Tina Nelson



Note:  This tale is………………………..partly true…enjoy.


For as long as I can remember and that would be about 20 years…who really remembers the early years…I have always started my “sleep ritual” the same way…no matter how tired I was.

First I would lay on my right side for a couple of minutes, almost falling into the sweet bliss of sleep but…not quite…

Then I would slowly roll over on my left side, tuck my left arm under the pillow as I re-fluffed it a little more with my right hand and then lower my head and fall instantly asleep, waking only when my alarm buzzed in the morning.

Every.  Single.  Night.

Except…not THIS night.

THIS night I did not fall instantly asleep.  THIS  night for some inexplicable reason, I quickly flipped BACK over to my right side and in the oddity of bodily position change, my eyes flashed open and there it was in the corner of my bedroom…a 6-foot tall ribbon of blackness. 

I knew right away it was not smoke.  It was like a black, shimmering waterfall and it was about 3 feet wide.  It was swaying from side to side but then it suddenly stopped.

I was afraid to blink and I was afraid not to.  So, I just stared wide-eyed, completely forgetting to breathe.  The always reassuring night-light still beaming softly from my bathroom.




Chapter 4

I graduated from the University of Minnesota this past Spring with a degree in English.  Considering that I had no desire to teach, it wasn’t very useful…but people were impressed for some reason…”Wow, an English Major…wow…” and then they could not find anything else to say…but nonetheless I had the damn degree.

I had lost contact with all school friends as we had all gone our separate ways, mostly to different states and of course promising to keep in touch.  We had not.

I had no boyfriend and no prospects.  sigh.

Both parents were dead.  I had one sibling, sister Karlie, who was two years older than me.  She was delightfully married to George and very busy with 1-year old toddler, Annie and a little mutt named Cantor.

I lived in a luxury (read that safe) apartment in a luxury (also read safe) suburb because even though it was very tragic and sad that my parents had both died young…they had left a really sick amount of money to be shared equally between me and sister, Karlie…but not until we BOTH turned 30.

So, in the meantime we had also been given a “nice” sum of money that lawyers doled out to each of us every month…to see us through to the big payoff.

Don’t hate me.



Tina Nelson


I slowly opened my eyes.   A little sliver of light was trying to peek through the edge of the shade covering the window in my bedroom that over looked the back yard.  Normally, it was a pleasant light, but this morning it hurt my eyes,  so I quickly closed them again.

A few vivid images of a more than slightly out of control young woman dancing with abandon at Doyle’s last night flashed through my mind like a movie trailer.  Yup, that was me.  I winced.  A bad movie trailer.

I remember pulling out the little notebook I always carry and then writing down  my observations on all the drunken people around me.

They were dancing and drinking and, being mostly drunk myself, not knowing how pretentious I appeared and in fact, was.

But last night I did not care one straw.

I wondered what nonsense I had thought was so wildly insightful the night before when 6 (maybe more?) whiskey sours had given me such a false sense of importance.  Whatever it was it was in my notebook.

I slowly turned my head on my pillow.  Lately I had had too many mornings like this one to know how painful a quick turning of the head could be.  I was becoming very learned in the art of drinking or rather, over-drinking.

And there it was, lying on my bedside table where I had thrown it last night.

Chapter 2

I had read some where or been told by a helpful journalism professor that if you want to write “The Great American Novel” (which incidentally, I actually did), you should always carry a little notebook or some kind of recording device with you at all times in order to remember anything you may find memorable for future use.

However, for the past year, weekend mornings had not been very productive.  Sometimes I was lucky to be able to actually read the scrawls that I had “so importantly” jotted down the night before.  I picked it up and blinked a couple of times to clear my vision.


Chapter 3

The little notebook was not the standard reporter’s notebook that I carried to work every day stuffed into my messenger bag.  That size notebook would be too bulky to carry into bars and restaurants.  It would draw a lot of attention.  My “little notebook” was smaller, small enough really to fit into any of my handbags…no matter what the size.  Small enough to even tuck into my jeans’ pocket if necessary.

And these days I almost always wore jeans with a white tee shirt.  In the winter I added a blazer or jacket.  Sometimes I threw a scarf or a tie around my neck if I had a meeting (which was rare) or if I felt like being a little dressy or a little “French” or just for the hell of it.

My Vincent Camuto boots with the gold trimmed heels or Chuck Taylor black high-tops completed my outfit no matter what the season was…  I liked life to be simple, mostly.  Not having a lot of choices is nice.   It works for me.

I flipped the notebook open and placed it in front of my half-opened eyes.  I blinked a couple more times and saw that I had only managed to scrawl on two pages and neither page had any of my trademark exclamation marks!

Two pages were hardly worth reading and definitely not worth reading just yet.  I was pretty sure it was just junk.

I had been in a junk mood yesterday.

Chapter 13

My head hurt so bad! I carefully rolled over again making the first move in the sitting up process,

A little, rough, wet tongue licked my chin.  I focused my half-opened eyes.

Stella, my mostly black Maine coon cat was up as well.  Up and sitting so close to my face that I could smell her fishy little breath.  Someone had already had breakfast this morning.

Stella was a little over a  year old.  After mom died and before Abby moved in, the house felt too empty.  So, I took the advice of my well-meaning friends and went to the animal shelter to get a rescue dog.  No $1,500 AKC pup for me.

I had great plans for that dog and me.  We would run together every morning.  I would eat a healthy breakfast…no more Mickey D’s breakfast bombs eaten while driving to work.

And then “Fido” (my as yet unnamed dog) and I would run miles together and she would become by best furry friend.

So, last year on the Saturday before Valentine’s Day, I went to the Minneapolis Animal Humane Society.  It was a very busy place.  A lot of parents with lots of regrets at having bought a pet for their kid at Christmas.

I guess when two people work, it’s hard to raise a loving and well-behaved pet and keep it from destroying the gorgeous house that only two incomes could afford.

End result was a trip to the Humane Society with very little regrets now at giving said pet up.  Hey.  My gain.

So.  It was busy and I had to wait.  The incoming/receiving  area was packed so the adoption people were helping them out.  I was okay with that.

I was day dreaming of Spring and me and my furry friend walking around Lake Nokomis together.  No matter how I pleaded, I could never persuade either Abby or Hanah to walk with me on a regular basis.  I hated walking alone.  Someone was always trying to talk to me.

Chapter 14

An older man sat down by me and placed a pet carrier between us.  We smiled at each other…Minnesota nice at work.  He looked old enough to be retired but these days you couldn’t really tell.  Half the bag boys at Sherman’s grocery store looked older than him.

“Are you getting or leaving?”

His question at first confused me and then I realized what he meant.

“Oh.  I’m getting,” I responded with a grin.  “I’m getting a puppy!”

He nodded his head slowly and then put his hand on top of the carrier.

“I’m leaving.”  He spoke very quietly, almost a whisper as though he didn’t want the animal inside the carrier to hear him, if indeed it could.

“Ah.”  I said and looked down at the carrier to see if I could see any movement through the slots.  I could not.  So, I just smiled at the man again and then looked straight ahead.  So did he.

I suppose I should have asked a question or two.  I am a reporter after all.  But this did not seem like the time to question an elderly man who was either dropping off a sick animal or worse…a dead one.

Instead I just closed my eyes and waited patiently for my number to be called.

“NUMBER 44!”  My eyes shot open.  That was me!

I got up and hurried over to the desk. The girl looked over my shoulder and said, “You forgot your carrier, miss.”

I turned around and there was the carrier still sitting on the bench but the man was gone.

He must have gone to the bathroom, I thought.  I told the girl that the carrier wasn’t mine.  I was here to adopt a puppy.

She shrugged.  “Oh.  Okay.  Then fill out these papers and then come back up here.  You won’t have to wait again.”

“When do I get to see the puppies?” I asked eagerly.

“After you fill out all the forms, miss.  45! Number 45!,” she called and smiled at the next person coming to the desk.

I thanked her and as I walked back to my seat, I glanced at my watch.  I had been sitting there for almost an hour!  No wonder the old guy had to go to the bathroom.

I sat down and began to fill out the adoption eligibility forms.  Holy Mackerel, there must have been over 10 pages!  I stopped whining and began.

By page three the man still had not returned.  I looked around and then I bent over the carrier to look in one of the little openings.  I saw a very yellow eye looking back at me.  It blinked.

It actually startled me and I may have said, “shit”.  Okay, I did say “shit”.

Then I said in a very low apologetic voice to the little, yellow eye,  “I’m sorry.  You surprised me.  I’m just glad you’re not dead.”

“Me too, said a teeny, little voice.