Me and Meatloaf

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Me and Meatloaf

It’s just me and Meatloaf. He goes with me wherever I go. We’ve been roommates for the last three years. Meatloaf was a rescue cat. And ‘Yes’… I did crochet both of our scarves.

My mother’s go-to relaxation skill was crocheting. She and I would work on projects together while waiting for my father to get off stage. He was a stuntman for Universal Studios.

I am still very ‘crafty’ because of my mother’s influences. I suspect that I got into body -sculpting building because of my dad.

I have been to all fifty states in the United States and every U.S. territory. I have also traveled to 112 different countries.

I am employed by the U.S. Marines as a consultant. Much of my work is classified, so I will not be a huge fan of “Honey, how was your day?”

My job has many perks; one of them is the ability to travel- a lot! As a military consultant, my flights are hassle-free and Meatloaf and accompany me… no questions asked. (In case you were wondering.)

Five things I enjoy:

  • Classical Music (especially Mozart, Vivaldi, and Tchaikovsky)
  • Movies: Gladiator, The Patriot, Top Gun, National Treasure, Raiders of the Lost Ark (series), Shrek (series), Braveheart, and The Batman (series). My tastes depend on my mood and the company. Meatloaf enjoyed the gamut- as long as there are treats.
  • Sunrises on the beach
  • Daily taekwondo training and surfing or swimming
  • Trying the fine cuisine from the places that I visit (especially pancakes!)
  • Fast cars (my Achilles heel)

Yes, I know that is SIX. I am also a (modest) overachiever.

If I sound interesting, swipe me.

Written for Writer’s Digest Flash Fiction February Challenges: Challenge #18 Today’s prompt is to write someone’s online dating profile.

The Perfect PB&J Sandwich


The Perfect PB&J Sandwich

Have you ever made a mess all over the front of your shirt while eating your delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwich?

Has the bread from your beloved sandwich ever been so soggy that the jelly gooed-out, getting all over your fingers and then you wiped them on your pants without a thought?

Let me explain to you how to fix these calamitous situations.

Step One

Collect your ingredients and place them on the counter.

        • Peanut butter (Crunchy or Smooth.)
        • A jar of jelly (Go wild, there’s so many to choose from.)
        • 2 slices of bread (Be as healthy as you desire.)
        • 1 plate (Cleanliness is next to Godliness. Plus, I usually do not always have the cleanest of countertops?)
        • 1 knife (No, it doesn’t have to be sharp.)
        • 1 baggy (I prefer the Zip-Locked ones.) to slide your sandwich in once you have completed this task.

Step Two

Spread peanut butter on one side of the bread. DO THIS TO BOTH SLICES!

As you compete the spreading of the peanut butter, place each slice, DRY SIDE DOWN, on the plate.

Be as generous as you desire with the peanut butter. It’s your sandwich.

FYI: With peanut butter on both slices, the jelly cannot seep through and soggy-up your bread!

Step Three

Select the slice of bread which you would like to bless with your jelly. Just do it. As you have competed the task of spreading your jelly, gently invert the slice and place it upon the twin brother (or sister) awaiting to complete your sandwich.

Step Four

Firmly grasping your knife (by the handle, please!) cut your sandwich into its desires shapes.

FYI: I prefer the crisscross method. (This gives me FOUR small sandwiches to eat.)

Step Five

If you have crisscross-cut your sandwich, like me, place the bottom triangle in first. Then its sides. Then the top.

Step Six

Zip it!

Step Seven

Once you have completed the skill work necessary for this new-and-improved, never-soggy, never messy peanut butter and jelly class, send me an signed affidavit stating your success, I will gladly send you a graduation certificate.

FYI: Don’t do Step Seven. There will not be a certificate awaiting you in the mail. Get real!

Written for Writer’s Digest Flash Fiction February Challenges: Challenge #17 Today’s prompt is to write a second-person how-to.

My Mom’s New Friend

My Mom’s New Friend

“Any bites yet?”


“Well, sunset is a great time for the fish to change their minds and come up to grab a tasty worm.”

He was trying so hard. My mom was so happy with him.

I was too, mostly. Except for days like this.

I wanted to tell him I had plenty of bits. The mosquitos were feasting on my legs.  

I wanted to ask ‘If the fish are nibbling so great at sunset, why have we already been here five hours!’ But I wasn’t going to say a word.

Mom was happy. Happier than she had been for a long time.

I was happy… mostly… just not today.

So I kept my mouth shut.

Dragging his three-legged chair over, Jeff sat down. “Bring your line in. Let’s check the bait.”

Reluctantly, I did.

“Wow!” he exclaimed, “they’ve munched that old worm to bits. Let’s put on another.”

I reached in to lift out another night crawler. These things are so disgusting. I hope my squeamishness doesn’t show on my face. Bravely, I threaded its head- I guess that’s its head- and wrapped its body around my hook twice. Just like Jeff had shown me. Then I hooked its other end firmly in place.

I cast.

Pleased my bobber landed midway in the lake, I relaxed.

Jeff had done likewise as he was watching me… casting downwind so that our lines wouldn’t cross.

“You gotta dance your line a little. Make’em think that old bugger is alive.” As he showed me how to dance better I watched his bobber jump slightly out of the water and land. He did that several times. “Now, you give it a try.”

I tried.

“Almost,” he said. “Use more wrist action. Pretend you are a gunfighter in one of your X-box games and just give your rod a swift draw.”

I did.

“Great. Now a little slower, but be jerky with it,” he continued. “Prefec…..”

I screamed. “My bobber…. My bobber… It’s gone. Something’s got it!”

“Easy. … Easy.” Jeff had laid down his rod and was right by side. “Reel him in slowly. Keep the line tight.”

I tried. The bobber was busy going downstream.

“You’ve got a bigg’n.” he said. He sounded as excited as I felt.  “Just keep the line tight and slowly wind him in.”

I was shaking all over.

Maybe the day wasn’t going to turn out so bad after all.

Written for Writer’s Digest Flash Fiction February Challenges: Challenge #16 Today’s prompt is to write about boring becoming something exciting.




You once were my soul confidante.

You listened patiently as I read to you my bedtime stories, the same story fourteen nights in a row.

You never criticized my two extra thumbs appearing when I practiced for piano recitals.

You protected me from under-the-bed monsters and comforted me horrific dreams.

You never told a soul the deepest secrets of bygone years or of dreams yet to unfold.

Even when you were moved from your treasured seat between my pillows to the sideboard nightstand, you took your demotion in stride.

You stiffened my spine when I didn’t make the junior high basketball cuts and during failed attempts at finding first love.

You never wavered.

Even now, you sit watch high atop my study shelves… Keeping my world from tilting askew.

And now, after this unexpected news, I might need you more than ever before.

My bold-hearted friend.

Written for Writer’s Digest Flash Fiction February Challenges: Challenge #14 Today’s prompt is to write about platonic love.

Begging for a Change in the Weather

Chicago Tribune

Begging for a Change in the Weather

“Samuel, you are scurrying around like cat with a rocket is lit on its tail. What’s wrong?” Samael had just entered the kitchen door with our five-year-old son Andrew on his hip. They were both soaking wet.

“It’s the gosh darn weather. Go open every window in the house. Be careful not to fall off the chair as you reach the locks.” Samuel said as he placed Andrew firmly on the floor and gave him an encouraging pat on his backsides.

“It’s a beautiful day. It calls for great weather this entire weekend.”

Now at the hall closet, Samuel was removing the picnic basket and headed toward the kitchen. “I know. That’s the problem,” he said.

“What are you doing with the picnic basket?” I was now totally puzzled.

“I’m packing for an afternoon down by the river. Promised the kids after the washed the car and the tractor we’d have us a great meal and a swim. I hope you’re still planning of doing laundry this morning and hanging it out to dry.”

“What has gotten into to you, Samuel Bilford? What is all this fuss for today?” I had just peeked out and Natty, Angus and Daphne were heads-to-toes in suds washing the station wagon and Danny was pulling up the old Ford nearby.

“We need the rain. If eleven open windows, your weekend laundry line filled, two freshly washed cars and a planned family picnic don’t make it want to rain, I think our garden is in real trouble.”

Written for Writer’s Digest Flash Fiction February Challenges: Challenge #13 Today’s prompt is to write about the weather.

Lessons from Popeye


Lessons from Popeye

“Honey, do you really think it’s the right idea to withhold Popeye from Arnold?”

“I think it sends the appropriate message.”

My wife was always into sending messages. Especially subliminal messages. She could never just come out and say what was on her mind. If you wanted answers from her, you had to be a master at reading-between-the-lines.

“Don’t you think that we should talk to him about why Popeye is suddenly not allowed on the television.”

“I think serving spinach every meal for the next week for supper, and you and I enjoying its pleasures, will send Arnold the message.”

“It would be so much easier to just talk to him.”

“He has to learn.”

“So you think that emulating Popeye is what we want our son to do?”

“Most certainly.”

“Sweetems’… You do know that Popeye smokes a pipe and often gets into fights.”

“Arnold would never so that. You’ve already spoken to him about those evils.”

“I certainly can’t argue with that logic.”

Written for Writer’s Digest Flash Fiction February Challenges: Challenge #12 Today’s prompt is to write about a food you (or your character) hate.

When You Can’t Ring a Doorbell

Travis Heights Elementary School

When You Can’t Ring a Doorbell

“Somewhere over the rainbow… Way up high.”

“What are you doing?”

“What do you mean, ‘What am I doing?’”

“Why are you shouting?” I asked. We briefly paused our afternoon hike.

“I’m not shouting, I’m singing.” Cassandra, my five-year-old, closed her arms across one another and firmly drew them together mimicking her mother perfectly.

“OK, why are you singing… and so loudly?”

“So they can hear me.”

“So who can hear you?”

“The leprechauns.”

“Leprechauns. Why are you singing for the leprechauns?”

“There’s the rainbow and everyone knows that leprechauns live at the end of the rainbow.”

“So…  You’re singing because…”

“I don’t have their phone number to call them, and they’re probably a lot like Momma and don’t want unexpected guests. I thought it was only polite to announce our arrival ahead of time.”

And with that, my darling daughter once again took off skipping and singing, “Somewhere over the rainbow… Way up high.”

FYI: Yes, I now that the song “Somewhere over the Rainbow” is from The Wizard of Oz and that there are no leprechauns in The Wizard of Oz. But my five-year-old called the Munchkins leprechauns, and if you have ever had a five-year-old, they are always right.

Written for Writer’s Digest Flash Fiction February Challenges: Challenge #11 Today’s prompt is to write about a holiday.

Who Wants Seconds?

NY Daily News

Who Wants Seconds?

We had had to wait a full week before trying out my new portable, tabletop grill. The previous afternoons had been rain filled, or I had had to put in extra hours at the office.

But today was perfect.

Alicen, my wife, picked up the kids immediately after soccer practice and headed to the course.

I had changed my tee time from four that afternoon and had pressed it forward to noon.

We were going to meet at the picnic area by Logan’s Run at as close to five o’clock as we could make it.

***   ***   ***

Arriving one right after the other, the boys and I set up the grill and started the burgers while the girls found a stop by the river for our supper.

The burgers on the new Char-Broil 9500 were impeccable. The potato salad and the cole slaw that Fredrick, my youngest and self-proclaimed aspiring chef, had prepared… divine.

After completing the meal, I went to the car and retrieved the Frisbees from the back and we paired off in teams for quick round of Frisbee golf.

About half-way through the game we heard Sarah, our oldest, scream. She had remained at the site with Alicen to enjoy the shade trees and catchup on some leisure reading.

The game was forgotten as we raced to the rescue.

Instinctively, I spread my arms as wings of a fear-bound hawk to stop the boys from getting any closer.

There, chowing down on Ramon’s uneaten half-a-burger- complete with paper plate, rested the largest alligator I had ever seen in my life.

As the boys and I stood glued in astonishment at this frightful sight, Alicen and Sarah joined us.

“Are you guys OK?” I whispered.

Sarah gave a nervous laugh. “Why are you whispering, Dad?”

I looked puzzled. “I’m just making…” Ramon finished my thought. Thank the Lord. I had no idea what I was going to day.

“Dad’s whispering ‘cause I’m on the phone with the Park Rangers. Their sending Animal Rescue here now. We’re to slowly move to the car and wait on them.”

***   ***

Once in the car, Sarah reached around each of us and personally locked every door.

Ramon stated laughing.

I found it impossible not to join in.

It was infectious.

Soon, the car was rocking for our hysterics.

“Don’t guess anyone in interested in seconds after the game?” I said.

“I think they’re taken,” Fredrick said. “But we can still have more potato salad and cole slaw. I packed it back in the cooler before the game.”

That brought on fresh round of stitches.

Written for Writer’s Digest Flash Fiction February Challenges: Challenge #10 Today’s prompt is to write about an animal.

Dating a Murphy

Dating a Murphy

“Oh, the pictures in my wallet? Yes, they are a little unusual. I call them my Murphy Stories. This first one… …”

I should have known better. Ever since meeting Tisha, nothing ever went as planned.

But honestly, that was one of the things that made her great. Most of the adventures were enjoyable. And besides, with her last name being Murphy, I joked with her, what else would I expect?

On our first date, I ran out of gas. Yes, I know how cliché that sounds, but it happened.

We had decided to go the National Forest for a hike up to The Knob. The trip there… easy peazy.

The hike. It was awesome. Talking to her was like finding my long-lost best friend.

The views from the overlook. Spectacular!

It drizzled a little on our way back. The rocks in the pathway were getting very slick. Amazingly, we arrived back to the car without one of us falling.

But coming out of the intersection from the overlook parking I had to pass the shuttle bus bringing the last group of sightseers to the top.

As I veered to the left, my Subaru slide off the macadam.

There was a harsh thud. I was sure that I had dislocated the muffler of the car.

Continuing down the road, there was not a huge roar following me, so I figured I had just hit the frame of the car on the corner of the macadam.

Not so.

Less than an hour later, as the sun was setting on the horizon, so was my car setting by the side of the road. The gas gauge read EMPTY. I had, apparently, knocked a hole in the tank.

We chuckled about the meaning of it all, and awaited AAA to rescue us.

Within thirty minutes, they had towed the car, and us, to the local garage.

We waited at the Exxon/Subway next to the garage for AAA to deliver a replacement car.

Seeking sustenance, we split a cheesesteak and chips. Laughing at the bad luck of the night, I jokingly said,” Well, I think our luck is going to change.”

I slipped out of the bench setting and walked to the counter. “Two JungleCrush tickets, please.”

I handed Trisha one of the tickets as I slide back in the sat.

Quickly scratching the surface, I found mine was a dud.

Trish just sat there.

She was white.

“What’s wrong?” I asked. “Didn’t the sandwich agree with you?”

“Nothing’s wrong. I think tonight’s date is on me,” she said.

Handing me her ticket…. She had won $15,000.

“You meant the one with the hot air balloon. That was from the day I asked Trisha to marry me.”

Written for Writer’s Digest Flash Fiction February Challenges: Challenge #9 Today’s prompt is to write about a surprise gone wrong.

A One Sentence Story

New Method Wellness

A One Sentence Story

“And just last night I was in a tizzy, according to my wife, about an unexplained parking lot ding on the passenger door.”

Written for Writer’s Digest Flash Fiction February Challenges: Challenge #8 Today’s prompt is to write a one-sentence story.