Visionary (Part Two)

It’s time for the second part of yesterday’s Micro-Fiction Monday.  Hold on to your seats…

*     *     *

“Visionary”
Part Two of Three
By: Rachel Carrera

Early the following morning, Claire whimpered in her sleep.  “Nooo!”  She bolted up and gasped loudly.

Van stepped out of the bathroom with shaving cream on his face.  “What’s wrong?”

Tears were in Claire’s eyes.  “Oh, it was horrible!  I had a dream that Billy got hurt.  He fell out of a tree and broke his left arm.  Oh, I hope Howard Stevens’ tree fort isn’t very high.  Van, you don’t think…”

He wiped the shaving cream off with a towel and walked toward the bed.  “Honey, I think Billy’s just fine.  The Stevenses would have called if there was a problem.  Besides he’ll be home before nine so we can eat breakfast and get to the furniture store for the lamp sale.”

Her body still quaked as she stood and hugged him.  “Alright.  You’re right.  It’s just that…”

“Darling, let’s not start this dream business again.  You saw what happened with Susie last night.  Now, please, let it go.  Let’s have a good day together.”

She sighed and forced a smile.  “I’m sorry.  I’ll go start breakfast.”

A short time later, when the front door opened, Claire ran to greet Billy, and hugged him tightly.

Billy winced.  “Mom, you’re smothering me!”

Tears poured down her cheeks.  “Oh, let me look at you.  I’m just so glad you’re alright.”

Van stepped into the foyer and tousled his son’s hair.  “Of course he’s alright, Hon, aren’t ya, Champ?”

Billy furrowed his brow.  “Why wouldn’t I be alright?  Mom, you’re acting crazy.”

She smiled through her tears.  “I’m sorry.  It’s just that I had another dream, and, well… I’m just so happy to see you!”  She hugged him again and kissed his cheeks.

Billy grimaced and wiped the side of his face.  “Eww, Mom, come on!”

Van chuckled.  “Son, go put your BB gun and your suitcase up in your room, and tell your sister breakfast is ready.”

As Billy ran upstairs, Claire said, “Be sure to wash your hands!”

As the family ate, Billy swirled his waffle in syrup and asked, “So, Mom, what was that dream about?”

Susie raised an eyebrow and looked at her mother.

Claire took a deep breath and blushed.  “Oh, I guess it was just nothing.  I dreamed that you fell out of a tree and broke your left arm.  I was just certain that you fell out of Howard’s tree fort last night.”

Billy chuckled.  “Mom, Howard’s tree fort isn’t even this tall.”  He gestured to his chest.  “It’s on the lowest branch of that old oak tree.  His mom was too scared to let his dad build it any higher.  There’s no way I could fall out of that!”

Van laughed, and Susie cracked a smile.  She picked up a bowl of blueberries and handed them to Claire.  “Mother, I’m sorry about the way I acted last evening.  I was simply horrid, and you must have hated me.”

Claire blushed.  “Of course I could never hate you, Darling.”

Van straightened his tie and smiled.  “So is everyone ready to go help your mother pick out a new floor lamp?”

*     *     *

That night, Claire woke twice following dreams of Billy breaking his arm.  After the second time, she stayed awake and read in the living room because she was afraid to go back to sleep.

When Van woke up, he wandered to the living room and sat next to her.  “Claire, you really need to get a handle on these dreams.  Maybe Dr. Steadman can come over after church and prescribe you a sleeping pill.”

She waved her hand.  “No, I don’t want to bother him.  His daughter’s in town visiting, and besides, we’re going up to Hallinger’s Falls.  We’ve already promised the kids.”

He put his arm around her shoulders.  “Was it the same dream?”

She nodded and snuggled into his chest.  “Yes.  Billy falls out of a tree and breaks his left arm.”

He chuckled.  “Hon, he already told you Howard’s tree fort isn’t four feet off the ground.  Nothing’s going to happen to him.  Now, why don’t you go pack us a picnic basket, and get breakfast ready, and I’ll go get the kids.”  He stood and extended his hand.

She took his hand and stood.  “Alright.  Do you want scrambled or poached?”

He smiled.  “Poached.  And, Hon, please don’t mention this to the kids.  There’s no reason to keep calling attention to these silly dreams.”

She took a deep breath and rolled her eyes.  “Yes, dear.”

*     *     *

After church, Claire tried not to yawn on the drive to Hallinger’s Falls.  She simulated a happy façade as the family sang My Darling Clementine and I’ve Been Workin’ on the Railroad.  When they arrived, she forced a smile as she unpacked the picnic basket.

After everyone ate their potato salad and fried chicken, the kids went exploring, and Claire and Van held hands as they walked along the river’s edge.  “It’s really beautiful out here, isn’t it?” he asked.

She nodded and stifled a yawn.  “It sure is.  Honey, I’m really sorry about this week with all those dreams.  I guess I was just being silly.”

He kissed the side of her head.  “Oh, Darlin’, your silliness is one of the things I love about you.  But I hate that you’re losing sleep and worrying yourself and the kids.  If you could just allow yourself to relax, and…”

As they walked upon a few trees, Claire gasped loudly when she saw Billy balancing on a high limb with his back to them.  “Billy!” she yelled.  “Get down from there now!”

Billy jerked his head around, and as he did, he lost his balance and fell to the ground.  “Oww!  Oww, my arm!”  He clutched his left arm as he curled up in a ball.  His lip quivered as his parents ran to him.

*     *     *

Two hours later, the emergency room doctor smiled as he approached the family.  “Mr. and Mrs. Keene, Billy’s going to be just fine.  It’s a clean break, and he’ll be in a cast for a few weeks, but otherwise, he’s just a little bruised.  My nurse is cleaning the plaster off him, then he’ll be ready to go.”

Claire let out a loud sigh of relief.  “Thank goodness!”

Susie’s eyes grew large.  “Mother, it’s just like in your dream.  Billy did fall out of a tree and break his left arm.  The only difference was it wasn’t Howard’s tree.”

Claire bit her lip.  “Actually, I didn’t know if it was Howard’s tree or not in my dream.  I just assumed since he was playing in Howard’s tree fort…”

Van rolled his eyes.  “Would you two cut it out!  Now, listen, I don’t want any talk of these silly dreams once Billy gets back.  Hon, I don’t mean to cast blame, but if you wouldn’t have startled him, he probably wouldn’t have fallen.”

Claire’s jaw dropped open.  “Are you saying this was my fault?”

He held up his hands.  “I’m not blaming anyone.  It was an accident.  I’m just saying that…”

Billy smiled as he ran down the corridor to his folks.  “Mom, Dad, looks at this cool cast!  I can’t wait to have all the guys sign it!”

Claire cut her eyes sideways at Van, then forced a smile and hugged her son.  “I’m just glad you’re okay, Sweetie.”  She planted a kiss on his cheek.

Billy grimaced and wiped his face.  “Aww, Mom!  Not in public!”

*     *     *

Stay tuned…  Tomorrow brings the conclusion to Visionary

Let’s talk:  Have you ever believed someone who claimed they experienced a vision?  Do you have a favorite picnic spot in your area?

Visionary (Part One)

It’s time for another Micro-Fiction Monday.  This time, today’s story even longer than usual, so I’ll be dividing it in three parts.  You can find Part Two here tomorrow.  Now don’t be afraid…  This is only fiction…

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“Visionary”
Part One of Three
By: Rachel Carrera

Claire gasped as she bolted up, then rubbed her eyes as she looked around the dark room and tried to gather her bearings.  Van’s soft snoring next to her assured her that she was home in bed.  It was only a dream.  She rubbed the goosebumps off her arms, then snuggled next to her husband as she tried to fall back asleep.

The following morning, Claire yawned as she scooped scrambled eggs and bacon onto four plates.  “Billy, Susie, breakfast is ready.”

The kids came running downstairs, and Van straightened his tie then set his fedora on the table as he snatched a piece of bacon.  “Good morning, Darlin’.  Did you sleep well?”  He kissed her cheek then sat at the head of the table.

Billy and Susie scrambled to get in their chairs as Claire untied her apron and handed Van the newspaper.  “Not really.  How about you?”

Van opened the paper without responding then raised his eyebrows.  “Oh, King George died.  It looks like England’s got a new queen.”

Susie yelped.  “Oww!  Mother, Billy hit me with his yoyo!”

Claire brought the plates to the table and said, “Billy, you know we don’t bring toys to the table.  And what are you wearing?  You can’t wear dungarees to school.  After you eat, you need to march upstairs and change into your corduroy slacks.”

“Aww, Mom!”

Van raised an eyebrow.  “Don’t sass your mother, son.  So what’s everyone got planned for the weekend?  I need to take your mother shopping for a new lamp Saturday, and I thought we might drive up to Hallinger’s Falls for a picnic after church Sunday.”  He lit a cigarette then bit into a buttery slice of toast.

Billy wiped his milk mustache with the back of his arm and grinned.  “Howard Stevens’ dad just built him a tree fort, and they asked if I could spend the night Friday.  I’m gonna take my BB gun, and we’re gonna play Davy Crockett.”

Van smiled.  “Of course you can, son.  What about you, Princess?”

Susie smiled and smoothed her pinafore.  “Donald Fredericks asked me to the Valentine’s Dance Saturday night.  I was hoping Mother would help me let down the hem of my red dress.”

Claire tensed, and the color drained from her face.  She dropped her fork to the floor with a loud ting.  Her eyes grew large, and the tendons in her neck protruded.  “I… uh… oh, Susie, I don’t think that’s such a good idea.”

Van picked up the utensil.  “Billy, get your mother a clean fork.  What’s wrong, dear?  You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

Claire’s hands shook, and tears welled in her eyes.  “I… well… I had a dream last night, and, well, I just don’t think you should go to the dance, Honey.”

Susie frowned.  “What?  But, Mother!  You know I’ve been waiting all year for Donald to ask me out.”

Van patted Susie’s hand.  “Claire, a dream?  Really?  What kind of dream?”

Claire bit her lip and blushed as she looked down.  “I know it sounds ridiculous, but I had a dream that Donald would ask Susie out.  She was in her red dress the night of their date, and he telephoned to cancel.  It broke her heart.  Oh, Van, we can’t risk having him hurt her like that!”

Susie’s jaw dropped open.  “What?  Mother, I’ll have you know that Donald’s a very nice boy!  He’d never do such a horrid thing!”

Claire knitted her brow.  “Susie, you were in tears, and you couldn’t be consoled.  I just don’t think…”

Van chuckled and patted Claire’s arm.  “Now, Darling, I have to agree with Susie.  Relying on a dream is a little farfetched.  Besides, my firm is trying to get the Fredericks account, so I don’t want to make old Jimbo angry if my daughter doesn’t accept his son’s invitation to the dance.”  He turned to Susie.  “Of course you can go, Princess.  Now you and Billy had better get on upstairs and brush your teeth before you’re late for school.”

Susie smiled and kissed Van’s cheek.  “Yes, Daddy.  Thank you!”  She and Billy ran upstairs with a loud clamor.

Claire hung her head and rubbed her temples as Van stood.  He rubbed her back and picked up his fedora as he said, “Don’t be such a mother hen.  Susie’ll be just fine.”  He kissed her cheek, then picked up his briefcase and left.

*     *     *

Friday after school Donald drove Susie home and walked inside with her.  “Hi, Mrs. Keene, I’m Donald.  Susie thought it would be a good idea for me to meet you before the dance tomorrow night.”

Claire forced a smile as she shook his hand.  “Of course, Donald, it’s good to meet you.  Why don’t you and Susie go sit in the living room, and I’ll bring you some cake and lemonade, and we can get to know each other.”

Donald smiled.  “Yes, ma’am.  Thank you.”

For the next hour, Claire served Donald six slices of her famous apple crumb cake as she asked him question after question.  As soon as he drove away, Susie scowled and put her hands on her hips.  “Mother, I can’t believe you!  Why’d you have to ask him so many personal questions?  That was so embarrassing!”

Van walked in the front door and hung his hat as Claire said, “Honey, I was just trying to see if his intentions were honorable.  I told you that in my dream he…”

Tears welled in Susie’s eyes.  “Oh, you and that silly dream!”  She ran upstairs and slammed the door to her bedroom.

Van shook his head and hugged his wife.  “Hon, I told you to leave that dream business alone.  You’re name’s Claire, not Clairvoyant.”

*     *     *

A few hours later, Susie walked downstairs in her red dress with white polka dots and red kitten heels.  “Mother, I can’t find my white cardigan, and can I please borrow your pearls?”

Claire sighed.  “Your cardigan is hanging in the back of your closet, and it’s may I please borrow your pearls.  Yes, you may.  They’re in my jewelry box.  And, Susie?”

“Yes, Mother?”

Claire bit her lip and looked sideways at Van who had set his newspaper in his lap.  She forced a smile.  “Nothing.  It’s nothing.  You look beautiful, Darling.”

“Thanks!”  Susie grinned as she ran back upstairs.

Van shook his head.  “Claire, don’t say anything.  You’re going to ruin this dance for her.  It was just a dream.”

Claire sighed and nodded.  “Alright.  I understand.”  They both turned their heads when the phone rang.

“I’ll get it,” Van said as he stood.

As he walked to the kitchen, Claire clutched the arms of her chair.  She struggled to listen but couldn’t hear what he said.  She held her breath as she waited for his return.

Susie ran to the bottom of the stairs just as Van returned.  She grinned, and her dress flared as she spun in a circle.  “Well, how do I look?  Mother, these pearls are simply darling!  I think a bow in my hair would look better, don’t you?”

Van sucked in his lips.  “Princess, I…”

“What is it, Daddy?”

Claire clenched her hands into fists and bit her lip.

Van nodded and hugged Susie.  “Princess, that was Donald’s mother on the phone.  He can’t take you to the dance.”

Susie gasped.  “What?  Why not?”  Tears welled in her eyes as Claire stood and approached them.

Van smoothed his daughter’s hair.  “His mom said that he…”

Susie narrowed her eyes and glared at Claire.  “This is your fault, Mother!  You scared him away with all those silly questions this afternoon!  I can’t believe you!  I’ll be the laughingstock of the whole school!”

Claire reached for her daughter’s hand, but Susie jerked away dramatically.  Claire furrowed her brow.  “Susie, I just…”

Van sighed.  “Princess, Mrs. Fredericks said that Donald is sick.  She said the doctor just left their house and said he needed to stay in bed all weekend.  She said he feels horrible about having to cancel.”

Susie wiped her cheeks as she cried even harder.  “It doesn’t matter!  It’s the biggest dance of the year next to Homecoming and Prom, and now I don’t have a date!  I’ll be a laughingstock!”  She spun on her heel and ran upstairs.  Moments later, her bedroom door slammed.

As Van and Claire headed back to their chairs in the living room, Claire sighed.  “I just knew it would turn out this way.  I just knew he would cancel…”

Van spun on his heel and scowled.  “What?  Hon, I didn’t want to say anything in front of Susie, but she was right.  You did cause this.”

Claire’s hand flew to her chest.  “What?  But I didn’t…”

“Mrs. Fredericks said that Donald’s in bed because he’s got hives.  She said he’s allergic to apples, but apparently you plied him with half a dozen pieces of your apple crumb cake today, and he was too polite to turn you down.  Darling, you really need to calm down.  Let’s just get through this, and hope Susie gets over it quickly.”

*     *     *

Be sure to come back tomorrow for the next installment of Visionary

Let’s talk:  Have you ever had a dream that came true?  Do you believe in self-fulfilling prophecies?

Olé!

Since yesterday was my sister, Michelle’s birthday, for today’s Throwback Thursday, I’ll tell you what happened a few years ago on a different birthday of hers.  Michelle lived in Virginia at the time, and was driving to Florida with a friend of hers who was dropping her off with me, and the two of us would be traveling to New Orleans for some concerts that we were photographing.

The day her friend dropped her off was also her birthday, so I made arrangements for them to meet me at our favorite Mexican restaurant where I had several people on hand for a surprise party.

We pulled off the surprise just fine, and Michelle was even more surprised when the restaurant wait staff brought her a huge sombrero to wear while they sang “Happy Birthday” to her, and they left the hat with her so we could all get photos.

But the surprise was on them when afterward, Michelle walked out to my car wearing the expensive sombrero!  I was mortified!  “Why’d you take that?” I asked her as I hid my face in embarrassment.

She shrugged her shoulders.  “I dunno.  They gave it to me for my birthday.”

When I explained that it was not a gift from the restaurant, she was equally as embarrassed!

—–

Michelle & Me

Speaking of embarrassing restaurant birthday traditions, last night, I arranged for a bunch of friends to meet us at the Roadhouse where, unbeknownst to any of us, the staff brought a saddle mounted on a sawhorse to the table, made Michelle mount it while they sang, and forced her to swing a napkin in a circle over her head while the whole restaurant gave her a rousingly loud, “Yee Haw!”

Now THAT was funny!  (And no, she didn’t try to keep the saddle… or the napkin.)

She said it was only slightly less embarrassing than the time we took her to Bubba Gump’s for her birthday a few years back, and they made her stand on a table and hold sparklers while the staff sang and danced around the table.

Talk to me:  What’s the most embarrassing restaurant birthday tradition you’ve ever witnessed?  What’s your favorite restaurant to visit on your birthday?

Happy Birthday, Michelle!

Today is my sister, Michelle’s birthday.  Won’t you join me in wishing her a happy day?

Yes, that’s Michelle half a lifetime more than a decade several years….. a while ago.  Since then, she’s become a seasoned traveler, having made numerous copious plentiful a few more trips around the sun. (Come on!  What kind of little bitch sister would I be if I didn’t tease her?)  Happy Birthday, Sis!

On Editing

Tap, tap, tap.  (Tapping my microphone.)  Is this thing on? 

Well, folks, I thought I’d have a nice little Tuesday segment during the summer that all of us writers could participate in and share and enjoy, but I can’t get anyone else to play along.  Don’t YOU want to share some of your editing tips and tricks with us here?  In exchange for your participation, you’ll get a shameless plug for your book(s) as well as a heartfelt thank you from many of my followers.

Too many of you seem to think that you don’t do anything special, or you don’t know anything that everyone else doesn’t know.  But that’s not necessarily true.  We all do things a little differently, and we want to hear from YOU.  What do you say?

If you’d like to play along, please email your responses to the following questions to my email address below, and include any photos and/or links of you and your blog and your work so we can purchase it.

  1. Please share one to three tips or tricks that you use when editing your work, how specifically you use them, and why they work for you.
  1. What was your biggest repeated mistake when you first started writing? What is your weakest point of editing and why?
  1. Have you used any editing methods previously that just didn’t work for you? If so, what were they and why didn’t they work?
  1. Please tell us something about your current work in progress or your most recent completed work (or both), and tell us where we can purchase your book(s).
  1. If you have any other news to share with us, please feel free to do so now.

If Forrest Gump Lived in Florida…

Does everyone remember when Forest Gump’s business partner and best good friend in the wide world, Benjamin Buford Blue a/k/a Bubba, named the different types of shrimp they could make in their shrimp business?

“Anyway, like I was sayin’, shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, sauté it. Dey’s uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That- that’s about it.”

Well, if they’d have been in Florida instead of Alabama, they might have had something besides shrimp to catch and cook…

 

Let’s chat:  Have you ever eaten alligator?  Would you ever consider eating alligator or another reptile?  What is the most unusual thing you’ve ever eaten?