A Cowboy Valentine – #fridayflash

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I looked up from sweeping the floor in the cavernous warehouse, and saw something I never expected to see. Something that made me rub my tired eyes and wonder if I had been smelling too much solvent.

Sure enough, it was a cowboy leading a horse and I could have sworn something about him was familiar. Of course, I grew up around a few cowboys, but that was a long time and a whole life ago. They weren’t great memories he was stirring up.

I swear to God, I’m not lying. He had on boots, chaps, and a big old dirt-colored cowboy hat. I could hear the heels of his boots clocking against the cement floor and his spurs jingling.

“Hey!’ I cried. “Why the hell have you got a horse in here? The damned thing is shitting all over my floor!”

“Darlin’, don’t be so fussy. You always were a fuss-budget, Jamie,” was the answer.

Oh, I knew that hateful voice and my face flushed.

“You asshole,” I hissed. “What the hell are you doing here? I’m the janitor of this building but I’m ain’t picking up your horse’s shit. Git out. And take the shit with you.”

Lord a’mighty, it was Percy McGill, and eternity wouldn’t have been long enough for me to never see his face again.

“Jamie, darlin’, I’ve come to get you and take you away from all this,” Percy drawled. He lifted his head slightly as he came near, and I could see that smile, those eyes, through a red mist.

I stood there in my janitor’s coveralls, ball cap on my head and dirt under my fingernails. I could feel my face starting to crumple, but I wasn’t going to let it. I smelled the odor of horseflesh, and shivered.

“If I need rescuing, I can rescue myself, pal. This ain’t cow country and you ain’t no shining knight on that horse. You’re a horse’s ass, and you can kiss mine. Now git on out, a’fore I call the cops.”

Percy stopped where he was and the horse stopped behind him, as well behaved as Percy wanted his women to be. He didn’t expect this kind of response, I could tell, and I was glad I had him off-kilter. I had to keep it that way or things could get ugly.

“You’re a feisty lil’ filly, I’ll give you that. Not such a fine lady now, are you?” He sniffed. “Your daddy sent me to find you and I aim to bring you back where you belong. I’m your destiny, Jamie , so come on and fulfill me.” The snide smirk on his face was more than infuriating.

“I’m not sixteen anymore, you idiot. This is a free country. You been fulfilling yourself for so many years what’s a few more? I’m happy where I’m at, and tell Daddy I ain’t a bale of hay to be tossed around with no never-mind.” I could feel my pulse throbbing in my temples.

Do you think any of this pierced that hide of vanity this jerk carried around? Hell no, his skin was as thick as a rhino’s and he was just as stupid.

“C’mon Jamie, you know there’s something here and you want it. Stop fightin’ and come on home back where you belong.” He looked disdainfully at the overalls I was wearing and the cap on my head, and my blood started to boil.

“You’re not fit to lick my boots,” I told him. “You just want me for the ranch, and believe me when I tell you, you’ll never get it. I’m off limits to you. I’d rather marry that horse.” I gritted my teeth.

Percy flushed and looked murderous. “Now Jamie, that was mean. What did I ever do to you that made you feel this way?”

That opened the floodgates, and ten years of pain and regret came rushing out.

“Remember a certain innocent sixteen year old girl, Percy? Remember the promises you made to her?” I stood, trembling, my hands wrapped around the broom with a death grip. “Remember what she did when she realized you wanted me instead, all for the ranch?” Tears threatened and that made me even madder. “Becka was my best friend and you used her and tossed her aside. Do you even visit her grave? You should. You’re the reason she’s there.” I felt like stomping my foot, but I was a woman now, not some stupid little cowgirl. “Now git on out of here. You ain’t never gonna be nothing but a lousy ranch hand because you ain’t never getting me.”

He didn’t even look ashamed. He looked pissed and I dropped the broom and stood fast, just like my daddy taught me, because I knew what Percy was capable of. He swung himself up on the horse, and came to get me. I felt the adrenaline pumping, making my legs feel like lead. I pulled the pearl-handled snub nose .38 my momma gave me for my sixteenth birthday from my back pocket, and fired. Right between the eyes. The horse reared and Percy fell off.

Percy is now at rest in a tiny plot behind the warehouse, covered by the new dumpster that came in last week. When he didn’t return, I’m sure Daddy got the message. I sent a card to Becka’s mother, and I bet you’re wondering about the horse.

I sold him for a pretty penny, and I daresay he don’t miss Percy neither.

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Wordless Wednesday Ain't So Wordless

It’s hard for me to be wordless. Oh, I have my moments, but they are few and far between. It’s a blessing and a curse, as anyone who has spent any time with me knows. Heh.

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A potpourri of sorts, today.

— I am very sad to read of the death of Captain Phil Harris. For those of you who are unfamiliar, he was the captain of the Cornelia Marie on the Discovery Channel’s show, Deadliest Catch. This program deals with fishing for crab on the dangerous Bering Sea, and once you see an episode, you’re hooked. I loved Captain Phil, he was my favorite. The guy was a force of nature. During one fishing expedition, he suffered a blot clot that passed through his heart and lungs…and kept on fishing. He didn’t know anything else, didn’t want to know anything else — he’d been fishing since he was seven years old, and at twenty-one was one of the youngest captains to run a fishing vessel in the Bering Sea. My condolences to his sons, Jake and Josh, and to the rest of his family. He was a mighty man, and will be sorely missed by millions.

— Women are a mystery, as many a confused male can attest, but these Women of Mystery offer that little something extra. Today, they’ve posted some very interesting flash fiction contests that might be of some interest to my fellow flashers. Check it out, I know I will.

— Speaking of submitting, Flash Fiction Online is accepting submissions and they pay for them, too! Publication here counts toward the requirements for membership in the SFWA, and that’s a definite plus.

— Speaking of flash fiction, I was able to polish up a piece I wrote a while back, and I’m going to post it Friday for #flashfriday. It started out as a romance and turned….well, twisted. I know, try to contain your shock. I actually giggled through most of it, which just goes to show you how twisted I am and why I don’t write romance. Heh.

— And, because no day is complete without a time-waster or two, not to mention if you’re as sick and tired of this nasty winter weather as I am, a friend of mine sent me this link to help lift the February doldrums. Anything that provokes a smile in February is a wonderful thing.

So much for a Wordless Wednesday, right? Maybe next week. Heh.

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Monday Is The New Saturday

Yes, that’s right. Monday is the new Saturday, at least for me, and I have to say I like Monday dressed up in Saturday’s clothes a lot better than what it usually wears. Of course, having a day off is most unfamiliar these days, but so far I’m digging it.

The Big Project has gone well, although it has been extended for another two weeks. This means fiction is still on hiatus, since writing 70k words in 4 weeks on the same subject tends to wear out the brain cells. That being said, I’m working on a piece for #fridayflash just in time for Valentine’s Day. I wrote it a long time ago, but it needs a good overhaul and some serious editing. I hope I can have it done by Friday.

In other writing news, check out this post from author Peter V. Brett on the e-book wars. He nails it dead-on, I’m thinking.

The Super Bowl was amazing this year, and although I’m not a Saints fan (sorry, the Giants have had, and always will have, my football heart) it was nice to see them win. I will admit that sometimes the commercials outshine the game, but not this year. In spite of that, this was my favorite Super Bowl commercial and it just tickles me to no end:

Doritos Samurai

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And finally, if you are at all interested in health care reform (and you should be!) check out this brilliant link from Kenny Wyland, who very effectively debunks the more persistent and stoopid of health care reform myths.

So, since it is a day off, I’m going to see what kind of trouble I can find. Heh.

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An Update on Writershire(dot)com

You may remember this post from a company I did business with this past summer. I have been remiss in updating the full story, and for that I apologize. Let’s catch up, shall we?

On October 14th, almost two months after the project was completed, I received a payment from an unknown (to me) source. Not knowing from whom the payment originated or what it was for, I was concerned I had received it in error, so I emailed the source with an inquiry, and an offer to return the money (less the fees involved in the transaction.) In return, I received a very nice email from a new PIC (Person In Charge) saying that it was payment for the services rendered to this company, and the former PIC was no longer a PIC, and a sincere apology was offered for my inconvenience. I politely replied that these things happen, and I appreciated the payment. I further stated that I hoped we could continue a working relationship, but in the future I would require a deposit upon my services.

The PIC thanked me for my patience and understanding, and said they totally understood my position.

The End. Oh, wait…not The End.

In December I received another message from my financial institution, saying that the payment had been disputed, but since it was over the dispute period, no action had been taken. Confused, I emailed the originator of the dispute, asking what the problem was and how could I fix it?

Now, as if this whole thing wasn’t weird enough, it got weirder.

The originator of the dispute told me to return the money. That’s it. No other information. Now, I’m just a wee bit irritated because I have no idea what’s going on.

We swap a few emails, and this person was claiming that the payment was made out of their account without their knowledge or permission, and they wanted the money back, like NOW, because it was close to Christmas and they had to buy gifts. Um…

I forwarded the information I had regarding the payment and wished him good luck with his mission. I have no idea who this person was, or how someone could make a payment to me out of their account without their knowledge, and the whole thing smelled fishier than a three-day-old octopus washed up on the beach. This person (are you confused yet? Because I sure am) said this whole thing was a scam, and “we’ll get them”. We? Scam? All I know is I finally got paid TWO MONTHS LATE for services I rendered, so I haven’t been scammed. I think. I’m so confused.

I emailed the PIC I spoke with in October, and they told me it was a mistake, the dispute had been withdrawn, we’re all cool. I never did get an explanation of what was really going on, and at this point, I’m over it.

The End…oh, wait. Not The End.

Today, I received an email from someone I’ve never heard of demanding I take this original post down. That’s all the message said — “Please take this post down immediately. Thank you for your cooperation.” Um….

So, I emailed back and said hello, who are you and why would I delete it? It’s the truth.

Response? One line… “You got paid, hence it’s not true.”

I still have no idea who this person is. So, I emailed back and asked again.

It’s the head of accounting.

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I just want to say, for the record, I did eventually get paid, although that part is wreathed in mystery, which is really not my problem and I don’t care. I am a reasonably nice person, and I try to conduct myself in a respectful and professional manner. What is really irritating me here is the total lack of professionalism and respect on this other end. I don’t think I’m out of line here. If you want to discuss a problem, I’m all ears. If you want to start demanding, like I’ve done something wrong, well, talk to the hand.

This is my blog. This is my experience. Period.

Beware. That’s all I’m saying.

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