A Spartan is Chosen

The time has come to culminate my 300 celebration with the selection of a couple of prizewinners.  We’ll do this quickly…don’t want to cause any undue tension.  :)

First, thanks to all of you who took the time to throw your name into the hat, and a special thanks to those who advertised my little celebration on your own blog.  You gals (and guys) are truly special.

I ended up with 253 virtual slips in the hat.  I used my iPhones random number generator to select two numbers and the first selection, winner of the 200 picture video from my wife, is…..Talli Roland.

I only ended up with 17 new followers during the run of the celebration, so I’ll only be giving away one $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble.  And that winner is…. Kristin Rae.

Congratulations to the chosen!  Onward and upward we go!  My next celebration will come when I reach 500…so I’ll have plenty of time to think of something new and special for you guys.

Have a GREAT week!

Rookie or Rudy?

I love sports movies! Really, I’m fanatical about movies in general, love them almost as much as books, but movies that revolve around sports stand apart as my favorite. The Natural, The Miracle, Eight Men Out, Field of Dreams, Hoosiers, Mystery Alaska, Sandlot, Angels in the Outfield, Raging Bull, Brian’s Song, The Cinderella Man, The Champ, Rocky, A League of Their Own, Major League, Jerry Maguire, Remember the Titans, Seabiscuit. I can go on and on and on. I think what I love most about these movies is the inspirational undertone that they all have in common. But today’s diatribe isn’t about movies, rather just two films in particular and how their message serves as a backdrop to what each of us struggle with.

The first one is The Rookie, a 2002 movie starring Dennis Quaid as an aging high school baseball coach who comes to realize his dream of pitching in the major leagues. The other, Rudy, is a 1993 classic depicting the struggles of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger (played by Sean Astin) to play football for the university of Notre Dame. Both of these films are based on true stories.

I bet you can already see where I’m going with this. You’d be mistaken.

Both of these characters, although from opposite ends of life experiences, had to overcome steep odds to realize their dreams. For Jim Morrison (the actual rookie), it was the fact he was thirty-five years old and been out of baseball for many years. For Rudy, it was both his physical limitations combined with the lack of money and grades to gain entrance to the school he idolized.

As writers, aren’t we in the same position? Each of us faces crushing odds that tell us our chances of actually breaking into the publishing world are slim. Yet we show up to practice every day, running the laps, doing the drills, studying the first stringers, perfecting our technique, preparing, doing everything we can to prove our readiness. Each query letter we send out is a plea, “Put me in coach. I know I can play! Let me prove it to you”

Both of the men in these movies I mention ultimately realized their dream…although in dramatically different fashions. Jim Morrison actually made it into the MLB and spent two seasons pitching for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Rudy played for the University of Notre Dame football team for two plays.

In the end, the key difference between the two stories…skill. Jim Morrison threw a 98 mph fastball (with control), Rudy was only 5’6” and weighed 165 pounds with average speed. Rudy was immortalized for the grit and determination it took to overcome his shortcomings and simply make the roster of one of the premiere college teams in the country. Almost as a by-product, he obtained a valuable college education and became a role model for underdogs everywhere.

I ask myself a question everyday…and I believe that same question tortures a lot of us. Which am I? Rookie or Rudy? Do I have the talent to make it in this industry, or am I merely demonstrating my unstoppable drive and desire. Of course we’re all pursuing the dream of becoming the next Rookie, but what if you’re a Rudy? Would you be satisfied knowing your only accomplishment was making the players around you better? Just brushing against your publishing dream and settling into a comfortable life on the fringe of that world…like say…a popular blogger.

What if my writing legacy turns out to be only a mention in a critique partner’s book dedication?

Can’t worry about that now…I have a game to prepare for! Maybe…just maybe…the coach will have noticed my potential and take a chance on me today. I’ll be ready…whatever happens!

THIS IS SPARTA! – A 300 Celebration


Knock…Knock…Knock Is this thing on?

Phew! I finally fought through all of the technical issues to make it here (and it wasn’t pretty). You’ll have to excuse my bumbling; this is my first adventure into posting video. :)

On March 26th I reached the 200 follower landmark and decided to forgo a celebration for a couple reasons. First, I wanted to focus my attention on the interaction I had with those already watching my blog. It’s pretty easy to amass a large number of followers, just link yourself to other blogs as fast as you can point and click, and most will return the gesture. But getting them to come back, choosing to visit your site amongst the plethora of blogs to choose from, over and over again, that’s the really hard part. And it is there I wanted to focus my energy. I was determined to come up with insightful, informative, thought provoking, and most importantly, entertaining posts that continued to expose bits and pieces of myself. I’ve been moderately successful so far, but there is still quite a ways to go.

The second reason to wait until I reached 300 to have a celebration is the prize I had in mind. You see, the jury is still out on whether I possess the talent to be published in this literary business, but my wife has already demonstrated a talent many times over. Months ago, when I was brainstorming ideas for prizes, she told me she wanted to help. She has been 100% behind me in my quest to see my words on the printed page, but forced to watch on the side-lines most of the time. Eager to help out in any way she can, she offered one of her videos as a prize. Below are just a couple of samples of her talent.



As you can see, her gift is the ability to make pictures dance. She takes the photos and music that her customers provide and creates what you see above. She makes these DVD’s for sports teams, weddings, rehearsal dinners, birthdays, travel, memorials, etc etc. That is what she is offering as a prize for you. One lucky winner will be given a gift certificate for a 200 picture show (with some restrictions) using personal pictures of their own choosing. These are creations that sell for more than $250! Do you see now why this is so special?

But that’s not all! I’m also going to be giving away gift cards to Barnes & Noble. How many and in what amount, you ask? That’s the kicker…you will determine that. As of this morning I was blessed with 310 followers. The 300 celebration will run for two weeks (until May 30th). The difference between the number of followers I have then, and now, will decide the # and quantity of gift certificates. So, if I have 335 followers on May 30th, I will give away a gift card worth $25 (335-310=25). I’ll do this in $25 increments up to a maximum of $100. Your efforts in spreading the word about my celebration will translate into the value of the reward. :)

Wait a minute…isn’t that contradictory to my quality vs quantity message? I don’t see it that way…I’m asking you to point new followers in my direction…it’s my responsibility to keep them coming back.

Now for some guidelines…and this will be easy. To be included in the drawing, you must be one of the ‘Like Minded’ and comment on this post. If you’re one of the original 310, that comment will represent five chances to win…new followers just one. If a new member mentions an existing follower by name (in their original post), the recruiter will have earned yet another chance. That’s it. No blog mention, no sidebars, no Twitter or Facebook references necessary…unless of course you want to increase the amount of the gift card.

In wrapping things up, I have two huge THANK YOU’s to pass along. First to my wife, for recognizing how much this community means to me and helping make this a truly unique celebration. The second is reserved for you…the 300! I am grateful to you for allowing me to sit by your side…and cheat off your papers. For propping me up when I slouch and reeling me in when I’m full of myself. You got my back…just as I have yours.

That’s enough reading…now go write something!

Technical Difficulties

Hey gang...just a quick note to let you know I'm having issues with my THIS IS SPARTA - A 300 Celebration post.  I know I promised to have it ready for you today, but misbehaving electrons say otherwise.  I hope to have it ready for you tomorrow. 

Sorry for the wait.  :(

DL

Tagged

See this…*pointing to mouth*…it’s a big broad smile.  Know what it’s for?  Because I’m so proud of myself!  I received some awards last week and instead of shoving them under the bed, letting them pile up until my guilty conscience started giving me stomach ulcers, here I am to give them their due before too much dust settles.  Hey…don’t laugh…it’s a big deal for me.  :)



First up is the One Lovely Blog Award from Jemi Fraser at Just Jemi.  I know most of you have probably already visited her blog (it’s awesome), but those who haven’t really need to give her a look-see.  She generates a ton of comments for all of her posts.  There are no specific instructions for this award, so I’m simply tapping the shoulder of three lovely bloggers who I admire.  They are:




Next up, Shannon @ Book Dreaming and T.J. @ T.J. Carson’s Writing Endeavor both awarded me the Happy 101 Award.  This award makes me drool with hunger every time I see it.  :) These two ladies are on opposite sides of the spectrum, Shannon has been around the block a few times and is a staple here in our little community, and T.J. is a freshman in college just getting her legs underneath her in the blogosphere, but the thing is the energy pulsating from each of their blogs is equally impressive.  In that light, I’m going to pass this award onto three more bloggers who exhibit that same level of energy in their blogs.  Please check out:
Laura @ Wavy Lines



Lydia over at The Word is My Oyster bestowed the Sunshine Award on me despite my track record of keeping plants alive in my office.  :)  Along with being an insightful blogger, she happens to be a full-time doctor!  Which reminds me…Lydia, I have this itch…..(just kidding).  You can imagine what it’s like trying to find time to write with everything going on in her life!  I’m choosing to pass this award onto three bloggers who bring a little bit of sunshine into my life.  They are:

G~ @ A Muse in My Pocket (who just got married)
Tina @ Sweet Niblets       

And finally, I’ve been tagged…literally.  Julie at Silver Lining and Tara at Feel of Something New both hit me with the five answers to five questions survey.  Here goes.

Question 1: Where were you five years ago?

1.     Probably sitting at this very same desk
2.     Preparing for my oldest son’s high school graduation & celebratory cruise.
3.     Wondering who would be the cleanup hitter for my youngest sons little league baseball team.
4.     Content in my job.
5.     Trying to decide how to channel my creative impulses into something constructive and experimenting with blogging.

Question 2: Where would you like to be five years from now?

1.     Still sitting at this very same desk.
2.     Published!  Multiple times! (Funny how common this theme is)
3.     Rejoicing over two college graduate children with careers of their own.
4.     Looking forward to driving down to yet another one of my father’s family get-togethers.
5.     Replying to each comment from my nearly 5,000 blog followers.

Question 3: What is (was) on your to do list today?

1.     Finish this blog post as well as the one for my 300 followers celebration.
2.     Play with my family.
3.     Revisions!
4.     Revisions!
5.     Revisions!

Question 4: What five snacks do you enjoy?
           
1.     Coffee (I actually include it in every food group/category)
2.     Heath Bars
3.     Mixed Nuts
4.     Bagel with Peanut Butter
5.     Dark Chocolate Kisses

Question 5: What would you do if you were a billionaire?

1.     I’d start my own publishing house.  That way everybody would be sending their queries to me.  Muuuuhaaahaaa!!
2.     Every year I would sponsor a week long get-together for each of my wonderful followers at Disney World, all expenses paid.  Why Disney World?  Because for me, it’s the center of the imagination universe.
3.     Change my phone number so the relatives I’ve never heard of couldn’t call begging for a handout.
4.     Ensure that my family’s future was secure, but with incentives.  Having money should never be a reason to coast through life!
5.     Donate to many worthy charities.  The child of one of my blogging buddies has Cystic Fibrosis…that seems like a good place to start!

I, in turn, tag the following five blogs.


That’s it gang.  Do I need remind you what happens tomorrow?  Yep.  THIS IS SPARTA! – A 300 Celebration:)

See you then.

Potpourri

I was going to entitle this post hodgepodge, but potpourri had a classier ring to it. Anyway, I have a couple topics that I’m combining into this single post, so I’ll try not to lose anyone.

First and foremost, I’m being interviewed today by Gina Maxwell over at Passions on Paper. It’s part of her FANtastic Friday series where she culls out one of her loyal followers and grills interviews them as a way to better get to know her fans. Gina has a snarky wit that’s just my cup of tea and I love her blog. If you’re curious to read what she gets me to open up about, click on over and check it out. :)

Second and foremost (I know…I know…but it really is just as important as my interview), if you glanced at my sidebar you’ll have noticed I reached the magical 300 followers. Yee haw!!!! You know what that means?! That’s right, my THIS IS SPARTA! – A 300 Celebration. Thanks to Sarah (Falen) for the title idea. The details will be coming next week and I can’t wait to show you what I have planned for you guys.

Finally and foremost (now I’m just being silly), just a reminder about my Blogging Buddies around the Globe quest. I still need 16 states and oodles of countries to complete my goal and I’m going to need everybody’s help to make this happen. If you haven’t posted a comment yet…please do…even if your state/country is already represented. I really want to know where my active ‘Like Minded’ hail from.

Have a GREAT weekend everybody!

Blogging Buddies around the Globe - Update

After one week…here’s where I stand in my quest to link with a follower in every state and country across the globe. I’ve received comments from people representing twenty-eight US states and seven countries (and I’m only using locations where they are currently located…no switch-hitters). I’ve garnered fifty-two responses in total, which is only 17% of my followers, so I know we can do much better. Here are the states I’m needing help with:

Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

As far as the countries go, it would be easier to just list the ones I do have:

Australia, Canada, Ecuador, Ireland, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States.

If you are already a follower and currently live in one of the states listed above, or a country NOT listed above, please leave a comment on my original post here and be counted. If you know a blogger, or a reader of blogs, who resides in one of these areas, please give them a nudge in my direction.

Just 22 states and 188 countries to go!

Oh yeah...on Friday I'm being interviewed by Gina at Passions on Paper as part of her FANTASTIC FRIDAY series.  Why don't you stop by and check it out. 

First Born

This past Saturday my son graduated from the Univeristy of Arkansas.  I read this to him at a little celebration we held after the ceremony.

I believe it was a Saturday morning, maybe Sunday, but it was definitely late morning because I can remember the warmth of the sun low on the horizon as it filtered in through the window behind your changing table. You were only a couple months old, flopping around like a wind-up toy and making things difficult for me as I attempted to change your soiled diaper. I remember thinking this was going to be my fate, changing all of your shewy diapers because the smell didn’t bother me. But I didn’t mind. I knew that your mom was destined to bear the brunt of chasing after you through the coming years, so it was something I could do to help.

As I went about the business of cleaning you up, I would always talk to you. The more animated I became, the calmer you would be, making my job that much easier. I’d describe all the things you were going to be doing some day, football, baseball, basketball, hiking, poison ivy, chiggers, prom dates, blind dates, rock & roll, slick bikes, fast cars, and college (LSU of course). That particular morning, when I was finished, I didn’t pick you up right away. I stood there staring down at you, and you laid there peacefully looking back at me. Then the fear started to creep in. All the negative thoughts that as a parent you struggle to keep barricaded in the back of your mind. All the what if’s. Accidents, illness, car wrecks, emergency rooms, court, emotional turmoil, all started breaking through that mental barrier I worked so hard to preserve. My heart started racing and I seriously started wondering what it was I had gotten myself into.

That all changed in an instant…when you smiled up at me. It wasn’t prompted…nobody blurting “Boo” in your face…or talking in a funny voice. Just a smile. And in that instant I understood what you were telling me…or rather…how I needed to look at things.

It was as if you were saying, “Dad…I got this.”

I knew then that I didn’t need to worry so much about screwing up and venturing into the dark thoughts, because we were in this together. If I just stayed out of your way and made sure I trailed just far enough behind that I could catch you if you stumbled, things would be just fine.

And they were. Look at all that you’ve accomplished. You graduated today and became an independent man of your own right, creating memories along the way that would bust the seams of the sturdiest treasure chest. We are so proud of you! The rest of your life is ahead and there will still be many choices, some of them tough, but they all will be yours to make, alone.

So the days of looking over your shoulder are over. We surrender that role happily. But that doesn’t mean we’re backing away. We will always be here when you need us, and if you want to discuss those tough choices…or even the easy ones…we’ll gladly do that. Face to face.

I love you son! Whatever the rest of your life has in store, to me you will always be that little boy on the changing table, instilling confidence in me with your smile.

Blogging Buddies around the Globe

As the number of “Like Minded” following my blog approaches 300, I’m continuing to make final preparations for my totally awesome celebration (excited girly giggle when I think about my prizes). But I’ve also found myself contemplating the make-up of those who’ve joined hands with me and attached themselves to my site. I already know that approximately 95% are female, but where is everybody from? How many Texans are here? Californians? East Coast vs West Coast? North vs South? And let’s not forget about those outside our borders. I know there’s at least a couple Canadians, a few from the U.K., and even some from down under. Wouldn’t it be cool to have a blogging buddy in every state, every country for that matter? Am I dreaming too big? Should you put restrictions on dreams?

I’m not. There are 50 states in the US, one self-governing incorporated territory of the US (Puerto Rico) and 195 countries worldwide. Let’s see how many of those I can touch. But I’m going to need your help…and it’s in two parts. First, those of you who are already following me, I need for you to leave me a comment and let me know from where you hail. Stand proud for your home. Yeah…yeah…I know I could install Google Analytics or some other fancy traffic monitor to tell me that sort of information, but I prefer the old school method. Second, once we’ve figured out which state or country I don’t have representation for; I’ll need your assistance to fan out across the blogosphere in search of a writer from that area? Are there any bloggers in South Dakota? Rhode Island? How about Ecuador? Cuba? Wales? If they’re out there, let’s seek them out.

So how about it...are you game?  Where are you from?

A Gazillion

That’s what it feels like…the number of awards I’ve let build up again. Nine of them to be exact, from thirteen wonderful blogging buddies. Yes, I definitely feel the love! It’s kinda like being run over by a mass of affectionate puppies. Taken to the ground, drowning underneath a blanket of puppy fur and wet tongues, all the while unable to control the giggling. I love being selected for an award, and I hope it shows.

And you know what makes an award even more special…receiving one from a new follower who rarely comments. It’s another small sign your words are making a broader impact then you might think. Message received!

In the interest of time and sanity, I’m going to be brief in their presentation and even more so in the process of passing them along. My method isn’t meant to belittle their importance, but waiting for a time when things settle down isn’t working and it’s either this or nothing at all.

Here are the blogs who pointed their beacons in my direction via these awards.

Amanda J @ Ramblings of a Drifting Mind..........Prolific Writer Award
Anne @ Piedmont Writer.......................... Awesomesauce Award
Dawn @ Dawn Hullender’s Southern Musings.........One Lovely Blog Award
Ellen @ Pink Tea and Paper.......................Beautiful Blogger Award
Jaime @ Dancing Down Serendipity Street..........Blogger Buddie Award
Jaydee @ Take a seat and stay a while............Awesomesauce Award
Lola @ Sharp Pen / Dull Sword....................Sweet Blog Award
Nicole @ One Significant Moment at a Time........Awesomesauce Award
Nicole @ One Significant Moment at a Time........Blogger BFF Award
Shannon @ Book Dreaming..........................The Silver Lining Award
Summer @ and this time, concentrate..............Prolific Writer Award
T.J. Carson @ Writing Endeavor...................Blogger Buddy Award
Thea @ Do I Really Want to Blog..................Sweet Blog Award

And here’s what the awards look like.



All of these women behind these wonderful blogs are well worth your attention. Please swing by and give them a look-see.

The awards that come with special instructions and/or rules, I’ve received once already, and although receiving them multiple times is great I won’t be jumping through those hoops again this time. The rest of them come with no strings attached. I’m breaking rules once again and only handing each baton to a single blogger. These are a few of the blogs I find myself continually circling back to, and draw inspiration from:

Awesomesauce Award – Kat @ Words Inc.
Beautiful Blogger Award – Amy @ Written in Lipstick
Blogger BFF Award – Portia Sisco
Blogger Buddy Award – Sierra Godfrey
Blogger Buddie Award - Dawn Hullender’s Southern Musings.
One Lovely Blog Award – Summer @ and this time, concentrate
Prolific Writer Award – Justine Dell
Silver Lining Award - Sharp Pen / Dull Sword
Sweet Blog Award – Julie @ Silver Lining

There is one more award I was bestowed just recently, and it’s a brand new award! Gina at Passions on Paper created the THREE BLOGGING MUSKETEERS AWARD.



It’s supposed to be given to the three people who not only follow my blog, but also give me great feedback and awesome comments on each post. I didn’t have to think very long about this one because there are three ladies that when I think of one, the other two always come to mind. These would be the girls in high school huddled at a corner table in the cafeteria, giggling. They are: Kim Franklin, Kristi Chestnutt, and Kristin Rae.

That’s it! I want to remind everybody that I’m quickly approaching 300 followers, and that means another celebration with a truly unique give-a-way. Although the prizes will be up for grabs to anyone who participates, the first 300 will receive special consideration. Let your blogging friends know. :)

Last Line Blogfest

I originally had something else lined up to use for this blogfest, but at the last minute (like two minutes ago), I decided I didn't want to post it.  So I'm in scramble mode and I just dusted off this short-story I wrote six months ago.  It is untweaked, unedited, and probably unremarkable, but maybe it will be entertaining to a few of you.  If you want to read the rest of the blogfest entries being hosted by Lilahp, you can see them here.

I call this ......FIGMENT
“Is this a joke?” I wondered out loud after I took a closer look at the arrest report.

“I told you it was a weird one,” the Sarge answered, grinning like a door to door salesman who just closed a deal. “Thanks for doing this. She’s in room two”

As I walked off towards the interrogation room I called back over my shoulder, “Just remember, you owe me.”

It didn’t have anybody to blame but myself. I was always letting myself get dragged into situations like this, but it was a pattern I was helpless to break. I was a long time removed from being the rookie detective in the squad, but for some reason I still couldn’t shake the feeling that I needed to go that extra mile to please everybody. I really didn’t want to get the reputation for being a push-over, that’s not something a hard-nosed detective can afford, but I hated disappointing people. I blame my mother for that trait.

It had been an extremely long and scorching day. I ended up working a double because Hernandez called in with the flu, leaving second shift short a detective, so naturally I volunteered to work over. The temperature that day had peaked at 98, with a heat index probably just below scalding. The old building the station house resided in leaked air conditioning faster than the compressors could produce it and the collection of fans on all of the desks did little to help. My polyester button-down had absorbed so much sweat throughout the day that if I took it off it could probably stand stiffly in the corner and a horse would find it a suitable salt lick. The tie dangling around my neck signified the noose that bound me to my desk, refusing to let me return to my lonely apartment and the chilled six-pack waiting patiently in the refrigerator.

I had just finished my last report and was escaping out the door when the desk sergeant yelled after me. I momentarily debated pretending I didn’t hear his call and continuing out the door. Instead, I stopped and turned towards the pudgy Irish red-head.

“I need a favor,” he pleaded.

“Sarge, I just worked a double and I’m beat. Can’t it wait until tomorrow?”

“I’ve got a weird one and I need detective to take her statement before we send her off to lock-up.”

“I was just about to head home and down a six-pack while I watch the Monday night game,” I exaggerated. In truth I would probably only make it through one beer and be asleep on the couch before the end of the first quarter.

“I’d consider it a personal favor, besides, she’s a real looker.”

So now as I made my way towards interrogation room two, scanning the arrest report as I walked, I decided that I either needed to grow a backbone and learn how to say no, or make a concerted effort to become a lousy detective so people would stop asking me to do stuff. At least the interrogation room was the coldest spot in the building.

I’m not sure if it was the blast of cool air that washed over me when I opened the door, or the woman I saw sitting on the other side of the table, but my breath was momentarily taken from me.

The young woman was stunning. Her long flowing hair, spilling over the top of her bare shoulders, was black as midnight. In her mid-twenties with flawless skin tone and facial features a model would die for, that wasn’t even her most impressive feature. That honor belonged to her eyes. They were a color of blue I had never seen before, the closest being the sea off the coast of Bermuda where I had gone snorkeling last summer. But there were flecks of gold that seemed to float inside her irises, making them mesmerizing.

She was perfect, except for the emotionless expression on her face.

I glanced down at the arrest report once again to double-check the offense she was charged with. ASSAULT it read.

She sat there motionless with her hands folded perfectly in front of her. Her nails were long and painted black to match her hair. She was wearing a white ruffled dress with the sleeves pushed down off the shoulders and a laced-up neckline, with a sequined waist sash. All she needed was a bandana head scarf and she’d look just like a gypsy.

Hanging around the woman’s supple neck was some sort of jewel or crystal. Coral blue much like the woman’s eyes; it seemed to be sparkling deep inside even though it wasn’t moving. I found my eyes being constantly drawn to it.

I closed the door and took a seat opposite the striking woman. When I did I detected a subtle aroma I couldn’t define. It wasn’t a perfume or cologne I had smelled before, but it reminded me of a combination of freshly baked apple pie, and sex.

“I’m Detective Taylor and I need to ask you a few questions.”

There was no response from the woman except for the blinking of her eyes.

“Why don’t we talk about what happened at the carnival.”

“That will be acceptable, but I don’t have very long,” she answered. Her voice was almost lyrical, barely above a whisper, and strangely familiar. It wasn’t that I had heard that specific voice before, but rather the intonation, the pitch, and the rhythm of the words I recognized. It was calming. Soothing. It reminded me how tired I felt.

“Are you going somewhere?”

“That is correct.”

“And where would that be?”

“A place you have no knowledge of . . . nor the ability to understand.”

I stared at her, confused by her answer, but also unable to pry my eyes from the golden specks in hers.

“I see there is no name listed on this arrest report.”

Silence was my reply. Her breathing was normal, not accelerated as I normally see during interviews. And there was nothing in her mannerisms to indicate tension.

“Can you explain that to me?” I asked her.

“I cannot be classified in such a manner.”

“But you work at the carnival?”

“They have allowed me to travel with them for a short while.”

“What do they call you there?”

“Miss Knowtisthipnay.”

I wrote the name down on my notepad. “Boy, that’s a mouthful. Is it Greek?”

“I would not know. It is not my name. That is a name they gave to me.”

Then it suddenly occurred to me where I had heard her voice before. It was my mother’s voice. More specifically, it was the voice my mother used when I was just a child and she would read to me at night. I could hear her recounting the story for me in that soft quiet tone, the inflections in her voice acting out the emotion behind the words. I fought the urge to smile and tried to concentrate on the arrest report again. Surely this had to be a big mistake.

“The officer on the scene wrote on his report that you are a fortune teller.”

“I believe that is the term used.”

“How long have you been traveling with them.”

“Two point five lunar cycles.”

“I’m sorry . . . what?”

“Seventy five of your calendar days?”

“Why don’t you tell me what happened in your own words.”

“What happened?”

“The reason why they brought you here.”

There was a nod of acknowledgement. “I was relaying information to one of the men they summoned to me, when he put his hands upon this body. I ended the joining.”

“Relaying information . . . joining?”

“It is the manner in which I provide insight to events not yet come to pass.”

“Telling the future?”

“That is correct.”

“Where did he put his hand on you?”

She cupped her right breast with her left hand. My mouth suddenly went dry.

“But you ended it.”

“That is correct.”

“You . . . can put your hand down now.”

She removed her hand from her breast and folded them back in front of her.

“And how did you end it?”

“I removed him from consciousness.”

“With a glass vase?”

“That was the instrument I used, yes.”

“Had you ever seen this man before?”

“No.”

“The man is claiming that you were stealing money from him and that you hit him when he exposed you.”

“I am not involved in financial considerations, and only concern myself with the joining.”

I could already see where this was heading. He said . . . she said. If it could be confirmed with the complainant that there was no money missing, I could see letting her go without being charged. But still, I was curious about her.

“And where were you before you worked with the carnival.”

“For a short period I lived with a family in Idaho. Before that I was nowhere.”

“Nowhere?”

“That is correct.”

“And is this ‘nowhere’ the same place I have no knowledge of, nor the ability to understand?”

“It is.”

I couldn’t help but smile at her now. “And you expect to be going there soon?”

“Very soon.”

The crystal resting against the base of her throat sparkled again, drawing my attention once more.

“That is a very pretty piece of jewelry you’re wearing. I’m guessing it’s very expensive. Where did you get it?”

Silence again.

“It’s almost time for me to leave,” she finally said, ignoring my question all together.

“And who is it that is coming to get you? Someone from the carnival?”

Her head turned side-to side slowly. A handful of her dark thick hair fell across the breast she had cupped before.

“I’m afraid you’re not going anywhere until I can resolve this with the man you clobbered, or the court settles it.”

“Can you not . . . set me free?”

For the first time I thought I detected a trace of emotion both in her voice and her eyes. What little there was tugged at my heart strings and I found myself wishing there was something I could do. I couldn’t look into her eyes knowing the answer I had to deliver. Instead I gazed at her crystal.

“I’m sorry . . . I can’t. Not yet at least.”

“Then you cannot prevent my departure.”

The crystal was sparkling more than ever now, seemingly gaining energy from a hidden source. The colors were dazzling. It appeared to be moving now. I was drawn into its wonderment.

“I’m afraid you’re not going anywhere until they come to escort you to lock-up,” I answered robotically, captivated by the crystal. The crystal was spinning wildly now.

“Very shortly you will leave this room, and when you return, I will be gone.”

“Gone where?”

“A place you have no knowledge of . . . nor the --”

I was listening to her answer, but not really paying attention. I found my mind drifting away, wondering how I could get myself into such a position again and chastising myself for it. I imagined myself at home in my favorite t-shirt and shorts, laying on the couch, nibbling on a bag of fritos in between pulls of my bottled beer. I could feel the cool breeze from my ceiling fan hand hear the football game from --.

“Detective.”

My head jerked back suddenly, disoriented. I had almost dozed off. I was more tired than I realized. I looked into the woman’s face, but she showed no outward recognition of my slip.

Attempting to cover quickly, I asked about the last thing we had discussed. “How will you be getting to this place?”

“One moment I am here, the next, I will be there.”

“Does your crystal have something to do with your travel plans?”

I wouldn’t classify the look on her face as a smile, but more of a prelude to a smile. “Yes,” she answered. “I require 8 ounces of liquid to consume. Is that permissible?”

A cool drink of something sounded good right about now. I needed to stretch my legs to wake up anyway. “Is water okay?”

“Perfectly acceptable.”

I rose from the chair, went to the door and knocked. After a couple minutes the officer who is stationed at the end of the hall to monitor the interrogation rooms opened the door. After confirming it was me, he returned to the magazine waiting for him at his desk. I walked down the hall to the water cooler and pulled a paper cup loose from the dispenser. I took a couple of swigs, wadded up the cup, threw it in the trash, then pulled another cup for the woman. I briefly wondered how many ounces the cup held.

With the cup of water in my hand I returned to the door and opened it.

To an empty room.

I shot a look back down the vacant hall, then again into the room.

She had disappeared.

Stepping into the room I once again felt the rush of cool air, but something else as well. A force . . . sort of a crackling in the air . . . a charge of static electricity.

I stood there for several moments, holding onto the door, not knowing what to do or think. Finally I let the door close behind me and I sat in the chair she had been occupying. It was still warm, and I was in a daze.

I was still sitting there when I heard the footfall of heavy feet coming down the hall outside the room. Suddenly the door bursts open and Sarge was standing there, winded, a piece of paper in his hand.

“I’m too late?”

“She’s gone, Sarge. I don’t know how she did it. She just up and disappeared into thin air.”

“You idiot,” Sarge growled, shaking a piece of paper at him. “I just got a hit on her fingerprints. She’s wanted in four states for fraud and grand theft. She pulls this all the time. Did she tell you her name?”

I looked down at my notebook in my hand where I had written it.

“Miss Knowtisthipnay?”

“It’s pig latin knucklehead.”

Then realization started to dawn on me. Looking at my writing again I decoded the name.

Hypnotist.
 

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