Where the Wild Things Are

It’s funny how music and writing go hand in hand. Actually I thing all forms of art feed and feed into other art. Have you ever been listening to a song and started thinking about a story that goes with it?

Me, it happens all the time … as a matter of fact I think I have 12 stories I have written based on some song on the radio. But this morning it was a little different.  On the way to work like most people I jump through my presets avoiding the commercials.  I am as bad with it as someone channel surfing.  That is unless the DJ of my classic rock station is on my wave length.

 

The sun has barely risen over the top of the horizon just enough to paint a orangey purple haze on everything. It’s chilly, enough that when I automatically put my sunglasses on they fog up. For most people after the hundred-degree day it’s a relief but for me I am pulling out the hoodie I keep in the car. Because unlike most people who were famous kings or tragic heroines I was a snake or lizard in another life and can’t stay warm enough.

The radio is playing some stupid commercial about mattress and my fingers find the button conveniently located on my steering wheel to jump presets. I cycle through the presets but of course the are either more commercials or morning talk shows, which has me shaking my head. Good music for me is like both coffee and alcohol for me. Not replacing either but the best part of both. Energy and pick me up and get me started for the day like coffee or mellow me out at the end of the day so I can let the stupidity of other drivers at the end of the day go unmolested like alcohol. So I am stuck, latterly and figuratively, at a stop light with commercials playing. And to add injury to insult this big ram truck pulls up next to me and the driver is rocking out to Queen’s I want it all.

The light turns green and he speeds away probably singing along with his air drum solo and my vicarious enjoyment has vanished. I immediately begin to scroll again through my presets, which isn’t as terrible as the last time through. But its not great either only one station is actually playing music, so I leave it and wonder if I could catch up to the ram.

No the ram and Queen are long gone and I am stuck with something that was popular in the 90’ by a band I don’t even remember their name. I am thinking about cycling again but for some reason I decide to let it playout and see what the next song was. The tune was catchy and the words grabbed me. I had probably heard the song a hundred times before and not really listened.

The words went this way “I stretched my hand out to the sky, we danced with monsters through the night. Wooooohowooh. Im never going to look back, Woah, never going to give it up, please don’t wake me now.” There of course is more but I am going to save you from the tone deaf blog version

And immoderately my mind went all the way back to fifth grade. I could actually see the pages of the book. There have been times where a song has brought back a memory based on a emotion I was feeling when I listened to the song. But this was different it was kind of like a song summarizing the book. I was triggered of course and found myself humming along to the tune and really paying attention to the words.  When I got to work, I looked up the group, “the American Authors” and the song was “The best Day of My Life”  It should have been named a  retelling of “where the wild things are”

I read about Max for the first time when I was in fourth grade when my teacher read it to us as a class. And then again I checked it out to read it for myself. I was one of those I hadn’t read it if it was read to me. Sometime my arrogance on the stupid stuff baffles me.   So there I am thinking about the book and the song and I go an look up the book.  Did you know it was banned book? WHY?!? Just why? I mean I read some phscyo babble about the fear it instills in children when their main caregiver sends them to bed without their dinner. And then then there was a paragraph about supernatural /magical beasts which has religious connotations.

I of course face palmed myself and could only think of one word HORSESHIT. Really. Sending a child to bed with no dinner is going to traumatize a child? Did they continue to read the book? Max had only been in his room for a couple of hours and his mother gave him dinner afterword. I am sure I was sent to bed with no dinner sometime in my childhood and my parents were not ones that let me get back up to eat later.  And I can’t even tell you one time it happened.  Max was being a spoiled brat and his mom thought some time apart would be good. So she put him in his room. So they are banning the book because a parent actually parented.  If you are worried about the message that going to bed without a meal and then letting them back up in a couple hours is going to traumatize them what about the message you are sending the parent … If you punish the kid society is going to turn on you.  Wait we are already there.

And then to the other point. Monsters being supernatural or magical. Really?  So every monster under the bed or in the closet is a family dabbling in the black arts. Does Pixar know that they were advertising for Satan?  Max was a kid. His imagination created an place where he could be the monster he pretended to be. He even had his very own monster costume. And to be fair no moms were allowed there. Very childlike, he created a place in his imagination where he was in control and there were no rules, because he was king of the monsters. First of all … no kid wants rules. Hell most adults still buck at rules. And on his island there were no rules.

Second it wasn’t really his imagination it was a dream. He was so mad at being put in his room he laid down and went to sleep. Dreams are just dreams. I don’t know about your but sometimes I have the weirdest dreams for example two days I dreamed my youngest son left my grandson in his cars seat and small airport that was really a school that had animal exhibits in the rooms.

So this entire ramble that seemed to become a rant… that I am trying to turn back into a normal post was about how one thing feeds another. I wonder if the writer of the song was influenced by the book or do they even know that it existed.  Or the son Iron Man when it was written did they know about the comic books being created or just getting traction.

Characterization

I indulged this weekend and rented a couple of movies from Redbox. One was a film I wanted to watch before I read the book. The other I watched because I had an idea kind of like it and wanted to see what they did with it.

I am a self-stated ‘book purest’ well that is the name I gave myself anyways. You see as much as I love books and like movies the two do not go together in my book.  Hehe. Pun intended.  I am one of those people who find fault with everything that the movie changes from the book and nine times out of ten the book will always be better.  As a media student, I logically know that when you read a book everyone interprets that book differently and the movie is the directors interpterion of the book. But I can’t help but feeling a betrayal when the book and the movie do not match and the more I love the book the greater the sense of betrayal is. The only way I have found of getting around that is watching the movie first and then reading the book.

When I wrote the word betrayal I thought I was being a bit harsh but then I remembered how often I railed after watching a movie after I read the book. As a matter of fact, I find that I can’t enjoy the movie at all because I am so busy comparing it to the book or picking it apart.  What surprises me about the venom that I have is that I am completely blasé about the differences I find when I watch the movie first.

Could it be that when we read the book it becomes our story? But my thought on that is how can it become our story if we don’t identify with the story. For example, the trilogy Hunger Games, I read it several times before it became a movie. Then when the movie came out I was sooo angry because of the way they made the human antagonist go after the protagonist from the very beginning of the movie. Also with the film they replaced the real antagonist (the games themselves) with a human antagonist.  I didn’t identify with the protagonist or antagonist. I didn’t identify with the setting or the plot. So why was I sooo angry. How did the characters in the book grab me so deeply that I felt what I describe as righteous anger?

The Movies were   Hidden Figures which I want to talk about as soon as I get the chance to read the book. Which based on my reading list is at least a couple months away.   The other one was Passengers.

Nothing that I say is aimed toward the actors in the film. I thought the film was good. The choice of actors was fine and the movie well-acted, directed and packaged. But as an aspiring writer my first thought is always the storyline much to the consternation of my family who has to listen to me going on and on about pacing, plot devices and such. Or to the characterization, which to my belief is the holy grail of any work. With amazing characters, almost any work can be salvaged.

How much belief do we have to suspend as the audience to for these two characters to get together. Part of a good character is honesty to the character that you create and believability that he or she is who they say they are and would react or be in the situations the writer places them in.

My first moment of incredulity was started when less than six months of being awake he is despondent and by a year and some months he is considering and almost commits suicide. My son said he could see it. He said humans are social creatures and without other people they would go insane.  He even reminded me of the movie cast away and how the protagonist had ‘Wilson.” I agree to a point. See there were many factors there creating a need for our protagonist to need a companion. He was constantly fighting for his life, his food, his water. He had no skill that could be applied on the island. And the most important factor there was nothing on that island to stimulate him.  He was completely believable not as needing to create a simple companion but an ally. He needed someone to be at his side for battle.

As for believability of our protagonist in Passengers… We have a man in his early 30’s so not a kid anymore. He has a very specific trade which would have made that ship a wonderland. From the systems to the robots. How many mechanics do you know that don’t tinker. With the size of that ship and all of the systems on it he would have stimuli to last years. On top of that he had access to the ships learning/training classes. And we know he has the ability to teach himself, because that is how he woke the female character up, so all the other manuals that he could have spent time learning were there as well.  And now on to the companionship. I am going to go back to our first example of Cast Away and Wilson. We know he was ball and was what Chuck project him to be. But Jim (our protag in Passengers) has an android at his disposal, not a projection of himself. Not a living breathing human but a being that reacts to stimuli and intelligent conversation.  And on top of that lets not talk about the fact that they were in space with all of those wonders to see and take in.

So yeah being the only human awake might have gotten to him eventually but for the character that was created probably not for twenty-five to thirty years.

The next thing that had me saying wouldn’t have happened like that was finding the perfect woman first pod he looked in. And then staying obsessed.  Here is the thing when people become obsessive about something … they are obsessive about other things as well. The character was not written with any other obsessions. He might have found her and he might have known just by looking at her that she was the one. But again, the writer forgot that when he told Aurora later that you can’t judge them by looking at them.  For this device to be believable he would have needed to start reading multiple profiles and going back to hers. If we assume have the passengers were female, he had over twenty-five hundred possibilities. He would have come back to her eventually… but as humans we never pick the best first time around.

I think the writer did better with the female character (Aurora) but she was a little too… underwhelming. They made her ready for adventure. She was supposed to be a creative person. Yes she would have been terribly upset as she wanted to go back to earth in a year. But since she was doing it just so be the first writer to travel to a colony world and come back to the future she would have never carried on about murder. The anger would have been about the betrayal of not telling her he woke her up. Not at waking her up. Another thing about her as a writer, she would have missed hearing what people thought about her work but she wouldn’t worry about no one reading it. Writers write to share a story that they can’t keep in, not to get readers.  Space and the journey which she stated no one else had done would have been wonderland for her writing as well.

We’re not even going to mention that the pacing on this story. They tried too hard to make it both action and character driven. It felt like a mash up of Nell and the end of a Die Hard. Both good stories, but together they’re not compatible.

I don’t want to leave you thinking all I am doing is ragging on the characterization because I am not. This is more of an opening to a dialogue about writing or reading characters and how to bring believable three dimensional characters to the page.

List for creativity

Everyday Inspiration

Day two assignment. Compile a list to open the doors of creativity. (Here is what they suggested:  things I like, things I learned, things I wish, and lastly things I am good at.) Funny thing is I had already done that for the year. Well not their list but stuff I had seen, thought about as far as articles, stories or post. See one of my goals were 240 post for the year. Let me rewind. My six goals for 2017 feed each other.

1. Write at least an hour a day             2. post a minimum of 240 post

3. write a minimum of 2 short stories a month       4. Work on and complete at least 1 of my 60k stories

5 Enter at least 3 writing contest                  6 Submit 1 work at least 3 places.

So as you can tell if I write the hour a day I will have no problem with the short stories of the 60k work. The short stories will feed part of the 240 posts as well as the hour a day. And I know me.. If I took the easy way out with a post a day (365) I would use my hour two write those.  So back to my assignment the list.  As I said I wanted at least a hundred words to use a prompts for the 240 post so I could finish that goal. (Although it kind of worked out to one post 5 days a week)

I am not going to post the entire 100 here because I don’t want you to get bored but maybe a sampling so I can create some anticipation.

1.Rivalry      2. Obsession    3. Dead Wrong   4.Judgment    5. Never again   6. Forever and a day     7. Knowing how   8. Everyday Magic   9. Stirring of the wind  10.Dangerous Territory    11. Irregular orbit   12. Unsettling Revelations   13.Summer Haze  14.Change in the weather   15. Only Human   16. Nowhere and Nothing

I think out of that list the one that I went hmmm about was forever and a day.  I know, why right?  I grew up with the expression.  I had always heard it said and never seen it written … and when it was said growing up in the south mostly it was always slurred slightly to foreverina day. Like a time. “your taking forever in a day.”  When someone said it correctly to me it was like a light bulb went off. Forever and 1 day. Otherwise thought of as infinity. Or was the person saying forever and 1 day not 2 or 3 days.

What are some phrases that you heard all your life and then you heard them a different way and it totally changed everything you thought about that phrase?

Audience and what do I want from you

Day Four: Identify Your Audience. We often create posts hoping that a specific person (or persons) will see our work. Who is your ideal reader? Today, publish a post you would like your ideal reader to see.  Here’s how: First, brainstorm the kind of person you hope will read your blog. What do you want to say to them?

It took me a couple of days to actually think about this and come to a real answer. I could be flippant and say I want them all. (Insert Queen’s ‘I want it all’ song) And in that there is some truth. As a storyteller I want… no I need an audience. And I need to know if the audience was affected by the story/piece I just shared.

When I was posting fanfiction there was a term “feedback junkie” it was a kinda mean spirited jab at authors who would beg for feedback. The worse thing about it … was that it was done by other authors. Who might have said differently but they wanted feedback just as much. See feedback /comments allow us to know if we have interacted with the reader and to what degree. How much the reader invested in the story.

Authors that sell books can tell what story they told. The have the metrics of book sales, fan pages, book signing and all those other things that go with professional publishing. We the internet author (via blog, fiction, poetry) are left begging (for lack of a better term) to know what the audience thought and are they going to come back to read something else I have written.

You don’t know how many times after posting a piece of work I have gone to the stats page to see how many readers, hits, reviews, comments I have gotten. And when there is none I am left feeling devastated. Maybe devastated is a little over extreme but not by much. I start looking for the failure in the writing, the presentation, characterization or any number of writing devices. Sometimes I get to the point where I wonder why I post when no one reads. But of course then I go ahead because I have to share.   And the time I get two reviews or two follows I am on cloud nine ready to put my next work out there.  I think in that way all artist are caprices held hostage by our perceived failures and success.

This dithering that I just rambled on about doesn’t exactly follow the lesson and yet in a way it does. Because the audience I want on a surface level is everyone that I can get. I want to impact even if it is only for ten minutes everyone in the world. Hey if you are going to dream… make it big. I have wanted to tell random people … Oh this story I wrote and posted “….” You should go read it. But on a deeper level I don’t need everyone. Want as many as possible but not need. My audience should be readers who want to be entertained by the work. I would like them to be invested in the work enough to comment.

So what I want to say for those who read thank you. Playing in an imaginary world (whether you create or not) is never fun by yourself. And a double scoop of thanks to those who are brave enough to comment/post on what is written because I LOVE going into details about my creations. There have been several times when discussing my work that they have said something and it get the juices flowing and a new work is created. This is an authors platform and I haven’t quite got the handle of what to post but Please keep coming back for new adventures and continuing sagas.

 

 

Writers Work out

One of the writing groups that I am part of on facebook is called the writers Workout. The are doing what they call a Prompt Series. It is a series of 30 random prompts that are put together to create a story.  I thought I could share here and the story could unfold as we go.

the First Prompt is

Introduce a character with a massive secret who is currently away from home. This will be one of three main characters (A) for the story.

Main Character one:

Introduce a character with a massive secret who is currently away from home. This will be one of three main characters (A) for the story.

 

Alexander (zander) Byrd is a forty-six-year-old man who thirty years ago faked his death and disappeared. His name was originally James Colby.

During his junior year at school (homecoming) James got his girlfriend Bethany pregnant. Being a staunchly religious town the kids were forced to marry and have the baby. Her family pushing the family life and his family being outsiders and having the local grocery store going along with it not wanting to make waves. Two months later both James and Bethany wanted to break up but they couldn’t. It wasn’t if they were really in love with each other. They had only been a couple more than two weeks before Homecoming. They were married. Her life was over, college was over, dreams were over. Her family was fine with that because they believed that the best job in the world for a woman was home and family. The two of them were living in her old bedroom eating at her mother and father’s dinner table. Most nights he didn’t get home until 10:00 and then did homework. He wasn’t ready to settle down and neither of them were coping well with her being pregnant. The unhappier he got the more silent and withdrawn he was.

One night when he came home from work at his father’s grocery store the two of them got in a fight. She had been hinting for the last two months that she wanted to go to their jr prom. She could go with anyone else being married to him. Not that anyone else would want to go with and elephant like her. Being 7 months pregnant nothing fit (dresses). He was in no mood to go to the prom Working to save money for them a house. He didn’t want to waste the hard earned money he had on a Prom which he thought was a waste of time and money. He wasn’t being comforting. They argued but finally the more she railed at him the quieter he got. Until he just stood there and stared at her. When she couldn’t take his silence and the dead eyes any more she beat on his chest trying to get a reaction. He removed her hands as impassively as possible. When she started hitting on him again he pinned her hands together in one of his. Her two brothers came into the house and seen this and assume he was beating their sister.

They were already angry at him for knocking up their sister and this just gave them an excuse to take out the hostility on him. They started beating one him. Their sister realizing what was going to be the outcome tried to get the two of them to stop but they wouldn’t. He was unconscious when the accident happened. Trying to get them to stop one of her brothers pried her off the other one. She went to her husband on the floor and her brother picked her up and pulled her away. Since the fight took place outside her bedroom at the top of the stairs their tussle and her unbalance cause her to fall down the stairs and she lost the baby. The brothers were not willing to take the blame and blamed it on her husband. When the ambulance got there he was just coming too. They took both of them to the hospital.

They kept them both for observation. In the middle of the night when both of their families had gone home James snuck out of his hospital room and into hers. He apologized to Bethany. She told him it wasn’t his fault. Bethany told him about feeling guilty and that she was a horrible person. When her parents first told her that the baby didn’t make it she felt relief. James admitted relief and sadness too and told her that it was just an initial reaction it didn’t make her a bad person. He shared what his sister Catey had said to him when she told him that the baby was gone.  “God knew we weren’t ready for the responsibility of a baby and he took our little girl home to be with him.” They both cried a little after that.  Bethany asked if he was okay that her brothers were just being mean. Anyone could tell that James wasn’t beating on her. James couldn’t hide the broken shoulder or busted cheek but he didn’t tell about the ribs, bruised kidneys, and the concussion.  They both decided that he should go back home to live. She had told the sheriff who was her cousin what had happened so he wouldn’t be in trouble.

Weeks passed and in a small town rumors fly. His mother couldn’t take another shunning and withdrew into herself and finally his father had to get professional help. His sister’s business and the grocery store was losing business. Towns people weren’t going to shop at a baby murders family business. It didn’t matter that Bethany tried to set the record straight or that she wouldn’t talk to her brothers. The gossip just got worse. He did nothing to defend himself from the whispers and name calling. He asked Bethany for a divorce but her family refused to give it … it was against god’s law. The only time he stood up for himself was in their kitchen where he told them what he thought of fake Christians who let the town believe he killed his baby when it was her brothers. Her father slugged him… and missed. Told him to get out.  Two hours later the sheriff came and told James that he was harassing his wife. James told him he had asked for a divorce. He was 16 and it wasn’t even legal for them to be married. The sheriff didn’t care they were married in the eyes of God and no man could set that aside. He asked the sheriff then how was he harassing his wife. The sheriff told him not to make trouble. He said he could leave. The sheriff told him that if he abandoned Bethany he would hunt him down. When the two kids grew up a little, things would sort themselves out and they could be a happy family. James didn’t know how but he had to get away.

Six months later he has the whole thing planned. He is going to drown in the undertow of the river. There is normally one drowning per year so it will be perfectly plausible. He spent the summer working two jobs and saving all of the money. Which he stored in the bottom of a tool box in a back of the mechanic’s shop did tires for (He kept this job a secret so no one would know). He worked out a deal with the mechanic to trade his car for a motorcycle which he hides ten miles down the river from his drowning point. At the beginning of October he goes fishing with a few of the guys from the football team and fakes drowning in the rivers undertow. He had been practicing swimming and was a strong swimmer.    He still almost didn’t make it.  He’d left a note with his boss that the bike was going to be at the truck stop two towns over. He then hitchhiked with a truck driver going north.  Once he got to Maine he set about finding someone who could get him papers to go into Canada. What he got was a cop who made him tell him the whole story. The cop who had been on the force many years decided to help him out. If the kid went to school and went in the military.  The cop didn’t have any children of his own and he would break the line of family serving unless James would take his place. James agreed realizing how easily he had gotten caught. Thirty years later he has a good position in a security company after retiring out of the Army. Right now he is in Germany putting the finishing touches on the contract for a new client.

So what do you think. At first I was going to have him be a serial polygamist and that would be awesome in the conflicts both external and internal. But that would mean the juggling of multiple families as well as other main characters. Usually it is the female who gets trapped and has to fake her death or practically die before getting away.

How many times have you gotten caught up in the back story of one of your characters and could almost write a story based on his/her backstory.

 

 

 

 

Blogging Fundamentals again

I recently started posting to my blog again. And came to a conclusion, I have abandonment issues. I smiled as I wrote that because I was thinking about all of the readers who would roll their eyes. Not abandonment in the classic sense of the word, but letting something go with the intention of coming back to it when I have time. And of course I find more excuses the less comfortable I am with whatever I am putting off.

And blogging is uncomfortable. I was a girl who never had a diary. I hated the things with a passion, but the pity is I never journaled either. So many lost ideas, settings, conversations that would have added realism to some of my work. Which means when blogging started it felt lot like a diary. But I am a writer and I have been told “if you want to be successful as an author you have to have a blog. So for the second time in three years I am starting with the fundamentals and this is my first assignment.

Who I am and what is my goal…

I think my bio is pretty good at telling you who I am. Not much has changed there. Other than I am no longer puppy wrangling. I guess that means what am I trying to accomplish? In the simplest terms author branding I guess and on a broader scope a place for interacting with other readers and writers. I think I am also trying to structure organize all my writing into one place. Pieces are all over… running amok. Fanfiction.com. fictionpress.com, watpad.com, inkitt.com These are good places because I need readers and comments if I am to hone my craft but they tend to get lost and I only get one type of viewer.

Also I am trying to work out what kind of post am I supposed to write. It sounds simple just post something especially if you are trying for a goal. (Which I am) Do I just post stories? People who are there to read fiction…are not going to want to read rants. Or people who like short stories are not going to want to sit and listen to me go on about a writing technique. Or something I thought was interesting.

This certainly isn’t my best post but it does what the assignment asks. Maybe as I go forward random

Gone

The daily prompt : Gone

Sometimes against all odds the bad guys win the day. All the white hats are Gone.

Mitchell pulled the small plastic red card from the beeping machine and looked at the thing in puzzlement. He examined the back and could still faintly read the outline of his signature. It looked perfect. The numbers on the front were worn away in the right spots. This had to be his card. Although he didn’t doubt those identity theft people couldn’t fake an exact copy. But the ATM accepted the card so it had to be the genuine one.

Mitchel raised the card to the feeder once more when a very annoyed voice behind him said, “Look old man, would you hurry up. Some of us actually have to work. We do have jobs you know.”

He smiled humorlessly. “I had a job too. It was called saving your ass from the Japs in 42 and the Commmies in the fifties and the Cong in the 60’s and 70’s. I was a front line solider. And when I came back with only one leg the jobs were suddenly gone and there was no work for me.”

He tucked the red card back in the worn leather wallet and looked at the rude woman once more. “What’s more those son of a bitches trying to kill me and end our way of life had better manners than you. I guess common decency is a thing of the past.”

He heard the woman mutter ‘whatever’ as she took his place at the machine. If he wasn’t half the man he was he would have knocked her on her ass and taught her a thing or two about the word whatever. But he was raised in a generation that didn’t hit women. He looked the three other people standing in line and found that they wouldn’t meet his eye.

Choosing not to fight this battle he propelled his wheelchair forward. If he could talk to someone in the bank maybe he would get some answers. This Bank of America didn’t have the sliding doors and when he leaned forward to pull the door he almost fell face forward into the glass. The door was heavier than usual. Again he was at someone’s mercy and would wait until someone came out.

The door swung open and before he could put his hands down on the wheels he felt himself being pushed forward. He turned and looked over his shoulder at the young man who couldn’t be more than sixteen with sandy blond hair hanging around his shoulders.

“Sorry about that I figured we needed to catch it before it closed. Maneuvering a wheelchair is difficult.”

Mitchell just grumbled.

The kid chuckled. “Don’t let them get to you. They were probably embarrassed about the Commies comment. We call them Russians, Japanese and Vietnamese now. It’s more PC.”

Mitchell’s false teeth clicked audibly as his mouth snapped shut in anger. When he found he could talk and tell the boy where he could put his political correctness he found he was alone in the middle of the doorway. He rolled himself forward and saw the twerp standing at the far counter talking to one of the tellers.

He watched the two of them walk in his direction. When the boy drew up next to him he said, “I found someone to help you. I am sure you could have done it yourself but everyone could use some support. My gramps served and grumbles about asking. So don’t sweat it.” The kid started to walk away and said as if a second though, “by the way thanks for your service.”

Just when he thought all manners were gone someone showed him how easy he could be wrong.

“Welcome to Bank of America. I’m Chad the General Manager. Why don’t we go down to the lower window around the corner and I will be glad to assist you?”

Mitchell’s arms trembled as he pushed the wheels on the carpet. The boy could have asked if he needed help before just jumping in and pushing him. But right now he wished the kid was still here. He could use some ump to get on to tiled floor. The manager would stop and wait for him looking at his watch each time but failed to offer to help.

When Mitchell finally rounded the corner and wheeled up to the counter he took a moment to rub his gray bent hands together before pulling out his wallet. “I think one of those of those criminals stole my card.”

Chad was only half paying attention the old man was taking so long he could have helped two other customers by now. “Hmm. Oh right. Why do you think that?”

“Cause there’s no money in the account,” Mitchell said trying to hold on to his temper.

If Chad noticed the tone of voice and the irate look on Mitchell’s face he promptly ignored and chose to be patronizing. “Are you sure there was money in there before. Let’s slide the card and look up the account.”

“I know there is money in it; you idiot. I just deposited the insurance check four days ago to burry my Michelle. The funeral home contacted me this morning about not having the service because the check bounced.” He angrily pulled the card through the reader with more force than necessary.

Chad scowled just another lousy customer calling him names. It wasn’t going to be much longer and he kiss this place goodbye. He’d ride off into the sunset and live the life he was supposed to. He just needed to think about that beach dealing with jerks like this. He took a long suffering breath and scanned the column of transactions. And paled slightly.  “Well sir, are you sure you deposited it with our bank? I show no deposits within the last thirty days?”

“What the hell do you mean; No deposits. My disability goes in here on the first of every month. And my Social Security on the third,” Mitchell was so angry his voice was beginning to carry.

Chad looked around and noticed several of the tellers giving him looks mixed between pity and questioning. If he wasn’t careful this would blow up in his face. “Sir please; give me a moment and let me see what the problem is? But you need to calm down.”

“How calm would you be if it was your money. Did you check the card? I told you I thought it was hacked or whatever they call it.”

He looked back at the screen and then at the man standing there. “Sir those deposits are different. Right now I am looking at ATM or manual deposit. Are you sure that you deposited in to this bank and this account?”

Anger wasn’t a strong enough word he was seeing red literally. Hell he was so mad his chest hurt. “Of course it was with this bank. I’ve had an account with you since before you were Bank of America. I’ve been coming to this branch for the last ten years. I have the deposit slip. Its right here in my wallet.”

Those were the words Chad was dreading. He could erase all transactions in the computer but could do nothing about the printed paper. The trash can was full of them because no one looked at them let alone keep them. But this guy, how dare he ruin months of careful skimming. Okay he needed to take some of the blame. He misread Michelle for Mitchell and though it was him who died. No one was going to notice deceased peoples checks bouncing. Everything he worked for was gone.

“Chad. Chad, look at him. I think he’s having a heart attack.”

Chad had to bite the end of his tongue to keep the happiness out of his voice. “I think your right. Call 9 1 1, now. “The old man would be gone and no one would be the wiser. Maybe it was time to cut and run before another close call. Tomorrow he would turn in his resignation by email and be in the wind before the autopsy was completed. If they did autopsies on heart attack victims.