Monday, March 31, 2014

My Scottish Connection


Paul R. Meredith

This story is dedicated to my beautiful and loving daughter
Kristine Elaine Meredith Sulzberger
 July 13, 1965 to October 27, 2013

Here is an excerpt from this exciting story of romance and adventure. A previous excerpt from Chapter 1 is located elsewhere on this site. I hope you enjoy the story excerpts enough to want to read the entire story.


Chapter 7

Ian McNamara had no contact with his son the remainder of the evening. Margaret made him come down and eat something after their son went to bed for the night. “You have to eat something, Ian. You can deal with the reflux better than you can with starvation,” she scolded.
            “I don’t want any damn food.”
            “You will eat something or I’ll tell the doctor you refuse to eat properly. I don’t think it’s a scolding you want from him,” she said. He came down and grudgingly ate a small amount of supper. He was in a terrible mood and spoke not one word to his wife.
            Ian did not come to see Peter off for the airport the following morning. Instead, he got up very early and went to the fields in the truck with his dogs. Margaret packed him some food to take with him.
            Margaret McNamara hugged her son before he left. “May God be with you as you search for the right thing to do, my son. Please, whatever you do, I implore you, don’t break your father’s heart. He is hurting badly enough with what has taken place already. I don’t want his poor old heart to suffer any more damage. It is bad enough as it is. Doctor McFarland has warned him to take it very easy and to take his medicine every single day or it could be curtains for him.”
            Peter listened as his mother spoke to him. Then he gave her a curt kiss and left in his rental car, his head hanging low with guilt at the hurt he had caused his father. He drove down the lane past where his father was far out in the field working with his two dogs. He honked and waved, but Ian McNamara ignored his son’s attempts to say goodbye. Peter hesitated as he honked several more times, but Ian continued to ignore the signals. Finally, in frustration, Peter drove off, feeling heavy of heart.

The few possible solutions to his personal problems were running a thousand miles an hour through his head as Peter neared the main highway to Glasgow a few minutes later. As he started to pick up the speed he needed to merge with the highway traffic, he was preoccupied with the thought of leaving without his father saying goodbye to him. He never noticed the large flatbed truck carrying the two farm tractors closing on him as he entered the main highway, not until it was too late to react. The truck and the car collided together on the main highway just as Peter tried to swerve away, causing the car to spin out of control. The car left the road and hit a large concrete drain tile under an entry drive to a farm field, bounced off and then hit a large tree. Bouncing off the tree, the car tore out fifty feet of fencing as it rolled over and over before coming to rest on its top in the water-filled ditch.....

This book may be purchased at the following web site:

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Chicken Story

The Chicken Story

There is the chicken story. While we all lived on Taylor Street, our family raised a lot of chickens for a few years during and following World War II. Most of the chickens were fryers for our own eating, but we also had a number of laying hens to keep us supplied in eggs for Mom’s baking and cooking needs. For a few years in the early forties, mom baked cakes, rolls and other pastry items for sale to the neighbors, just to help dad a little with extra money. Mom had earned a reputation as a good baker in the area, and she was reputed to be very good at it. Naturally she used a lot of eggs, all that we could get from the hens actually. Anyone who ever raised laying hens knows how the least little things could interrupt production and even stop the laying process, but dad had these hens of ours laying better than ever at that particular time, so we had plenty of eggs for all our needs.
            Dad worked second shift at Wagner’s during those years, so we older kids had lots of chores with feeding the chickens, watering them, gathering the eggs, cleaning the coops, and even catching and cleaning the fryers we would eat. The other kids helped some, but I really was the one responsible as the oldest, and I naturally had the bulk of the chores on my shoulders.
            I enjoyed the killing of the fryers, especially since Grandma Meredith had taught me her method, which was grabbing the chickens by the neck and swinging them around and around until the head came off. This was much better than the way mom taught me, which had me laying a broomstick over the chicken’s neck on the ground and holding it with my foot while pulling on the chicken’s head until it came off. I used to just cleaver their heads off until I chased one of the kids with the meat cleaver one day, after which dad whipped my butt and hid the cleaver. Anyway, the deal of swinging them until their heads popped off was neat. The chicken would hit the ground headless and run around like crazy for about a minute before it collapsed and died. I never understood how the chickens could run around with no head. They certainly couldn’t see, so they ran into stuff all over the yard before they fell for the last time.
            One day I learned a really neat trick. I discovered a method of hypnotizing chickens while I was over in a different neighborhood with some kids I played with. I practiced it on chickens that belonged to two other families near our neighborhood, and by the time I arrived back home I had nearly perfected the new methodology that fascinated me so much. This is how it worked: first, you catch the chicken, and then you lay it down on its side and hold it still while you use a stick to draw a line straight out from the chicken’s beak. The longer you draw the line, the longer the chicken will lie there trying to see the end of the line. When it does see the end of the line, the chicken will simply get up and run away to the brooder house or to the corner of the chicken yard. Well, I perfected this method to the absolute nth degree by drawing the line straight out from the chicken’s beak a few inches, and then started curling it into a circular spiral and joining the line at some point inside the circle so there was no end of the line for the chicken to see. It was one of the neatest discoveries I ever made. I did it to every single one of our more than two hundred chickens.
            Dad got off work at eleven that night, long after all the kids had gone to bed. Mom always waited up for dad and had a little snack waiting for him before he went to bed. This particular night was different for dad and mom, and very different for me. I heard dad come crashing into the house shortly after eleven and yelling at mom, “Olive, what the hell happened to all the chickens? They’re all laying out there dead.”
            “What?” she said, sounding very surprised and shocked.
            “All the damn chickens have been killed. What happened? Did you hear anything out there bothering them?” he said in a frantic voice.
            She ran outside with him. I heard her say, “I never heard a thing. They were all fine when I last checked on them. Did some animal get hold of them and kill them?”
            Mom and dad both came back in and dad grabbed his big five-cell flashlight, then they headed back out to the chicken pen. Dad walked up to the first dead chicken he came to and stood there and just looked at it for a short moment. He then nudged it in disgust with his foot, thinking for sure that all the chickens were dead. The chicken rolled over once from the nudge, shook its feathers and then quickly jumped up and ran squawking into the brooder house. It scared dad and mom both because they never expected it. Dad nudged a couple more of the prone chickens, and they too came to life just as the first chicken did, so then he and mom went around the entire yard and kicked all of the more than two-hundred chickens back to life.
            A few minutes later, dad and mom came back into the house. Dad walked over to me in my bed and flashed the light in my face. “What the hell happened with those chickens out there?” he said.
            “What chickens?” I whispered with a quiver in my voice.
            “You know what chickens. What the hell did you do to them?”
            “I was just playing with them a little. I just hypnotized them,” I answered.
            “You hypnotized over two-hundred chickens? What the hell are you talking about?” he said as he jerked me out from under the cover.
            “Please, Dad, that’s all I did. I was just having fun with them,” I pleaded for my life.
            Well, no big surprise to me, Dad took me into the kitchen and beat my skinny little butt big-time that very night, right there in front of all the other kids and Mom and God and everybody. I know the neighbors had to hear me screaming for my life.

I wish I could say that the chicken episode was over at that point, but alas, it had only started. The damn hens quit laying eggs—completely stopped all production. Sad as it was for me, and as much as I prayed for them to start again as soon as possible, they just didn’t. I went to talk with them several times a day, begging them to please start laying eggs again, but nothing seemed to work. Each night dad would come in from work and ask mom if there were any eggs yet, and each time the answer was the same. There were no eggs.
            Dad would get me up first thing each morning and beat my butt again.
            I got damn tired of that treatment after several days, so one day I stopped after school and bought a dozen eggs with money from my piggy bank, after which I slinked into the hen house and scattered the eggs around under the hens. Mom went out later and collected all the eggs. I heard her yell, “Yea, the chickens are laying again!” She seemed very happy, probably for me.
            I was worried though, because I didn’t have the money to buy another dozen eggs the next day. I needed the hens to start laying eggs immediately. I shouldn’t have worried about it.
            Dad came in from work that night. Mom greeted him happily, “Look, Paul, the hens finally started laying again.”
            “They did? Let me see.”
            Mom showed him the snowy white eggs, all twelve of them.
            “Looks like an even dozen to me, and they aren’t even the brown eggs like we used to get. Did you buy these eggs at the store to protect him, Olive?”
            “No, of course I didn’t buy them, and now that you mention it, I do see that the eggs are not the same color. Do you suppose the hens can change their egg color?” she said.
            “Hell no, where is that kid, in bed?”
            “Yes, but you leave him alone. He’s had enough,” she said to him.
            She was right about that. I had had enough for sure.
            Dad walked over to my bed where I was faking sleep, and he whispered in my ear, “Nice trick when it works, but it doesn’t work with me. I’ll see you real early in the morning. Sleep good and tight.”
            Dad beat my butt early the next morning for the umpteenth time in two months. I didn’t know how much more I could take.
            One day soon after that, when I least expected it, one of the hens actually laid an egg, and then I looked and found a second egg. That’s all there were, but it was at least a start. I thought for sure that I was finally out of the woods, but it was optimistic thinking on my part. Dad continued to pound on my butt until all the hens reached full production again. He didn’t do it to me every day, but often enough to let me know he hadn’t forgotten the episode.
            I never hypnotized another one of our chickens the rest of my life. You may be tempted to ask, “Did I ever do it to chickens that others owned?” You have to know I did. One just simply doesn’t allow a good trick like that to die.

The End

Paul R. Meredith

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

My Scottish Connection

I was in Scotland when I traveled for my company back in the 1980s. It was such a beautiful place I knew I had to figure out how to write a story that included some of what I had seen. This story is the culmination of memories of that special place here in this huge romance story.

My Scottish Connection


Paul R. Meredith

Sylvia decided she would call her best friend, Susan Espery, and see if she could shed any light on the identity of the man who had kissed her at the party. She checked her watch for the time and quickly realized it was way too early to call Susan. That girl sleeps in after a long night like she had, she thought. She’d kill me if I called before two.
Susan Espery was known as something of a party animal among her group of loyal friends, even though it really wasn’t deserved. She just seemed to be in the middle of all the action for some reason, probably because she was outgoing and blended easily with about any crowd. Sylvia was somewhat more subdued, perhaps even a little bit introverted compared to the rest of the group she currently hung with. Even though Susan was known as something of a “wild child” because of her very active lifestyle, she had the good sense to never allow a situation to get out of control. She didn’t sleep around as many others she knew and palled around with did. She had the tendency to stay with one man and be true to him as long as he reciprocated. She considered herself to be an honorable woman. Her steady date at the moment was an advertising man named Jack Finch. Jack had his own small but very powerful and growing advertising business. He was the only man Susan had been dating for the past five months. Susan seemed to care a lot for Jack, but she was extremely careful to never let any of her friends know her true feelings. That was just her way—personal things were private things with her. But in her mind, Jack Finch was the type of man Susan had always dreamed of marrying someday.
A few minutes after two on New Years Day, Sylvia finally called her best friend. “Hi Sue, are you up and around yet?”
“Been up for hours,” Susan lied. “How about you?”
“Couldn’t sleep well last night. I had dreams that kept me awake and jumping around in the bed all night.”
“You’re supposed to dream while you sleep, not when you’re awake. You’ve got it back asswards, girl,” Susan quipped. “Were you dreaming about that hunk that kissed the living hell out of you last night?”
“Now that you mention it, yes, I did dream about that man—a lot! Who the hell was he? Do you know him, because I sure don’t?”
“Sure, he’s good friends with my guy. You know Jack pretty well by now, and Jack told me to tell you he has got the hots for you—has had ever since he spotted you one day when you stopped in at my work to see me. I guess he spotted you while you were there at the same time he was there. Are you sure you don’t know him?”
“I’m not sure I understand. Did you say Jack has the hots for me?” Sylvia asked, somewhat confused by her lack of sleep and the way Sue made the remark.
“No dummy, at least I hope not. The guy that kissed you, the mystery man, silly. He was there that day. He’s the one that has the hots for you.”
“How could he? I’ve never seen the man before.”
“Yeah, right. That’s a likely story. Didn’t you see him that day when you stopped at the restaurant to ask me about going shopping with you? He was in there with Jack.”
“Honestly Sue, I never laid eyes on the guy in my life, at least not that I know of anyway. If he saw me, I didn’t see him. I’ve never seen that man in my life. I would certainly remember him.”
“My God, then why did you kiss him like that, especially right in front of poor Tom? I have to believe that really had to piss Tom off. I noticed that you never even bothered to kiss him,” Susan said. “How did he handle that?”
“Oh God, you’re right. I realized I never kissed Tom at all; he told me so. He’s got to be really irritated with me right now.”
“No, you didn’t kiss him, and he was clearly upset about it. All he could do was watch while you allowed the other guy to all but have his way with you on the dance floor. Christ, for a minute there I thought you were going to leave poor Tom and go somewhere to get a room and crawl in the sack with the guy.”
“Dammit Sue, I thought it was Tom who turned me around and kissed me at the party, and I closed my eyes to enjoy the moment. I was as shocked as I could be when I finally opened my eyes and saw that it wasn’t him at all,” Sylvia explained. “And to make matters worse, I only saw a fleeting glimpse of the man as he quickly left.”
“Right, I’m sure, so didn’t Tom say anything at all about it to you?”
Sylvia thought for a second. “Sure, he had a few words to say about it to me, but he thought I must have known the man pretty well the way I kissed him so long. And of course he said he never got to kiss me at all. I felt terrible about that, but by then there was no way to make it up to him. And yes, I am sure Tom is pissed at me right now.”
“Well, Sylvia, I really think that Tom must have had the right to say something to you about it, don’t you?”

This is an e-book available on Kindle and other e-readers.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Other Writing Sites

Many of you don't know that my books are on several internet book seller sites, including Actually, four of my recent books are on this site at for download:

Many of my books are on Amazon Kindle at:

However, several of my early books in both soft cover and e-book format  are on Barnes and Noble at:

Many other internet book seller sites also offer my books for sale.

Of all the stories I have written, one of my recent thrillers still gets a lot of attention. That story is: The SWOB Affair.


A vicious murder and dismemberment of a popular local woman causes a citywide alarm in Ormond Beach, Florida. It sends a shock wave through the citizens of the normally quiet vacation city on the Atlantic Ocean coast. Ormond Beach Detective Calloway is assigned the case to solve. He must solve it the hard way, by checking out every member of the SWOB writing group and others.


Monday, March 17, 2014

The Ice Man

The Ice Man is Coming

It was a hot summer in 1940. Our family lived on the western edge of Decatur, Illinois, in what was then called a village. I was five years old and anxious to stand at the edge of the front ditch to watch for John, the ice man. My twin sisters Darlene and Marlene waited with me, as did my younger brother Danny and my baby sister Trudy.
            It was during the early days of electric refrigeration, and since our family was extremely poor, we didn’t have one of the new fangled contraptions. Mom had a wooden icebox that held a block of ice in the top. It was vented to the bottom of the box in such a way so as to keep food and milk partially cool, but never really cold. Milk would last only a couple of days in the icebox before it would spoil. Once it spoiled, Mom had to make clabbered milk biscuits with it, which Dad dearly loved.
            Ice man John worked for the Polar Ice Company down on Van Dyke Street. He drove a flatbed, horse-drawn wagon with huge rectangular chunks of ice on it. Mac was his big brown horse, and we loved old Mac almost as much as we loved John.
            Mom had a square, four-colored sign with a number facing up in the window for the size of the ice block she needed each time John delivered, which I believe was twice each week in our neighborhood. Each side of the sign was a different color so John could read it easily from the street. Mom could order a twenty-five, fifty, seventy-five, or one hundred pound block of ice from John, depending on how much ice in our ice box was still left that hadn’t melted yet. Most of the time Mom would order fifty pounds.
            As John and Mac pulled up next to our front yard, John would yell, “Whoa there Mac,” and Mac would stop still while John tended to his ice business. We waited anxiously as Mac pulled back the big canvas cover from the ice. Then he would look at us kids and say, “Does anybody here want a big chunk of ice to suck on?”
            We would all raise our hands and yell, “Yes,” as we gleefully danced around.
            John would pick off a large chunk for each of us kids with his big old ice pick, and then he would climb down from the wagon and hand the ice to us. He would then throw a big rubber cape over his back and pick up a big black set of ice tongs. He would grab the big chunk of ice that Mom had ordered with the tongs and sling it over his back and deliver Mom’s ice order into the house and place it in our icebox. The rubber cape kept the ice from getting John’s shirt wet. As he delivered the ice inside, we would all stand and talk with Mac, his big beautiful brown horse. John had cut ear holes in a large straw hat and fitted it to Mac’s big head to keep him cool while he stood and waited in the hot sun for his master to return.
            Once John had delivered Mom’s ice inside, he always asked us kids if we would like to pet old Mac. “Yes,” we all yelled in unison, and John would tell us to go ahead.
            One day John told us the next time he delivered to our house it would be Mac’s birthday. I ran in the house and begged Mom to bake Mac a birthday cake. Reluctantly she did bake a cake for us two days later, cutting off a large slice for us to feed to Mac when he came again. “You must ask John if Mac can have cake. It may not be good for him,” she warned.
            Sure enough, we stood at the edge of the ditch in our front yard and watched Mac and John come down the street. When John said, “Whoa there Mac,” I ran out and asked if we could give Mac a piece of his birthday cake. I held it in my hands on a napkin. John looked at it for a minute, and then he said, “Sure, why not? It is Mac’s birthday today. Sure. He would love the cake.” I held it out to Mac and he slurped it up and swallowed it whole. Danny, Marlene, Darlene, Trudy and I all sang “Happy Birthday” to Mac. It was great fun watching old Mac lick his chops to get all the icing.

We enjoyed seeing John and Mac for two summers, but then one day they never showed up at out house. I asked Mom, “Do you think John is sick, or do you think it is Mac?”
            “No honey,” Mom said, “John has gone off to heaven to be with the Lord. He won’t be able to come back to our house anymore. I’m so sorry.”
            “What about Mac? Will he get a new master?” I asked Mom.
            “No Sonny, Mac has been retired. He is very old and deserves his rest. He has worked very hard for many years. Your dad is getting us a refrigerator tomorrow from your grandma. We won’t need the ice any longer.”
            I was too young to realize that going to heaven meant that John had died. I’m not sure how long it was before my older friend Gene told me John died. I remember I told my brother and my sisters and we all cried.
            Dad and my Uncle Orville borrowed a truck from one of their friends and hauled the refrigerator from grandma’s house to our house. Grandpa had bought a brand new one for Grandma and she gave us her old one. It was a big white box with a great big round motor on top. It was very heavy, but Shelby, our neighbor, came over and helped my dad and my uncle Orville to get it in the house. Dad plugged it in and it started making a loud humming noise. Mom was standing there smiling because she was so glad to have the refrigerator.
            Mom was right; we never needed any ice after that. Mom could even make ice cubes in the new box. It was really great!

Paul R. Meredith

Saturday, March 15, 2014

My Scottish Connection

This story is dedicated to my beautiful and loving daughter
Kristine Elaine Meredith Sulzberger

July 13, 1965 to October 27, 2013 

My Scottish Connection


Paul R. Meredith

This story was being written during the time when my daughter Kris was so very ill with breast cancer. A short time after we lost Kris, I decided I wanted to finish the story and dedicate it to her memory. I am proud of the story, just as I was so very proud of my daughter Kris.

The Synopsis

My Scottish Connection, tells the story of an American fashion designer who falls in love with a man from Scotland. The couple meets mysteriously at a New Years Eve masquerade party when a man suddenly grabs, turns and kisses Sylvia Blackwell. She thought at first it was her date, Tom Littleton, only to suddenly discover it was not. The mysterious man quickly leaves the party before any words can be exchanged between them. Sylvia stands dumbfounded and flatfooted, with her head swimming, not knowing what to do.
          Later she learns the mysterious man is from Scotland and is a close friend of one of her friends. She fantasizes about the stranger in her sleep. When she finally learns of his true identity, she discovers she can't stop thinking about the kiss he gave her. The man surprises her when he unexpectedly calls. During the conversation she asks him how he got her number. He apologizes for his inappropriate behavior at the party, saying he couldn’t help himself, but will not say how he received her number.
          Peter McNamara offers to take Sylvia to dinner, which she ultimately accepts, starting a chain of events that allows Peter to ask her to accompany him to Scotland for a short visit. Sylvia falls in love with the small country and with Peter's parents, especially his mother. Sylvia soon discovers she has also fallen in love with Peter and leaves her previous friend Tom Littleton by the wayside. 
          Sylvia's designs for women's fashions are purchased by a large company, turning her into the highly successful fashion designer she always wanted to be. Her life takes a sudden turn for the better. Plans start to take place for a wedding in the near future, but Peter must first return to Scotland to break the news to his parents. His father, the chairman of Scotch Silk, a Scottish distillery, is not pleased at the news and turns away from his son in disgust. Peter's mother supports his marriage plans, but seems guardedly optimistic that his father might accept the plans in time.
          A horrific automobile accident in Scotland takes a life and sets the stage for Sylvia's connection to Scotland and a deep friendship with Peter’s mother for many years to come.
          The ending of the story is a non-traditional shocker that could never be guessed by the reader.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Memories of Lake Wabaskang


This is a love story between a Canadian Cree Indian woman and an American attorney, two people from different countries and cultures. I was re-reading this romantic adventure story just yesterday. I wrote the story and published it several months ago. It has such a deep and inspiring love story in it that it drew tears to my eyes as I dead it again. I do not recall feeling the same passion for the story when I first wrote it, so it was a new experience for me to feel the emotion it brought out. I am normally not an emotional person of a story I am reading, especially one I wrote. If it did that for me, the writer, can you imagine what it will do for you?

This book is just 99 cents at Amazon Kindle. I truly hope you will take a close look at it if you are a romantic. It is a great story.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Return of the Vigilante Goddess

The Return of the

Vigilante Goddess


Esther Scroggins was a private investigator. While married to her first husband she owned a small investigation company. Then her husband died from a fast-acting form of cancer. After being a widow for several years, Esther itched for a change in her boring life. She was solicited and hired by a man she knew only as Sam Little. Her job was as a hired assassin, a position she never dreamed of ever accepting previously. But after hearing Sam Little’s explanation of why the job was so necessary, she bought into it wholeheartedly.
            While working for Sam Little, Esther met and secretly married Bruno Martini, a work associate also in Little’s employ. Bruno was a cheerful man unlike any she had known previously. Esther considered him a truly great lover. Bruno was portly, of Italian descent, balding, and a child of immigrant parents. Esther was a thinly muscular redhead, taller than her husband by several inches, and had rarely laughed until she fell in love with Bruno. They were truly opposites in almost every way imaginable, but for whatever reason, they worked well together.
            Bruno Martini met an untimely and unexpected death in a huge explosion and fire in the garage at their home. Esther was devastated beyond belief at her loss and cried nearly uncontrollably many times.
            She vowed revenge for her husband’s death. Knowing Sam Little was at the heart of the reason for his death, he ultimately died at the hands of Kate Sullivan. It was retaliation for the contracted death of her husband, Bruno Martini.
            Esther completely stopped working at her investigation business for a while until she recovered emotionally from Bruno’s death. She had truly loved him deeply. After returning to her office and working alone again, Esther quickly grew weary of the loneliness and the mundane tasks of investigating cheating spouses and doing background checks of potential employees for corporations. She longed to return to her part-time work as a paid assassin using her alias name of Kate Sullivan. It was a calling she found she could not ignore. Mistakenly, she felt it her duty to rid the world of certain types of criminals, killers who took innocent lives and got away with it. Due to the circumstances of the volume of work that eventually evolved, Esther found she needed help. After careful research she quite unexpectedly discovered a person she thought would fit the bill. That person was Brody Rogers, a police officer who was wrongly fired in Des Moines. Esther, through skillful negotiation, brought Rogers into the paid assassin work as her close associate. In time, after some period of equivocation of reason, she married him. Brody Rogers was her third husband.
            Then, quite unexpectedly, Brody Rogers was killed in a tragic vehicle accident one night as he was returning from the assignment of executing a woman the couple deemed dangerous to them. After a very short period of mourning for his death, Esther Rogers returned to her investigation business in Omaha, and ultimately to the type of work she had learned to love, that of being a highly-paid assassin of the criminals who escaped the proper justice of the courts for the crimes they committed.
            This story resumes where The Rise of the Vigilante Goddess ended.

Each story in the Vigilante series is a stand alone story.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Vigilante God

The first mystery/thriller story I wrote is, The Vigilante God. At the time I never knew I would expand the story into a series, but I eventually did expand it to three novels. A fourth is in the works now. This part of the first chapter is an example of what you might expect to find in the story. It is a true thriller.

 The Vigilante God

Chapter 1

The deep dark of evening descended on the city less than two hours ago. It was an uncommonly chilly, late October evening. A huge orange harvest moon was hanging low in the southwestern sky, with wisps of cloud cover floating slowly past its face. The horizon basked in the bright glow of the moon. Jess Wilkins quickly glanced up at the bright of the moon as he prepared to light his twentieth Camel of the day. He smiled at his good fortune as he thought of how his day had turned out. He had done well this day. He had had a very good day indeed.
            The light breeze blew the lighter out twice before Jess could shield the flame well enough to successfully light the cigarette. He inhaled deeply on the first drag, pocketed his lighter, and then turned and walked briskly south along the old and crumbling brick building he had exited only a moment before. He bent his head into the now strengthening breeze of the open street as he tried to keep the top of his coat pulled together with one hand to keep the night chill off his neck as he walked and smoked. He did not want to catch another cold like the one he just got over.
            Less than ten seconds later, a car turned the corner and roared toward Jess on the dimly lit and deserted street. Instinctively, Jess turned his head to look toward the source of the approaching noise, carefully holding his hat on his head. Just as he turned his head, the dark-colored Dodge sedan screeched to a sliding stop less than three feet from where he walked, alarming him enough to cause him to jump back in fear. Two men leaped from the car and grabbed Jess before he could comprehend what was happening. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” He dropped his cigarette on the concrete walk, sending sparks flying everywhere, and then he lost his hat to the wind in the scuffle as he struggled valiantly—until the lights went out. The two men picked Jess’ limp frame up by his feet and shoulders and roughly shoved him into the rear seat of the car. One of the men quickly entered the rear seat from the opposite side, the side next to Jess’ head, and the other slid himself into the driver’s side of the front and yanked the shift lever into drive. The car screeched its tires and sped off into the moonlit night.

Jenna McNabb

Jenna McNabb
A Synopsis

Jenna McNabb is a two-act stage drama based on a short story with the same title. Paul R. Meredith is the writer of both.

Jenna McNabb is a chemical buyer in an industrial setting when she first meets Stuart Williams, a sales manager for a chemical manufacturing company. The first meeting ends amicably. Later the same day, Stuart and Jenna meet by accident in a local pub eatery. They chat a bit and get to know one another a little better. Stuart boldly asks Jenna for a dinner date for the following Saturday.
            At dinner Saturday evening, in a setting that includes music, Stuart asks Jenna to dance; she accepts, which leads to a rapid increase in sensual feelings between them. At the end of the evening, they cannot tear themselves from one another, and an unplanned romantic encounter happens at Jenna’s home.
            The two young people become closer and closer over two years, often trading sleepover nights at their homes. Marriage is lightly discussed, but few personal issues have ever been spoken of between them. Then one morning as Stuart prepares to leave Jenna for an out-of-town business trip, Jenna receives a strange phone call that changes everything between them. Jenna is extremely upset emotionally by the call and refuses to discuss it with Stuart until later. This infuriates him, and as he leaves Jenna’s house, he seems to feel the relationship is over. He senses she feels the same.
            Stuart made a decision to stay away from Jenna for quite some time. He is confused about what he should do, so he starts dating other women. He eventually discovers he has no feelings for any other woman except for Jenna. Stuart decides to visit her again to discuss their situation, but upon arriving at her home, he learns she has moved out and sold her home. He tries every way he can to learn where Jenna has moved. Nobody can or will tell him.
            He realizes Jenna can be the only woman for him. For the next twenty-five years Stuart searched in every way he knew for the love of his life, Jenna McNabb, but he is unsuccessful. He employs a private detective, but that turns out badly also.
            Years later, a broken man at age fifty-three, Stuart receives a surprise visit from an old friend at his apartment. Charlie has looked him up to see how he was doing. It has been many years since they were last together. Charlie can’t believe his eyes when he sees what a broken and unhealthy man Stuart has become. Stuart eventually tells Charlie about Jenna’s disappearance and his lost cause search for her.
            Charlie gives Stuart some great advice—to get another private investigator to locate Jenna. Stuart takes the advice and employs a new private investigator and tells him all he knows about Jenna. The PI tells Stuart it should not be too difficult to locate her, and true to his word, within a month, he is ready to discuss the results of his search...... 

I had to end the synopsis here in order to not give away the shocking surprise ending.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Aging Process

The Aging Process

It is interesting how our thoughts change as we grow older. As an infant when we depended completely on our parents to care for our every need, I suppose all we thought about was the need to have something in our belly, or to have our diaper changed, or to let us get our sleep. Life was pretty simple.        
          As a young child, we could think only of how much fun we could have if only Mom or Dad allowed us to play the games we wanted to play, play with the kids we choose to play with, or allowed us to explore anything we wanted to explore. Once we started school, we still thought about the games, our play companions and exploring things, but we also had to begin thinking about more adult problems, like how to get our homework done, make good grades, and do some minor chores around the house.
          Girls started to become fashion conscious when they entered their late elementary or early middle school years, while boys became more interested in sporting things. Somewhere along in this period boys and girls started noticing that there were differences between the genders and maybe even noticing those first pangs of early interest in the opposite sex, whereas before all there was between the two genders was outright disgust.
          During the teen years, boys and girls started seriously considering what it would be like to have a friend of the opposing gender, possibly hold hands and maybe even share a kiss at some point. By high school time, hormones were starting to kick into another gear and boys and girls were seriously looking at relationships in a much more serious way than ever before. Some started dating members of the other gender; a few even became serious and asked for steady dates with the person of their choice. Romance was blossoming everywhere and love often led to the first encounter with a sexual experience. What a life changing event that was for most of us. That really brought the genders closer together.
          As a young person left high school behind, many looked toward a work career and marriage, while others went off to college to enhance their chances for success in life. Sex was a major concern at that age for many. Often sex was the reason for marriage, although many mistakenly thought it was love. Life was busy with finding the right job, the right girl or guy, the right college, the right military service, or the right place to live. Life was a whirlwind of activity without letup as young people got married, bought homes, had children, and constantly tried to better their lives in one way or another.
          People grew a bit older and did their best to raise their children in a responsible manner. They worked hard and saved money for the future education of the kids, tried to help their own aging parents in various ways, and in general attempted to set an example for those for whose care they were responsible.
          Children grew up, went off to college, returned from college, got married and had children of their own. The parents started thinking of different things in life, such as the new grandchildren that were certain to come soon. The parents noticed that life started to slow just a bit as their children left the nest to begin lives of their own. But the birth of new life, the new grandchildren, would serve to jumpstart life once again—for a period of time.
          There were years when the grandchildren were the center of attraction, but even they started to grow up and repeat all the steps of life their parents and grandparents had taken before them. The aging grandparents started to lose their parents to sickness and death, part of the cycle of life for all of us.
          Retirement suddenly loomed just ahead, sometimes much sooner than expected. Life took another turn, often leading to a move to a faraway place. Now there was time to travel, take those dance lessons, swim at the pool, or just take it easy.  

As if a switch were flipped, one day the parents would wake up and realize they were nearly alone. Yes, the kids were still with them, but they had moved off to be married or follow their careers. The grandchildren had grown up and started their own lives, no longer that interested in what the old grandparents were doing.
          As the cycle of life continued, the old parents sat at home many evenings watching television, reading a good book, or maybe just become bored and go to bed early. Their morning ritual was rising early, fixing the coffee, having a bowl of cereal and reading the morning newspaper. Amazingly, the older we became, the more our eyes searched the obituaries, often seeing the notices of death for someone we knew, a friend, or maybe a neighbor or a relative, or someone we worked with before we retired.
          The older we get, the more we notice the ages of those who are dying all around us, many several years younger than us. It makes one take notice, hoping that we will leave things in the proper order for our surviving spouse, or the children we leave behind. But we also start thinking of what we still want to accomplish in life, 

Paul R. Meredith

Friday, March 7, 2014

Universal Language Mico-mico



Paul R. Meredith

A few years ago when my wife Sandra and I were traveling to Israel, I looked at her as we sat on the plane. “You know, honey, when we get to Israel we will have a hard time communicating with people because we don’t know their language.”
            “Don’t you think many of them speak English?” she asked.
            “Yes, maybe, but probably only the young people will be able to speak it. The older ones won’t know much English.”
            Sandra looked up at me from her magazine reading, with that look on her face that only she can give, and said to me, “So what do you intend to do about it, Mr. Meredith?”
            The question hung there without an answer for a few minutes. Sandra started reading her magazine again. I seriously pondered the dilemma. Suddenly, I tapped her on the thigh and told her, “I am going to invent a method of speaking to them in such a way they will understand.”
            Without looking up from her article that had captured her attention, she softly said to me, “Well, good luck with speaking Hebrew.”
            “No, of course I can’t speak Hebrew, or even Yiddish, but maybe there is another way.” I caught another of those “special” looks as she offered me that sideways glance of disgust. She said nothing more about my comment.
            A few minutes later I excused myself and went to the plane’s restroom facility. When I returned, I announced to her, “I have it! I have invented a new universal language to communicate with the Israelis who don’t speak English.”
            For the third time in a short period of time, I got that awful look of outright disgust. Sandra put her magazine on her lap. She put her finger to her lips as she said, “Keep quiet. Do you want these people to think you have completely lost it?”
            “I’m serious,” I told her.
            “Okay, what is it you want to say? Let me hear about it, but quietly.” She looked around to see if others were listening.
            “Well, I have been thinking abo…”
            “That’s the dangerous part…you thinking,” she interrupted.
            “No, seriously, I have the answer. I just invented the perfect solution when I was in the plane’s restroom thinking about it.”
            “I’m almost afraid to ask, but what did you come up with?”
            “Think about this, and please keep an open mind,” I said. “When we encounter someone who can’t understand English, we simply respond with my universal language, and the beauty of it is it consists of just one single hyphenated word.”
            “Do I dare ask what the word is?” she inquired. She had that look on her face again as she stared at me with beady eyes that I knew represented total disgust.
            “Okay, let’s say that someone asks a question in a language we don’t understand. I will simply hold my hands out with my palms up, indicating I don’t understand. I will say, ‘Mico-mico’ to them.”
            The look was still there as she said, “And that means?”
            “It can mean anything you want it to mean, and not only that, it can be used anywhere in the world one happens to travel where the language is a barrier to communication,” I responded. “The only thing I really need to do is make sure I use voice inflections when I use it. The tone of voice is very important. Hand gestures will also help in many cases.”
            Sandra’s eyes quickly dropped back to her reading. “Leave me alone,” she whispered. No further comment was forthcoming. I knew she was done talking about it.

We were in Sol’s Supersaver in Tel Aviv shopping for a few groceries to take back to our temporary living quarters we were renting on Hyercom Avenue. Having been to the Allenby Street market already, I was somewhat ill from seeing all the turkey necks, chicken feet, severed goat heads, and all the trays of fish with flies swarming over them, so I wasn’t the least bit hungry. But since I knew we had to eat eventually, all I could stomach was some bread and lettuce at the time. As we entered the checkout lane, the cashier uttered something to me, indicating she wanted money. I held out my hand with a few shekels in it and said, “Mico-mico.” I used voice inflection to pose the comment as a question. She took some of my bills and gave me back some change. I said to her, “Mico-mico, in a thankful tone of voice.” We left the store.
            I looked at Sandra and said, “See, it works really great.”
            She muttered something I didn’t quite hear, but it sounded awfully close to, “You damn fool.” Surely that wasn’t it though. Sandra is not prone to using foul language, at least not often.
            Later at the laundry near our apartment where we dropped some clothes off for washing, the man asked me something in Hebrew. I said, “Mico-mico.”
            The man said something else, to which I responded once again, “Mico-mico.”
            The following day I went to pick up our wash. The man asked me another question I didn’t understand. My response once again was, “Mico-mico.” I simply gave him the ticket he had given me the day before and held out some money in my hand. I once again said, “Mico-mico.” He took some of my money and gave me a bag of clothes. I proudly took the bag of laundry back to the apartment and told Sandra, “Mico-mico worked again. Here’s the proof, our clean laundry.”
            Sandra opened the bag and emptied the wash onto the bed. She looked up and asked me, “What the hell happened to these clothes?”
            “I looked at the wrinkled clothes, which didn’t look all that clean. I responded to her question, “Mico-mico.”
            “Don’t use that Mico-mico crap on me. Why are these clothes not pressed and folded?” I could easily see she was not happy. I fully understood my universal one-word language wasn’t going to work on my wife.
“There must have been a communication breakdown of some kind,” I told her. I helped her fold the clothes and put them away.
            A couple of days later, once I was able to eat regular food again, we went out to a local restaurant for our dinner. The waitress approached us and dropped off menus. A few minutes later she returned and inquired of us what we wanted. The menu was partly in English and partly in Hebrew, but it wasn’t clear enough to me to be confident I could order and know what I would get. But I took a chance. I pointed at a menu item and told the waitress, “Mico-mico.”
            She wrote something down on her order pad. Sandra looked at the waitress and said, “I will have the same.”
            The waitress didn’t understand her, so I intervened. I pointed to my wife and back to me. I told the waitress, “Mico-mico,” using proper voice inflection and tone. She wrote something down and left our table. She seemed irritated at something—not sure what it could have been.
            It was quite some period of time before we saw the food, and when it came, we weren’t sure exactly what it was. We carefully forked through it until we felt a measure of comfort in attempting to put it into our mouths, but when we did, we discovered it was quite good. “See, it works every time,” I told Sandra. Secretly I wondered to myself if it was some kind of a dish made with goat meat.
            When we left the restaurant a bit later, we encountered a beggar on the street. He sat on the walk near a door to an apartment and said something to us as we passed. Of course we didn’t understand what he said, but I returned his greeting with my new language. “Mico-mico,” I offered with a friendly smile on my face. He seemed quite contented, settled back and bothered us no more.
            There were a few occasions when we could have answered in English and been understood, but I was so totally committed to my newly invented one-word universal language that I preferred to use it rather than my native tongue. I am quite sure Sandra was totally embarrassed many times during our eighteen days in Israel, but other than offering me her famous look a few times, she remained quiet, for the most part.

During the years that followed our trip to Israel, we were fortunate enough to be able to visit several other foreign countries, including Mexico, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, France, Germany and England. I used the one word universal language at many places we visited. The people seemed to love and understand it at all these places we went, especially at Gibraltar and even in Germany. The beauty of my new one-word language is that it would work equally well in any country in the world where English is not spoken, and even sometimes where it is spoken. There were a few times I have used it even where English is the national language. I have found it convenient to use at various times when you want to avoid certain situations.
            I am seriously wondering why Mico-mico wouldn’t work in any other world, if in fact there were living beings of a humanistic nature inhabiting those other worlds. It might.

I was at one time planning to write my very own dictionary that would include this universal language, but the only word that would be in it was the one I invented, Mico-mico. Since that one word covers all aspects of my newly invented universal language, including statements, questions, remarks, responses, and all else that a language includes, I decided against the idea. I figured it would be too difficult to get a publisher interested in publishing a dictionary that would consist of a single hyphenated word, a word that served as noun, pronoun, article, verb, subject, preposition, and, well, uh, I am sure you get the idea. The book would be rather thin and hard to price in order to make a profit, so I dropped the idea.