He’s a Chick Magnet

I’m watching my favorite Netflix series. I discipline myself not to binge watch. I want to pace it out, extend my enjoyment. Then the front door opens, I hear footsteps. Then the voice.

“Ray, I need a vacation. I’m wearing out the treadmill you’ve put me on. All I do is work, work, and work some more,” said La Flor* nudging her main squeeze Little Carmen.

“That’s right, we needs a vacation,” said Little Carmen. Then he added, “I think I gots it right beautiful, tough, and edgy.”

“Almost right. Remember how the first line went, ‘La Flor needs a vacation.’ I’ve a Snicker’s bar and a small bag of nachos if you get it right,” said La Flor.

“I gots it, “Ray-mo, remember how the first line went? How’d I do beautiful, tough, and edgy?”

“Ray, I rest my case. I’m going nuts. LC, do me a big, really big fav and run over to the Starbucks on the other side of town and get me a white iced tea?”

“What’s about the one down the street? Do I has to run?”

“Yes, run. Walking might even be better. take your time. I don’t like the one down the street,” said La Flor then kissed Little Carmen on the cheek. Which was enough to push all the right buttons. Granted Little Carmen doesn’t have too many buttons (note how I use too correctly, unlike Little Carmen and La Flor).

La Flor nearly pushed Little Carmen out the door. She hollered, “Take your time LC, look both ways when you cross the street. Have a cold whipped drinks while you’re there and then get mine to go. It’s okay if you give it to a homeless person on a street corner.”

“Use is a saint, beautiful, tough, and edgy.”

La Flor turned to me, “Help me, Ray.”

“Pick a vacation spot?” I asked.

“No. One part of me wants to dump LC. And, the other part of me wants to keep LC. I’m caught in a tug of war and it’s tearing me apart.”

I’m trying to think what a sensitive male might say in a situation like this. ‘I’m here for you.’ No, I saw a Seinfeld episode with that line. ‘I’m listening.’ No, Fraser used that line in every show. ‘Suck it up and dump him.’ That doesn’t sound like a sensitive male. If only I could Google ‘sensitive male expressions.’ I can’t, La Flor’s expecting a response.

I said, “Want to sit out on the patio and talk?” I’m thinking I did pretty good.

La Flor said, “What? And, waste my time with psychobabble?”

“Where’d you pick up that term?” I asked.

“Dr. Phil’s script writer. You know, Dr. Phil is an alt ego. He’s not real like you and me. What you’re seeing is an actor play Dr. Phil the alt ego. The real alt ego hangs out at the alt ego singles club.”

“Dr. Phil is an alt ego?” I asked.

“Do I have to repeat everything. Now, let’s get back to my problem.”

“I forgot it’s all about you.”

“You’re learning,” said La Flor not catching my sarcasm.

I got La Flor out to the patio. I brought her a soda in a chilled glass with the exact amount of ice, one-fourth of the glass. At least, that’s La Flor’s measure of the exact amount of ice. I’m being very sensitive. I sat down opposite her and said, “What is it you don’t like about Little Carmen?”

“I don’t like the way he uses the word two for too when he should be using it for the word to.”

“And, not two?” I asked.

“Exactly!” said La Flor.

Two, too, and to are too troublesome to think about for too long. I Pushed ahead, the sensitive male that I am, “What is something you like about Little Carmen?” I asked.

La Flor put her index finger up to her lips, she was faking she was thinking, but I didn’t point it out, the sensitive male that I am. She moved her lips as she counted to six. Why six? No clue. She said, “He’s, no that’s not a strong point. He’s, no that isn’t it either. I know. He’s, no that doesn’t work either. It’s something about him. He has no good points for a beautiful, tough, and edgy, go for it all girl like me. He has one thing, just one thing.”

She said, “He’s, no that’s not a strong point. He’s, no that isn’t it either. I know. He’s, no that doesn’t work either. It’s something about him. He has no good points for a beautiful, tough, and edgy, go for it all girl like me. He has only one thing, just one thing going for him.”

“What is it?” I am intrigued.

“He’s a chick magnet. I don’t want any other alt ego women to have him. He’s mine. All mine.”

“Let me see if I understand.”

“Not a chance,” said La Flor.

“Why not?”“You’re not one of the species who has the understanding gene.”

“You’re not one of the species who has the understanding gene.”

“I’ll rephrase. Let me see if I can summarize.”

“That’s better, Ray.”

I said, “There is nothing you like about Little Carmen. How am I doing?”

“So far, so good,” she said.

“He’s a chick magnet and all your alt ego girlfriends would grab him in a second and you won’t let that happen.”

“You got that straight,” said La Flor.

In the distance, getting closer was the wail of sirens.

La Flor rushed to the window. She turned to me, “Ray, it’s the paramedics. Oh no, LC must be hurt and they want me to identify his shattered remains. He must have jumped out of a window because he loved me so much. Ray, I don’t think I can take it. I hope he left a note that tells everyone how he didn’t deserve me because he didn’t.”

I looked out the window, the back of the ambulance opened, LC jumped out, one of the paramedics hands him his Starbucks carry all. The paras waved at Little Carmen as he LC jogged to the door.

I said, “He’s okay, La Flor. He got a ride in the ambulance to bring you your drink.”

“Out of my way, Ray.” Said La Flor rushing to open the door.

“Here’s your drink my beautiful, tough, and edgy you can have it all girl.”

“Put them down you big lug and hug me. Then we’ll go plan our vacation at Wineland.”

I’ll never understand those two, too, or to.

* La Flor is a fictional character and acts as my alt ego. Her character has evolved over the blog posts. She began with a single letter as her name. Her name gradually grew to two letters, then three before she settled on La Flor. She liked the name because it fit her idea of a beautiful, tough, and edgy feminine PI.  It is my interaction with her persona that serves as the source of these blog posts. I have no notion how La Flor will continue to evolve. It is an adventure for me as well as the reader.



Facing Adversity? Don’t Quit!

I wish life were easy. It’s not. We’re constantly faced with challenges, some of them seemingly overwhelming. What separates those who survive and thrive from others is their willingness to face adversity and never, ever quit. It was that spirit of never quitting in spite of an overwhelming adversity that I found in this YouTube video. I hope it encourages you to fight on and never quit.

It’s Three-Thirty Somewhere

“You sure you want to be a shrink?” I asked La Flor*.

“My dream job,” said La Flor.

“Dream job?”

“Sure, you sit in a circle and ask people to talk. How hard is that?” said La Flor.

“I think there’s more to it,” I said.

“Come on, Ray. My assistant already prepared questions for me. I’m good to go,” said La Flor.

“You have an assistant?” I asked not remembering if I wrote this into the script.

She pointed to her left at Little Carmen with earphones in his ears, his head bopping to the music or something. She said, “Besides writing questions for me to ask, if anybody gives me trouble, LC will take them to time out.”

“Timeout in a support group?” I asked.

“That’s only for misdemeanors.”

“Misdemeanors? You have levels of bad behavior?” I asked.

“LC’s idea. Hold on a sec,” La Flor said then walked over to Little Carmen, pulled out his earplugs. “Come with me, LC.”

“Do I gotta?”

La Flor turned toward Little Carmen, looked up at him, “Do you want to go down this road again? No bedtime story. No Pizza Battles Reality Show.”

Little Carmen shook his head and dutifully followed La Flor until they both stood in front of me.

“LC tell Ray your great idea for the group.”

Little Carmen looked puzzled, no that’s not accurate, bewildered. No, that’s not accurate. Confused. No, that’s not accurate, either. He didn’t know what the hell was going on. That’s accurate.

“What ideas?” said Little Carmen jumping first to one foot, then the other.

“Do you have to go to the bathroom?” I asked.

“Geez, how’d you know?”

“Lucky guess.”

“Oh go,” said La Flor. Little Carmen headed toward the bathroom. La Flor turned to me, “I’m so happy he’s housebroken. LC could only get five alt egos from alt ego singles bar but I wanted six so he asked Big Carmen to join.”

“Big Carmen is in your group?”

“What I just say?”

“What’s the group’s theme. Every group has a theme,” I said.

“I was thinking of colors that don’t clash with what I’m wearing. Shoes have to be stylish. Hair has to be with it.”

“That’s your theme?”

“Yes, do you want to be part of the group? I’ll make an exception and make it seven people. It will be a lot of work,” said La Flor.

“No. But, I will observe, if you don’t mind,” I answered.

“As long as you don’t interrupt, butt in, correct me, raise your hand, give disgusted looks, roll your eyes, or act bored. I know it’s a tall order, Ray. I don’t need you interfering.”

“I will sit and watch the beautiful, tough, and edgy shrink at work.”

“Don’t forget the assistant shrink, two (remember, Little Carmen’s influence on La Flor, she now uses two for too).

Two hours later.

I’m seated in a circle of six people, three women, three men. One of the men is Big Carmen. This I don’t understand. La Flor is playing with her iPhone. Little Carmen is listening to a playlist. Five of the people are staring at La Flor and Little Carmen. The sixth, Big Carmen, is working on picking winners of baseball games, horse races, and deciding what the pizza special will be tonight.

I check my iPhone. We’ve been sitting in a circle for nearly twenty minutes. La Flor is still playing with her iPhone. Little Carmen fell asleep. Big Carmen is scratching his head, his pencil behind his ear.

La Flor finally puts her iPhone into her hand bag and said, “I’m the beautiful, tough, and edgy shrink. This is my first question written by my assistant, “Why are you here? Now I know why Big Carmen is here, he doesn’t have Wi-Fi and he’s using Ray’s Wi-Fi do online gambling.”

A woman, about thirty-seven, who had work done, if you know what I mean, raises her arm and starts waving it.

La Flor looks at her and said, “Yes?” The yes was coated in ice. And, even though it’s 1020 not a drop of ice melts from the yes.

“Some blog writer wrote us into the script. I had better things to do than waste an hour here.”

This was a bad move on a couple of levels. On one level, I’m the guy who wrote these alt egos into the script even though I don’t remember doing it. I wonder if La Flor is messing with my laptop when I’m asleep. I made a mental note to change the password. On a deeper level, La Flor gives her a look only La Flor can give and it’s going to get worse.

“You know what? You ought to sue your plastic surgeon, bad job,” said La Flor.

“Thank you. You are so wise. I told my boyfriend it was a terrible job, but you know men.”

“Only two well (La Flor picked up on Little Carmen’s habit of using two instead of too). I could tell you stories about that species,” said La Flor glancing at Little Carmen off in La La Land.

A short, paunchy, balding man with suspenders to hold up his pants, said, “I think it’s unfair picking on my species.”

La Flor looked at him, she stifled a gag response when she saw he violated all of her sartorial codes. She said, “Suspenders? A paunch? Pants with an elastic waist band? Is that a piece? What is your name?” said La Flor.

“It’s Bill.”

“Don’t tell me to chill. LC will take you level one, time out.”

“What did I do?”

La Flor shook Little Carmen. Little Carmen woke up with a start, “Huh?”

“LC, glare at him,” said La Flor point at Bill.

Little Carmen shot a glare at Bill that would cause a two-year-old to crawl back into the womb.

“Good boy, here’s your Snicker’s bar.”

“Wait too or six moments, beautiful, tough and edgy shrink,” said Little Carmen again confusing two and too.

“What’s wrong, LC?”

“How woods (that’s how he said would) likes it if I treated use like a German Schlepski?”

“I don’t like Schlepskis of any kind,” said La Flor.

“Use gets what I means?” said Little Carmen.

I thought the big, tough, muscle lug was going to cry.

“I didn’t means two (there she goes again sounding like Little Carmen). Can I give you a hugs and a Snicker’s Bar?”

“Of course, use may, my beautiful, tough, and edgy, I don’t likes dis stinkin shrinking business.”

“What are these people doing here? How long have we been going, I’m exhausted,” said La Flor.

I interrupted, “Actual time, seven minutes. Real time, twenty-five minutes.”

“You broke the contract, Ray. You can’t come back next week.”

“Okay,” I said.

“I was only kidding. You can run the group next week, they bore me.”

“I don’t want to run the group.”

“Neither do I, what are we going to do with them.”

Big Carmen looked up, “I has a great idea. Little Filly just won in the seventh at Aqueduct. I won five hundred bucks. Pizza for everybody at Carmen’s Pizzeria tonight.

All the alt ego’s start applauding.

La Flor gave gaga eyes to Little Carmen, “You big lug, I need a margarita after all the stress Ray put me through.”

I pointed to my chest, “Me? I’m an innocent bystander.”

Little Carmen turned toward me, he said, “Don’t thinks nothing to it, Ray-mo. Use was just cholesterol damage.”

I wanted to correct him and say collateral, but to what end.

Little Carmen gave his main squeeze a hug and said, “I knows just the place, it’s called Margarita de Ville. It’s three-thirty somewhere (I didn’t have to heart to ruin Jimmy Buffet’s song).

* La Flor is a fictional character and acts as my alt ego. Her character has evolved over the blog posts. She began with a single letter as her name. Her name gradually grew to two letters, then three before she settled on La Flor. She liked the name because it fit her idea of a beautiful, tough, and edgy feminine PI.  It is my interaction with her persona that serves as the source of these blog posts. I have no notion how La Flor will continue to evolve. It is an adventure for me as well as the reader.





We Need Each Other

When I first saw this YouTube video, I showed it to my students at The Ohio State University as a model for teamwork. I’ve watched it many times. The more I watch it, the more I see how it represents our need to compliment each other. Your strength compliments my weakness. My strength compliments your weakness. We make it work when we learn to trust each other at a deep level. It takes courage to let go and rely on another.

We Need Each Other

What’s He Watching?

What are normal people doing at three a.m.? They’re sleeping. That is, unless they are working the night shift. That’s what I was doing, no I wasn’t working the night shift. I was in the deepest level of REM sleep, the kind of sleep that heals, renews, and when you wake in the morning you know it’s going to be a great day. Then my dreams shifted from the peaceful meadow with a clear creek running through, a few deer prancing in the distance, and the mountains smiling at me to the ground shaking, I was in an earthquake. I grabbed hold of a pine tree next to me. The earthquake grew stronger, I awoke from my nightmare holding my pillow tight to my chest. I opened my eyes to see La Flor and Little Carmen standing over me.

“Good morning, Ray,” said La Flor* a pleasant lilt to her voice.

“Was use having a nights mare? I hates night mares and day mares two (remember, LC says two for “too”).

I said, “What time is it? What are you doing in my room?”

“I wanted to talk and it couldn’t wait until you showered and had your coffee,” said La Flor.

I looked toward the covered windows, it was still dark, really, really dark. “Is it an emergency?” I asked.

La Flor tilted her head, “Not really. I didn’t want to think about it when I went back to bed. I probably wouldn’t fall asleep.”

I didn’t know what to say. Then I heard the gravel voice.

“I like omelets for breakfast,” said Little Carmen.

La Flor patted him on his head, and said, “Be a good boy and go lie on the couch, now go. You can have your omelet later.”

“I’m on my way beautiful, tough, and edgy to be determined,” said Little Carmen.

It was the last part of his sentence, there was something about it that might be important, I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

From the living room, the gravel voice with a sense of urgency, “Can I watch cable?”

“If you don’t get off the couch,” said La Flor rolling her eyes.

A second later, the gravel voice again, “Can I get off the couch to get the remote?”

I wasn’t sure if the earthquake was the nightmare or if this is the nightmare. I lose either way.

“I’ll bring you a treat when I’m through talking with Ray if you’re quick about it,” said La Flor.

“I’ll be quicker than if you counts to four backward from too (that’s how he says two, confusing, right?).

I was sitting in bed trying to wrap my head around counting backward from two and somehow reaching four. I heard La Flor.

“I’m at two and a quarter are you back on the couch?”

“I’m almost there. Did I make it?”

“Good boy, LC.”

Is she treating Little Carmen like a large dog or a little child? I know I can mix metaphors with the best of the metaphor mixers. What La Flor is doing is new territory for me. She’s going where no alt ego has gone before. (Sorry StarTrek fans, I couldn’t help myself).

I checked my iPhone, it was 3:07 a.m. “Can we make this quick? I want to go back to my peaceful meadow.”

“I have three questions, Ray, that’s all. Easy squeezy. I love that expression. LC taught it to me. Sometimes I use sneezy instead of squeezy. And sometimes I use breezy instead of squeezy.”

“I get the point. Brilliant adaption of word usage,” I said, then wondered why I encourage her.

“Disappointed you didn’t think of it first? It was LC, then I took it a bit further,” said La Flor now sitting on the edge of my bed.

“Devastated. Now what are the three Questions,” I said, I was willing to make up any answer. I wanted to go back to sleep. I hope I can find that position again.

“Here you go, Ray. Q one. Q stands for questions; when I say Q it helps us to get to the point faster. Do you agree?”

I replied, “Oh yes, please use Q and use it frequently.”

“Q one, I’m changing careers. I want to be a shrink.”

My apologies to all psychologists, psychiatrists, and counselors. If you have a problem, take it up with La Flor, por favor. I said, “Go for it.”

“Great, Q one is answered. Here’s Q too (I can see Little Carmen’s growing influence on La Flor, she used too instead of two. My world is spinning out of control). Can I use our living room for my group sessions?”

Group sessions? Our living room? Where was I? Is there a way out? Will they follow me if I find my way out? What the heck, I said, “Sure, why not. Can I go back to sleep?”

She waggled an index finger at me, “Ray, Ray, Ray we have one more Q. Q three and it rhymes with me.”

“You’re naturally poetic,” I said. It was now 3:22 a.m.

The sound from the living room threatened to make me deaf. “What’s he watching?”

“LC loves this show called Heavy Metal Rockers face off in a Death Cage Match with Violinists.”

“This is a show?”

“It’s really, really popular on cable.”

I need a support group. “What’s Q 3?” I said over the crash of a violin on the head of a Heavy Metal Rocker, then the profanity laced tirade of the Heavy Metal Rocker telling the violinist where he was going to insert the violinist’s bow if he caught him. Little Carmen was cheering for the rocker.

“He’s so cute when he gets excited,” said La Flor.

“Q 3, por favor.”

“I forgot. It couldn’t have been important. Ciao, Ray. I’m going to finish watching the show with LC.”

Sleep? Precious sleep? If you can’t beat them, join them. I wrapped my blankets around me and sat on the couch staring at something that shouldn’t be allowed on cable or to exist on the planet. I couldn’t take anymore. I got up and said, I’m going to get dressed and go to all night Starbucks.

“We’ll go with you. LC will record it so we can watch it later,” said La Flor, the beautiful, tough, and edgy shrink.


* La Flor is a fictional character and acts as my alt ego. Her character has evolved over the blog posts. She began with a single letter as her name. Her name gradually grew to two letters, then three before she settled on La Flor. She liked the name because it fit her idea of a beautiful, tough, and edgy feminine PI.  It is my interaction with her persona that serves as the source of these blog posts. I have no notion how La Flor will continue to evolve. It is an adventure for me as well as the reader.









The Extra Effort

Make The Extra Effort – It Will Make The Difference

Here’s a motivational Youtube video to inspire you to give it the effort you need to take it over the top. We are never defeated if we continue to strive. Never Quit.

Can I Have My Fortune Cookie?

The three of us, La Flor*, Little Carmen, and me sat in my car in the parking lot of the strip mall that housed U Shoe China Garden. That’s the way they spelled it, don’t email me corrections, por favor.

“Why are we sitting here?” I tossed the question out like a dandelion tosses its seeds to the wind. I didn’t care who answered. And, the dandelion doesn’t care where the seeds land. We both only wanted to get this thing done. The way I figured it, three things could happen and all were bad.

La Flor chimed in, “It’s only three fifty. The senior specials don’t start until four.”

“That’s all they charge for the meal?” asked Little Carmen.

La Flor turned her head, cocked it sideways, and looked at Little Carmen, then she turned toward me. I found myself in the position of the interpreter. I said, “Little Carmen wants to know why they only charge three fifty for the buffet.”

“They do? I’ll make a note of that,” said La Flor.

Is there any sanity left in my world? Has my life come down to being the straight man for La Flor and Little Carmen?

Why do we want to eat at four? Can I eat at seven two (remember, that’s how he says, ‘too’). I used to be a senior, that was right after I was a junior, but before I congratulated,” Little Carmen informed us.

“You mean graduated, right?” I said.

“Ray-mo you’re thinking of sugar. You know, the graduated kind.” I think he meant to say granulated, but this could go on for a while if I pursued it. So I nodded in assent.

“We don’t want to eat,” said La Flor.

“We don’t?” said Little Carmen. “My tummy is making noises likes somebody is inside me choking somebody.”

“Remember what I taught you, LC. Be nice and we’ll have something better later,” said La Flor rubbing the back of Little Carmen’s neck.

Little Carmen, who is not so little, seemed to shrink to child size in front of me. I wanted to see if his tongue hung out. His big brown eyes gaga with the beautiful, tough, and edgy fill in the blank.

“How can you be the Phantom Diner if you don’t eat the food?”  I asked. My question made sense to me. Perhaps, I was the only one in the car to whom it made sense.

“That’s easy, Ray,” said La Flor. She patted Little Carmen’s right bicep, the one with the tattoo that said Mite. His left bicep’s tattoo read Dyno. I know it’s lame, but La Flor wanted in here. Take it up with her. She continued, “LC, tell Ray your plan.”

My worst fears started to take form. Little Carmen, pointed out the window, with a forefinger the size of a large brat. “Sees that guy, the one with the walker?”

I looked out the window, there was a guy with a walker headed toward U Shoe. He was followed by a man who was followed by a woman, both driving senior scooters. Both with baskets on the front. All three were racing at one point six miles an hour to see whose name was first on the seating list.

The old gal made a move to pass the old guy in front of her. A car honked at the trio who seemed to be crossing slow motion in front of the car. The old gal turns and flips the driver off, then turns her front wheel into the rear right wheel of the scooter in front of her nearly causing a senior scooter rollover. The guy in front of her can’t turn all the way around because his urine sack is restricting him from full mobility. She sneaks into second place at the finish line. The door to U Shoe.

I answered, after my digression into the senior follies, “I see him.”

“What took so long to answers me?” said Little Carmen.

“I was giving the readers some filler.”

“What’s they gonna do with a filter?”

“Stay focused, LC,” that’s’ a good boy. Here’s a mini Snicker’s bar for you,” said La Flor extracting a small Snicker’s bar from her handbag.

“Thanks, beautiful, tough, and edgy phantom diner.”

I’ve got my Christmas present in mind of La Flor. A retractable leash she can use with Little Carmen. Thankfully, Little Carmen lost his train of thought as he munched on his Snicker’s bar. The three of us went into U Shoe.

A medium height, thin, balding male who looked like his ancestors came from somewhere around the Pacific Rim, said, “Table for three?”

Little Carmen spoke up, “No. We’re going eat with those three.” He pointed his brat at the senior trio with two scooters and a walker pulled neatly into a circle in case of an Indian attack.

“We have plenty of other tables.”

“We wants that one, see,” said Little Carmen two inches away from the host.

“Don’t worry, he’s had all his shots,” said La Flor.

What did she mean by that, distemper? Rabies? Heart worm? Or, tetanus, polio, measles? I wasn’t sure.

“This won’t look good for you on the write-up?” said La Flor.

I whispered to her, “The phantom diner isn’t supposed to tell anybody she is the phantom diner.”

“I told you. I told LC. I told BC. What’s the problemo?”

The host walked us over to the table with the seniors. The three of us squeezed in at the table.

“What the hell is going on?” said the senior male with the walker, now known as SM1.

The senior male with the scooter, now known as SM2, said, “Victoria cut me off. I should have been second.”

“Leave me out of this if one of you want to take me home tonight,” said Victoria.

“Hell, we all came in the same SUV and we’re going to the same place,” said SM1.

“You can’t take Victoria home,” said SM2.

“Why?” said Little Carmen.

Question: Why is Little Carmen jumping into this domestic dispute?

“That’s what I want to know,” said Victoria.

“Sing it, sister,” said La Flor.

I began to look for cover. I said, “I’m going to the buffet.”

“No, you don’t, we go in order. Last week Victoria went first. Then SM1. Then me,” said SM2

“That was two weeks ago,” said Victoria.

I signaled the waiter, “Can I have my fortune cookie?”

“Fortune cookie?” Little Carmen took an interest. He said to the waiter, “Me too, and brings one for the beautiful, tough, and edgy, Phantom Diner.”

When will this end? What did I do to deserve this? Of all the alt egos available, I get La Flor and Little Carmen.

La Flor said, “That’s a good boy, LC.”

I was happy she didn’t say shake.“What’d he say?” said SM1.

“What’d he say?” said SM1.

“He asked about a cookie,” said SM2.

“What’s he want with a cookie? I don’t think we ate. Victoria, Did we already eat, I don’t remember?”

La Flor grabbed my arm, “I think they’re dangerous. Let’s get out of here, now. I have everything I need for this place.”

“You do?” I said.

“LC help me with my chair.”

“Here’s your check,” said the waiter.

Little Carmen said, “The guy with the scooter. He’s paying.”

Highlights from La Flor’s write up.

Mark the parking spaces by the tables for scooters and walkers.

Put fortunes in the fortune cookies.

Victoria has got to do something about her hair, it smells of perm.

My Fortune read: Your lucky number is 7. The moon is in your phrase (that’s what it said “phrase). Life turns on a daisy (I have no idea where they get these fortunes).

* La Flor is a fictional character and acts as my alt ego. Her character has evolved over the blog posts. She began with a single letter as her name. Her name gradually grew to two letters, then three before she settled on La Flor. She liked the name because it fit her idea of a beautiful, tough, and edgy feminine PI.  It is my interaction with her persona that serves as the source of these blog posts. I have no notion how La Flor will continue to evolve. It is an adventure for me as well as the reader.



Good Puppy

I have no secret hiding places. My sacred space evaporated with the morning dew. Actually, faster than the morning dew. Alone time? What is it? I feel like a third-rate character in a B movie. Okay, I write the script, but I’ve lost control. How can I lose control to the script I’m writing, you ask? You’re asking the wrong writer. Somewhere, who knows how many blogs ago, I took a right turn, or was it a left turn, maybe I kept walking straight ahead, it’s all a blur. I entered the world of alt egos.

I’m not the first one to have this experience. The cult television show, The Prisoner, from the sixties and more recently, The Truman Show present the similar dilemmas. Those were movies. This is a real life situation and 911 won’t listen to me. I’ll stop here, I hear her.

“What’s up, Ray? You look lost in thought?” said La Flor, taking a seat at the patio table. Of course, she took my coffee cup, help it up to me for a warm up. She wrapped both hands around it and smiled at me.

“Where’s Little Carmen?” I asked. I said a silent prayer the mob kidnapped him. I didn’t much care which mob.

“I sent him outside. I needed a break, you know some quiet time. He’s probably sitting on the front steps wondering when I’ll let him in,” she said.

I wondered if Little Carmen chased squirrel’s, or cars, yelled at postmen, growled at anyone walking down the street. Do I need a sign in the front yard, BEWARE OF LITTLE CARMEN for insurance purposes?

“Whatcha thinking about, Ray?”

“Oh, nothing. Nothing at all,” I answered.

“You’re thinking of something. I know you’re thinking something. I’ll figure it out sooner or later. Enough of you. It’s me time,” said La Flor.

How do you respond to that kind of comment? I thought of two or three responses and they’d all turn out bad. I had a strong desire to grab the coffee pot and drink directly from it. Mental note, bring two cups. Make it three in case Little Carmen shows up.

La Flor broke the silence, “I’ve decided to become a two-career woman.” She held up her hand, policeman style, forbidding me to speak. Then she continued. “I am beautiful, tough, and edgy. I’m keeping my PI shtick.”

“It certainly is a shtick,” I said.

“Thank you, Ray. I’ve decided to be a food critic. You know the phantom dinner. LC will travel with me. He knows food and can give me pointers.”

“Do you mean Phantom Dinner or Phantom Diner?” I asked.

She shook her head, “You’re not listening, Ray. Your head is not in the game. You’ve got a big part in this.”

That got my attention. I turned my chair to directly face La Flor. I kept repeating to myself, ‘Ray, listen. Don’t agree to anything. Think it over.’ The problem for me was I had a lot to remember and repeat it while I am trying to listen to La Flor.

She continued, “Since we’re just starting out, we need a driver, someone to pay for our meals until a syndicate picks us up, or the Food Channel. And, someone to work with LC with the menus. That’s where you come in.”

“That’s a lot of work.”

“It’ll be fun hanging out with LC and me.”

“It will?”

“I’m going to call LC in and tell him the good news. Do you have anything good to eat?”

“Everything I have is good to eat.”

“I mean a cookie, candy bar, you know what I mean.”

“No, but I have dates, raisins, and blueberries,” I said.

“Who are you dating? I didn’t know. How long have you been dating? What does she look like? Do I know her? Tell me everything,” said La Flor bending toward me.

Do I tell her I’m dating a dried fruit? How will that sound?

“Come on, Ray, give it up,” La Flor insisted.

I owe Little Carmen one, from outside the front door, he interrupted, “Beautiful, tough, and edgy PI, I misses use. Can I come in?”

“Isn’t he the sweetest, Ray? Where are the raisins? He needs something for being good.”

“You sure you didn’t send him to obedience school?”

Tomorrow the Phantom Diner may be at your favorite restaurant.

Change happens. It’s a part of life. If we don’t want to change, life’s circumstances often tell us we have to change. La Flor switching careers is a change. Will it work out? Who knows? At least La Flor had the courage to try something different. I like her attitude.

* La Flor is a fictional character and acts as my alt ego. Her character has evolved over the blog posts. She began with a single letter as her name. Her name gradually grew to two letters, then three before she settled on La Flor. She liked the name because it fit her idea of a beautiful, tough, and edgy feminine PI.  It is my interaction with her persona that serves as the source of these blog posts. I have no notion how La Flor will continue to evolve. It is an adventure for me as well as the reader.









Lessons To Live By

I viewed this video on YouTube and the lessons offered by the Navy Seal commander at the 2014 University of Texas commencement are powerful motivators for anyone who wants to make a difference in the world.