Kandi Kane

– A Christmas Story –

The flamingo pink had faded to a shade closer to Pepto and the stucco was cracking and chipping in a dozen places, it didn’t matter though no one frequented the Pink Pony for its curb appeal. Kandi pushes off the wall taking a final drag on the diminishing cigarette she had bummed off Nigel, the stucco leaving a dimple effect on her soft skin. Time to get back inside, Nigel didn’t care if you took a “break” but he would be looking for a cut if you were more than a few minutes. It had been a good month though – December usually was, but any month you didn’t have to spend on your knees to make rent was a good month in her book. The sad string of multi-colored lights tacked around the door and the line-up of Christmas inspired names were the only nods to the holiday. She had chosen first – Kandi Kane – cause her plain jane eastern Iowa looks and “Heidi” didn’t inspire a man to drop twenty on a lap dance.

Like most little girls she had grown up with bigger dreams than her opportunities could fulfill. It had been three years since she had left the little nothing farm town for the big city where those dreams were all going to come true. Why her mother hadn’t stopped her was still a mystery – well maybe not, her mother had a hard-enough time taking care of herself, never-mind a teenage daughter with wants no waitress’ tips were going to quench. Nigel had seen her coming a mile away, fresh off the bus, small town blues, and nothing but a decent set of tits and legs to her name – “Heidi, you know like in The Sound of Music,” she had told him. He had laughed in what had seemed like a cool British accent at the time, that was now just annoying. She had only found out months later that there wasn’t any “Heidi” in The Sound of Music.

She holds the pole and kicks up her heel before losing the red sequined bra – mustering what passes for a smile she struts over to the three drunks sitting stage left, bending over to pick the singles up she gives them a good view of her goods, hoping for another few bucks but not really caring either way. These guys are all regulars and more interested in their beer than her boobs. The place is empty by eleven and Nigel cuts them all loose early with a slap on the ass and a Merry Christmas! Wrapped in a hoodie and carrying her heels in one hand and bag in the other she catches the #3 bus home. She leans her cheek against the cool window and hums along to radio… “jingle bells, jingle bells…” – “Merry Christmas mom,” she whispers to the dark brushing a tear from her cheek.

Are we there yet?

Nancy purses her lips, deep cherry red gloss of course, as she plugs the twins Timmy and Jenny into the screen synchronizer with the new 3D multimedia interface, the new ports had hardly left any scars and the twins had healed almost immediately. The digital entertainment center with the upgraded implant adapters had been a major selling point for her and Dan when looking at a new van. Handing the seven year olds their display projectors she calls for Dan to hurry up. It takes forty-seven minutes to get to her parents and they were already eleven minutes behind schedule. If they didn’t get started she was going to miss another virtual yoga session with Nancy and Katie. She was worried Yogi Alexander was going to unplug her for good this time. She had waited months for an opening and some silly family day outing with her parents wasn’t going to cost her that spot. “Where is Dan,” she grumbles, pinging his number again! Read more ›

“The Sally Anne”

The white paint had faded to a dingy gray and was flaking off in large patches, most of the siding should have been replaced years ago, while silently flickering in the grimy window a faded neon “open” sign sputters and blinks out its forlorn message. A collage of stickers from various fishing reel and boating manufacturers peeling along the edges and washed out from long exposure to the Gulf coast sun are plastered across the front door, affixed to the top is a small brass bell intended to announce the arrival of any timid soul brave enough to venture into the shadowy interior; it hadn’t worked in years not that there had been any traffic to announce. Had you bothered to glance up you would see the slightly askew hand painted sign inviting you to enter “Big Dan’s Charters & Day Tours” the bright red letters having faded in sync with everything else and even the gaily colored baby blue boats with their painted on smiles seem melancholy. Read more ›

TJ Jackson

… The hot white light of the spots illuminates the swirls of smoke as the heat overwhelms the whir and wobble of the small metal fan bolted to the top of the scarred and battered upright piano on the left side of the small stage. Stage is probably too generous, someone long ago had built a small platform out of 4X4s and plywood that the band somehow managed to fit on.  The outside of the piano looks like it has been rescued from some local salvage yard, but inside its polished, tuned and maintained as lovingly as any concert hall Steinway, certainly not what you would expect on the “bar stage” at Danni’s Drop Inn. The name was a holdover from another time, there never had been an Inn and locals had always just called it Danni’s, never had been a Danni either for that matter, but that’s another story. Read more ›

The Diner

The Diner

The clock on the far wall ticked off the minutes slowly approaching the five o’clock hour seeming to take forever to get there, Danny wiped down the last of the stainless prep tables thinking back on the day and flexing his fingers his arthritis had been flaring up lately. This was always his favorite time the cooks had left after cleaning up their stations and mopping down the floors.  Shirley, Janet, Alice had been with him for years but even they and the other waitresses were long gone having counted up their tips and checked the following week’s schedule, not that it ever varied. None of the bustle, noise, and energy of the breakfast and lunch rush remained, just the soft whir from the walk-in coolers and the pie case kept him company. Read more ›

Ride Virgie Ride

Virgie, Virgie, Virgie!!,

Yes father?

It’s time Virgie…

With a quick leg up from Murphy she settles in the saddle pretending to listen as her Father runs through his favorite list of warnings… but she was already galloping across the prairie her raven hair streaming behind her, the creak of her leather saddle keeping time with the steady rhythm of hooves. Fall was upon them and the cool winds streaming down from Canada bent the wheat in great swaths around her. It wouldn’t be long now before the hired hands and the Indian families would begin the harvest, but not today, today the prairie was hers. Read more ›

The “CRAB” Man

He seems to perpetually exist in a world filled with mobile Latino brothels, four handed eighty dollar Asian massages, and a road side hotdog stand in desperate need of a good “relish” girl – bikini top optional, the “Crab Man” makes his way down Fowler Ave, his van a rolling billboard hawking fresh gulf shrimp and scallops but strangely enough no crabs. The day is still young just tipping past nine o’clock but he has been up since four thirty packing his boxes of fresh seafood deep in ice for the journey round town to the few restaurants he still services. Read more ›

Vitvitskia

Charlie had been driving for three days averaging four to five hours during the height of the day choosing to conserve his fuel and energy and focusing his efforts on those times when the slowly dying sun was able to muster the brilliant pinks and oranges that had become associated with the heat of the day. It was a lie of course, there was no heat anymore, only a cold frozen existence overshadowed by a brilliant sky perpetuating the illusion of some long forgotten time when sunsets were more than just the deepening ink of night. His family and a number of others from the upper Midwest had banded together and survived the hundred year snows managing to maintain a semblance of order and structure to their lives. Read more ›

The Devil’s Playground

The sun rose that day like every other before it, breaking through the early morning haze that blanketed the gulf coast of Florida, not quite smog not quite fog just smothering denseness that would soon burn off with the rising sun. Winter was already breaking and the heat of summer was just beginning to nibble at the edges of the weekly forecasts shamelessly predictable and monotonously provided by the purveyors of the local cable conglomerate. It had been two weeks since the “spring ahead” ridiculousness that was daylight savings time and most folks had begun adjusting to a new sleep pattern, not that they would so easily abandon this excuse for being late to most everything but definitely Sunday morning church. Read more ›

The Soul Collector

The soft rain had stopped some time after midnight leaving only a sporadic errant drip from the swaying leaves overhead the shifting patterns of their shadows chasing each other through the shallow puddles partially illuminated by the gentle hiss of the magnesium street lights parading down 5th avenue giant sentinels blind to the shadow silently passing beneath them. He came this way often passing unnoticed by the brick alleys of the older apartment buildings fortunate enough to have survived the onslaught of the glass and steel of the high rise condos surrounding them on all sides, his purposeful stride belied by the vacuum of silence emanating from within the folds of his cloak.  Read more ›