Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I wrote this for a "Flash Fiction Contest"

Contest rules: 400 words, must use the words, "crimson", "sincere", and "rickshaw"
I stuck with the original format.

"Hopscotch and Wine"

As he wrapped the blanket tighter around his shoulders, a draft of cold air sent a chill down Nathan’s back. He shivered as he looked at the unopened envelope in his hand. It was crinkled in the middle and around the right side where he’d toyed with the idea of not reading its contents at all. The handwriting on the outside revealed its author. After all, his wife had sent word about their children many times before. Nathan sat in his hotel room on the edge of the crimson flowered comforter and ran his forefinger under the flap she had licked to seal the news.

January 7, 2010

Dear Punkin,

This may very well be my final transmission. Those little people are back again. They have now taken washable writing sticks and drawn an alien language down the sidewalk out front. I can only assume it is some sort of signal to the "others" like them. They have fashioned a grid with what appears to be numbers written inside the boxes. They then stand inside a drawn semi-circle and throw a single stone which lands on one of the numbers. Then, horrifyingly, they hop on one foot to pick up the stone they just discarded, all the while laughing out loud. I'm frightened!! I shudder to think what would happen if they noticed me spying from the kitchen window. If they sense my most sincere need for solitude they are sure to stop me before I am able to ascend the stairs. It's like they're trying to tell me something! I just KNOW it! I will try throwing foodstuffs at their mouths and surrounding them with the loud, plastic things you bring from your travels in Asia.
I do not know how long the “little people” intend to hold me captive, and I am beginning to believe there may not be enough wine in the house to sustain me until you return.
You’re my only hope.


Nathan dropped the letter and gazed out the window to the street below. He knew what he must do. He grabbed his suitcase and ran out the hotel door leaving the blanket and the letter to lie on the rented room’s floor.

Waiting just outside was the rickshaw and driver that couldn’t get him to the train station fast enough.

Written by Leslie M. Brown

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Quote of the day

Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put. -Winston Churchill

Monday, April 19, 2010

Today my favorite word is "serendipity".

It just is.

Especially in sleep, I am never alone.

January 2010
entry #6

Dear Punkin, Upon waking from a fretful night's sleep, I came to the realization that both of the little people had sneaked into my sleeping quarters. The smaller of the two appeared to make a determined attempt to swallow it's own thumb, while the apparently "female" of the two held her mouth open wide. I can only assume it was her intention to eat me in her sleep. I was horrified at my thoughtlessness for not having the presence of mind to replenish my food-stuff supply for such occasions. When they sensed my impending stealthy escape, they raised their heads and began speaking their "language" at me until I was able to retreat to the kitchen and end the incessant rise and fall of their "words". I do not know how long the supplies will last. I hope to replenish them at some point in the day. If I am allowed a moment later, I will report again.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Every now and then I get to leave the nest, myself. (big props to my mom who my children have affectionately named, "Momo") There is nothing like getting away for just a couple of days to really set your head straight and put priorities back in perspective.
However, as the day of departure approaches I always have a series of small panic attacks that gradually build and culminate in a full-fledged cry right before I leave. The thought of being away from my kids isn't terrifying, it's the thought of what might happen while I'm gone that scares me.
One particular time, I returned from a trip to find that while I was away my daughter "blossomed" in the span of three days. Seriously... full bloom. She's TEN. Are you picking up what I'm putting down? TEN. Lady bottom, mood swings, and all.
I left behind my little girl, and came home to a "wow it's great to see didn't get me a WHAAAAAAAHHHHH!" pre-teen. The scariest part is what's in the near future...the P word.
I've got the vapors.

November 2009
entry #5

Dear Punkin, I have returned safely home. Upon entering our house, one of the "little people" attacked me at the door, screaming and flailing it's arms all about my head and neck. The larger of the two seems to have grown...all over. I am assuming it's a female as her body is slowly mimicking my form. Her mood seems to fluctuate in complete synchronization with my own. It only serves to make my attempts at communication that much harder.
I arrived weary, but luckily had the presence of mind to walk in with food-stuffs to throw into their constantly open mouths. I do believe it may have saved my life. I can only hope to continue steering clear of the larger "little" as she is growing through whatever metamorphosis is about to explode from her form. Pray for my survival until your return.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

October 2009
entry #4

Punkin, I am anxiously awaiting your return this evening. The little people, in what I assume is an attempt to melt me or at least drive me out of my mind, have begun to spew the contents of their stomachs out of their mouths and onto my hands. Though I felt no pain, I cannot be certain of future reprocussions. I did feel a small amount of life leave my body as, what I believe to be some of the food I had thrown at their open mouths a few moments before, was hurled back at me with the force of a firehose. I am frightened, and am beginning to think there may not be enough vino in the world to sustain me until you are home.
Not that anybody's is, but neither of the births of my children were particularly easy. My daughter, Zuzu was born after 32 hours of hard labor and emergency cesarean. The day happened to be September 11, two years before the towers fell. She was actually a perfect baby. She had a sweet temperament, ate well (after some coaxing), and only cried every now and then. I, as many mothers, lost myself in my baby girl. Singing to her and making up songs was a favorite pastime.
My best, in my opinion, was "Zuzu-belle". If you think vaudeville, or barbershop quartet you'll get the drift. It went like this:

"Zuzu-belle, you are my cutie little Zuzu-belle.
If they don't like you they can go to hell, Zuzu-belle!
They can all just go right straight to H-E-double hockey sticks,
Cause you're so cute
And you know that I love you more than words can tell
Cause you're my baby girl, the best one in the world.
You are my little Zuzu-belle!"

I always get a good laugh out of that.

Remembering Zuzu's birthing experience, when it came time to have my son Asher, I simply scheduled the day and time I would have him. Easy, right? Well, it just so happens that the time and date I scheduled was exactly the same day tropical storm "Gaston" came through Virginia and destroyed all of downtown Richmond behind the flood wall. It was the storm of the century outside while inside I was recovering from another c-section. The anesthesiologist threaded my epidural wrong and they had to put me on narcotics to ease the pain. Meanwhile, several inches of rain an hour were filling the streets and began to pour in the windows of the hospital. We lost power and were officially declared to be in a state of emergency. Luckily, I was on a battery-powered delaudid drip for the pain. The only problem with that is delaudid is an opioid and I was in a haze, to say the least. My final memory of that morning before passing out was something like this: Having trouble keeping my eyes open, I leaned my head as far as I could (without my neck giving out) to get a view of a truck floating down the street below. I wiped a few drops of rain from my face (eyes closing and reopening) just as the nurse walked in with a bundle. My head fell back against the pillow. She helped me lean forward, handed me the tiny bundle and said, "Here's your baby." Then, she left. Needless to say, we managed.
As with most great musicians, artists, poets, etc., it seems their best stuff came from them while they had some sort of addiction to a powerful substance. That's how I explain the poem I wrote about my son's birth. Not that I count myself among the greats, but I had to attribute the inspiration to something. I came home to a flooded basement, freshly out of a narcotic mind-swim and wrote this down...

"Sometimes it takes something warm to touch you before you know how cold you are. I feel the change, moving 'round inside me and I know it can't be long. So I grit my teeth, and yell like hell as the sweat pours down like tears...

If I saw my life the same today, I'd have wasted all these years.

You came to me that stormy night when the lightning turned me blue. I felt the rain pour in the door and the wind just howled like you. And the trees outside were tangled and tossed till their branches all laid bare...

If I saw my life the same today, I'd have wasted all these years.

So we make the grand entrance, and I'll hold the door for you. I'll dry your body and keep you warm for as long as I may do. I'll hold your head in slumber and I'll lay you down, my dear...

If I saw my life the same today, I'd have wasted all these years."

That's about as deep as it got, because after that day, that baby boy never stopped crying.

One day, after another sleepless night, Asher had been crying for two hours straight. I sincerely felt like I was going mad. I just started singing, low at first, then louder and louder until I was a bit louder than him.

"Asher, the Christmas poo.
I'm gonna kick you to the moon,
And you will shut up very soooooon....
'Cause there's no oxygen in space!"

In my craze, I laughed. Asher had become quiet. So I kept singing. It had worked. It's kind of his theme song now.

Monday, April 12, 2010

July 2009
entry #3

I think they're learning the art of fencing from the period pieces we've collected on disc. My only hope now is to barricade myself in my room and pray for your safe and swift return....oh no!! I ...think... they're.... coming.....HURRY!!!!!

August 2009
entry #4

Punkin, this could very well be my final transmission. The little people have become agitated...running wildly around the basement and screaming. They jump from the stairs to the arm of the couch, then fly through the air like bats and fall to the floor landing on every pillow we have. I shudder to think what might happen if they discovered me spying at the top of the stairs. Sometimes they sneak up beside me and stare... their mouths move as if they are talking to me, but their language is alien. All I can hear is, "wah, blah, whine, and click"... I have continued throwing the food at their open mouths, but it only works for so long. After a while they usually give up to resume flying frantically around the basement. When I try to escape the chaos and retreat to my room, they sense my need for solitude and so do everything to get to me before I am able to ascend the staircase. I do not know how long they intend to hold me captive. Help me punkin... You're my only hope.

Ah, the life of a traveler's wife.

My husband Nathan, is an entrepreneur. He reluctantly began his business after the birth of our first child, Zuzu Magnolia. For many years of our young lives we were traveling musicians. Nathan, the musician, and I, the traveling starry-eyed girl who'd follow him off a cliff if that's where he said he was going.
Becoming parents adds many wonderful aspects to the lives of a loving couple. Money isn't one of them. So, the traveling musician and his wife decided that staying put in a single location (preferably one with good schools) and going to work was a pretty good idea. Hence, Brown Audio/Visual, LLC.
Being the owner/operator of your own business means you work when you get it, and when you get it, you go where the work is. This, of course, also means that while the schedule of one parent is totally unpredictable, the schedule of the other must be written in stone. That's where I come in. I, the traveling musician's one time muse, suddenly morphed into the rock-solid stay-at-home mother.
Don't misunderstand, I do not complain one bit about being in my position. In fact, I absolutely relish spending almost all of my time with my children. Also, it doesn't hurt that I have the greatest support system in creation, my mother...but that's a story for another time.
The reason for this rambling introduction is so that you will understand one thing. I am a normal person who deals with the daily mundane in the best way I know how. I turn what is the reality of my life into an alternate universe where my true loves are alien and completely foreign to me. I write these "stories" in letter form to my husband (Punkin) when he is away. Don't's all in my head.

Letters to Punkin
June 2009
entry #1

Punkin, the short people that keep following me around.... I think they're multiplying. Two more showed up yesterday, stayed for a while, and asked me for things all day! Please! Come home!!! The only way to appease them seems to be throwing foodstuffs at their huge mouths and surrounding them with plastic loud things made in China. HELP!

July 2009
entry #2

Punkin, you have to come home as soon as possible!! All hell has broken out here! There are wild animals running rampant in the backyard, slinging seeds and jumping fences.... and those little people are back again!! They have now taken washable writing sticks and drawn an alien language all over the sidewalk out front. I can only assume it is some sort of signal to the "others" like them. They have fashioned a grid with what appears to be numbers written inside the boxes. They then stand in a semi circle and throw a single stone which lands on one of the numbers. Then, horrifyingly, they hop on one foot to pick up the stone they, themselves just discarded, and all the while they laugh out loud. I'm frightened!! I will try throwing food at them again.... it's like they're trying to tell me something! I just KNOW it!

Some sort of grid with numbers and signs.

Some sort of grid with numbers and signs.