Accidental Art

I’m pleased with this photo. I like to think that it captures the essence of my writing journey – being like a determined, hearty, little weed pushing through concrete barriers to ultimately emerge victorious in the sunlight. You’re feeling it, too, right? 

The fact that I accidentally caught this when putting my phone back in my purse doesn’t change the sentiment. Maybe it’s just the rest of the story.

This determined, tiny, slip of a shoot didn’t let anything get in its way. It was going to bask in the sunlight that it richly deserved. It was going to be seen by the world in all of its splendorous, weedy glory, “That’s right, bitches. I’m a weed. Deal with it.”

Then one day, while lazing in the warmth of our closest star, happily reaping the rewards of its efforts, fate stumbles in, takes its picture and…a legend is born. Behold! The mighty little weed.

Did this wee sprout ever hope to be the subject of a blog update, an Instagram post or a blur on a Twitter feed? I doubt it. But now this courageous, hell-bent-for-glory weed serves as inspiration to tens of people who are tenaciously pushing through to realize their dreams. Rock on little weed. I salute you.

Blame it on Valentine’s Day

I opened the door and there he was holding a heart-shaped box of chocolates and a fistful of roses, beaming proudly, “Happy Valentine’s Day!”

“Damnit! Not you, too!” I blasted him and shut the door as I turned on my heel.

He opened the door and followed behind me. “What? It’s Valentine’s Day. I brought you gifts,” he whined.

I spun around to face him and snapped, “No. You brought you gifts. Those aren’t for me.”

His brows furrowed as we stood there staring at one another in an awkward silence. I folded my arms over my chest, not budging. Finally, his shoulders slumped and his arms dropped to his side, still holding the offerings in his hands. He eventually just looked down at the floor.

He was crestfallen, but I kept at him. It was for his own good, “I get it. You got all caught up in momentum of the day. But, that’s just not me and I thought it wasn’t you either. You were quite clear about that last year after that girl broke your heart,” I reminded him.

No more stupid, messy, useless love for me,‘ you said.

I drove the point home, “Remember? We…you and I…both of us…we were crystal clear about that.”

He shrugged and looked back up to me with that sheepish smile of his and those big, soft puppy dog eyes. “Well, it’s also our anniversary today.” He said. “One year since we met. I wanted to make that special at least.”

That’s when I felt it.


I thought I’d sensed it for some time, now. Those all too familiar angsty pangs were hitting my heart. The butterflies were fluttering in my stomach. Tendrils of aching need began to slither along my flesh. My mouth went so dry that I could barely speak. Somehow I managed to croak out, “Leave.”

But, he didn’t leave. He began walking towards me, his arms wide. I stumbled backwards trying to get away from him and his gifts and, mostly, his Love – that all consuming human emotion that wraps its hungry, suffocating tentacles around you squeezing until you gasp your last breath. Then he uttered that phrase, those three cursed words.

I tried to make him stop – to make it stop. Truly, I did. I demanded that he go away. I pleaded with him to just go outside and walk it off. By then, he was too far gone, I think. That damnable holiday pushed him over the edge. And, by the way, how they co-opted cupid into that commercialized mess is disgusting.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, so you can just spare me the disapproving look. I’m immune to it by now. It’s all my fault, right? I should know better. Blah, blah, blah. I’ve heard it all before. So, you can save the lecture.

In any case, I didn’t do away with this one altogether. Surprised, huh?

That’s right. While he was unable to maintain his self control, I kept my head and let him keep his…sort of. Let’s just say that he’s not the man he used to be and leave it at that, okay?

In all sincerity, I’m going to miss him. I really thought this one was a keeper. I thought he’d be able to resist the urges, the compulsion. Silly, weak mortals.

It’s a pity. Things were going great for almost a year. A year! Instead of blaming me this time, I say that we blame it on Valentine’s Day.

Dear Naughty Girls

Dear Lizzie,

Thank you for your inquiry.

In response to your question, please be advised that “milk and cookies” is absolutely NOT a euphemism for something else. 

Kindly limit your special treats for Santa to an actual glass of milk along with chocolate chip or oatmeal cookies.

Merry Christmas.

Candy Cane
Department of Naughty & Nice

Dear Staci,

This is to confirm receipt of your resume. Your extensive experience and letters of recommendation are very impressive. However, we regret to inform you that we have no positions available for your unique skill set.

Best of luck in your knob and pole polishing job search.

Pixie Glittertits

Personnel Department

Dear Staci,

Enclosed herewith is the original copy of the demonstration video that you sent in today’s mail.

We appreciate your eagerness to work with us, but as mentioned in my previous letter, we do not have need of a knob and pole polisher.

Kind regards,

Pixie Glittertits

Personnel Department

Dear Staci,

My apologies for not responding to your fifteen voice mails sooner. Please understand that this is a very busy time of year, here, at the North Pole. We make every effort to respond to all job applicants within three days.

In your case, I thought I had already made clear that we don’t have any positions available that are a good fit for your special talents. 

You certainly are tenacious. Have you considered a position in sales?

If I find openings that are suitable for you, I will reach out to you. There is no need for you to contact me. Trust me, I will remember you.

Pixie Glittertits
Personnel Department

Hi Staci!

Thanks for emailing me with you idea. We are always interested in innovative approaches to North Pole maintenance. I must admit that we’ve never considered switching to human snow blowers. Your employment and environmental arguments are compelling. I’m forwarding your email to Pixie Glittertits in our Personnel Department for consideration. Happy Holidays!

Tommy Tinker
North Pole Maintenance Department

Girl in Santa suit.

Dear Candace,

Thank you for your letter and for allowing us the opportunity to clear up any confusion before you proceed with your plan.

We wish to be absolutely clear. The activities you described are not the kind of reindeer games referenced in the song, regardless of location, attire or prosthetic antlers.  

We recommend spreading cheer in more conventional ways.

Warm wishes for a safe, sane, and consensual holiday season.

Freddy Elfstein
Department of Naughty & Nice

Dear Lara,

I’m so sorry to hear about your recent Santa-related experience.

I can assure you that the real Santa Claus would never show up to your door unannounced on October 31st requesting tricks or treats. As you might imagine, there are many St. Nick impostors.

Now, about the special “Naughty Girl” presents. Regardless of what was guaranteed, there is not a separate class of gifts given from Santa Claus to girls who perform the acts that you outlined in your letter.

Clearly, it is unreasonable to expect the real Santa to be held responsible for anything promised by a Santa Claus impersonator. We will make a note in your file for special  consideration, but please do not expect the new car and house.

Lastly, Mr. and Mrs. Claus remain happily married. They are not separated or divorced nor would Santa leave her to run off with you or any other girls, naughty or otherwise. I believe if you check the “engagement” ring he left, you will find that the diamonds are not real.

We have opened an investigative file regarding this incident. I suggest you contact local law enforcement to report this as well.

In the future, please be very careful about letting anyone into your home who you don’t know.

Officer Buddy McJingles
North Pole Security

Inta Girls

It had been a long day of shopping – unsuccessful shopping. They’d been to nearly every store and boutique in the area and even spent a few unproductive hours at the mall, yet neither of them found a single thing to wear.

This is the wrong color. That one is too tight. Oh, puhleeze, that is sooo out of style. Do you seriously expect me to go out in public in this?” Nothing quite satisfied or suited either of them.

Tired and disheartened, they agreed that it was time to pop into the local watering hole for drinks and diversion.

The bell over the entry tinkled, announcing their arrival as they pushed through the large oak and stained glass door. A few bar flies took notice and glanced up for a moment before returning to their drinks and conversations. Pausing at the doorway they surveyed the room. Yes, they decided. This would do just fine.

The pair drifted through the pre-dinner time crowd casually taking in the eye candy that gathered in intimate little groups of twos, threes and fours around the tall highboy tables. Long legged girls in short skirts or too tight jeans leaned nonchalantly on the table tops that supported their drinks, elbows and sometimes their ample chests, much to the keen interest of admirers who worked hard to appear disinterested.

Over there in the corner, “ one nudged the other. “That’s a handsome couple. Maybe they’d be up for a little fun.”

Nah. Ya know I’m not inta guys. Whoah, hey, check out the two hotties at three o’clock. Let’s loosen ‘em up a bit with a little…um…lubrication.”

Are you thinking ‘panty removers’?”

They snickered conspiratorially.

Peach Bellinis it is, then. I’ll take care of ordering the drinks. You find us a spot nearby.

The bartender dutifully mixed up two double Peach Bellini’s as instructed then called over a  waiter. Placing the over sized drinks on the tray, the bartender leaned in and pointed, “See the little blonde and busty brunette right over there? These are for them compliments of a couple of admirers who are…what was it?” he paused. “Oh yeah…tell ‘em the drinks are from admirers who are really inta you girls.”

The waiter looked at the bartender quizzically for a moment then half nodded, “Got it.”

Surprised and delighted, the girls giggled excitedly as the drinks and the message were delivered. Curious, they scanned the room then looked up to the waiter asking in unison “Who sent these?”

“Dunno,” he replied with a shrug then added as walked away, “Enjoy your drinks, ladies.”

Clinking their glasses together, the girls giggled again then downed the sugary beverages as if they were drinking sodas.

Their greatly amused benefactors hovered nearby allowing enough time for the drinks to work their magic. Soon satisfied that the girls were indeed pliable, they sidled up to the girls’ table and made their move.

Good evening, cuties. I see you’ve been enjoying the drinks we sent you.”

The now very tipsy blonde blinked with confusion as she looked each way then back to the buxom brunette who was draining the last of her drink from the over sized glass, “Huh?” she slurred. “Whatdidju say…wait…how didju do that?”

“Hmm?” her friend gurgled as she swallowed, “How did I do what?”

She struggled to focus her vision, “How didju?” She shook her head and began again, speaking each word deliberately, “How. did. you. jusss talk while drinking? Omagod, that wassss so cool!”

The brunette stared blankly as she listened to her girlfriend babble then startled suddenly at the warm, velvet voice in her ear, “You don’t mind if we join you, do you?”

“Join…?” she repeated absently as she looked around for the source of the voice.  Stunned, she looked back at her friend.

The girls grew quiet as the world swayed and blurred around them. They stared in awe as the amber bar light began to drip down in long sinewy strands that stretched from the ceiling then puddled on top of the bar patrons gradually covering them and muffling their noisy chatter. The melted mixture slowly swirled around the pair like a glistening pool of peach and honey nectar gently drawing them into its endless vortex of light and sound where they found themselves blissfully floating along.

Moments later, a sardonic smile slowly spread across the blonde’s face as she looked across the table, “Now, this is much better. She really looks good on you. Brunette is definitely your color.

Thanks. You don’t look so bad yourself,” her companion replied as she picked up and looked into the empty glass then signaled to the server for another round. Turning back to her friend she winked, “We need to celebrate a successful day of shopping!”

Looking down, the blonde smiled broadly and nodded approval as she ran her hands over the swell of her new found breasts. She laughed merrily, “See? This is why I’m inta girls.”


Her mother was delighted with the news, initially. 

She always knew that her daughter would be a writer – a journalist, perhaps. Finally, the girl would do what she had long envisioned. Yes, her daughter would do what she had the talent to do herself, but never had the time; the opportunity; or, more likely, the nerve to do.

“What are you writing?” she asked as she perched her chin in her hand, elbowing the dining room table where they sat sipping lukewarm coffee.

“Fiction,” her daughter replied evasively, half hoping to share the news without going into details.

“Oh? what kind of fiction?” the mother pushed, her eyes narrowing ever so slightly.

“Adult fiction,” she answered succinctly, hoping to end it right there while her mind raced to find another topic of conversation. How’s Aunt Betty? Have you heard from Angie, lately? Or, the sure-fire conversation derailment, “Have you lost weight?”

“Adult fiction? What is that?” her mother prodded with that all-too-familiar tinge of disapproval coloring the question.

The older woman knew the answer even as she asked the question. Still, she always pushed, poked, and prodded until she got her answers – answers that she most often disapproved of. This would be no exception.

Crap. Too slow.” she thought. Cutting to the chase, the girl said matter-of-factually, “Erotica, Mom. I write smut.” She then took a long swig of her too weak coffee and watched her mother’s reaction over the rim of the mug.

Predictably, the woman half-gasped, rolled her eyes and tsked as she shook her head, evoking the unspoken, “Where did I go wrong?”

It’s never good enough. Is it, Mother?” she shouted in her head, “No matter how hard I try, no matter how successful I am, it’s just never quite up to your standards. There’s always something wrong. At least, I try. What have you ever written that you had the courage to show anyone? Oh, and by the way, did you not hear the part where I am being published? It was the advance that paid for this little trip, here, to share the news with you. But, could you be happy for me? Nooooo. There is no pleasing you, is there?

The words raged in her head and she trembled with the effort to keep them from spilling from her mouth.

It was then that her father, a retired musician and talented artist in his own right, lowered the newspaper and folded it on the table. He looked first at his wife then back to his daughter. “Never apologize for your art.” he said simply.

The mother opened her mouth, prepared to voice her objections, but it was his voice that was heard instead.  “Never,” he repeated.

And there it was. Crystal clarity.

In the end, it didn’t matter what her mother, father or anyone else in the world – save only one – thought about what she did with her talents. They were her gifts to give. In truth, it was all that she truly had to offer: herself. Every word that spilled onto a page was a piece of her – her heart, her thoughts, her truth, her soul. Apologize for that?


She smiled as she drained the last of the now-cold coffee from the heavy ceramic cup and stood up from the table then leaned down to kiss first her mother then her father, “You’ll have to excuse me, now. I have some writing to do.”

Lissy’s Garden

There once was a precocious young girl named Lissy who was determined to plant a garden as a gift for her father after seeing him admire a lush patch of blossoms that grew nearby. Indulgently, he permitted her the best of seeds as well as the space and the tools she begged of him, taking delight in his daughter’s interest and enthusiasm.

She sang merrily as she cleared the small plot of land, turned the soil then planted and watered with her own little hands the seeds that her father had given her. All the while, Lissy imagined the smile on his face when he saw the beautiful flowers that she had nurtured and grown just for his pleasure.

As the weeks went by, the seedlings sprouted and began to grow under her careful eye, thriving as much on the warmth of her affection and intent as the water and constant attention she gave. Her father’s heart swelled with pride and he smiled to himself enjoying his daughter’s happiness as she worked on her present for him. Her joy was quite contagious to all around her.

It wasn’t long before the first tender buds appeared on Lissy’s flowers and she giggled with glee as she knelt in the soil staring in awe at her handiwork. Sadly, even the most lovingly tended gardens must deal with problems every now and then; one of those problems is the occasional encroachment of wild plants.

Lissy was initially confused when something dark and low caught her eye, almost hidden by the sprouting leaves of her plants. She edged near and gasped with horror and revulsion when she saw that a weed had dared enter her pretty little garden.

Lissy lurched forward clawing at the weed, unintentionally crushing some of the delicate flower stems beneath her knees. Sitting back on her haunches with a spindly mass of dirt and weed in her fist, angry tears welled in her eyes and spilled down her cheeks onto the soil as she looked at the broken flowers before her. Once she had cried herself out, she carried herself back to the house, forgetting to water her garden. She stomped past her father without a word and headed straight to her room where she stayed all night, much to his disappointment.

The next day Lissy returned to her garden, still sullen about the weed and broken flowers, only to find that some of her lovely stems had withered in the very spot where her salty tears had dampened the earth. She flung herself to the ground, more angry than the day before, crushing yet more flowers beneath her. As she lay there weeping at her losses, she saw that there were more weeds among the base of her plantings.

Lissy crawled through and over her plants, yanking out the weeds that sprouted insistently;she paid no heed to the tiny patch of buds that had begun to open and blossom. All Lissy could see were the weeds and the flattened flower bed that lay drying beneath the hot sun without benefit of the water that Lissy forgot to bring in her distraction.

And so it went for days and weeks: Lissy would storm out to the garden ripping and yanking at the weeds, crying out at the injustice of it all, seething with anger and resentment. It seemed to her that the harder she tried to rid the garden of the encroaching weeds, the more they grew – as if the weeds thrived on her anger and tears and grew just to spite her.

Most of the plants lay as broken, dried husks, barely discernible from the gray and thirsty soil. She’d all but forgotten the flowers that she had originally envisioned and her reasons for growing the garden in the first place. In a final fit of anger, she threw down her tools and abandoned her garden, leaving it to the elements.

Lissy came to resent anything that bloomed – as if the flowers burst open in glorious colors just to mock her. Worst of all, she became bitter towards her father, blaming him for her failure; surely, if he didn’t like beautiful flowers, then she wouldn’t have tried so hard and failed. Surely, he must think less of her because of it.

She would look away when she had to walk near her garden; she felt it stood as a monument to her failure. Lissy even closed her curtains, refusing to look outside, lest she feel the sharp painful reminder of the garden she once cared for and nurtured – a loving gift for her father.

It was a dark and heavy time for Lissy and her father. It hurt him to see her so disheartened; her pain was his pain, too. It seemed her sadness and anger were as contagious as her joy had been.

That’s it. There is nothing more to the story, today.

Perhaps tomorrow Lissy will look out her window or peek as she walks by the garden; perhaps she’ll see the patch of pretty flowers growing there directly beneath her window sill.

Maybe tomorrow Lissy will come to know what her father knew all along: the soil is fertile and the seed is strong and Lissy will eventually grow an incomparable garden if she picks up the tools he gave her and tends her garden with the joy she once did. And the weeds? Well, the weeds will come uninvited. Get over it.

(Special thanks to Betsy for her eagle eye editing. It is a better story because of you.)

The Trip

“Hello you. How was your trip?” he asked her as she entered.

“Fun. Marvelous. Interesting. It was everything you said it would be,” she beamed as she dashed in. “Still, it’s good to be back,” she added and wrapped herself around him.

He chuckled as he drew her close, “It’s good to have you back.”

“Ummmhmm,” she purred as she wallowed in his loving embrace. “Next time we should go together.”

“We’ll have to plan that. So, tell me all about it. Did you get to do everything we talked about?”

“Yup. I sure did,” she told him excitedly. “Some things more than once!”

“Food?” he asked.

“Yum!” she exclaimed.

“Dancing?” he queried.

“Oh, I danced until I dropped from exhaustion,” she told him, giggling.


She flushed. “Well, sure. There was plenty of opportunity for that,” she laughed. “It would have been better with you there, though.”

He flexed and squeezed her.

She sighed a bit, “It’s…it’s…just so hard to get close to anyone, you know?”

“I know. It’s such a short time. It seems like you just get there and get the hang of things and it’s time to come home.”

“There is that, but…,” she paused as she pressed into him, simply luxuriating in the feel of him.

“But? He asked as he held and stroked her.

She drew back a moment as she collected her thoughts, “I just don’t see how anyone can ever get close to anyone else, there. Things get in the way.”

“Things,” he repeated as he considered what she was saying. “Ah,” he said as he pulled her back to him, “You mean the bodies.”

She felt herself happily, blissfully melting into him, “Exactly. You can’t do this with bodies. They just get in the way.”

Pickpockets and Loose Women

I saw the sign posted on the wall. Right there, in big black letters, courtesy of the New Orleans Police Department, “Beware Pickpockets and Loose Women.” I’d seen them before – those vintage, tin replicas that fill the novelty stores. They hang on the wall right along side T-shirts, alligators heads and feather boas. They used to actually post those signs for the tourists, way back in the day. Our boys-in-blue must have thought the visitors would mistake Bourbon Street for Saint Louis Cathedral.

Not me, though. I prefer the narrow streets in the French Quarter filled with warm, living bodies and the muggy air that vibrates with the carefree laughter, music and song that spills out of the clubs. Certainly, I find it more appealing than the cold, sterile echo of a church. Besides, even on the sidewalks you’ll hear “amens” and “hallelujahs” shouted when women suddenly rip off their tops to flash their tits for the cheap plastic beads that are tossed from the balconies. I’ve heard more than one, “Thank you, God,” after some sweet young thing set her puppies free; It might have been me who said it.

Sometimes, the crowd makes bets on which will hit the ground first – the beads, the drunk tossing the beads from the balcony or the happily buzzed woman showing off her goods for an always-appreciative audience. Other times, the money is on which is cheaper and has more plastic – the beads or the babes.

That’s what I was doing when the strawberry-blonde tart sidled up next to me. I had five dollars on the thirty-something brunette; there’s no way that real boobs are that big and that perky.

I thought Blondie was just getting friendly when she slid her hand into my front pants pocket. She was. She got real friendly right before she took off down the street with my credit card. I forgot that I put it there instead of in my wallet after I paid to park in the garage that advertised, “Discount Parking. $10.”

Sure, I got suspicious when her overt friendliness turned into a quick departure; but it was the need to adjust after her skillful attention that gave it away. I had to laugh when I realized what happened right there beneath that damned tin warning sign. I could have just called in, reported the card stolen and had a replacement by the next day. I could have, but I didn’t. Instead, I decided to follow her to see where she planned on spending my money.

She had taken off and turned down a less busy side street; I saw that reddish-gold head of hair just as she slipped into a shop door. The gilded lettering on the glass indicated that it was, “Miss Vicky’s,” just one of a dozen other costume and lingerie shops in the area. I waited outside for a good ten minutes before I went in. I wanted her to have enough time to pick out a few items before I confronted her.

The clerk didn’t bother to stop me as I walked right past her to the back dressing area; she was too busy talking on her cell phone. I pulled back the curtain just as Blondie was pulling up the stockings and hooking them to the lace garter belt that was going to cost me forty bucks, according to the tag that was dangling from it.

My blonde pickpocket didn’t seem all that surprised as I stood there watching her as she nonchalantly slip on a matching lace bra. She did eye me suspiciously when I told her that if she wanted to go shopping for lingerie, she should have just said so. I also let her know that she almost got away with it and would have, too, if she hadn’t been so thorough.

She just smiled slyly as she pressed her body against me crushing those lace covered tits against my chest. Then she brushed those soft lips along my neck and I felt her warm breath on my ear as she whispered, “bad girls always get caught.”

Maybe that was her plan all along. Crafty girls – those are the ones you have to watch out for. Where’s that warning sign?