Category Archives: story

Slave, What Is Your Name?

(A reblog of an accidentally deleted post from 2-4-19)

Movie.

Gladiator.

Scene.

Maximus had been taken into slavery and became a Gladiator. He is ultimately taken to Rome to fight in the great Coliseum and wins the hearts of the blood thirsty mob for his valor and fighting skill.

The evil emperor, Commodus, thought Maximus was dead and forgotten. He goes to the Coliseum floor before the throngs to meet the great Gladiator, Maximus, whose face is always covered by his helmet. The ensuing conversation moves me to my core…

Commodus: “Why doesn’t the hero reveal himself and tell us his real name? You do have a name?”

Maximus: “My name is Gladiator.” (Turns and starts to walk away.)

“How dare you show your back to me! Slave! You will remove your helmet and tell me your name!”

Maximus takes off his helmet, turns and faces the evil Commodus.  In quiet, determined words, he tells his name, his TRUE identity:

“My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius. Commander of the armies of the north. General of the Felix legions. Loyal servant to the true Emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son. Husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life, or the next.”

Utterly shocked to find Maximus alive, Commodus’ words falter. His troops draw swords to slay the Gladiators, but the Coliseum erupts in unison, “Live, live, live…”

The devious, scheming Commodus realizes he is politically and ethically trapped in the eyes of Rome, at least for the moment, so he reluctantly turns his thumb up to show the gladiator will live to fight another day.

Commodus walks from the arena while the Coliseum explodes in cheers, not for the evil emperor, but the gladiator slave as the chant begins…”Maximus, Maximus, Maximus!” Continue reading Slave, What Is Your Name?

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The Baby Dies

When my oldest son was 4 years old, we were on our way to “Life Chain”, a pro-life activity where everyone stood silently holding signs along the business route in support of life.  There were hundreds of people participating and the silence was, in and of itself, peaceful.

What I remember the most, however, was the drive.  Blake sat next to me and asked where we were going.  Thinking a short answer would suffice, I told him it was to support babies who hadn’t been born.  As kids will do, he filled his logic train by peppering me with, “Why?” over and over.

Honestly, I didn’t want him to know about abortion, but after answering a couple of questions vaguely, I let the word “abortion” slip out. He zeroed in like a heat seeking missile. Continue reading The Baby Dies

Pull Up Your Pants

I shouldn’t have done it.  Really.  It wasn’t the brightest thing for sure.  I rarely ever snap, but this was a clean break!  I don’t even know why.  Maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe it does.

I ran into a drug store for a bottle of benadryl and started the rat like maze walk up and down every store aisle to find it.  At the end of one aisle I almost walked over a little 8 or 9 year old girl who rounded a corner opposite of her mother.  The mother apologized for her daughter and pulled her to her side of the aisle.

I smiled and said the customary, “Scuse me” and continued my search.  I turned up the next aisle and a big, no … a huge, muscular defensive lineman guy about 24 or 25 years old was halfway up the aisle with his back to me.

All I could see, besides his highly defined arm muscles, was his sweat pants halfway down showing his underwear.  They weren’t boxers either. They were whitey tighties that showed the distinct impression of what should’ve been covered up.  Knowing the mother and child were one aisle over, I just reacted, nuclear reactor style. Continue reading Pull Up Your Pants

Carl, The Species Confused Cat!

Carl knows better. I don’t know how he knows, but he knows.  Carl and I have a working relationship, but most of the work’s on my part.  Even how Carl got here was an arm-twisting escapade (read here.)  He does nothing, absolutely nothing!!

Really, the worthless feline folly should be dragging up mice, gophers or little dead snakes.  He doesn’t.  Half the time the flea bag is asleep flat on his back by the garage door. The other half he sits under a shade tree near the barbed wire fence watching the neighbor’s horses.

It’s a one-sided relationship! He can be totally out of sight, but if he hears his stainless steel feed bowl slide on the floor or the crinkle of the cat food bag, he comes running like he’s Lion King and I’m two days late.

I could live with it if every once in a while if he would do something for us, his “people”, as Carl likes to think, that would justify his meager existence.  As it is, I’m going to have to renegotiate a month to month deal, maybe charge him cat rent, something.

Trouble is, Carl doesn’t know his place!  In his messed up wheel of fortune mind, he’s Cat Sajack and I’m Vanna White! Continue reading Carl, The Species Confused Cat!

The Wassup Moving Company

Sometimes you have to look twice to believe your eyes!  I stopped at a red light on the loop around town right behind a pickup moving furniture, mattresses specifically.

Common sense plays a major role in hauling furniture, especially to lay mattresses down and strap them so they don’t blow out the back of a truck.

Not the Einsteins I was behind!  They had a twin size box spring standing on its end in the middle of the truck bed with one mattress catty-cornered to the right side and a queen size mattress upright on its side on the left.  No straps, ties, rope, nothing to hold it down.

OK, that’s not entirely accurate, because sitting behind the truck at the red light, I noticed little puffs of smoke coming from the pick up bed……and pair of legs… and brand new white tennis shoes hanging over the left fender well!

Using the theory of, of….well I don’t know what theory they were using, but the guy sitting in the back of the truck was a human tie down!  The smoke came from a cigarillo he was puffing on!

I can almost hear the master mind driver saying in a mafia voice, “Listen here, kid! I do the thinking around here! Ya got that!?”  Continue reading The Wassup Moving Company

Nightmare at Bedtime

Our granddaughter, Claira, is 15 months old. She was spending the night with us, along with her brother and sister, ages 5 and 3.

Claira has a sweet, happy personality, but she’s also semi-strong willed.

She was all rainbows and unicorns! She even had them on her pajamas, but then it was…bedtime.  Claira had been laughing, cooing, and cawing until JJ (my wife Janet) and PawPaw (me) had the audacity to lay her down in the baby bed.

As JJ carefully laid her down, Claira immediately let it be known that she thought we were completely incompetent to try to put her down to go to sleep!

We talked softly to her, patted her back, patted her diapered bottom, rubbed her head, nothing at all made her happy.

She spit out her pacifier like it was a poisonous trick, pulled off the baby blanket, and screamed even louder when the door closed. We figured she’d quickly settle in for a long night of restful sleep.

Nope!

The unicorns turned red and grew multiple horns, and the rainbows became a Class 5 hurricane.  She started to wail, not whimper, not cry, wail.

Continue reading Nightmare at Bedtime

Carl, The Killer

Carl, the cat, did again.

A mama sparrow built a nest in the most unlikely place, in a flower arrangement hanging on our front door.  We didn’t even know a nest was there until I was going in the front door and the mama sparrow flew right at my face. That’ll make your ticker skip a beat!

I watched it several days and when the eggs hatched, she had a half a dozen naked chicks.  A few nights later, two of the grandkids spent the night with us and saw the now lightly feathered baby birds in the nest by porch light.

Carl, our big, orange, worthless cat must have been watching Mama fly back and forth. Or maybe he heard the chicks chirping, or figured out from the grandkid’s interest that there was something in that flower arrangement on the front door.

Regardless, the next morning my wife, Janet, heard the Mama sparrow feverishly chirping over and over.  She opened the front door with one of the grandsons in tow and the flowers were all on the porch by Carl.  All that was left of the baby birds was a little pile of bird feet and feathers while Carl scarfed down the last baby bird innards!  The grandson was horrified!! Continue reading Carl, The Killer

Little Bitty Human

I posted Little Bitty Gator several days ago and, as crazy as it sounds, it’s an absolutely true post! A blogging friend, Judy at (theprojectbyjudy.wordpress.com) suggested a fictional follow-up story from the alligator’s point of view! Thanks Judy! This post is fictional…just in case you wonder…  Here goes:

Weird things happened to Buck. He’s an 8 foot long, adult alligator that lives on the Texas Gulf Coast near the Louisiana border.

When he first popped out of the egg, Papa Gator immediately noticed his teeth were all messed up. All the other hatchlings had nice, straight teeth. In a fit of anger he told Mama Gator, “That buck toothed, crooked smile, cross-eyed thing can’t be my son!”  Papa called him Buck from then on.

Papa and Mama Gator had it out more than once over Buck! Papa Gator accused her of going several miles over and visiting one of the Louisiana riff raff gators when Papa and some of his buddies were on vacation one week trolling for house cats in golf course ponds. Continue reading Little Bitty Human

Little Bitty Gator

He’s says it was on his bucket list, but most people don’t have jumping on the back a wild alligator in water over their head on their bucket list.  Yet, he did.

Two of my sons, Blake, who was 24 at the time, and Todd, who was 21, were night fishing in a Gulf Coast bayou. They noticed the red glare of eyes near their 15 foot flat bottom boat. The fish weren’t biting, so they started trolling up to and around the glaring eyes that belonged to different sizes of alligators.

Todd, we call him Einstein for short, decided he needed to bare handed catch and release an alligator, but not a ten foot or bigger one, because that would be foolish, right? And not a four foot or smaller one, because that would be too easy.  Uh huh, yeah. Continue reading Little Bitty Gator

What’s That Smell?

“What’s da smell?”, the truck driver asked.

Our shipping guy was making a copy for the driver about to deliver an 18 wheeler load of lumber to Tulsa and answered, “It’s Scentsy! Vanilla Bean Buttercream with a bit of French Lavender!”

Amused, I looked up and commented how it smelled more like a Hallmark store than a sawmill shipping office.

“I know!! My wife is selling this stuff. I’m advertising for her! You need to buy a little bit for your Mrs. so when you come home all smellin’ and stinky like, it’ll take your bad smell away.”  Winking he added, “It’ll give some class where you stay at!”

The big truck driver looked really uncomfortable. He started shifting side to side, looped one thumb through a strap of his blue jean overalls, and started rubbing his head with his other hand.   Continue reading What’s That Smell?