Lotto Fever: a Faerie Story, pt 1

Danna couldn’t figure out how she was going to collect the lottery money. She hadn’t thought she’d win, but she had, and quite a lot to boot: Four hundred and ten million dollars, which, according to the people she heard talking about it, was some kind of a record, the biggest lottery winnings in California history.

That’s good. She thought. Right?

But how was she going to collect? What was she going to do, just march her way into the lottery office and demand her money? First off, she questioned, how am I going to get from San Francisco to Sacramento…fly?

That was ridiculous.

Secondly, she bit her fingernails as she mapped out in her head all the steps she would need to take to try to make this happen, secondly, I don’t have any ID, and I would need ID. They wouldn’t believe I was old enough without it, and they’d need the number for tax sorts of things. Plus they’d want to know I was really me.

Moot point, she thought, since I don’t have an ID and don’t have any money to get an ID, or even a fake ID. Crap.

But the biggest thing keeping her from collecting her prize was the fact that she was only eight inches tall and invisible to the human eye.

Double crap, she thought, how am I going to do this? She wandered down the street in a daze, as oblivious to the presence of the humans rushing past her as they were to her presence. She stopped suddenly and wailed

Why, oh why did I buy that stupid ticket?

But she knew exactly why; when she picked up that fallen five dollar bill from the ground in front of the liquor store, she held it up to the light, trying to get a good look at the pictures on it. She turned to get a better view, and a shaft of sunlight shone directly onto the Lotto sign taped to the door in front of her (the lower door, right at her eye level.) Oh that orange… that orange was the most spectacular thing she’d ever seen, all lit up like the sunbeam was a spotlight focused just on that sign; it was the color of tiger lilies, only more so…like maybe tiger lilies if you woke up with a bad hangover and realized an hour later that the mushrooms you put in the breakfast weren’t the right kind. That orange was brilliant. And the turquoise? The turquoise was like the water in limestone pools filled by a sparkling waterfall…

Only again, more so.

She’d overheard the phrase “Colors not seen in nature.” And she knew these were the type of colors whereof they spoke, and that’s why she loved them.

She felt like it was a sign…okay, three signs, she thought, and she counted them on her fingers to be sure: the five dollar bill; the sunlight blazoned on the sign; and the sign itselfWait does that make it four signs…if I include the overall sign that the other three signs make?

She was confusing herself. She shook it off, and knew: it was a sign, (or four signs) she was supposed to buy that ticket. She got confirmation of this when she had no problem at all buying said ticket. There was nobody in the store, except the cashier, engrossed in his newspaper. She flew up to the pedestal and pulled out one of the forms to fill out.

Numbers. She giggled. I love numbers. She grabbed the big pen (which would’ve been little to a human) and filled in the bubbles randomly, roughly following the example shown. She then flew to the counter with the lotto form and the found fiver. She pushed them to the cashier, right under his nose, and he never even looked up from his paper. He mechanically fed the form into the machine, put the money in the drawer, and handed Danna the printed ticket, all without taking his eyes from the sports page. This was working out great.

But here it was the next day, and things were no longer working out so well…Oh, she’d won, that was great, but winning was causing such a dilemma. How the heck am I going to collect? Humans couldn’t see her, they couldn’t hear her, and they didn’t know she existed. It’s not like she could walk up to someone and offer to share the profits in exchange for collecting on the ticket.

But some people could see her.

Specifically the smelly ones that looked like ogres, ogres who had fallen asleep for a thousand years…in their clothes no less, rumpled as they were. They looked like the cave they had slept in had repeatedly flooded and filled with mud, and the ogres had tossed and turned and the mud had caked all over those rumpled clothes, so thick and ground in that you couldn’t tell what color the cloth was when it was woven.

Yep, the ogres could see her. They could see other creatures too, apparently, creatures that Danna herself couldn’t see. The ogres had wild eyes, like the boar beasts in the forest back home, and perhaps that’s why the invisible types were visible to them, because they had different sorts of eyes. Or maybe it was something else.

She knew they weren’t really ogres, but what else was she going to call them? She tended to avoid them though, even though they could see her, both because they were so smelly, and, because most of them didn’t make a whole lot of sense when she tried to talk to them.

The ogres didn’t seem to mind the loss of her friendship, though. They had all sorts of other invisible friends to talk to, and they carried on conversations with them all the live-long day, wild conversations, full of nonsensical words and loud demands…

At the moment one of the ogres was yelling at Danna, pulling her from her thoughts. In her daze she had walked right into his home of flat cardboard. He wanted her to leave. NOW.

Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap.

Crap was a human word she particularly liked. It expressed so much about things going wrong, like when you stepped into mouse droppings back home (mouse CRAP, she thought) and couldn’t get the sliminess off your shoes; or when an angry crow CRAPPED on your head, ruining your new dress. Crap was a great word. She couldn’t wait to use it on all her friends at home; she could practically hear their giggles and guffaws.

If she got home.

She had been the first faerie to enter San Francisco in a long time, when an earthquake had opened the portal between the realms that another earthquake had closed.

Portal between the Realms, she thought. It sounded so archaic after being in human-land for so long.

Doorway between dimensions? Too Sci-Fi.

The way home. Yep, that was it.

But the way was blocked. She was sure that with the lottery money she could unblock it. She was tired of being the only one of her kind around. She wanted her family, her friends, HER BOYFRIEND. Man, did she miss Podraig; she missed flying with him; she missed laughing with him; she missed sneaking off to hide in the lily petals to make out with him (though, truth be told, when they came back to the trees, each covered with the same golden pollen, everyone smirked with knowledge. They were fooling no one.) They were to have been married in a fortnight, and she was sure that had come and gone. She wondered what he thought about her disappearance. Did he think she had run away? Or did he think she was lying in a gully somewhere, dead as bones?

Okay, back to the task at hand, she thought, breaking herself from her reverie, how am I going to cash in on this glorious fortune that has fallen at my feet? (She knew this sounded dramatic, but, it had, after all, actually fallen at her feet, the bill floating down with the breeze and landing lightly on the sidewalk in front of her)(Besides, she liked being dramatic. It amused her.)

Gods. I wish I could grow tall and visible like the faerie in that movie that I saw.

(Movies, she surmised, were flat round things that were all the colors of dragonfly wings. They were held in flat square treasure-boxes until such a time as you fed them to flat black creatures with great flat hats on their heads [all the better to connect directly to their brains, she figured]. Once the creatures had eaten the movies, they showed you what they held by making their hats glow. It was a particular type of magic that Danna loved.)

In the movie Danna was thinking of, there was a tall faerie with big teeth that could grow to human size whenever she wanted. What was the faeries name?

Chink? Mink? Link? TINK. That was it, Tink. Short for Tinkerbell. Danna thought. Tinkerbell. What a ludicrous name for a faerie. Faeries were notoriously traditional when it came to names. Tinkerbell sounded made up, like the trolls did when naming their young. Well, trolls were stupid; they had to make up names, since they couldn’t remember the old ones. Faeries weren’t stupid. Faeries were smart; as smart as elves (unless of course you asked an elf, and then the faeries were far inferior in intellect.) Faeries stuck to names that had been handed down for millennia.

Her name, in particular bespoke the type of faerie that she was. She was of the Celtic variety, the Tuatha De Danaan. Her name was Danaan, or Danna for short.

Not all faeries were Celtic. Her own cousin Octavio was of the Spanish variety. There were Faeries from all parts of the world, with traditional names that told their lineage. She supposed there were even American Faeries, though Danna had never met one…and let’s face it, if there WERE faeries in America, San Francisco would be the place to find them.

In the time between Danna going through the portal, and the time wherein Danna found herself trapped in this realm, there was a man named Carl who had no idea that he was going to meet a faerie named Danna who was going to change everything about his life and how he lived it; about how he felt; about his happiness; about love; about every such thing. And in the moment between Danna stepping through the portal and the moment when Danna won that lottery that she didn’t know how to collect on, there was another moment, a moment that affected Danna deeply; and in that moment Carl was pissed. That damned earthquake , he had thought, it messed up everything. It had put him behind schedule and practically assured that he would not be getting his early completion bonus. Dammit. He wailed inwardly I need that bonus.

“What’s the trouble guys? I thought I told you to fill in that hole.”

“We’re trying, boss, but the more dirt we pour in, the bigger the hole gets.”

“Impossible.” Growled Carl “Look, just do whatever it takes; fill it with rocks and rebar, put some mesh over that, whatever, just do it. We gotta get this foundation poured. TODAY.”

“Okay boss, we’ll make it work.”

“See that you do.” Carl grumbled. He really was a nice man, but outwardly he seemed like a gruff old dog, with sad eyes and a ready bark.

He’d been that way since he lost his wife to cancer twelve years ago. Okay, really, he was always like that, but Sheila had had a way of teasing him out of his glum gruffness.

Carl had a daughter he doted on, Tracy. He needed the bonus money for her, so she could attend the big-wig college she’d been accepted to. Man, she was smart, and it’d be great to see his progeny not spend her life in the trades, like he had, and his father had, and his brother had…he had to make sure she could go to that fancy college, and not to the local JC. He made too much money as a contractor for his girl to qualify for grants and loans, but not enough to pay her tuition, let alone room, and board, and books. He had to get that bonus somehow.

So the guys used rebar to wedge rocks in the hole, put mesh on top and covered it with quick set. It probably wouldn’t pass inspection like this, but it wasn’t on a bearing part of the foundation, so they thought they could make it work.

And that was how Danna had found her portal when she was done exploring San Francisco and wanted to go home: covered with a hard bit of stone-like stuff, impenetrable for a small faerie. What on earth was she going to do?

She checked the portal at least once a day, hoping against hope that it would get better and open up for her. It got worse. The next day the whole area was covered with a tremendous sea of gooey grey stuff, and the day after that the gooey grey stuff was turning hard, and a few days after that a building was being built. Right on top of her portal. How was she going to get home?

A day or two later she won the lottery, and, without a resolution to the problem at hand, Danna decided to spend the day in Golden Gate Park. A spot of nature was sure to clear her mind. It wouldn’t be the same as back home, but being in green instead of surrounded by the grey stone-ish stuff of the city would make her feel better. It might even make her feel less lonely.

But probably not.

The birds here were just plain rude.

Oh, they could see her, hear her and understand her, but they weren’t kind and playful like the birds back home. They were mean.

“Why don’t you leave us alone, you tiny pathetic excuse for a human.” They sang to her when she tried to strike up a conversation. “Humans are supposed to ignore us, except when they’re throwing bread to us.”

“But I’m not a human,” Danna protested “I’m a faerie.”

“Ha.”, they shrieked back “Faeries haven’t existed in San Francisco for well over a hundred years. You’re lying.”

“I am not. Look.” She countered, spreading her wings and taking flight, trying to prove to them she was telling the truth.”

“That proves nothing.” One bird chided.

“Yeah” another accused “You probably went down to Palo Alto and had one of those high tech guys attach them. I bet they’re made out of pulleys and gears.”

How a bird would know anything about pulleys and gears was beyond Danna. She tried to fly closer to show them there were no pulleys and gears in her wings; that they were simple, organic, beautiful faerie wings, not mechanical at all.

The birds lit angrily from the trees as she approached. They wanted nothing to do with her, that was obvious.

The loudest, most obnoxious, and meanest bird of the flock flew directly above her; and crapped; on her head.

Danna was in tears as she tried to wash the crap out of her hair in the waters of Stow Lake. A squirrel hopped down from a tree and sat on a rock beside her.

“Hey. You okay?” he asked.

Danna had never much cared for squirrels back home. They were noisy, and full of themselves and pompous. At least this one was talking to her, though.

“Yeah…I guess.” She answered, and then choked on a sob.

“Oh honey,” the squirrel chirped “I saw what happened. Don’t worry about those guys, they’re a bunch of asshats, always trying to make everyone else miserable. I believe you’re a faerie. I really do.”

“You do?” asked Danna “Cuz I am.”

“I know you are sweetie. I can tell.”

This squirrel was nice. It made Danna so much happier just to finally have someone to talk to, besides the ogres, that is.

“So, how did a cute little faerie like you,” asked the Squirrel “end up in San Francisco?”

Danna relayed to him the whole story: she told him how she had been sleeping atop a dahlia when it started swaying violently, dumping her to the ground; how, once on the ground she realized it was swaying violently, or at least rocking, or maybe bouncing (no, I was bouncing, she thought the ground was jumping, or jolting, something like that.) and how a bunch of rocks fell away and formed a hole in the side of a bunch of other rocks; how she’d known it was a portal right away by the way it glowed, and how she had had to go through it, “for curiosity’s sake, of course.”

“Oh, of course.” Agreed the squirrel.

Then she told him the whole sad story of how she got trapped here.

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The Travelers, Isabelle

The meadow was a lush bowl surrounded by tall evergreens, and it was packed with tents and trailers, both ragamuffin and well kept.  Some tents were striped, with great paws of tassels sneaking over the edges, kittenish as they swayed in the breeze. Some tents were spare, modern, and lean, designed for function and beauty; they arose with a pop as the high-tech wires pulled the thin nylon into shape as an elegant shelter.  Some were functional and plain, providing only respite from the sun and rain and a small amount of necessary privacy.  Others were messy and utilitarian, cobbled from torn cloth, scavenged lumber and broken bits of aluminum.  The trailers were just as varied, some ancient, and worn, and barely rolling, some the newest of the new from just before the factories shut down.

Isabelle’s  was one of the striped tents, old fashioned and beautiful, with flourishes and gilt, brocades and those mighty feline tassels; the inside was adorned with Grandmas lace and Tia Rosa’s gypsy beads, lending a bit of mystery when viewed from without, which was the desired effect.  It took longer to put up and take down than most of the others when it came time to change encampments, and she regretted this when she was heaving and sweating and standing her tent and tassels up in the air; and also when she moved soaking wet through pouring rain packing up and moving every sodden thing into her silver trailer, trying not to be the last in line when they moved the caravan on down the road.

This band of Travelers was different than the others.  They traded, to be sure, but not the everyday necessities of most of the groups.  No, Isabelle’s contingent carried luxuries and fluff, less of the stuff that made life possible, but, perhaps, more of the stuff that made life worth living: music, entertainment, liquor and food (from carnival fare to gourmet delights), and beautiful bits of decoration for oneself or one’s abode.  Isabelle herself made and sold gorgeous and grand hats, absolutely unnecessary, but so beautiful that customers fought over them.  She also gave psychic readings, telling people what they wanted, or needed, to hear.

As Isabelle scanned the scene in the meadow that day, she realized that she was floundering, all her creativity having dried up, like water in a drought. She had been happy for so long, despite everything, but she certainly didn’t feel that way now.  She felt tired, used up, like it had all just caught up with her; all the loss; all the death; all the austerity; all the change;

Even the change of scenery.

It had gotten to the point where she’d let Ralph drive the last several times the troupe had moved, so that she could gaze out the window, losing herself in the imaginings of what life would be like in some of the beautiful little houses they passed along the road.

“God I want a garden” she’d muttered, unaware she had spoken her words aloud.

“What?” asked Ralph, waking her from her reverie.

“Mmm, nothing.” She’d answered back.

Isabelle had looked at his profile as he concentrated on the road, his strong, straight nose, his lovely lips.

It occurred to her then that she had always felt just a little bit foolish for being with one so young.  He was gorgeous though, and he LOVED her, that was true.  She loved him too, just not in the same way.  She had begun to feel decidedly maternal about him, which was not the way she wanted to feel about someone she was sleeping with.

What she really wanted was to be alone.

She wanted to be away from everyone, away from lovers, away from friends, away from all the people clamoring at her for her support, or her attention, or her advice.  She wanted to take care of herself and herself alone. She wanted to grieve; she wanted to mourn all that had gone out of her life.

Her losses had started long before the deaths.  She had lost everything; she’d barely survived, emotionally, anyway. She’d joked that her life had turned into a bad country song: her dog died, her business dried up and she lost her house.  “The only reason I got to keep my truck” she would continue “was because I was so good at hiding it when I thought the Repo man was on his way.” She’d gotten to the point where she was so depressed that she knew that if she let life keep going this way, she wouldn’t make it. So she taught herself Stoicism from the internet, lifted her chin and crawled from the ashes of her life…

And into the fire.

By the time the deaths started she had grown so comfortable in her mix of modern Stoicism and paganism that she became an angel of mercy, helping everyone else through the conflagration of loss.  People depended on her.  She was always ready with wisdom as she saw through the surface of everyone’s pain and into the heart of it.

Through it all she was strong.  She cried with everyone, she wasn’t immune to the pain, nor did she try to pretend she didn’t feel it.  But she didn’t let it drive her to despair again.  She mourned, she smiled, she cried, she laughed, never allowing herself to get stuck in the muck of her emotions, but letting those emotions flow through her and on. Making room for what was next.

Now it was time for the next-next.

She was struck with the same certainty she’d had all those years before, that if she didn’t make a change it would be the end of her.  This was a hard life.  All the travel, all the late nights; the pure physicality of it was rough on a woman in her sixties, and she didn’t recover the way she used to, with a day or two off; now she felt exhausted all the time and she hurt, aches in her shoulders and her back from putting up the tent, hitching up the trailer, moving and rearranging boxes and cartons and goods, not to mention too many hours of sitting and driving.  Her hands and fingers hurt, arthritic after decades of sewing and beading and embroidering.  She drank too much trying to still the pain, trying to make herself forget her dissatisfaction…and because it was expected that she would stay up late and laugh with those in her troupe, listening to music, telling jokes, all the private, boisterous conversations that went on  after the regular folk left for their homes.

This was the life of the traveling circus, the music festival, the renaissance faire, all rolled into one and three times as tiring (though thrice as exciting) as any one of those events alone.  Some nights the music played till one or two in the morning before the regulars went home, and then it was expected that those that belonged would drink and drug and carouse until the sun came up.

Isabelle just wanted an evening at home (any home, as long as it was hers and didn’t have wheels) in front of a fireplace, cat on her lap, dog by her side, quiet conversation, or complete solitude.  She wanted to stop pretending to be younger than her years, she wanted to be old, and sedate, and well rested.  She wanted to have a place with and among people her age, with gray hair and stories from the past and gentle souls that didn’t mind quiet or a day spent in.

She didn’t know how she was going to break it to Ralph.  He would want to go with her of course, to her new place of solitude, but she wouldn’t let him.  Not only because it wouldn’t be good for him, or because he would eventually resent her for it, but, really, because she didn’t want him to come.  She wanted an end to their too long affair, she wanted to make her own decisions and live how she wanted, do what she wanted, sleep when she wanted, wake when she wanted. She wanted out of compromises and negotiation.  She wanted to be by herself, alone.  If she took a lover again, it was going to be a man her own age, with the largest portion of his life behind him, someone settled.  Ralph, in his early forties, a musician (god, she had ALWAYS loved musicians!) was still exuberant, and energetic, and chaotic, about as far from settled as you could get. Ralph deserved a young wife, and babies, not someone old enough to be his mother who was also so very, very tired.

And Isabelle deserved peace.  The last night in the meadow was her breaking point.  There were new members of the tribe now, young ones picked up on the road or from the towns and villages surrounding the encampment.  They were kids in their twenties, but to Isabelle they might as well have been in grade school; they were loud and energetic and they exhausted her just to look at them. She tried to go to bed several times, but she was begged to stay, so she did with a deep sigh; each time she sat again, the sigh got deeper, louder, more prolonged.

She watched as the new, uninformed girls flirted with handsome Ralph, unaware that he was “taken”, trying hard to get his attention, wishing to be the subject of a new song he might write, wanting to share his bed and wake up the next morning to his vibrant smile and clear blue eyes.  It surprised Isabelle that she didn’t feel the slightest twinge of jealousy, and this told her that she really was ready to leave.  She even made a game out of guessing which girl he might end up with when she was gone: That one?  No, too thin, Ralph liked meat on his women, though she was pretty; the red haired girl?  Too animated, and more than a little silly, she would annoy him deeply within an hour.  That brunette though…a little bit serious, but still maintaining an easy laugh and a good sense of humor, intelligent, shapely, and quite pretty.  She was the one Isabelle would vote for, the one she thought would be good for him.  Isabelle hoped Ralph would be happy when she was no longer at his side.  He deserved to be…

The next morning one of the new girls was at Isabelle’s tent.  She wasn’t one of the ones who’d been clamoring for Ralph’s attention.  She had sat off from the others, staring into the fire, distant, in her own world. Now, she was here and wanted a reading, tears streaming down her beautiful face.

“I don’t know what to do.” she whispered, “I just don’t know what to do.

Isabelle got out her cards with a sigh.  She’d wanted to pack up early and manage some time alone before they pulled out.

“The Lovers” she declared, “a decision must be made, to go with what the heart aches for, recognizes and needs, the mirror self, soul-mate, love; or, to continue traveling upon the previously chosen path.”  There would be repercussions to whichever decision this girl made, but Isabelle knew which path she might regret more.

“Second card crosses The Lovers…The Empress, reversed.”  What the hell, Isabelle thought, wanton destruction, unseating The Empress, destroying her World.  Was this child The Empress, or was she the one doing the unseating?

Recent past, The Hermit, traveling, searching, yet always alone, and wishing to stay that way, separate, with his lantern on his staff, ready to illuminate the dark hidden places. By now Isabelle was reading the cards silently, trying to ascertain their meanings before she spoke.

Distant past?  Death. Yeah, well, that was no surprise, she’d done barely a reading in the past decade without Death showing itself somewhere in the layout.

Fifth card, thought Isabelle, what does this small, beautiful, mournful girl in front of her desire? Ah, there is was, the Cup cards had begun to make their appearance.  She’d known that the young woman’s agony must have something to do with love.  The Ace of Cups, followed by the two, the three, the six followed by the nine and ten. Yep, love, and it looked like this child was entering the greatest relationship of her life, leading to children, family and a true sense of belonging.  Why was she so distraught?

“So, what I see here,” said Isabelle, “is the beginning of a very important and fulfilling relationship, perhaps the most important relationship of your life, but you have to choose whether you want it or whether you want to stay on another path.”

“Oh, I want it” said the girl, almost angrily “but I…I’m in love with a man who’s got a part time but long term thing with…” she cringed visibly “one of The Traveler elders.”

“Ohhh” murmured Isabelle. This could get complicated.

“But she’s never there for him” the girl continued in a rush “and he’s lonely and he wants someone to be there for him; and he loves me, he told me so, but he doesn’t want to hurt her…”

Isabelle understood that, to be sure…she also knew now whose world was going to be destroyed, and it sure wasn’t going to be this little darling’s.

“So you know there’s going to be repercussions…”

“Oh I know.  She’ll hate me…and she’s powerful, she could make life miserable for me…but I don’t care,” This haughty thing paused for a moment while she straightened her shoulders and raised her head high, “I love him, and I want him and I need him.  And,” she said with a sob “I don’t care if it hurts her…”

Oh dear, thought Isabelle, what do I have sitting in front of me?

“Look,” she said as she gathered up the cards, shuffling again.” I want you to draw three more cards”

“Okay, first card, situation, the two of cups.  That’s love, my dear, partnership, commitment.  Second card, him, The Lovers, there you go again.  Third card, you, The Empress…” intuition hit Isabelle with a flash “Could you be pregnant?”

And with that, the girls’ trickle of tears became a flood.


Isabelle was pensive several hours later when they finally pulled out of the meadow.  She was so far past her breaking point, and she knew she had to tell Ralph, but she didn’t know how.  She’d been grumpy and bitchy all week, and that wasn’t fair to him, she knew.  When he’d asked her what was wrong, she simply told him she wasn’t yet ready to talk about it, and went back to silence and contemplation.  Ralph was patient, he always was, she had to give him that, he was a good man, and kind, and he’d been so wonderful to her for these past four years, she would miss him…

Three days into the journey they passed through a small riverside town that Isabelle had always thought was charming.  She eyed every house they passed and then she saw it, a small white Victorian that was perfect, with a wraparound porch covered with climbing roses, shade and sun.

“Stop the truck.” She ordered.

“What?” questioned Ralph.

“Stop the truck.  Now.”

Ralph did as he was told, all the while complaining that they would lose the troupe, that it was getting late and that driving alone at night was dangerous.

Isabelle ignored him and jumped out, energy infecting her tired bones.

The garden was gorgeous, overgrown, in need of care, but stunning; wisteria and morning glories joined the roses in the sun while hydrangeas bloomed in the shade of the sycamore tree. She bounded up the porch steps and pushed open the front door.  The late afternoon sun poured through windows on all sides of the house, the leaded sidelights at the front door casting rainbows on the wood floor in front of the mantle.  She could see herself curled up in an easy chair in front of a flickering fire, reading a book, dog and cat with her.  Her breath caught in her throat as she realized that she had found her home.

Ralph came in behind her with a quizzical look on his face and she turned to him, feeling radiant yet bittersweet and said:

“Ralph, there’s something I have to tell you.”

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A story of love, betrayal…and fish

Rose gave me the honor of reading her book in draft form, and I LOVED it! Well, it’s out now, and I suggest you all read it too. Dark, engrossing, and a wee bit Gaimin-ish (in feel only, the author definitely has her own style, she’s a fabulous writer!) I think this belongs on everyones nightstand, and it would be eerily perfect for beach-side reading!


deeper2Deeper – a dark, modern fairytale of love and revenge…

Loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid (you’ve maybe seen the totally unrelated Disney film of the same name), DEEPER is the story of what really happens when a curious mer girl rescues a self-obsessed writer, living alone in his lighthouse by the sea.  What happens when she makes a pact she can’t go back on, for love of a man she barely knows?  If you think you know how it ends, you probably don’t.

Deeper is available as an e-book on Amazon and now as a paperback If you read it, don’t forget to review it – it helps!

Here’s the latest review – with thanks to the reviewer.

Mermaids. A book about mermaids, for grown-ups. Really?
Really. And an extraordinary book, too, a book full of wonder and sadness and violence. A world under the…

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I want to be manhandled

Pressed against a wall

Thrown around like a ragdoll

Not hurt

But subdued

In a playful way

I want you to pull

Aphrodite from me

And make Diana sit on her bow

And wait

And worry

And wonder

And groan

In jealousy

And anticipation

And pure, un-adulterated



I want to swoon at your touch

I want you to be gentle and fierce

I want your lips to incapsulate mine

In the power of now

In the power of wow

In the power of


I want to touch you

As you touch me

I want the back of my neck to tingle

To vibrate with the feel

Of your fingertips

Along my soul and skin

I want the velvet of our bodies

To connect

Nap to nap

I want…

I want…

I want!

Posted in love and dating, poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments


I was dating this guy recently.  It had been a couple of weeks since we’d seen each other and we had a date coming up, so, I wanted to prime the pump, as it were.  I had read something on the internet (of course!) on how to use text messages to “drive him wild” (yeah, yeah, I know, I shouldn’t fall for these things, but geez, it looked so simple and the dating expert guaranteed it to work…that guarantee should’ve been my first clue.)

So, the simple guaranteed thing to do to drive him wild was to text these words to him: “I just can’t stop thinking about…”   at which point, the guy was supposed to become intrigued and titillated.  The pump would be primed.  (Yay for that)  Apparently, according to the dating expert, guys are somehow genetically predisposed to become hyper aroused by ellipses.  Yes indeedy, those three tiny dots would work upon his psyche to make him curious.

After the ellipses, this guy, who would by now be foaming at the mouth, would undoubtedly text back “About what?” and that would lead into my next text, which was to be something slightly racy, about him, that alluded to what a big strong manly-man he was.  Awesome, I knew just what to say!  I was going to text back how I just could not stop thinking about how he had held my arms up and behind me when we were making out on the waterfront.   I mean, for one thing, it was true… hell, what woman wouldn’t continue to think about such a wondrous thing.  And, damn it, I KNEW this would make this very sexy man puff up with pride at his pure unabashed manliness.  Step two would turn the lather into lust.  Perfect!

The third step was to text how I couldn’t wait to see him.

I never got to the third step.  I never even got to step two.

The internet expert had, once again, guaranteed that “I just can’t stop thinking about” followed by those little ellipses would have my man texting “about what?” post haste.  “After all,” the expert had said, “what else could he respond with?”

Well, I’ll tell you, Mr. Internet Dating Expert guy, I’ll tell you exactly what this guy texted back.  It was:

“Why Darla, do you get randy in rainy weather?”


What was I to do after that?  The script was blown, I was blushing furiously instead of purring seductively. Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap!  I wanted to find a hole to hide in.  CRAP!

Now, I don’t even know why I tried this.  I’m just not the seductive type.  I have trouble even flirting, I don’t know how it’s done, and it mostly just embarrasses me…okay, so, occasionally I do find myself flirting, and usually to good effect, but, I must say, it’s always when conversation just flows into flirtiness, and never, never, NEVER when I TRY to flirt and why oh why would I try to do something like this, that I am soooooooooo not good at?

(I am, however, awfully good at being mortified.  Hyperbole and Mortification are vying to be my middle name…)

So, this guy and I did go on our date, and the pump was indeed primed, though not, I think, by my bumbling attempt, but rather by the fact that we liked each other.  We dated for a bit after that, discovered that we weren’t right for each other, and mutually called it off.  He’s a lovely guy and I wish him well.

As for following the advice of internet dating experts?  Well, I have discovered that I just don’t want to work that hard to be with a guy.  If I have to question my actions before I take them and worry about how a guy is going to react, well, what’s the point?  That is just not much fun, and if it’s not fun, why go there?  If I can’t be myself to be with someone, I’d rather not be with him; and, if he doesn’t like me for me, I’d rather he not be with me!  Way simpler, way easier, far more fun!  Being with someone should be because “we like each other” not “I did everything just right and it all worked out.”   It should be easy, because, I gotta tell you, life will bring the hard stuff in due time without ever having to dredge it up, and, if it’s not relaxed and happy in the beginning, you are never going to have the wherewithal as a couple to make it through the tough bits!  If you can’t be yourself with someone, that person is NOT the right one for you.

So, the moral of this story is:

Don’t try to be the seductive vixen if you’re the girl next door.  Even if you’re the girl next door with purple hair and tattoos.

sonja and I altered

Posted in love and dating, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Love, Travel and Writing ( and how a psychic foretold it all!)

Cow Palace

Cow Palace (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Love is what brought me back to writing.  Go figure.

I was parked and camped at the Cow Palace in 2011, at The Great Dickens Christmas Fair, and there I was, a homeless boothie/vendor/member of the great family that is Ren-Faire geeks from the way back ( i.e. back to where it all began; not as far back as when Phyllis and Ron had their grand dream that changed the world, but far enough back, 1978, when they and their ilk changed my life, and the lives of those around me. They took a shy girl, and many shy kids, as well as some bold, and adults besides, (with many in between) and gave us a place wherein we fit, a puzzle just for us.  It was magic, it was joy, and a normal life would never be acceptable to us, any of us, ever, ever again.)

So there I was, all those years later, in a vintage Airstream staying in a huge parking lot with the intent of traveling from faire to faire in that gleaming metal tube for a large chunk of the rest of my days.

Little did I know that The Universe had other ideas.

There was a man coming to visit me; a man who I’d been acquainted with for twenty years, but who I’d gotten to know via Facebook during the previous 18 months, while he was losing his marriage and I was losing my house.  He was handsome and I was giddy.  A few days before his visit, I was walking my dog on a lovely moonlit night when the muse grabbed me and these words came tumbling out through my fingers to my waiting Android, ready to post to Facebook:

With the soft breeze chasing the gossamer clouds across the moonlit skies, there are worse places, I think, to walk my dog than the tree shrouded Cow Palace parking lot…but, tonight at least, there are none better!

So, there it was, the seed was sown…though in fairness, it was actually sown some ten months before (or foretold, I can never be sure) when I sat down in front of a psychic at The Bay Area Renaissance Festival in Tampa, Florida for the weirdest reading of my life.  No cards, she never looked at my palm, there was no crystal ball.  I sat down and she started talking, that was it.

“Have you ever thought about moving into a trailer and traveling from faire to faire?” She asked.

Well, yes I’d thought about it, but at that point it looked like I was going to be able to save my house, so I said:

“Well, yes, I’ve thought about it, but at this point it looks like I’m going to be able to save my house.”

“I see you in a trailer, traveling.  And it’s going to be the happiest time in your life.”

(Ohhhhhhh-kay, I thought)

“And,” she continued “your writing is really going to take off.”

“I don’t write.” I told her.  And at that point I hadn’t written in 25 years.

“Well I see you writing.  And you’re going to be fairly successful at it.”

“But I have a career.” I insisted “I don’t have time to write.”

“Well I SEE you writing;” she argued back “and living on the road.  In a trailer. And it’s going to be the happiest years of your life!”

With that she dismissed me, and I was left wondering if I’d just wasted thirty-five very good dollars…

I didn’t remember what the psychic had said several months later when I stepped out of my lovely mountain house for the very last time, hitched up my newly purchased trailer and drove up highway 50 for a show in South Lake Tahoe…I didn’t remember those words several months later, on that November night at the Cow Palace when  I wrote so prettily about the moonlight and the clouds…I didn’t remember her words until a month after that; after it (seemingly)hadn’t worked out with the visiting guy;  after I joined a couple of online dating sites, so as to get back on the horse and keep riding; after finding that I loved reading and writing profiles, perhaps even more than the concept or possibility of meeting a fabulous man.  I didn’t remember those words until the night I published my very first ever blog post about the hilarious, mortifying ridiculousness of online dating and the funny-funny story that I just HAD to tell about what I’d gone and done.                                               ( ) Yep, that was when I remembered the psychic and her fateful words, and that is when I began to write in earnest.

No, I mean it, in earnest.  From that moment on there was no greater joy in my life than writing.  And what was I writing about?  Why love of course, all the ups and downs, the swooning and the tears, and the growth that comes when you dare to open your soul to another.

Here we are, two years have passed since the psychic foretold my happy new life, and more than a year since the writing began.  I haven’t yet found my next great love, despite the handful of men that have come across my path and stayed a bit, but my heart is still open, and I await the possibilities…

Posted in love and dating, music and life, spirituality, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

The Travelers: Angela

Angela had spent her whole life stifled, taken in by the town in which she lived; muted, stilled, unable to move beyond the boundaries of either herself or this place.  She was hopeless and mundane, knowing that if there was greatness in her, or life, or spark, she would never find it, trapped as she was in dulling sameness.

Then the earthquake hit, toppling her house from its foundation, rocking the church to the ground, igniting old fears on Main Street, burning her prison to ashes.  She was free.

She left that very day, bundling her dog and the few clothes and supplies she could scrounge from the ruins into her old buick and heading north; away from the desert, away from the oil wells and the stink, away from her life.  She drove the backroads to Sacramento, East over the Sierras to Reno, then beyond, back into desert, travelling on the loneliest road in America, Highway Fifty, ever on the lookout for an end to her own loneliness, a place where she belonged; She walked her dog among the sage brush, marveling at the difference in scenery that seven hundred miles and a new state could make.

She turned North in Eureka, Nevada, longing for mountains and greenery.  The Ruby Mountains stayed to her right, out of reach.  She found herself instead in Idaho, on a volcanic plateau of iron red rock; otherworldly, a gorge cut through the tableland like an angry slash, dark and ragged, with a trickle of remaining river far below.

She drove on, and Mormon crickets covered the highway, undulating in a dizzying impression of a world unstable, constantly moving, hallucinogenic in space and form.

Finally she reached farmlands, as green as anything she’d ever seen with tall wheat waving and swaying from horizon to horizon, three feet tall, four, six. She wanted to drown herself in its lushness, enclose herself in the life it represented.  Could this be home?

But no, it wasn’t meant to be; she stayed for a time, a few days, in a tiny motel in a farming community amongst the wheat and hay, but found it as stifling as the town she’d left behind.  Time to go.

Ever north she travelled, then east, into Wyoming, then Montana, the landscape like she’d never seen it, except in pictures.

Loneliness wrapped her like a shawl.  She missed those she’d known, even those who’d been unkind.  Constant travel began to wear on her, but she kept on, the need to find a place to fit driving her, becoming obsession, and then, a chip, wherein she saw each new place not with wide eyed wonder, but as a place to judge, and disregard, and leave.

Angela was tired.  She wanted to go home, but she had no home, her house and town gone, destroyed.  Sure, she could rebuild, but she’d never been happy there either, not once since she’d been dropped there at the age of ten, on the day before her fathers funeral.

She cried. Max wagged his tail and licked her face, trying to sooth her as she sobbed and wailed.  She hugged him. He became her only anchor.  On she drove as tears subsided.

She met a man in Jackson Hole, Wyoming with sparkly eyes and an easy laugh.  He called her beautiful, and fell in love, and she in return.  At night, naked in his hotel bed, he held her tight and caressed her, and asked about her scars.

“My grandmothers belt.” She said, and then would say no more.

She left her car in Jackson Hole, sold to the parents of a teenager for a small sum, and joined her new love in his new car for the ride to Seattle; and it was there, in his arms, that she found her home.

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