story

The four week visit

Last night I dreamed

She turned from the window

And smiled.

The sun touched lips, the sun drenched hair,

And she spoke to me, softly,

I could not hear the words

But I could see her lips moving.

The morning came and I went to the window I dreamed of,

I looked out at the garden and the ocean beyond.

White waves on a blue ocean.

When she was here with me,

I would walk all day

And make up stories to tell her at night.

One day she told me she didn’t like the story I had told,

The woman in the story was too beautiful

And that made her sad.

She was gone the next day.

She had tied a red scarf to the apple tree by the gate,

It whipped in the wind

Like the bloody standard of a defeated army.

Fishing from the boardwalk

Simon Ferris stood on the boardwalk and leaned over the edge, looking at a large timber pallet that floated in the salt water below. The timber was covered in shells and black worms. He stood a long time and wondered what the things on the pallet were. After a while, he pulled back and staggered down the boardwalk. The timber was uneven and hurt his legs which were twisted and weak. He had refused to take a wheelchair today; he wanted to walk.

Halfway down, back toward the street that led up into the city, he stopped and watched a pretty girl who sat on a bench in the shade near Shraff’s Amusement hall. She wore a tight red top, and her blonde hair was tied back with a blue ribbon. Next to her was a baby carriage. She leaned over occasionally to look inside. Each time she leaned over, she smiled. Her red lips pulled back showing her smooth white teeth.

Suddenly a great tiredness overtook Simon and his legs gave way under him. He toppled sideways, off the boardwalk, into the water below. An old man watching nearby, tapped a young man who stood next to him.

“A man just jumped off the boardwalk,” the old man said.

“Are you sure?” the young man answered. He looked over his shoulder. The young man held a fishing line and was reluctant to let it go.

Bronze lions

The lights of the street flickered in yellow and red, Maisie pulled her jumper down over her hands and looked at the red lights above the buildings. She always felt relaxed and sleepy when she saw a red light; she remembered the rooms she used to stay in when the streets were too cold. A bar heater would be turned on, and it would glow on the wall. It stayed red all night. The girls would struggle to get a bunk nearer to that heater. Tracy came and sat beside her, and they both spent a moment looking at the bronze lions that flanked the steps of the library.

“Tony told me that if he could flog those lions, they’d be worth a mint,” Tracy said. “Do ya have a smoke?”

A smokes worth a dollar, but I have one for you,” Maisie answered, pulling two cigarettes out of a wrapper that once held a hamburger. A little bit of red sauce stained the paper of one of the smokes and Maisie saw this. She wondered if it would burn ok or if it’d taste different. She held the stained one back for herself and gave Tracy the other. “Smoking,” Maisie said as she handed the girl the cigarette, “Kills 480,000 people in the US each year.”

“God, I hope I’m one,” Tracy laughed.

“So when’s Tony gonna do it?”
“Do what?”
“Steal them lions?”
“They weigh too much to carry off.”
Maisie lit her cigarette and then lit the other. They both took a deep breath of the smoke.

A working man coming past stopped and looked at Maisie. “How old are you?”
“Old enough,” she answered.

“You should be in school.”

“I’ve graduated with a degree in minding.”
“Minding what?”
“Minding my own fucking business.” The girls began to
laugh; the man said a few more things before walking off, but they ignored him. Just as he was speaking the morning sun came over the copper roof of the library and lit the square. The street lights, still aglow, would soon be off.

“I love this time of the morning,” Maisie whispered.

“I hate it; all the creeps are out. Early morning is the worst time.”

“Where’d you sleep last night?”

“I worked, I did a few jobs. I’ve not slept yet. Where’d you?”
“I stayed at Carla’s place.”
“Was her boyfriend home?”
“No, I wouldn’t be there if he was.”
They sat silently for a moment as a flock of pigeons gathered by the statue of T. S. Eliot.

“What are you doing today?” Tracy asked, dropping some ash from the end of her cigarette.
“I’m working at Ericson’s. They’re putting me on the register today.”
“It
don’t pay much, why don’t you come with me? I made twelve ‘undred dollars last night. Here look.” Tracy opened a cloth bag studded with red and blue sequins. Greenish blue looking notes were shoved in so that they were all screwed up, there were a lot of them.

“Give us a twenty?” Maisie asked.

“Sure,” Tracy pulled a twenty dollar note out, smooth it between her fingers and passed it to the thin blonde girl. Tracy was chubby, with a beautiful face, but she would, in a few years, become fat like her mother. Deep down she was jealous of Maisie; Maisie was thin and sharp like she had been cut from stone.

Maisie put it in her pocket. “I gotta start work now,” she stood up and lifted her jumper to show her supermarket uniform underneath. Her thin legs showed prettily under her dress. She let her jumper down and then dropped her cigarette and stamped it out.

“See ya; I’ll be here tonight at five if you want to get some dinner.”

“OK, I’ll meet you here.”

Maisie smiled and climbed down the wet steps that seemed to slope back too far so that each one held a puddle of water. Maisie then skipped from a patch of sunlight to another. She looked up and noticed the lamps were all off now and the early morning sun danced in the leaves of the Kurrajong Trees. She turned back to looked at Tracy and stopped. Tony held Tracy by her arm and was violently tearing her purse away from her. Maisie felt the twenty-dollar bill in her pocket.

On asking an old man directions to the nearest men’s toilet.

 

To Bob Dylan and the person who wanted me to be more accurate with my titles.

 

Standing outside the supermarket

An old man reflected on this part of town.

“The one in the park is good,

They’ve recently put some money into it,

But the toilets by the railway station are not to be trusted.

They stink, the drug users hang out there,

Men blow each other and all the depraved shit in the world goes on there.”

The old man bit his lips as he spoke and went a little red in the face.

He folded his arms and sat down on a bench. The timber slats creaked under his weight.

I looked around the streets

It was quiet; a few cars moved about in the distance,

But here, where we were, no one moved.

 Being still early in the morning,

The sidewalk was wet from where the shopkeeper hosed it.

The old man looked as if he had just crawled out of bed,

His clothes were stained and crumpled and a warm smell

Of sweat and urine radiated from his body.

He was settled in his place now as if he intended

To be there all day.

“I used to sit here with Jack,”

The old man went on and then spat into the gutter.

“But he died last year.

We used to be close friends but now I don’t have anyone to talk to,

It’s changed my day a lot; I do so much more thinking now.

And I don’t come here as much,

Only three days a week,

I go to the library instead.”

I thanked him for his advice on the toilets

And I headed across the street to the park.

In the men’s block, I find a young man collapsed on the floor.

A brown bag underneath him

As if he is hugging it to him on those cold tiles.

He wears a hood over his blond hair, and his face is pale and marked with acne.

I talk to him, but he doesn’t move, I nudge him with my foot,

I wonder if it’s drugs.

I call the ambulance, but don’t wait,

I leave those toilets and go back to my car.

Looking back to the supermarket, I see the old man,

and wonder what he’ll make of the excitement to come.

 

Buy my new novel here: Anvil Soul

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Leigh Raines ‘We’re All Mad Here’ release and interview.

Today is the big day, Leigh Raines novel ‘We’re All Mad Here’ is released and I am excitedly awaiting my copy to arrive. Leigh is a good friend of mine, a nice person and an exceptional writer. Her debut novel released through French Press Bookworks (www.frenchpressbookworks.com) is a novel that will allow the reader to enter the world of a young woman in a mad world;

Jade Thompson had the kind of adolescence you would find in a Norman Rockwell painting. But at 19-years-old when her seemingly normal life is flipped on its head, she’s forced to take a closer look at the relationships in her life and the decisions she has made.

It feels as if she has fallen down a rabbit hole. As she returns to college and stumbles through her new reality, she finds herself more than a little lost. With the help of her three closest friends, we spend the year with Jade through her ups and downs where she discovers everyone is a little bit mad in the world. 

Here is an excerpt:

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Please have a look at http://www.Leighraines.com to explore this author’s ideas and works.

She was kind enough to answer a set of my questions and to coincide with the books release, I found out a little more about Leigh.

Author Photo 1
1. Please tell me about yourself.
L: I’m just a girl, who wrote a book years ago not knowing what I’d eventually do with it….and now it releases this week and I’m altogether excited and terrified. A little about me? Born and raised just outside of Manhattan, big family, went to Lehigh University, studied Journalism. Love all things pop culture, work for a TV critique website, I love the way people use creative mediums to tell stories. Favorite shows in the world are Friday Night Lights and One Tree Hill. My French bulldog is named Minka for FNL. Favorite books, is a much hard question!
2. What do you like to read?
L: I read a lot of indie authors, mostly New Adult, young romance. I do read the popular best-seller stuff and I like some historical fiction and memoirs. I love a good love story.
3. What are you reading right now and what do you think you will read next?
L: I tend to read more than one book at once, especially because I have the nasty habit of staying up all night to finish a book I’m really into. So before bed you’ll find me reading “The Andy Cohen Diaries” because it’s funny, but I’m not addicted to finding out the ending. Last few: “The World According to Rachel” by Layne Harper, “The Before Now and After Then” by Peter Monn, “All I want (Alabama Summer)” by J. Daniels, “Captivated by You” by Sylvia Day. Next: “Maybe Not” spinoff of an awesome Colleen Hoover book called “Maybe Someday” and the “Real” series by Katy Evans, because I keep hearing about it.
4. Why do you like to write?
L: It’s therapeutic. I love telling a story. This book I wrote started as a cathartic thing for me and then I wanted to have a little fun with it. I also do weekly TV reviews. I like to just break down a story and discuss it.
5. Tell us about where you come from and where you live now.
L: I’m from Rockland County, New York and now I live on the Upper East Side in Manhattan with my boyfriend and dog. My family has a house on coastal Georgia that is a second home and I love. The only other place I’ve ever really lived was Eastern Pennsylvania for college.
6. If you could invite any person, alive today or from history, to a dinner party who would you invite and why?
L: Such a hard question, especially narrowing it down! Author wise: Jacqueline Susann because “Valley of the Dolls” was such a scandal and it also made me want to spice up my own book. I feel like she’d have a lot of juicy tales. I’m such a huge TV nerd so I’d want to meet Connie Britton and Sophia Bush, two of my favorite actresses who are also really philanthropic and inspiring woman. From a personal standpoint, I never met my grandfather whom I was named for and my boyfriend’s mother passed away 9 years ago and I want to meet the woman who raised this man I love so much.
7. What advice can you give to people trying to achieve their dreams?
L: Don’t settle and get comfortable. Rejection is normal. If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.
8. Can you tell us about the new book you have coming out and about your inspiration?
L: Some personal experiences inspired my book, but there was also a motto of “All that glitters is not gold.” Someone can have a normal great life and meltdown anyway because that is just life! I think mental health is a really important conversation to be having, especially with today’s youth. Also when I started writing this probably a decade ago, there was such a gap in the publishing industry without the New Adult category. College age is such a formative time. I wanted to delve into that.
9. Can you give us a quote from your favorite book?
L: Considering I probably can’t even narrow down a favorite book….I seriously should just link you to my Kindle Highlights page! You know I have hundreds of quotes saved on both my phone and laptop. Here are a few favorites (serious quotes):

“There are all kinds of love in this world, but never the same love twice.”- F. Scott Fitzgerald
“There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood leads on to fortune. But omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat, and we must take the current when it serves. Or lose the ventures before us.” – Julius Caesar
“Blessed are the hearts that can bend, they shall never be broken.”- Albert Camus
And of course “Clear Eyes, Full hearts, Can’t Lose”- Friday Night Lights

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Thank you Leigh.

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Leigh Raines ‘We’re All Mad Here’ French Press Bookworks.

Released December 10th 2014 available electronically, online or through any good bookstore.