Sheldon, The Jewish Christmas Tree

Holiday Greetings from Sheldon, the Jewish Christmas Tree

We found out today our Christmas Tree is Jewish.

There was nothing overt. Nothing obvious. We found out the hard way.

First, Susan and I don’t celebrate Christmas so much as celebrate Solstice. It’s not that we’re Pagan or Wiccan, we simply prefer to celebrate Nature’s events. Much less confusion regarding days and dates, no variations on a theme, no Orthodox versus Reformed, no Baptist versus Catholic, no Sunni versus Shia, et cetera.

I mean, if you’re pagan you’re pagan you’re pagan. Pretty much a Wood Spirit is a Wood Spirit, a Guide is a Guide, a Totem is a Totem and so on.

Part of our Solstice celebration involves getting a tree, lighting it, putting gifts around it.

Sound like Christmas?

Guess again. Christians stole those ideas.

We got a tree at the Rotary. They sell trees every year in the shopping center parking lot.

We put it up, we were decorating it, Susan sipped some wine, I tippled a bit of Scotch. We started singing some Pagan Wodes (you can find them and hear them if you know where to look). Pagan Wodes tend to be simple. Religions, when they started, borrowed from them. They were easy to sing, everybody already knew them, tack on a Jesu or whatever and you were good to go. The modern wodes make use of modern musicianship. Quite interesting, they.

So there we were, singing. One or two choruses in, we hear a soft humming.

Every once in a while the humming would be interrupted by a word or two in Yiddish.

Continue reading “Sheldon, The Jewish Christmas Tree”

Ritchie&Phyl (A Celebration of Life) Chapter 2 – Flowers

Persistence is a virtue. Unless it’s stalking.

[[just so you’ll know, I’m not satisfied with this yet and am open to suggestions for improvement. Thanks.]]

Phyl returned to Station House 4 after two weeks on a Bahama beach with nothing but the occasional “Another pink drink, José” to disturb her. One night, okay, she invited that Adonis-tall, blue-eyed, curly haired, broad-chested José to her bungalow but other than that, nothing but peace, tranquility, the gentle lapping of waves and as many Nora Roberts books as she could fit on her Kindle.

It was glorious.

She had not missed The Bunker, which was what everyone on the job called Station House 4. She had not missed the high, reinforced warehouse walls, windowless until the third story, the security, the claustrophobic interior that sorely needed remodeling or at least some paint and new floors, she had not missed her squad car with no interior door handles in back and the close-meshed, heavy-gauge steel caging separating her from whatever perps she’d apprehended or the multitude of now necessary electronics that surveilled her as much if not more than anyone she was questioning.

She stood outside the Officers’ Entrance and hesitated. Her silver ID bracelet weighed her left arm down like a bucket of cement. The entrance’s surveillance camera clicked her presence. Whoever was on desk would recognize her but if she didn’t open the door within fifteen seconds all the auxillairy doors would open and the Host of Heaven would come out, weapons raised and going for bear.

Standard procedure. An officer might be compromised and not willing to admit the bad guys such sacred entrance.

A heavy sigh. Two weeks was not enough. Except she missed Hecate, her gray haired Abysinna-something kitty. Phyl heard a faint mewing from a dumpster one day on patrol, checked and found a freezing ball of fur, eyes not yet open, curled on a soiled pizza box.

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Dancers in the Eye of Chronos

Is there a love so strong it outlives the gods?

Dancers in the Eye of Chronos originally appeared as the “Free Worlds” cover story in August 1994. It’s also the lead story in my Tales Told ‘Round Celestial Campfires anthology and Susan‘s favorite.

The Tales anthology has been optioned by my publisher so I’m giving each story a careful reread (not to mention because I’ve learned so much more about writing). Below is the latest version of Dancers (also available on Kindle).

Hope you like and let me know what you think.

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It’s a Man’s World

No man wants to be another’s pet, and love can’t free a slave

 
“Where are you going?”

Susan’s face softened but she looked away.

All the women in the neighborhood were dressed in what we use to all “Easter Sunday” clothes; light dresses, bright, Spring colors of sky blues and yellows and whites, some with flower prints with big roses or tulips or daffodils or morning glories or black-eyed susans and all with long, lush green vines wrapping around them. All of them wearing wide-brimmed sun hats, many with scarves tying their hats around their chins. A few wore sunglasses. All had nice big purses, lots of different colors but most of them white, white cloth gloves covering their hands and all of them in either tasteful heels or flats. Nobody was wearing stilettos or CFMs of any kind.

And they gathered in front of my house.

It started with AnElla. I was walking the dog and she came out of her house in her Easter Sunday finest. I waved and she ignored me, walked back into her house then and came out with all her daughters, her granddaughters, her sisters, even her ailing mother-in-law. They were all standing nice and neat and trim and proper in front of her house.

A few minutes later all the other women in the neighborhood came out of their homes and stood in front of their houses. Mothers, daughters, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, they looked around, waved at each other, a few looked at the sky – not a cloud to be seen, by the way. Clear sky, bright sun. Clearest I’d seen it in years, really – and one by one then two by two they moseyed over to my house.

Susan came out dressed like all the rest. Sunday is her day to sleep in. I didn’t even know she had those kinds of clothes anymore.

A bus pulled up. An open air bus, a kind of parade or tourist bus with a roof but no windows. The paintjob matched the women’s dresses; blues and yellows and whites and flowers everywhere. No city markings whatsoever.

Women gathered around the bus. Some got in. Susan stood in line with them.

“Where are you going?”

“Don’t worry. It’s okay. You’ll be fine.”

You’ll be fine?

Here’s the thing about Susan: she can’t lie. She never could. Not to me, anyway.

 
“No, come on. Where are you going?”

Tears welled up in her eyes. She looked away. “It’s okay, Paul. I’ll be back soon.”

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Search – Friday, 29 September 73

A triple murder in 1973 Maine starts a search for evil that ends with a discovery of one’s destiny

 
Those who’re supporting me on Patreon may remember Introductions. I mentioned being asked to write some kind of murder mystery/detective/profiler and that I’d been doing just that. The work-in-progress, Search, is fact-based. Here’s the first chapter. Let me know what you think.


Grandfather Wolfe sat in the upper right corner of the auditorium listening to his nephew, Isaac Many Deer, talking to the cenhepé about things they could never understand. He’d come in late and planned on sleeping anyway so he didn’t take off his black AIM jacket or cowboy hat except to wave it at Isaac as he sat down.

He stretched out, legs crossed in front of him, the rough feel of freshly washed Wranglers scratching a little, his fingers gently intertwined and his hands resting across his stomach, his thumbs tapping his red on gray flannel shirt, wondering why college auditorium seats were so unaccommodating to old bones.

He didn’t hear the preacher’s question and half heard Isaac’s answer, “What kind of test did you have in mind?”

Wolfe smiled. That’s it, nephew. Piss them off early and often.

It seemed the preacher mumbled while Isaac spoke plainly, clearly. Perhaps he was more familiar with his nephew’s voice.

Wolfe’s nose twitched. Isaac looked over. “I’m familiar with the Old Testament’s test of a true prophet, yes.”

His nose twitched again.

Wolfe nodded at his nephew. His thumbs drummed a Nowiy’o Pe, a war song, on his shirt. The hairs bristled on the back of his neck. Isaac returned his nod; he felt it, too.

Somebody in the auditorium was hunting.

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