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

Feel free to comment. (@brchitwood) (My weekly blog)

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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.

Butterfly Jellybeans Nook Size


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From Where I Sit

Bill Chitwood-250

From Where I Sit

Fingers poised over the laptop, looking out across the valley at the far bluff and horizon, how can there be any evil in the world? The silent serenity through that large window encompasses all and sweetly softens my senses. The leaves on the trees, regal and tall, stir not a whisper. The sun shines gloriously down on this natural delight of God’s good work. How dare the scenes of blood, fallen bodies, and war drums beating come as unbidden echoes in my mind…if a tree falls in the woods and no one is there, is there still sound? Dear God, I fear it must be so!

A cloud passes and temporarily blots out the precious sun as though validating those unbidden echoes. I force away the ugly thoughts of dying and evil, at least to the periphery of awareness and think what clever inventions of my mind can endure me to my readers.

To my rescue comes George the Bengal cat (his grandmother was an Asian leopard cat). George stoically stares up at me and meows timidly for his noon-time treat – three little chicken-flavored ‘Temptations’. He eats them quickly and wanders over and lies under one of the great room chairs, looking out that same big window that produces nature’s portrait…and I wonder: does he think? If he does think, what is it he thinks about? Those trees he would like to climb – except he has been deprived his front paw claws?

See how easy it is to get away from the troubles of the world? Sort of like playing nine rounds of golf with basketball buddies at Martha’s Vineyard…

Okay, it’s too important, I have to write something! It is all I’m left to do. I’ll start with this excerpt from a Fox News report…

British Prime Minister David Cameron vowed to confront radical Islam “at home and abroad” and the United Kingdom raised its terror level to “severe”  in the wake of new revelations about Islamic State’s butchery in Syria and Iraq.

Cameron, speaking from 10 Downing Street, said Britain’s problem with homegrown radical jihadists joining the bloody battle engulfing the Middle East and threatening attacks on the west must be addressed with tough action.

“This is not some foreign conflict thousands of miles away that we can hope to ignore,” the Conservative Party leader said. “The ambition to create an extremist caliphate in the heart of Iraq and Syria is a threat to our own security here in the UK. And that is in addition to the many other Al Qaeda-inspired terrorist groups that exist in that region. The first ISIL terrorist attacks on the continent of Europe have already taken place.”

“We cannot appease this ideology,” the Conservative Party leader said. “We have to confront it at home and abroad. To do this we need a tough, intelligent, patient, comprehensive approach to defeat the terrorist threat at its source.

Cameron’s words came one day after U.S. President Barack Obama said the U.S. is not contemplating imminent action against Islamic State in Syria.

“I don’t want to put the cart before the horse. We don’t have a strategy yet,” Obama said Thursday.

No tirade here! It just seems to me we must have a strategy, patient, yes, but aggressive as well. Waiting until the deaths of innocent people mount up, until another extremist caliphate is added to the Islamic empire list, until the wicked warriors and weaponry drift into America, cannot be a sober option.

What is it that I am not getting? These terrorists are cutting off heads, killing infidels, Christians and Jews, vowing to dominate the world. They are criminally rich, recruiting followers all over the world to join them, claiming to ultimately raise their flag at our own US White House. Killing is their culture. It is what they do and have been doing for thousands of years. Why would the US wait until tens of thousands more die before setting goals and objectives? These terrorists want to kill us, and appeasement, rhetoric and diplomacy are not going to solve the problem. The goal is to win the war over terrorists. Losing is not an option!

George is thirteen, old in man-years like me, and he is now napping at my feet…yeah, I know, you’re telling me to take a nap! (And I will, sooner or later.) The sun is still shining and nature’s poetry is just outside my window. Why are the worries of the world out there, too?

I’m just a man who likes to write, a person who tries to keep up with his world… Perception is not always reality, but, from where I sit, that’s the way I see it.

By the way, my new book, A Common Evil, is out…hope you get a chance to read it and review it on amazon.

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Billy Ray Chitwood (@brchitwood) (My twelve books, my blog, reviews)