Think About Me

Think about me when you wake up in the morning.
Think about me on your way to work.
Think about me when I’m right there with you,
Just like I think about you.

Think about me when your day is over.
Think about me when you’re ready for bed.
Think about me in your dreams,
Just like I think about you.

Maybe by the way I act sometimes,
you can’t tell how much I think about you.

Maybe I hide behind the way I act sometimes,
Because I never know if you’re thinking about me, too.

© 2011 Wasted Space Publishing

In the Mirror

[ This is the first in a trilogy of stories. They are not bound by character or place or time, but by how searching for self in this world leads to corruption by this world. We live in a place where everything good is being corrupted by its evil twin. For everything good God has given us, Satan has corrupted in the hearts of men. Beauty becomes lust, truth becomes subjective, death becomes the end of the story instead of the beginning. And when we look in the mirror we do not see what God sees when He looks into our wounded hearts. ]

The arch of her body was like the crescent moon as she dived naked into the bay. The water was dark and cold and she was alone. She broke back through the surface for a breath, and the pale light of the moon played off the ripples of her wake and glistened across her face. She tried to forget her body most of the time but as she swam back to the dock where her clothes lay in a bundle, she remembered it. She felt the muscles of her thighs, taut against the resistance of the water. She felt her breasts push up towards the surface. She felt the water stream down her face and sting her eyes. Her tongue played over her lips to taste the salt. It was one of those times when she liked her body, when she couldn’t see it but she could feel it.

She swung up onto the three-step ladder hanging from the dock into the water. She pulled herself out of the blackness of the bay and stood in the darkened shadows of the night. Rivulets of salt water ran down her back and made a stain on the wooden two-by-fours of the dock. Her t-shirt stuck in patches to her shoulders and stomach as she wrestled with it. She wriggled into her shorts next and they were wet clear through by the time she got them up her legs and buttoned. The bra and panties went straight into her pocket, and she crept off the dock and into the yard with her shoes in her hand.

She made it through the back yard, past the house and onto the street before she flopped her shoes down on the sidewalk and slid her feet into them one at a time. The streetlights lit her walk as she moved under the palms toward the marina. Her little yellow convertible Volkswagen was parked on the street with the top down. She leaned into the car and exchanged the bra and panties in her pocket for the pieced-leather handbag in the front seat. Across the street, facing the Gulf was the Hurricane – the bar where she worked as a waitress. Walking alongside the bar to the front she hesitated and swayed to the music floating down from the band playing on the rooftop. It was a friendly reggae beat, telling her body how to move until she caught her reflection in the windows of the bar.

Her hair was loose around her shoulders and the salty breeze off the Gulf had dried her clothes, except around the nipples of her breasts and between her legs. It looked like she was wearing a stripper’s g-string and falsies under her clothes, and she smiled a self-conscious smile as she tied her hair in a ponytail before she stepped inside.

“I thought you got off a long time ago, Helen,” Tim said from behind the bar. “Where’d you go, out swimming in the Gulf?”

“Nope,” Helen answered, sliding onto a barstool, “skinny dipping in the bay. I sneak through the yard of that first big house that backs up to the bay and I swim off the dock in their back yard.”

“Skinny dipping, aye?” Tim said with heightened interest as he pulled her a beer from the tap.

“Yeah, it’s so peaceful out there, and dark,” Helen mused. “Quiet, you know. I can do what I want to out there alone.”

“All alone?” Tim echoed with a suggestion in his voice as he brought Helen her beer.

Helen smiled mischievously, but didn’t answer. She was used to such veiled advances and knew how to deflect them harmlessly.

“Manny’s still here,” she replied instead. Manny was a regular at the bar, with a W.C. Fields nose and pouty Cupid’s lips. He was no more than five foot three or four, probably close to thirty years old, and his hair sat on his head like a skullcap. The staff at the bar compared him to Barney Rubble from the old Flintstones cartoon. Still, he was the bar’s resident flirt and grabbed the waitresses around the waist whenever he got the chance and told them how beautiful they were.

“Yeah, Manny’s still here,” Tim answered reluctantly, not wanting to give up his image of being alone with Helen. “He’s the only one left who’s not up on the roof listening to the band. He just sits there drinking beer and looking at himself in the mirror.”

“What do you mean, looking at himself in the mirror?” Helen asked with a laugh.

“There, look,” Tim said, and Helen swung around to spy on Manny in his booth across from the far end of the bar. Sure enough, Manny was looking at the mirror behind the bar and fixing his hair. Then he glanced sidelong into the mirror to catch a glimpse of his profile.

Helen laughed out loud and Manny turned quickly towards her, but she had already turned back to Tim with a twist of her hips. “He really is looking at himself,” she leaned over the bar to whisper. “How funny!”

“He’s always looking at himself like that,” Tim whispered back. “Can you believe it?”

“And you don’t?” Helen said suddenly out loud, pushing back from the bar and slouching in her chair with her arms folded across her chest.

“No,” Tim answered defensively.

“Uh huh,” Helen mouthed, her sarcasm apparent.

“Well, not all the time like Manny,” Tim hedged.

Helen laughed out loud again and reached for her beer. She drank it down with expertise and slid it back to Tim for a refill.

“So you don’t ever look at yourself, is that it?” Tim said, annoyed with the smug look on Helen’s face.

“I avoid looking at myself in the mirror,” she answered Tim directly. “I’m not very satisfied with what I see.”

“You must be the only one that doesn’t like what they see,” Manny said from over her shoulder. He had come from his booth with an empty beer mug in his hand. He pressed against Helen’s back as he leaned to put the mug on the bar. “Get me another one,” he told Tim and Tim took the glass and went to the tap. Manny drew his hand back from the bar and brushed it lightly through Helen’s hair. “You’re wet, honey,” he said as he sat in the stool next to hers. “You been swimming?”

“No, Manny,” Helen teased breathlessly, “you make me wet.”

“She was skinny dipping in the bay,” Tim interrupted before Manny could answer.

“It’s the intercoastal,” Manny told Tim, but his eyes were on Helen. A Cupid-lips leer spread over his face as he brought a full beer to his mouth for a taste. “Girls who don’t like to look at themselves shouldn’t be skinny dipping in the intercoastal,” he said.

“I can’t see myself in the dark,” Helen answered without hesitation. “What do you see when you look in the mirror, Manny?”

“I see myself making love to beautiful women,” Manny leered even wider. “What do you see?”

“When I look at myself?” Helen clarified and Manny nodded. “I see all the things that are wrong with me,” she said.

Manny nodded again and turned to Tim. “What do you see when you look at yourself in the mirror?” he asked.

“I just see me I guess,” Tim shrugged, “good and bad.”

“And what do you see when you look at Helen?” Manny pursued.

Tim looked at Helen and then furtively away. “Well look at her, man,” he said to Manny. “She’s gorgeous.”

“She has full breasts,” Manny embellished, “and soft hips and long legs and riveting eyes.” Manny looked squarely at Tim and Tim nodded his agreement without once looking at Helen.

Manny turned quickly then to Helen and captured her gaze. “I wonder why she doesn’t see that?” he asked Tim.

It was suddenly quiet in the bar. The rhythms of the reggae band that had pervaded their conversation at the bar were gone. The dull sound of claps wafted down the stairwell from the roof in an untrue echo of the bass beat that had thumped through the foundations when the band was playing. Tim stammered something about, “Maybe she does see that,” but Manny kept his eyes on Helen.

“Because what I look like is not all I see,” she said softly.

Manny grinned widely and watched Helen drink down another beer and slide the empty to Tim for another refill.

Tim took the mug and said to Manny from the tap, “It must not be all you see either, Manny, if you see yourself making love to beautiful women.”

“Maybe not,” Manny agreed.

Sound swelled up again as the crowd made its way down from the roof. People came through the bar in ones and twos at first and then in larger groups. Helen and Manny sat at the bar and watched them all pass by. Some of the people stayed and ordered drinks from Tim, but most of them went out into the night and the ocean breeze. Helen quietly finished her beer and followed the stragglers outside. Manny stayed to watch the ones who sat at the booths or on the stools at the bar.

The wind blew in strong from the Gulf. Helen untied her ponytail and got into the Volkswagen. She wanted the wind to pull her hair back as she drove up the Gulf Boulevard. She wanted to smell the salt and sea in the pregnant breeze. She wanted to revel in the giddiness of the beers. It was like diving into the black water and forgetting what defined her reflection when she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror.

© 2011 Wasted Space Publishing

Swing His Swing

VOICEOVER: (Narrated by Arnold Palmer)
Swing your swing. Not some idea of a swing. Not a swing you saw on TV. Not that swing you wish you had. No. Swing your swing. Capable of greatness. Prized only by you. Perfect in its imperfection. Swing your swing. I know, I did.

As a golfer, that is the best advice I’ve ever been given. Every time I take a lesson or read a golf magazine or try to swing like I’m supposed to, what I’m left with is so bad even I’m embarrassed to play with me. I’m thinking about the angle I take away the club, rotating my shoulders, swinging inside out, keeping my elbow in, clearing my hips and on and on. It’s mind boggling. And every time I go through that exercise (Because, after all, shouldn’t I be able to crush the ball with ease like the professionals do I watch on TV. That’s like saying I should be able to dunk like Dr. J.), I always end back with my old swing. It’s the only way I can get the club face on the back of ball most of the time. It’s ugly and it’s different depending on what club I’m swinging, but when it comes to golf it is just the way my mind works.

What makes the “Swing Your Swing” advice so good is that it’s not just about golf. This is advice to be heeded about things I’m actually good at doing.

It’s good advice about the way I write. Using sentences that aren’t sentences. And starting sentences with and. And writing down the way I hear words in my head. There is a combination of being an English major and knowing the rules and the experience of writing for advertising and ignoring them in the way I write. There are also all the books I read stuffed somewhere in my head, waiting to sneak out onto the page. But mostly I just swing my swing, or write like I write.

It’s good for the way I design ads and postcards and signs and brochures. I was never taught how to do this stuff. My future wife and a friend of ours started an ad agency. My friend was the graphic artist. I was just a suit. Trouble is, right after we landed our first big client he got in a car wreck, almost tore his right arm out of the socket and he is right handed. He couldn’t work on the computer for three months. So, every day I would sit in his chair in front of his computer and he would tell me what to do. That didn’t make me a graphic artist, but it gave me a swing.

It’s good for the photographs I take. I don’t have a big bag full of cameras and different lenses I wouldn’t know what to do with anyway. I have a digital SLR and one zoom lens that lets me see up close and up to several hundred feet away. So, I take a thousand pictures and find the few that are photographs. Now if I could just focus.

There is a problem with all this, however. When I swing my swing on the golf course, I shoot 90. That’s not going to make me any money on the PGA Tour. My swing has made me a living with writing and designing, though, but I want more. I want to be the guy talking about his new book on Oprah (well, maybe not Oprah). Okay, on Ellen (not really Ellen, either). But that’s the idea. I want everybody to know what I’m doing, like every golfer knows the guys playing golf on TV. And the harder I try to make that happen, the more frustrating it gets. It’s like taking a lesson or trying a tip from a golf magazine. It is supposed to help and maybe it does for a few fleeting rounds, but in the end it’s right back to my swing and obsessing over why I can’t shoot under par like Arnold Palmer.

And then I relax and start swinging my swing again. Because it’s okay to want more. It’s just that the “more” I want may not be the “more” I get. Because MY plan just isn’t THE plan. Most folks have heard Philippians 4:13. It says, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” But I have a ball marker that’s engraved PHIL. 4:12. That’s the verse with the right swing thought. It says, “in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret, both of having abundance and suffering need.” Because God isn’t interested in our swing at all. He wants us to swing HIS swing.

Isadora Caps

Popular in Europe and North America, the Art Nouveau style had its beginnings in the late 1800s and remained dominant until the outbreak of World War I. Its aesthetic was characterized by extreme decoration, and was evident in architecture, painting, sculpture, furniture, clothing and even jewelry. Some consider Art Nouveau to be a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, when craftsmanship was trumped by mass production and machine-made products.

Art Nouveau typefaces are stylized, elegant display fonts. The type designs are usually extremely decorative, and can include embellished stroke endings, very high and low “waistlines,” diagonal and triangular character shapes, top- or bottom-weighted stresses, angled crossbars, and in some cases, filigreed initials. Some typefaces have more than one of these distinctive traits.

Isadora Caps was designed in 1993 by Sam Wang. He designed over 20 Art Nouveau fonts from 1991-2008, including Handwriting, Celtic and Sarah Caps. Isadora Caps has deep plunging descenders and an open ’round’ appeal.