And the Band Played On

Eddie had never been one for gardening.

At the end of his shift at the mill, all he wanted was a couple of cold ones while he sat in front of the TV, watching the ballgame. Rosie, his wife, had other ideas. She was always after him to dig up the backyard so they could put in a rose garden.

After ten years of marriage, Eddie was pretty good at tuning Rosie’s nagging out. He’d just grunt, take a swig of beer, and promise he’d get to it tomorrow; but somehow tomorrow never seemed to come.

So, knowing Eddie, it was with some surprise that Paula, his sister, viewed his handiwork the afternoon she stopped by to say hello.

“What’s this?” she asked, watching Eddie as he dumped shovelfuls of earth onto a growing pile behind him.

“I’m finally doing it,” he said, his cheeks smudged with dirt and sweat. Breathing heavily, he put the spade aside. He pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and wiped his face. “Rosie has been on my back forever to put a garden in for her. While she’s away, I thought I’d take care of it. I’m going to surprise her when she gets back.”

“Rosie’s away? Where did she go?” This was news to Paula, who’d just had lunch with Rosie the week before.

“She’s out on the West Coast, visiting her sister.”

Paula’s brow wrinkled. “Funny, she didn’t say anything to me about visiting Helen.”

“It came up suddenly. Helen wasn’t feeling well so Rosie took a plane out yesterday. She’s going to help out with the kids while Helen’s laid up.”

Paula nodded as her brother picked up the spade and resumed his work. Absentmindedly, he began to hum a tune their father had often sung when he was in his cups.

Casey would waltz with a strawberry blonde
And the band played on.
He’d glide ‘cross the floor with the girl he adored,
And the band played on…

He’d married the girl
With the strawberry curl
And the band played on.

Hearing the song and remembering their father, Paula smiled. “Eddie, putting in a garden is awfully hot work, especially in the noonday sun. How about I go inside the house and make us both a glass of iced tea?”

Eddie stopped shoveling and looked at her. “No… I don’t think you want to do that.”

“Why ever not?”

“It stinks in there… see,” he said, pointing to the house’s open windows, “I’ve got the windows wide open to air it out.”

She shook her head. “Since when are you so delicate?”

“No, seriously, it smells. I think a skunk got under the porch floorboards – the stink is all over the house.”

“You should call someone in to take care of that… you might never get the smell out on your own.” She reached into her pocket for her cell phone, but he stopped her.

“I’ll take care of it. No need for you to worry. Look, I’ve got to get back to work, Paula. I’ll talk to you later, okay?”

Stung, his sister shrugged. “It’s your house,” she said.

Eddie watched her get into her car and drive away. He then turned back to his shoveling, humming while he worked.

Casey would waltz with the strawberry blonde
And the band played on
He married the girl with the strawberry curl
And the band played on…

* * * * *

Later that night, Paula sat on her front porch, waiting for the day’s heat to subside. That’s the problem with living in the south, she thought. It’s always so damned hot.

Sipping iced tea, her thoughts drifted lazily to her brother. No longer annoyed, she was thinking how nice it was that he was finally putting in the garden Rosie had always wanted. It gave Paula hope that the frequent fights between the two were over.

Rosie was more than just Paula’s sister-in-law; she was her best friend. The week before, over lunch, Rosie had dissolved in tears, worried that Eddie was involved with another woman.

Paula remembered her laughter when Rosie confided her fears. Her brother? She told Rosie that she doubted Eddie had the energy to walk from his easy chair to the refrigerator, let alone carry on an affair. Eddie’s biggest claim to fame was an ability to sit for hours in front of the TV, chugging back beer after beer.

Thinking about the conversation, Paula frowned. Like their dad, Eddie liked his beer; but unlike their father, he wasn’t a nice drunk. Where their dad had been full of life and song when loaded, Eddie became morose and short-tempered. He was happiest when left alone to watch his ballgame and knock back a few.

He hardly seemed the type to have an affair.

But Rosie had been adamant. “Something’s not right, Paula. I’ve gotten calls from his foreman at the mill. Eddie’s been calling in sick… Paula, where is he going during the day if he’s not at work?”

“Well, did you ask him about it?”

Gazing at her sister-in-law with troubled eyes, Rosie bit her lip and shook her head. “No…”

“For Pete’s sake, why not? He’s probably got an explanation.” And, hopefully, not one involving a barstool…

“No, you don’t understand! He’s different, Paula. Something’s not right,” Rosie repeated.

Remembering the conversation, Paula sighed and took another sip of the cold tea. Perhaps it was good that Rosie went to visit her sister. It would give her and Eddie a break, a chance to work things out. Like the old saying goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Maybe it was already working.

After all, Eddie was finally digging Rosie’s garden.

* * * **

Casey would waltz with the strawberry blonde
And the band played on
He married the girl with the strawberry curl
And the band played on.

Paula could hear Eddie humming as she approached the front walk to her brother’s house and went around to the backyard.

“You sure hum loudly,” she teased. “I heard you as soon as I came up the walkway.”

“Was I humming?” he asked, surprised. “I didn’t realize…”

Looking around the yard, Paula grinned. “This looks great, Eddie! Rosie is going to be so pleased!”

“Do you think so?” he asked, tilting his head, giving her an odd look.

“Of course, you big goon! She’ll love it!”

It was beautiful. Several deep-red rose bushes were already in the ground, and there were several more sitting in buckets, ready to take their place next to the others. Near the bushes was a large mound of fresh soil and mulch. Paula inhaled deeply, liking the rich, clean smell of it.

“Trust me, when you get this finished, Rosie is going to love it,” she repeated.

“I hope so.”

The scent of fertile soil and pine needle mulch reminded Paula of something. “Hey, how is the house?” she asked.

“What do you mean?”

“The smell,” she said. “Did you get rid of it?” Bending down to the rich soil, she scooped up a handful, letting the moist dirt fall loosely between her fingers.

“Don’t,” he said, frowning.

He grabbed her elbow, helping her stand. “You’re going to get filthy if you play around with that stuff.”

She was about to protest that a little dirt never hurt anybody when she noticed the look on his face.

“So… does the house still smell?” She looked toward the old place, noticing the closed windows.

“No, it’s fine now… airing it out the other day did the trick,” he replied, watching her.

Something in his expression confused Paula and for a moment she felt disoriented. “When did you say Rosie was coming home?”

“I didn’t,” he said, continuing to look at her closely.

“Well, don’t you know?”

“No, I don’t. I guess she’ll come home when Helen is feeling better.”

Paula hesitated before continuing. “I guess it gets lonely with her gone, huh?”

“Yeah, you might say that…but it’s a funny thing, sis… sometimes, it’s like she’s never left. I feel her presence everywhere.” He smiled, looking at the hole where the bushes would go.

Paula couldn’t explain why she felt a sudden chill or why she flinched when her brother reached out for her.

“Easy now,” he said. “What’s wrong? You look like you’re about to keel over. You okay? Want to come inside the house, have a cool drink? The smell really is gone now.”

“I can’t,” she said nervously, starting to back away. “I’m on my way into town to get some groceries. I just stopped by to say hello.”

“Suit yourself,” he said.

Paula watched him turn and pick up a bucket containing a rose bush. He stood there, as if considering just where to place it. Coming to a decision, he reached for the shovel and went to work.

Leaving him to it, she slowly walked away. Eddie was humming that song once again, but this time the tune sounded off kilter. Certainly not the way their father would have sung it.

In spite of the day’s heat, Paula shivered and picked up her pace, anxious to leave the yard.

* * * **

After that visit, Paula stayed away from her brother’s house for several days. There had been something alien in his eyes on her last visit, a darkness that had disturbed her, something she’d never seen before, and she began to wonder daily when Rosie was coming home.

A week later she had her answer when her cellphone began to chirp.

“Paula! I’m back!” her sister-in-law announced in a light, gay voice. “Eddie and I were wondering if you’d like to come by for dinner this evening.”

Taking a deep breath, Paula almost collapsed into the chair at her kitchen table. “Oh, Rosie, I’ve been so worried about you. Are you okay?”

“Of course, I’m okay, silly! What were you so worried about?”

“You left so suddenly…”

“I know. I’m sorry about that, but my sister was sick and having a time of it with her kids. I pitched in for a few days. Why didn’t you call me?”

Why, in deed? wondered Paula.  Maybe because I was worried there’d be no answer…

“Paula? Are you still there?”

Paula laughed softly. “Yes, I’m still here. Dinner, you said? That’s okay with Eddie?”

“Sure. And, Paula, wait until you see what Eddie did while I was gone! He put in a garden – a rose garden! It’s beautiful.”

Rosie’s voice dropped to a whisper. “Guess I was wrong about Eddie being involved with another woman. Since I’ve gotten home, he’s been acting the way he did when we were first married. Dancing me around the kitchen, singing that old song your dad used to sing.” She laughed softly. “Things are nice again, Paula. Please come to dinner, okay?”

* * * * *

And he married the girl with the strawberry curl
And the band played on…

“For the love of God, Eddie – will you stop with that old song? It gets tiresome after a while.”

Eddie looked up from the steaks he was grilling and grinned at Paula. “I wasn’t humming.”

“No,” she agreed. “This time you were whistling.”

He laughed. “Sorry, sis. Half the time, I don’t even realize I’m doing it. For the past two weeks, that tune has been stuck inside my head. Just can’t shake it loose.”

“Well, try, would you?”

“So, Paula, what do you think of all this?” asked her sister-in-law as she walked toward the rose garden and the new patio beside it. She approached Eddie, kissed his cheek, and then placed a pitcher of iced tea on the glass-topped surface of the wicker table. “Not only a rose garden, but this dear man built me a patio! Isn’t he the best?” Leaning forward, she gave him another kiss.

Paula watched her brother smile and return his attention to the steaks.

“It’s really nice, Eddie,” she admitted. “When you decide to do something, you do it right.”

“Indeed I do,” he muttered softly under his breath. He looked up for a moment and gazed at the roses.

“Are the steaks almost done?” asked Rosie.

“Yep, they’re ready to go.” He removed the steaks from the grill and they sat down to eat. The scent of roses mingled with the late afternoon air. The fragrance was strong and sweet, and they ate in comfortable silence. The sunlight cast fleeting beams of light on the roses’ deep red petals.

“This is nice,” said Rosie.

Paula agreed. For the first time in days, she felt herself relaxing.

“Paula, did you hear about Ruby Westcott?”

She glanced at her sister-in-law. “Who is Ruby Westcott?”

“Don’t you remember? She’s the girl who works the front desk at the mill.” Rosie laughed at the blank expression on Paula’s face. “You know who I mean… she stopped by the house one day when you were here for dinner. She brought some paperwork for Eddie.”

Paula tried to remember, but couldn’t.

“A tall redhead, gorgeous figure, long curly hair?”

“Right.” Now Paula remembered. That hair and body were hard to forget.

“Remember the bracelets she had on? She must have been wearing at least ten of those silver bangle things on her wrists. Sounded like Santa Claus with every movement she made.”

“Rosie, can you grab some ice for the tea?” her husband asked. “This has all melted.”

“In a minute,” she said, turning her attention back to Paula. “Seems Ruby’s missing! It was on the news. Her husband said she hasn’t been home in days. The neighbors told a TV reporter that he and Ruby were always arguing and throwing things about. The neighbor heard him accuse her of having an affair. You can bet something’s not right there. I wouldn’t be surprised if he isn’t behind her disappearance. Apparently, he’s been questioned and hasn’t an alibi. It she doesn’t turn up soon, I don’t think things will look too good for him.”

“Rosie, could we get some ice, please?” Eddie repeated.

“Ice? Oh, yes, right.” She got out of her chair and hurried inside the house.

Paula sat quietly, her appetite gone. Something in the rose garden caught her attention… something silvery, shining in the dirt…

She started to rise, but Eddie put his hand on hers, forcing her back into the chair.

“Don’t,” he said.

Paula looked at him. When had her brother become a stranger?

“She was pregnant,” he said quietly. “I didn’t want any goddam kids – and I didn’t want her. It was just a passing thing, Paula.”

Paula said nothing. She turned her gaze toward the blood red roses.

“You’re not going to say anything to Rosie, are you? Please don’t – I’ve learned my lesson. You don’t want to hurt her, do you? This would really hurt her, Paula; it would absolutely kill her.”

Kill her?

Paula felt a wild, terrible urge to laugh, but she didn’t. She knew that if she started, she wouldn’t be able to stop.

Instead, Paula rolled her hands into fists and continued to stare at the roses. Without being aware of it, she began to hum softly.

And he buried the girl
With the strawberry curl.

And the band played on…

© 2015 All Rights Reserved Kate Loveton, Odyssey of a Novice Writer

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Mornings Are Hardest

Dolores watched as the gray light of dawn began to filter through the bedroom curtain. Now – finally – she could give herself permission to rise from her sleepless bed.

Glancing over at Dave’s side, Dolores’ heart began to beat an anxious tattoo. Business had taken him out of town. She never slept well when Dave wasn’t home. She needed him. His presence kept the sadness and confusion at bay. It made her feel she could cope.

Struggling to sit up, she swung her once-trim legs over the side of the bed.

Dave used to tell their friends it was her legs that had grabbed his attention those many years ago. First time he’d noticed her, she’d been standing in front of the old Majestic movie house, surrounded by a group of giggling girlfriends. Years later, he couldn’t remember the name of the movie, but he still recalled her short white skirt and the long legs that were tanned and slender. “All it took to steal my heart,” he used to say, “was one look at the laughing girl with the gorgeous legs.”

She’d always loved that story. She liked the way his eyes softened when he told it.

She’d maintained those legs so loved by Dave well into her fourth decade thanks to a stringent running program. Staring at the pockets of fat that now surrounded her knees she wondered what had become of the woman who used to run half-marathons.

Now the only running she did was from memories.

The extra layer of flesh around her middle reminded her that a woman’s metabolism slowed as she aged. But Dolores knew she couldn’t blame the extra pounds on the 50th birthday that had come and gone. It went deeper than that.

She just ate too damned much.

In their last session, Dr. Hammond suggested she used food as a crutch, a way to fill the emptiness in her heart. Clever man, Dr. Hammond, the way he tried to set a trap for her. Sensing pride in her once good looks, he used it against her.

“Why don’t you and Dave start taking a nightly walk on the street in front of your house? Think of it as small steps,” he said, grinning.

Small steps back to who she once was…

This is what things have come to, she thought, trying to force myself to take a walk down the street.

Once Dolores’ calendar had been proof of a busy life: luncheon engagements, shopping dates with friends, theater matinees. There had been high school sporting events, church on Sundays. And, of course, holidays.

Lovely summer holidays spent by the ocean, watching Teddy and Sarah splash in the surf while Dave lay by her side, snoozing in the sand. Sweet days followed by jolly nights in which the four of them strolled the boardwalk. Amidst the confusion of happy crowds, their laughter competed with the loud carnival music and spiel of concession stand barkers.

Closing her eyes, Dolores could once again feel the pressure of Teddy’s small hand, see again his eager little face aglow with excitement… feel him leading her toward the rides, begging for one more turn on the Ferris wheel.

Busy times back then. Always something to do, something to look forward to.

Sometimes Dolores dreamed she was again by the seashore, looking out toward the ocean, watching her boy frolicking in the waves. In those dreams, Teddy never turned to look her way, no matter how urgently she called his name. The crash of the surf drowned out her cries, and Teddy continued to play in the foamy waters, his face pointed toward some destination Dolores couldn’t see.

Then she’d awake, shaken, her face moist with tears, and head for the kitchen. Sitting in the dark, she’d hold a tub of ice cream, spooning its creamy sweetness into her mouth. She’d eat straight from the carton, silently, her tears drying stiffly on her face.

How much time does it take for a broken heart to mend? Unable to answer that question, Dolores continued to eat – and hide inside her house.

The only time she left it was for the sessions with Dr. Hammond, appointments that Dave insisted she keep. Except for those, she never ventured out. It was Dave who did the marketing, who accompanied Sarah when shopping for her prom dress. Dave did everything – and Dolores continued to hide, getting fatter, growing sadder.

It wasn’t fair to Dave. She knew it. She saw the unhappiness in his eyes. One night, while they lay close in the darkness, he whispered, “I feel like I’ve lost you both. Please, Dolores, come back…”

But Dolores had lost her way. She’d once been the laughing girl with the pretty legs; she didn’t recognize this new Dolores, a stranger who hadn’t the tools to navigate her way through the fog that surrounded her.

Dave didn’t understand. He needed the comfort of family and friends. This difference stood between them like a wall. She didn’t want the well-meaning advice or condolences of friends. She was relieved when people stopped calling; glad, even, to finally have some peace. It required too much of her, being cheerful all the time. It was exhausting to pretend she was still the woman who once shared amusing anecdotes about Sarah’s high school dates or Teddy’s genius with old cars.

A wave of pain threatened to engulf her, and she rose awkwardly from the bed. Pulling on an old, faded robe, she headed down the hallway and into the kitchen and began to make coffee. How many times had she stood in this room, performing just this task? Every morning for as long as she could remember.

Even that morning the black car had pulled into their driveway…

Dolores froze for a moment, disturbed by the memory. Taking a deep breath, she pushed it back.

She suddenly found her attention fixed on a piece of cracked tile in front of the sink and frowned. How many times have I asked Dave to replace this tile? But just as quickly as it surfaced, Dolores’ annoyance faded. It wasn’t Dave’s procrastination that bothered her. It was her fear that she was like that tile – damaged, perhaps irreparably.

Reaching into the cupboard, her hand fastened on a small bottle with miniscule print on its label. As water streamed from the faucet into her glass, she looked out the kitchen window. There were still patches of snow on the ground and the skies were a leaden gray.


It was in winter they’d gotten word about Teddy.

Grabbing the pill bottle, she stumbled clumsily onto a kitchen chair, trying to push back the dark tide of feeling.

Dave! Please come home now, she thought, I can’t be here by myself!

But Dave wasn’t there and this time the memory held, and Dolores felt the room begin to spin.

That winter, a man in uniform had emerged from the black car and knocked gently on their front door. He’d removed his hat and sat down at the kitchen table and said the words that forever changed their lives.

“…Ted was out on patrol, a skirmish occurred… stress, confusion… he went down… I’m afraid the shot was from one of our own… friendly fire…”

Dolores had barely heard the kindly captain, his voice low, regretful. She just registered two words: friendly fire. Such a gentle term for something so cruel.

And now her boy was gone, dying in some village whose name she couldn’t even pronounce.

Her Teddy, whose eager young eyes had once looked expectantly into hers…

With shaking hands, Dolores jerked the bottle open, accidentally spilling its contents onto the table’s surface. How many of these would it take to end the pain?

Woodenly, she gathered up the pills, dropping all but one back into the bottle.

Not yet… She could make it through one more day. And the one after that. She knew she could.

Swallowing the pill, she waited for it to do its job. Mornings were always hardest – before the medication kicked in.

Moments later, Dolores walked over to the refrigerator and took out the tub of ice cream.

© 2015 All Rights Reserved Kate Loveton, Odyssey of a Novice Writer

Photo credit: ‘Depression’ by Swiniaki, Deviant Art

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Summertime… and the Living is Easy…

Hi Fellow Bloggers and Friends,

It’s that time of the year that a girl wants to kick back, drink a couple of Natty Bohs, watch the Orioles, and maybe read a couple of good books. And if someone sits a platter of steamed crabs in front of that girl and some corn on the cob, well I don’t guess that gal will complain much!

In short, it is the middle of summer, and the living is easy. I want to sit on the back porch and watch the sun set over the rolling hills beyond my property line. I want to listen to a little Sinatra, a little Ella, some Norah Jones and just plain chill (that is, if anyone can chill in 85 – 90 degree weather). No ‘shoulds’ or obligations. Just me, a nice cold drink, a couple of good books and some fine music.


Anyway, all of this is to say that yours truly is taking a brief blog break over the next several weeks. I am officially chilling.

After all, it’s summertime… and the livin’ is easy. And that’s what I’m planning to do: some easy living.

Here’s a little something to get you in the mood for some easy living, too. Some sweet Norah Jones – now, as my grandmother used to say, you just grab yourself something cool to drink and you settle back and listen. After all, it’s too hot to do much else.

See you in August, friends!

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Kate’s Monumental Pity Party

Today I had the mother of all pity parties! And the guest of honor? The hostess with the mostest? Yours truly, Ms. Kate Loveton.

eeyore-1I pretty much walked around today looking as woebegone as a certain beloved A.A. Milne character. Yep, ‘Eyeore’ spelled backwards is KATE. Okay, folks, let’s not get literal here – ‘Eyeore’ spelled backwards is actually ‘Eroeye’… but, today, it was just another name for KATE.

My beautiful Friday started out well and then quickly went down the toilet. First, at work, I was left out of a meeting I should have been invited to attend. That bothered me a great deal and made me question my value to the team.

We all want to feel loved, right? Valued? Special? Important to someone, be it organization or friend or family member. So, I wasn’t a happy trooper. Later, I did find out the lack of invitation was an oversight, and was offered some heartfelt apologies, and that did go a long way to restoring my self-esteem.

Even so, it pretty much defined the way my day was going to go. A few other things occurred and, well, let’s face it: when a day starts out bad, there is usually only one way for it to go.


its-my-party-and-ill-cry-if-i-want-to-3I ended my day feeling undervalued, unappreciated, and just plain hurt. Then began the monumental pity party: no one appreciates me; no one really gives a damn; why be nice? the hell with everybody!

As I said, it was a MONUMENTAL pity party.

So, in a foul mood, I walked in the door at home and began to dump my entire day on my poor husband.

Now, my husband is the exact opposite of me: he has a sunny disposition; he’s not moody; and he is LOGICAL.

Kate, it is logical that you feel the way you do!

Kate, it is logical that you feel the way you do!

Now, for the ladies reading this post – work with me on this: doesn’t it just make you nuts when you want someone to join in on your pity party and they offer a LOGICAL point of view? I don’t want logic! I’m a woman! I’m not Mr. Spock! I want someone to listen to me whine and say, “You are absolutely right to feel the way you do.”

But nooooo – You men, creatures of clear thinking that you are, rarely offer us Pablum, even when we’re acting two years old; only our girlfriends – God bless ’em – offer us that solace.

Mr. Loveton’s take on my day: (1) you’re overtired because you’ve been doing a lot the last few weeks, both at home and at work, and you need a break; (2) you’re being just a bit silly and if you weren’t so tired, you’d realize that; and (3) the  pièce de ré·sis·tance – he quoted my beloved Frank Sinatra’s musical advice to “pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again.”


I can fight Mr. Loveton. I can even take issue with Mr. Sinatra. But there’s no way in hell I can fight them both – especially when they are right.

So, my sense of entitlement and hurt feelings – my beautiful pity party – quickly fell to pieces.

Taking the sting out of the day.

Taking the sting out of the day.

To take the sting out of his good advice, Mr. Loveton then took me out to dinner and put a cool chardonnay in front of me. Amazing how a good glass of wine can sometimes make a bad day seem much better!

Well, that and the news that my car is now repaired and back home. I am definitely doing the happy dance. I’ve missed my car. I think it missed me. I’ve had dreams of it sitting in a broken down heap at the Collision Center, waiting for the ‘doctors’ to put old Humpty back together again. Well, they did – and a swell job it is.

Like new again.

Like new again.

So, in spite of a not so great day, I had a lovely Friday evening. I had Frank Sinatra give me a word of good advice, a fine chardonnay to chase the blues away, and my pretty black car is tucked safely away inside the garage.

And, in the end, it’s not the meetings you aren’t invited to or how you feel you’re regarded, it’s how you regard yourself.

Now excuse me, I have just a little more dusting off to do before bedtime.  Goodnight, Mr. Loveton – and, Frank, goodnight to you, too.  <3

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The Worst Kind of Thievery


“Mrs. Noble, I want you to look closely at each man and let me know if you see him,” said Detective Scott, “and take as much time as you need.”

Fear made me clutch the plastic cup tightly and the water began to spill, but Scott reached out with a sure hand and steadied me.

And that’s when I saw him, the thief, standing in the lineup, smirking at those of us on the other side of the mirror.

Thief, rapist – it’s all the same; taking me as he did, he carried off my sense of well-being, robbing me forever of my freedom.

“That’s him,” I said, pointing, and turned away, sick to my stomach.

© 2015 All Rights Reserved Kate Loveton, Odyssey of a Novice Writer



Note: Story written in response to Lillie McFerrin’s Five Sentence Fiction (here). This week’s prompt was to write a story in five sentences using the word “thief.”

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The Electrifying Dorinda


The first time I met Dorinda she was appearing in Phineas Todd’s Circus of Wonders, sporting an electric crown and tresses that danced like flames about her beautiful face. She was breathtaking, my electrified Dorinda, charming the rubes; charming me as well, and for a good ten years we loved.

Then Stefano, that damned sword-swallowing lothario, joined the show, and one foggy night I followed my traitorous Dorinda behind the big tent and listened to the eager, frenzied sound of a sword being swallowed…

That’s when my beauties paid a surprise visit to the trailer of the two-timing Dorinda, who went to her grave covered in deadly kisses.

My name is Say-ed, the Arabian Snake Charmer, and this is my story.

© 2015 All Rights Reserved Kate Loveton, Odyssey of a Novice Writer



Note: Written in response to Lillie McFerrin’s “Five Sentence Fiction” (found here). This week’s challenge is to write a story in five sentences utilizing the word “flames.”

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No Such Thing as Freedom…


With grim satisfaction I received the news.

At last we were free.

No more dancing to your tune. No more “yes sir, no sir, anything you say, sir!” No more running for cover. No stiff upper lip while you bullied and pummeled.

You told everyone your boys were the toughest, the best. Fights were won in the schoolyard, or at home we’d face your fists.  Excuses were for sissies.

Such a little man; what made us think you a giant?

When I heard you had died, I felt liberated! Happy!

And then I cried.

You’re still here, damn you.


© 2015 All Rights Reserved Kate Loveton, Odyssey of a Novice Writer



Note: This story is written in response to the “100 Word Challenge for Grown-Ups” at Julia’s Place.  This week’s challenge is to write a 100 word story utilizing the phrase “at last we were free.” You can find the challenge here.

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