Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Cooking Light

A few years back I wrote the first couple of paragraphs for this story for a Toads prompt and never finished it.  Well here is the finished version.  Hope you are all doing well!!!

Cooking Light

     “You are a spring dick.”  

     “What the hell is that,” William asked, emptying a second packet of Sweet-n-Low into his iced tea.
     “A spring dick, my dear old friend, is someone who can find fault, regardless of the fact that there is a near perfect spring day upon him and he has nothing to do but spend time with his best friend, soak up the sunshine and revel in the miracle of being alive.”

     “Those day lilies on the table smell like cat piss to me, I don’t know why you insist on bringing them indoors.  It smells like we live in the cat ladies house. And when is my best friend going to get here?”

     “A spring dick.”

     “Yes, I heard you the first time.”

     The back yard was resplendent in the springtime. The lilies, freesias, wisteria all blooming in a rhapsody of life and color.  William and Charles would sit on the porch every day for the next three months from nine until two, William drinking iced tea and smoking small cherry cigars and Charles sipping whatever sickening sweet cocktail of the day he could purge from the depths of his Cooking Light magazine collection.  His subscription had long run out, but he had the tattered remains of every issue from March of 2000 until April of 2010, the year he liked to refer to as his “untimely fall from grace.” He had borrowed five hundred dollars cash from the register at Hero’s Bar and Grill, his place of employment at the time.  He was short of cash and needed to buy heels and get waxed before the drag competition at Apollo’s the weekend before Pride. He didn’t think the cash would be missed.  He was wrong.  He always “intended to put it back out of my next paycheck,” but there was no next paycheck for Charles.

     The cacophony of fragrances in the back yard put to shame any perfume, of any old woman, on any elevator, in Savannah Georgia, on any given Sunday.  That was saying a lot. The hummingbirds would flock by the hundreds in the spring to sip from any one of twenty-five hand decorated bird feeders. Charles was certain that the decoration was what lent to the large number of birds. He was of course, largely overlooking the fact that there were no other hummingbird feeders for at least ten blocks, but then how would he know that was the case.

     The grass was as perfect as any grass could be, neatly trimmed and cut, so resilient that sometimes the afternoon sun would reflect harshly into the eyes of anyone on the porch who was not wearing sun glasses. Charles only had the best sunglasses, polarized and designer brands in every shape, color and style you could imagine.  The grass was no match for him.

     Charles sighed heavily and took a sip of his cocktail. When he didn’t elicit a response from William he repeated his melancholy melodrama. 

     Still no response. After the third sigh without so much as a glance from William, Charles began to sob lightly with his head on the back of his hand that wasn’t holding the cocktail.

     “What!!!!” William shouted looking up for the John Irving book he was reading.  Charles nearly jumped out of his chair and began to wail now instead of just sob.

     “What do you mean what,” he shouted back, tears streaming own his cheeks.  “You’re dying that’s what!!” He slid forward in his seat and set the cocktail on the ground and started sobbing into his cupped hands.

     “I have been dying for a year and a half now Charles.  We do this little dance at least once a week, always after your third martini.  Nothing has changed except the timeline, and yes, the doctors say soon and I really do feel like shit, but I don’t want to spend the rest of my time crying in the backyard with the man I love.  I want to spend quality time and I need you to take my mind off of the facts, not keep shoving a list of them under my damned nose every ten minutes.”

     “But what am I going to do…. I’m too old to start over, I’m too ugly to get a job, and I’m too fat to be a prostitute!”  Still wailing but in a more controlled manner, Charles got up and began pacing the concrete.

     “I have life insurance enough for you to take some time to figure it out, you know that. You are only forty-two and for chrissake you are not ugly, homely maybe, but not ugly.”  Charles stopped wailing long enough to flip William the bird.

     “Besides you said that the cutie at the gym with the big bulge wants you.  A couple of pokes with that thing and you will forget all about me.”

    This comment brought a fresh wave of sobbing. He turned to William, hands on his knees.

     “How can you say I will forget about you!!! I’ll never forget you.”

     Charles returned to his chair drying his eyes with a cocktail napkin.

     “Besides I don’t like penises that big, you should know that, I chose you.”  William laughed and took a puff off of one of his cherry cigars.

     “You will do what everyone who is still living will do.  You will get your ass out of bed, shower and comb that rats’ nest and go out into the day with a positive mind and spirit and respect me by keeping yourself together.  You will do fine.  I think half of our friends are just waiting for me to die anyway to try and get their filthy hands on you and your insurance check.”

     “Not to mention my glowing skin and sizable package.”

     “Sizable compared to what?  A walnut?”  William laughed at his own joke this time and took a drink of his iced tea.

     “Do me a favor and go to the night stand drawer next to my side of the bed and pull out the envelope under my socks.  Do not bring it out here.  I was going to give this to you after I was gone, but you have been such a mess, I just want you to know you will be OK.”

     Charles eyes began to sparkle, fresh tears welled in his eyes.

     “What is it?”  


     Charles pulled the yellow manila envelope from the drawer and sat down on the side of the bed. He slowly unclasped and emptied the contents on to the duvet. There were three things.  The first was a letter hand written on fine stationery, the kind William would always pay too much for when he wrote his letters. The letter was short and said only this:
You were mine, for the rest of my life, like I promised
I loved you from the day we met
You made me great
And I leave you with a heavy heart, but rapturous love
     The tears were a faucet now and Charles had to work to stifle his sobs, the tightness in his chest threatening to choke him.  He didn’t even care what the other two items were at this point but picked them up anyway. One was check for four hundred thousand dollars with a note written in the memo line that read “Play Money” and the other was a lifetime subscription to Cooking Light magazine. 

     In the bedroom Charles cried and reflected on his life. On the Porch, William smoked and smiled.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018


I swore I would be repentant last time, trembling and crying, it was my environment
God didn’t believe me when I said I wouldn’t look at porn anymore either
But I was allowed to grow up just the same, never sure if I was on heavenly probation
You told me to get my shit straight, that God didn’t like an idiot and I took that to heart

So now in times of crisis I look to my heart first to see if it's true and gaze into the everything
Cosmic lineage doesn’t lie, helium, hydrogen, oxygen, neon, our elemental family reunion
At the edge, I would stand perilously close and peek through the universal boudoirs curtains
To spy on the naked truth and hold it close to my chest, sharing with passing stars and comets
If I told you what the truth was you would chuckle condescendingly and offer me a cigarette
I would tell you anyway, because I love you and you should know…we all should know 
I would wrap your shoulders in grandmas afghan so you wouldn’t catch a chill
And go to bed knowing the seeds were planted, your dreams and the universe would do the rest

Tuesday, July 31, 2018


     She stared out her classroom window and watched a plastic bag blowing across the well-manicured lawn, wondering if she let go, if her soul would become light enough to just blow around the world.  She imagined floating high in the sky, staring in the windows of high rise apartments, seeing life at its most intimate, the occupants sharing food, angry thoughts and awkward love making. Watching to see if a woman brushing her teeth in the morning would do it before bed time as well, as she is sure she tells her dentist she does.

     She imagines flying low to the ground through construction sites, where sweaty men work toward a retirement full of arthritic backs, skin cancer and drinking problems born of a self professed responsibility to feed their families and their own vices, sometimes more the latter than the former. She wondered how many memories should could fit inside herself before the weight of the world would be so heavy that flying became an impossibility.

    She thought that night time would bring cool winds and the glow of lights in which she could see the writers, the artists and the musicians practicing to become more than the sum of their dreams.  She loves the pajamas, the late-night raids of the ice cream and the one man  that would surely be surfing the high definition images of his favorite creamy white thighs and dreaming of a tryst filled with danger and delicious delight.

     She didn’t want to understand the universe, she wanted to be the universe and know all of things that were true and unknowable. She wanted to be filled with the warmth of understanding, the elevation of compassion and the crisp sweet tang of electricity. She longed to hold the human race in her bosom and cradle the fears and triumphs, washing over their lives with a wave of security and a notion that they were useful, beautiful and loved.

     She turned her attention back to the front of the classroom and listened to the teacher do his best to impart the wisdom of the world he knew and she knew it would not be enough.  When the bell rang she gathered her books, walked to the front of the class and set them on the teachers desk.

      "Where are you going,” the teacher asked.

     “Somewhere that rings true and calms my mind and spirit."

     “Will you be back?”

     “Look for me outside your window, I will be there watching over you.”

     “Can I come?”

    “When you understand who you are, you will find a light at the bottom of your dream.  You will find me there."

Thursday, July 12, 2018


Toril Fisher

For Margarets prompt at the Imaginary Garden With Real Toads
     Just last year the lake swallowed Mary Givney’s son whole. That damnable oil slick surface not giving up a single ripple as he slipped silently from sight. Two feet from shore and two feet from a boat, five people gawked on, not one moving an inch to try and save the boy.

     “It was his lot,” they said.

     “Who am I to interfere with God’s will,” they said.

    “The fates are not to be trifled with,” they said.

     When that boy came back to life in the fall, walking straight out of that water like the second coming, you should have seen the faces of the towns folk. As they watched him shamble through the main street, skin purple with the cold and eyes red rimmed and milky, he touched each one in the middle of the forehead.  In a voice choked with water and decaying vegetation he repeated the same word over and over.

     “Wish. Wish. Wish.”

     He headed for his mother’s house and the people followed, keeping a distance, not wanting him to touch them again, but amazed at the walking dead and scared of what he might do. 

As he approached the house his mother came out and embraced him, tears in her eyes.

    “Wish. Wish. Wish.”  He repeated and then collapsed in a gelatinous heap, dead once again at her feet.

     She stared out at the people and shook her head at them in disgust.

    “What kind of evil are you casting on us woman,” one of them shouted.

    “What is this Wish he spoke of,” another asked.

    “We should burn him so that he stays dead,” one man spat.

She stared at them, not in horror or anger, but in pity and frustration.

    “You created him,” she said.

    “He only wanted to fit in,” she said.

    “You have killed he only thing I have ever loved,” she said.

     That is when the fist stone hit her in the leg. That was when the boy became a King.  That was when the die was cast.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018


The empathy she showed was not born into her
Rather it was born of her, her lot, her place
Reaching for the same silver coins we all do
But reduced to tears by adolescent gossip
And the curse of being different

"Why do they tease me mother?"
She was natures art project
"Your destiny is so much greater child."
She was the mouth piece of the universe

She grew evenly, like rising, rich, brown bread, soul, mind, light
And time handed her gifts as necessary, depth, love, understanding
On a hill outside of Vinton, Iowa she breathed her first revelation
If you could have seen her that day when her potential was unleashed
You would have seen her for what she was....captivating.

© 2018 Crowley

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Our Bravest Face

We saw the glade, we strolled the hollow, at five o’clock I brushed your hair
You sent shivers up my spine and talked of the milk white skin of my thigh
And we laughed about the Mister and seriousness of political love and polemic lust
And how difficult it is to listen to the worlds conventions and not lose hope

Companion loved, companion lost
You were rolled in oats and honey 
And I whinnied and pranced about
The connection the slimmest and strongest filament 
Umbilical nourishment and telepathic rapture
You fucking left me without a shore

We ate the berries, we bathed in lavender, at five o’clock you brushed my hair
You told me you were moving on, we cried pools of memories into your lap
And we laughed about the Mister and the seriousness or mortal thought and heavens trap 
And how difficult the night would be without the crickets

Companion loved, companion lost
I was awkward, lithe and funny
And you laughed and rolled about
The connection being severed by a razors edge
What will I do without my sunshine
I fucking left you without a moor

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Paying for Peace

Crossways, my mind sat bone still, night still, freeze tag still, hiding from the rapist still
Yet it careened forward at breakneck speed, concerned about the beheadings
Twenty-seven to be exact, one of them an ice cream truck driver, imagine that
You broke into my zone and said a penny for your thoughts and punched me in the shoulder
I screamed in your face about how a penny wouldn’t even buy an ice cream sandwich wrapper
Much less the life of a decapitated Good Humor man, you scurried away distraught, confused
I had tried to buy peace last Saturday night with gold coin and whatever sex I could muster
But my dalliance stared into my eyes and laughed, whispering in my ear before leaving
“Peace is free for those who give away love and understanding for free.”
It was good thing, because I had been saving my love and understanding for someone deserving

Tuesday, July 3, 2018


     There are those girls with the handsome thighs, chittering and whispering, the sideways glance an indication that they know you are looking at them. The skin that the sun cannot blemish, soft like butter and cream.  They prance in an ebbing sun chained together with adolescent cinching, straining and breaking under the weight of the oncoming woman’s world hips. The call of  a life yet to come in a land of little resistance or want. But for now they swirl, dancing to a tune so wholesome it need be whistled sharply else the winds carry it prematurely to the land of accountability.

     The call of the river is a whisper most days and silent in the winter like death. But the screams of springtime get in a girls head and push boundaries.  She may get stuck in the eddy that takes her like a rocket to the bottom, trying to sift the mica from the silt and waking in the morning to the truth that it was not gold after all. When she resurfaces, lungs straining for one gulp of familiar air to set right, she is spit out on the tracks located at the intersection of lust and broken bones. Nostalgia floats in on the summer water and the yearning for deep rooted familiarity dances on the green surface of that Danube dream.

     There will not likely be another moment in which the girl has the time of day or the key to her identity until the butter and cream skin is patched with the scars and discolorations that show the depth of her experience. It is only then that wisdom and beauty build a bridge over that mighty current allowing one to cross with fingers in ears and a mind full of not what is right for the world, but first and foremost, what is right for her mind and soul. Some will say it can be the best part of a woman’s life, when the key is turned in that lock, but every girl cannot help to remember that sharply whistled tune and like riding a bicycle, the sideways glance from a woman is artistry that never fades.  

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Pet Friendly Motels in Eastern Colorado

The sign read, "No Smoking Dogs!"
I looked at the desk clerk.
"Sooooo, if my dog smoked cigars we wouldn't be welcome, or I can't barbecue a dog, oooor, no lighting a dog on fire and watching it smolder?"
"The vending machine outside sells plastic cigarette smoking dogs....they stink"
I checked my pocket for quarters.