Apparently Zak and Zoe wanted to help me with replacing the filter. They are very handy around the house.
The temperature outside was chilly; one might even describe it as frigid. Inside, there was warmth, love. They looked at each other from across the room as Bryce played on the floor with his LEGOS and his mother Veronica sat kneeling on the worn area rug near him.
“They’re young for such a short time,” North said.
“Too short, I think,” West replied.
Veronica smiled and snapped a brick on the top of a wall Bryce had erected.
“That doesn’t go there,” he said, promptly removing it.
“Oh! I’m so sorry,” she exclaimed as she chuckled to herself.
The slamming of a truck door outside brought everyone to attention, except Bryce, who was still focused on whatever construction his little mind was creating. Veronica’s smile quickly faded. She looked down at Bryce with an expression of worried expectation. The front door opened and shut behind her and she closed her eyes as the temperature inside the home changed very quickly.
“Hey, Eddie,” she said as pleasantly as she could force her voice to emote. “How was your day?”
The bang of his metal lunch box hitting the floor was followed by his surly response: “How do you think it was?” The question didn’t warrant a response, so Veronica remained silent.
“Oh, great,” West said. “He’s in a bad mood. Not surprising.”
North sighed sadly.
Veronica began gathering up the LEGOS and putting them into the bucket.
“I think we should finish your building in your room,” she said.
“Make him pick them up himself,” Eddie bellowed from behind her. “He needs to learn some responsibility. Pick ‘em up, boy.”
“He’s nothing but a bully,” West said derisively.
“You have too many opinions,” North said. “Most of which you should keep to yourself.”
“So you agree with what’s going on here?” West retorted.
North remained silent for a moment. Then quietly said, “I just don’t like conflict.”
“I want to play here,” Bryce whined.
“Do as your father says,” Veronica commanded sternly with a tremor in her voice. She got up from the floor and turned toward the kitchen. “Do you want a glass of iced tea, Eddie?” she offered, hoping to distract him from their son for the moment.
“Get me a beer,” Eddie mumbled as he lumbered his way to the kitchen table and scraped the chair across the worn hardwood floor. He slumped onto the chair and kicked off his shoes.
Veronica took a bottle from the refrigerator, opened it, and set it in front of Eddie. She stole a quick glance into the living room, where Bryce was almost finished picking up the LEGOS. She was relieved that he dutifully obeyed this time.
“What’s he doing?” West inquired. “I can’t see him.”
“Just drinking his beer,” North replied.
Veronica slipped into the living room and whispered to Bryce, “Now, take them to your room, honey.”
Bryce stood with a sad look on his face and carried the bucket down the hallway to his room, shutting the door behind him. Veronica returned to the kitchen and quietly sat down at the table across from Eddie. She intended to try to start a conversation with her husband, but when she opened her mouth, he stood and turned to go to the living room. Veronica sighed and looked down at the table. Then she heard a loud yell from Eddie. She looked up immediately and saw him take a hop away on one foot.
“Damn it!” he exclaimed. “I told that brat to pick up his LEGOS!”
Bryce had apparently left one of the bricks behind. He looked toward Bryce’s bedroom and Veronica quickly got up and moved to put herself between her husband and the hallway. “It’s my fault, Eddie. I told him to go to his room. I didn’t know he wasn’t finished picking up the bricks,” she pleaded. “Just have a seat in your chair,” she said as she pressed gently on his chest.
He looked down at her hand and then smacked her across the face. “Don’t you push me,” he threatened as he pointed a finger in her face, “And don’t you tell me what to do.”
“Please don’t hit me, Eddie,” she said through gritted teeth. She refused to cry, to show him that he hurt her.
He turned and grabbed the first thing he saw, which was a small ceramic piano sitting on the end table. He threw it in Veronica’s general direction, but his aim was inaccurate and it hit North.
“Ouch!” she cried as the piano broke and fell to the floor in pieces.
Eddie stormed down the hall to their bedroom and slammed the door.
“Did you see that?!” North complained. “Look! I’m going to have a scar!” There was a rip in her flowery vinyl and a gash underneath.
“Oh, hush,” West said as they watched Veronica crumple to the floor. She allowed the tears to flow as she carefully picked up the pieces of the ceramic piano given to her by her aunt.
“What am I supposed to do?” Veronica asked between sobs.
“Just leave him,” North said.
“If I could,” West piped in, “I’d just crush him; flatten him like a pancake!”
Veronica sighed, dropped her shoulders and looked around her in sad reflection. “Hmph. If these walls could talk …”
These are my two cats, Zak (the black one) and Zoē (the calico). They didn’t like each other when they first met, but they obviously got over it, eventually.
Have a great weekend!
Humility is probably the quality that I like to see the most in another person and I personally don’t like to brag or boast about my accomplishments; it feels uncomfortable to me. I know there are some great writers out there, but I try not to compare myself to others. I have found this WordPress community to be a supportive environment and I am genuinely happy for others’ achievements. In that respect, I hope to continue to receive the same support. So, now that I’ve tried to make myself look like a humble person, let the bragging begin. Just kidding. I’d like to share a few of my recent achievements (and there is a point to this besides being boastful):
2,000+ LinkedIn Connections
This achievement represents marketability. Most of the people I’ve met on LinkedIn are not individuals that I know personally. They work in the same field or a related one, they want my business as a customer, or they feel that we can have a mutually beneficial business relationship. Their willingness to connect shows that I have represented myself in a somewhat appealing manner and established a connection with a stranger.
400 WordPress Followers
This achievement represents, in a way, trust. Some people began following my blog just because I invited them. Some people follow because I follow them. Then there are others who follow because they like what they read and want to see more of the same. They could easily “un-follow” if my writing did not meet or exceed their expectations. So, their continued support shows that they trust me to produce content that is meaningful, or at least enjoyable in some way. I try my best to produce evidence that justifies their faith.
This achievement represents validation. Whether a follower or not, there are individuals out there who like the things I have written. I enjoy writing a great deal, and much of that enjoyment comes from seeing/hearing/reading how much other people are entertained by what I have written. I have said many times that my goal with anything that I write is to evoke emotion. I want to move the reader in some way, to cause them to think, question, feel something.
I Published A Book
This represents so many things–among them: hard work, dedication, time, thought, trial and error. Simply having a book published is no great accomplishment. Anyone can do it through Amazon, and there are many companies that will be happy to take your money to print copies of your work, whether it’s good or not. To get into a traditional publishing company, however, does take some talent and maybe a bit of luck.
You’d think with so many connections, a decent amount of followers and people that like my writing, I should have no problem selling books. Not so. It may not be the type of book you like to read or maybe you are low on funds. I’m not a New York Times best-selling author (yet), so my book is not in the faces of readers. I have to work hard to promote, advertise, promote, annoy my friends and family, promote, post….did I mention promote? I don’t need for you to buy the hardcover version (which is the most expensive), but I’d like to get the book ranked higher in popularity. I want to get my name out there, to get noticed, and yes, eventually, to be able to make a living as a writer.
If you are able, and you like what I write, please take a chance and buy the book. The ebook is only $3.99. And if you buy it, a review would help tremendously. I’m not sure if everyone is aware, but Amazon’s rankings are contingent on the amount of reviews a book receives as well as the number sold. Even if you don’t like it, I would love to know what you think of it. I am truly open to critique, as long as it isn’t malicious. Criticism helps me to improve, and everyone can use improvement on his or her craft, including me. I would truly appreciate your support in this effort. On that note, I will end this post, and on the subject of critique, please leave a comment to let me know what you think of this post. As always, I thank you for taking the time to read my blog.
The second hand on my watch goes tick tick tick, I don’t know how it works; it’s a funny trick. The bubbles in the fish tank go glub glub glub, I imagine that I’m in there, riding a tiny sub. Our doggie makes a ruckus, going bark bark bark, There may be someone out there, lurking in the dark. Unzipping my pants makes a funny sound, Zzzzip when it goes up and zzzzip when it goes down. Creeeeak goes the door when I walk into the room, Sshhh...just be quiet; it will all be over soon. My knife through her body goes slash slash slash, When I chop her up in pieces and put her in the trash. So many sounds around me, and even in my head, They’ll never never stop until I’m good and dead. Copyright © 2020 Brandon Ellrich First published on Poetry Festival