Hear My Scream

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Hear My Scream

Lost my family! A devoted wife and two sons who cherished me!

Lost my job!

Lost the right to call myself a responsible family man of Faith and Fidelity!

Lost it all to the fickle finger of fate and, more likely, a sinister weakness within my genes!

What happened to this man of ideals and noble purposes?

With a work promotion to a corporate low-rung Vice-President of ‘Acquisition Management’ came a salary boost. There came, too, that exhilarating sense of pride and accomplishment.

For months, we, my family, enjoyed our new luxurious living. We went to the park on weekends. We took trips to historical landmarks. We got a spacious new van, and our Russian Blue cat, ‘Vlad’, and our Golden Retriever, ‘Toby’, were as thrilled as the kids on trips. We even built up a tidy rainy-day fund in our bank. Life was so good!

Then, the company merged with a larger corporation that was global and had a financial sheet far exceeding our own, a ‘Pac-Man’ hungrily gobbling up many big, small, and medium businesses at a voracious pace.

The rumor mill made work difficult…people were going to be dismissed. It took six months for the head honchos to announce that my position was no longer needed as the buying behemoth had their own people in place. For the first time in my working life, I was unemployed.

Trying to keep my family worry-free I put on a happy face and left the house in the morning as was normally my wont. I job-hunted all day, every day, for months, even tried executive head-hunters, but I found I was ‘too qualified’ for some jobs and ‘not qualified’ enough for others.

My patience at a low level, our rainy-day funds going down rapidly, pressure mounted. Frustration became an emotion I couldn’t hide and it filtered down to the family

A huge Indian Casino opened a few miles from our house in Chandler, Arizona. It sat on two hundred+ acres and looked like an ‘Arabian Nights’ apparition in the desert. It was lunch time, and I thought, why not have some lunch and see if the casino could use my corporate experience.

It took a while before I found the executive offices and someone in authority, but it became immediately clear that all of their executives had the Indian connection and there could be no position for me.

In the dining room I ordered a hamburger, fries, coke, and thought about my dilemma. In the background I could hear simultaneous shouts of joy out in the gaming areas. A thought stirred in my mind, dumb in hindsight… Why not try a few turns at ‘21’? Not much of a gambler, but my Dad taught me how to play the game, what to do, what not to do, and I became good at ‘21’. Just maybe I could build up the ‘rainy day’ account and buy more time in looking for a job.

I hurriedly finished my hamburger, fries, coke, and walked around the casino’s rows of ‘21’ tables. I was now excited about the possibilities – people won big in gambling because they knew and practiced certain rules.

My Dad told me he always found a table where he felt the people playing knew what they were doing – watching a dealer’s ‘show card’ to determine whether or not to take a card: if the dealer’s ‘up card’ showed a possible 12-16 and the players’ down cards amounted to 12 or above, players stayed ‘put’, hoping for the dealer to bust. Of course, ‘21’ – Black Jack – was an automatic winner – unless, of course, the dealer matched with his own Black Jack…the player didn’t win the bet but gained a ‘push’ with the dealer. Tied hands with the dealer meant no loss of the bets. Dad also told me about the psychological aspects of ‘21’ – know when to play, know when to quit. Dad felt there was a time of the day or night when a person could win but that person needed to follow their self-imposed rules.

So, I found a table, watched the players and dealer for a while.  Satisfied the players knew the game and would not make stupid moves, I sat and exchanged three hundred dollars into chips of various colors – $5 chips, $10 chips, $20 chips, $50 chips, $100 and so on. The time was 12:45 PM.

In the next few hours I learned the highs and lows of gambling. I reached a euphoric stage when my neatly piled chips amounted to $6900…including the original $300 buy-in. People gathered behind our stools to see how far I could go. Surprisingly, the time was 6:00 PM. (Dad’s rule about knowing the time to quit had somehow by-passed my mind’s circuitry.

By midnight the $6900 was gone back to the casino, along with another $3800. My face was flushed, my stomach was in knots, and my mind was numb with anxiety and regret. I cashed too many checks at the casino and was also feeling the consummate moron.

With my head reeling with uncertainty, I left the casino and drove home.

My wife was frantic. She tried to call me several times during the afternoon but I never answered the cell phone.

She cradled me in her arms as I told her about the day, about the frustration of looking for work, and my stupid behavior at the casino. She was not happy but she told me I was entitled to a mistake…a lot of bad stuff landed on me in the past few weeks.

The next day I looked for work. In between stops, I thought about the gambling…had I stopped when I was ahead, there would be $6600 added to our ‘rainy day’ fund. Thus, my mind told me, you need to know when to stop while you’re ahead – good luck cannot last forever.

Back at the casino that afternoon, I stopped gambling at the ‘21’ table at 6:25 PM, my winnings totaling $3200. I left the casino feeling good, having gotten back almost half of the losses the previous day.

I did not tell my wife about the gambling, and I took her and the boys out for pizza.

Without giving a day to day count, I’ll sum it all up. In the next six months I looked for work in the mornings and gambled in the afternoons. My wife knew what was going on and pleaded with me. The boys sensed there were problems and walked around the house in a timid slow motion.

The ‘rainy day’ account was gone.

Suffice it, my marriage could not survive the constant arguments, my excuses and broken promises. My lovely boys were cautious and fearful to be around me.

The wife could not take it any longer and took the boys to live with her sister in Oregon.

What about me? What about the tattered and torn fabric of my soul? What about the man who used to be?

I’m in prison, serving time for robberies…had to have money to gamble. It’s difficult to imagine anyone feeling as small and insignificant as I do. I don’t need a mirror to see a man with a prison pallor and a broken heart. I know the damage I’ve caused, the other hearts broken, and two wonderful boys growing up without a father.

Several days ago two inmates attacked me in the yard, cut me up pretty good, broke some ribs, and I kept pleading with them to finish me, to get me out of my misery. I truly wanted to die, but no such luck…and, I’m too much of a coward to find a way to kill myself.

The wife and the boys will never know how much I love them and regret the terrible mistakes I made. I only hope they find happiness, love, and forget their terrible wretch of a husband and a father.

Perhaps in some other dimension I can make atonement.

For now, I long for death…death longs for me, but it is dark to die and I fear that I still wish to be.

Flash Fiction by Billy Ray Chitwood – Feb. 25, 2016

Bill Chitwood

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My thirteen books of mystery, suspense, thriller, romance, memoir – some inspired by true events – are viewable and described at               goo.gl/nWMXm3

Links:

My website: goo.gl/nWMXm3

http://www.about.me/brchitwood

My blog: https://thefinalcurtain1.wordpress.com

http://twitter.com/brchitwood

http://facebook.com/billyray.chitwood

http://goodreads.com/author/dashboard/billyraychitwood

https://www.linkedin.com

Proud member of: #asmsg – #IAN – #AHA

Proud recipient of eleven blog nominations

First Class

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First Class

“Would you like a drink before takeoff, Mr. Bryson?” asked the lovely blond flight attendant with blue eyes and conquettish smile.

“Do we have time?” flicking my eyes a few times in answer to the smile.

“Sure. We have a bunch of planes lined up for takeoff. I figure you for Vodka, stirred, her sexy voice just above a whisper. You do look a lot like James Bond, you know?”

“Which one?” playing the game.

“Pierce Brosnan, of course. The others couldn’t come close… Be right back with your drink,” and she turned and dipped her hips in walking away.

Ah, could be an interesting flight. Guess I’ll just leave the laptop in the overhead compartment.

I’m Travis Bryson and I now only fly first class since my company accomodates my heavy travel schedule. It likely sounds phony, but I’m an Executive V-P for CCC, a facilitator of sorts, bringing our national branches up to date on some new software for Webinars… Hey, it’s only exciting stuff for geeks like me and my comrades in the field. You’ve met our types. We really love what we do.

Now, don’t get me wrong about the flirting – I’m not married (anymore) so I’m not a bad guy and I’m legal. I’ve got a thick crop of black hair. I’m six-feet tall, work out each day and so far keep that middle paunch non-existent. I’m forty-two years old – that’s the new thirty-two, I’m told – and work out of my hometown in Phoenix, Arizona… That’s where this plane is heading, hopefully after I finish that Vodka Martini. (Speaking of which, here it comes, but, confesssion time, my eyes are really on the ‘Stew’, that face and body with the small tray in her hand. Again, don’t get me wrong… Oh, hell, you’ve got me right. There is nothing in life more beautiful than a woman, that is, a woman who has it all together. The guys know of what I speak, and one of them just arrived at my seat with a ‘James Bond Special’. I’m not sexist. I’m not any of those annoying PC words or phrases. I just appreciate beauty in all its forms.

“Hope this is as you like it, Mr. Bryson. If it isn’t I won’t charge you for it…” This, followed by one more coy flash of the eyes and a snicker. “Oh, by the way, what does CCC stand for?”

“’Command Centers Conglomerate’… Okay, look, I know you’ve got another drink there to deliver, but is it okay if I call you Paula, as in Paula Jinx? We are going to be talking, and it’s a long flight from Atlanta to Phoenix. My name is Travis Bryson, as you already know, so call me by my surname, or, Trav…off you go now to deliver your next drink order.”

She spoke as she headed toward the back of the first-class cabin. “I’m impressed you noticed my name tag, Travis.”

Okay, it’s Friday, I’ve been on the road for two weeks, and I have no one waiting for me in the valley of the sun. I was going to get some laptop work done for Monday’s Executive Meeting at the office, bur it can wait. I’m feeling frisky and I’m betting Paula just might be staying over in Phoenix…why, she might be home-based in Phoenix. This flight ends in Phoenix so, at the very least, she will be staying overnight.

The flight is filled and no ‘stand-bys’ made it on the plane. The seat next to me is occupied by a stout bespectacled gentleman in his sixties, earplugs in, listening to music, and reading A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. My seat row partner has impeccable reading tastes – I did read and love Hosseini’s The Kite Runner. The man is a superb storyteller, and I am eager to read the other aforementioned book. Anyway, the gentleman next to me by the window is lost in his book and couldn’t care less about my flirting ability.

During the flight Paula served me three ‘stirrred martinis’ and I turned down the fourth, making some silly rejoinder, ‘I have three of those and I can feel it. If I have four, anybody can feel it!’

After meals were served and all plates, silverware were picked up, the cabin passengers were reading, sleeping, or using the facilities. Paula and I traded playful quips for awhile. Then, as Phoenix got nearer, I thought I should make my move.

“You based in Phoenix by any chance, Paula?” The three martinis wired me for this conversation. I was ready for action. Two weeks on the road and planes can make you that way. ‘All work, no play’ kind of thing.

“Yes, I am. Is Phoenix your home base as well?” It seemed the smile did not leave her face during the entire flight.

“It is, and I’m thinking maybe we should get together this evening, or, soon. Now, I notice you wearing no wedding ring, so I’m brazen enough to ask.” I paused, waited for her to respond.

“That’s sweet, Travis, So sweet! But I can’t.” She touched me softly on the shoulder.

“So, you’re married and don’t wear your rings, right?”

“Not quite, Trav, but you’re close.”

“You’re separated or getting a divorce and want to wait. Is that it?”

“Not divorced. Not getting a divorce. There’s another reason…”

Not giving her a chance to go on, I suggested, “You and your boyfriend are broken up and you want some space. I can understand that. I’ve been there, done that!” I smiled inanely. This lovely creature was turning me down, and I’m ready to ‘bet the store’ we will be in a few hours warm and cozy in my apartment.

“No, Travis, it’s not like that. You’re a handsome man and most girls would be happy to connect with you. It’s just – well, someone is picking me up at Sky Harbor Airport, and you and I are not a possibility, tonight or ever…”

“Ah, no break-up! You have a steady boyfriend. Well, I can tell you this, Paula, the airline trains you well because I really thought we had something going.”

“No, Travis, you still have it wrong – well, mostly, the airline does train us to be nice and friendly with our flying customers. But there is no boyfriend…” She looked down at the aisleway and sadly smiled.

Then, like a middle linebacker laying me flat out on the football field, it hit me. “You’re…”

“Yes, Travis, I’m gay!”

“Pretty, lovely Paula, will you please bring me one more ‘James Bond Special’? And, will you alert the airline to bring me a wheelchair to the arrival gate?”

Flash Fiction by Billy Ray Chitwood – February 19, 2016

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The website link for my thirteen books:  

http://www.goo.gl/nWMXm3

My books cover the genres of mystery, suspense, thriller, romance, memoir. I show a few below that were inspired by true events. All the books have cover pics and summaries on the above website. Please take a look – they are quality reads… Amazon reviews are most welcome and, indeed, mean so much to the author. Thank you.

NOTE: The BUY sites under the books below will take you to Amazon Worldwide – US, UK, Canada, mexico, Spain, India, et al.

Other Author Links:

http://about.me/brchitwood

http://facebook.com/billyray.chitwood

http://twitte.com/brchitwood

http://goodreads.com/author/dashboard/billyraychitwood

http://linkedin.com

BLOG SITE: https://thefinalcurtain1.wordpress.com

(Proud to have been nominated for eleven blog awards)

Proud member of #asmsg – #IAN – AHA

 

 

Happy Valentine’s Day

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Song of Summer Love

A gentle zephyr touches her face

And she smiles sweetly in the sunglow

A thousand unspoken words of Love

Deep into my soul, and my heart

Begs only to stay in this moment of wonder

(Billy Ray Chitwood – February 14, 2016)

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY

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http://about.me/brchitwood

My websites: http://www.goo.gl/nWMXm3 and http://www.goo.gl/fYRhX1

Mission of Love and Pain

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Mission of Love and Pain

She gripped the steering wheel tightly, causing some erratic drifting across the south-bound lanes of the Interstate.

“You okay?” her husband asked. “You’re weaving.” He was in a lucid mood, and her heart and mind were frantic in their tangled states.

“I’m fine, honey…just a little tense about the upcoming trip.”

“You’ll be fine. You’re a great teacher, and they will see that.”

She momentarily glanced at him in the passenger seat. He had a small smile on his face as he stared into her eyes.

She smiled back but it was difficult fighting back tears…

My God, what am I doing? Please let it be the right thing. Her thoughts spun around, making her dizzy with their intensity. They had so many years of love, home, travel, children, and now she was living in a lie. It was the only way she could handle it. His Alzheimer’s was getting to the point where his lucid moments were infrequent, where he would not remember things he did, where his ‘bag’ emptied on the bed overnight, where he fell with some consistency, where he would not remember family members. His weight was down to just over one hundred pounds and his eating preferences consisted mostly of fast foods…

A teacher, she left him during the day with a home caregiver, a lovely lady who lifted some of the burden and stress, who related in the late afternoon at home the events of the day.

It had all begun some years after his retirement. He was told by his Mayo Oncologist that he had Stage Four Cancer – located in the bladder. Other doctors convened over the weeks that followed: one Urologist recommended bladder removal; another Oncologist thought the best way to go was Chemotherapy. The doctor group went first with the Chemo, and, miraculously, the cancer was gone. The Urologist still felt the bladder should be removed. That was the decision that changed her husband forever. Shortly after the removal of the bladder, the ugly Alzheimer’s came… Many thought that the bladder operation brought on the ‘A’ scourge.

Now, driving down the mountain to Phoenix, her thoughts were taking her places that made her heart crack, made her guilt demons come to haunt her. She remembered their lovely golf trips all over the world. She remembered the love and warmth of their time together with family and alone.

Now, she was taking him to a Nursing Home, and he thought he was going to a resort while she was away on a ‘teacher trip’. If he stayed in this lucid state, which was doubtful, he would immediately know the place was not a resort – he would recognize it for what it was, a ruse, and there would be problems.

She was almost in tears in their now silent drive, her thoughts now on the deception she was using…she did not want to deceive him, but the nursing home thought the transition would be easier if she did it this way.

She thought about love and betrayal, about the good times, about the awful stress she had been under. Was she a terrible person for putting him in a nursing home? Did love mean that, of the lovers, one needed no life of her own? Was she to sacrifice her life, her goals, for a man who would come to the point of not even knowing her? Did she truly love him? Yes, she truly loved him…or, she loved the man he used to be, the man he would never be again… On and on came the demons of thought…

By the time they arrived at the nursing home, he was again showing the clear signs of his Alzheimer’s – not remembering landmarks, not talking rationally. The staff at the ‘resort’ treated him as a special guest which seemed to please him. His wife gave him a goodbye hug but he did not particularly notice. The staff told her not to worry about him, that he would adjust…

She left the lovely circular driveway encasing beautiful flowers and drove only a few blocks. She pulled into a large department store parking lot, found a lonely spot where there were no other cars.

There, she released the sadness, the tears, heaving and squealing to her Deity, “Please, God, let me have done the right thing!”

She sat at the spot for about an hour, then went to her daughter’s home, a daughter who had been part of the ‘mission of love and pain’.

Flash Fiction (With some Truth)

Billy Ray Chitwood – February 12, 2016

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My thirteen books of mystery, romance, suspense, memoir, are previewed on

goo.gl/nWMXm3

Other Links:

http://about.me/brchitwood

http://goo.gl/nWMXm3

http://twitter.com/brchitwood

http://goodreads.com/author/dashboard/billyraychitwood

goo.gl/wDXPyy – Linkedin.com

http://facebook.com/billyray.chitwood  

Magical Day in February

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Magical Day in February

 

Fluffy whites play in the sky

Of powder blue,

Defying the gray of winter

With its pleasant hue.

Surely an ugly mood can

Change to Hope,

Dispel for hours the woes

With which we cope.

Can such a Day void the

Voices of Doom?

Shatter dark oppressive shadows

Of gloom?

Allow miracles to alter the

Ways of Man?

Is it folly to think that such

Days fit a plan?

Of course, if bleak with snow

Where you live,

You may find my jaunty lines

Hard to forgive.

But I joyfully leave you with

These trite words

To walk the sunshine paths and

Feed the birds

 

(Billy Ray Chitwood – February 6, 2016) 

Please look over my website at goo.gl/nWMXm3 – you can PREVIEW my thirteen books in various genres…mystery, suspense, thriller, romance, memoir, government. I’m of course biased but it’s my belief you will find some great quality reads.

My newest book, Stranger Abduction, just out late 2015, is inspired by an Arizona ‘Cold Case’ about a mother and daughter disappearance- the novel presents a fictional and/or alternate scenario for the case…would love to have you read the book and give an Amazon US, UK, and Goodreads REVIEW.

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goo.gl/RgXHn2 Amazon US

goo.gl/up8gwX Amazon UK

http://authl.it/3yi Amazon Worldwide

Some Other Links:

http://www.about.me/brchitwood

goo.gl/nWMXm3 – My Website, books, and profile

http://twitter.com/brchitwood (@brchitwood)

http://facebook.com/billyray.chitwood

https://goodreads.com/author/dashboard/billyraychitwood