Untitled Story from Sam’s Place – Chapter VIII

Chapter VIII



Archie and Wilson looked to their shoes. They hadn’t heard about the Reverend Wesley Wilding being so directly involved in trying to shut down Sam’s, and that was surprising in a gossipy little town like Striven. Too, Archie and Wilson knew better than to ask Sam more about it; experience had taught them that you just shouldn’t pry into certain areas of Sam’s life.

Donnie, though, was undeterred. “You ‘member, Sam, we was up to our ears in corn liquor one night, and –”

Sam’s glare deepened. “Drop it, I said.”

Donnie pushed with both hands at the air between Sam and him. “Okay, okay, don’t get yourself all worked up, now. I just thought…”

Noxanne put a hand on Donnie’s arm and peered to the bar. “You say them beers is for us?”

“Yeah,” said Sam, “if y’all can see fit to shut up about my private doings.”

Wilson, afraid Sam’s temper still might boil over, changed the subject. “Funny things happen when you get off the battlefield, huh, Sam?”

A quizzical look. “I reckon.”

“What I mean is, you could of took a job, any job a‘tall, over in Montgomery after that discharge of yours.”

For a moment, Sam said nothing. Then he sighed through a now-saddened expression. “They wasn’t all that fond of soldiers back then. Some of us got turned down for jobs because we was ex-soldiers.”

“I ‘member hearing ‘bout when you got out,” said Donnie. “You took a job sweeping up this place for your Uncle Clifton. Didn’t make much sense, even to a kid like me.”

“You ever been to a war, you’d know,” said Sam, “‘specially one that was lost.” He whistled out a breath, his eyes fixed on some faraway thing. “Damn war stayed with me for quite a spell. Sweeping up helped keep me outta the doldrums.”


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Untitled Story from Sam’s Place – Chapter VII

Chapter VII



Noxanne and Wilson, toothpicks hanging from their lips following breakfast at an all-you-can-eat Denny’s in Auburn, had just clomped in. They snickered and elbowed one another.

“Sam don’t have a mood once in a while,” said Noxanne, “he comes to it as regular as I do my monthly.”

“He’s acting like he’s done crawled in a hole and pulled the dirt in over hisself,” said Donnie.

“What brought all this on?” asked Wilson.

Donnie eyed Sam. “Well, first off, he got a good grouch going about Brother Wilding. Claims the reverend’s done him dirty somehow.”

Wilson tossed his toothpick over his shoulder. “It was Wayman Tucker who did that. He tried to shut Sam’s Place down a half dozen times.”

“Then it ain’t got nothing to do with Brother Wilding,” said Donnie.

“Yeah it does, too,” said Noxanne. “Him and Tucker’s so close they might as well kiss.”

An aha moment took Archie. “I guess I ain’t surprised at that. I forgot about our good ol’ chief of police and Wilding being cousins, sumpin like two, three times removed on Wayman’s daddy’s side.”

Donnie glanced to the establishment’s rear, where Sam was drawing a round of beers. An old memory had surfaced, a story Sam had told only once, during an all-night drinking session, a night when Sam had been as snockered as anyone could remember. “Hey, Sam,” he called out, chuckling. “‘Member that gal you hooked up with over in Montgomery? Didn’t you get her knocked up or some such?”

“I ain’t had a kid with nobody,” Sam said, eyes narrowed. “Leastwise, none I know of.” He jabbed a finger at the line of foaming cups. “Y’all have a beer and lock up all the chitchat about something you don’t know a damn thing about.”


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Random Concerns of Late Summer

The good California folks rescuing my intellectual property from the fried hard drive called yesterday to tell me the data rescue had been successful, that my data is on the way back to the Right Coast, or thereabouts. Now I need to figure out why my external hard drive wasn’t saving that most important data. Or maybe I should invest in some cloud or other. But those are concerns for next week.

Next week will also provide a peek at the area around my bionic knee. It seems, as the orthopedic said, I have a loose screw. There! On the knee! Damn you, joke-mongers!


Otherwise, things look good. The mended heart is slowly, maddeningly slowly, strengthening, although I’m still occasionally gasping for breath. What with my current inability to finish the 60s novel’s first draft (I’m already thinking of a  few revisions), I have leisure time now and find myself drifting toward my classical guitar for the first time in ages. It’s always good to reacquaint with old friends. And by the way, my comments on the publisher’s “improvements” on my  WWII novel are made and emailed to the publisher. Ball’s in your court once again, Omonomany.

The Olympics spectacle is over, the Braves are sitting all too comfortably in last place, and I’m not yet thinking of football. How long before college hoops begins?


Visit my website here. Within it you’ll find more on books and events that matter to me — and possibly to you. And there’s a gridleyfires Facebook page, too, if you can find it.

A Moment of Mental Self-Stimulation

I’ve just been reading a friend’s blog. He’s written something rather arcane as the blogosphere goes, i.e., about the connectivity of past, present and future. Which of course sets me to wondering: I’ve never quite considered his angle before. So let’s do so: Many spiritualists exhort us to live in the moment. And the question for this Sunday morning is whether each of an infinite series of “nows” is separate and discrete or whether “now” is essentially an illusion.


Is it possible to live in an eternal now? If so, then if “now”is a long string of such moments, isn’t it possible, indeed likely, that there can be little or no connection between them? Similarly to the discrete nonsense that are thoughts that just pop into your mind, having no relation to one another? If this is the case, then how can the past, present, and future be connected?

But what if this business of “now” is simply a state of mind? A mood or attitude? We all know that each moment’s experience doesn’t have to be continuous. For example, you’re driving to work, thinking about a problem you’re to solve in your profession. Suddenly, someone T-bones you at an intersection. You’re unconscious, and the next thing you know  you wake up in the E.R.

If living in the moment means approaching such discord with equanimity of mind, then the continuity we’re considering is transcendent to the ups and downs, the random and disconnected events of life. Such things as past, present, and future, then, become mental constructs, a way of speaking about the way things in life already considered and  dispensed with bear on what our mental energy seems currently preoccupied with, and how that experience and preoccupation build expectations.

You see? We’re so hard-wired to think of life in terms of past, present, and future because we’re so attached to the physical objects and situations of our minds. In mind, then, you can begin to build an attitude that allows you not to be swallowed by such end-result attachment. Then this whole thing of past, present, and future goes away.


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Here I sit, thrumming bony fingers on my desk. No word on progress in retrieving data from my fried hard drive. And after repeated phone calls to the water works to have them answer for an outrageously priced water bill, the phone’s not ringing with said explanation.

Perhaps it’s some wry form of poetic justice that I’m also waiting on some promised comments from reviewer/readers of a WWII novel I’ve written, and – hopefully – will see in print before year’s end. The comments I’ve received so far on the novel are an odd amalgamation of identified typos, added narrative that someone or other feels will make the novel more informative. Not so when they recommend sticking a bit on extraneous narrative in the midst of a scene’s dialogue. Someone out there doesn’t understand fiction writing at all.

Ah, well. It’s all in the spirit of turning out a good book.


Visit my website here. On it you’ll find more on ideas and events that matter to me — and possibly to you. And there’s a gridleyfires Facebook page, too, if you can find it.

A Technical Interlude

For those wondering why the sudden cessation in the story, I have this to report:


My hard drive fried. It works in tandem with a fusion drive, which makes things happen quicker, but it’s hard to retrieve data with this configuration. Both drives had to be sent to a specialist in California, who has  to piece together the data from both drives.

It’s costly, and time consuming.

Hopefully I’ll be back blogging in a week or so, with my bank account lightened severely.