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January 7th, 2017


04:18 pm
The Generic They

They do not look like us.
They do not act like us.
They do not talk like us.
They sometimes frighten us.

They?

They do not think like us.
They never speak for us.
They are too young for us.
They are too old for us.

They?

They do not live like us.
They don’t shed tears like us.
They try to oppress us.
They don’t want peace like us.

They?

They don’t believe like us.
They must be against us.
They feel God rejects us.
They want God to damn us.

They?

They implies absolutes
in a world without them.
Don’t stereotype all theys.
God doesn’t love this way.

(Leave a comment)

02:47 pm
SKIN IN NOT THE SIN

The master Architect conceived and rendered it
forever imperfectly perfect, by design
a physical realm just short of infinity
and filled with an abundance of variety.

With life sustaining and replenishing itself
in multitudes, from the simplistic to complex,
the Architect expected life to be maintained
by those given the usage of more advanced brains.

These were rewarded with their own varieties,
the epidermis being the palette of choice,
though under the surface they shared a common trait,
the capacity to determine their own fate.

The superficial shell, where the soul does not dwell,
was not destined to imply real significance.
Under the facade the value of compassion
was universally shared across all nations.

But too many imperfect humans began to
believe external appearance granted them the
false justifications to deny that we’re still
all related under the skin by nature’s will.

And those that chose to discriminate because of
body structure or pigmented skin will themselves
be segregated from the benevolent grace
reserved for all who embrace humanity’s face.

(Leave a comment)

December 31st, 2016


11:47 pm - An Essay
ON GOD, SCIENCE, EVOLUTION AND RELIGION

An Essay

There is absolutely no reason why God, science, evolution and religious beliefs can not or are fully compatible if we allow our God given minds, and not ingrained dogma, to think for us.

Before you turn a blind eye to this probability remember that up to the time of Columbus the majority of religious followers believed the world was flat, could not comprehend the natural effects of gravity and assumed the vast universe evolved around the Earth.

Considering God And Science:

With God being all things, from all knowing to all powerful, the creator of all things physical and spiritually celestial, He would also be the greatest scientist that has ever existed.

Because everything He’s done is infallible, when He created humans in His own image He gave us the rarest of gifts, the gift of abstract reasoning that elevated us above the instinctive primal survival and reproductive mechanisms instilled in the Earth’s less advanced living creations. God would not have awarded humans, created in His own image, with advanced brains if He did not expect us to use them to their fullest capacities.

In doing so He provided us with the ever expanding mental tools to develop cures to fight both physical and emotional illnesses, gave us the means to protect the environment He placed us in for present and future generations, the compassion to enhance the lives of all His children and the ability to decipher the mysteries the universe holds. The study of science and it’s importance in our lives is a gift from God not to be mocked.

What He did not do is grant us the right to us our advanced brains kill His children or wreck havoc on the environment to appease personal political, social or religious belief systems. He reserves the right to divine judgement and has not passed that right on to us.

Considering God And Evolution:

To God a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day. From the scriptures what this implies is that God did not create the heavens and the Earth on the human timetable of one sunset and one sunrise that equals one earth day. He created Earth and the universe on His own infinite timetable.

As such, based on His own infinite timetable, the creation of Earth and this universe and those beyond could have taken anywhere from six million to six billion years and beyond. His six days of unmeasurable Creation should never be measured by our human concept of time.


With God being all knowing, including being the greatest scientist that ever existed, it’s entirely likely He began life on Earth by creating an atmosphere that allowed single cell life forms to develop and flourish. And with His all knowing divine guidance He continued the evolutionary process through His experimentation in His metaphorical laboratory that is His universe.

In His infinite timetable, not ours, He likely developed more complex life forms, giving the planet it’s vast array of living diversity. At some point during his timetable He began developing the life form that resembled Him in His own image until He was satisfied with the results, the results being what we recognize today as modern humans. And the ultimate gift we humans created in his image received, beyond advanced intellectual capacities, was our intangible, mortal souls, a gift that dictates that we humans created in his image be accountable for our actions and their consequences during our limited life spans on His earth.

And because we do not know exactly when or how we were created we have no moral right to claim what only God Himself has knowledge of.

Considering God And Religious Doctrines:

Because we were created in His image and gifted with advanced brains we should analyze all pre-recorded events to decipher what can and can not be validated. Tales passed down before we advanced mentally enough to record unfolding history, tales told and re-told over multitudes of centuries, far too often embellished and exaggerated over time, should not be automatically qualified as gospel truths.

Natural phenomena witnessed by more primitive minds and assumed to be signs from a divine source should be considered within the realms of the imaginations of the unknowledgeable. The truths we should hold Divine began with recorded history.

Always remember that faith is called faith for a reason. The faith we have should be based on our abilities to think, to question and to determine the differences between agenda based tales and the truths that we believe, through faith, to be Divine truths.

God gifted us with advanced brains and it is our moral destiny to embrace the gift He gave us.

(Leave a comment)

December 5th, 2016


10:05 pm - An ode To Our Muses
AN ODE TO OUR MUSES

Compatible souls harness entropy,
igniting releases of energy,
unleashing the shackles of dormant states,
freeing them from a closed system’s droll fate.

When applied to pure creativity,
writers, poets, painters and composers
instinctively comprehend that treasured
inspiration comes from the kindred muse.

The source of enrichment invariably
is a muse by the definition of
a cherished friend, a family member or
anyone that offers supportive love.

The process is seldom singular and,
partnered with the endearing muse, allows
compatible souls harmoniously
to merge to enhance the humanities.

(Leave a comment)

September 24th, 2016


07:20 pm
FALLING FROM EDEN’S GRACE

A Short Story By Watson Boyd

_____________________________________________________________

August 2nd., 1:45 A.M. Bar Harbor, Mount Desert Island, Maine
_______________________________________________________________

*

No, it’s not God’s Eden. Although many who pass through here and the neighboring Acadia National Park might see it as such, this is a place west of God’s Eden, east of John Steinbeck’s Eden and James Dean’s Eden. This picturesque seaport town in Maine was given the name Eden in the late 1790s.

Once the home of pioneers, sailors and shipbuilders, later the summer home of the wealthy elite, now mostly it shelters a few thousand people who live here year round. And, during the summer months, another thousand take up residence here because of the added work. The work being to accommodate the hundreds of thousands of tourists who pass through here from spring to fall.

**

Next to the user friendly Saint Savior’s Episcopal Church, leaning against the old stone wall, I am sitting in the town’s two hundred year old graveyard at 1:30 in the morning.

Surprisingly well-lit by the nearby streetlights, this graveyard is a part of the appeal of this centauries old seaport town that now, for reasons that escape me, is called Bar Harbor.

***

Leaning against the wall, puffing on a real Cuban cigar brought across from Nova Scotia, I sit with a legal pad and pen waiting in my lap. But I am not writing anything. In fact, I’m probably not consciencely thinking. Just siting and absorbing. And this is not new to me. I have sit here a dozen times. Usually not writing. Silence is often a welcome alley for most writers.

****

At this time of the morning the sounds and movements given up by the night have become all too familiar. Tempered laughter and toned-down voices echo from across the nearby village green as the last of the tavern and night-club patrons amble towards their homes.

Because the tourists, with children in tow, have long since headed back to their hotel rooms, cabins or campsites, these late-night revelers are the college students who work in the gift shops and eateries until the usual ten o’clock closing time.

After ten the night belongs to the shop keepers, the locals, the artists and writers and the young at heart. And, except for the few serious or married or health conscience students, most of them head towards the flow of the alcohol and music.

*****

Tavern closing time sends the young out onto the street and as they head towards their beds several dozen pass by the graveyard. They pass by on foot because they do not drive. In a town this small, with tourists season parking at a premium, walking has obvious advantages.

Most passing by do so with acknowledgment. On this island there is no isolation among the residents unless you choose to force it on others. Whole dimensions separate this world from an island down the coast called Manhattan.

Everyone acknowledges everyone else. And I heard and replied to a half-dozen “How’s it going, man?” or “Nice night” or “What you writing now?” greetings.

****

Towards 2:00 A.M. the last of the stragglers passed by. This group was comprised of three young men and two young women, all in various stages of intoxication.

One of these guys tells the others to wait, then he walks into the graveyard, passing me without notice, stops ten feet from me, turns his back towards his friends, unzips his jeans and pisses on the ground. The ground, in this case, being a grave site.

One of the girls giggles. One of the guys laughs. The third guy, a student named George, who I had talked to before, follows his friend’s lead and relieves himself the same way. The second girl senses something perhaps morally wrong and offers up a modest protect.

“Guys, this isn’t cool,” she scolds them.

“Why?” the first guy asks. “It’s not like we’re waking the dead or anything.

The first girl, thinking this profoundly humorous, laughs loudly.

***

As George and his friend zip up and turn to step back onto the sidewalk they notice me.

“Sorry, Doc, but we couldn’t wait,” George responds, upon seeing me.

“Yeah, too much beer,” the first guy snickers.

“What you still doing up?” George asks me.

“Just sitting here thinking about Stephen King,” I reply.

By now the third young man and the two young women had walked into the yard.

“Yeah, Steven King’s cool,” the first girl adds.

“He lives around here somewhere, doesn’t he?” her friend asks.

“No, up in Banger, ninety miles from here”, the third girl, obviously trying to impress with her knowledge, replies. “But sitting here could certainly make you think about him.”

“No, I just started wondering about him now,” I say as I rise from the grass. “I was thinking it’s too bad his powers couldn’t extend beyond his imagination, couldn’t take on a physical form like they do with his characters.”

“Yeah, that would be so cool, creepy cool but cool,” the first girl says.

“Yeah,” I respond. Looking at George and his friends. “It’s too bad he couldn’t somehow have Carrie, with her boney arm, reach up out of the ground and pull you guys down into her grave.”

They look at me and wonder what part is serious and what part is attempted humor.

“But that’s not Carrie’s grave”, George’s male friend finally replies.

“But it was still somebody’s grave,” the second girl, the one who had entered the mild protest earlier, answers.

Words are sheepishly mumbled, then the first girl takes her boyfriend’s arm and leads him out onto the sidewalk. With the other three close behind, they wander down the street. Several quick glances back at the graveyard are all that interrupt their journey home.

**

Alone, I stand for a moment looking at the headstones of the two graves.

One headstone read:

Albertina Nickerson
June 15, 1880
- 26 years old -

The second one read:

Anne Nickerson
June 15, 1880
- 28 years old -

Were they sisters? Cousins? One a sister-in-law to the other? How would they have died the same day? A fire? An accident? A plague? It could not have been by local Native Americans, not in 1880. Not in Maine. So, what killed these young women?

Child birth? Women before our time faced so many dangers that we can only imagine how it must have been and difficult births often took the mother’s life. But not both young women giving birth on the same day?

Then I looked around at many of the other headstones. A few lived long, hopefully happy, lives. But so many of these people died young. Life in the late seventeen hundreds, through the mid eighteen hundreds, was not easy to live. It took most of these peoples’ energy and effort just to provide shelter and food for basic survival. These people were not blessed with the lives of the affluent.

*

Walking away from the graveyard the only things I could think to ask myself were:

How much more relevance would we put on the lives of others, on life itself, it we were required to work as hard just to acquire basic needs? Would our few possessions carry that much more value? Would our rare leisure time be more carefully cherished? Would our achievements resonate with more gusto? And would the aging process be held to higher esteem?

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May 7th, 2016


11:32 pm - ON WHY IT WORKS
ON WHY IT WORKS

A Short, Short Story


In the cool shade of the porch Gina sat in her wicker chair reading while her father worked on his truck in their driveway. Occasionally when he grunted or emitted mild profanity she would look up and glance at his legs perturbing from under the vehicle.

It was late morning when she heard him declare to himself ‘Time out’ and she quickly responded by closing the book, rising and heading into the house. Ten minutes later she stepped back onto the porch carrying a large pitcher of iced tea and two glasses. After sitting these on the table between the two chairs Gina looked out to see him leaning against the fender of the F-100 while smiling at her.

“I just hope old Bertha hasn’t joined some faith healing religious sect lately,” he chuckled as he patted the hood of the old 4-wheel drive she had fondly christened with that name years back.

“Uh, Dad, didn’t I help you bleed the brake lines a few weeks ago?”

“Yes, and with absolute competence,” he responded as he approached the porch. “But you never know with her au contraire attitude and sometimes the Ford works in mysterious ways.”

“Like letting you think you’re funny, huh?” she retorted as she rolled her eyes.

He laughed heartedly while taking his seat in the wicker chair across from her. As he poured himself a glass of tea he noticed the book she was reading was ‘Grey Mountain’, a John Grisham novel from his own library. He wasn’t surprised by her choice because, after she had read ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ the summer before, she announced that she intended to become an attorney.

“That’s not on your summer reading list, is it?” he teased her.

“Of course not, Poppo!” Gina replied quickly, again rolling her eyes. “I finished that list last week and this book is so cool. The heros are women and they’re women lawyers, too.”

“Indeed they are.”

He studied her silently as she returned to her reading and though about the irony of their father / daughter relationship. Though she could be stubborn at times, thought he thought she was often too serious for a ten year old, she was bright for her age and her intentions were always sincere. And she thought he was often too mellow, too understanding towards the flaws in others, Their personalities were opposites and yet they got along fairly well and their mutual affection was never strained. And it certainly helped that the one thing they really had in common was they both processed a natural wit and they enjoyed playing their quirky humor against each other, a trait that tempered and diffused their differences readily.

After he finished his tea he rose and headed into the house for a restroom break. When he returned Gina closed the book and looked up at him, waiting for what she assumed was a request.

“I could certainly use your help performing an exoticism.”

“I can do that.” she offered as she stood up.

“Well, I’m ready to reassemble Bertha but need to bleed the master cylinder clutch line first, “ he explained as they headed towards the truck.

Without needing a prompt Gina climbed into the driver’s side of the cab. Although she was not mechanically inclined by temperament she know from her observations how the clutch worked on manual transmissions because she intended to drive it herself when she acquired her licence.

“When I get back under her and give you the clue I want you to depress the petal quickly a few times,” he stated.

She nodded and he crawled under Bertha. When she heard his cue she responded.

“Clutch, you’re about the ugliest, most worthless piece of junk I’ve ever seen,” she giggled as she pushed the petal in a half-dozen times. “Seriously, we’re replacing you with a new one because you can’t handle the job.”

“Let up for a moment, Honey,” she heard him say through the floor boards.

When he pushed himself clear of the chassis she watched as he refilled the slave cylinder bolted to the firewall. Then he came to the window and instruct her again.

“Sweety, we don’t want to depress it enough to send it over the edge so this time let’s depress it a little slower, a little more gently until it starts to resist, okay?

She rendered a silly salute and he eased himself back under the truck. On hearing his cue she again shifted into whimsical gear.

“Yeah, yeah clutch, you’re not all that ugly. We know you’re doing the best you can,” she laughed as she continued pushing in the petal. And we’re giving you another chance because - “ she stopped suddenly, then called down to her father, “Pop, it’s starting to argue back.”

“Perfect,” he respond from under the floor board. “Now depress it several more times, but very slowly this time, okay?”

Gina did so until she felt the petal stiffen and called down to him.

“Dad, I think it’s got it’s spunk back now.”

She watched through the window as he freed himself from the truck. When he opened the door she scooted towards the middle of the seat while he inspected the clutch petal pressure.

“Mon Chi Chi, thanks to she’s demon free now.” he stated as she climbed out of the cab. “The rest I can handle myself, Sweety. And thank you again.”

Gina grinned, nodded her head and headed back to the porch. After cleaning the grease from his hands he followed her. Seeing that she was again reading the novel he gently patted her shoulder.

“You know, Honey, when you get older if you decide not to become an attorney you could have a great career as a comedian,” he said when she looked up and smiled at him.

Why not both?”

“Or you could go into politics.”

“Why, because these days you can’t tell the difference? Sorry, Pop, but I saw that one coming.”

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September 7th, 2015


06:09 pm - On Writing ...
'Much of our best writing is created with hearts breaking, mending or overflowing.' WW

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August 7th, 2015


05:11 pm



(Leave a comment)

June 24th, 2015


09:05 am - Our Skin Is Not The Sin
OUR SKIN IN NOT THE SIN

Verse By Watson Boyd


The master Architect conceived and rendered it,
by design,forever imperfectly perfect,
a physical realm just short of infinity
and filled with an abundance of variety.

With life sustaining and replenishing itself
in multitudes, from the simplistic to complex,
the Architect expected it to be maintained
by those given the usage of more advanced brains.

These were rewarded with their own varieties,
the epidermis being the palette of choice,
though under the surface they shared a common trait,
the capacity to comprehend moral fate.

The superficial shell, where the soul does not dwell,
was not destined to imply real significance.
Under the facade the value of emotions
were universally shared across all nations.

But too many imperfect humans began to
believe external appearance granted them the
false justifications to deny that we’re still
brethren under the skin, related by His will.

And those that chose to discriminate because of
body structure or pigmented tone will themselves
be segregated from the benevolent grace
reserved for those who embraced humanity's face.

(Leave a comment)

April 14th, 2015


06:57 pm - WORKS IN PROGRESS
Works In Progress

A Short Story By Watson Boyd


Trying to decipher the seemingly haphazard agenda of Fate, the forever fickle mistress of destiny who unequally rations out unapologetic rewards and deprivations, can lead a relatively sane man into insanity. So Willys long ago defiantly chose not to butt heads with this unstable muse. And to ride out the harsher pratfalls that derail many creative souls he cultivated a personal arsenal of self-assurance, adaptability and persistence. Anything short of his own untimely demise he learned to take in stride. Still, as he was about to discover, rationalized defenses were all too vulnerable to the whims of Serendipity, Fate’s younger sister.

Although the paintings had been carefully hung the night before Willys dropped by the next afternoon to sit and ponder possible adjustments or rearrangements of their allotted wall space. He chose this time knowing the shop would be sparsely occupied because the noon crowd had already left and it would be hours before the after work patrons filled the place.

As he entered the establishment he quickly studied the two customers, neither of whom he knew by sight. The first had taken the booth closest to the front window. She was a petite woman, perhaps thirty, with long stringy hair and a serious expression. Absorbed in a book she was reading while her laptop recharged she reminded Willys of the kook character from ‘The Breakfast Club’. The second customer was seated directly under Willys’ large 4'X6' painting of a complex maze. The guy was a tall, lanky young man, perhaps the same age as the kook. On his table was a legal pad, an open briefcase and a stack of thin books that looked like self-published volumes of poetry. Yet something about this man made Willys instinctively uncomfortable.

When Willys approached the counter the barista, a pale skinned woman with spiked red and green tinted hair, had already filled a mug with his regular, straight black house coffee without sugar. He smiled and paid for his brew as she returned the smile. Then he headed towards a small table centered directly across from the long wall holding his work.

While he sat sipping his coffee and contemplating the esthetic display configuration Willys noticed the young man glancing up at the maze several times. This didn’t surprise the artist because he knew in advance this large work, painstakingly rendered over several weeks, would attract attention. Simultaneously complicated and perplexing, it was still a solvable puzzle, though one that could never be worked without destroying the art itself.
After a half hour of mentally debating the effects of leaving the display as is or making changes Willys decided everything was fine. He took a last sip of coffee, rose and left the table, then headed towards the door. He was already down the street when he remembered he should have returned the empty mug to the counter. A moment later, as he re-entered the coffee shop, he realized the young man had risen, was holding a black marker and trying to work the maze.

Willys rushed up behind him, grabbed his writing arm and twisted it behind his back, then shoved him onto the table. With one hand used to pin the culprit down, Willys pulled his other arm backwards and clinched his fist, implying he was about to use it forcefully. Suddenly a small hand appeared between his clinched fist and the young man’s face. Willys turned to see it belonged to the kook.

As she shook her head no Willys asked her, “Do you see what this asshole was doing?’

“Not until I looked up when you ran by me,” she replied. “But I got here as quickly as I could.” Then she placed her hand over Willys’ grip hand and added the rhetorical question, “Would whomping this cretin really resolve anything?”

“Symbolically, yes,” he responded.

“Then you’ve got my symbolic support, symbolically speaking.”

Willys stared at her a moment, shrugged his shoulders, then turned back to the young man still face down on the tabletop and, in as menacing a voice as possible, told him, “Dude, you’ve got two options. One, you gather up your crap and get the hell out of here or, two, the hot babe and this hunk guy pound the holy shit out of you.”

When Willys released his grip the young cretin, visually shaken, pulled himself back onto his chair. He glanced at Willys for a second, then at the kook, who gives him the finger, then towards the barista behind the counter, perhaps hoping to find a sympatric alley. When she shook her head and laughed at him the young man frantically crammed his tabletop possessions into the briefcase, stumbled to his feet and scurried out the door.


Following the young man’s departure Willys offered the kook an explanation, “You can’t teach assholes respect or relevance but you can remind them of consequences. And I really wasn’t going to hurt him.”

“I didn’t think so, but still -“

“I was more concerned about the damage you would inflict.”

Then Willys headed to the counter and the kook stepped back from the booth to study the paintings hanging on the wall. At the counter Willys offered the barista an apology.

“Sorry about chasing off your best customer, Lilly.”

“Don’t worry about it, sweety,“ she assured him. “We all thought he was a pretentious jerk and I’m glad he’s gone.”

Willys smiled warmly, grabbed a handful of paper napkins and a cup of water and returned to the empty booth. He wet several napkins and started washing off the lines made by the marker.

“These your’s?” the kook asked as she approached him. When he looked at her and nodded yes she added, “Quit a unique, diverse range of styles. Like nothing I’ve seen before.”

“What can I say? Willys replied as he continued to wash off the marker lines. “I’ve got a Gemini moon and get bored easily.”

“Bullshit,”

“Let’s just say I wouldn’t even bother to paint if I thought my work even remotely imitated other artists. So I create a style and take it as far as I can, then come up with another style. And I strive to avoid repeating myself.”

The kook’s eyes widened with an acknowledgment she wasn’t ready to try to verbally articulate. Instead, she focused her attention on the maze.

“This maze is simply amazing, but you must have realized that this painting is a magnet.”

“I’ve taken precautions,” he assured her as he pointed to a stack of 8x10 glossy reproductions of the maze sitting on a nearby end table. “Those are for anyone who wants to try to work the maze themselves. And the painting itself is covered with several coats of protective varnish.”

“And - “

“I’ve had a custom made plexiglass cover ordered and will install it late tonight.”

“Okay, precautions noted. Now I suppose it’s time for basic etiquettes. I’m Kathleen,” she said, then quickly added, “Kate is okay but I prefer Kay, and never Kathy.”

“Hello, Never Kathy, I’m Willys,” he replied as he washed off the last traces of marker residue.

“Willys, as in the jeep?”

“Yes, but how -“

“My father owned one.”

“My parents were the adventurous types and I was conceived in the front seat of one.” he offered as he gathered up the used napkins and cup and headed towards the counter.

“Will you join me at my table for a quick Q&A?” Kay asked as she caught up with him.

“Well. I was actually trying to leave - “ he wanted to explain but never finished because Lilly, winking at him, pushed two full mugs of steaming coffee across the counter top towards them. “Yeah, I’ve got time as long as the Q&A is two way.”

“Of course,” she said, then abridged the reply whimsically, “unless you’re kinky enough for a three-way and we can go catch your art critic you chased out the door,”

“Na, I think we’ve already given him enough angst to fill several new poems,” he responded as they both stared at her mug.

"I remembered," Lilly assured her.

"You drink yours black?" Willys asked.

"With a smidgen of sugar. I want my coffee to taste like coffee and not some candy flavored mocha," she explained as they grabbed their mugs and headed towards het table.

Though the distance to her booth was not that far it afforded him enough time to run a number of scenarios through his head. ‘Was she flirting? Unlikely considering I’m twenty years older than her. Looking for a sugar daddy? Lots of luck there with someone barely able to pay his own bills. Obviously sharp, knowledgeable, but attractive? Not my idea of an ideal but, strangely, yes in an exotic sort of way. Barely five foot tall, but she takes care of herself. Reminds me of a scaled down version of a full sized woman. So, what is her intent? Probably some wonky academic type doing a case study of eccentric artist types. Sounds more logical.’

Kay’s thought were also running the gauntlet reviewing his attributes. ‘Tall, muscular, full head of hair, neatly trimmed beard, not handsome by media standards but appealing in a rugged mountain man sort of way. Witty, intelligent, passionately principled, a mountain man with a well stocked library in his cabin. Why ever did I invite him to coffee? Would he settle for just becoming good friends? Would I? Do I even know what I’m -‘ a question that was interrupted as they reached her table.

Seated across from each other Willys watched as Kay turned off her cell phone, then close the laptop and book. The book was a biography of Charles Ives, an accomplished, innovative composer whose recognition for his work came late in his life. He couldn’t help but be intrigued by her hands because he thought, for such a petite woman, her fingers were long, narrow and graceful.

“You’re a musician?” he wondered out loud.

“Oh, I’ve learned to play a dozen different instruments but have really managed to master none,” was her modest reply.

“Then either you’ve got moon in Gemini or you’ve fulfilled all the basic requirements for a composer.”

“Astutely observed, composer it is,” Kay admitted as her eyes widened again, “I suppose you could classify what I compose as modern music.”

“I figured either safe-cracker or composer and your choice is incredibly admirable and courageous, assuming it’s more sophisticated than Glass and more accessible than Adams.”

“You’ve defined my niche,” Kay responded, followed with a robust laugh that lit up her face and surprised both herself and Willys.

While Willys was recalculating with each moment, a trait they both shared because their minds registered significant details, no matter how obvious or subtle, Kay was doing the same. And she knew, from watching him wash off the marker stains, that he was left-handed and saw, as he gestured with either, that both hands were calloused, the hands of a man who did not shy away from physical work. This didn’t bother her because she instinctively knew only gentle hands could paint as he does. What began to trouble Kay was her imagining how those hands would feel touching her skin. Her mind and her emotions were not yet in sync and the brain’s curiosity won the round as it expected her to approach this subject on a less persona level.

“Those brushes you use must take a toll on your hands, huh?” was the only valid excuse, though lame, to probe she managed to come up.

“I’m a sometimes electrician by trade. It pays the bills until destiny finally manages to recognize my creative genius.”

“I do paralegal temp work to cover mine” she added, punctuated with a mischievous laugh, then continued “for pretty much the same reasons as you.”

“Nothing wrong with healthy egos.”

“Belief keeps us focused. It also helps me if I avoid listening to Carmina Burana too often.”

“The Orff or the You Tube interpretations?” he teased her.

“Both.” she replied and a laugh followed that again lit up her face and surprised neither of them. "You're certainly not what I'm used to."

“And you’re certainly a unique entity into itself!”

“Not bad for a pickup line,” she laughed, then included a disclaimer. “Just joking. We both know the difference between picking someone up and picking someone out, right?”

“Right, but I’m wondering why I haven’t noticed you here before? Am I that unobservant?

“You? Not likely. My first visit. The job interview I had this morning was canceled and I was driving down Ventura, saw this shop and thought, why the hell not? I like the home owned atmosphere better than the chain store types anyway” she offered as her reason, then asked, “I’m wondering about your knowledge of music beyond whatever’s trendy?”

“Eight kids in our family, all gifted musicians but me. From my folks to the older siblings, their passions filtered down, from big band to jazz to the classics, even unitarian enough to love folk and poetic rock. I was never forced to, but chose to, love the music I do. And you?”

“Always had it in my soul but was pressured to go into a more respectable vocation, she confessed. “I gave in for awhile but, you know?“

“I have a degree in Criminal Science, was a proficient investigator for awhile, rewarding enough, but too time consuming so, well, you know. Guess we showed them, huh?”

“Yeah, so selfish of us, wasn’t it?

As Willys smiled warmly she took a leisurely sip of coffee, a calculated time out to ponder the two of them as a possible them because her heart wasn’t listening to her head’s other options. Willys also needed this pause to consider how to address an issue he felt he needed to bring up and glanced out the window at the pedestrians passing by to buy some time. And when he turned back to her she was not anticipating the fatherly type expression on his face.

“Kathleen, there’s little in the world I would love more than to have you as a dear friend, but - “

While thinking to herself ‘Oh! Oh? Whoa!’ Kay held up her hand to interrupt his sentence, hoping he would accept the pause long enough consider her reaction. His bafflement bought her the few seconds she needed to run her mind at high speed while she asked and answered herself. ‘Could he possibly be gay? Not a problem, but not likely. Asexual? Ha! Still running from a bad marriage or pining away from broken heart? Perhaps. Doesn’t find me appealing? God, I hope not!. But more likely he thinks it’s the age factor. That’s it.’ she concluded as she stared at him.

“I’ve had several relationships, more a physical thing than an emotional connection, and -“

“Nothing wrong with itches being scratched,” he assured her.

“- and I’ve tried to protect my heart because so much of it goes into the music,” she vocalized solemnly, openly for the first time in her life.

“As it should.”

“Well, it’s still kinda hard to ignore Serendipity suddenly kicking me in the ass.”

“Kay, even if I professed to being smitten -,” he started to explain and was caught off guard by her sudden smile, “- the reality is I’m twice your age.”

“Ha, nice try, grandpa!” she laughed. ‘Maybe fifteen, tops!”

“Still, it’s -“

“Okay, Mr. Smitten, consider this: I fall in love with a man my age. A year later he dies. Though we’re the same age technically when he passed, chronologically he would already been in the last stages of his life when we met.”

“You’re not playing fair,” Willys said, laughing, while still not sure he was ready admit to himself he was already truly infatuated and his defenses had been overrun..

“Fate doesn’t play fair, not I, and she wasn’t invited to this tete a tete,” was Kay’s retort and he could only nod in agreement. “What if I went the Oona O’Neill route, fell in love with a middle aged fart like Chaplin who ended up living a long life while I died in my 60s? Was our life together worth the irony of it all?“

"Okay, you win, but throwing perception at me works surprisedly well only if you’re as equally smitten” he replied after embracing her points.

“Well, duh!”

Willys leaned back and clasped his hands behind his head for a moment while she whimsically fluttered her eyes. He released his hands and placed his left hand on the table, gently tapping it.

“I’m pretty much an old school romantic, so can we start with a real first date first and see where it takes us? That okay with you?

“Oh, hell, we already both know where - “ Kay started, but stopped long enough to reach her hand across the table to squeeze his, “ - and I feel like we've already gone through a speed date but, hey, first real first dates add to the wonder of it all. So, would a long walk right about now count?”

When he nodded yes she rose and carried her laptop, book and phone to the counter to ask Lilly to hold them for her.

Willys was already waiting by exit when the ex-kook approached him. As Lilly placed Kay’s items under the counter she smiled watching Willys open the door for Kay and take her hand as they stepped onto the street.

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