Tag Archive | children

My Best Friend – Flash Fiction

(originally from June 2008)

This was written for a Barb’s Challenge. The topics were “best Friend” and “Childhood” so I combined them.

My Best Friend

School is out and the world is free. The garden gate swings shut and laughter dances on a warm summer breeze. The sun is shining and the flowers are nodding off to sweet scented dreams. The green trees are swaying and in their branches the birds sing a private song just for you and me.

I stop my hurried amble to scratch at a mosquito bite and then start again. I run now through grass, deep with the smell of life, and I head to the secret clubhouse. It’s really just some old milk crates, but when I look at it I see something infinitely more impressive. It can be a pirate’s den or a cottage or even a school building. As long as we’re together it can be anything. Today, however, it is a princess’ castle.

The birds in the trees, robins and wrens, turn into golden swans whose voices are like silver trumpets. The broken coffee cup is fine china and I sit upon a chair made of gold and sip spiced tea from it. My dirty play clothes turn into a shimmering gown of rainbow colors; the kind of dress that a handsome prince would find his eyes drawn to. A servant sits in the corner of the room and plays music on an enchanted harp. It will play  any kind of music that you like, even if you don’t know all the words.

An innocent toad hops by, but you tell me that he isn’t so innocent, he’s really henchman of the Evil King who has come to kidnap me and take me to the neighboring country of Abbradabra, our bitter enemies. I leap from my golden chair and shriek, and the toad hops away as fast as he can. A battalion of royal guards chase after him.

Now I am curious,  so I follow him through the grass. As I go, the resplendent gown turns into a long black dress and my crown becomes a pointed hat. I’m a witch out chasing down a toad for my latest potion. All I need to do is catch him and dip him the green brew and at last the curse will be complete. That will teach those dwarves to steal my magic apples!

But the toad is fast. He hops and jumps and, even though I try to tackle him, he gets away, but it’s okay. As long as I have you here I can be something else because you’re my best friend, the only one I really need.

You’re my imagination.

**********

Fav Song of the Moment –“New Drug” – Thousand Foot Krutch

Flash Fiction: Car of Dreams

(originally from April 2008)

 

Written for the BWBR Challenge. Look at it as an ode to my Dad’s old Nova 😉

CAR of DREAMS

The sun sets on the old car in the backyard, bathing the rusting body in glowing colors.  Nature fights to slowly claim it, turning it into a home for her creatures, so that the animals look at it and see a place of safety, someone to shelter from the storm and night, a secret place to dream in safety.  Green weeds grow around flat tires and purple flowers peep through the cracked floorboards.  Lazy bees drone around the peeling steering wheel, and wasps live under the hood in droning nests while rabbits hide beneath it, their wiggly noses peeping out to peer at the quiet trees.

But the heavy summer silence is broken by the children. They run and laugh, they crunch the grass as they race each other to the old car, hurrying towards their rusty oasis, their favorite forbidden toy.

They arrive in a heap and climb up the trunk, but the frame doesn’t bow under their weight. The old car is no longer a vehicle rusting in the grass but now it is a boat floating on the ocean tides, taking them to far away lands.  Soon the ship becomes a race car and they bounce on dirty seats, ignorant of the dust the rotten foam expels. And then the car becomes an island, and they are pirates trying to bury their treasure, their happy voices filling the twilight hours as they act out their dreams.

But another voice interrupts, one that barks “Kids! Get off that car! It isn’t a toy!”

And regretfully they do as they’re told, casting back looks towards the rusting metal structure as they walk towards the house and their expectant father.

“You kids know better,” he says firmly as they reach him. “That’s the first car your mother and I ever owned, and one of these days I’m going to fix it up.”

“Yeah, yeah,” they mutter, they’ve heard it a thousand times before.  He has so many plans though it is just a playground to them.

But their father’s eyes see something very different then either the children or the wildlife, because he looks through the veil of love, and to him the old rusty monster is still shining brightly with gleaming chrome and fresh paint, a sleeping princess waiting for a kiss from her prince. And no mater how many years pass, even when the bumper drops off and disappears, still the car will always be his first, his favorite, the one he can never let go; his car of memories and dreams.

——————————-

Song playing at the moment – “Long Night Dreaming”- Crash Parallel

Ode to Chris

(originally from November 2007)

 

It’s time for another Harris-Naylor Family Photo Album! Oh boy!!!*listens for cheers and hears only crickets and one lone person clapping way in the back* ah well, I’ll be excited for the rest of you!

This one is on siblings as requested by Manic. Yes, I sorted through a lot of pictures to find/pick these, so I hope someone kind of enjoys it.

My brother, Christopher, was born when I was two years old. To be honest I don’t remember a time before him. In my earliest memories he is a baby.

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(this is me at two and my brother at two months)

My mother says that before my brother was born they were worried about how I would take it, especially since I kept climbing in the waiting crib and stealing his teddy bears. But, when he was born I apparently took to him right away and, in fact, was very eager to help with all the menial chores like changing diapers and feeding and all of that. I don’t remember that, though, thank goodness!

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I couldn’t decide on a baby pic so you get two)

What I do remember, though, is feeding him m&m’s. He was so little he couldn’t even stand up on his own and was in a play pen. I can clearly see the scene – I had M&M’s in a snoopy bowl and every time I ate one I would throw one into the play pen for him since I couldn’t reach over it and, in fact, was standing on the couch to do this. He’d drop to his knees, search amongst his toys, eat his m&m and then use the play pen to pull himself back up in anticipation of another one. My mom caught me and made me stop because it would make “bubby” choke. Funnily enough he choked on everything else, but not those.

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This is his first birthday and my third – adults are my dad in the ugly sweater (you will see that sweater again) , my Grandma Mutchler and my Grandma Harris

My brother is exactly two years and five days younger than me, which means not only are we both Capricorns but we’ve had a lot of birthday parties together over the years. There were years when I resented this, but when we were really little I didn’t know what resentment was, yet. We were the kind of little kids that make people ill – we didn’t really fight and the idea of “name calling” was completely foreign. I learned about it in kindergarten and for awhile we would practice it. It used to make Mom mad.

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Our last Christmas in the “Little Green house” in Shenandoah

Besides living in happy Walton land we were also pretty spoiled. No, we weren’t rich, but we always got the things we really wanted. Like for my third Christmas I got a cabbage patch doll – this was the year that people got trampled to get them. Funnily enough my parents bought mine in August before they were popular. I had seen it in Woolworth and wanted it because it looked like “bubby”- a bald baby with blue eyes.

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me at four and Chris at two

We moved out of the little green house – so called because it was little and green – to the “big” house in Coin the winter when I was four. This meant we each got our own rooms! Before that we were sharing a room since we were both too little to know any better but it was coming to the point where we needed separated since he was a boy. For the first winter after we moved out there  I’d  wake up in the morning and find Chris curled up on the floor by my bed – he’d sneak in there in the middle of the night with his blankey and his pillow and curl up on my rug. It drove Mom and Dad nuts, but he eventually got used to the idea of separate rooms.

My brother also didn’t talk – at least not to my parents until he could speak in complete sentences. He must have spoken to me, though I don’t recall it, because I was his parental liaison.  I clearly recall arguing with my dad that Chris did not like spaghetti TV diners and wanted the macaroni and cheese instead. I also recall another incident trying to get him a glass of water while they both said he had to ask for it (of course they finally gave up), as well as other times of being frustrated when they’d tell me I was just making up Chris’s opinion when I knew I wasn’t.

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me and Chris and our beggy faces – circa five and three

Moving out to Coin was the start of a lot of “changes”. Besides suddenly having a huge yard and a “big” house- not to mention a staircase that was so handy for many of our games, I started school the following fall.  I remember the first day of school my mom and Chris came to get me and he brought me a rose – we only had one that ever bloomed. It was in front of the front porch and the plant was so old every year you’d get one single blossom and that was it. He talked mom into letting him pick it for me since I’d been gone all day. I still have it in a plastic container in the freezer.

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Christmas – I’m jut ready to turn six and Chris is four. That’s Grandma Mutchler’s leg in the chair and mom from the waist down

Chris’s last year “at home” wasn’t a pleasant one. He spent the whole winter sick – it started with scarlet fever, then pneumonia, then scarlet fever then…etc. etc.  The rollaway bed was set up permanently in the front room (which is why the tree that year had to go in the dinning room) so Chris could watch TV and such in the day time without taking up the couch day in and day out – Mom still got company back then in the day time. I don’t remember really knowing how sick he was, though I know now he nearly died several times. Luckily though, the squirt made it through on a steady diet of scrambled eggs.

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outside of Dairy Queen – Chris five, me seven

This is Chris in his favorite coat – we went to Burlington Coat Factory that year and got our winter coats and Chris had an “Air force” coat. He wore it all fall, all winter, all spring and as much as he could in the summer because it was “cool” I used to have to help mom and hold him down while she peeled it off of him. He loved that coat…

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me eight, chris six in the kitchen – I have no idea why the Koala is in a baby outfit

My brother was always exceedingly precocious – for instance when he was four he did not “toys” instead they were “creative utensils”. He found “toys” or being told to go “play” demeaning. So we always had “projects” more so than games. Sure, we played, but they were more what they now call “role play” games and were almost all played with he intention of turning them into stories later on.

That was another thing we used to do for fun – write stories. We always had piles and piles of paper – it was cast offs from the Shenandoah elementary schools and so only one side was blank while the other had worksheets and such on it. But we would sit down at the table in the dining room with our big tub of crayons and piles of paper and we would write “books”- aka children’s books – complete with the illustrations and when we’d finished mom would staple them together for us. I still have some of them, though Chris took so long on his pictures he rarely finished any of his. He was always such a perfectionist while I tended to fly through things.

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one of the infamous puppet shows

Really, though, every summer we had a new “project” – like one year we made an entire set of “superhero/fantasy paper dolls, another year we made his gumby figure a house out of boxes and decorated it with sticky labels, another time we made teddy town from cardboard and drew and cut out hundreds of inhabitants, and yet another year were our puppets. We went crazy with paper bag puppets and made an entire town’s population of puppets. We then wrote scripts and made backdrops and would then torture our poor parents with them. By then Chad was coming over all the time as well as some of my friend and they quite often found themselves drug into whatever we were doing.

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Halloween 1988

Being siblings we often ended up with matching Halloween costumes. The coolest ones ever though were the prince and princess set mom made us. Funnily enough as kids we didn’t truly appreciate that mom made all our costumes and I remember how trilled we were the year we got mail order clown outfits – until we got them that is. God they were ghastly and cheaply made too, might I add.

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Me – 12, Chris – 10, (the guy hiding in the back is our cousin Shawn -13 or 14) – recognize that ugly sweater?

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me at 14, Grandpa Mutchler, Chris at 12 and Uncle Mike in the back at Wabonsi state park

He may have taken after mom on the inside, but on the outside he was dad – tall and skinny while I was short and – in his word- squabby.

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me – 17, Chris 14 at the last picnic before Grandpa died

That’s one thing though, even in the worst fights (and god knows we’ve gotten into ones that ended in stitches or knives being thrown or chipped teeth) he never made fun of my “squabbyness” He’s probably made fun of about everything else except that, though! But, that comes with siblings.

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me and Chris at my graduation – he got me a single rose to end my school career since he brought me one to start it with – I think that’s Kevin McLaughlin in the background

Mom and dad split up when I was seventeen and mom moved across he state. Initially, I refused to go while Chris said he would go with her, but when the time came he changed his mind. That summer before my senior year I got a wild hair and decided to move with her after all – and Chris was pissed. At that point it was still a given where I went he went so he had to move too. In Mt P I ended up making a whole batch of new friends – back in Coin despite us being two years apart all our friends always ended up lumped together anyway. we were having mixed sex sleepovers when I was little – we slept in separate rooms of course – and so in Mt P when my friends didn’t like him it was a weird thing. I got pissed off at them and told them we were a packaged deal – but by then Chris refused to have anything to do with them.

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Chris 18, me 20. chucky (aka the hubby) 21

After graduation I moved out and in with Chucky and Chris got kinda pissy at me for a bit, but he would still drive u town at two am to bring me a Danish roll (I’m paying for it now – the toad calls me next door to turn his light on for him!) But when I moved to Missouri – after he graduated – he got a bit prissy at me for awhile and to be honest for several year there I didn’t see a whole lot of him, not until he moved down here in 2004.

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Chris’s graduation party, me, him and Dan)

In conclusion, by modern standards we are an odd set of siblings. Hell, probably even for “oldy days”. I guess we’re more like twins, despite most certainly not being twins. I don’t know why that is, though. We weren’t particularly isolated as children despite living in happy pony land. I guess it’s just because we are too much alike, not to mention that both our personalities are geared to balance the other one – he’s a perfectionist, I’m impatient – when I draw a picture I make him critique it and it always ends up lots better. He’s depressive, I’m cheerful.etc. Not to mention that even to this day he is my “little assistant” for all those things that hubby runs away from – like turkey cooking. In all actuality I can’t imagine not having a little brother.

Wasn’t that fun? I bet Chris will kill me when he sees this….

Help Me Pick a Pen Name!

If you’ve ever visited my Smashwords author page, you might have noticed a book called The Do-Nothing Day that is about snuggly teddy bears and written for a target audience of four year olds. It was written and illustrated in roughly 2001, along with ten others, and they have since darkened my hard drive. Though, I originally uploaded it so people with questions could see what Smashwords books with images looked like, the book has gotten enough downloads that I’ve decided to upload the other ten as well. However, I’m not so sure that mixing children’s books and adult books is wise.

My vampire books aren’t erotica, but there’s enough of a difference that I wouldn’t want someone to judge either set of books based on the other. I already have enough of a fight convincing people that my vampires are not YA (thanks again, Twilight), and mixing kiddie books into my account isn’t going to help. But, I don’t see why someone shouldn’t be enjoying them. They are pretty cute, after all.

So, now comes the fun, interactive part of the blog where you get to cast your votes on what my pen name should be! Leave your vote in the comments or, if you have a better suggestion, then leave it, too. I’ll probably cross post this all over, but in the end I’ll compile them all together and whatever wins is the name I will use.

  • J. Harris-Naylor
  • J.R. Harris
  • Roey Harris
  • Sintiel Quen
  • Nic Constantinescu
  • Alex Marshall

All the names come from various things I’ve done over the years.  I could give you lengthy explanations, but I’ll refrain. I will say one of them is elvish.

Look forward to seeing what everyone thinks!

Just Another Secret

(Original version July 2007. Rewritten 2010)

 

Keeping secrets for other people can be a dangerous business that leads to heart ache and misery. You might think it’s an innocent secret, you might think it can’t possibly hurt anyone – but sometimes you can be wrong.

It was a year ago when I saw him at the grocery store talking to Linda, the check out girl. He caught up with me in the rainy parking lot and asked me not mention it to anyone. He’d lied about being sick to get out of a dinner party his wife, Barbara, was keen on going to. He couldn’t stand some of her friends, after all. What harm is there in that?

The suicide note clutched between my fingers screams out the damage done. Tonight, of all the nights, Barbara finally found out where he really was. But, it wasn’t as innocent as I thought, and no one was as surprised as Barbara when Linda called and announced she was pregnant with his child.

Their affair started that rainy night. He’d chatted with her at the checkout line, cast a joke in her direction, and she’d taken the bait. They’d met after her shift for the first time in a flea-bitten motel room while I’d gone home and had a cup of tea and his wife had smiled and chatted at her dinner party. He’d betrayed her while she told stories about how dashing he was.

Barbara clutched the phone with shaking hands, and I looked up from my pasta with too much concern. Tears filled her eyes and smeared the world into a melting kaleidoscope; one where my friendly worry was not longer important.  She looked through the watery haze to her husband, who sat with a fork halfway to his mouth, spaghetti hanging off like an unfinished sentence.

She went insane when she hung up from Linda, if you can call the phone thrown to the floor hanging up. A purple vase soon joined it, and then a pot.  She hurled razor sharp abuses at him like she hurled their possessions, and all the while her eyes demanded, “How could you?”

And I ran. I pushed my plate away, mumbled some excuse and I dashed to my car. The safety of my house was welcome, and I hid behind the walls with my knowledge. How could I have told her that I’d seen it all begin? Something so innocent that I’d never bothered to mention it, not even to my sister.

But guilt gnawed at me with pointed teeth and so I came back, only to discover this scene. The body sways on the end of the rope, turning in slow circles, a mocking dance, and the note left behind says simply “I’m sorry.” But she isn’t here to read it; she’s left and taken her suitcase of belongings with her, leaving him alone.

The swaying shadow flickers across the wall as he turns slowly, lifeless face gazing at me, whispering to my imagination. “Don’t tell,” he seems to say, asking me to keep another secret.

***************

 

Fav song of the moment – “Away” – Breaking Benjamin

“I see you coz you won’t get out of my way

I hear you coz you won’t quit screaming my name

I feel you coz you won’t stop touching my skin…”

 

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