“Time to pay the piper,” he said. “Your choice today. Paddle?  Belt?”

“But daddy, I did’t…”

“Shut up and chose!  Mama’s not here to protect you.”

“Wish I could chose a new daddy.”

This fiction was written for Trifextra: Week sixty-one.

This weekend we’re asking for exactly 33 words including an idiom somewhere within.


Why is there a caboose in your yard?

I am a dreamer.  Always have been.  The amount I dream is probably unhealthy.  There have been many incarnations of me in my lifetime.  The one I dream of the most is to write stories.  To be a storyteller.  It is the one that I have the least training or talent for but I dream it nonetheless.  I always think of the end result before I finish the product.  Case in point.  I have written my Oscar acceptance speech even thought I have only written 84 pages of a script that will gather dust in a closet.  Unfinished I am sure.  But let me get to my point.  If I am going to dream, allow me to dream this.  I want a place to work on my craft.  To write in peace away from the world.  And that place is in a caboose.  In my backyard.   I want a caboose in my backyard that will be my study.  Not a man cave.  A sanctuary for my creative self.  Part study, part studio for my other dream I have no talent for, painting. 

So if you ever drive the countryside and see a caboose in someone’s backyard, it may be mine.  Perhaps with an Oscar on a shelf inside and a closet full of stories untold. 

Till we meet again.  Good day.

Mind of Shoo 

My Scars Have Healed

We find our spot among the crowd on the side the road.  Today is a dream come true.  A dream started on a bicycle a few years before.  Riding a bicycle was another escape for me.  It was a way I released my anger.  I am at peace on my bike, albeit somewhat brief.  Free I suppose.  And today I am here.  On the side the road on L’Alpe d’Huez in the French Alps.  Today I am a spectator of the Tour de France.

“What are you thinking about?” Gina asked.

“Its hard to believe,” I say to her.  “I have dreamed of being here since the I watched this event on television.  I have biked many miles dreaming I was riding these very roads.  Only to be disappointed when I realize my finish line was my home. ”

“Brad don’t just dream, make things happen!”

“We are Gina.”

“We huh,”she says with a smile.

“Yes, we.  Well, you talked me into this trip.  But it has been we ever since.”

“This is the first time you have said we Brad.”

“Is it?” I asked.

“Yes it is.  It warmed my heart.  Thank you.”

I feel free at this moment.

“He threw me through into a door.”  I said matter of factly.


“I was fourteen, he hit my mom.  I went to protect her.  He pushed me backwards.  My body hit the door but my arm went through the window.  I pulled my arm back through and it was covered with blood.”

With tears in her eyes she reached out and grabbed my hand, then ran her fingers along my scars in wonder.

“That’s how I got the scars.  You are the first person other than my parents to know the truth Gina.”

“But the cuts?” she said.

“Those are my scars, self inflicted to ease my pain.  You know them, you said it yourself.”

“Yes I did. I’m so sorry Brad.”

Don’t be.  Today they have fully healed.

This was written for the Trifecta Week Fifty-seven using the third definetion of the word:


a : rapt attention or astonishment at something awesomely mysterious or new to one’s experience

b : a feeling of doubt or uncertainty

This writing is fiction.  Its another story from the  journey of  Gina and Brad which started here: Find A Soul.

I Fear

I don’t own a gun, never have, never will.  Its my choice.  My protection at home is an ax handle.  Guess we know who will win a battle if an armed person ever enters my home!  With that said, I don’t claim to have any answers.  I don’t know any statistics.  I never heard of any of the guns used in last weeks shooting.  I don’t know how many guns are owned by citizens. I don’t follow politics.  I don’t know a single gun law or the steps to purchase a gun.  What I do know, is I have fears. 

I fear driving down the interstate and inadvertently pulling in front of someone and 3 miles down the road he pulls aside me and shoots.  I won’t see my kids grow up.  My kids won’t ever see me.  God forbid the last thing I see in my life is a sticker that says something about pry my cold hands from my weapon.  How about pry my dead body slumped over my steering wheel!

I fear stopping for a package of M & M’s at 7-11.  While I search the endless isle of candy, a robber walks in and demands money from the cashier and shots are fired I get hit.  No M & M’s for me tonight!  Pry my cold dead body off the cheaply tiled  7-11 floor.

I fear the kid who is mad at me at work cause someone over the phone told him he could rent a U-Haul truck with cash.  When I tell him he can but it a $100 deposit instead of just the actual amount, he gives me and U-Haul some choices words and storms out.  I wait anxiously to see if he comes back not the more money but to release his frustration with the company I represent with his gun and my last rental is a one way to heaven.  Pry my cold dead body off the concrete floor at my U-Haul store.

I fear returning home after a quick trip to the store and inside I meet Mr. Burglar with a pillow case stuffed with my kids X-Box, video games and part of my dvd collection.  He looks like Santa except he doesn’t want to go back to jail so he pulls out his Get Out of Jail card, which is in the form of a nice big gun and whamo.  Pry my cold dead body off the freshly vacuumed carpeting.  Oh, please clean the blood stains so my family isn’t constantly reminded of my horror daily.

I fear my son going to a party with friends of his school, only to have people from a rival school arrive at the party.  A fight breaks out, a gun is pulled and my son who is in the corner talking to his girlfriend is innocently shot.  This has happened here in Albuquerque  a few years back involving the school my son attends and their rival. 

I fear exactly what happened in the schools in Colorado or Connecticut.  Cause I don’t want to bury a kid.  All of my kids are currently in school.  The only time I want them out of school is with a diploma in their hand.

These are my real fears.   Obviously I have never been shot.  I have been robbed at gunpoint.  I did come home after a trip to the grocery store and find the front door open and all my electronics along with a cold 12 pack of coke stolen and my house ransacked.  Damn them , I didn’t buy any coke on that trip to the store! I fear a person with a gun in his hand who is not responsible enough to have said gun.  I fear missing out on a full life with my kids.  Sure I could leave this earth with the  likes cancer, ALS or any number of diseases.  That could take me or my kids away prematurely.  With disease, it is God’s decision to take me or them, not someone else deciding its my time to go.  Or even worse, my child’s time to go.  Am I way off base.  To some maybe I am.  But I have fears.  And those are mine.  You can’t pry them from me.    

Till we meet again.  Good day.

Mind of Shoo

Shall we stop this bleeding

Senseless.  Through the sadness this is the only word I find to describe yesterday.  We live in a time when money and power are more important that human life.  And that is human life of the average man, not the wealthy and powerful.  We can find ways to fix our nation.  We can find ways to protect our children.  But we continue to let matters of the powerful keep us from fixing our nations ills.  We know the answers but our division blocks us.   Why are we a nation of red and blue instead of red, white and blue?  Why are our elected officials “representatives” of a party instead of the people?  Are we one nation? As the father of a 4th grader I look around and say we are not.  We are a nation divided at the highest level.  We have the knowledge, the intelligence, and the resources to fix it.  But money and power block it.  Just as it did years ago when our country we divided by civil war.  Most who lost their lives were common citizens.  Just as yesterday.  Americans can find the answers.  But those in power chose not to seek it.  Isn’t it worth one human life?  Shall we stop this bleeding.

“Putting yourself out there”

Putting yourself out there.  This is a common phrase I hear about letting people read your work.  When do you get the confidence to let others read your writing?  Is it a matter of trust?  Is it a fear of rejection or ridicule?  I have lots of mixed feelings about my writing. 

My therapist told me to write.  She feels I have lots of thoughts on subjects that are important to me.  I have always wanted to write but never felt I could because I don’t hold a degree or any formal training.  Also, I don’t read all that much.  I wish I did but my attention span makes it difficult.  I try though. 

I recently figured out something about myself.  During some self-analysis of myself, I finally understood that my mind works in visual scenes and not words.  I am not sure this makes sense as I don’t know anyone who writes.  So instead of working on writing in novel or short story form, I begin writing scenes to tell my stories.  This has worked for me.  Words have come easily to me this way.  I don’t know if my writing is good or not, but it is definitely liberating to finally feel good about my writing.  So much so that I decided to let someone read my work.  It’s a gentleman I have known for a few years.  We have gotten to know one another better through high school cross-country, where our kids are both members of the team.  I built a sort of trust with him over this past season.  We have things in common besides our kids running.  We were both in the Marines.  We are currently both working only part-time.  He paints, I write.  So when I finally felt comfortable talking about my writing he took an interest in my work.  I explained how I was writing about how two kids (one black and one white) who become friends in a small southern town in the early 70’s.  I explained that no one has read it and that I was looking for someone to give me some simple feedback.  He asked to read it and he would give me honest feedback.  I know that he is not trained, but I felt comfortable cause of our budding friendship.  Well, I gave him a copy of the script, which at that point was only 38 pages at the time.  I put my name and phone number on the last page so he could easily contact me.  Cross country season is over so I knew I wouldn’t see him for a while so it gave us an opportunity to have lunch or something in the future. 

Well, that was over a month ago and still no word from him.  This is perplexing not to mention really has been hard on me.  It has affected my writing.  What do I do?  Do I attempt to contact him?  How do I react if and when I do hear from him?  It has made it hard me to trust anyone with reading my work again.  I put myself out there and I don’t like the way I feel.  

The Apology

These words were written for Trifecta Week Fifty-Five.  The Trifecta challenge this week is ANTICIPATION.

The Apology

My eyes open to a magnificent light with muffled voices in the background. The voices I hear are my family.

“In death one begins a new life,” a familiar voice says to me.


I see faces clearly in front of me, with the afore-mentioned light in the background.  They are faces of family and friends.  But I am motionless.  “Am dreaming?” I say to myself.  “What is this?  What’s happening to me?”

“Daddy, I am sorry for all the times I upset you” I hear my daughter say.  Now there she is, right in front of me in all her beauty, the light shining brightly behind her.  However, her face is filled with anguish and tears.  I see the pain and feel the pain but I cannot respond.  “I love you daddy…forever and ever.”

My wife reaches over and kisses me on the cheek and I feel her loving hand on mine.  Through her quivering lips she says “thanks for a great life.  You were the best partner and friend I could have asked for.   I love you.”

I have died.  My anticipation of this moment did not prepare me for the reality of this moment.

“You are gone son. Gone from the earth, from your family” I hear.  It is my father’s voice. I feel anger build up in me as it did many times before. 

A line of family and friends continue to move past me one by one.  I know each of them.  The last person I see is a unfamiliar face.  I hear crying as he reaches for something above me.  I see him pull it downward till it makes a thumping sound.  Then that bright light now turns to darkness.

Suddenly, my father appears before me as a faint light shines over us.  He is exactly as I remember him the day he died 30 years earlier. The moment is surreal.

“I am here to say I am sorry son” he says to me.  “Sorry for all the hurt and pain I caused you and your mother.  I was wrong.  I love you.”

Then he turns and walks away.   “I forgive you daddy, ” I say.  He slowly fades into the darkness. 

Then the light shines brightly again and I feel peace. 

The End

Till we meet again.  Good day.

Mind of Shoo

Dr. Drew, Adam Carolla and Me.

I would like to say that I know these two gentleman personally but quite honestly I never met them.  However, I have listened to them, laughed with them and learned one thing about myself from them. Loveline, a syndicated radio call in show hosted by the above mentioned was my nightly friend for a few years.  I owned a small business.  Money was often tight or at times, not coming in at all.  To alleviate the burden on my financially in the business’s infancy, I took a job delivering pizza.  The hours were flexible, the money was decent and it was cash! 

It was at this job where I listened to Loveline. In between deliveries there they were, along with the thousands of callers hoping for help with their problems.  Dr. Drew gave his opinion, Adam often made fun of them and I listened.  A common theme was addiction (Dr. Drew’s speciality) and the common cause was always traced back to childhood trauma.  Over and over again Dr. Drew’s words were “did you have alcohol, drugs, or sexual abuse in your life as a child”.  The answer was nearly always yes. And for me,  I said “YES I did”!  My father drank.  And because of my fathers drinking, I always knew that when I was grown and settling down to start a life with someone I would NOT drink.  In my mind it was simple! Why would I want my wife going through the experience my mom went through?  Why would I want my kids to see and hear the things I did?  The answer was simple, I didn’t.  Why?  Cause it was a horrible experience.  It was unnecessary and it was avoidable if better decisions were made by a man with a great mind.  But instead of that wonderful educated mind ruling our home, alcohol did.  So many called Loveline and were repeating the same issues that they experienced as a kid.  Except now, they were the problem parent.  They were the alcoholic, drug addict or abuser.   And it was their kids who were suffering silently as you did many years ago.  How can they let that happen I thought.  Over and over again, it was all the same.  I can’t image letting my kids go through what me and my mom went through!  I will say this, for me it was such an EASY choice!  I can’t for the life of me imagine going the other way.  I am messed up enough from my father’s alcoholism, I can’t imagine the mess I would be if I drank on top of it!  To use the an old cliché, I broke the chain. It was the easiest choice I made in my life.  I made this choice for my family.

I listened to the show for a long time.  Adam was hilarious.  They often had celebrity guest who show great insight or humor and was a great addition to the show.  I would love to say I learned something from the show that I use in my struggles being a sober ACoA, but those people never called in.  What I did learn was that for my own family I made a great choice.   It is the single best choice I made in my life. I am proud myself.  If only all other choices were that clear and as simple.

I want to end this post with a few lines from the song “Father of Mine” written by Art Alexaskis of the band Everclear.

Now I am a grown man
With a child of my own
And I swear I’m not going to let her know
All the pain I have known


Till we meet again.  Good Day.

Mind of Shoo

Lake Despair

When I first realized and understood fully that I was “An Adult Child of An alcoholic Parent” it was mind numbing.  How could it be?  I was in my early 40s and felt helpless.  My initial feelings was I now felt I had a something to blame for my shortcomings.  Someone responsible.  And it wasn’t me!  But was it?  I first wanted to fully comprehend what it meant to be an ACoA.  So I read and tried to relate it to my life.  So I decided to join a group that met at a local church.  Without going into detail, my time there was uneventful.  It was more about rehashing our problems from being adult children of alcoholic parents instead of ways to solve the problem.  But one thing that did come out of a few of those sessions was Lake Despair.

When I first talked to the group I was a little emotional.  I came up with an analogy of being in a boat in the middle of this lake. I was in, as I called it, Lake Despair. I had no paddles or means to either move or steer the this boat which also had a slow leak.  I was just stuck in the middle of this calm lake.  I was in this boat filled with all the issues and characteristics typical of an adult child of an alcoholic parent. Alone.  On the shore of the lake were various spots that held lessons to all the problems I needed to heal.  But how do I get there?   I knew the problems.  That was the easy part!  I needed help!  How do I fix things?  Where do I start?  I wanted a damn paddle so I could start the healing!  I had been in the middle of Lake Despair for years and now I wanted to reach land and begin to heal.

 Currently, I am still at Lake Despair but not floating aimlessly.  I am now on the shore walking from one lesson to another around the lake.  It’s a mighty big lake and also quite beautiful.  It beauty grows as I reach each lesson and learn more about myself.  As I hike from point to point, there are times my body aches, my mind wonders, and my feet hurt. I am often depressed and want to give up.  But I want to see the all of the lake and take in its beauty!  To see this, I must walk around it and navigate on land each obstacle in my path.  Lake Despair is now a journey on foot.  It’s a slow journey.  When I reach that final point I will have circled Lake Despair.  And at that moment I want to rename that lake.  Lake of Hope.

I hope others find the lake earlier in their life that I did.  And I hope once they find themselves in that boat, motionless without and means to move, they can see the solutions on the shore around them.  I hope they can somehow reach the shore and make their own path around Lake Despair. It’s by no means an easy journey.  But a certainly a fulfilling one. The journey to find the lake starts with knowing that you are an ACoA and accept that premise.  Its not easy, but I promise, the lake is beautiful!  Life is beautiful.  Seek it. 

Till we meet again.  Good Day.

Mind of Shoo