Sunday, October 9, 2011

And Your Little Dog Too!

“What do you think?” Stasi stepped back from the large bay window to better study the display she’d designed for the upcoming holiday. She brushed her hands down her bold turquoise and black skirt with its spangled scarf hem that brushed her black high-heeled boots. A softer turquoise cowl neck sweater completed the look. She recently added gold highlights to her brown hair that was pulled back with a black band.

Isn’t It Romantic? was in stylized gold script lettering on the overhanging sign.

Blair also stepped back. Her forest green boat-necked sweater and matching leggings gave her an Audrey Hepburn look. She admired the black sheer nightgown with cobweb sleeves draped on a delicate hanger. An ebony glitter half mask was draped from invisible fingers, courtesy of Stasi’s magick, along with black marabou high heels slides. On the other side was a pumpkin orange silk bustier seeming to be slung over an ivory velvet bench. The small vanity table showed several romance novels and a crystal flacon of perfume. Orange gold and black sparkles danced in the display finishing what was a combination of saucy and elegant.

“It’s perfect,” Blair pronounced. “I hope you put away that nightgown for me.”

“And me.”

The two witches shared grins, aware their respective shapeshifter and wizard hotties wouldn’t probably allow them to wear the sexy gown for long.

Stasi moved a few steps to take a look at Blair’s display window. Blair’s love of retro showed strong in her shop, Blast From The Past. She use an old-fashioned fence for the background, putting up vintage pictures of black cats, witches against a full moon, and bubbling cauldrons. Dolls dressed in Halloween costumes filled the window along with a tiny red wagon loaded with teddy bears. A boy doll dressed as a ghost appeared to be pulling it.

“I can’t believe we’re doing it again,” Blair moaned. “Every year we tell them we won’t go with the usual Halloween crap.”

“And every year we give in to Agatha.” Stasi named the mayor’s wife who was a mighty force onto her own. “She’s even worse now that the elves are on her side. They volunteered to run around the town as goblins.”

Blair wrinkled her nose in distaste. “That just means they’ll revert back to their nasty original selves.”

The two witches returned to Stasi’s shop and walked in, immediately heading for the coffee pot in the back. Stasi poured them each a cup of aromatic chocolate cinnamon and brought out the plate of snickerdoodle cookies.
“Oh, good!” Now that food was available, Horace, Stasi’s pain in the butt gargoyle, swooped down to snatch up a treat. His horns practically rotated in orgasmic joy as he gobbled up his coffkie.

“One,” Stasi warned him even as he snuck a second.

“Ouch!” Horace glared at Blair as he rubbed his scorched tail. She smiled back and as blew on her forefinger that she used to zap him.

“There you are!”

The witches closed their eyes and muttered a spell for patience as the mighty force known as Agatha Pierce rolled into the store. Her husband, Floyd, might be mayor, but it was common knowledge that it was Agatha that ruled the town.

The woman steamed in like a Sherman tank, her black wool suit sporting a large orange zircon pumpkin pin on the lapel. Chu-Chu, her bad-tempered golden-color Pekinese that resided in a large leather tote. The small dog popped his head over the top and lifted his lip at Horace who snarled back.

“Oh my!” Agatha stared at the gargoyle and moved back as if afraid he’d attack her. “Is that thing …?”

Stasi nodded.

“Did it always …?” She rotated her finger in a silent question about Horace living and breathing and not a statue as he usually pretended to be when anyone else came into the boutique.

Blair nodded.

Agatha patted her beloved pet’s head. “Don’t worry, darling, Mumsie will protect you from that ugly thing,” she cooed.

“Who’re you calling ugly you --!” Horace knew when to quit when he saw Stasi starting to mouth a spell. “I’m gone.” And he was.

“Your book order came in, Agatha.” Stasi moved into the stock room and returned with a bag.

“Thank you, my dear.” She accepted the bag. “Just charge my credit card as always.”

Blair almost choked when she saw the note stapled to the bag before Agatha tore it off. It seemed the esteemed mayor’s wife was addicted to very racy novels. Who knew?

“I am so glad you are participating with our Halloween festivities this year,” Agatha almost gushed. “As always we’ll be having cemetery tours, ghost walks.”

“And won’t the ghosts love that,” Blair muttered.

“It’s not as if they’re real,” the woman insisted then faltered. Even after all this time, she was never sure if the two witches were teasing her or speaking the truth. To date, she never dared ask. “It’s for effect, you understand. The Ladies League met this afternoon and voted on adding a new feature to this year’s Halloween festivities.”

Stasi and Blair’s smiles froze.

“New feature?” Stasi finally found her tongue.

Agatha’s head bobbed up and down, almost dislodging the elaborate curls on her head.

“A play,” she announced.

“I have a bad feeling about this,” Blair muttered under her breath, staring to step backwards but Stasi’s grip on her arm didn’t allow her to escape.

“Don’t make me freeze you,” Stasi said grimly.

“What kind of play?” Blair asked, already dreading the worst.

The woman’s smile didn’t falter as she looked from one to the other. “Our own version of Wizard of Oz. After all, we have our very own magickal residents, don’t we?” She patted Chu-Chu’s head as he continued to growl in Horace’s direction. “I thought that Stasi, you could ask your lovely young man to play the wizard, and Blair, wouldn’t Jake make an adorable Cowardly Lion?” She glanced at Horace who was glaring at the nasty tempered dog. “Does it get any taller? Perhaps as the Tin Man? And with you two being wi—“ she paused at the looks of horror on Stasi and Blair’s faces. “Well, being such an integral part of the community you’d wish to be a part of the play. And my own darling Chu-Chu could play Toto.” In response to his name the little darling passed noxious gas.

“Oh ew!” Horace held his nose.

“Agatha.” Blair took one step forward while Agatha wisely took two back. “There is no way Stasi will sport green skin and wear an ugly black gown.”

“Me? What about you wearing it?” Stasi turned on her friend. Her eyes glowed gold with anger.

Sparks of magick shot up over both witches.

Agatha’s eyes widened as she realized staying in the vicinity might not be a good idea. She started backing up even faster.

Just not fast enough.

“Out!” Blair ordered.

“And your little dog too,” Stasi added.

The mayor’s wife whirled around and ran for the door. She barely crossed the threshold when the two witches smiled and held out their hands.

“Ideas in play. Not good to say. Find out what it’s like to be witch for a day!”

A tornado of purple and pink sparks flew through the air and enveloped Agatha. Her screams were loud enough to shatter glass as she was swept up into the air. A few moments later she was gently deposited on the sidewalk.

Except now, her skin was a dark green, a hairy mole decorated her pointed chin and hawk like nose. Her black silk suit morphed into a gauzy gown along with pointy hat and old fashioned high button shoes. Even her designer bag had turned into a broom and Chu-Chu was now even ugily as a monkey flying around her head.

Agatha stared at them with her mouth open. Whatever she planned to say came out as a clich├ęd cackle. A flash of fury crossed her eyes as she stomped off, broom in hand.

Fellow shopkeepers appeared in the doorways to watch the show and tourists strolling the sidewalk seemed to think it was part of a Halloween show.

“Don’t worry, Agatha, it will be gone by morning!” Stasi called after her, laughter bubbling up.

The moral of the story is don’t assume a witch likes your ideas.

Monday, October 3, 2011

In Memory of Thelma Randall -- My Mom

Sadly, my mom, Thelma Randall, passed away on September 18.

It’s been a hard year for us as her health started decline the beginning of this year until she went into hospice care this past July. All I can say about the Visiting Nurse Association is that they were fantastic and I can’t thank them enough for all they did for Mom.

Even with her health problems, Mom was a great friend to all, ‘Mom’ to my friends, and interested in what goes on.

Her service was last Friday where family and friends gathered to share their memories.

There were tears, there was laughter, and I know Mom would have enjoyed it all. Sad thing is, because I couldn’t find her discharge papers from the Marine Corps I couldn’t have an honor guard for her. The funeral home did their part and Facebook friends offered up wonderful suggestions. The home gave us a flag and I asked my FB friends to shout out ‘Semper Fi’ during the time of her service. And they did.

Below is what I spoke at her service.

Mom was a great cheerleader for authors.

When I was a brand spanking new author and told the world (okay not literally) what I did Mom smiled and suggested I not sound like I was bragging.

A few years later we were out having lunch. Mom looked across the restaurant and saw a woman reading one of my books. She hustled over there, told the woman her daughter had written that book, and motioned me over to introduce us and even asked the woman if she wanted me to sign the book.

I guess I didn’t need to brag. Mom did it for me. :}

I’ll miss Mom, but I know she’s always with me. And that I kept my promise to her. She didn't go into the hospital or a nursing home. She was at home where she belonged.

Memories of Mom

When I thought about writing something I realized what popped into my head was what I call snapshot memories. Bits and pieces of things that happened over the years.

One thing was Mom’s love for the marines. She might have only been in the womens reserve for a year during WWII but it impacted her life. She made lifelong friends as a result. She was a charter member of the womens military memorial and the women marines association. And yes, I’ll say what always embarrassed her. She dated Tyrone Powers’s crew chief.

She was first rejected when she went to join up. The doctor was going to say no because she had mild scoliosis. She told him her dad had been in the navy, had three daughters and she considered herself her father’s son. She made it in. If she hadn’t married Dad, she would have made it her career. Personally, I’m glad she married Dad.

Pride in her mother and grandmother who were driving forces in making Mom the woman she was.

My memories of Mom are a combination of laughter and tears.

I remember Mom making me sit in the car’s back seat because our shepherd mix, Skipper, insisted on the front passenger seat.

Mom horrified when a rattlesnake almost bit me but Skipper got to it first. Maybe that’s why Skipper insisted on the front seat.

Mom wearing her favorite lavender print halter dress and lavender leather high heels slides that I liked to try on and always fell over in.

Sitting nearby with a book in her hands while Dad and I fished for rainbow trout.

During same fishing trips going out to the outhouse in the late night and hoping that bear nearby wouldn’t decide we might make a nice snack.

Mom insisting a Toni home perm was good for me. It wasn’t.

Understanding that her daughter is a dreamer and indulging her love of books.

Laid up in bed and insisting ten year old me go outside to find out the source of the loud crash in the garage where Dad was working on his 1957 Bel Air and find out why Dad was swearing up a storm. The car was soon gone and Dad mumbled a lot every time he saw a blue Bel Air.

Explaining to me that I probably wouldn’t wear glasses all my life. Yeah Mom.

Introduced me to See’s chocolates. Thanks Mom!

Going to the drive in on Friday nights when Dad was away on business trips.

Our girls only Thanksgiving dinner at Knotts Berry Farm when Dad was snowed in in Montana.

Handling things after an earthquake, mopping up water when water flooded one of the bedrooms, and evacuating during a forest fire.

Patiently explaining to me that yes, I was having a Christmas wedding, but no, I shouldn’t wear red or green.

Mom going out with me when I was learning to master driving stick shift after Dad and I returned home yelling at each other. Don’t even ask.

Her adopting all my friends as her girls. Always asking about them, interested in what they were doing. Sending them love and virtual hugs if they needed them.

I miss Mom’s teasing when I forget to set up my coffee and whimper when I see the empty pot in the morning.

Even with all her health problems, Mom never faltered. She was an inspiration to many.

Mom was love, strength, faith and my best friend.

I’ll miss you Mom, but I understand why you had to leave me.