Decisions, Decisions!


 Decisions, Decisions!

Chocolate or Vanilla? Baked potatoes or French Fries? Movie out or Television at home? Go or stay? Read or Write?

Decisions, Decisions!

At times, family and individual decisions are made with ease and nonchalance, simple no-brainer reflexes. These are generally minor decisions quickly acceptable to those concerned. Other decisions, major in their circumstance and consequence, can affect family, friends, neighborhoods, even, nations. The latter encompasses decisions made by leaders and representatives we choose to run our country’s affairs.

History shows us decisions made by world leaders that have meant death for millions of people, created dysfunctional economies, and scarred the souls of so many. As a bewildered child I saw the reflections of Pearl Harbor and World War Two on the faces and in the actions of my broken family. Later I served in the Korean War, became acutely aware of despicable despots and their greedy and selfish decisions that destroyed so many lives and indelibly stamped the ugly memories into millions of minds. Vietnam and all of its horrific death scenes marked another period where insanity ruled, where our young and promising men and women returned to their homes damaged by the atrocities they had seen and of which they had been a part.

Decisions, Decisions!

‘9/11’ happened and the United States felt the incipient scourge of radical Islamic Terrorism on its homeland. The US was stunned and also fully awake to another assault on its great land of opportunity, freedom, and liberty. The entire fabric of our ruling document, The Constitution, was also under assault. The founding fathers wove a delicate and precise fabric based on Judeo-Christian principles, delineating powers within our governing body – the Executive Branch, The Legislative Branch, and the Judicial Branch – laying out carefully crafted amendments, including the Bill of Rights. Most among us, scholars and citizenry, believe this document is the very best vision for governing and for the rule of law among a civilized society.

Now, many Conservatives see our current Liberal-ruling government in majority control of both the Executive and The Legislative Branch moving with a secular progressive tide toward a nebulous system that has all the earmarks of Socialism. When a one-party administration builds a constituency on a platform of entitlements and promises, when one party pits class against class and falsely uses race allegations, when one party takes away an individual’s freedom of choice, when one party doles out welfare checks that de-incentivizes people to work, when one party builds a healthcare behemoth that strangles the economy and is but another long stretch of bureaucratic pavement on the road to a ‘strange new world’, when one party creates more regulations and taxes to stifle job growth and entrepreneurs’ business ventures and investments, when one party’s leader promises and does not deliver transparency and solutions to IRS one-sided meddling, eavesdropping, and Benghazi, THEN the framework of our democracy begins seriously to dismantle.

Decision, Decisions!

Change is good! Change should come with the blessing of history’s lessons. Why is it that we can resent so easily the wealthy among us? It is generally those folks who provide jobs for the needy and it is those who pay the major share of taxes so government can hopefully keep us safe, the school doors open, and the pork barrels filled to the rim. Why are we so blithely misled into believing that we should all be equal in all things? Certainly, we are born with equal rights and the opportunities to go as far as our ambition, our intelligence, and the fire in our bellies will take us. Why is it that some of our government leaders eschew their responsibility of truth to the people who hired them? The people we elect work for us, not the other way around. May I repeat that? The people we elect work for us, not the other way around.

So, here I sit, trying to make some sense of our nation’s not so subtle moves toward mediocrity. This I do know: the United States is the greatest nation on earth, the most charitable, the most virtuous, and the most diverse. We are a nation of immigrants, and it is right that we expect all who come to our cities and states to assimilate, learn our language, become Americans, and accept our democratic ideals. To live in freedom and liberty does attach some responsibility to our diverse people. Otherwise, denying our heritage and moving away from those things that have made America great, we move toward division and anarchy.

Yes, I am old and used up, but I care about the direction my country will take in the years ahead. I love my wife, our children, and want the best for them. I am not a man of great wealth, except for the wealth of family and friends, and I do not envy or resent the rich – the vast majority work hard for what they have, provide jobs for many, and give generously to the charities of their choice. I bear no racial hatred as I accept an individual for her/his character and principles. I know that, with each generation, there comes change…my only wish is that the change is based on the pages of history, the lessons we have learned.

I want an honest government that only hides from me that which I should not know for national security’s sake. I want no intrusive government. I want a government that provides a safety net for the elderly, the handicapped, those who truly need the help…we have that safety net and it could be that we need to do more in some areas. I want a fair and sensible immigration plan…secure borders…a plausible timeline for citizenship…illegals must register within six months…workplaces must register illegal workers…no work, no stay in country…seasonal work programs…must assimilate and learn English…do crime, deportation…no welfare until citizenship achieved. I want parents to have choices in sending their children to school. I want the strongest military in the world to preclude any country or any faction from considering a conflict against us.

Decisions, Decisions!

Some decisions can lead to severe conflicts. We want leaders who have war and work experiences. Leaders make decisions based on many factors. Most decisions should be common sense and for the good of the majority. History’s lessons should be a guiding force in all major decision making…causes/effects for the fall of Rome…causes/effects for Hitler’s Germany…causes/effects of Stalinist Russia… History’s lessons!

My humble suggestion is that we do not currently have the right leadership in our country. November, 2014, is an important election time – as is November 2016. We have heard the promises and half-truths of this administration. Do we not all want our freedom and liberty intact without false rhetoric that sounds so eloquent and hopeful but is empty and void of performance?

Yes, our nation is changing, seemingly moving away from those ideals and principles that made us the land of the free and the home of the brave. Arrogant atheists who form their ‘anti-christian’ groups can now post a banner in the Capitol Building in Madison, Wisconsin which reads: ‘Nobody died for our sins,’ Jesus Christ is a myth.’ We live in a great country that allows free speech so that is their right, their right on Christian occasions, Easter, Christmas, to make their pronouncements. Why is it that these secular progressive thinkers of such ‘supreme thought’ hate so many of our Christian faith? Why do they not turn their venom toward radical Islam extremists? Do they fear that their heads might be chopped off? They likely know that Christians turn the other cheek.

Okay, maybe I say too much. Maybe I anger too many with this kind of honest thought. Yet, it is what my mind and heart speaks to me, and I share it with you for whatever value you might receive from it.

Frankly, I would much prefer writing ‘flash fiction’ or working on my new book, but I do care about my country and feel the need to express my concerns…my ‘right’ as an American.

Decisions, Decisions!

My recently published book, Joe Public’s Political Perspective, carries forth my concise and simple thoughts about government, politics, and some of the issues of our day… Hope you might read it. (My main website with bio, blogs, and book reviews) (My IAN – Independent Author Network – with my books)

Please follow me on (@brchitwood) and 

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Please leave a comment if so inclined. 


A Little Boy Searching


A Little Boy Searching

“Why does a leaf fall off the tree, Daddy?” asked the sandy-haired kid trailing his father as he raked leaves from the ground.

“It’s a leaf’s time to die and fall from the trees, Andy. It’s the season,” the young father responded as he continued to rake the brown crisp fallings.

“But, why, Daddy, do the leaves have to die?” the freckled boy persisted.

The father stopped and leaned against the big oak tree, smiled down at his son and playfully rubbed his fingers through the boy’s hair. “When the weather gets cold these oaks and maples don’t get the energy from the sun they need and the sap in the trees can’t move to nourish the branches…the leaves wither, become brittle, and, with just slight or heavy breezes, they fall to the ground.”

“But some of the trees are green, Daddy?”

“Well, those trees are called evergreen trees. They’re hearty and can withstand the cold weather because of their root design and structure. You will learn about these things in school.” The father again bent and resumed his raking.

“Why don’t we lose our hair, finger nails, toe nails, and stuff like these trees at this time of the year?” the little boy picked up some fallen leaves and crunched them in his tiny hands.

“We’re people, son, not plants and trees. We can survive in the cold months because we have houses that are heated, that give us comfort and warmth. We wear heavy coats, gloves, hats, earmuffs to keep us warm when we’re outside in the cold…you will learn about these things in school.”

“What would happen to the leaves if you just left them on the ground, Daddy?” the boy’s nose was running and he wiped it with his mittens.

The father paused, took a hankie from his back pocket and wiped his son’s nose. “Well, we would have a messy yard and the leaves would blow all over the place, onto the porch, into the street. Most people want neatness around their properties. If we just left the leaves on the ground they would eventually become mulch for the ground, at least those that didn’t blow away… Now, before you ask, mulch is like fertilizer (like, decaying leaves) – it would be good for enriching and insulating the ground, making it healthy.”

“So, you’re just raking the leaves up to have a neat yard, Daddy?” the boy walks in front of his father, kicking at the fallen leaves.

“Yeah, guess that’s about it, plus I enjoy being out here with you. I like doing things around the house. The house and the grounds belong to us, son, and it gives me pride (makes me feel good) to keep our place neat and in good repair. Do you understand?”

“Sure! It’s like me getting a new tricycle. I can make it shiny and feel good that’s it mine.”

“Yeah, that’s about it.”

The leaves were raked into several piles on the ground, and the father and boy put the leaves in gunny sacks for the trash bin.

“Let’s go have a snack, Andy. I believe we worked up an appetite.”

As they walked onto the porch the boy asked one more question: “Do you get tired of me asking so many questions, Daddy?”

The man smiled down again at his son, reached and pulled him into a warm embrace. “Answers don’t come without questions, son. That’s the way we learn. I’m just glad you’re not yet in high school and college…then, I might have some trouble coming up with the answers. I love you, Andy-buddy…you just keep asking your questions.

Flash Fiction by Billy Ray Chitwood (My books on IAN with Amazon buy sites) and

If so inclined please leave a comment. 

Who Am I?


Who Am I?

Who am I?

Not a terribly original question, perhaps one that is often asked over the course of one’s life. What got me to thinking about the question are the genres in which I write my books – mystery (some inspired by true events), romance, bio/memoir, political thought. So much of my writing deals with the underbelly of life, the bad elements in our society, the really evil and ugly people who live among us – fictionally or in fact. It must be my admission that at times it bothers me that I focus my writing so much on a salacious news report about someone being sexually assaulted, people being horribly murdered, an awful pedophile hurting or killing our children, or some dark and greedy enterprise. Another aspect relative to the question is my concern that the books I have written are not necessarily going viral.

Don’t mind me. I feel that much of my life has been spent in introspection, analyzing myself as I lie awake in the night, as I drive the open road, as I view television or a sad movie, even in the middle of a conversation. It’s my way of trying to piece together another part that is unknown to me. Maybe in some sort of loose and nebulous nexus I’m creating everyman, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The way I’m built, the crazy DNA I carry inside, does cause me concern. So much emotion and mobility in my early building stages account for the calculus here. I’ve always been drawn to the action, crime, drama, mystery, and suspense of the big screen or tube. My wife loves comedies and musicals, the ‘Hallmark Movies’, and neatly trimmed family adventures. I started out loving cowboy movies, then graduated to the more fast-paced ‘True Lies’ and ‘Jesse Stone’ types. That’s all okay for different likes and dislikes. There’s a spiritual part of me that nudges me now and then to write something wholesome, like a strong Christian story with an uplifting theme for all ages… Hopefully, one day I shall satisfy that nudge.

If you had not noticed, I’m rambling and trying to figure an apt finish to this post.

Here it is.

I’m doing all this word vacillation when it comes down really to this. There is a lot of me in what I write, in the characters I create, and in the plots. There is fun in the penning of my tales, and I experiment with my writing. There are times when I organize a book – in my fashion – and there are times when I simply allow the characters to take me where it is they want to go… This is likely to make a ‘writing purist’ cringe. For me, the process of writing can take any form a person wishes. The readers ultimately will decide whether or not our writing efforts are worthy.

That brings me to the final point of this post.

Writing is enough for me, the process itself…most of the time. Believing I’m under no delusions of grandeur, I truly feel my words are strung together well and tell compelling stories. I get some 5-Star reviews here and there which make me jubilant. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn are used daily and perhaps for some, ad nauseam. I admit to a certain ineptness in this digital world, but I’m doing so many things to get people to read my books. Apparently, I’m not doing nor am I capable of doing some of the things I need to be doing. An old man (me) dusted off some manuscripts, rewrote, edited them, wrote several new books along the way, and self-published them. My first ‘Bailey Crane Mystery’ (“Probable Cause”) was picked up by a publisher, eventually went out of print – that book is now “An Arizona Tragedy – A Bailey Crane Mystery” Book One. There are five ‘Bailey Crane’ books in the series – the original book two manuscript (“Stranger Abduction”) was done on a StarWriter word processor and the manuscript was lost during one of my mobility moments…still not found. Thus, there are five ‘Bailey Crane’ books in lieu of six.

The final point is taking longer than expected.

The mistake was made, I believe, in coming out with so many books in such a short period of time. There were no ‘launching parties’ for the books, no book tours, and there was very little internet plugging. Add to that, I’m no longer a young man who can keep the pace of author book signings, events of one kind or another, or other vital networking avenues. So, the end point is this: my books are good, and I would like to see them in the hands of readers. Yes, writing is enough for me most of the rime, but I do get hungry for reader reaction. Like most authors, I hope for some gratification. My books are bought too infrequently, and I am at a loss to find some magic buttons to push… Of course, I could turn the books over to someone specializing in all phases of marketing, but that of course is costly.

I just finished a KDP giveaway of five of my books for five days (likely, should have been one book instead of five). It looks like some seven hundred total all books were given away during that time, with much tweeting, much Facebook activity, much Goodreads and LinkedIn activity, with my weekly blog announcing the giveaway.

Baring one’s soul is perhaps foolhardy and senseless, but there it is.

What you need to do, kind followers of my blog, other than commiserating, is to start a viral situation with my books…having not the foggiest idea of how you will do that. Do not worry if you fall short of doing either, the commiserating or the viral thing, you will still have me doing a weekly blog, valuing you – and still writing my books, flash fiction, poems, songs, and short stories.

Incidentally, if you have any idea of ‘who I am’ please let me know in the ‘comment’ section.

Here are various links to my books and me. (My books on IAN – Independent Author Network) (My main website/blog and my books w/some reviews)

Follow me on (@brchitwood) and (‘fan’ and ‘like’ page w/updates) (The origination blog site of all my posts)

After the following proud display of my blog awards, please leave a comment if so inclined.

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Some Notes On My Writing


Some Notes on My Writing

Words have always fascinated me, individually and the way they can be strung together. For me there’s a certain magic that takes place when I write something that brings echoes from the soul, brings tears or makes me laugh. Writing a blog or a book is an incredible adventure of fingers tapping keys on a blank screen page. From where do the words come, these signals from the heart and the mind?

Quite often I open the blank whiteness of ‘Word’ and only have some simple words to tap on the screen. For example, I dabbled during my more youthful days in acting, stage, and did some television commercials. In a recent blog, I thought the words, ‘Action! Camera!’ Without yet a title for the blog, I allowed the two words to take me on a short ‘flash fiction’ ride, creating the story as I went along. The title in the end became ‘Love and Consequence’. In reading the piece several times I was surprised to find that multiple summations could be made about the post relative to life and its many crossroads.

Again, from where do the words come?

This might not astound or surprise anyone who reads my blogs, but I believe that some of us are endowed with a special talent for creating strings of words that arouse the soul to deliver a moving story, to amuse, anger, bewilder, entertain, inspire, intimidate, terrify. Are we thus endowed by virtue of our life sources, our environment, our genetic programming? Is it as Alfred Lord Tennyson conveyed in ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ – “Theirs not to reply / Theirs not to reason why / Theirs but to do and die…”? We are all, of course, marching into the valley of death! But, let’s delay that event and thought for as long as our lives’ purposes allow.

Words and writing are marvelous gifts. Some authors distinguish themselves for their moments in the bright light are timely and their words find an eager audience. Other authors are anguished by rejection slips and their moments come late or not at all. While a jovial and sane person I perhaps would not honor my words, my blogs, my books with Tennyson, Tolstoy, Grisham, Hemingway type praise, but they are good words, good blogs, good books, and worthy of reading. Even I will pick up one of my books on occasion, try to divorce my authorship, read it and find enjoyment from that reading. Sure, I might perchance find a typo or some minor error missed in editing, but it does not dismiss the book’s validity. Sure, add to that a bit of ego and pride… I’m not immune.

If it is folly and I fool myself, so be it…there is immense joy in the penning process. It is enough for me that readers and authors I respect find my stories good enough to earn their 5-Stars. With the positive reviews or without them I am officially a slave to the pecking of laptop keys and will continue until there are no pecks left. However, there is no hiding the fact that an author wishes to be recognized.

My writing is a necessary ingredient in my life these days. Age at times bids me quit my trifling typing on the laptop keys, but I say nay and fill my days with writing. At times there are songs, poetry, flash fiction, short stories, and full-length books. There, in that lofty solitude, I stay young and vibrant. My heroes and heroines fight their good fights, and there is musing on and between the lines of what I write…particularly with my five ‘Bailey Crane Mysteries’, several of which were inspired by true life events. (In fact, as a side note, there were to be six ‘Bailey Crane Mysteries’ — “A Stranger Abduction” is missing — but, with all my moving about, the second manuscript was lost and has not been found. While each book can be read independently it grieves me that some of Bailey’s musings and life situations are not included in the series, enough, however, that your picture of the man will be quite clear.) So be it! As I was saying, I try to capture in my books that vitality and youth, once mine for real, on the blank screens of ‘Word’, present the finished product to an audience I hope might forget for those moments of reading the trivial pursuits of a man in Twilight.

One area of my neglect has been in marketing my books… After all, like any author, I wish to be read. I’ve admittedly been rather inept in this digital world, trying to figure ways to promote myself, making many mistakes. Basically, I’ve been a Tweeter/Re-tweeter fool, have likely not availed myself of the proper use of Facebook, LinkedIn, other no doubt valuable platforms and tools. I’m afraid no one would consider labeling me a ‘Renaissance Man’. It is indeed time that I ask of my blog followers/friends and cyberspace in general for help in promoting my books.

Thus, I come to the really good part of this blog. Beginning on March 30, 2014 and running through April 3, 2014, five of my eleven books are free on Amazon. Hopefully, with fingers crossed and a pitiful pose, those who get free copies will be kind and give me an amazon review. Following are the books and the Amazon sites for getting your free copies:

“The Reluctant Savage” (mystery, suspense, romance)

“Mama’s Madness” – (suspense, evil, inspired by truth)

“Butterflies and Jellybeans – A Love Story” – (romance + twists)

“The Cracked Mirror – Reflections of an Appalachian Son” –  (bio)

“Joe Public’s Political Perspective” – (musings about our nation and its leaders)

Should you like what you read, perhaps you will consider as well my five ‘Bailey Crane Mystery’ titles. All of my books are available through Amazon in paperback and Kindle format. If you wish, please follow me on: and

All my books can be previewed at my IAN site, with Amazon links:

After my proud display of blog awards, please leave a comment if so inclined. Thank you and my very best wishes.

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The Essence of Faith


The Essence of Faith

The freshly painted clapboard church sat near a small creek, its white purity glorified by the neatly trimmed hedges surrounding it and the smell of newly mowed grass. The four big oak trees on the church property added a symmetrical elegance to the pastoral scene. Four Oaks Baptist Church, lined up in a photographer’s lens or portrayed on the painter’s canvas, would present a nostalgic and peaceful essence of faith and Americana.

It was a special Sunday morning with clear skies and a happy sun washed all that it touched with spring freshness and sparkle. There were few cars parked along the country lane as most of the congregation and visitors came on foot to Four Oaks, and today the numbers in attendance would break all records… It was indeed a very special Sunday. One member of the congregation had just returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Jimmy Chadwick was fourteen years old when he was baptized in the Four Oaks Baptist Church. He attended elementary and high school in the county school system, played his basketball and football here, married his homecoming queen sweetheart in this prosaic place of worship. Jimmy worked on his family’s farm, plowed fields for barley, wheat, hoed the endless corn rows, and worked on the side for the county’s agricultural cooperative. Jimmy sowed some of his personal oats, played some petty pranks and even tried at times some bitter brews of John Barleycorn. In the total tally of Jimmy Chadwick he was a happy kid, a generous, kind adult, and a near-wholesome human being.

Jimmy Chadwick’s real claim to county fame came not on a football field or basketball court at home but on dreary sand and scrub in the distant country of Afghanistan. Jimmy, a marine, was stationed in Helmand Province at a USMC installation where aircraft hangars housed Harrier Jets. One quiet and sweltering night, a group of Taliban fighters dressed in US military uniforms penetrated the perimeter of the camp, killed two US service men, and destroyed a number of Harrier jets with explosives and rocket-propelled grenades. With only his pistol, Jimmy led an attack against the infiltrators and eventually all of the insurgents were either killed or captured.

By the time the Sunday service began, The Four Oaks Baptist Church was filled beyond its capacity for seating. The walls were lined with the simple and sweet inhabitants of the Four Oaks hamlet plus residents of the other nearby settlements. A virtual silence fell upon all those congregated there. Only occasional sobs and soft moans were heard. The preacher stepped to the pulpit and spoke:

Today we welcome home one of our own, Jimmy Chadwick, a young fellow we knew as a freckle-faced kid pulling the pigtails of giggling girls, a handsome lad always with a smile and the rough hard hands of a farm worker. We knew him as the young fellow who usually got the touchdown to win us a football game or a final-second dunk to win the basketball game. We knew Jimmy as a prankster, a devoted son, an honest and good man… So, welcome home, Jimmy. We love you and we are proud of you.

Let me just say that here in this little corner of the world our simple ways will not match the world’s big cities’ glamour and glare, their hectic ways and their belief systems that vary from our own. We hear and read about those who don’t believe in God and in the man, Jesus, who came among us, gave us some spiritual wisdom to live by, and died a cruel death for our sins. Today we see the book of Revelations coming to pass: we have wars and rumors of wars; we have the atrocities of history repeating themselves; we have nuclear weaponry that can annihilate civilization; we have miracle machines that can do so much good but can also wreak havoc upon us; we have enough people enraged by the Satan that runs loose inside of them who are too eager to smite their brothers and sisters; we seem not to have enough time to help and provide for those who truly need our help… We live in a perilous time, a time when a man, woman, and child can only deal with the darkness of the world with the hallowed light of faith. If not faith, if not a belief that transcends these ugly truths, that these mountains we gaze upon, these prairies, these oceans, seas, and desert are there by another’s hand and not our own… If not faith, what can we conclude from the pendulum swings of our lives? That we live but for the folly of a piece of gold and the dark pleasures that can only in the end seduce and leave us wantonly scarred? If not faith, why is there the warmth of sunshine? Why the evening stars upon which to wish? Why the meticulous nine months ritual of our births? Why the love and unity of family upon which to persevere?

Today, here in our little corner of the world, we welcome home our heroic son and brother who went to a foreign land because his nation called upon him, a man who wore his faith proudly and served his country with courage and valor.

May the sobs and tears of this congregation convey not only the sadness of his passing but a joyful recognition of our faith that Jimmy Chadwick has truly gone Home.  

Let us pray…

Flash fiction by Billy Ray Chitwood – 3/22/1

If you enjoy my flash fiction, hopefully you will pick one of my books to read. You can see them at: (My bio and books at IAN – Independent Author Network) (Home Page)

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We Got a Lot of Class


We Got a Lot of Class

There are so many of us who carry through life certain angst, anxieties, doubts, emotional experiences, and guilt. If there was truly a way to quantify these feelings the numbers might shock us, or, at least, give us a better sense of the world in which we live. These feelings of course touch every segment of our worldwide populations. It matters not if you are poor, rich, or somewhere in between.

To the degree we carry one or all of these feelings determine how we make our way in life, how we are perceived by those around us, to the degree we can dislike, hate, and love. No class sector in our world community is exempt.

People work their way through poverty into the envied and glittering rich class… Some find their way there by attrition, a lucky lottery number, and/or by devious means. It is perhaps easier for the rich to find escape routes away from these feelings, but they are there nonetheless. Whatever the merits or demerits conveyed on the rich they are generally the group that invest their money into beginning or expanding companies that create jobs and more wealth.

The Middle Class (and its sub-divisions) ebbs and flows with the economic indicators – the GNP, growth, recession, all the fancy words that define the great capitalistic engine that moves our goods and services forward. This class depends on institutions like banks, credit unions, entrepreneurs (investors and job creators), and sound, well-managed, wise government agencies that function on their behalf. The feelings and emotional experiences are always prevalent in this class as well.

The Lower Class (and its sub-divisions) is the unfortunate class among us who most generally exited the womb into meager surroundings. Some will stay there for their entire lifetimes. Others, by love and nurturing, by their own initiative and mental clarity, will fight their way to the other classes. The feelings and emotional experiences are most easily felt in this class, and, in many cases, it is the class most accessible to change.

If, then, these simple premises are accepted, what is the point of this post?

When these feelings and emotional experiences are connected to the world, we have a combustible situation. The United States is hated by certain groups. Some groups want to kill us, end our freedom and the principles upon which we were founded. We are considered arrogant and a bully by many. At some point, perhaps our government backed a country’s leader, supplied money to aid in a cause we felt was beneficial and humane to its people, made some mistakes in judgment along the way. As a nation we have tried to right any perceived wrongs but are met with defiance and hatred…people still want to kill us and our way of life. We give so much money to countries that harbor those groups who try to kill us. Where does the money go? Does it reach the good people who need it?

The feelings and emotional experiences are real. They are deeply felt in the Middle East (since the dawn of time, countries at war with each other), in Russia, in China, in certain Latin American countries, in Africa, and other parts of the world. We the people of the United States are of many nationalities. We have ‘Projects’ for some of our minorities and lower wage earners. We have ‘ChinaTowns’ and ‘Russian Boroughs’ and Muslim communities. Some assimilate and try to learn our constitution and our principles. Some are in back rooms perhaps plotting ways to destroy our democratic way. We the people have government issues, split along party lines: some wanting less government interference in our private sector businesses, less laws, regulations, and/or executive orders; some wanting more entitlement spending, more regulations, money redistributed to those less fortunate. Yes, indeed, the feelings and emotional experiences are real, more pronounced, more volatile, and, potentially, more dangerous than a civilized society has ever known. Many people want a different world from the one I was born into, the one that gave us the ‘greatest generation’ – the world’s graveyards hold many of their bodies…the beautiful, the brave men and women who died so freedom could hopefully live on.

The ‘machines’ are now with us, adding expediency and pleasure to our lives but also kindling those feelings and emotional experiences. Nuclear weapons are out there. Can we account for them all? Computers dominate our lives as never before, the language of ‘Widgets,’ ‘RSS feeds,’ ‘Apps,’ ‘Tags,’ ‘URLs,’ on and on. Some of us get lost in the new language of the internet. ‘Social Networks’ (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, others) consume our days. Our laptops freeze on us. We rant and rave at the inconvenience of our IT system being down for periods of time. Our dependency has grown exponentially.

All these things gather in our conscious and subconscious minds. We are reminded that history has given us some rough patches to overcome, not without pain and panic, and we can be optimistic and have faith that we will overcome again. Yet, with over 7 billion people occupying this globe, so many of us have not read our history books, learned the lessons therein, and keep repeating some of the same mistakes that caused civilizations to die. Still, we can hope and we can pray…we can ‘let go, let God’!

I’m in the twilight of my years, and these feelings and emotional experiences have gotten me this far without the world coming totally apart. For my children, my grandchildren, my great grandchildren, I’m hoping this is all just an old man’s over-reactions to the nuclear age.

Maybe there are times when we just need to stop what we are doing, as difficult as that can be for harried and hurried minds, take a jog or a walk along the beach, a mountain trail, through the streets of our towns — insist that our fragile feelings not imprison us within cages of hopelessness. Maybe we just, ‘C’est la vie’! But, then, maybe the world will not let us be so nonchalant…

I just can’t seem to get the image out of my head of Charlton Heston standing on that beach with our cherished ‘Statue of Liberty’ there in the sand and him uttering something to the effect: “We finally did it!”

I get a bit more intense in my new book, “Joe Public’s Political Perspective” ( Hopefully you can find time to read it. Since I know not how to be a political analyst or pundit, the musings in the book are simple. After all, I am a simple man.

My other books can be previewed at IAN

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Love and Consequence


Love and Consequence

“Action! Camera!” the director bellowed through the megaphone.

The two actors stared each into the other’s eyes for some seconds.

Finally, the male actor spoke: “What am I to do, Penny? These corny words are not the words I wish to speak to you…”

“Cut!” yelled the Director, Simon Fozwright, lifting his heavy body from the canvas chair, walking toward the actors, his bewhiskered face wrinkling in bad temper, his glasses about to fall from his nose, his left hand scratching his bushy and unruly black hair. “What are you doing, Foster? You’re not following the script!”

Foster Kendrick slowly turned his eyes away from Penny and stared hard down into the eyes of Fozwright, gritted his teeth, shoved the big man backward and walked menacingly off the set.

“Why the hell did you show up this morning, Foster, you lame excuse of an actor?” yelled the director, watching his leading star walk away. “You walk and you never work again, big shot! You hear me, jerk-off?”

Foster disappeared into the shadows of the sound stage and a visceral hush fell upon the set. The film crew stared at each other with raised eyebrows. Penny, the female lead, had not moved from the scene-opening position. Her lovely blue eyes were vacant as they gazed downward onto the powder blue carpeting, and her long blond hair lay curled and still upon her shoulders.

Fozwright’s wrath had him trembling as he turned to face the leading lady. “What the hell is going on, Penny? Foster was fine until the ‘action’ call. What happened?” Penny did not move, and he spoke again. “C’mon, tell me what’s going on! We’re losing time and money here!”

“I can’t talk now, Simon. I just…” Penny stopped abruptly, spun and walked hurriedly off the set.

“Come back here, Penny! Get back here, now!” Penny disappeared in the shadows of the sound stage. “You two are making huge mistakes!” he screamed, his voice reverberating in the large facility. He slammed the script board down, the carpet muffling some of its forceful sound. Simon then mumbled obscenities and threw his arms in wild swings through the air as he stumbled back to his canvas chair.

The silence was broken by the camera man from his perch ten feet above the floor. “What do we do now, Simon?”

The harried director flailed his arms. “I don’t know! I’ll go talk to them… You guys take a break but don’t wander far.” Simon looked at the script lady and assistant producer. “Take a break, ladies. I don’t know what’s going on, but I’ll see if I can straighten it all out.”

Soon the soundstage was empty. Outside, the film crew drank their coffee, smoked their cigarettes and whispered among themselves.

Foster was reluctant to answer the soft door rapping in his dressing quarters. When it became more insistent, he yelled, “Go away! I don’t want to talk to anyone!”

The rapping continued. Foster angrily rose from his chair, rushed to the door, and yanked it open, banging his head in the movement. He tenderly rubbed his brow and could feel a knot forming.

Penny did not wait to be invited into the suite. She timidly walked in and took a seat in one of two stuffed chairs, her eyes shifting from Foster to her nervous hands resting now on her lap.

Foster sighed, slammed shut the door and took a seat next to Penny. He took a deep breath and spoke: “Why, Penny? How, Penny? I just don’t understand.”

“It just happened, Foster, I…”

He interrupted her, “Just happened! Just happened! I fell in love with you. You felt the same way, you said. How can you turn so quickly?”

“I didn’t lie to you, Foster. I do love you…but I’ve been lying to myself for so many years. When Ellie did the set scene with me, it was so real for me. I wanted her to touch me and I wanted to touch her…”

“Oh, sweet Jesus, stop! I don’t need to hear this. I’m not homophobic, Penny, but this is true life hitting me in the face. The woman I love is in love with another woman…”

“Her name is Ellie, Foster. She is not just another woman to me. Yes, I love her… And I love you. Is that not possible, to love two people of opposite gender in the same way? It was not my intent to deceive you. I thought you were enough for me. Then, Ellie opened new desires within me…” Foster’s head was turning side to side. “I know this hurts you, Foster, but you cannot hate me… I love you…”

“And, you love Ellie! Where is this supposed to go, Penny? Are the three of us to form a ménage a trois and live happily forever after?”

“I would love the arrangement, but you don’t want that and neither does Ellie…”

“Ah, so it’s been part of your discussions, has it? How cozy! This is ridiculous, Penny. It hurts like hell, but I must somehow get over you… Now, will you please leave?”

“Foster, please! Can’t we talk more about this? I don’t want to lose you!”

“And, you don’t want to lose Ellie, right?”

Penny lowered her head to her lap.

Foster stood, gently took Penny’s hand and led her to the door. “You must go now. We have no more need for talk. I will make arrangements to either kill the movie or have Simon replace me and re-shoot the prior scenes.”

“But it will be a financial ruin for us and…”

He interrupted her again. “You think about finances at this moment, Penny? I’m seeing another side of you that is not so appealing… Now, please leave.”

He opened the door for her exit.


The movie was made with Foster’s replacement, and the two actors never spoke again.

Foster left show business for aviation. He had been a Navy pilot, would get his commercial license and fly the international routes for a well-known airline. He would happily marry a first-class business passenger he chanced to meet on one of his flights to Singapore. They would have two sons, a daughter, and become a family favored with good tidings and joy.

Penny would part from Ellie in a year after discovering deception in their relationship. She would go on to become a famous actress but would never again have a serious love affair. She would become very private in her social activities and famous for the lovely starlets she introduced to the silver screen, many of whom sojourned as workers in her Holmby Hills mansion.

Billy Ray Chitwood – Flash Fiction – 3/8/14

Hope you find this flash fiction to your liking. It’s also my hope that you will read some of my full-length novels,some inspired by true life events – mysteries, romance, memoir, political. Should you be so inclined, the books can be previewed at

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