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How they met…

Led Signage On Wall

“How long have you been in standing line?” he asked, walking up behind her.

“A few minutes.”

“I hate standing in line.”

“I don’t think most people like to do it,” she said.

“So, you aren’t nice?”

“No. Not really.  I imagine you aren’t very nice either, or else you wouldn’t be here.”

“That’s true.”

“What does nice mean?” she asked.

He shrugged.  “I think other people believe that nice means giving them their own way.”

She started laughing.  “That’s the one that should be in the dictionary.”

“I think it is, only it’s spelled, MANIPULATION.”

“True, but I think some people are just plain nice.  Not everyone wants something.”

“I disagree.  In fact, I disagree strongly.  Everyone wants something.  For example, I want you to go out to dinner with me, so I’m being my nicest, so you won’t turn me down.:”

“So you’re not actually nice?  You’re really a bad person?”

“You think not being nice, means that a person is bad?”

She thought for a minute and then said, “What’s your definition of bad?” .

“Ah, yes, define my terms.”

“Well, I can’t answer your question if I don’t know what you mean, or what you’re asking.”

“All definitions are personal and fluid, don’t you agree?”

“I do, she said.  Still, bad describes things like pizza with soggy crust.”

“I see what you’re getting at,” he muttered, biting his bottom lip.  “This is all very interesting.  Do you want to get out of line and get a pizza with a crispy and well done crust?  We can go to Mama’s right across the street.  You can take my information, as well as my picture, and send it to anyone you like, so someone will know where you are and who you are with.”


“I understand how difficult it is to be a woman.  I have four sisters, all radical feminists.”

“Did they beat you up a lot?”

“Only when I was being a sexist pig, so yes.  They beat me up a lot.  I’m still not perfect, at least according to them, but they don’t hit me now, they just glare at me.”

“Excellent,” she said.  “So why are you in the NOT NICE line?”

“Actually, I just saw you and wandered over.  Besides, I know this place and it’s just a cafe where the waiters are rude.”

“I know.  I like to come here and make them cry,” she chuckled.

“Wouldn’t you rather have a pizza and rewrite the dictionary?”

“Sure,” she said, as she held up her phone and took his picture.  “Why not.”


Photo:  Daria Shevtsova

How they met…

Top view of small white seabird feather placed on black sand texture background located on famous ocean beach with black and white effect

“Interesting title for a book,” he said.  “The Day the Angels Died.  What’s it about?”

“Seriously?” she asked.

“Well, titles don’t always match the content.”

She sighed.  “I guess that’s true.”

“So?  What’s it about?”

“It’s about the day humans stopped believing in Angels.”

“I didn’t expect that,” he said, frowning.  “I thought you were going to say it was about Angels just dying, or falling to earth.”

“It’s not about that.”

“I didn’t think about humans being involved.  At least not that way.”

“Well, we make things up and then make them real by what we believe.  Angels may never have actually existed anywhere but in our collective imagination, but if we stop believing in that fantasy, it will disappear.”

“It could be like that with everything.”

“Yes.  That’s kind of the point.”

He nodded.

“Belief is what makes things seem real.  Nothing is here that we do not believe in.  People think it’s the opposite of that, but it’s not.  Not entirely, anyway. Even the words used to describe things we no longer believe in, disappear.”

“So you’re saying that we make up the world?”

“Yes.  And it changes as we do.  Things fall aways and new things take their place.  We stop believing in things all the time.  Even things like living together before marriage, will be forgotten, as older generations die and take their beliefs with them.  Ideas and beliefs die, the same way people do.”

“I think you’re on to something.”

She laughed.

“Will you sign my book?”

“Yes, that’s why I’m here and you’re in line, right?” she said.

“Oh, right.  How about dinner?  Will you have dinner with me?”

“I’m sorry, but there are quiet a few people waiting behind you.  I hope you enjoy the book,” she said, handing it to him.

He moved aside and opened the book to see what she had written.  He read it and grinned.  It simply said:


Believe in yourself



Photo:  Nikolay Bondarev



How they met…part 2

“Kate?” sighed Ted.

“Yes?” she said, softly.

“What did you do in Chicago?”

“I saw The Bean, went to the Art Institute, and walked through the gardens.”

“Just tell me.”

“Tell you what?”

“There’s a dead guy at your feet.  It sounds as if there will be another one soon, and all because of what happened in Chicago.”

“Nothing happened.”

Ted walked over to her and said,  “Katey.  I don’t want more bodies piling up, I already have enough work.  What does this have to do with Polly Anders?

“Fine,” she said, staring at him. “She might be upset…because I killed her brother.”

Ted closed his eyes and tried to control his breathing.  “You killed Joey Anders?”


“Was it an accident?”

“It was a contract hit.”

“Why didn’t I hear about his death?”

“Polly hushed it up.”

“Why did you do it?”

“The money was good.”

“I don’t believe you.”

“I did it for personal reasons.”

“When was this?”

“Two days ago.”


Kate nodded.

“How did I not know you were gone?”

“Overnight trip.  I knew where he was and I knew what he wanted.”

“Let me guess,” said Ted, rubbing his hands over his face.  “He wanted you.”

“Wait a second,” said Tom, staring at her.  “You’re a contract killer?  A Hitwoman?”

“When you say it like that, it sounds unsavory,” she said.

“Why did Joey Anders want you?”

“We were…an item…at one time,” she said.

“You and Joey?” said Tom, in surprise.

“He was fun.  I was young. It was magic, for awhile.”

“And you’re a hitwoman?”

“I think the pc word is hitperson.”

“Are you two finished?” asked Ted.  “What did he do to end up dead, and how could you, of all people, whack him?”

“It doesn’t matter what he did.  It matters that we made a promise to each other, that if a hit was put out on either one of us, we would do the job.  That way, we wouldn’t be tortured, or suffer.”

“So you’re saying it was a humane hit?” asked Tom.  “A mercy killing?”

“Yes,” she said, her breath catching in her throat.

“Who were you working for?” asked Ted.

“The Outfit, who else?  They would have found him.  So I did what I had to do.  He would have done the same for me.”

“You drive me crazy, you know that, don’t you?” said Ted.

A blue parakeet flew out of her apartment and landed on her shoulder.

“What the…” said Ted, looking at the bird.

“He was Joey’s.  He asked me to take care of him.”

“I should retire.”

“You know you’ll never do that.  They’ll find you dead in your car on a stakeout, a box of chocolate covered donuts on your dashboard,” she snickered.  “The dead guy was just a message. No big deal,” she said.  “Well, it’s a big deal for him, of course, but other than that, nothing to worry about.”

“Polly will never stop…”

“I’m going to talk to her,” said Kate.  “Joey wrote a letter to her.  I’m going to deliver it.  She’ll understand.”

“UNDERSTAND?” said Ted loudly?

A neighbor opened his door and was about to say something, but when he saw the dead body he simply went back inside and closed his door.

“That’s Bill Whykroft.  He’s okay,” she said.  “And once Polly reads the letter, and I explain the promise Joey and I made to each other, she’ll be fine.  She wouldn’t want Joey to have suffered.  They were close.  Besides, Polly and I were friends, once.  She won’t forget that.”

“Kate…” muttered Ted.

“Look, you guys finish up here, while the bird and I go into the kitchen and have some ice cream.”

“Don’t leave the country,” said Ted, jokingly. “You found this body and questions will be asked..  Questioned about THIS body only.”

“It’s the only body there is Teddy,” she said sweetly.

“I told you not to call me Teddy.”

“Let me know when the clean up is over, please.”

“Sure,” he mumbled.  “Why not.”

“Thank you.”

“Marie wants to know if you’re coming to dinner tomorrow night.”

“Definitely.  I’ll bring the wine.”

“Leave the bird home.”

“Nota problem. He doesn’t like Italian food, anyway,” she said, smiling at him.










How they met…


“What’s up?”

“There’s a dead guy outside my apartment door.”

“Are you sure he’s dead?”

“His head is between his feet and he’s not bending over.”

“Do you know him?”

“Hard to say with what’s left of his face.  But I don’t think so.”

“I’ll send Tom over, he’s in your neighborhood.  I’ll be there in a few.  Don’t touch anything.”

“Really?  So, I can’t mess up the crime scene, go through his pockets, and dance in circles, throwing cereal at him?”


“It’s all I have in the house.”

“Tom’s pulling into your parking lot.”

“See ya,” she said, hanging up and going to the door.

“He’s definitely dead,” said Tom, looking at the corpse.

“What gave it away?” she asked.

“The head.”

“You’re so clever.”

“Is that sarcasm?” he asked.  “Because I don’t like sarcasm.”

“Of course it’s not sarcasm,” she said, looking at the dead guy.  “What are you going to do now?”

“Wait for Ted to get here.  I’m here to protect the crime scene.”

“Want some coffee?”

“No, thank you.  I don’t want to be distracted.”

“Distracted by coffee?”

“I really like coffee.”

“Good to know,” she said.  “I wonder who he is and why he was dumped here?”

“I think he worked for Polly Anders.  He was in collections and dealt with the hard cases.”

“I thought I knew everyone who worked for her.”

“He’s new.  She brought him in from Philly.  No idea why he was dropped here.”

“Hey,” said Ted, looking at the body laying on the floor.  “You were right.  He’s definitely dead.”

“Tom and I already established that fact and, if you’ll turn your attention to the rug, you’ll notice there’s not a lot of blood pooling around him.”

“Obviously he wasn’t killed here.  Why would someone put his body outside your apartment?”

“No idea.  Tom said he’s a new guy working for Polly Anders.”

The most gorgeous man she had ever seen was walking down the hallway, right toward her. She licked her lips and ran her fingers through her hair.

“This is Connor,” said Ted.  “He’s a transfer from New York.”

“Nice to meet you,” she said, offering her hand.

“You too,” he said, holding her hand longer than necessary.

“Don’t even,” sighed Ted, looking at them.

“What?” they both asked at the same time.

“I have enough complications in my life,” said Ted.  “If you two start something…”

“Um Ted,” she said.  “The dead guy’s phone is ringing.”

Ted pulled the phone out of the guy’s pocket with two gloved fingers.

“Yeah?” he said, putting the caller on speaker.

“Tell the pretty girl there’ll be more dead bodies soon.  Tell her to think about what she did in Chicago.”

Everyone turned to look at her, and see the color drain from her face.


Mom’s…how they met.

red and white heart mom's graffiti


“Cool?” she asked, paint dripping onto her shoe.

“I was going to say…different,” he said.

“Different in a good way?”

“Sure.  Why not.”

“I painted it for my mom.  It’s part of her mother’s day gift.”

“Do you think she’ll like it?”

“Of course.  Why else would I paint it?”

He shrugged.  “I got my mom a plant.”

“How very original,” she said.

“Original in a good way?”

“Sure.  Why not.”

“Sarcasm?” he asked, smiling.

“You should go now,” she said.

“It was the plant, wasn’t it,” he said.

But she was already painting.



Photo:  Jon Tyson


How they met…

“You’re staring at me,” she said.

“Oh, sorry,” he stammered, looking down.  “I was trying to see the title of the book you’re reading.”

She held it up so he could see.

“Thank you. Every time I see a book I want to know the title, or what it’s about.”

“I’m the same way,” she said.  “What’s with that, do you think?”

“Book lovers want to know if it’s something they’d be interested in, I guess.  Or, if it’s a book they’ve already read.”

“I’m sure it’s both,” she agreed.  “Have you read this one?”

“No.  I don’t read a lot about artists.  I find their lives interesting, but they’re slow reads for me.  I mean they aren’t boring, just…”


“Pretty much,” he laughed.

“I have a hard time with some of them myself.  I usually read about female artists, since they are so often unknown, due to sexism and ignorance.”

“I think those are both the same thing,” he said.

She smiled at him.  “Yes, they are.”

“Can I buy you another cup of whatever you’re drinking?”

“Sure,” she said, pushing out the chair across from her with her foot.

“I’ve always loved to read, even as a kid,” he said, holding up his hand and pointing to their cups, ordering two.

“Me too.  Always had a book in my hands.  My parents loved it.  I was never a problem.  They hardly knew I was around.”

He nodded.  “Sometimes I’d sit behind a chair in the living room, so they couldn’t find me and stop me from reading.”

“I did the same thing,” she snickered.  “The chair was a lime green and I never wanted to be found.  It was like a little hide-a-way, even thought my mom knew where I was.”

“I like a urban fantasy, and physics, some…”

“Nightside, and Dresden?  How about…” she started to say.

“Yes, yes, and there are so many good one’s out there now.”

“Retail bookstores or used?” she asked.


“Good answer,” she said, accepting her cup of cocoa, thanking the waiter.

“Are you from around here?”

“Yes.  You?”

“Born and raised a few blocks away,” he said.

“My name’s Eve.”

“No way.”

“Way,” she said.

“My name is Adam.”

“You’re kidding.”

“If we get married, we can’t name our kids Cain and Abel,” he laughed, regardless of their gender.

“Which one shot the other?”

“I think Cain got rid of his brother,” he said.  “He probably borrowed his clothes and never gave them back.”

“You mean borrowed his fig leaf?”

He burst out laughing.  “I pictured them in jeans and t-shirts.”

“What do you think the snake wore?”

“Something in snakeskin, I imagine.” he said, seriously.

“Funny,” she chuckled, sipping her drink.

“But true.”

“Do you have sibs?”

“I’m an only.”

“Me too.”

“Less baggage, that way,” he said.  “Plus my parents said they saw kids who weren’t readers and they didn’t want to take the chance they’d get one of those.”

“That makes perfect sense.  I wonder if that’s why my parents didn’t have more kids,” she said, thoughtfully.


“Do you want to meet me here tomorrow, same time?” she asked, getting her things together.

“Sure,” he said, passing her book to her.

“We can read, eat and chat.”

“Sounds perfect,” he said, happily.

She nodded at him.  “Thanks for the cocoa.  See you tomorrow.”

“You’e welcome,” he said, standing.  “See you then.”


How they met…Neon…a short story

Love You To The Moon & Back neon signage photo

“This is a great bookstore,” she said excitedly, throwing a few more things onto the counter.  “I absolutely LOVE it, to the Moon and Back.”

“We’re opening another shop on the moon before Christmas.”

“Interesting,” she muttered.  “And how, exactly, will the customers get there?”

“People are already living on the Moon. The government just doesn’t want anyone to know,”  he said, conspiratorially.  “Don’t tell anyone I mentioned it.”

“Oh, believe me, I won’t,” she laughed, crossing her heart with her finger.  “You have a lot of unusual books.  Things I’ve never seen anywhere else.  It’s wonderful.”


“We need a lot more independents.  So many closed, but perhaps they’ll start opening again.”

“I wouldn’t hold my breath,” he said.  “It’s a tough business with on-line shopping, offering lower prices.”

She nodded.  “Makes it difficult for everyone.”

“It does.  You get price cuts from publishers, according to the number of books you order.  Who can compete with Big Box stores and Amazon?  No one, that’s who.”

“It’s not fair,” she said.

“No.  It’s not.”

‘How are you going to deal with radiation poisoning on the moon?”

“Tin foil.”

She burst out laughing.  “Great idea.”

“We think so,” he said, smiling.

“Have you read any of the books in my stack?”

He looked at the books and nodded.  “I’ve read all of them, but you won’t like this one,” he said, pulling it out of the pile.  “The blurb is great but the book is terrible.  Bad writing and weak plot.  The characters are so dull I don’t think the pages would catch if you put them into a roaring fireplace.”

She stared at him.  “Thank you.”

“This one is great, and I’d recommend buying the second book. They may be going out of print.  Once that happens, the price will skyrocket and people will be selling their copies on line.”

“I’ll do it.”

“On a scale of one to ten, with ten being the worst, this book is a five, if you like reading about the misery of others.  I don’t, but you might.”

“No,” she said, putting the book aside.  I don’t.”

“This one is fantastic.  Great writing and characters you’ll never forget.  You might even want to be one of them.”

“Perfect,” she said, smiling.  “Have you been to the moon?”

“Excuse me?”

“The moon.  Have you ever been there.  Did you go looking for a proper bookstore site?”

“I’m not supposed to talk about that.”

“Why not?”

“Because no one is allowed to know about trips to the moon.”

“Are the people there aliens or humans.”

“Those are the same two things,” he said.

“Hmmm.  I guess they are, when you think about it.”

“We’re aliens on earth.  All of us,” he said.

“You can’t be an alien, if you’re born here.”

“I think you should look at these two books,” he said, reaching for a couple of hardcovers on the shelf behind him.


“Don’t you want to know what they’re about?”

“No.  I trust you.  If you think they’re great, I’m willing to read them, but only if you read two that I pick out for you.”

“Really?” he said, grinning.

“I’ll be right back,” she said, disappearing into the shop.

When she came back, she had two books in her hands.  “Read these.  No questions asked.”

“Promise,” he said, taking them from her.

“I’ll come back in two weeks and we’ll discuss the books, okay?”

“Yes.  That will be fun,” he said, putting her books into a cloth bag.

“Is the moon beautiful?”

“Not really.  It’s a man-made orb, metal and hollow inside.  It’s cold on the dark side and nothing really grows on the outside.  The government has people working inside the orb, making weapons, lots of things.  It’s a dead place and living inside is horrible, like living in a house with no windows.  Artificial light, is artificial.  Drives you crazy in no time at all and you long to be outside on earth.”

“What if I told you I was CIA and you could be disappeared for what you just said?”

“I’d ask you to kiss me, before you shot me.”

She grabbed his shirt, pulled him forward, and kissed him.  “You need to be more carful, Timmothy Larken,” she whispered.  “Please don’t make me erase you.”

“People should know,” he said softly.

“They can’t know,” she said, picking up her bag.   “I’ll see you in two weeks.  Hope you like the books I chose for you.”


Photo:  Dalal Nizam






How they met…

She crashed into him, bounced off, and almost fell.  “Oh, sorry,” she said, looking up.  “Are you okay?”

“Nice of you to ask, but I outweigh you by about seventy pounds and I’m at least a foot and a half taller, so, yes.  I’m okay,” he chuckled.


“What are you reading that’s so engrossing?”

She held up the book, so he could see the title.  “I know I shouldn’t read and walk at the same time, but it’s a good book and…”

“Don’t worry about it.  I liked the book too.”

“The part where they dive into the canyon.  I can’t even imagine doing that, but I kind of want to.  It’s just that real life isn’t like a book and I wouldn’t exactly float to the bottom, but instead, be broken to bits on the rocks below.”

“I liked that part too and agree.  Floating wouldn’t save us.”

She laughed.  “The poisonous flowers are interesting as well.”

“I Googled them,” he said.  “I wanted to send them to one or two people I know.”

“I felt the same way,” she chuckled.  “Did you find a place where we can buy them?”

“Amazon didn’t even have them, so no.”

“Imagine being able to order the weather you want,” she sighed

“It would always be seventy-five degrees,” he said.

“And the wind wouldn’t go above nine miles an hour.”

“Do you like waffles?”

“I love waffles, why?” she asked.

“They make the best ones, right across the street and I’m hungry.  Care to join me?  We can discuss the book and…”

“Did you read the first one?” she asked.

“I did,” he said.  “I think the second one is better.”

“So do I!”


“Yes.  Love some.”



How they met…

“So,” he said.  “Do you believe in angels?” asked the guy standing next to her table.


“Why, what?”

“Why do you want to know.  Why do you care?” she asked.

“I’m curious.  It seems as if more women believe in angels than men.”

“Maybe they believe in angels because of men.”

“Good one.”

“Go away.”


“I said, GO AWAY.”

“Hey, Love Duck, is this guy bothering you?” asked the tall, cute guy bending down for a kiss.


He pushed past the intruder and sat down.

The guy snarled and walked away.

“Hi.  My name is Mark.  I saw that guy giving you a hard time, so I thought I’d see if I could help out.  I read where men are supposed to help women who are being harassed by other men and I thought this might be one of those moments.”

She stared at him.

“Do you want me to leave?  I think the guy’s gone.”

“You know,” she said, offering him part of her cookie, “it seems as if men are still playing games among themselves over, or for, women who are still considered either prey or fair game.  Either way, the women involved don’t seem to have a say in what’s going on around them, since most of us just want to be left alone.”

“Yes, but at least now some of us are trying to stop the violence and all the other stuff you have to put up with.   Like me sitting at your table, kissing you, and that was a great first kiss by the way, without asking your permission.  I just thought I should make it look real, that’s all.”

“This isn’t a romance novel.  I’m not going to ask you back to my place, marry you, have ten kids and live happily ever after.”

“Wow.  I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am to hear that,” he laughed.  “I never want kids, but the first part might be nice.  Still, that’s not why I did it.  I have two sisters, a mom, and a lot of women friends who tell me what they go through every single day and it’s just wrong.  I thought maybe I should do something about it.”

“We can’t trust any of you.”

“You shouldn’t.  Although that makes it a lot harder for me to ask you to dinner, but hey, I don’t now how to fix that part of the problem.  I could bring my sisters along,”  he laughed, “if they could get someone to watch their kids.  Both of their husbands are morons.”

“Why would you want to take me to dinner?”

“Why wouldn’t I?” he said, frowning.

“If something seems too good to be true, it usually is,” she said, drinking the last of her tea.

“Are you too good to be true?” he asked.

“Not what I meant.”

“What kind of cookie was that?  It was delicious,” he said, picking at the crumbs.

She snickered and stood up.  “Nice meeting you, Mark.”

He handed her a napkin.  “My phone number, in case you want to get together for coffee, dinner, a trip to Spain, you know…pretty much anything.”

She took the napkin and put it into her bag.  Then she picked up his hand and kissed his palm.  “I’ll think about it,” she said.

He watched her walk away.

The guy at the next table turned to Mark and said, “That was so…”

“I know,” said Mark, “it really was.”




Neon…how they met.

the time is always now neon light signage

“It’s true, you know,” she said.

“What’s true?”

“The time IS always now.  I mean it can’t actually BE any other time than now.”

“I bet you majored in philosophy,” he said.

“How can it possibly be the past or future?  It’s always only NOW.  And NOW, is in the past before we even realize it was here.  The future becomes the NOW, and the NOW turns into the PAST, and life is lived in moments so short, there are no words for it.  It’s as if there’s a black void behind us and in front of us, and life is a flashbulb moment that illuminates the wee second in between the two, and that’s all there IS.  There IS nothing else.”

He stared at her and said, “What do you want to eat?”

“Grilled veggie cheese sandwich and fries, crispy, please.  Lemonade and chocolate cake.”

“For here or to go?”

“Here, and what about the sign?”

He leaned on the counter.  “You’re right, of course.  There is no time but the tiny instant our awareness calls life.  Life exists from second to second.  We can’t see behind us, or in front of ourselves.  There’s nothing but things that have  already happened and possibilities that may come our way from the future,  I agree.”

“I think I love you.”

“Well,” he said, “You’d be the only one.  Everyone hates it when I talk about things like that.”

“I know what you mean,” she sighed, looking down.  “No one cares about that stuff.”

“I do.”

“Do you think that before we’re conceived, we’re floating in the future?”

“Yes.  We’re always possibility.”

“I think that as well.  If we’re energy we can always become something,” she said, nodding.

“When we die, we don’t go into the past, we go forward into the future, do you agree?”

“I do.”

“You’re food is ready,” he said.  “I get off in a half hour.”

“Join me?”


“When the universe ends,” she said, starting to walk away.  “Everything will die.  It will be blacker than black and colder than cold and nothing will survive.  The planets and suns, everything will just hang in s I think that will include energy, don’t you?  If there’s nothing, then there’s nothing.  Or, is there always something?  Can energy actually BE destroyed? Is that possible, rather than having it just change forms?  What will happen when it’s over?  I don’t think the Big Bang started by itself.  That’s insane.  Nothing can come out of nothing.  Something was here.  Was it energy? What IS the something?  What is Dark Matter?  Is it a different kind of energy or is it intelligence unbound?  We don’t know anything.  Not really.  What’s going on?  There was something before the universe was born.  Were other universes already here?  Is light more than photons and…”

“I’ll see you in fifty-two minutes,” he said excitedly.


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