Lunch At The Napoleon House

 So here’s some more of that Sissy and Buck thang 😉 Anyone interested in following this series of short prose can do do by clicking this  link..

Lunch At The Napoleon House

Sissy and her Aunt Tina were lunching at the Napoleon House Bar.  The New Orleans humidity and heat were creating a steamy atmosphere, and the afternoon was dying for a cooling rain.

“So I’m leaving tomorrow for the Norway farm.” Sissy took a sip of her Brandy Alexander. “These are just the best!”

“I suppose they would be at 1PM on a Tuesday.” Tina rolled her eyes.  “Isn’t Buck getting discharged next week from – you know…”

“The crazy house?  Yes. Next Wednesday.”

“Oh Sissy!” Tina did another eye thing. “I didn’t know Buck farmed.”

“He doesn’t.”



Nothing Could Have Stopped Us – A Short Love Story

So I’m practicing expanding a scene from 100 words to about 300 words.  Maybe that’s a good number of words for a scene.    Tomorrow’s  goal is 500 words.  Here goes:

Nothing Could Have  Stopped Us

There were three bundles of letters.  One for each year we’d spent as pen pals and one from the year before he died.  My mind had wandered as though there we were.

“Mimi isn’t it true that you and grandpa were pen pals before you married?”  Irene, my always-having-to-know-something-private granddaughter, was as chipper as a New Orleans summer day is long.

Her mother, my daughter, Helen, cleared her throat.  “It doesn’t matter if it’s true or not, Irene.  You listen to me now.  Life was more respectable then. Wasn’t it,  Mom?”

“No.  It was 1964”  I rolled my eyes.

“Oh good grief, Mom.  That’s not helping matters.”  Helen wrung her hands and sat down in a wing back chair near the fireplace. She pushed the poker into a log.  The room crackled.

I looked at my granddaughter and we chuckled.  “They’re going to meet here, Helen.  It’s all perfectly respectable.  Irene is a grown woman.”

“But you’re taking sides, Mom.”

“I’m not taking sides, Helen.  You’re invited, too!”

One thing was for sure.  The heart knows a distance differently than the mind.  My daughter had met her husband in college.  Her daughter wanted to meet a man she knew from the internet.  And old respectable me had married my pen pal.  I don’t know how my daughter thought she’d sway me.

“Well your father’s not too happy about this, Irene.”  My daughter made another feeble attempt for normalcy.

“Was your dad happy about you and grandpa meeting?”  Irene gave me a pensive look much resembling her mother’s.


“But -”  my daughter fumbled for words.

“But it didn’t stop us,” I finished.

Nothing could have stopped us.  Everything tried.   We just weren’t prepared.  We just weren’t thinking that one of us would go off and die like that in some war far away.  Even his last letter took years to sink in.

My dearest Peggy,  I may not make it home to you and our little daughter, Helen.  I hope this letter reaches you and that you will never forget how I love you so.  Kevin


***reading this three days later.  I’m wondering if readers stay in the present.  I’m probably reading it too much so now that first paragraph seems to read like it’s leading to a flashback.  If so, I’ll have to rewrite that first paragraph….as little as possible.


As Long As It Stays Respectable

As Long As It Stays Respectable

I’d do just about anything for Buck. At least I ‘d try to. Now, I don’t want all those liberating women types flying their opinions in my face. As I have well proven, in the past, I absolutely can live my life my way.  When it comes to Buck and me though, I’m a bit slack in my expectations. That doesn’t mean I lessen my expectations.

“Sissy, are you saying you’d let us live here? 10 artists for 5K a month?” Lorraine looked me this way to Texas and back.

“As long as it stays respectable.” I tried to bring her focus back to St, Charles Avenue, New Orleans.

“That’s pretty vague.”

“Well, nothing on the outside could change. I wouldn’t want everyone to know what was going on.”

There it went again. That judge-in-the-family voice. Sissy’s married a crazy man.

And then I began to weep and Lorraine had her arms around me and I just, well you know, I just blathered away uncontrollably. “When Buck is discharged, I don’t want him coming back here, Lorraine.”

We sat together on the front stoop of that old and proper Victorian house my parents had given me. I held onto Lorraine and Lorraine held me.

“If I do this,” Lorraine put a slight distance between us, “where will you go?” Then she kissed my cheek.

“The Norway farm.”

“Buck farms?”

“Neither of us do.” I shrugged.

“You’re nuts.”

“Probably so.”


Everyone Heard Her – A Poem and Fiction Piece

Let me put this up here.  This is an idea I’ve been working on for the small poetry collection I hope to publish this year.    At first I thought it would be just poetry.  Now I’m working on the idea of one page poetry and the facing page prose on the same theme.  I have one  ready.  Unfortunately, I won’t be able to use the photographs in the book  😦 Wondering how this would go over.  If you have a moment to comment your opinion of this idea that’s be great.  If not, know that I appreciate you reading this and following my work.  Ellespeth

Over The Neighbors’ Fences – A Poem
Everyone heard her leaving him
hollering out
into a blue sky afternoon.
Quilts and sheets
billowed on clothes lines
and ladies whispered
over backyard fences
up and down the block.
The men hurried to the corner
where they discussed the situation
over beer and peanuts
up and down the bar.


I Was A Young Boy ThenProse/Fiction

Everyone heard her shouting.  All up and down the block they
gathered.  Darkness hovered hauntingly over our neighborhood.

“I won’t hear from your lips again!” she hollered.“Not another word that you say!”

I was a young boy then.  Listening safely, from my bed, to this
ruckus in the night. Hoping
her husband would say something.

Everything in the world was silent.
And then there came the sound of her
old red Mustang screeching down our street.



It Doesn’t Take Much Some Days – Fiction

It Doesn’t Take Much Some Days

The night that Buck broke down wasn’t really different from most other nights.  Later, at a far distance, he would see that night as an accumulation of nights

“Don’t come near me, Sissy!”  The tone of Buck’s voice alarmed me.

“Buck?:”  I impulsively moved closer to him.

“Don’t come near, Sissy.”

“What should I do, Buck?  Let me call somebody?”

“Maybe so.”

I sensed him in some faraway place.  “I’m going to call the EMS people or something, Buck.  Just hold onto my hand, sweetie  Just hold on.”

And he did, thank God.


*** please click here for all of the stories in this collection:  When There Wasn’t Much Left

When It’s Not All True – Fiction

For those who don’t know, NaNoWriMo begins tomorrow.  When There Wasn’t Much Left is my project.  I’m trying to make this process an easy read for people who visit my blog. I’ll publish each little piece daily and then there is a table of contents in the upper menu of my blog.  I’ll post a link to each piece there as well.  Then, if you’re just popping in for the first time, you can read more pieces.  I thought I’d begin each entry with something like this:

This is another installment about Sissy and Buck for my collection When There Wasn’t Much Left – A Collection of Fiction.  I hope you’ll enjoy it.  Other stories, in this series can be found in the top menu of this blog.

When It’s Not All True

When Buck’s dad died, we auctioned off the stuff on the upper two floors of the old place,  and closed those up.  For a time,  Buck and I settled into the first floor.

On the one hand, Buck was grateful for the estate manager hired to handle all the logistics.  On the other hand, everything and every piece of anything had a story.  That’s the way it goes.  Sometimes the telling is just simply grander.

It wasn’t true that Mark Twain had danced in the second floor ballroom of the old house.  It wasn’t true that Jelly Roll Morton  had played the piano in the double parlor.  Ernest Hemingway had not spent a month living on the third floor that overlooked the magnolia orchard and the river.  He had only come over for supper one evening.

On auction day,  just before the roll top desk went up for bid, Buck motioned the auction house owner over to where we were standing.  “Be sure to mention that, according to local legend, Hemingway used this desk.”  Then he looked at me and winked.  He might have even been smirking.


The Shape Of Things – Fiction

Another installment of Sissy and Buck – for When There Wasn’t Much Left – A Collection of Fiction.

The Shape Of Things

People will tell you there’s always been something not quite right about Buck.  Sometimes I worry,  but I love Buck.

One Saturday,  his Dad wanted him to remove some junk from just about where their property trails into the swamp.  I went along.

“Look at that, ” Buck stood by a tree stump.  In the center, someone had stuck a broken mannequin and a rusty pipe

“Sissy?  Do you see the outline of a woman’s face at the end of that pipe?  Looking to heaven?”

Quite honestly,  I hadn’t seen that.

“Like a statue of the Madonna.”  He sounded serious.