My #Christmas on The Streets: 1966. A sweet memory.#Memoir #RRBC @pursoot

CHRISTMAS BLOG BANNER

Thanks so much for stopping by. I like to share this post every Christmas. It remains one of my sweetest memories.

CHRISTMAS MORNING 1966: 2:00 AM.

The Christmas season is the harshest of all when you live on the streets.

On ANY streets. In ANY town. In any Climate.

A miracle happened in our small dark world that hot and steamy Christmas morning all those long years ago. I’d not yet turned twelve years old. Yet I felt older than time.

It was not a ‘miracle’ of biblical proportions. Yet for the fifteen of us that lived in the damaged shipping container, it was a miracle that we would hold in our memories forever, to be taken out and looked at whenever life grew harsher.

I am sharing it with you here.

I hope that it makes you nod in understanding. I hope that it reminds you of what joy your smile and a simple hello can mean to the lost and the lonely.

I am smiling through my tears as I remember…..

***

Christmas was barely a week or so away, and the mood in ‘the palace’ wasn’t good. That’s what we’d named our rusty old shipping container. ‘The Palace’ was exactly that to us. We constructed our own safety barriers, dodging between smart-mouthed bravado and silent despair.

Christmas out here meant different things to each of us I guess.

My memories of Christmas’s past were all bad. Even last year when I’d been on the streets alone for barely a month had bad stuff attached to it, yet it hadn’t been nearly as bad as the ones I had lived with back in the home I called ‘hell central’.

I asked ‘Baby Jenny’ our youngest member to come for a walk with me down to see Big Mike. The guy was built like a mountain and I never did learn his last name. He was the go-to man for everything here on the Sydney docks. I wanted to ask him if he could scrounge up some left over decorations to put up in the palace to lighten the mood a little.

He gave me a thoughtful nod, and said he’d “see what he could do.”

He bent down and spoke to Jenny, “I swear you get prettier every day, Jenny. Don’t let Sassy here teach you any bad habits.”

Jenny grinned at him too afraid to respond.

I kept my mouth shut for a change, except for a “Gee thanks, Big Mike.”

He smiled and wandered off, and we headed back up to the palace. We spent a lot of time outdoors during the heat of the summer. The cooler breezes drifting in from the water gave us a little welcome respite. The heat inside our metal home was dreadful. It was difficult to breathe in the late afternoons. We complained to each other long and loud. But I had to shrug and smile at our bitching. Winter was far worse.

We figured Big Mike had forgotten when a week passed with no contact. It was disappointing, but the man didn’t owe us anything. He’d already rushed one of us to the hospital and probably saved her life and the life of the baby that she’d been giving birth to. So we didn’t really expect the decorations, we just hoped for them.

Jenny was extra quiet. I wondered if she would ever be able to talk about why she was here. I didn’t ask her. I hadn’t discussed my background with any of them, even Jamie. So I understood that it was not open for general discussion. These streets were harsh and difficult regardless of why you found yourself here.

Christmas Eve dawned fiery red. It was going to be a very, very, hot day according to the radio forecasts, with a cool southerly change expected later in the evening.

We all headed up to Hyde Park very early and took a Christmas bath in our favorite fountain. At least the palace wouldn’t stink quite so badly for Christmas day.

It was tempting to just jump into the ocean so close to the Palace, but Big Mike had warned us all about the sharks, so we didn’t dare.  We planned on heading down to the Botanical Gardens for a dip in the lake that evening. We figured there wouldn’t be many people around at that time because it was Christmas Eve and they’d be home with their families. It was a sad thought until we reminded each other that we too were a family.

The sky began to darken and the thunder rolled in early in the afternoon. The southerly buster was heading up the coast rapidly. We were all unusually quiet and sitting around outside in the shade of the container when we heard the sound of vehicles heading toward the palace.

We headed around the front to see who had arrived and watched in stunned amazement as Big Mike and two of the other guys whose names I can’t recall, began unloading boxes of stuff from their cars and placing it in the shaded opening of our tin home.

Big Mike looked uncomfortable, if possible, he was even gruffer than usual. “You lot need feeding up, so we brought you some stuff.”

We were all too stunned to say much at all, these hard men were all smiling and a little red-faced. I swear if they could have, that they would have scuffed their shoes in the dirt like little kids with embarrassment.

Big Mike shook Jamie’s hand and accepted the ‘thank you’ from him.

I was speechless which wasn’t a common occurrence. I just grinned at them all. and gave the guys a hurried “Thanks.”

They were the unlikeliest Angels you would ever see, sweaty and dirty after a long hot day’s work, but the sight of them unloading the Christmas goodies and punching one another in the arm in a gesture common amongst males remains etched starkly in my memory.

Big Mike reached into the front seat of his car and pulled out a parcel that was wrapped in Christmas paper, with bright ribbons attached. He walked over and handed it to Baby Jenny.

She looked confused and wasn’t sure what to do with it.

“The women picked this out for ya, little one.” Big Mike said in a voice strictured by emotion.

Jenny still wasn’t sure what to do.

“Go ahead and open it, Jenny,” Jamie said.

“Um, later. Later. Okay?” she replied looking very unsure of herself.

She looked at the men, and gave them one of her sweet smiles, “Don’t matter what it is. I never had a present before, so, um, yeah. Thanks, thanks a lot.”

The men seemed to understand that she needed to be alone when she opened it.

As for the rest of us, we tore into those presents and boxes like there was no tomorrow, squealing in delighted surprise with everything we found.

There was more food than any of us had ever seen.

There were tinned hams, fresh pineapples, cherries, and plums. Cooked Turkey and Cranberry sauce, with all the trimmings. Fifteen red t-shirts all large sizes. Paper plates, and plastic knives and forks, a can-opener. A Cooler packed with ice, and a new radio with spare batteries. A big crate of beer and bottles of cold Coke rounded out the feast.

That night, we all huddled around the new radio. It was much bigger and put out a better sound than the small transistor we had been using. We sat drinking the beer and singing our version of Christmas carols, none of them repeatable. Trust me.

Jenny sat on her sleeping space of folded layers of newspaper. She was a little tipsy having been allowed one-half of a small bottle of beer. We glanced at her as she picked up her present and watched the look on her face as she unwrapped it.

It was a baby doll, all soft and dressed in bonnet and booties with a pretty pink knitted dress. “Just what we needed, another fuckin’ mouth to feed,” she said. But the smile on her face could have lit up the entire city.

We were fed, content, and a little overwhelmed and unsure at the kindness of these people.

We all wanted to believe that maybe, just maybe, they had done it for no motive other than the wish to make this Christmas a better place for us to be. It was an alien experience to all of us,but a welcome one.

We had only sampled a little of the huge amount of food, deciding to save the rest for Christmas Day

That night we were all tipsy, yet strangely quiet as we bedded down for the night. I think we were all a little overwhelmed by the generosity of these men.

It was around 2.00 am Christmas morning I guess when I felt something was wrong. Whatever the something was, it wouldn’t let me sleep. I couldn’t place it immediately. It was a strange sense of something missing, and it troubled me.

Jamie was on watch. I climbed over the others and hunkered down next to him. Jamie smiled at me and said, “You too hey, Sassy?”

“Yeah, I guess. What is it? Something’s different.”

We sat a while just listening. Then Jamie said, “Oh shit! It’s Jenny, she’s not crying!”

My heart was in my mouth. Jamie grabbed the torch and we played it across the others, several of them were already awake, and wondering what the hell was happening. Jenny had cried herself to sleep every night since she’d come to this place. It was a sound we all tried not to hear. She couldn’t be comforted, we weren’t permitted that close. She’d been here for two years now. Jenny was only around eight-years-old and the sounds of her despair echoed through the palace every night.

We stood looking down at her. Jenny lay on her side, sound asleep, with both arms wrapped around that doll so tight there was no space between them.

That was the first time I had cried in a very, very, long time. I glanced at the others, without exception we were all affected the same way. No one wanted to look at anyone else, shit we were supposed to be the toughest kids on the block! Hell, we were the only kids on the block. That Christmas was the first real day of Jenny’s childhood. From then on, Christmas became Jenny’s birthday.

I’d like to tell you that a miraculous change came over her. That she was instantly transformed. In a make-believe world she’d be outside singing all the hits from ‘The Sound of Music’ and wearing a pretty new dress and shoes.  But this is the real world, and the changes took place over time.

Jenny named her doll, Francine.

The greatest change of all, was that, from that night, for all the years that Baby Jenny remained in our world, she never cried herself to sleep again.

 ***

Many years have passed since that long ago Christmas Eve. My darling Jenny has gone.

So many of my Christmas Eves over time have been special ones. But the one I recall with tears of happiness on my face, and a smile in my heart, is this one.

Jenny lost her battle with life in September of 2008.

The doll Francine was buried with her.

#

Thanks so much for stopping by and helping share my memory.

Have a joyous and memorable Christmas Season.

 

Book Review: “Slivers of Life” A Collection of Shorts by Beem Weeks @BeemWeeks #RRBC @FreshInkGroup #RWISA

Hello and welcome to my review of “Slivers Of Life” by Beem Weeks.

Slivers

 

Meet Beem Weeks

BEEM WEEKS BIO PIC

Beem Weeks is the author of short stories, poems, essays, and novels. Among his literary influences he counts Daniel Woodrell, Barbara Kingsolver, and Stephen Geez. A pop-culture trivia buff, Beem’s passions include indie films, loud music, and a well-told story. He has also penned a collection of short stories entitled Slivers of Life.

Book Blurb:

These twenty short stories are a peek into individual lives caught up in spectacular moments in time. Children, teens, mothers, and the elderly each have stories to share. Readers witness tragedy and fulfillment, love and hate, loss and renewal. Historical events become backdrops in the lives of ordinary people, those souls forgotten with the passage of time. Beem Weeks tackles diverse issues running the gamut from Alzheimer’s disease to civil rights, abandonment to abuse, from young love to the death of a child. Long-hidden secrets and notions of revenge unfold at the promptings of rich and realistic characters; plot lines often lead readers into strange and dark corners. Within Slivers of Life, Weeks proves that everybody has a story to tell—and no two are ever exactly alike.

My Review: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟Beautifully captured moments in time. A must read.

Moods of darkness and light within these pages take the reader on an emotional roller coaster. Author Beem Weeks first captured my attention with “Jazz Baby” a full-length novel which introduced me to his marvelous and gritty writing style.

“Slivers Of Life” grabbed my attention from paragraph one and held it throughout. This collection is at times devastatingly honest in its portrayal of man’s ability to disown some emotions and replace them with a more acceptable truth.

Author Beem Weeks has crafted tales reflective at times on the outcome of human disinterest and a thirst for vengeance, or the craving for a connection to each other that humankind needs … and he has done it beautifully.

His innate ability to hear every nuance of spoken dialogue and reproduce it so well is his gift to us as readers.

These stories touched me, they evoked thoughts and remembered feelings so strongly that I was saddened when the collection reached its end. That for me is the X Factor! That intangible something that will have me reading and re-reading Slivers of Life for the pleasure it brings and the questions I ask myself when it’s done.

Contact Beem Weeks:

Purchase Slivers of Life on Amazon.

Beem Weeks Amazon Author Page

Contact via:

Email

Twitter: @voiceofindie & @BeemWeeks

Blog/Website:

The Indie Spot!

#CoverReveal #NewRelease: “The Alternative” by S.Burke @pursoot My new #Thriller #Anthology. #RRBC #premium_indie #IARTG Now Available for PRE-ORDER.

 Hello, and welcome to the Cover Reveal of my New Thriller Anthology

“The Alternative”

The ALTERNATIVE BANNER HEADLINE FOR COVER REVEAL BEST

The Alternative

The Alternative
by S.Burke

Available to Pre-Order NOW.
Release Date:  Monday June 18th 2018
Mystery> Thriller & Suspense > Anthology.

It is such an exciting time for an author when releasing a new book! I would be remiss in not sharing my heartfelt thanks to the marvelous people who gave of their time so readily to beta read my latest book. Their valuable insights helped me enormously when crafting “The Alternative”

At long last, I’m able to share the cover and blurb for “The Alternative” my latest Thriller Anthology.   “The Alternative ” is due for release on June 18th.

It is NOW available for Pre-Order

I have many good friends sharing this cover across the blogosphere today and tomorrow, so you’re likely to see it pop up in various places. Thank you to everyone participating in my cover reveal splash, and to everyone dropping by to share in my excitement.   Here’s my new baby . . .

With much gratitude to Eeva Lancaster at The Book Khaleesi for the cover creation.

Cover Created by Eeva Lancaster at The Book Khalessi

Presenting “The Alternative” A Thriller Anthology.

“The Alternative”

THE ALTERNATIVE COVER IN HIGH RESOLUTION BEST

BLURB:

The Alternative.

There are those that cling unreservedly to the lifeboat that believing in Karma hands them so willingly.

They work, they live, and they function in a world that allows them the option of unreservedly trusting that Karma has no deadline.

Until they are handed the spark that ignites them into becoming the instrument of Karma itself.

There are others who have had all they once held to be truths, everything they once stood for and took pride in, torn apart and ripped from them by the hand of a cruel fate.

Then, of course, there are those who believed in nothing and no one, to begin with …

These are their stories.

The stories of people both good and bad, who made the choice to exact “The Alternative.”

An excerpt from Chapter 1. Picasso.

February 1990.

The tall man stretched his arms and flexed his long artistic fingers. He stood back to gain a different perspective of his latest work of art. He’d spent a great deal of time sketching his outline and was well satisfied with the outcome. Perhaps this one would be the perfection he craved above all else.

His other efforts were upstairs in the gallery, and while they were far from his lofty imaginings, they each represented another step forward toward his ultimate goal. He knew this exhibition would prompt worldwide interest, that was a given. His reputation was on the line. That at least was something he valued.

He grunted and moved the newest piece into the workroom. The more difficult application of his talent needed to begin.

***

 NEW YORK JULY 2015

Meredith keyed in her code, shouldered the door open and dropped her briefcase onto the polished boards of the entry. Working on autopilot, she flicked on the light and bent to collect the mail from the floor; throwing it onto the small bureau without bothering to check the sender. She shrugged off her coat and draped it over the arm of the sofa. Too damned weary to be bothered with any external interruptions tonight, she removed the home phone from its cradle and headed to the kitchen to fix enough coffee to sustain the long evening ahead, deliberately ignoring the well-stocked bar. She was well aware that she’d need every bit of concentration she could muster. She removed the Glock from her handbag, and out of habit, she placed it on the coffee table next to the perpetually full ashtray.

Her head was already pounding and she rubbed at her tense neck muscles until her fingers ached. Relief from the unresolved tension still hovered … just out of reach. She held her breath for a moment, stilling her impatience. If all went to plan, this thing would be finally ended. If justice existed at all, it would go well. All the years she’d worked to bring what was the only course left open to herself and the others to completion was coming. ‘Soon now’, was her daily mantra. But the darker visions still danced vividly in her mind’s eye and tormented her rare sleeping hours … it had been that way for almost twenty-five years.

The memory haunted her, dark and unforgivingly brutal. It replayed in clear and explicit detail every time she was forced to reflect on it … and its aftermath.

***

THE ALTERNATIVE IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER

“The Alternative” on AMAZON.COM

Suzanne Burke Amazon Author Page

On TWITTER.

On Facebook.

My Blog

Thank you so much for joining me here today. Your support is very much appreciated.

I would be delighted to hear your thoughts and comments below.

Look Back in ANGER … Move Forward with DREAD. A brief exploration of me.

BANNER LOOK BACK IN ANGER

 “The best predictor for future behavior is past behavior.”

Have you read and heard that statement as often as I have?

More importantly however, is, do you recognize and believe it?

Has your past behavior resounded through time to continuously affect the way you respond to life, right here and right now?

Mine certainly has.

I’ve headed this post “Look Back in ANGER … Move Forward with Dread.”

Therein lay my challenge to myself.

Make no mistake, I have held onto the fierce anger I learned to feel before I was taught to write my own name.

It has raged inside me forever, or so it seems.

It is relentless, soul consuming and unapologetic in its efforts to deny me peace of mind.

I have loathed it … and I have nurtured it.

For it has become comfortingly familiar to me, much like an old friend that I recognize, and in that recognition I’ve invited it to re-visit me over-and-over, and over again.

I seek answers within the rage, knowing in advance, that there are none to find. For I know from whence that rage stems.

I rail against it, I abhor it … I recognize the damage that it offers my future self, and in an instant I deny that recognition.

For I have sought comfort in the unrelenting familiarity I find within these boundaries I have set myself.

The anger, helplessness and utter frustration that I’ve recognized and clung to, have not enriched my existence.

Nor have those raging reactions and emotions enriched the existence of those that have loved me in spite of it.

It is not only for myself, but, for them, that this morass of soul devouring rage has to change.

I can NOT go backward in time and alter the situations that crafted my rage.

I can NOT undo the damage that life’s fickle hand has dealt me.

I can NOT forget or forgive those that perpetrated their evil betrayal on an unsuspecting child.

But … I CAN learn to reshape that rage into a renewed sense of purpose.

I CAN learn to channel that sense of purpose into a passion that spurs me on to do better.

I  CAN permit myself to love those that love me … and do so unconditionally.

I CAN allow myself to again trust in my own judgment.

Until, ultimately, I CAN move forward into a future unclouded by dread.

Yes, it will be difficult, and, Yes, it will present me with challenges.

But the rewards of attaining this freedom from rage  will enable me to pursue personal goals I’ve long wanted to acheive.

It will grant me the permission to feel pleasure in its final accomplishment.

Now THAT is the future I want. THAT is the future I’ll aim for.

That gives me reason to smile.

 

 

 

 

#NewContest “What is the Gender of this Author?” Submit a #ShortStory of 500 hundred words or less … in ANY genre.

BLOG POST WHAT IS THE GENDER OF THIS AUTHOR.jpg

You all know by now just how much pleasure I get from supporting my fellow authors.

It’s been quite a while since I came up with a contest here, and I do hope this one proves to be both challenging and entertaining.

I think it will be interesting for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is discovering just how diversely readers interpret what they read.

Just how perceptive are you?

So … what is this contest about?

The contest works in two parts.

 PART 1. I need authors to contribute a previously unpublished short story of 500 words or less in any genre of their choice.  Please include the title … and for my information and judging purposes only your name and indentifying gender.

Your short story will only be identified to the readers by a number allocated by myself. Your gender will not be revealed until after all votes have been counted.

In the subject line please write, “Submission for What is the Gender of this Author?”

SUBMISSIONS To be sent to me at suzieb4burke@hotmail.com

The author who has the least number of people correctly guessing their gender will have a featured article here on my blog, of any work of their choosing, the week immediately after the votes are calculated.

I only need three submissions each week to make the vote viable.

PART 2. Join in the voting process! If you haven’t contributed a story that week, please join in the fun and the challenge of identifying the gender that his author identifies as.

I will conduct a POLL to make voting easily accessible.

Those of you who wish to caste a vote will have a full week to read the entries and vote after the submissions go live.
 

I look forward to hearing your thoughts, folks!

Book Review “Swiftly Sharpens the Fang” by Stuart Kenyon @StuartKenyon81 #premium_indie #IARTG #Dystopian

BOOK REVIEW: Hello and welcome to my review of “Swiftly Sharpens the Fang” by Stuart Kenyon.

BOOK REVIEW COVER SWIFTLY SHARPENS THE FANG BY STUART KENYON

 

BLURB:

Some monsters are born. Others are created.

And sometimes hatred is more tempting than forgiveness.

Set in a dystopian near-future vision of Great Britain, this gripping psychological thriller will chill you to the bone.

Terrorists killed Joe’s father. The young man’s life has become a chaos of binges, fights and hallucinations, while his dreams are haunted by repressed childhood memories.

When the black sheep of the family, Uncle Steve, takes Joe under his wing, the young man enters an ugly world of vice and fascism. Although organised crime brings glory and riches, it leaves stains on his soul.

Battling against his own conscience, Joe makes as many foes as friends. Soon, there’s no escape from Steve’s gang and their racist violence.

Unlike his uncle, Joe wasn’t born evil. But revenge against his father’s murderers is there for the taking, and his fangs grow sharper every day.

MY REVIEW: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 A powerful, gut-wrenching & terrifyingly possible read.

Every once in a while, a book will take you by the throat and shake you. It will make you shudder in momentary recognition, and then render you utterly speechless and gasping for air.  Swiftly Sharpens the Fang is such a book.

This books impact on my emotions found me needing to step back momentarily from reviewing it. I needed to regroup and assess my reaction before I dare commit it to paper.

Author Stuart Kenyon has a marvelous capacity for empathy. His understanding of the demons that drive us, the forces that mold us, and the moments that define us is exemplary.

Don’t go into this book with an expectation of a story set in some far off Dystopian Future. This book is a brutal, powerful, gut-wrenching and terrifyingly possible portrayal of our desensitized world of today.

The characterizations are so well developed, that we the reader are given more than a brief insight into the motivations of each persona. The author makes them familiar to us, he invites us to understand what drives them … even as we find those motivations repulsive. The author causes you to reflect on your own belief systems in this desensitized world we live in. He will by turn shock you, repulse you, and cause you to nod through tears of understanding.

This book is a tragically brilliant story of the harsh reality and cold brutality of our world today.

I have reviewed other works by Stuart Kenyon, and I said of the last one I read (Subnormal) “I’ve long held Aldous Huxleys’ ‘Brave New World’, and George Orwell’s classic Nineteen eighty-four ‘1984’, as the benchmark for Dystopian novels, and this book will now be added to that very short list.” To that list I’ve now added Swiftly Sharpens The Fang.

It will remain in my memory for a long time to come.

Stuart Kenyon on TWITTER

Swiftly Sharpens the Fang on Amazon.com

Author Page for Stuart Kenyon

 

 

 

 

#Short Story “Why can’t we be friends?” How do we explain prejudice to young children?” #RRBC @pursoot

BLOG CASPER AND CHARLIE USE THIS IMAGE

How do we explain prejudice to young children? How sad it is that that question even needs to be asked. This is a short story I have written to share with my young grandson.

Meet Casper and His Best Friend Charlie.

BLOG CASPER AND CHARLIE TUMMY.jpg

“Charlie, why are they saying I have to go away? What does away mean, Charlie?”

“Well, Casper, away, um—away, is someplace where I can’t be with you. I’m not too sure about the why—but I think maybe they are a little, afraid.”

“What are they afraid of, Charlie?”

“Well, I think maybe they’re scared because we’re sort of …  different?”

“I don’t understand. What does different, mean?”

“Um, different is … like, you are small … and I am bigger.”

“Oh … I still don’t understand. We’re buddies, aren’t we?”

“Yes … we sure are; we’re the bestest of buddies. But Casper you will get a whole lot bigger.”

“Bigger? Like … um, like my daddy is bigger?”

“Yes—like your daddy is bigger, that is different.”

“But, Charlie, you will just gets bigger—like I do. Won’t you?”

“Well—no … I don’t think so, I think I’m already as big as I can get.”

“Charlie, I don’t understand. Why … why are they afraid of that? Do they think I will squish you—when I sit on your tummy?”

“Weeell—maybe you might squish me just a little bit.”

“So—um, we can fix that, Charlie. You can sit on my tummy—cause you won’t squish me when me I’m big like daddy.”

“I …I … Well I’m not so not sure that would be okay.”

“Why, Charlie? I, don’t get it.”

“Well, maybe … maybe it’s, ’cause … um, we are different in some other ways.”

“Okay … so we make the different stuff go away, and we make everything the same.”

“I don’t think we can do that, Casper!”

“I don’t understand.  You are my friend; you make me laugh, and you let me sleep on your tummy. Why are they afraid of that?”

“Maybe the same stuff is just not as scary as the different stuff is.”

“Charlie, I’m sorry—but I still don’t understand it. What can be so … different?”

“Well—maybe it’s  ’cause I eat green stuff … an you eat, um … meat stuff.”

“Oh, okay—I see. Um … no I don’t. Why is that scary?”

“Well, maybe they think, maybe they think—um—that you might wanna eat me.”

“Oh—you make me laugh, and laugh, Charlie, you’re so funny.”

“I wasn’t doing the funny-funny, thing, small one.”

“You means they really … really think that I would eat you?”

“I think so, Casper”

“Do they eat meat, Charlie?”

“Yep, at least I think some of ‘em do.”

“Do they eat … do they eat their friends, Charlie?”

“No, I don’t think so.”

“Then I don’t understand it. If they don’t eat their friends, what is different? Why are they silly-scared that I would eat you?”

“I’m just not sure, Casper.”

“So—what else is so different, Charlie?”

“Well, I look different than you do.”

“Do—all their friends look just like they do?”

“No, I don’t think so. But maybe—maybe, they only have friends who are all the same. So no one can be silly-scared of being more different.”

“I still don’t understand it—Can I only have friends that are exactly the same as I am?”

“I think maybe … yes, Casper.”

“I don’t like that … I think that’s so silly-silly. Charlie, how else are we different?”

“Well—mmm—I’m not sure?”

“I can’t think of differents—but I can thinks of sames.

“What sames cans you think of, Casper?”

“Well, Charlie, if you get hurt, you cry, and go tell your momma … just like I do. Don’t you?”

“Yes, I do.”

“And if you cut yourself you’ve got that red blood stuff that comes out all icky … just like I do. Don’t you?”

“Well … yes, Casper, yes I do.”

“So, more sames—than differents—hey, Charlie?”

“Differents, are more scary for them, Casper.”

“Why don’t they just close their eyes … ’cause then, well, then they wouldn’t see, the differents?”

“Casper … that’s a good idea … but, I dont think it would work.”

“Why, Charlie?”

“’Cause—um—they would have to keep their eyes shuts all of the time … and that would silly-scary them even more?”

“Cause … they would falls off cliffs or something, Charlie?”

“Uh—huh, that would be bad, Casper.”

“Charlie? Will the sun still wake up over the trees, if we be friends?”

“Yes, I think so.”

“Will it still go to sleep, behind the big hills, if we be friends?”

“I think so.”

“Will we still have a mommy and daddy, Charlie?”

“Yes, Casper.”

“Will we still have other friends, Charlie?”

“Charlie …  Will … we still have other friends?”

“I … just don’t know about that for sure, Casper.”

“Oh—that is too, too sad, Charlie. It be water in my eyes sad. ‘Cause I like my other friends too.”

“I know, little buddy.  It makes me crying sad too.”

“Charlie, I’m silly-scared now—what do we do?”

“I don’t know exactly, Casper. I am thinkin’ about it very hard.”

“Charlie, I don’t want to be your unfriend. Maybe we can run away, someplace where they do not care about those differents things … where they just care about the sameness. Do you think we can, Charlie? Where is a place we can go?”

“I have never, ever heard of a place likes that, Casper.”

“Never … ever?”

“Not ever, Casper.”

“Charlie? Charlie … you think maybe we can find one, if we look, and look … and look some more?”

“We can try. Are you sure you want to go looking and looking?”

“I am surely-sure, Charlie. I thinks if we look long and look real hard … we’ll maybe find us a place, a place where the sames are more special than than differents.”

“Casper, my little buddy, when did you get to be so smart?”

“When I decided to be your friend, Charlie.”

“Charlie?”

“Uh—huh, Casper?’

“Charlie, why is the sky up?”

“That’s a whole other conversation, Casper.”

 

***

I plan on continuing using Charlie and Casper in future stories I write for my dear little Jacob. They will hopefully mature as he does. I do hope you enjoyed this one. Thanks so much for stopping by.