LEND ME A HAND!

Greetings to all my wondrous WordPressing friends! It’s incredible how many friends I have made here; your challenges and word prompts etc., are amazingly creative.

When I first started my site in 2017, I figured I’d write a couple of little stories now and then. Well, five years later and one look at my site will show you how that turned out! It took on a life of its own and morphed into Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors.

Not that I’m complaining ….. far from it. My site blossomed and I’m very grateful for all my followers and all the ‘likes’ you give me. Your complimentary and encouraging comments spur me on to be as creative and original as possible.

I’ve been following a lot of you, too, and trying to keep up with all the prompts you post; as much as I’d like to, it’s impossible to participate in and contribute to all of them. If I did, I’d never have time to write my own stories and let’s face it – that is my first love. I’m a storyteller and I think I’ve been neglecting my site just a bit by trying to keep up with all your sites.

Don’t look at me like that; you haven’t even read what I’m going to say!

I have no intention of bailing out on you, my WordPress friends. I just need to cut back a little and try to not spread myself so thin. If something really cool pops out at me on one of your posts (and I’m 100% sure that will happen) then I’ll plunge in and I’ll give it my best shot just like I do with all the stories I write.

This is not goodbye; you can’t get rid of me that easily. I’ll still be stopping by every day checking up on you, reading your poems and stories and taking up a challenge whenever I can.

Keep on keeping on, everyone. You’re the best group of people ever!

NAR © 2022

ANOTHER TRIP AROUND THE SUN

So yesterday was my birthday. Another trip around the sun. I’m not telling my age but here’s a hint: I was a teenager, albeit a young one, when I saw The Beatles at Shea Stadium in 1965.

So what knowledge have I amassed over the years? Plenty, but there’s still room for growth!

  • I give great advice but rarely listen to my own. That’s a work in constant progress.
  • I’ve been told I can be intimidating; I like to think of it as having a big personality and being outgoing. Show me a stage and I’ll sing you a song or two or ten.
  • I have a big heart and wear it on my sleeve. My mouth is just as big as my heart. I say what’s on my mind, tell the truth but try not to hurt anyone’s feelings in the process. I’m not always successful and there has been collateral damage. No excuses.
  • I have no use for liars, manipulators or abusers of any kind.
  • I’m not offended if a man opens the door for me, offers me a seat or tells me I look pretty. Men are not the enemy. Perhaps having two sons has made me somewhat biased on that subject but there you have it. Some of my female friends won’t like what I just said. I’ll survive.
  • I work very well under pressure but can be as lazy as fuck when I want to be.
  • I curse but never in front of my grandchildren; they will hear enough of that in school, tv and online; they don’t need to hear it from me.
  • I have an addictive personality and need to rein it in sometimes.
  • I love writing and think I’m pretty good at it. And I love music but draw the line at Rush.
  • When I love it’s with my whole being and I have very few regrets – except that one debacle of a date with Martin Kovach. Maybe I’ll write a story about that. Don’t worry; it’s a comedy.
  • I’m smart and funny (and humble) but I make mistakes frequently and with great flourish. I’m confident, even when making mistakes, and love an audience. Not everyone likes me; no worries – the feeling is mutual. I’m not going to turn myself into a pretzel to get someone to like me; this is it, folks.
  • I’m usually happy but mostly content. Believe me, you’ll know when I’m unhappy or mad.
  • If you’re looking for someone to be on your trivia team, I’m your gal. But don’t ever ask me a math question. Seriously. I have the dubious distinction of being the only student in my school (that I’m aware of) to be excused from algebra and allowed to double up on English. The anguish on the part of myself and my teachers just wasn’t worth it.
  • One drink will make me comfortably numb; two drinks and I’m pretty much drunk. When I was dating, I’d order sloe gin fizzes because they were tasty but they made me drunk and sick to my stomach. I threw up at the end of almost every date with Bill but he married me anyway.
  • I love my family unconditionally. You think you’ll never love anyone more than your spouse … then you have children and that theory goes right out the window. Then you have grandchildren. Fugetaboutit! These are my baby’s babies – a mind-blowing concept – and I adore them.
  • I’m proud of my Sicilian heritage. I love the United States but I’m heartbroken and frustrated over what’s happening here.
  • There’s nothing wrong with saying “no”. My heart and mind are young; my joints not so much so if I say “no” it’s not because I don’t want to; it’s because I’m tired and achy. I’ve got the scars to prove it.
  • There’s also nothing wrong with saying “I love you” – not to strangers; that’s just weird. But if there’s someone in your life who means the world to you, tell them you love them. Some people get scared when you say “I love you”; it makes them nervous and that’s a shame. Maybe if we all said it more often the world wouldn’t be in the mess it’s in.
  • I have a lot of friends but just a handful of really good, close friends. That’s ok; life isn’t a popularity contest.
  • When all else fails, listen to The Beatles. Peace and love really are all you need and in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.

NAR © 2022

An older but hopefully wiser me

EACH DAY IS VALENTINE’S DAY

LOVE (noun): deep affection, fondness, tenderness, warmth, intimacy, attachment, endearment, devotion, adoration, doting, idolization, worship, passion, ardor, desire, lust, yearning, infatuation, adulation.

I’m a romantic soul. I love the idea of love, being in love and being loved. I’m Italian – being passionate comes naturally to me. I love my family and my friends. It’s a feeling deep inside me and I don’t care who knows. In fact, I want them to know! I wear my heart on my sleeve and I’ve been hurt because of that vulnerability but I’d rather love and risk being hurt than go around being an unfeeling, grumpy-ass sourpuss full of apathy, ennui and angst.

Loving goes beyond the love of people. I love writing, food, a quiet Saturday morning, the smell of coffee, a good movie, music, animals, feeling the sun on my face on a warm spring day, the sound of my grandchildren laughing, my husband who would do anything for me, spending time with cherished friends both near and far.

While flowers are lovely, they wither and die. Chocolate is heavenly but it lasts longer on my hips than on my lips! I enjoy sharing a good bottle of wine and meaningful conversation with someone I care about. I adore a dirty joke, a sentimental song and reading my friend’s poetry.

And why are people so afraid to say “I love you”? Guys – admit it; it gives you the cold sweats. Loving someone isn’t the same as being in love with someone. We often take the easy way out and send little messages like “Luv ya!” or “I ❤️ you”. Some of us can’t even bring ourselves to say the word “love”.

What’s this fascination with loving things? You hear people say “I love my car.” “I love Starbucks.” “I love my new phone.” “I love these shoes.” “I love that restaurant.” “I love that show.” Sure, these things bring us pleasure but we can live without them and they sure as hell don’t love us back.

What I can’t live without are the special people in my life, the people who call you up just to say “Hi. How are you?” and end with “I love you” without expecting anything in return except maybe hearing “I’ve missed you! I love you, too.”

Chances are if you’re reading this it’s because you enjoy the things I write about and that makes me very happy. If my writing can bring you pleasure, make you think, smile, laugh or cry, then I’ve done my job. Thank you for taking the time to read this and listening to the song below; it’s one of my favorites.

I think the idea of Valentine’s Day is grand; it’s sweet and sexy and over-the-top crazy romantic. It’s all about love. Wouldn’t it be amazing if everyday was Valentine’s Day?  

NAR © 2022

SEE ME, FEEL ME

My husband Sam and I were hosting our usual Friday night dinner with friends, something we’ve been doing for several years. Sam is a psychology professor at NYU and I manage Dahlia’s, an eponymously named floral shop.

Our weekly dinner companions are Claude and his wife Piper who own a small eclectic bookstore called The Paper Trail and Austin and Rebecca who have been engaged for seven years. Rebecca is a music teacher at a private school in Manhattan and Austin is a graphic designer. We keep asking them “When’s the big day?” but neither one seems to be in a rush.

Our dinner conversations are always lively, touching on a variety of topics. This particular evening, Sam said “I asked my class this question today: ‘If you had to choose between being deaf or being blind, which would you choose?’ Now, my friends, I’d like to know how you would answer that question.” My husband – ever the provocateur! Perhaps that’s what I find so stimulating about him.

Well, no big surprise, no one said anything for a moment; this was a profound question. I finally decided to break the ice by responding. “For me, as a florist, I would have to say I’d choose to be deaf. I need to see the arrangements I’m creating, which color flowers go well together, the best bouquets to match bridesmaid’s dresses, even something as simple as placing flowers in the right vase. I wouldn’t have to hear the bell on the shop’s front door or the telephone ring; both can be hooked up to a light to get my attention. And customers could always email or text me with their orders. Why, I could even communicate with my customers via tablets in the shop. I’d still be able to see and smell all the beautiful flowers, meet my customer’s expectations and take pride in my creations.”

Spurred on by my answer, Austin chimed in. “Exactly! I totally agree with Dahlia. In the field of graphic design, I would be incapable of working without the ability to see. These days there are so many electronic devices we can use to communicate; I don’t think being deaf would interfere with my life or my work at all.”

Immediately Rebecca countered what we said. “I get where the two of you are coming from but I could never teach music if I were deaf. I’d be able to place my fingers on the correct piano keys or strum the right strings on a guitar because I’ve been making music all my life. It’s second nature to me. But I wouldn’t want to exist without the sound of music, to hear my students playing, to correct their mistakes or praise their achievements. It would be impossible for me to conduct an orchestra, not knowing if the violins should be a little louder or the bassoons pianissimo. Austin, if you were deaf, you wouldn’t hear the wedding march when I walk down the aisle or hear me say the words ‘I do’.”

Austin was quick to reply. “As long as I could see your radiant face in your gorgeous wedding gown carrying the beautiful bouquet designed by Dahlia, that’s all that would matter. And as far as hearing you say ‘I do’, I would read your luscious lips before tenderly kissing my new bride.”

We all laughed as Sam exclaimed “Nice save, Austin! Claude and Piper, we’ve yet to hear from you. What’s your poison – deaf or blind?”

As if on cue, both Claude and Piper declared their answers at the same time; he said “Deaf”; she said “Blind”. They stared at each other in bewilderment and the rest of us couldn’t help but laugh at the expressions on their faces. Of course Sam had to keep the game going by saying “At last! Some controversy, a little gasoline on the fire of our conversation. Let’s keep this ball rolling!” and he poured everyone a fresh glass of wine.

Claude cleared his throat. “Piper, mon cher, we own a bookstore! How can you possibly say you would choose blindness over deafness? Mon Dieu! Have you forgotten how we bonded at that little book shop in Paris … what was the name? Ah! La Manoeuvre! We both reached for the same book of poetry by Paul Eluard and when our eyes met I knew I could never look away.’’

“Oh, my darling Claude. I could never forget La Manoeuvre. You read poetry to me and time stood still. It was as though we were the only people in that shop. Our love for books is why we bought The Paper Trail; that store is our baby. I know each book on every shelf and have read most of them. The feel of the paper, the smell of the leather-bound first editions, hearing you read to me – I do not need sight to love a book.”

Piper and Claude moved closer to each other and embraced, momentarily forgetting they were not alone. They kissed, then pulled away, embarrassed. Piper blushed and gave a breathless laugh.

“Claude, do you remember the books I had in my bag the day we first met?” Piper asked.

Claude nodded and said “Oui. One was ‘Wuthering Heights’ in Braille and the other was French sign language. They were for your parents.”

Piper looked around the room at the rest of us and explained. “My mother is blind and my father is deaf. Somehow they never had trouble communicating; I suppose they spoke the silent language of love. That’s why I was so passionate about having a Braille section in our bookstore. Also, there is new technology to help both blind and deaf people enjoy a movie or television.”

Turning to Claude, Piper said “As long as I can hear your voice, it doesn’t matter if I never see another thing again.”

We all felt a little in awe of Piper at that moment. We sipped our wine, captivated by the sounds of silence.  

NAR © 2022

TEA FOR THE TILLERMAN

Lighted gardenia-scented candles flickered throughout the Brevard Jewish Community Temple. I grew up in Brevard, North Carolina but moved to San Francisco at the age of 17 to “find myself“. After 20–plus years and still not certain who I truly was, I felt the time had come to revisit my hometown. 

It all began after reading an article in the Transylvania County Times about BJCT which my dear friend Marsha sent me; a few of the lines truly resonated with me: 

“It is good to enter into the spirit of the Sabbath, a time in which our personal concerns drop away for a few hours and we get a sense of the larger meaning of life and fellowship, one unconcerned with wealth or occupation or standing. That is what Shabbat can do – take us to a place of repose, equality, community and perhaps even peace of mind.” 

After my catastrophic marriage, peace of mind sounded like an impossible quest. Once my decision to return to Brevard was made, I called Marsha; she met me at the airport and our first stop was the temple. Services were already in progress so we sat in the back listening to the tranquil beauty of the ancient Hebrew chants. 

Hearing the cantor’s resonant voice I realized it was familiar to me. I opened my eyes to see who was singing but my view was obstructed by a woman’s enormous hat. “I know that voice.” Glancing down at my program I saw a name that made my heart pound: ‘Arthur Rosen’.  So much time had gone by but his name still warmed my blood. ‘’The one that got away’’, as the saying goes, when in actuality he was the one I pushed away. 

As the people were leaving the temple, Marsha and I stopped to chat with Arthur; I wondered if he sensed my heart and mind were racing. He was as handsome as I remembered – a little grayer and sporting a closely-cropped beard which added to his rugged charm. His blue eyes were still captivating, his smile warm and inviting. I couldn’t help noticing he wasn’t wearing a wedding ring. 

Lois Efron! You have no idea how wonderful it is to see you after all these years! If I may say, you look radiant!” Arthur exclaimed. Truly happy to see me, he clasped my hands in his. 

No embraces, no awkward kiss on the cheek – just genuine pleasure in seeing me again. 

“It’s wonderful to see you too, Arthur – an especially nice surprise.” 

He asked me what I’d been doing all this time and laughed when I told him “I was on the road to find out.” 

“Aren’t we all, Lois?” he asked. “Tell me; were you victorious?” 

Now it was my time to laugh, saying “Oh, no! Not at all!” 

“Well, then, you must persevere!” Arthur replied with an engaging smile. 

We said our goodbyes and I realized we were still holding hands. I suddenly remembered those many nights we held hands listening to “Tea for the Tillerman”.

Marsha slid behind the wheel of her car and I casually asked “So, when were you going to tell me Arthur was still living here?” 

Would you have come if I did?” and I found I honestly didn’t know the answer. “Lois, before we go to lunch I’d like to show you something.”

As we rode through the downtown area I was shocked by how much it had changed since I left. It was now dynamic and vibrant with eclectic stores, charming restaurants and lively pubs. Marsha parked the car, walked to a store and unlocked the door. 

“Wait a second. Is this YOUR store?” I asked.

“Founder and owner” Marsha replied proudly. “What? Don’t sound so surprised! Welcome to Theophilus – a little bit of everything for the discriminating client.” 

We were no longer in Brevard; this was a taste of the exotic Middle East. Gorgeous Persian rugs adorned the floors, hookahs, statues, belly dancing skirts bedecked with crystals, finger cymbals, lanterns, perfumes, jewelry boxes, coffee, almonds, candied dates and so much more filled the store. 

“Do you like it?” Marsha asked excitedly. 

“It’s magical, Marsha. I love it!” I responded, looking around in amazement. 

“And look” Marsha said, gently guiding me toward the front window. “See that blue house across the street? Arthur lives there … very much alone. I’m sure he’d warmly welcome your company.”

I smiled knowingly at my friend; she understood me like no one else.

Yes, I think I’d found my way home. 

NAR © 2021

SECRETS ON MYLAR

Sex, drugs and rock and roll. Free love and hooking up. No strings, no regrets, no jealousy – just consenting adults getting stoned and getting it on. There was a clear understanding: never get romantically involved with someone else’s spouse.

The year was 1973.

Four young friends, Nathan and Brooke and Michael and April, lived in an apartment building in Riverdale. The girls were sexy and fashionable in their halter tops, tight low-rise jeans and platform shoes. The guys were good-looking and cool in their faded jeans, crisp white t-shirts and leather blazers. They had many similar interests and traveled in the same circle of friends.

Brooke and Michael broke all the rules. Their attraction was instantaneous. Everyone else was so out of it they never noticed that the duo always ended up together.

Brooke was one of those girls who was innately sensual and completely oblivious to the power she had over men. She was electric. Michael was handsome, smart, funny, sexy and vain, confident and fully aware of the effect he had on women.

Michael was a photographer; Brooke taught piano. They had the luxury of working locally while their spouses April and Nathan worked in Manhattan. It was very convenient for Brooke and Michael to get together whenever they wanted. He loved taking photos of her – hundreds of erotic nudes. He even let her take one of him, something he never let anyone do. She kept the photo tucked away in an inconspicuous compartment in her wallet.

For April’s 25th birthday she and Michael had a party with a lot of guests which gave Michael the opportunity to display his new photographs. One piece was an intriguing black and copper image on glossy Mylar poster paper. As Nathan and Brooke admired the print, Michael sidled up to her and whispered “That’s you.” She stared intently, tilting her head a bit. Then she saw it – the sultry vision of a face and woman’s body! Brooke was annoyed that Michael would display something so personal but also felt a rush; only they knew about the image hidden on the Mylar.

Time passed as it always does, lifestyles changed and the four friends slowly drifted apart. Brooke got pregnant and she and Nathan moved to Connecticut. Michael and April got divorced. Out of the blue one night Nathan and Brooke got a call from April: Michael was dead; he crashed his Corvette into a tree, dying on impact. The news was devastating, especially for Brooke. She barely slept that night thinking of all the times she shared with Michael.

A few days later Brooke received a package in the mail; a neatly typed address label was attached. Removing the wrapping, she was shocked to see Michael’s Mylar poster and the image of her naked body. Taped to the back of the poster was a large manila envelope full of Brooke’s nude photos and a note: “Consider this a gift; the negatives come with a price. Imagine Nathan’s reaction.”

The note freaked her out. Who sent this? There was no return address but the postmark read “Riverdale”. Brooke immediately thought of April and knew she had to get the negatives from her, regardless the cost. Nathan could never find out.

Brooke gathered everything, grabbed her purse and started driving towards Riverdale, towards April. All she could think about was Nathan and getting the negatives back. Michael promised he would destroy everything and she couldn’t believe he would lie to her. April must have known found the photos while going through Michael’s belongings or she knew about Brooke and Michael’s affair all along. Her mind on the past, Brooke almost missed the Riverdale exit and swerved erratically back onto the highway. She never saw the oncoming truck; Brooke died instantly in the crash.

At that exact moment Nathan sat in his Manhattan office opening a large manila envelope with a neatly typed address label. Stuffed inside were hundreds of negatives.

One must wonder which was more devastating for unsuspecting Nathan – the shocking news of his wife’s death or the gut-wrenching revelation of her infidelity?

NAR © 2020

A COLD CASE

Word on the street was Louie “No Nose” Lombardo was sprung from the slammer. His early release spelled big trouble; besides seeking revenge, Louie heard his sworn enemy Tony “The Cutter” Tedesco had been sniffing around his wife. 

Louie and Tony weren’t always enemies. In fact when they were kids they were inseparable. They would ride their bikes down to the empty lot where they’d scrounge around for discarded cigarette butts with just enough left for a couple of drags. They played stickball in the street with a broom handle and a Spaldeen. During the summer they’d hitchhike to Orchard Beach and sneak in through an opening in the fence. 

One day around Christmas Louie got caught in Woolworth’s trying to shoplift an angel ornament for his mother. When the store manager realized Louie’s father was held in high regard by the members of La Cosa Nostra, he looked the other way. And he let Louie keep the ornament saying “He didn’t want any trouble”. 

Tony’s father was a mortician for the Sisto Funeral Home and you better believe he knew where the bodies were buried. He wasn’t called “The Undertaker” for nothing. Sometimes the boys would sneak in after a wake to check the big sofa cushion for loose change. 

Louie’s father was the manager of Luca’s Ristorante, a well-known mob hangout. Luca Lombardo knew what side his bread was buttered on; syndicate bosses like Rocco “TNT” Randazzo and their soldiers were all welcome at Luca’s. 

For the first 19 years of their lives nothing or no one could come between Louie and Tony – that is until Rocco brought his  daughter Rosanna to the restaurant. Rosanna was a vixen – long chestnut hair, flawless bronze skin, emerald green eyes and a body that could melt the mozzarella right off your pizza. 

Rosanna was a real tease and Tony and Louie fell hard. She hooked up with both, enjoying the game of pitting them against each other, watching their animosity grow like rival nations. After stringing them along for over a year, Rosanna chose Louie. He hungrily kissed his future bride’s mouth as Tony glared at them. 

Rocco gave the couple his blessing along with an extravagant wedding, a lavish honeymoon to Italy and a beautiful house. It wasn’t long before Rocco brought Louie into the family “business”. A year later Rosanna had a baby and Tony was invited to the christening party. Louie paraded Rosanna around the room on his arm like a trophy while Rocco proudly displayed his first grandson. Tony lost it. He and Louie starting fighting. Pushing and shoving led to punches, then the switchblades came out. Suddenly Tony’s brother Angelo lunged at Rocco and Louie intervened, fatally stabbing Angelo. Tony whirled, slicing off most of Louie’s nose. 

At his trial Louie was charged with manslaughter and sent up the river to Dannemora. Rocco told Louie to sit tight; he’d take care of everything. He called in some favors, greased a few palms and reminded the Governor about his sex scandal that Rocco made disappear. It worked and Louie was pardoned and released. Rocco was indebted to Louie for saving his life. “Whatever you want I’ll make it happen” Rocco pledged. Louie whispered in his ear and Rocco replied “Consider it done.” 

Two weeks later Louie was staring at a portrait of Tony next to his closed casket at Sisto Funeral Home. The photo of his one-time best friend had to suffice; after being blown to bits by a car bomb there was nothing left of Tony to look at.  

The police have no leads. 

NAR © 2020

BEYOND THE SEA

We were at our yearly reunion in Montauk – three college friends and me on a break from our husbands and kids. 

My friends wanted to take the ferry from Montauk to Block Island and return the next day. I’d been there before and it was exactly like Montauk. I suggested we do something different like rent a sailboat or go hang gliding but I was vetoed.    

“This is great!” I thought, relishing the idea of being able to do something by myself. 

After lunch I decided to take our inflatable raft down to the water – spend some time working on my tan then check out that new restaurant in town. The raft was no frills – a nylon ladder, a paddle and a 15 foot docking rope.    

As I paddled out of the harbor, people waved to me from nearby waterfront restaurants and fishing boats. Clearing the jetty, I stopped paddling and let the ocean swells carry me out to sea. I stretched out as the sun danced off the water and the waves lulled me to sleep. 

When I awoke I was surrounded by a darkness so pitch black I couldn’t see a thing, not even my hand in front of my face. There was no moon or stars and I had no idea where I was. The sea was relatively calm and I thought perhaps I could try to paddle the raft until I caught a glimpse of light but the darkness was so intense I was afraid to move. My skin felt burned and my mouth was incredibly parched. 

I heard it before I felt it – a surging rush of water quickly approaching me. I blindly searched for and found the inner ropes of the raft and held on tightly. Then it was upon me – a huge wave heaving me forward and pulling me back again. I have no idea how long the surges continued – hours, perhaps only minutes of being tossed about like a rag doll – but I managed to keep my grip and stayed afloat in the raft. 

Just as the waters calmed I became aware of something butting the side of the raft. There it was again! I felt it half in the raft, large and slimy, and I instinctively reached for the paddle which was secured in place. Blindly I swung at whatever this creature was until I finally made contact. Somehow it made its way into the raft and I pounded it repeatedly until I knew it was dead. I scampered as far away as I could and curled myself into a ball. 

“Ahoy!” I squinted in the sun at a nearby fishing boat. Ahoy! Do you need help?” 

“Yes! Can you give me a tow?”

“Sure but it would be easier if we untangled your raft from this pier and you paddled to the beach 100 feet away. By the way, sure looks like that inflatable dolphin got some beating!” the fishing boat captain chuckled.   

Mortified, I paddled away to peals of laughter. 

NAR © 2019

BALLS TO THE WALL

While reading the real estate section, my wife Jen called out to me. “Hey, Eric, check this out. You know that community we love? One of the houses is available, has everything we want plus a big yard and a pool. And get this .. their asking only $275,000! That’s well within our budget!”  

“Seriously?  Those houses usually go for twice as much! Wonder why it’s so low.”  

“The agent’s number is right here” replied Jen. “Let’s call.”  

After talking to the agent, we agreed to meet at noon. When we arrived she explained that the owners had moved out of the country and were anxious for a quick sale. The community was lovely and families were outside enjoying the great weather. The house was even more beautiful than we imagined .. not a thing wrong. We asked the agent to make arrangements for an inspector to check everything out and a few days later he reported the house to be in excellent condition, removing all doubts. 

“Well, babe”, I said, giving  Jen a hug, “looks like we just found our dream house!”  

Two weeks later we moved in and everyone was very friendly. In fact, the guy next door came over and invited us to a community welcoming barbecue that weekend. We knew we were gonna love this place.

The barbecue was fun and later on at home we talked about how nice our neighbors were. In particular, Jen was surprised by how helpful the men were, “Except for that one incident when Barb got annoyed with Gil because his mashed potatoes were lumpy!” she laughed.

As time passed, we couldn’t help noticing that all the men were house-husbands while all the women went to work. How odd! One night Gil called to invite me to the Friday night poker game at his house and Jen to a ladies night at Susan’s. 

The game was going well when Gil suddenly asked “So, Eric, when are you gonna get your balls snipped?”

 Nearly choking, I sputtered WHAT??”  

“Sure! We’re all snipped. Dr. Susan does it .. smooth and rapid. Our wives convinced us life would be much calmer that way .. and it is. Here’s her number.”  

Mumbling excuses, I left the game and darted home .. colliding into Jen running from the other direction. 

“Do you know what they do here?!?” she asked, horrified. 

I nodded frantically. “And the only things getting cut are our losses! We’re outta here!” 

NAR © 2018

http://fivedotoh.com/2022/09/02/fandangos-flashback-friday-september-2nd/

MIXED SIGNALS

What can happen when messages get crossed:

January 1, 2015

To: Sophia

From: Paolo

Cara Sophia – I send you warmest greetings. Unfortunately I have bad news. There was a fire in the guest cottage in Agrigento and all was lost. I know the idea of moving to Sicily permanently was very appealing to you but you were understandably undecided. Now, sadly, the decision has been made for you because the house is gone. Fortunately you still have your lovely house in New York. I hope some time in the future you will visit us for a few weeks at our home in Palermo. Ciao cara – Paolo 

AT THE SAME TIME THAT DAY

To: Paolo

From: Sophia

My dearest Paolo – After much thought and soul-searching, I have decided to accept your kind offer to move into your guest cottage in Agrigento. The New York winters are getting progressively worse and I cannot stand another day here. I desperately need a change of scenery and I’m ready to become a permanent resident of Sicily. Luckily, I was able to sell my house quickly and the buyers want to move in immediately. I have already packed all I need and I’m ready to go! I see there is a flight to Agrigento leaving this evening and I will call the airline right now. As soon as I know my ETA I’ll contact you. Thank you again, my dear cousin. I look forward to seeing you very soon in sunny Sicily. Ciao caro – Sophia 

AT THE SAME TIME THAT DAY

To: Sophia

From: Angie

Hi Soph – How’s my favorite sister? I’ve got exciting news! I landed that great job I was angling for …. the one at the music school near you. I know it’s been a while since you offered your guest room to me and I’m hoping the offer still stands. You haven’t turned it into a shrine to George Harrison, have you? Anyway, I sold my condo here in Boston; my stuff is already packed and all I need to do is reserve tickets online to NY. I can be there as soon as tomorrow. Can’t wait to see you! Love, your favorite sister Angie 

PS: Brad and I broke up, that jerk! Good riddance! 

AT THE SAME TIME THAT DAY

To: Angie

From: Brad

Babe, I’m sorry! Forgive me for being such an ass! I love you and need you in my life. Taking the first flight home to Boston tonight. Brad xx

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