One Coincidence Too Many

“One coincidence is just a coincidence, two coincidences are a clue, three coincidences are a proof. ” Hercule Poirot.

When still in Italy a couple of weeks ago, I went swimming suits shopping with the girls as most of the previous year ones were too small.
Daughter number two was quickly sorted with her sister’s old togs and a couple of new ones, but daughter number one was the other story and not an easy one.
First of all, she doesn’t like girly things, second of all she doesn’t like bright colours and third of all she hates to go clothes shopping, not to mention trying things up.
With this little introduction, you already got the general mood that surrounded me during “the swimming suit mission”. Because that’s what it was: A Mission, or to be precise, a Mission Impossible.
The heat, of course, didnt help us to accomplish our task but made us try to be as quick as we could so that we could soon move to the next shop, the supermarket.
No, I am not saying I am a food shopping enthusiast, on the contrary, I hate it, and in fact, always have my weekly food shopping delivered, but at least the supermarket is a cool place. And by cool, I mean chilled. The clothes shop, instead, was hot. Sure they had air conditioning but because they kept all the doors opened it didnt do much.
After I inspected thousands of items, while the daughter was behind me lifting her thumb up or down to the possible candidate, we eventually settled on a few anonymous dark blocked coloured bikinis disguising any feminine identity.
Mission accomplished. We paid and happily run into the supermarket, where we much appreciated the Antartic temperature running through all the place.
We got a few bits and headed to one of the till.
It must have been the heat, it must have been the stress of the shopping, or it must have been the effort to hold my tongue in front of my eldest daughter poor fashion taste, but sure all of those things contributed to exhaust my brain. How did I know that? I didn’t, until I find myself inserting my card to pay, and instead of digiting my PIN, I kept staring at it like in a trance. At the third cashier’s cough, I eventually awoke and hurriedly pushed the green button. Transaction Rejected.
How was it possible? I had just paid in the other shop, and it worked.
-It happens sometimes -, the lady cashier said. We tried again, ….and again. Transaction Rejected, all three times.Puzzled, I paid with my other card, and that was it.
If it were the end of the month, I maybe would have worried to have overspent, but been the beginning of the month I knew the account was well covered. I blamed the shop’s connection, and didnt think about it again.

The Monday after I was back home to Ireland, I had an appointment to get my blood tests done. I was a bit early, and so I went to the ATM to get some cash.
“This service cannot be provided”, or something like that, it was the message on the monitor.
-What?Again?-
I immediately checked my bank account, and there was funds, so I thought maybe I was trying to withdraw too much and exciding the daily allowance. I changed amount, but once again, I could not get anything out of the evil machine. I tried a third time but still no cash. I left disappointed, annoyed and even a bit embarrassed as there were now a few people queueing behind me and witnessing my desperate and unsuccessfully attempts to get some cash.
Same story at the doctor. When I tried to pay for my blood tests, I kept receiving the same message: Transaction Rejected.
I started to blabbing apologies to the lady at the reception, and I also informed her, in details, of my financial situation. I actually had 30 euros to pay for my blood tests; just for some obscure reason, the money refused to move from my account to the doctor’s one.I didnt have my other card with me, and I could not pay with cash because the little plastic fecker card didn’t get me any cash either. So………now what?

A bulb lighted up in that over confused head of mine. I suddenly remembered the incident with the card at the supermarket. It was the same card, and it could not be a coincidence.
I excused myself with the receptionist, and after promising I was not running away, I stepped outside to ring the bank and try to figure it out what the problem was.
“Your pin has been locked because you wrongly digited three times.”
“No I didnt ”
“Yes you did, mam. You pressed enter three times without actually digiting the pin first, and that is the same to the system. The code and the card have been locked as a result of a fraud alert”.
Oh, that is what had happened! Back to the supermarket, when my brain was more totally fried than tired as I naively thought, I kept pressing the green pay button but without the pin.
I admit to have been idiotically distracted, but should not the bank warn you in these cases? Apparently not. It is all automatised.
Thankfully it is automatised even the procedure to unlock your pin, and it can be easily done at any ATM.
It took me literally five seconds to unlock my card, and five minutes later, I’m leaving the doctor surgery with the receipt of my payment safely in my hands.
Never trust coincidences, especially when it comes to credit cards. If they are not working, there is always a reason, and it won’t self fix itself.

A Truly Madly Ordinary Start Of The Summer Holidays

I sure did not expect to take a break that long, but in the end, it did worth me, 1001 followers.. Yes, you heard me, I worth more when I do not write than when I do. Of course, I am only joking, or at least I hope I am as basically spent these 29 days of absence from WP working on book number two, that should be out by autumn, and marketing and amending book number one. Hard to believe, even for me, I am shamefully still correcting typos in fields of lies. So not professional, so not my fault but so my mess!!!!
My only hope is that people won’t pay to much attention and get lost in the murderous and lusty life of the Irish countryside.
Thankfully I tend to learn from my mistakes and this time I change editor and proofreader, and right now the fantastic Jerry is working his magic on my manuscript.

Now that I explained my absence and showed off my 1000 followers, before sharing some of my latest adventures, I want to thank you all, my fantastic followers, to be with me on this journey.

June is the longest month of the year. By its second week, I start to have repulsion of anything related to school routine, but even this year we made it. We reached the last day of school, and I am so happy that I do not even bother to have to pickups the girls barely after I had dropped them. Our school has, in fact, the absurd rule that the last day before any holiday the finish at 1130. Over the years I got used to it but I still think that before any holidays they should keep them longer rather than shorter in school, and I know I am not the only one, but unfortunately, the bard of education doesn’t care what I think.
Anyway, two months homework, extra activities and the school run free worth an early pick up indeed, and so here I am happily parking when I suddenly feel an excruciating hitch on my legs. I look down and …….boom: the excruciate hitch is prevailed by a horrific noise of crumpled up metal. The travelling husband car’s metal, I guess. Never looking at your legs or even worse scratching them while reversing as lampposts can materialise out of nowhere.

When still in shock, I got out to asses the damage I realised that Shakespeare was right: “much ado about nothing”. I hit the pole with the bumper that has a big dent but being made of plastic, it won’t be either difficult or expensive to fix.
Still, I felt mortified and to make it worse, like he has superpowers, a few seconds after I finished to pick up the pieces of my backlight, the travelling husband rang.
“how do you know”…I blurbed out, and once again, my tongue is faster than my brain because unless he has the sight of Clarke Kant and can see me from Paris, he can’t possibly know. The poor man was calling to check on me and say he had safely landed.
“Well, honey, I had safely landed too, on a lampost “.
No, I didnt say that! But I could have, he is not fussy about cars, what he made a fuss about, instead, was my leg itchy rush and me not having had checked by the doctor yet.

By the time I get a doctor’s appointment, my rush is fading away, plus I know it is nothing but a food intolerance. What we do not know what it is, is instead a multitude of infected pustules that overnight exploded on daughter number one arms, close to a nasty wound she got herself falling un the yards.
She needed that doctor appointment more than I did.
Postillion Contagious, or something like that it is the diagnosis. A viral thing that wouldn’t even be treated if it was that she had scratched herself with dirty hands and got it infected. It usually goes in a couple of weeks the doc says, but because of her other wounds and because of the infection she ‘ll have to apply a cream four times a day and maybe antibiotic if the redness won’t go after a week of treatment.

Right, marvellous and four days before I had to drop them to Italy at my mom’s.

The day of the departure arrived. Packing the girls for the summer is easy, I usually throw in the bag anything summery they own and a big bottle of high protection suncream. This year we also had to throw in two huge tubes of Fumicid and two spare bottles of antibiotic. The most challenging bag is always mine. I ‘ll be there for one week, then back to Ireland for two weeks and then back to Italy for another two weeks. I must thunk at what I want to bring and leave, what I want to bring back and most of all I must pack something that it will be fresh, comfortable but up to Nona’s fashion standard.

Even this year we survived the preparatory grooming, the big packing, the delay of the plane and we are eventually queuing to board in all dressed accordingly with our little skin troubles.
I am wearing a long skirt hiding the leftover of my rush; daughter number two wears shorts because not even herself has flawless and unbroken skin anymore after getting a bad a tarmac burn on her knee whose scab keeps peeling off. Ultimately, daughter number one is wearing short sleeves and shorts because the pustules and the wounds on the arms have improved, but the cream is so greasy that all the areas where we applied it must be covered with bandages and the same the wounds on her shin.

The flight went well, but because of a turbulence we could not leave our seats for the last half of it, and by the time we landed, I was bursting.
The airport bathroom was like a vision of an oasis in the desert. But this oasis was closed for cleaning. Only the accessible loo was open, and the queue to access it was super long but very fast. Obviously, most of the women felt and care for the others and tried to be as quick as they could. So was I, super-fast, even because the girls were waiting for me at the belt.
The problem came when I tried to exit, and the door would not open. Something was blocking it from outside.
I tried to call for help, but nobody came.
I took my last chance and gave the door the most significant push ever with my shoulder. My shoulder still hurts, but the door opened enough for me to get out.
The cleaner was now cleaning in the corridor and left her trolley in front of the accessible toilet door, and she could not hear me calling for help because of her headphones.

A week later, I am back to the airport with the usual conjunctivitis I get in the heat and a pretty bad cystitis, my flight is delayed, but all the bathrooms are opened 🤓.

The long way to recovery

The last post of mine(before the award), I wrote it just before collapsing in bed with flu.
And in bed I stayed for three days, then I had to get up. Not because I was really feeling any better but because the travelling husband left and I was back in charge of the fort.On one side it was good as I had one less thing to care for once I had done with the school runs and the dogs walk I could shabbily and happily slip back in my PJs. My uniform for a week that, at one point it independently threw itself in the laundry basket: when its enough is enough!

In a few days, things improved but, while my nose stopped licking, my eyes started to discharge a yellowy sticky texture. What is flu without conjunctivitis, right? At least, thanks to some magic eyes drops the lady from health store gave me, it didnt last long . Don’t ask what was in them because I didnt care to ask and she didnt care to tell. The only thing I know is that in two days, I was again able to open my eyes fully, and they were not stingy or discarding any extraterrestrial substance anymore.

With my full health regained and my eyes wide open, I came to notice little things I had until then ignored. I started to see tiny red spots here and there on the floor: yes, Anna, our latest foster dog was in heat.
I was more than surprised because, considering her age, I genuinely believed she was closer to menopause than else. Admitting that such thing like dogs menopause exists.
We already had an appointment for her to be spade that we had to cancel, and instead we went shopping for cheap granny panties.
I cut a hole for the tail and put a pair on her immediately.
The poor pet looked beyond miserable and so did I, after realizing that I had to take them off her every time she had to go out for her needs.
Anna was not adequately house trained, and I had to be super fast to pick up the signals before a big puddle materialized on one of my rugs. Nop, never on the floor. Dogs don’t like to dirt on bare floors. Carpets are much much more comfortable for them, and for their human, much more fun to clean.
So now not only I had to be alerted to get her signals, but also to be quick enough to open the garden door and removed the panties at the same time.
After she soaked three rugs and my hand twice we gave up the panties: it was far better to mop some spots on the floor.

A week had passed and we were nearly settled, until big ears german eventually realized what was going on in the house. All of a sudden, he took an obsessive interest in his foster sister.
He is neutered but had not lost the instinct and became Anna’s shadow. I will spare you the details that, unfortunately, didn’t go unnoticed by the girls.
“Why is Kurt always licking Anna’s butt?”,”Why does he try to do that thing he does on the couch’s leg on her too?”.They submerged me in questions I tried to answer as best as I could: “Well it’s his instinct because of she in heat”. My hope to satisfy their curiosity remained unheard: It was time to have that talk about bees and flowers.
Of course, in our conversation, bees became dogs. Finding the right words and concepts was no child play, and after I was blabbing for half an hour the girls still had no a clearer picture of the events, but I managed to be so dull in my explanation that they just walked off. They sure had no more knowledge than before but I was off the hook.I bored them to exhaustion.

In the meanwhile, big ears german seemed to have regained all his masculinity all at once and started to mark the territory. Another thing to explain….
I soon found myself to do nothing but monitoring Kurt and Anna all day and night. I tried to leave downstairs to sleep, but she didnt want to, and in fairness, she was right considering the other two were upstairs with me. Plus having her in my bedroom she could call me straight away when in need to go out and that reduced the night accidents to zero.The problem was that she took extreme pleasure on waking me up and started to wake me up every night around 3.am. After that, nearly every hour I was up; if not with Anna again, with Kurt or with Clara because, once one is awake the others follow!
After ten days of that routine, I was a walking zombie who would have soon faced divorce. Let’s say that what the travelling husband found after coming back from his business trip, had not impressed him!

As hard as it was, I had to relocate the foster a week earlier than planned.
I felt selfish and guilty, but, the truth was only one: I needed to sleep and stop mopping the ground.
Because of the flu, I lost an entire week of editing, and the manuscript has to be with the editor in full by next week. That was not going to happen if I kept falling asleep on the computer or if I had to spend my time washing and drying rugs.
My only consolation is that everything worked out for the best in the end.
Anna will leave on the 2nd of July for her permanent home in England, and in the meanwhile, she is staying with this incredible woman called Kate, who I loved as soon as I saw her. Kate has five others dogs, and Anna could not find a better setting. Most of all, Kate is much smarter than I am, and she makes the dogs sleep all together in the kitchen, allowing herself a full night sleep.

Blogger Recognition 🥇

Thank you very much to earthwalkingworld.wordpress.com to nominate me for this awesome blog award.

Now, I suppose it is time for me to talk about my blog and writing, in brief so you won’t get too bored.

When I started to write? A very long time ago, around 7 .My mom still has my first short story that I patiently typed with an old typewriter we had in the house…..yes, I am that old…..on my days we didn’t use computer to write.

I kept writing for most of my youth and had a couple of story published on the university gazette.Then, unfortunately, life took over and I started to work to pay the bills🤷🏻‍♀️But because the first love is never to be forgotten once I had a bit more time and thanks to my friend SJ who pushed me, I started my blog and what was in the beginning therapeutic became an addiction ….I could not stop writing and so I decided to prove myself with a novel.How did it go?Well it’s out there and an other one will be out by autumn time. (https://linktr.ee/sabina_gabriellicarrara)

So from here my advice to any writer/blogger can be only one: you like to write then do it! Never mind what you write about …..once it makes you happy then it worth it and it is good.

Rules Time:

If you want to share this award please follow the rules below.

Thank the nominator, and publish a post on your blog about receiving the Blogger Recognition Award.  Make sure to provide a link to the nominator’s blog in your post.

• Give a brief story of how your blog started.

• Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.

• Nominate 10-15 other bloggers for this award, and inform them of their nomination.

My Nominations:

beingauntdebbie.com

writersenvy.me

ckonfab.com

Ivors20.wordpress.com

bluefishway.com

equipsblog.wordpress.com

thelonelyauthorblog.com

rabbitpatchdiary.com

mainepaperpusher.wordpress.com

jackcollier7.com

sandmanjazz.com

writingwithstrangers.com

lismorepaper.com

3cstyle.com

artyplantsman.com

fragglerocking.org

raynotbradbury.com

biffsockpow.wordpress.com

And whoever wants to participate because all the bloggers I know deserve a reward😘.You are all amazing and if I didn’t mention you it’s because my index cannot take more copy and paste …..I seriously think I burned my fingerprints🙄

Punishing Tuesday

Do you know when they say that laziness doesn’t pay off? Well, I think it does pay back instead, and I am afraid for some vicious and unknown reason that is what happened to me.
I took on a day off and …. boom…it all came back to me like a boomerang. Last Monday, it was a bank holiday and exhausted from a hectic week and weekend I decided to indulge myself in leisure, and I only reemerged from the bed, where I spent most of the day reading and napping when I started to be a concern for bedsores.I genuinely thought that there was nothing wrong with that, and so on Monday night I went back to bed happy and ready to face for the rest of the week.
Tuesday morning it looked like any other morning, but it was not. It was the day when I got punished for my sloth.It was pouring rain, and the last thing I wanted to do was walking the dogs but, because I have been a capital sinner,  they had not gone out for two days, and so they need a proper walk.On the way to drop the girls to school, the rain became so heavy that on the roof of the car made the same noise as it was hailstone.Thankfully it didnt last long, and by the time we parked by the beach, it was still raining but at a reasonable pace.Despite my being dressed accordingly for the weather, at the end of the walk, I was drenched.Too bad I had an appointment for a quick coffee with my friends, and so I decided to go anyway. I won’t hide my feet were freezing, and the feeling of my jeans wet and stack to my skin was very uncomfortable, but hot tea and a friendly chat could only do good to me in such horrible morning.
 If only I knew that was only the beginning and the horrid part was still to come.
When I take out my wallet to pay I  realised I don’t have my card.I looked everywhere. Every pocket of my jacket and trousers and every sleeve of my wallet and phone cover but it is nowhere. -damn it-, the only possibility is that I left it at the ATM where I stopped for some cash earlier on. I run back to the atm, but nobody had found my card. One of them informed me that every credit card left on the machine is taken in after a few minutes. I am positive, the bank should have it. “unless someone has been so fast to retrieve it before,” says the mean negative spoiler way that I try to ignore.
It is 9.38, and the bank opens at 10.I go back to the coffee shop with my friends who, kindly pay for my tea and try to console me:
“these things happen”, they say.
“yes but always to me? and today of all days?”, I think.
“don’t worry, I am sure the bank has it”, they say.
” yes unless someone was watching me and still incredulous by their luck and my stupidity, are having coffee and cakes on me in this very same moment”, I think.
Ten o clock sharp I am at the bank. Unfortunately, the banks’ clerks are not, and I wait  for another ten minutes under the rain Finally, the bank’s doors open. I am the first in line and explained what had happened. A nice lady made me take told me that if the card is in the atm, it will only take ten-fifteen minutes to get it out.
“only?” I think: “that is another ten/ fifteen minutes that the possible thief has to tap way my card and buy God knows what.” Also, it is another ten/fifteen minutes for me trapped in wet clothes and with an inch of water in my shoes that, I just learned have lost all their waterproof power.The bank’s lady is walking toward me, and her smiling face tells me that she has my card.I smile back and stand up as she hands me the card. I extend my hand to get it but, with my astonishment, she brusquely retrieved her arm. At first, I don’t understand, but when she blushes, I do:  she had forgotten to check my identity.After I confirm my name and she is sure is the same n the card, I also offer to provide some Id, but it is not necessary: after all if you steal someone card would you steal the card of an Italian with an absurdly long double surname?
Once home, I lock the dogs in the kitchen, in the attempt to secure the wet dog smell in just one room of the house, and I throw myself under a hot shower. The second shower of the morning,(excluding the natural one I had on the seafront), but not the last one of the day. At school pick up, I have been surprised by the rain again, and I have not dressed accordingly. In my defence, I swear that when I left home, it was sunny! The beauty of Ireland they say: you can get the four season in on day, except today we o ly went from winter to autumn and vice-versa. Summer is still nowhere to be seen this year.
Now, no wonder on Tuesday night I had not close eye as my throat was on fire and Wednesday I could barely talk.
Today is Saturday, and instead of getting better it seems to get worst.With my last drop of energy, I am managing to write my weekly post as my blog is recently neglected enough. Regretfully, my wonderful people of wp, you will have to wait for me to catch up with your posts as my eyes are really starting to burn now but, as Rosella O’Hara teaches, tomorrow is another day. As for today, the travelling husband will be home soon and hopefully able to hold the fort, while I will happily and needy collapse in bed.

A business communication​

I created a new blog as an author and under my real name, so for all of you who are interested here it is the links

https://sabinagabriellicarrarabooks62718373.wordpress.com

https://linktr.ee/sabina_gabriellicarrara

And as I recently discovered apparently you can’t be a writer without a mailing list here is the link to subscribe to my brand new mailing list that I haven’t figure out exactly how it works yet but ill send a free ebook as a welcome gift because as they say sharing is caring.

https://mailchi.mp/7b28f1b338a1/sabina-gabrielli-carraracarrara-books

Finish the Story – The Recruit – Part 12

Welcome to another one of Teresa’s Finish the Story prompts. The idea is that Teresa gets things started and then tags another blogger to write the next section. Dorinda at Night Owl Poetry, tagged me to run with part 10.

Part 1 by Teresa at The Haunted Wordsmith

Adam was like any other eighteen-year-old boy and soon found himself standing in the middle of the training bay being subjected to the drill instructor’s ridicule. It wasn’t his fault the quarter didn’t flip on the old mattress, but he accepted his punishment anyway. He didn’t have another choice.

Ever since the revolution began, more and more troops were needed. There were even whispered rumors of lowering the age to thirteen if you were from a poor family. The government paid dearly for your life. That money could help support the family.

After completing fifty push-ups and parading around the bay in his underwear, Adam and the other recruits headed outside for training. The morning was dedicated to basic weapons and enemy language skills. Many of the recruits were already fluent, but the training was the same. Adam excelled and only realized his mistake when he was called into the commander’s office that afternoon.

“Take a seat,” Commander Flint said, pointing toward a chair in the corner of the room.

Adam did as he was told and caught his breath as two governmental agents entered Flint’s office. One look from them and Adam knew he was in danger.

“That him?”

“That is Private Adam Ripple, yes.”

“Come with us,” an agent ordered, flashing his sidearm and a warning glance.

Adam stood. “What is this all about?”

The agents stared at him. The one nearest him replied, “…….

Part 2 by Kristian at Tales From the Mind of Kristian

“You’re a bit of an anomaly, you know?”

Adam couldn’t help feeling a bit cynical. He knew he wasn’t anything special. He was just a kid from the wrong side of the tracks, sent into the army to get him off the streets and to help fight this war that many now felt was unwinnable.

“Me? Apart from an ability to get myself into trouble, I can’t see what makes me any different from any other shmo around here. I’m pretty ordinary.” Adam laughed nervously.

One of the agents bent down and pushed the dark glasses down his nose, fixing Adam with an icy blue stare. “There’s many a true word spoken in jest, lad. Two things mark you out. Your ability with languages, which is by far the best we’ve seen in some time, and the fact that you could blend in anywhere. You’ve finished at this prestigious military academy.” He paused to glance out of the window at the makeshift camp, to emphasize the sarcasm in his words. “You graduate as of today. Tomorrow you’re going underground.”

The agents grabbed an arm each and practically dragged him out of the commander’s office and into the back of a black van.

Before he knew it he was……

Part 3 by Li at Tao-Talk

…hooded with a dark opaque fabric. Adam gasped for breath and had to gather his calm or he would suffocate in the hood. They drove for about a half hour and then he was led along by two to what sounded like a helicopter. The ‘copter lifted up and started forward. Just as he was about to relax for a minute, he smelled ether and lost consciousness.

Adam woke up with a splitting headache, lying on a cot in a small, spartan room. It had the feel of a hospital about it, and every so often he thought he could hear a voice over an intercom. The air seemed fresh. Filtered. When the government agent said he was going underground, did he mean it literally? There were no windows and no other sounds except the intermittent intercom echoes.

After what seemed like hours, but he wasn’t sure, the door opened and a woman who looked to be about forty came into his room. Her dark hair was in a granny bun, and she was wearing a white lab coat. She was startlingly ugly, with pasty white skin that looked like it hadn’t seen daylight in a long time. She smiled at Adam and he was surprised again to see that her teeth were pure white and even. Her smile brightened her face and was her best feature.

“Hello, Private Adam Ripple. I’m Dr. Bluebell. You’re probably wondering why you’ve been nabbed from basic training, thrown into a van, drugged, and are now being held against your wishes in a small spartan room. I’m going to be frank with you and tell you that the government needs your help. The fate of the planet is hanging in the balance.”

Adam rubbed his ears, then slapped his face over and over again. He did this in dreams when he wanted to wake up, and it worked every time. When nothing happened, Adam knew this was real.

His eyes met Dr. Bluebell’s, who had been watching him. “OK, Doc, I’m no hero, but I’m no coward either. If Earth needs me…”

Part 4 by Mel at Crushed Caramel

Dr. Bluebell flashed that same becoming smile that improved her face and passed Adam a large folder she had been clutching. “Here is your assignment, Private Ripple, please familiarize yourself with it.” With that, Dr. Bluebell spun around and departed the room leaving Adam alone.

Part 5 by Cheryl at The Bag Lady

As she left the room, Adam opened the folder to see what he hoped would be there, an overseas assignment. He hadn’t traveled the earth much and if it was all going to hell, he wanted to see as much of it as he could. Adam thought he would make a good spy if that’s what it took, after all, he had seen all the James Bond movies, all the others he could find, but kept the fantasies to himself. Basic training was hardly a picnic, but if he could endure that and still be chosen for a special assignment, he was excited.

There were forms to fill out, many contract clauses calling for complete secrecy for any mission he completed. Adam signed quickly, felt no need to view “the fine print.” It was his naïveté and abilities that made him the perfect candidate. After filling out every paper, Adam returned to Dr. Bluebell’s office. “Right, then” as she took the folder, “now it’s time to meet the big guy.” Adam was wondering who the “big guy” was, thinking it was a Major or Colonel, and then laughed to himself as “M” came to mind. A huge door slowly cranked open and there he was…

Part 6 by Sadje at Keep It Alive

Staring at an unbelievably handsome, and young man. He felt his jaw dropped to the floor. He felt that something was not right here. It seemed that young man was too perfect. He started to observe him more closely. The “big guy,” as he was referred to, was definitely not a human. His movements were jerky and mechanical. His voice was clipped and sounded a bit like recording.

“Private Adam, I am talking to you.”

Adam focused his attention to what was being said to him.

“This is a very dangerous assignment. Your skill at languages is going to be very useful for us. We will be sending you to the enemy territory as a undercover spy. Your job is to glean as much information as you can about their attack plans. At no time should you try to get in touch with us. We will contact you ourselves.

Adam took all this in with mixed amount of excitement and apprehension.

He was really going to be a spy!

He was told to go to the barracks. On the way back, Adam addressed Dr. Bluebell. “Excuse me ma’am, I couldn’t help notice something different about our commander.” He couldn’t help but say ……..

Part 7 by Di at Pensitivity101

“Do we know where he’s from?”

“It’s not your place to ask, Private. You will be briefed in due course as to your schedule and where you will be sent. I suggest you get some rest. You’re going to need it.”

Adam was somewhat disappointed but curious to know more details of his mission. He wondered if he would be SWAT trained, or even better, have some fancy gizmos and gadgets like Bond.

The barracks were nothing out of the ordinary, just odd not having any windows and the constant thrum of machinery keeping the air circulated. He settled down on his cot and was soon asleep dreaming of fast cars, explosives, and the occasional dalliance over a drink or two.

“WAKE UP PRIVATE!!” abruptly roused him from his dreams and as he shook his head to clear it, a portfolio was thrown at him hitting him full in the face. “READ THAT AND REPORT TO BLUEBELL’S OFFICE IN TWENTY!”

Adam opened the file and nearly choked when he saw where he was going on assignment…

Part 8 by Fandango

Adam didn’t understand. There was all that talk about an enemy and about his language skills. Then there was the “Big Guy,” who was either an alien from another planet or a very human-like robot. And what did the secretive and mysterious Dr. Bluebell have to do with his being here and his assignment?

But there it was in black and white on the first page of the report in the folder. His assignment was in Montana. He continued reading the report about an insurgency led by a heavily armed and fast-growing militia just outside of Whitefish, Montana. He was thinking about all of the questions he had for Dr. Bluebell when he would be meeting with her again shortly. So engrossed was Adam in the report he was reading that he almost didn’t notice the two uniformed men who stepped up in front of his cot. “Let’s go, private,” one of them said.

“Where are you taking me?” Adam asked the man who had spoken to him. “I’m supposed to meet with Dr. Bluebell now.”

“Change of plans, private,” the second man said. “Let’s go. Now!”

Part 9 by John Freda – The Magic Shop

“NO! I’ve had ENOUGH.” Adam snapped at the two uniformed soldiers.

“I want answers and I want them NOW. You have been giving me the run-arou…

Adam felt something sharp pierce the back of his neck. He felt his world being turned upside down, before hitting the linoleum floor and blacking out.

A large metal fan was spinning directly above Adam’s head as he slowly opened his eyes. He woke up on top of a king-sized bed, soaked in a pool of sweat. His head was still groggy as he pushed himself up on his arms and looked around wherever his new surroundings were. He was now in a dimly-lit hotel room decorated in earth-tones and tree decor. A slim beam of sunlight shot out from behind the mauve curtains. Wherever he was, it was daytime. He staggered off the bed and spotted something laying on the dresser next to an ashtray.

“Thank you for staying at THE MONTANA LODGE. We hope you generously appreciate the services of our staff”.

It was a gratuity envelope. Adam had seen them before, growing up with his Dad. When they were on the run.

“Yeah, here’s my tip..Tell me where the Hell I am”. Adam thought, still trying to clear the fog out of his head. He knew he had to pull himself together, figure this out. A plan, he needed a plan. Before he could even come up with the first part of his escape, someone started knocking on the room’s door from outside.

A slow, steady knock of a hand that sounded big…….

Part 10 by Dorinda of Night Owl Poetry

…enough to topple the door if he kept ignoring it.

Trying quickly to decide what to do, Adam slowly went to the door. Trying to disguise his voice, as high pitched as he could, he asked “who is it?” A loud laugh came from the other side.

“Surely, you don’t think I’m going to fall for that, now, do you?”

The voice sounded familiar. Adam hesitated then swung open the door. He was right! On the other side stood his father, a man he had not seen in years. What was he doing here, and why was Adam stuck in a hotel room, in Montana?

“Dad? Is that really you?”

“Yes, son, it is. We haven’t much time, so let’s stop the chit chat. I have to get you out of here before they turn you over to….”

With that, a loud noise came from behind his father. An odd looking thing, holding a mallet, stood there, glaring at Adam. All Adam could do was watch his father slowly slump to the ground. A pool of blood gathered beneath him. Adam jumped forward to help his dad, but whatever the thing was, it stopped him.

A cold, icy hand picked up Adam by his neck, reading itself to toss him far across landscape of the lodge. Trying to think clearly, Adam grabbed it by the arm and pulled. The arm came flying off. He was right. A robot. So this was why they sent him here. The Earth was being taken over by mechanical men. This was his mission. His dad had died for his country, and now he felt he was next. He made a break for it, running as hard as he could.

Once he reached the perimeter of the lodge, he….

Part 11 by Susi at I Write Her

… couldn’t quite determine the best route to take. The men who brought him here had the obviously had the advantage. He thought that maybe it would just be best to lay low for now. Adam would need a disguise first though.

He spied a house with laundry hanging out to dry to the right of him and moved towards it to pick off a fairly dry dress. The fit was perfect. Dressing as a woman should throw them off his track for a bit. He could see there was a Goodwill store a block down the street and proceeded in that direction to get shoes, makeup, a bra (to stuff), and

, a wig and a hat to complete his ensemble. He luckily found everything he needed and the transformation was complete.

Adam left the store, cautiously looked left and right for anyone who might be on the lookout for him. As he did, he noticed that he was getting quite a few stares but not the “is this a he or a she?” looks, rather admiring glances. One or two even gave him the up and down, eyes rolling treatment. He actually chuckled to himself and thought – “this is totally going to work!”

He began to walk across the street…

Part 12 By Truly Madly Ordinary https://ortensia72.com/

Adam tried to walk as naturally as he could, but those heels were killing him. He should have bought the shoe’s cushion the shop clerk suggested him and making a mental note not to ignore advice anymore kept walking with his back as straight as possible and wiggling his hips as women are supposed to do. Heads were turning at his passage, and he thought he maybe had exaggerated with the filling inside the bra, but it was too late. When he turned the corner of the block, he saw the two mechanical men from the hotel standing, weapons clumsily concealed under their long raincoat, and observing the people in the street. They were still looking for him. Adam ‘ s first instinct was to turn back, but when he was about to, one of the two men looked straight at him. Panic raised I side Adam, but if he had suddenly changed direction, it would have been suspicious. He had to keep walking, pass them and hope his transformation in the curvaceous busty girl he was now worked and tricked them. Drops of sweat started to run down his forehead while he was about to approach the mechanical men. He slightly lowered his gazed and walked in front of them. He passed them, and they had not recognised him, well probably because their looks were all on his boobs, but it worked! Adam had to use all his self-control not to run or turn. He was eventually to relax when he felt a presence behind him…..

“Excuse me man….”,a metallic voice said……..

I am tagging Victoria Ray @raynkotbradbury.com to carry on the story

 

A Truly Madly Ordinary Kurt’s Adventure

Once I got my sight and my mojo back, (see previous post), I also got a new foster dog.
She didnt stay with us long because she was already promised to a family in England but long enough to break my heart when I saw her go. I know, nothing new, as the travelling husband says and then he suggests I should stop fostering considering the emotional burden. Sure, nice try, but it doesn’t work.
Bindi had to have her vaccination up to date before leaving, and I made an appointment with the vet. Kurt, also needed his annual boost and so I decided to kill two birds with one stone, and I fixed him an appointment straight after her.
Lercher dogs are such placid souls that every time I have one in the house, I look at big ears german and I think: Why? Why me? Why can he not be a bit more settled?”
Anyway, you love your kids no matter what and so you do with your dogs, and he still is my boy, and in fairness, he is still hyperactive for his age, but he is also the sweetest and affectionate of the dogs. If he only would stop to hop poor old Clara, it would be perfect!

When Bindi, the foster, was done, I left her in the waiting room with the girls, and I went to get Kurt, who was still in the car probably chewing what is left of my boot.
We had only recently changed veterinary clinic because the old vet retired and I didnt like the substitute.
I wondered why we had not switched sooner: more extended opening hours, closer to home and the same I go with the fosters.
Back to big ears german, his only experience with this vet was when he had his chest stitched up after jumping over razor wire.
He is usually not nervous about coming to the surgery, because it is typically only the fosters to go in, not him (except for that little accident). Today was no exception, he thought, as at first he was left in the car and I went in with Bindi but then, when I went back for him, he was taken by surprise.
With a puzzled expression, he got out of the car and reluctantly walked with me inside the clinic.
The vet was cleaning the table and asked me to wait at the reception for a couple of minutes, that was long enough for my boy to mark his attendance in front of the desk. Hoping my blushing cheeks were not giving me away I pretended it was not us but a gift left from some other dogs.

We are called in. The vet is not the one who had stitched him up, and between her and Kurt, there is immediately an understanding. She called him handsome, and he is chuffed.
Handsome big ears german behaves incredibly well even after the two injections and a full examination. Of course, the treats the vet had kept giving him had help, but I like to think he is a good boy.

She had been smart to take him by the palate, she sure got him. What she didnt get, it was that those ridiculously small crockets could not keep him quiet for much longer and sure they were not enough to keep him at bay when the time of the kennel cough vaccine came.
The kennel cough is a vaccine particularly annoying because they shot it up the nose. I must say that even if Kurt never liked it, he never viciously rebelled against it. Until today.
After the first failed attempt to inject him, I suggest to the doctor that maybe I could do it, but I was only the owner, she was the doctor, and she knew how to do it properly. Her message for me was clear.
At the third failed attempt, she asked for help from another vet: The experienced one.
“Don’t worry; I got this. I developed a certain technique”.
I tried as hard as I could to hide my frown when she positioned herself, legs spread on top of my dog like she was about to ride him while holding him by the collar. I tried to warn her he is stronger than he looks, but she insisted that this way he could not move and sent me back sitting on my chair.
At that point, I didn’t even try to hide the smirk as it was so obvious what it was going to happen that, if neither of them got it, they deserved it.
As expected, the moment the first vet took big ears german’s face in her hands and tried to squeeze the syringe up his nose, he simultaneously shook his head side to side and kicked his back legs like a bull in a rodeo while arching up against his back.
The first vet fell ass on the floor after squirting the vaccine all over herself; the other one, instead, after being kicked in her lower back was flipped in the air and landed on the floor too. I had stayed sat down as suggested the whole time.
When the two vets eventually made sense of what had just happened, look at each other in disbelief and embarrassment. Kurt, the meanwhile, came to sit beside me as nothing had happened.
“He is a solid boy, isn’t he?” they say at the unison trying to regain a professional image.
“Yes, he is”, I say biting my tongue not to add, ”I told you !”. What instead I dared to say it was:”Can I suggest something?”, and this time doc I know everything 1 and 2 were more than happy to let me help.
I know my fat chickens and it only took me an handful of treats and a few seconds and in no time big ears German was sneezing away and after being injected the kennel cough vaccine.
The truth is only one: once a mommy’s boy…always a mommy’s boy.

The Lost Mojo And The Rediscovered Sight

After the Easter break, I seriously thought I lost my mojo.
Maybe some of you had noticed that I didn’t post anything for a few weeks and if you are wondering why, that is the reason.

It is not that my life became boring all of a sudden; it was just me not willing to sit down and write my weekly post. I nearly convinced myself that my blogging career was over: dead, kaput, gone.
Could it be? Nah, the truth is that my repulsion to sit down and write was more physical than emotional.
The entire month of April, I worked like there was no tomorrow on finishing the first draft of the new book. I was so absorbed in my goal that I had no time to bother about the constant migraine, or headache or my regular stiff neck. Some neurophen combined with arnica and devil claws and I was fine, so to speak because there is a limit on how much you can push it, right?

After we returned from our break in the west and we jumped back in the ordinary day life routine, a strange phenomenon started to happen: every morning it was like a truck hit me.
During the day things used to get a bit better, but then in the evening time, the truck came back and reversed over me. You know when in the cartoons someone is smashed under a van and they reemerge flat, well that was me except my curves were still all there and roundly, nothing had flattened.
My jaws hurt, my bones ached, my joined cracked, and even my teeth were in pain.
It was like I was coming down with the flu except for the flu never arrived, and I never had the excuse to hide under the cover.
I confess I had considered eating a full tube of toothpaste to get temperature like you to do when you are in school to skip an interrogation, but that temperature would have come at the worst time ever as the travelling husband was away and I should have to perform my duties of the devoted mother as usual. Now, those are the odd times when you regret not to live closer to some relatives, but then you simply think it straight and would it worth to have your mother in law nearby all year round only to have someone to pick up your kids from school during the only two days a year you are sick? NO, NO, NO.

As much as that general feeling of unwellness was annoying, the worst was the dizziness accompanied by blurry vision, when not double, and an immediate headache every time I tried to sit in front of a screen.
I am not a worrier by nature, and so it is not that I thought I was dying or something, but I am not stupid either, something was not right unless, after you hit 45 your full body starts to collapse piece after piece and nobody warned me. I enquired with some friend slightly older than me but they all said it is usually a progressing process, it won’t happen overnight.
I was back to square one. Something was wrong with me, and it had to be fixed, but what?
The first thing that popped on my mind was the blood pressure; maybe I needed stronger medication. Nop, blood pressure was under control. At this point, it couldn’t be anything else but my eyes. Last December, I skipped my eyes test; I only bought new frames. My most updated prescription is from last summer.
I had no doubt, that was the problem and only booking an appointment for an eye test made me feel better: who says the placebo effect it does not exist?!!!!
It turned out I was right, what a delightful sensation, just a pity I had nobody but myself to say “I told you so.”
It seemed that the fact I don’t use the reading glasses only to read but also to work, all that back and forth from different distances caused the dizziness and the blurry vision. The effort of the eyes to adapt then, it caused the headache. The stiff neck, I’m afraid, is simply one of the joys of ageing. Long story short , the prescription on my reading glasses must be replaced with progressive varifocal lenses….and only the name gave me a heart attack at the thought of how much they could cost. If that was not enough, the optician also detected a high dryness in my eyes.
Well, that was no news. I have been fighting with that all my life, and so I tell her that I already use lubricant eyes drop.
“Not enough”, she cut me short, “You need to put them on every hour.”
“Oh boy, that is going to be challenging, who can remember “, I say spontaneously freaked out at the idea to set the alarm on my phone every hour….and what about night time? Can I leave it for 6/8 hours or I have to wake up on regular intervals? The optician, whose eyes work instead very well, read me thoroughly and add: “You want to be better, you better find a way to remember”.
“Maybe I should hang the little bottle to a chain to keep around my neck.”, I say thinking to be funny, but the look that I got in return told me that I was not funny at all and that the woman in front of me was born missing the gene of sense of humour.

Once the visit was done, I had been handed to the nice lady who usually looks after me when I go there.
She was like a breath of fresh air, the thing that I usually am not for her. I am convinced that when she sees me stepping through the door, she makes the sign of the cross and hope for the best.
Because I have to wear them all the time I tend to be picky with my frames and It takes me ages to make up my mind. I am usually a well-determined shopper, but not when it comes to glasses. In my defence, I can only say that at least, in the end, I always buy something. Well, always except for this time when thousands of frames and an hour later I decided to have the new lenses fitted in my old frames.
Now, You think it is over right? But it is not because thanks to a promotion I am entitled to a pair of free progressive lenses for my everyday glasses too.
NOOOOO, now the dilemma starts all over again. Will I keep my frames, will I get new glasses? And which one? There was nothing I fell in love with, plus the lenses will be free but then I will have to thin them down, and if I am already spending a little fortune as it is, then it will become a big fortune all at once.
We look at each other in silence, a silence full of panic as I don’t know what to do, and she doesn’t want to spend the additional hour with me.
“You know what you can do?”, She eventually break the silence, “you have three months to use your offer. Why don’t you take your time to think about it and come back.? In the meanwhile, I’m sure we will have received new frames as well and you might find something that you like, or, in the worst case scenario, you can have the new lenses in your old frames”.
GENIOUS, I think. She found the way to take us both out of our misery, and with some luck, by the time I will be back, she will be on holidays or in a sabbatical.
“Deal”, I say.
“Good”, she says, and in that short little word, there is all her happiness, relief and gratitude.

Happy out one week later, I am home writing away at the computer.
My mojo is back, and so is my good sight.

P.S

For those of you are willing to spend sometime in the murderous Irish countryside Fields Of Lies is free on kindle this weekend

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sabina-Gabrielli-Carrara/e/B07NKKGJ26/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

The little birthday vacation

In the last few years, we always take a little family vacation over the second week of the school Easter holidays. This year it coincided with my birthday, and I was very excited to celebrate my birthday away….until reality hit me.

The day of my birthday we had the ferry booked for one of the Aran islands. The travelling husband, thinking that three “women” would take ages to get ready, set the alarm clock unreasonably early. When we got down to have breakfast the percolator in the bar had not even finished brewing the coffee, and the waiters were still preparing the buffet. We arrived at the ferry nearly an hour early. Plenty of time to go to the loo but also to drink more coffee and tea, in the only coffee shop around and needing more bathroom trips. That was not a problem; after all, we had lots of time to waste (In the bathroom) and could not go anywhere because it was raining outside.

Despite his attempt to conceal his mistake in time management, it was evident from his puffy eyes that, like us, even the travelling husband could have done with some more sleep. Of course, he would have shot himself on the toes rather than admit it, but we knew it and made the best we could to let him know it too ! When the ferry eventually arrived, the sun made its appearance as well and like in an old movie where miracles happen daily, my gang’s brain woke up too and they remembered what day it was: halleluja, happy birthday to me.

So far the day of my birthday was not going according to my expectation and I kind of starting to regret not being home having some “me birthday time” alone. The only “me birthday time” alone I had during the day , in fact, it was when I was left behind because I pedalled too slow. Now, despite the incredible beauty of the Aran islands, spending my birthday massacring my butt cycling up and down and experiencing the four season in just one day didn’t sound right.

When back to the hotel, I must admit that they all made an effort to celebrate me in the evening: they gave me my pressies and brought me out for dinner, but we were all so extremely knackered, after been out and about for 12 hours, that we had no energy to speak, not to mention to blow candles. When the cakes arrived, we all ate as fast as we could already dreaming the moment when we would have laid our heads on the pillow.

The following morning we got to sleep a bit longer and even if well rested, I woke up with an unpleasant feeling of having missed my birthday. On my phone and there were thousands (no I’m exaggerating,remove at least two zeros….may be three🙄 )of messages that I missed because in the island there was no reception and that I didnt check,once back , because struggling to keep my eyes opened. The day ahead of us was another long day, but nothing like the previous one, and we also made it back to the hotel early enough to indulge for an hour in the spa. While the girls and the travelling husband immediately dived into the swimming pool, I patiently waited for the inside jacuzzy to be free. (The outside one was not an option because it had started to rain). On the warning sign it said that it could hold three people, but not really unless they were leopricans. Two sets of standard legs were all it could fit. I still have the bruises from all the kicks the gentleman he was in there with me gave to my poor legs.Well, not that he had left bruises free, of course. We endured in a sort of under water wrestling for a good few minutes until we agreed to take a side each to stretch our lower limbs. And still, the “stretch” word is an overstatement. The other problem of that jacuzzy was that it bubbled only for fifteen minutes, so at regular intervals of time someone had to get out and re-push the power button. In this case, that “someone” it was me for three times until I left but not before asking my jacuzzy pal if he wanted me to push the button again. He, out of gratitude or under the effect of heavy drugs, ( I haven’t decided yet but I’m keen on the second one),looked at me and said: “you have the figure of a model.” Now, I know a compliment is a compliment, and you take it no matter what, but this one was so absurdly untrue, despite the poor man natural tone. It was so unreal that I couldn’t even get pissed with the travelling husband for his reaction when I told him: I simply joined his spontaneous loud laugh.

That night we were all in excellent form, and so we decided to give it another chance to my birthday. In fairness calling celebration what we had the previous day required a lot of imagination. We all happily had the whole birthday treat again, but this time we chatted, I blew the candles, they sang me the happy birthday song and then myself and the travelling husband also indulged ourselves with a couple of kids free birthday drinks.

Next year I’m not sure I want to spend my birthday away again but if it the downside is to have to celebrate twice maybe it is not too bad as it sounds.

P.S

No pics of the traveling husband because he is a privacy obsessed person , but I swear he exists 😎