Thursday, March 15, 2018
Oscar makes the offhand comment that he wishes the damn car would get struck my lightning. Little does he know that later that night, it will. No one believes the car is unscathed.
They stood around nodding agreement as Oscar checked his rented car. Aside from a little soot on the hood, there seemed to be nothing wrong. Sighing heavily, he went back to his room determined to sleep more, but his rest refused to come. Instead, he lay awake with visions of the car's demise playing in his head over and over. He finally fell asleep around four in the morning. He woke to a phone call from the hotel manager at around 8:00.
"Mr. Friedman, so sorry to wake you, sir."
"Yeah?" Oscar sat up, rubbing his eyes.
"We took the liberty of contacting the rental company for you. The representative is here at the moment and would like to speak to you."
"Thanks. Give me a couple minutes to wake up. I'll be down."
"The representative is on the way up and should be there any minute."
Cursing, he hung up and dressed quickly. He was just starting the coffee pot when there was a knock on his door. Oscar answered, anticipating a fat, balding man. Instead, an attractive woman in her early forties stood there in a navy blue suit. Her skirt was flared and just above knees, revealing a shapely lower leg. Strawberry blonde hair curled below her ears, brushing the top of her collar. Knowing blue eyes held his for a moment before she spoke.
"May I come in, Mr. Friedman?"
"Sure. Knock yourself out." He held the door for her to walk through.
He finished setting up the coffee and waited for her to speak. Barefoot, standing with his hands shoved deep into the pockets of his faded blue jeans, he looked rather lost and alone. The woman gave him a thorough examination before speaking. Her voice was sultry and low.
"Mr. Friedman, the company sent me over as a courtesy to you, sir. Although I'm not overly sure what they expect me to do."
"Neither do I, Miss...?"
"Bond. Jasmine Bond."
Oscar laughed somewhat derisively. When the woman didn't join him, he stopped abruptly. "I'm sorry, Ms. Bond. I thought you were kidding. I apologize. I imagine you get that a lot."
"Unfortunately, my parents were way too creative with their naming. Be that as it may, I'm curious as to what you want from the company."
"Obviously, I want a different car. That one has been problematic since I got it. The GPS seems to be faulty as well as the alarm. I figured I'd go talk to the agency today and ask for a different car. I'm going to be here all week, I need a reliable vehicle."
"What brings you to town?"
"Business. I'm an author. I'm here for a book signing tour. I've got three venues in four days, rotating with other authors under the same publisher. Would you like to see our itinerary?"
He dug through his bag, handing her a crumpled sheet listing his appointed times per venue. Some were scratched through and changed.
"One of the authors got sick at the last minute, so we're covering her times as well. So you see why I need transportation."
"Interesting choices. Who set this up?"
"Well, the most I can do for you is examine the car and take you to the office so you can see about a new one. I wouldn't hold my breath. Memorial Day is a busy weekend. I'm surprised we had one at all."
"I made the reservation several months ago. Even if it's a different kind of car, I don't care. I need something to go from point A to point B, and not get me lost in the meantime."
She smiled, tossing her hair with a laugh. "I understand. Well, when you're ready, we can go together and talk to Don. I'm sure he'll help all he can."
"Thanks. I'd like that. Um, have you had breakfast?"
"I beg your pardon?"
"Breakfast. Coffee, Danish, scrambled eggs? My treat. I hear this hotel has a nice breakfast buffet."
Jasmine Bond was about to refuse when her stomach growled. She'd gotten the call to come by here on her way to work and hadn't had time to stop and get her breakfast. Sighing, she shrugged. "Sure, why not?"
The food was delicious. Oscar ate well, having skipped dinner the night before. Jasmine was reluctant to eat as much as she wanted, but he encouraged her to fill up.
"It amazes me to see a woman who won't eat until she's full for fear someone will comment on how much she eats. I like a woman with a healthy appetite and a little meat on her. Bony women...." He didn't finish, shaking his head in disgust.
"Don't like bony women?"
"I find them—uncomfortable."
"That's an odd word. What do you mean?"
"I bruise easy." He shrugged.
Ms. Bond laughed happily. "You're so silly. Do I dare ask where?"
Oscar chuckled, shaking his head. "Probably not."
© 2018 Dellani Oakes
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Noel Gentry owns a bar in an aging, but still nice, neighborhood. When his neighbor, Mrs. Culpepper, falls ill, he accompanies her to the hospital, where me meets Dr. Ziva Bodie. He and the doctor hit it off, so he invites her to a Sardonic concert, complete with front row seats and back stage passes. She's delighted with the concert, and is even more excited after intermission, when surprise guests join Sardonic on stage.
This time, the band took the stage with the lights on. Two other men walked out, ones that Noel and Ziva hadn't seen backstage. One was very tall, with waist long black hair. The other was shorter, with shoulder length blond hair. Ziva recognized them immediately. Grabbing Noel's arm, she jumped up and down, squealing. The sound and movement caught Cullen's attention. He stopped, dropping to a crouch.
“I think one of my fans is deserting me for our special guests. Do you know who these guys are, babe?” he said into the microphone. He held it out to catch her voice.
“Yes!” she squeaked.
“Well, suppose you tell these nice folks, in case they don't recognize them. To my right?”
“That's Malin Dimas!” She hopped up and down like an excitable child.
“And to my left?”
“Johnny Caesar! Ohmigod!”
The audience went insane. Noel, who liked and recognized both musicians, couldn't help but laugh at Ziva's antics.
“Noel, man, I think your lady's about to abandon you for a rock star.”
“Nope, cause she knows they're both married. And she knows what I can do with my tongue.” He flickered it like Gene Simmons. Since the camera was focused on them, his antics made the big screen above the stage.
The audience went insane. The men on stage laughed loudly.
“Friend of yours?” Malin came over to stand by Cullen. Dropping down, he held out his hand to Ziva. “Hi there. What's your name, beautiful?”
Not to be outdone, Johnny joined them.
“This is Ziva. She's a doctor,” Cullen said. “And, unfortunately, she's dating my friend, Noel.”
“You know our songs, Ziva the Doctor?” Malin asked.
“What's your favorite?”
Put on the spot, she blanked out on all of Malin's titles. Since she couldn't remember the name, she sang a snatch of it.
“You wanna hear that right now?”
“Boys, Casa Nova!” Playing a wicked riff, he strolled away from the edge of the stage.
Cullen hopped up, followed by Johnny. Not to be outdone, he played his own riff, and the two had a head cutting duel before even starting the song. Trying to outdo one another, they played more intricate things. Johnny finally played something so bizarre, Malin couldn't seem to do it. Stopping for a second, with the band playing behind him, he put his hands on his hips in disgust.
“You aren't supposed to play my own song better than me, Caesar!”
Laughing, Johnny flipped him off and started to sing.
“Fucking sings it better than me, too!” Malin hollered. “You want my job?”
Johnny just laughed again, and kept singing. Cullen took over vocals and the other two sang harmony. When the song finished, the crowd went crazy.
“I swear to god, you both sing it better than me. That settles it, next album, you're both on it.”
© 2018 Dellani Oakes
Saturday, March 10, 2018
If you're looking for all things futuristic and fantasy, then my guests have you covered! Join me in welcoming my three, sparkling new guests to this week's show.
First, please welcome CD Gorri. She is a fantasy author whose books include Wolf Moon, Charley's Christmas Wolf, and The Dragon's Valentine.
Finally, is Scott Moses, the author of the futuristic thriller Between Truth and Eternity. He is currently working on Fools of Parody, due for release in June.
Thursday, March 08, 2018
Oscar's on a book signing tour, and not having a very good time yet. The GPS in his rental car seems determined to make him completely crazy.
Oscar kicked the tire and the alarm screamed again, making everyone cover their ears and complain. Unfortunately, this time, the button didn't work right away. It took three tries before it was silent once more. The crowd dispersed, making rude comments to him as they did. With a final invective directed at the car in particular and the manufacturer in general, Oscar went back into the hotel ready for another shower.
"I'm terribly sorry," he told the girl at the desk. "Honestly, I didn't set it."
"Car alarms set automatically, Mr. Friedman."
"Whatever. Can I leave the remote down here? Then if the damn thing goes off again, someone from the hotel can shut it off."
"I'd hate to be responsible for that, Mr. Friedman. It is your car, after all."
"It's a damn rental. It's insured. If it gets stolen, so what? Please. If it goes off at two a.m., do you want to be the one who has to call me?"
She most emphatically did not. With the manager's permission, she placed his car keys in the pigeonhole for his room.
"Just ask for them when you leave." She tried to smile, but it was forced.
"Thanks. I apologize for being a bother. I wish the damn thing would get struck by lightning," he mumbled.
That night, the skies opened, pouring down more rain in an hour than the city had seen all year. Oscar woke twice during the night, lying awake as the rain pounded relentlessly against his third story window. Unable to sleep after the second time, he lay in the dark, watching the streetlights cast eerie orange ripples across his walls and ceiling. He was just drifting back to sleep when a vividly bright light filled the room, followed by a tremendous clap of thunder.
Oscar sat bolt upright in his bed, blankets and pillows scattered like fallen leaves. Every car alarm in the hotel parking lot shrilled into the dark night. Phones all over the hotel rang until bleary, angry guests woke up enough to answer them. Even Oscar's phone rang. He picked it up, wondering why.
"Mr. Friedman?" The young woman sounded terrified.
"I'm sorry to have to tell you this, sir."
"What's wrong? Did my car get hit by lightning or something?"
There was a prolonged silence followed by a nervous clearing of the throat. "How did you know?"
Oscar started to laugh. The young lady did not join in. His mirth tapered off and another uncomfortable silence ensued.
"You're kidding. Aren't you?"
"No, sir. That's why I called."
"The manager said to tell you that the hotel is not responsible for damage of this kind. It's considered an act of nature."
"I see. I guess I'd better call the company and get a different car."
"That's the odd thing. The car appears to be undamaged."
"What? How's that even possible?"
"I don't know, Mr. Friedman. I haven't seen it myself."
"I'll be right down. Thank you."
He dressed rapidly and took the elevator to the lobby. A huge crowd had gathered around the lobby entrance, most of them in their pajamas holding car alarm remotes. The rain fell just as steadily, but they couldn't seem to make themselves go inside. A clutch of people stood around his car. The doorman handed him an umbrella and he wandered over to the front of the lot. The group parted ranks as he arrived. He recognized the manager in the center, talking animatedly with a police officer and a fireman.
"Here's the owner now," the manager said, pulling Oscar forward.
"It's a rental," Oscar replied before he got blamed for anything. "I just picked it up this afternoon."
"So it doesn't belong to you personally?" The police officer flipped open his notepad.
"No. It's a hunk of junk and I was going to return it in the morning to get something else. The GPS is borked and the alarm went off for no reason."
"He's right about that," the manager interjected. "We've had to turn it off seven times during the evening. He left the keys at the front desk for us."
"You'll need to contact the rental company in the morning," the cop told him. "They need to know what happened and assess damages."
"That's what I'm trying to tell you, officer," the fireman said calmly. "I used to work as a mechanic. From what I can see, there's nothing wrong. It didn't even damage the paint."
"That's weird as shit," the cop said.
"But damn fortunate," the fireman added. "Specially on a rental. They'll get you six ways to Sunday on those otherwise."
© 2018 Dellani Oakes
Tuesday, March 06, 2018
A Tisket A Tasket is the fourth book in my Miracle, Mississippi fantasy series. The members of the Circles have been in Louisiana, helping the son of one of their members. As their meeting is ending, their host gets a call from his daughter, who is visiting another group in Texas.
“I'll give 'em a call in a second,” Emmett said, pulling on his jeans. He had just turned his phone back on when it rang. “Speaking of Summer. Hep, baby girl?” He put the phone on speaker.
“Daddy, Caleb's dad told me to call and tell you they're all packing up and coming down.”
“We meeting up here at home, or in Miracle?”
“I'll ask.” There was a brief, muffled conversation.
“He said it doesn't matter, just give him a destination.”
“It needs to be up home,” Neil stated. “Couldn't tell ya why, I just know.”
“We're going to Miracle,” Emmett confirmed with Summer.
“Okay. It will be about ten hours. Got to round everyone up and get on the road. He wants to know if there are enough places to sleep, or do they need to plan to camp?”
“Dad's fish camp is empty,” Neil said. “There are cabins, pretty comfy this time of year. They'd need a little airing, but we were just in last week to clean.”
“Sounds good,” Summer said. “This is a hardy bunch, they don't mind roughing it. I'm fitting right in.” She loved to camp and commune with nature. She had an affinity for air and water, so she was happiest outside. “Daddy, can I stay with Caleb?”
“Sure, honey. But not in the same cabin.”
“Uck! Daddy!” she hung up.
Emmett chuckled. “That won't last long, but let me enjoy the moment while I can.”
“We'd better get home,” Neil said to Chase. “We'll need to give the place a shakedown. It's pretty good, but I need your help with the bug wards.”
“No problem. Marissa's really good with those.”
“Then I need her too.”
Sudden motion possessed them all. The people in Louisiana needed to pack up. The people from Mississippi needed to get things ready back home. Already Jackie and Jordan were organizing with the other women, discussing numbers, food and who would sleep where.
Brian watched, amazed. “Seems kinda sexist, them organizing it all,” he said to his dad.
Miles glanced over his shoulder, shrugging. “Your mother would object if we tried to help them. Watch. Babe, we can help out, so you ladies aren't doing it all.”
“Not on your life,” she snapped back. “If I wanna get kicked stupid, I'll let you know.”
Brian burst out laughing. “I never heard her say that before.”
“Inside joke. Suffice to say, they don't want, or need, our help.”
“I guess I'll stand around and look smarter than I am.”
“Yeah, good luck with that. Grab the baby.” He picked up diaper bag and camp chairs, heading to the car.
Brian picked up Elise, tossing her in the air. This time, he was sure she hovered a moment. Even he, as powerful as he was, couldn't do that. “No one ever told her it wasn't possible,” he murmured as he put her in her seat. “You keep defying the laws of gravity, baby girl. You can teach your dumb ass brother a few things.”
Elise touched his cheek, grinning. “Dumdum.”
“Oh, thanks!” He kissed her hand and helped his mother into the car.
Jordan had decided to ride up with them since Louisa and Ginnifer wanted to come up early and were riding with her parents.
“I wish there were some kind of magic spell to make putting in a car seat easier,” Heath grumbled. “Can't manipulate plastic.” Muttering, he finally let Andre take over.
Once the seat was in place and baby Wilson ensconced in his throne, Andre took Louisa in his arms.
“You be safe and call me when you get there. I'm right behind you.”
“We'll be fine. I love you.” She gave him a little kiss.
“So much, it hurts,” he whispered, deepening the kiss. “Bye, Stinky,” he said to his son.
The baby blew bubbles at him, gurgling happily.
“Stop that, he's gonna think it's his name.”
“And yet we named him after a volleyball.”
Louisa swatted him and he backed up from the car, laughing.
© 2018 Dellani Oakes
Sunday, March 04, 2018
I know it's not my usual day, but I was reading this scene, and I got such a laugh out of it, I had to share it. I didn't want to wait for a regular day, because I won't be laughing as hard then. Miranda works part time at a theatre downtown. Her boss, Brent, and his wife, Shaine, own the building. She writes plays, he directs. The city is in the midst of a nasty blizzard. Since their power went out, Brent and Shaine went to the theatre to stay – they have apartments upstairs, where some of their staff live. He gives Miranda a call, for one or two reasons....
My phone ringing interrupted us. It was Brent.
"Hallo, guv!" I replied.
"Is what's his cheeks there?"
"Yes, Jeff is here."
"Excellent. May I bend his ear a wee bit?"
"Have you been drinking?" Brent isn't usually this cheerful.
"Not for the last half hour," he drawled. "Prior to, quite a bit. Had some good news."
"Yes! Two bits, actually. First of all It's a girl Huzzah!"
"Really? Shaine had the baby? Isn't it a little early?"
"Brought on by weather, so they tell us. Colt, with the able assistance of the lads, and his lovely bride, delivered her at the theatre, as we were snowed in."
"That's so exciting! Congratulations! And what's bit number two?"
"Full funding for the film, in the bank, luxuriating. Between me, and a few filthy rich, though generous, friends we are completely funded, and ready to rock this spring. One thing, though. She's decided motherhood is more important than stardom and she's offering you the part."
"What? Me? Oh, my God! Really?"
"I wouldn't be calling in my semi-sober, passably inebriated state, otherwise. You and your lad, what's-his-diddle. We want you both. Can that be arranged? Oh, can the bugger act?"
"I'll ask what's-his-diddle, and you can see for yourself, when we get together with you this week. He's anxious to meet with you."
"Excellent. When I am my usual sober, sedate self, we shall speak—oh, list, list!" I heard the phone clatter. "Oh, fuck," he grumbled. Fumbling and rattling, another fall or two. I hoped Brent was at home where he couldn't hurt himself. "Got it! I got it," he gasped. "Slippery fucker. Yes. When I am less—" He burped and hiccuped. "In me cups, we shall chat. Sally will call. She's sober and sedate as we speak."
"Is she with you?"
"Yes. She was kind enough to take me home so I can sober up before I join my lovely wife, and pink swaddled bundle at hospital. I shall not introduce my wee daughter to the ravages of alcohol at her tender age." I heard the phone fall again. "Fuck balls," he grumbled.
© 2018 Dellani Oakes
Thursday, March 01, 2018
I wrote Oscar Friedman's Freakish Occurrance in 2009, after a couple of horrible trips with my GPS. After ending up in a part of Orlando that no woman should be in alone, I decided the GPS was possessed. Besides, she had a really snarky way of saying “Calculating route,” in a very harsh tone. When I finally got back from that trip, I sat down and wrote this story.
Oscar Friedman sat in the hot, humid, stuffy car gazing at the dashboard with chagrin. The rented Prius had the most complicated layout of any automobile he'd ever seen. When he'd told the agent that he wanted a gas efficient model, he hadn't envisioned a hybrid. The agent, even now, was trying to give him a lesson on how to start the car. Unfortunately, it made very little sense. He tried it himself and, with lots of intervention, felt relatively competent.
"Ever used a GPS?" The young man, who looked about twelve, asked him.
Oscar felt each of his forty-seven years as he gazed into the vacuous blue eyes. "No."
With a patient smile, the young man explained its use. He typed in the address of the hotel where Oscar was registered. "It will give you directions there and tell you when you've arrived," he said with a happy grin.
"It talks to me?"
"Yes. And it has a map so you can see exactly where you're going and where you are. If you make a wrong turn, it helps you get back on track."
"Great, a machine that's smarter than I am."
"Not exactly. It's part of a satellite tracking system...."
"I know what it is," Oscar said slowly. "Just because I've never used one—and I'm twice your age, doesn't mean I don't know what GPS stands for."
"Gotcha. You're technologically illiterate, Pops, that's all."
Oscar took great offense to that statement. "Not illiterate, inexperienced. In my day, you got a map or asked directions. It wasn't perfect, but it worked."
"Yeah, well this works better." Pursing his lips, the young man frowned at Oscar. "Have a great trip." He didn't sound like he meant it at all.
"Thanks, you've been a peach." Neither did Oscar.
Shutting the door, Oscar began the complicated process of starting the car. Determined to do it without further assistance, he fumbled around, hitting upon the correct sequence entirely by accident. Putting the car in gear, he pulled out of the parking lot, following the directions of the GPS.
At first the navigation was easy. As he progressed, he found the directions more difficult, the turns more frequent. When he finally got to his hotel, which the agent had assured him was only five minutes away—fifty-five minutes later—he was furious. The hotel loomed on the horizon, but the GPS didn't tell him that he'd arrived. He drove past it, cursing loudly.
"It's right there!" he yelled, pointing at the hotel.
A block later, the GPS made the announcement, "You have arrived."
"I haven't! I have to get back to the hotel, you stupid, electrical fiend!"
Trying to turn right and make a block, he saw the street was one way going the opposite direction.
In desperation, he stopped at a corner gas station and asked directions. The clerk spoke very little English, but a helpful patron got him back on the right road. Arriving far later than he'd hoped, he walked into the lobby sweating and angry after his trip.
The clerk wrinkled her nose as he checked in, giving him a baleful eye as he picked up his bags and headed to his room. The cold, darkened room felt wonderful as he stripped off his sweaty clothing. Dropping it on the floor, he wandered into the bathroom for a long, hot shower. The phone was ringing when he got out of the shower. Grabbing it up angrily, he answered.
"Mr. Friedman, front desk. So sorry to bother you, sir. Your car alarm is going off and has been for several minutes. The manager asks if you'd please come down and shut it off."
"Car alarm? I didn't even know it had one. I don't remember setting it. Right now I'm wet and naked. I just got out of the shower. I'll be right down."
"Thank you, Mr. Friedman. I'm so sorry to bother you."
"Sorry to be a nuisance. Damn car is making my life hell."
He dried off and dressed rapidly. Grabbing his car keys and the room card, he ran to the elevator and headed to the parking lot. His car alarm was indeed going off loudly and persistently. A crowd had gathered around it. Some of the men were talking about lifting it in order to shut the alarm off.
"I saw it in Twins," one man said loudly. "You lift it at a specific angle, it shuts off. Arnold lifted the car."
"What angle? I'll hurt my back I lift it too far," his companion complained.
The men stood there scratching their heads as more people gathered.
"What idiot doesn't know his car alarm is doing off?" An older lady complained. "What a moron!"
"Surely the hotel called him," her equally elderly companion added.
"Excuse me, ladies." Oscar squeezed between them. "Sorry." He clicked the button and the alarm shut off. "I didn't even set the dumb thing. I don't know how that happened. Damn rentals."
© 2018 Dellani Oakes
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