate less…among other things…”

“I AM A TOTAL FAILURE!”

Well…perhaps not a total failure…

But damn close.  I just weighed myself this morning and I weight 141.2 pounds.

I KNOW RIGHT?  This is the result of chocolate cake, candy bar(s), popsicle(s) potato chips and thinking I was too busy to walk…and that was just the first day of my slide into hell.

However…I apparently was not too busy to gain weight:(

This is what happens when you become consumed…with things that you really cannot control.  It doesn’t matter what those things are…the principle is the simple truth.

And, frankly and honestly I am way too far down my journey to “not know better.”  I did know and now I have to face the consequences.

I have always lived by this rule:  For every action there is a consequence.  Not complicated.  Not profound.  Basic common sense.

So.  Let’s keep this short.  NOW WHAT…

Well…I begin again.  Eating less and walking in the rain.

I have and I did.

Have a nice day…

“I just ate less…among other things…”

“139”…no change…

but still hopeful…

My new media entry on the opening page of my blog  is not meant to be pessimistic…

But rather…optimistic in that it shows spaces for possibilities…like if I thought really hard….I could fill them in and even add more!! 

Not that there was a choice mind you…but still…

It’s Friday, October 30, 2020 and in a few short days we will have a new president/leader in this country…OR if notI will begin having two candy bars after dinner and resume smoking…because…well…why the fuck not…life will be over…relatively speaking.

However…closing here on a positive note…I tried (BECAUSE I COULDN’T JUST LEAVE IT ALONE, COULD I???…) a trial run on our freeway system anticipating a return trip to the doctor’s office later in the week and MISSED the exit sign… “11C…11C…11C!!!!!!!”

I took 11B…

And…ended up incorrectly following the “light rail” construction site detour.  JFC…

It was bad.  I won’t lie to you…but it could have been worse.  I could have ended up in Wisconsin…

 This would have broken most people…but not me…

I obviously survived.  Somehow I knew that my life was not going to end…either literally or metaphorically…on some fucked up freeway system in the heartland of America.

See?  I filled in line one already…

Have a nice day…

 

 

 

“A story of death…”

 

(A true Minnesota story…)

This is what happens when 18 zillion inches of snow fall to earth in the autumnal days of October…and foolish you go outside even though your wife tells you “Don’t do it…”

So yesterday I was sitting here writing and looking outside my patio doors and the birds were flying past like it was a damn freeway during rush hour.

I was busy…writing…so I didn’t get up to investigate. I would have failed miserably as an investigative reporter…

THIS morning I walked over to see if any of the 18 zillion inches of snow had melted (some had) and I happened to look down…and saw a broken sprinkler head…except it wasn’t a broken sprinkler head…

It was a robin. Deader than a door nail. It’s little feet pointed straight up. Wings slightly fluffed. Red breast looking almost alive… I couldn’t see his head…under the snow…I hope.

So now I know why all the birds were flying by my door yesterday…it was a “fly by funeral”.

Today…like just now…I saw one robin walk stoically by my window heading for the dead robin…which was out of my current range of sight. It was a female robin. Perhaps this was “the wife”.

I know just what she said as she looked down at his little dead body… maybe even pecking his cold, frozen corpse for emphasis…

She said, “I told you not to go outside…but noooooo....you had to get one last worm before we left for Texas.”

Is there a moral to this story? Yes. She’s always right…

P.S. I was going to attach a photo of Mr. Dead Robin (not that I could actually do this with any semblance of professionalism) but chose not to…since after looking again at Mr. Dead Robin…I don’t think there actually IS a head. You’re welcome…

Have a a nice day…

“I just ate less…among other things…”

“I can’t believe I didn’t just kill him…

OMG!!!!!”

So.  My Husband needed to see a dermatologist for some odd growth removal on his jaw…don’t worry…it was nothing.

However, a consultation was needed in addition to the procedure so we were looking at two long journeys.   The office was in an unfamiliar suburb several miles away.

Now…I personally like to take the non-freeway road option on my map app whenever I can.

Even though I know I am a very competent driver I also know that others are often times not…and they generally pass me even when I’m going 70-80 MPH…in a 65MPH zone.

Yes!!!!   I do know that I am currently speeding at this point…but only a little…and these idiots are passing me anyway!!!!

Now this particular non-freeway road option was unusually complex and winding… with a couple of signage errors (not my fault)…so that I unfortunately made a couple of wrong turns.   A couple of minutes were lost…whatever. 

Things like this do not bother me at all…  Husband, however…is another story. 

Husband apparently had something important to do when we returned home that day.

Note:  He had nothing important to do when we returned home that day. 

However…in the interest of keeping Husband happy…see how nice I am?…I mentioned to  Him that I happened to notice a sign to an entrance ramp for a major freeway that could get us home a tad sooner.

I did this before looking at my map app… THAT WAS MY SECOND MISTAKE.  (My first mistake…involved wedding vows…but I digress.)

“Oh.  YES!!!  We MUST take this route home!!” He said gleefully.   

While He is getting ‘consulted’ about his slice and dice procedure…I looked at our return trip on my map app…via freeway road option.  Oh my…

I want you to now imagine 6 strands of cooked spaghetti, cut up into two or three pieces and then whimsically thrown on a dinner plate. 

Detailed directions accompanying this “map photo” went something like this…

Go right, go left, go right, go right again, take the third left, go left, go back, go around, go left again, go to Hell.

(I should mention here that I have just a teeny, tiny vision problem…when it comes to reading signs…at a distance…going 70 MPH.

And also…sometimes I occasionally confuse…just momentarily mind you…right and left…but never red or green…okay there was that one time but that was all.)

Suffice it to say…as I was desperately trying to figure out where the hell the EAST entrance ramp was  and which lane (there were 4) I needed to be in right now in order to access it…(going 55 MPH) LIKE EVERYONE ELSE…yeswe ARE ALL EXCEEDING THE SPEED LIMIT!!!)

Husband says to me…in a tone that suggested that he had absolutely nothing else going on in his little mind) as I am frantically trying to read and recognize signs…and pay attention to…I don’t know…EVERYTHING…and NOW going 60 MPH LIKE EVERYONE ELSE…

“Can you spray the windows?  I can’t see very good…there’s a little smudge here…right in front of me…”  He points…

“YOU CAN’T SEE VERY GOOD???…  

I  AM SO CLOSE TO CAUSING A MULTI-CAR CRASH… KILLING US…OR AT THE VERY LEAST CAUSING SERIOUS BODILY HARM TO EVERYONE…SO I CAN GET YOU HOME 5 MINUTES SOONER…AND THERE’S A LITTLE SMUDGE IN FRONT OF YOU????”

There wasn’t a competent judge in this world who would have thrown me in jail had I just brained him on the spot…but then…the definition of competent these days is a little sketchy… right?

I didn’t want to take a chance.

Have a nice day…

“Yeah…me too.”

I picked up my phone and called his number.  Again.

It hadn’t changed in over 30 years.

I had called it so many times I knew it by heart…and I always ended the call before entering the last number.

But not this time.  This time…I forced myself to finish..

It rang seven times.  I waited…seven times.  My heart beating just a little faster after each ring.

And after each ring…my other hand…as it had done so many times before…moved a little to disconnect.  But not this time. 

“Hello…”

It was him!

My God…he sounded so young!  I hadn’t expected that…

Suddenly the years disappeared and we were both seventeen again and he was asking me…to go to the football game…to go to a movie…to go to dinner at Freddie’s…or…or…

…to find out if I was pregnant…and then when hearing I was not…laughing nervously with me in relief.

Now…I couldn’t speak.  I didn’t know what to say.  This was a mistake.  I had made a terrible mistake.

What if he had forgotten me?

I couldn’t bear that…my heart would shatter into a million pieces…dreams vanishing in a split second.

I had waited too long.

But then…

“Riley?”  His voice was now urgent, intense….

My hand started to shake so hard, I dropped the phone. I grabbed at it with both hands.

“How did you…?”  I whispered but then stunned into silence.

“Oh, Riley…” he said…ever so softly…and I could tell he was starting to smile.

“I’ve kept track of you…I’ve waited for this call for so long…for you to…”   Then suddenly his voice broke and I could hear the tears in his eyes.

“Yeah?”  I could barely speak…my voice cracking as well.

“Are you…okay?”  That familiar deep voice was back…but sounding a little hesitant…perhaps wondering if he had the right to even ask…now…after all this time.

“I’m okay…” I sighed.  I could breathe again.  It would be all right.  Somehow I knew…it would be all right.

“God, I’ve missed you, Riley.”

“I’ve missed you…”

“It’s been almost 40 years…”

“I know…”  My words dropped into the depths of unspeakable anguish.  The pain of so many lost days and nights slashed like a razor into my heart and would not let me say more…

“Riley…?”

“Yeah?”  I struggled to answer as hot tears were streaming down my cheeks.

“I still love you…I still love you, Riley.”

“Yeah…me too.”

The End…

 

 

“I just ate less…among other things…”

“Okay… Here’s the deal…”

I am not dead!!  Woo Hoo!!!  Super!!!

That being said…what I have been doing is… writing/publishing my latest short story…“One guy…One girl…One motorcycle or…”  which…

…is appearing…somewhere in this blog…

Do not even ask where…because I don’t know how to tell you how to just push a button and get there…because…because…I just don’t know…)

I (personally) think it’s just a miracle I managed to mentally, emotionally and spiritually figure out how to use the new BLOCK  EDITOR! *

*(Okay, I am not really using it…I just push that little ‘classic’ square and go from there…DO NOT TELL ANYONE!!!)

And now before I begin my next story…which is Christmas (holiday) themed/cookie related…I am making a checklist of all the boring  stuff I have to do before I can start writing again…and  one of the items on my list is: LOSE  10 pounds…5 pounds…1 more fucking pound…

If you recall (or care) I was stuck at 140 pounds FOREVER…AND…I had been and am still refusing to give up my daily chocolate bar…and a couple of potato chips…(Oh…stop shaking your head…)

BUT in spite of all my horrible addictions, I somehow magically have lost one pound and now weigh… 139 pounds.!  Yay Me!!

AND…this is not just some… “One day I forgot to eat!!!”  deal...which I have done and really should never.. ever do again…but that’s another tale for another day…

So…without my “not-eating all day diet”…I am consistently weighing in at 139 pounds.

NOW…the next thing on my ‘TO DO’ list is:

Oh…I even hate to put it in print because then it becomes SO FINAL.  Okay.  Here goes…

I HAVE TO CLEAN MY HOUSE…  There.  I said it.  Everyone happy now???  

Have a nice day…

“One guy…One girl…One Motorcycle or…”

“Sometimes the truth can be

so boring…”

Final Chapter…

“…SHELLEY!!!”

Franny shouted the name out so loud, two guys sitting at the bar near us turned around. 

Franny composed herself and in a normal, sane voice…continued…

“Shelley…meet Stanley…the nicest bartender in the city of Minneapolis…and the lousiest bumper pool player.  I’ve made a fortune off of him!

I finally found the courage to actually look up at Stanley and I tried very hard to appear casual and…you know…over 21.

“Hey.  Nice to meet you, Stanley.”

“Same…uh, it’s Shelley…right?” He said laughing.

“Yup.” I said confidently as I noticed him getting ready to take our order.  Maybe he wouldn’t even ask to see my ID…could I get that lucky?

Franny ordered first.

“I’ll have a small tap beer and a small cheese pizza.”

Stanley looked over at me.  I wanted to say, “I’ll have a Coke…” but I really did want a beer…so…in for a penny in for a pound…

“You know…I’ll have the same…and an order of onion rings, please.”  I am so very polite.

“Okay, ladies, I will place your order and get your beers for you.”  He ripped off the order slip and turned to walk away…but then…but then…

He turned back to us…

“Oh hey…we’ve got a new owner as of last month and he’s pretty careful about underage drinking here, so he’ll be over to check ID’s in a couple of seconds.  I’ll be back soon with your drinks.”  And then he left.

“Dammit!  I thought you were good to go.” said Franny.

“That’s it, I’m leaving.  I can’t do this, Franny.  I’m a nervous wreck.  I just want to go home…I’ll call a cab.  No problem.”  I made a motion to get up.

“Cooper, don’t worry!  You’ll be fine.  Your ID looks almost just like you…and you really do look twenty-three…especially in this light.”

“Just be cool…”  Franny reached across the table and patted my hand.

“Hey…do you want to hear something funny?  Bob asked me on the way back here if you had a ‘drinking problem’ since you made such a big deal out of ordering a Coke at the restaurant.”

“Oh, yeah?” I said…half listening to her as I was digging in my purse for my wallet…and… my fake driver’s license.

“So, what did you say?” I said.

“Oh, I just told him the truth…that you weren’t twenty-one.”

My head flew up and I reached across the table to put my hand over Franny’s mouth.

“Franny!!  Quiet!!”  I whispered loudly and looked around but Franny just ignored me, batted my hand down and kept talking…

“Oh, stop…no one heard me.” she said giggling.  “I wonder what time Roger and his friends will show up…”

Nothing ever bothered Franny…she was always so happy and positive.  It’s what I loved about her.  It’s why she was my best friend.

I relaxed a little…glanced down at my ‘fake license’…I guess it did look kind of like me.  And then I looked up to agree with Franny…

But her mouth had fallen open and her eyes had widened in horror as she gasped…

“OH MY GOD!!  I’ll be damned!!”

I didn’t think twice.  Whatever was going to happen next was not going to happen to me…I was completely done with this day.

I grabbed my purse, slid across the leather seat of the booth and started for the door.  But just as I reached for the handle, a hand grabbed my arm.

“Excuse me, young lady.  Are you even old enough to be in here?  Let’s see some ID.”  The voice was loud and angry.

Oh.  Fuck!!  I wrestled my arm free and without looking back I yanked open the door.

“I’m leaving!  I’m leaving!”  I yelled to the guy over my shoulder and I almost ran outside.

“Not before you give me your phone number!” he said and followed me out.

What was going on?  Was this guy some kind of psycho?

In the dancing Fall shadows of a late September afternoon…and feeling safely ‘legal’ now that I stood on a street in Minneapolis and not in some bar that required me to be something I was not, I angrily whirled around.

I found myself looking into the very intense, laughing blue eyes of the new owner of The Friendly Inn.

Or…as I had come to know him just a short time ago…’Hank’…who was now wearing a white chef’s apron that said, “Yes, I AM the cook” over his raggedy white tee shirt and jeans.

Stunned…I, of course, swore madly.

“What the hell is going on?  Who are you anyway?”  I shouted at him, not enjoying the smirk on his face one bit.

“Well,” he said and pointed to his apron…

“I’m Hank Sullivan.  And as of two and a half weeks ago…the new cook and owner of The Friendly Inn.”

He reached up to block the sun’s rays from hitting his eyes and I noticed his left hand where there was now a simple gold wedding band resting on his third finger.

“And…I guess you’re also still somebody’s “faithful” husband as well…” I said accusingly.

I knew who had the upper hand right now…and it was not Mr. Married Guy…no matter how cute he was when he grinned…and he was grinning now…from ear to ear.

“Cheating on your wife is not funny.” I said indignantly.  “How would you feel if she was biking all afternoon with a strange young man?”

I was on a roll.  When you’re right…you’re right.  And I was definitely right!

“Plus…it’s not fair to women like me who…who…trust that you’re not married if you ask them to go for a ride on their motorcycle…”

I knew I was on shaky ground here since I had sort of instigated the whole “going for a ride idea” by kind of flirting with him in the first place…but still…

“Really?  That’s the best you can do?” he laughed.  “You’re trying to drink illegally in my bar which could cost me my license, a ton of money…which I don’t have right now…and possibly destroy me.”

I looked at him questioningly…”How do you know I’m not…”

Before I could finish…he said.  “Bob called me.”

“Oh…”  Well.  He had me there.  We were both wrong.

“Okay,” I said grudgingly…looking down at the sidewalk.  “I guess we were both wrong.”

“Nope.  Just you.  You’re the only one who is wrong.  I’m completely innocent…of all wrong doing.” he said smugly.

My head popped up.  

“What!  What the fuck do you mean?” I said totally dumbfounded.

“Well,” he said.  “I’m actually not married.  I only wear the ring to keep young women from hanging around the bar area and costing me business.”

“The previous owner suggested it…he was single when he bought this place 40 years ago…and it really does work.”

“Only I keep forgetting that it’s on when I leave here.  It doesn’t take long to get a tan line when you ride a motorcycle.”

He slipped off the ring  to reveal the tell-tale white band.

“I tried to explain that to you a couple of times back at the restaurant,” Hank continued, “but then you seemed kind of angry and not that interested in me so I thought what the hell.”

“I see…” I said softly…looking down.  Feeling a little stupid…I was at a loss for words.

Hank, however, was not.

“So.  How old are you, Cooper?”

“You mean today?” I said a little flippantly…”Or in December…when I will be twenty-one?”

I looked up at him…Oh…those eyes…

He gave me a huge grin…slowly shaking his head from side to side.  Then he came over and threw his arm around my shoulders…pulling me next to him.

“C’mon back in, Cooper.  You can hang out with your friend as long as you don’t order any beer…I’ve got an in with the ‘owner.'”

As we started walking back toward the entrance to The Friendly, Hank said, “It’s Sunday tomorrow and we’re closed.  I hear it’s supposed to be another great day…”

“Want to go for a ride?” he asked.

I stopped for a moment and then said…looking up at him…

“Do I need an ID?”

The End