The Piano Bar


The Piano Bar

With this post I get to show not only some of my ‘warts of longing and wanderlust’ but an abiding romanticism that has tagged along with me through my life. The Piano Bar is symbolic of some younger years when I was going to live forever, a time when I could play out fantasies and dramatic ‘movie scenes’ of a lonely and desperate man, a time when the amber juices made me not so lonely and desperate…when a young lady fell prey to my somber moans of despair, often leading from The Piano Bar to my hotel or motel room. My symbolism here likely matches well with many a fellow comrade seeking nebulous new beginnings.

I’m not going to write in much detail about those hobo-like days, my boozing, my quaint poetry (also known as my etchings). Instead, I write you a song, a composition in my head and heart from some contemplative and mystic area of being I shall never fully comprehend. In some ways the song might remind some of Billy Joel’s ‘Piano Man’ song… That was never my intent to intrude on someone’s material. The reason for my balladic piece is this: we have a beautiful new house which we (my wife and I) are decorating. In our den over the fireplace mantel there is a colorful painting of a piano. As I type away on my laptop the blogs and the current book on which I’m working I constantly pause and look at that painting. At the end of the day I have one highball (usually a vodka concoction of one sort or another), and, with each sip and the loss of one more brain cell Bacchus stimulates the words as I gaze at my piano painting.

Play Me a Tune, Piano Man

Play me a tune, piano man…

Sing me a song from the years.

Play me a tune, piano man…

Bring back the joy and the tears.


Make all the words sad and lonely…

Sung whiskey tenor with heart.

Sing them all warm and embracing.

Keep the crowd rapt from the start.


Now give the keys some gaiety…

Give the crowd reason to smile.

Play ‘til the bar room is closing,

‘Last Call’, folks, for a while.


Play me a tune, piano man…

Sing me a song from the years.

Play me a tune, piano man…

Bring back the joy and the tears.

Billy Ray Chitwood – October 23, 2014


Now, if you want the full and shameful story, read What Happens Next – A Life’s True Tale.

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Dreams and the interpretations of dreams have been discussed and written about a lot. They fascinate us and drive us nuts trying to figure their significance…and, come on, they have to mean something!

Generally, ‘dream experts’ associate dreams with sex, stress, and weird synapses. Some of us dream in black and white, some, in color, some, not so much or at all.

Me, I dream on occasion – weird stuff, impossible for my brain to make sense of it. Take last night, for example. Well, those of you who dream know that they jump all over the place and it’s rare if not impossible to find a true sequence. My early morning vision came with a pretty girl with her panties showing as she sat on a stool – I’m not a young man but that particular strip had to indicate something about my youthful days of chasing the girls. Next came my mother who was telling me she needed a new night gown… Mom’s up there with Clarence and the angels… Following that quick hit came an old attorney friend I miss dearly (he, too has been gone a few years), and I’m telling him I have to get my mother a night gown. He tells me I’ve got to get her some panties (or, being my mom, maybe bloomers) to go with the gown. Next, I’m alone in my car on the way to Mom’s house, with Ray (my late friend) trailing me in his car. Suddenly, I’m supposed to make a right turn, but, now, Ray is not behind me and the road in front of me opens into something resembling a freeway cloverleaf. So I make an illegal U-turn in very slow motion, and, as I’m finishing my turn a car with a lone driver (not Ray) pulls into a large bare earth area to my right. The guy behind the wheel is just parked there looking dark and menacingly at me. Where I should now turn left to get to my Mom’s house, there is no road…

So, enough of this craziness! I wake up, feeling blah and out of sorts, wondering what the hell all of the dream is intended to mean. I lie there and start thinking about my good friend, Ray – was he trying to tell me something (other than getting a pair of bloomers for my Mom!)? Was he letting me know that he’s thinking of me wherever he is? Was he indicating that he was waiting for me? What was Mom trying to tell me? Would she really be needing a night gown and bloomers up there in God’s Heaven? And, what about the young lady on the stool with her panties showing? Was this an indication that there’s still some sex drive left in the old tank?

How does one come to any conclusions in a dream like that? All it did was keep me from going back to sleep. All I did was lie there in Blah-Land thinking about my dear sweet Mom and my dear friend who both meant so much to me. So, instead of 7:30 to 8:30 AM ‘rise-time’ I’m up at 6:30, and my good wife (her ‘rise-time’ always between 5:00 to 6:00) wants to know why I’m goofing up her morning routine (comics, crosswords, coffee). Sullenly, I go to the laptop, check the e-mails, do my Twitter business, send out a few tweets, and await the delivery of my black coffee from Julie Anne – yeah, right, she spoils me, but I deserve it!

The dream keeps bugging me so I decide to bore my blogger friends by writing about it. Maybe they can give me some clue as to what that weird early morning dream all means…

I would only ask that those good blog buddies of mine will keep it clean in their responses! Don’t give me the ‘dirty old man’ thing, or,  ‘you have a sex problem’ thing, or, ‘you are some kind of weirdo!’ thing – we already know that! Really, though, any informed and uninformed opinions are welcome.

I rather suspect my dreams have something to do with the extraordinary wisdom I carry within me! Okay, okay, stop with the rotten tomatoes already!

Seriously, though, maybe dreams are extra-terrestrial implants, or, simple soul reminders that there is much more awaiting us after this term of mortal service ends…yeah, I kind of like that!

Just me! Billy Ray Chitwood – with another silly post! 10/16/14

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Read a two-track narrative about my life – might keep you from dreaming weird dreams…well, maybe not! AND, the book is ninety per cent true. You will be able to recognize Prentice Paul Hiller rather quickly. You readers have the power to make this a best seller! Well, not likely, but, hey, you just might like it…there’s some viable history, some romance, some doom and gloom, and some happiness. My other eleven books can be found at the numerous sites below (fiction, mystery, suspense, romance, memoir, government). (@brchitwood) (My brief bio and books) (Give me some love – as in ‘likes’) (IAN – Independent Author Network – My books)

NOTE: I am very proud to have nine blog awards…for the sake of brevity I shall spare you the display.

My Way – Crazy or Not


My Way – Crazy or Not

Hey, this life-thing is a one-way ride or a round-trip! Who can truly say? All I know is I’m going to cram as much as I can into this trip of which I’m consciously aware – well, maybe! For all I really know, I could be unconscious or this rambunctious rumble through life could be a dream…maybe I’ll get to know just what it really is in God’s Place or another dimension or parallel universe.

This is all to say I’ve moved again! Yeah, gone to Kentucky for a spell, or, for keeps. My sweet wife has almost gotten used to my gypsy ways…in fact, I’m beginning to believe she enjoys all the work involved and the follow-up jive she gives me. Mostly, though, she gives me love and understands that the seeds for my wanderlust were sown way back in those eastern Tennessee hills. All the mobility and poverty kept me on the move with some uncertain delivery systems. Finally grew up – notice I did not say ‘matured’ – and found a restless nature that seemed never satisfied, always searching for some nebulous something.

So I move a lot!

This time, the new home is some kind of fantastic! Built in 1871 (with some modern new additions, of course!), the home has with it six bedrooms, rolling bluegrass hills for roaming and viewing, pond, pool, lovely trees. Now, the house is a bit small for the two of us (he says in heavy jest!) – 7000 square feet in the main house and 1100 square feet in the pool house (and another bedroom and bath). Now we do have a bunch of kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids to fill the rooms – but my rule is they cannot stay too long, just a few days. Otherwise, I don’t get to do the loafing I’m so good at and the writing of my fiction and non-fiction.

Yes, of course, all the psych people are correct – I’m very likely a ‘mess’ and have too much time on my hands. (No, I’ve never been and never intend to be on a psych person’s couch! If I cannot figure this ‘thing’ out with the years I’m putting into it, so be it.)

But back to the moves! Each one excites and brings renewed hope that the next stop is to be the place where I uncover an ultimate truth to my being, or, at least, is to be a place that can arrest the existential wandering and wondering… Don’t you just love that word, ‘existential’? It says so much and nothing at the same time!

This move, though, I’m seriously thinking will be my last. I love the property. I love the little town. I love the people. Maybe, just, maybe, not promising anything here, I might find my Nirvana.

My head is near bursting! Must be the air carrying all the jeering and laughter of my great wife, my wonderful kids, dear relatives, and the friends who know me so well – or think they do.

Billy Ray Chitwood – October 10, 2014

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From Here To There

From Here

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To There


From Here To There

My life is a history of mobility…from the restless spirit nestled somewhere in my mystifying DNA, transported there from two young restless parents searching for themselves in the confusion and poverty of their lives. Divorce would be inevitable and moves hither and yon would become commonplace…

No, this post is not to be a self-indulgent recant of my youth and how I came to be who I am. Well, perhaps it will seem enough so to allow for that conclusion. Everyone has been somewhere! Everyone has their ‘raison d’etre’.

There are two reasons for this post: 1) to provide some reasons for my social network inactivity – for those who might care; 2) to share the hectic two weeks that have passed.

Number one is easily handled by by the frenetic bustle of my life and my wife’s life the past two weeks.

Over a year ago Julie Anne and I moved from the Sea of Cortez in Mexico to my home state of Tennessee…wanted to test the essence of Thomas Wolfe’s book, You Can’t Go Home Again. We settled into a huge 6000 square feet log cabin on the Cumberland Plateau…we’ve always liked a lot of space in our homes but this was somewhat ridiculous at our ages. Still, the magnificent views across the canyon to another bluff was the clincher. There for over a year I finished one novel, The Reluctant Savage, and wrote two more books, Joe Public’s Political Perspective and my sixth ‘Bailey Crane Mystery’ novel, A Common Evil. It was a lovely period, but an ‘itch’ began – that ‘restless spirit’ thing! The bluff view was awesome but there were woods surrounding us…turns out I don’t like the feeling of being enclosed or ‘treed in’.

In some manner of happenstance we found Springfield, Kentucky – the land of Lincoln, rich in history. We visited, found the small town wonderful and the people likewise. With the right portions of chance and luck we found a restored 1871 home on one of the gorgeous rolling hills and bought it – selling the Tennessee house at the same time. We have been here two weeks and absolutely love it. The local paper, The Springfield Sun (local newspaper), and Ken Begley (Columnist) has already written a wonderful article about our arrival…we knew nothing about the genesis of the article but suspect our great real estate broker, Steve Hale, of spreading the word. On Saturday, tomorrow, there is a ‘Sorghum Festival’ in town, with Main Street closed down, and that super broker Hale has arranged a book signing event for me and my twelve books.

It’s been a hectic two weeks shopping for furniture to fill a 7,000 square foot house (yep, we like ‘huge’!). Our beautiful daughter, Shelley Jean, traveled from Las Vegas, Nevada, to help Mom Julie with the shopping and decorating…we’re trying to get her and her lovely family to move here (keeping our fingers crossed!). I’ve had little time to communicate with friends and followers on the Social Network sites and to write more in my new book. Hopefully, next week, I shall be at full strength again and back to tweeting (ad naseum) and facebooking and linkedin and blogging and…

It’s my hope you will forgive my self-indulgence here…although I wrote there would be none. It is about ‘now’ and not about my ‘past’. It has truly been a tiring but fantastic two weeks!

I plan on being here for the duration, but, who knows! That infernal ‘itch’ has been part of my life for so long…

Billy Ray Chitwood – Friday – 10/03/14 (Bio – books – reviews) (@brchitwood) (IAN bio and books) (Main page) (‘Like’ page)

Forever Youth

Bill Chitwood

Forever Youth

Bradley Holden waxed eloquently about the gray dimpled pill he held between his thumb and fore finger…

The two men were sitting harbor-side on Pelican Landing in a back private corner of the Men’s Grill at the Peninsula Country Club. The day was sunny and bright as they occasionally glanced out the great picture window at the water and the boats in their slips. Each man was six feet, forty years old, slender, handsome, the one about to speak with blond and wavy hair, the other, with black, curly, cultured neatness.

“It’s beyond amazing, Kurt, it’s beyond revolutionary, the greatest little capsule invented by man. You cannot breathe a word of this to anyone, not even Nancy or your parents. We’ve been best buddies since grade school, and I have to share this with you. No one else knows about this except the genius who must remain anonymous. You have to promise me you will not speak of it, okay?”

“Sure, I promise. I’ve never seen you so excited about any of your pet projects.”

“Not pet projects, Kurt. That sounds so child-like. You’ve done very well with the private information I’ve given you in the past. Sure, a few ideas didn’t pan out, but I gave you the caveats at the time, right?”

“You did. That’s why I promise because you are an incredible mover and shaker. Now, what is this tablet going to do for me and the world?” Kurt smiled and sipped his vodka-tonic.

“Not yet the world, old buddy, just you…and stop with the silly smile. This is more important than you realize. Now, look carefully at me. Really look and analyze. Don’t glance. What can you see?”

After a long interval, Kurt spoke. “I can see the same incredibly handsome pal who sat with me last week at this same table.”

“C’mon, Kurt! I’m asking you to be serious here.”

“I am being serious. Except for your clothing, I notice the same you.”

Bradley sighed. “Okay, remember the boat and fishing accident when the big Bluefin knocked me down and caused a gash in my left forehead? Remember the scar? Remember the big brown wart on my right cheek below the ear? Do you see a scar on my forehead? Do you see the wart?”

Kurt looked befuddled. “In fact, I don’t…sorry, I’m so used to seeing you I didn’t think about the scar and wart. You telling me the pill took the scar and wart away?”

“That’s what I’m telling you…but even more. Don’t you think I look younger?”

Kurt squinted. “Damn! I thought you got a short haircut, but your face does look smoother and tighter. Same pill do that?”

“That’s right, buddy, and there’s even more.” He smiled at his friend, sipped slowly his own vodka-tonic, enjoying the waiting game he was playing.

“Okay, smart guy, what’s ‘even more’?”

“Even more is, taken at the frequency directed, I will never get older than I am right now at this moment.”

“Brad, you’ve got to be kidding! This is science fiction, all impossible stuff you’re saying.”

“Just listen for a minute or so, okay? Some Scientists and some in the Tech world have been working in a field called microrobotics and nanorobots. I can’t tell you much about it, but, supposedly, some years from now those little nano-rascals will have different duties, will be injected into our veins to remove old cells, create new cells, fix medical problems like cancer, diabetes, alzheimers, and so forth… Guess that signals some sense of immortality. It’s all amazing.

“Now, my guy is ahead of the curve. His pill has some cell cleanup and anti-aging capabilities. He’s a Cal Tech graduate and the sharpest man I know…well, you’re pretty sharp, too.” He smiled and nodded toward his longtime pal.

“Hold up, Brad, this cannot be legal what you’re doing. How long have you been taking these pills? Are there any side effects? Are you just going on blind trust? Incidentally, there was nothing un-charming about your scar and wart. So, the big question is WHY would you do this?”

“Aside from you, Kurt, this gentleman is my best friend… He did not want me to be his guinea pig. I sort of stole some of his pills…”

“Sort of stole?”

“He needed validation for his studies. All animal and other tests had been done but the human element… I supplied that for him.”

“And he let you? Brad, this is nuts!”

“He didn’t know about it and was mad as hell when I told him. You know me, I’m a risk taker.”

“Yeah, but with something weird like this! Is he not worried about your health?”

“I started two weeks ago…they are once a week pills. He seems to think I’m fine and is happy as the chirping lark.” Brad raised his arm to the waiter for two more vodka tonics.

Kurt shook his head and kept looking at his friend as though seeing him for the first time. The two men were quiet until the drinks arrived. A strange osmosis was taking place, and Kurt could not quite understand it. “Well, I love you, buddy, and I hope you’re not screwing around with fate.” He raised his glass for a toast.

As they sipped their toast drink, Kurt noticed a tightness come to Brad’s face and scalp – Brad’s hair seemed to be shaking and shimmering in the afternoon light.

“My God! Brad, are you okay? Your face…it’s…”

“I don’t know, buddy, I’m feeling funny! I need to leave…sorry…guess I’m…” With that, Brad stood and started toward the exit.

Kurt stood, followed, and, after the second step Brad wavered and crumpled into Kurt’s arms. Suddenly, Brad’s body became limp in his arms. Then, Kurt’s eyes widened with horror as the mass he held in his arms began to shrivel and become lighter until he was holding loose clothes and a further diminishing Bradley Holden. Kurt opened his mouth to scream but no sound would come. He stood, tears streaming down his face and onto the clothes of his best friend. His body trembled and his mind considered the possibility he was having a nightmare.

The faces of the lone bartender, waiter, and a few scattered members all blanched with disbelief and froze in fear.

A cloud settled under the mid-afternoon sun, presenting through the big window a bleak tableau of people in shock and gray stillness.

Flash Fiction by Billy Ray Chitwood (@brchitwood)

Follow Me


Follow Me

“Follow me!” the voice was gentle, soft, and somehow compelling.

The lovely lady with blue eyes and long waves of golden hair blinked in her drowsy state.

Shelley slowly opened widely her eyes and rose from the hammock on the hill near the big house. A few trees dotted the landscape on the freshly mowed grass and a watermelon smell wafted on the gentle air. This was her favorite spot on a sunny afternoon along the large spread of her parents’ property, eschewing the enticing pool by the ancient house. She could see for miles across the bluegrass roll of hills and felt a calmness never duplicated in her life.

“Follow me!” the gentle voice again intoned.

Shelley was not wary of the near-hypnotic and tranquil voice and innately knew she would follow its command. There was no equivocation, not the usual questions and puzzlement that would come with these uttered words, no doubts of the clarity and ethereal verity. There was no one, no person, to be seen but she somehow knew the path to follow, like an aura spreading the grass in front of her. She increased her gait, sensing an urgency as the aura spread its way in front of her. Shelley’s mind allowed no interfering thoughts to suggest hallucination or sleep-walking. Her purpose was as clear as the turquoise stillness of the pool she now approached.

At the pool, the aura and the spell-like awareness gave way to a strange reality. There on the edge of the pool lying lifeless was a most beautiful blue jay.

Shelley rushed to the bird, knelt, and with a soft tenderness picked up and placed the bird in the palm of her left hand. She moved to the poolside table, sat, and placed gently the blue jay on the table.

With tears welling in her eyes Shelley softly stroked with a forefinger the bird’s feathers, quietly chanting, “Please, God, let this lovely creature live, please, please!” Over and over, she spoke in whispers as her tears spilled over onto the table.

There came a slight tremble of a wing on the blue jay. Then, a small talon moved. All the while Shelly gently stroked the feathers. Soon, the bird tried to rise, only to fall over again on its side. Slowly, her murmurs and tears flowing, Shelley saw the bird finally stand, slowly shake itself, look into her eyes, give a short weak squeak, and fly away.

Shelley sat at the poolside table watching the sky. She saw the blue jay soar, then swoop low into a row of bushes and out of sight. She smiled in wonder, wiping at her eyes, looked up to the heavens and spoke, “Thank you, Lord! Thank you so very much for the miracles you still perform. Thank you. Thank you.”

When Shelley lowered her head, there was the blue jay some six feet in front of her, flapping its wings and chirping, then flying off again into the cloudless sky.

A lady of faith, this experience would last a lifetime, a reminder that she, as were all people, here for a purpose. The reminders of life’s purpose would not always come in the special way of this day’s most exquisite miracle, but they would come for those who would open their hearts and soul to them.

Shelley returned to her hammock. She couldn’t wait until her parents returned from shopping to tell them of her blue jay experience.

Flash Fiction by Billy Ray Chitwood

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Only Love


Only Love

Love is a word that is loosely thrown around in our world today…guess that’s okay because it is difficult to see how the word can be used in a pejorative way unless someone is using it like a gun or knife in a psychopathic or sociopathic way.

We take for granted comments like, “I love the way that movie played out!” or “I love this book!” or “I love this juicy apple!” or “I love football!” We all get the connotation when ‘love’ is invoked in this way. Very few among us would disagree that love is a most special word, a short formation of letters that goes a long way in expressing our innermost emotions for a human being, a pet, or…

Love as a noun occupies a much loftier position than the verb, in my most humble opinion. The word is in many ways sacrosanct – sacred and on the same plane as faith. “The love of God” generally conveys “faith in God” and becomes juxtaposed with our souls and theology. We can wish as a nation and as a world that this love was more encompassing and endearing.

Of course, the most emotional, exciting, exhilarating, and physically orgasmic is the love between a man and a woman, yet, not exclusively, as our world assuredly now knows of ‘same sex’ harmonious relationships. With no wish to alienate or doubt its verity and because I am most definitely hetero, I confine these comments to ‘man/woman’.

I have known those exquisite moments of love when a kiss launches me into a mad swirl of feverish passion, when all senses are focused on but one space in time, on a delirious and delicious hunger. I have known those moments when love is not with me, when I sit alone, feel the pangs of loneliness, write my lines of dubious poetry to the one who occupies my heart and mind. I have known those moments when love is threatened by insecurity and jealousy, when doubt finally leaves and I drink once more from the sweet chalice of love’s reuniting. I have alas known love’s withdrawal and the long weeks and months of despair, only to find again another coupling of hearts.

Love both blinds and gives us light. Love is one journey or it is many, and those who know of what I speak well know that, true to that soaring pursuit, it will ultimately come to spend a lifetime with us.

Love and Faith can bring gentle measures of equanimity and peace to a wayward heart and soul.

Though we can use love as our verbs, my preference is the noun. As with Faith, without love, we can be lost.

NOW, why have I briefly written about love and faith?

Two reasons, the first, innocuous enough, I hope…I simply wanted to write about love and faith because they have been so much a part of my life – superfluously, among other abstract notions. The second, rather selfish, I’m afraid… You see, I have written a romance novel which is not the typical romance novel. It has love, faith, of course, and it also has murder, mystery, and suspense.

The novel is called, Butterflies and Jellybeans – A Love Story. Don’t let the title fool you. It is my belief that ‘romance’ readers will find it to their liking – at least, that is my hope. I have shared my internet marketing ineptness in previous posts, and it’s my feeling this book should sell very well…hopefully, you will prove me right. If you do read Butterflies and Jellybeans, please tell a friend about it and/or write a review on Amazon.

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