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Friday, February 28, 2020

The Things I'm Going to Do

Good morning, FFFFs,
It's Friday once again and I didn't have much time to search through my archives and find a story for you. But I did find a poem that I think I've only posted once, so I hope you enjoy it. I'd love to turn it into a children's picture book, but I can't draw pictures for everything, or find photos. Maybe some day down the road I'll publish it.

This week had disappeared really quickly. I got some really good writing done on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday's count was only 500, and yesterday . . .  Well, I got a whopping 20 words written. Yeah, it was pitiful! I tried every story and nothing would come. My mind was blank. It might have had something to do with the fact that I had just had a 2 hour training for working the polls and came home with a slight headache from the overly warm room. Whatever the reason, I decided to not try to force words to come. Sometimes that works, other times not so much.

But this has been a rather exciting week in some ways.
1. Book Brush took my suggestion and created a 4x6 cover template so now I can design my Christmas Collection books on there! And I can create other 4x6 books. *thinks of all the stories I want to have in paperback*
2. Book Brush was doing a promotional and giving away 5 credits for their new Background Removal Tool on their cover creator for the first 200 people who shared about it. I shared and got 5 credits!
3. I'm working on creating my first mini course. It will be a 6 week course walking you through the steps to self-publish your book on KDP. Lesson One is just about finished, and I have a good start on Lesson Two. I'm hoping to release it in mid to late April.
4. I designed a cover for "To Give Hope" and plan to publish it as a kindle story in the next few weeks.

And so that's what's been going on in my life.


The Things I’m Going to Do
by
Rebekah M.


I’m going to ski down a hill on skis,
Glide across the ice on skates;
I’m going to drive a great big tractor
and swing on a few old gates.

I’m going to shoot a rifle
And tote a pocket gun;
I’m going to hike a mountain
and lie out in the sun.

I’m going to ride on horse back,
I’m going to fly a plane;
Going to soar in an air balloon
And travel far by train.

I’m going to round up cattle,
Act in a Shakespeare play;
I’m going to visit the opera,
And I’m going to cut some hay.

I’m going to visit all fifty states,
And meet a president;
I’m going to explore a ghost town
And sleep out in a tent.

I’m going to teach in China,
Stop by Timbuktu;
I’m going to climb the Alps,
And visit Lafayette’s tomb.

I’m going to splash in an ocean,
Build a real igloo;
I’m going to feed an elephant,
And ride a camel or two.

I’m going to climb Sears tower,
Touch the Statue of Liberty;
I’m going to cross the Golden Gate Bridge
And tour Washington D. C.

I’m going to visit West Point,
Give Annapolis a look;
I’m going to run a newspaper
And publish many books.

I’m going to conduct a symphony,
Enter a county fair;
Give a rousing speech on Broadway
And find a bird that’s rare.

I’m going to visit some Indians,
Sing a solo on TV;
I’m going to nanny for quadruplets
And uncover a mystery.

I’m going to be awfully busy,
And awfully old for sure
Before I could ever do these things
I’ve never done before.

So, I think I’ll stick with dreaming,
And reading books instead;
At least I will for the present
And travel in my head.


What of these things have you already done?
Are you interested in a how to publish course?
Has anything exciting or fun happened to you this week?

Friday, February 21, 2020

I Don't Have a Story

Good morning, FFFs,
I don't have a story for you this morning. Sorry. I didn't have a new one, and I didn't have time to go find an old one to re-post. So you'll have to do without.

However, I have been getting some writing done. I've really been struggling to get into one of my dozen stories that I have started, so instead of trying to force the words (that may come later), I've been rereading some of my short stories that have had covers designed. One got a new opening paragraph. Another received a completely different ending. And I still have a couple other stories that I need to reread and see what I should do with them. I know "Hurray for Newsy Jones" needs almost rewritten, and I have to format the play part. Yes, I'm planning on publishing that as a story with a link to download the play.

This week has gone by quickly! I've gotten almost everything finished for the widows' ministry at church. My best friend came and took a photo for the cover of a new story. I just can't publish the story yet because it's a part of a title challenge. (Everyone had to write a story for the same title.) I got my taxes done, which is always a relief, and last night my grandparents were down and Grandpa and I went to a music concert. It was good. We heard the Horszowski Piano Trio. They played Schumann, Carter, and Shostakovich.

If I had a story for you, I'd post it right now, but I don't. Instead I'll share a poem I wrote and posted nine years ago. Enjoy!

Books
Books aplenty, books galore,
My favorite place is a used book store.

Books of world history,
Books of missions or mystery,

Books of travel, books of prose,
Books smell better than a fresh picked rose.

Books of ancient tales of yore,
Books more modern by the score.

Books in blue and books in red,
Books of animals long since dead.

Books for children, books for teens,
Books for old or the in-betweens.

Books in that room, books in this,
Books on those shelves belong to Sis.

Mom has her books here and there,
In fact, Mom's books are everywhere!

My shelves are crowded with most of my books,
The rest I squeeze in many odd nooks.

As I said before, there are books galore,
But still I love a used book store.

How was your week?
Do you love used book stores?
If you could pick one of my short stories to be published, which would it be?

Friday, February 14, 2020

What Tommy Didn't Know - Part 8

Happy Valentine's Day, dear readers,
I know many single girls and young ladies seem to be almost against Valentine's Day. They talk tough because they don't have a boyfriend to give them chocolates or roses. Some try to mask the hurt of being single another day when love is celebrated. But guess what? We don't have to feel that way! We are loved with an everlasting love! The King of glory loves us. Can it get any better than that? Yes, getting roses, chocolates, or other gifts from special guys is nice, but flowers fade, chocolates get eaten, and gifts wear out. Even boyfriends leave, or husbands die. But the everlasting love is just that–everlasting. So, if you start to feel sad or depressed today, remember Who loves you.

Last Saturday we had our Widows' Valentine Luncheon at church. Only one widow couldn't come. We had a wonderful time. Now I'm working on getting people signed up for this new year of ministry.

Writing is a bit slower this week. I've still written something each day, but some has been on a new "Ria and the Gang" story, last night I worked on a "Kelsey" story, and another night I worked on "Lawrence and Lenexa." I have no idea what I'll work on tonight. My nieces and nephews will be here over lunch instead of for supper, so I should be able to get something written.

And now, here is the final part of "What Tommy Didn't Know." I hope you enjoy it.


What Tommy Didn’t Know
Part 8
    “Tommy.” A hand rested lightly on his good arm. “Come on, Tommy, wake up.”
    “Go ‘way,” he muttered without moving.
    A soft chuckle answered him. “I’m not leaving until you eat a little bit. Nurse Wilson is quite upset because you didn’t wake up for her. You can sleep again after you’ve eaten a few bites. Come on now, wake up, son.”
    It took great effort for Tommy to force his eyes open. Dr. Hall was standing beside his bed, and the room was flooded with light. “Time is it?” he mumbled, blinking and then yawning widely.
    “A little after two. You’ve been sleeping so soundly that you haven’t heard a thing. How are you feeling today?”
    “Don’t know.” And Tommy’s eyes closed again.
    Dr. Hall chuckled again. “Now yet, Tommy. Just a few bites first.”
    With a sigh, Tommy opened his eyes. He was a little hungry. As he obediently swallowed what was held to his lips, he grew more awake, and memories of last night came back. “Am I dead now?”
    “Sure are. The Times says so. It was a robbery gone wrong according to our fine editor. Have you ever gotten to meet the editor of the Times, Tommy?” Dr. Hall offered another spoonful of the warm soup.
    “No.”
    “He would like to meet you. After you come back to life next year we’ll make it happen.”
    “Do you think the police will get–them?” Tommy didn’t like thinking about what might happen if Edward Stratamyer didn’t get caught, or– He drew a quick breath and choked on his soup.
    “Easy there!” Dr. Hall carefully raised him up a little and gave him some water. “I don’t want you to breathe it.” He smiled. “Feeling better now?”
    Tommy let his head fall back onto the pillow. “What if–” He gave another little cough. Maybe he shouldn’t bring it up. Maybe–
    “What if what, son?”
    Tommy liked how the doctor said “son.” It was a name he was never called. Folks who didn’t know him called him boy or sonny, or sometimes lad, but Dr. Hall was the only one who said son. He wondered, as he had so many times before, who his father was and who his mother was. It would be nice to have a last name. “I guess I’ll get me one,” he murmured.
    “Get you what?”
    “A last name. I might like . . . to be somebody . . . one of these days.” He looked across the room at the wall. There was no gold gilded mirror there, instead there was a framed verse. He couldn’t read it from the bed. “What’s that say?” He pointed.
    “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart . . . And He will direct your paths.”
    “Even almost bein’ killed twice?”
    “Yes, Tommy. Even then. You weren’t killed either time, were you? And you remembered what evil was planned and were able to tell the authorities so it can be stopped.”
    For a minute Tommy lay silent and still. He knew God directed the steps of those who trusted in Him, and that would mean him, for he had trusted Christ to save him from sin several years ago. But nothing big had ever happened. Life had just gone on like usual, except for getting an actual paper route. “If I didn’t have that paper route, I wouldn’t a been sittin’ in that doorway an’ heard them talkin’,” he said, not realizing he was speaking aloud. “An’ then I wouldn’t a been beaten up.” He frowned at that unpleasant memory. “Nor almost shot in bed. But I were. An’ I told what I heard. But–” Fear sparked inside him, and he looked up at the man who had been a friend to him, “if they do catch ‘em, they’ll know who told an’ then they’ll try to kill me again!”
    “No,” Dr. Hall assured him quickly. “The police will wait until they can catch them in the act of robbing the house. Then they can be sent to prison. And by the time they get out, you will have grown older, and who knows, perhaps you’ll have found a last name.” The doctor smiled. “You don’t have to worry about it, son.”
    A knock on the door made Dr. Hall rise. “That’s probably Bruce with Diego. Are you ready to see him?”

*

    The trees outside Tommy’s windows were covered with a blanket of snow. Some flakes still fluttered down in the gray of early dawn. Tommy had been awake for some time. He wasn’t sure if it was his long sleep yesterday or a wondering excitement and nervousness about this new year. Had the police caught the men who had planned robbing just for a wager? Would he be able to go back to his own little home, cold and small though it was? And who would do his paper route until he could return to it? How could he live without it until he was well? And the doctor’s bills. How could he afford them?
    His eyes moved from the window and rested on the framed verse. It was still too dark to read it, but Tommy knew the verse by heart and quoted it in a whisper. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
    His whispered words roused Diego from his blanket on the floor, and he whined softly to be petted. Tommy had a hard time doing this to his dog’s satisfaction because his bed wasn’t on the floor as it was in his own little shack. “Sorry, Diego,” he whispered. “If you were on the bed I could do it better.”
    This was all the invitation Diego needed, for with a bound he sprang onto the chair, and then it was easy for him to cross the gap to the bed.
    Tommy smiled. “Ya know we’ll get in trouble if Nurse Wilson comes into the room ‘fore Dr. Hall, don’t ya?”
    Diego stretched himself out beside his young master, being careful not to get too close. Resting his muzzle on his front paws, he looked with deep brown eyes at Tommy, and his look said plainly that he wasn’t scared of anyone.
    This was how Dr. Hall found them some time later when he went to make his morning call on his young patient. A smile twitched the corners of his mouth, and he stood for a moment stroking his mustache. Diego raised his head and regarded the doctor for a moment before lowering his head once more.
    “Well, Diego,” Dr. Hall said quietly, “if anyone deserves to be left there, you do, but I’m afraid I’ll have to ask you to move.” He stroked the dog’s head. “Tommy.”
    With a sleepy sigh, Tommy yawned and then opened his eyes drowsily. All at once he was wide awake. It was the new year. “Did they catch ‘em?”
    “Yes, son, they did. They were caught in the act by the police and Mr. Vandermark. Both men are in prison now.”
    Tommy felt as though a great weight had been lifted from him, but he only said, “I’m glad.”
    “The Lord did direct your paths, son, didn’t He?”
    “Yes, sir.”

Did you enjoy the rest of this story?
What story would you like me to work on?
Are you doing anything special today?

Friday, February 7, 2020

What Tommy Didn't Know - Part 7

Happy February, faithful Friday fiction fans,
(How's that for an alliteration?)
We got snow this week! Like real snow that stuck and actually was deep enough to cover the grass! First we had a thin layer of sleet, then it changed to snow and snowed almost all morning on Wednesday. Right after lunch my best friend and I went out for a walk in the snow. She took pictures. How's this for a picture?
Then we walked back to her house (just a block from mine) and we built a small fire and roasted marshmallows and ate s'mores. We've been wanting to have s'mores in the snow, and it was good because it was also February which means we got this month's s'mores in too.

Tomorrow is the Widows' Valentine Luncheon. We set up and decorate today. The roads are mostly clear, but there's still snow in the yards. Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny and in the 40s, so I'm hoping and praying all the widows will be able to make it.

Writing has sort of happened. It's rather slow this week, but I'm making myself write at least 100 words each day. I may have to switch to some of my other stories until the "secret project" gets rolling. But don't worry, I think I counted about 5 other stories that are started. ;)

And here you go. I wonder how many of you just skipped this first part to get to the story and then came back to this later. Don't worry, I won't be upset if you did. You only have one more part after today.


What Tommy Didn’t Know
Part 7
    Dr. Hall quickly filled the officers in and then added, “Tommy just remembered why someone would want to kill him, but I want to move him to a warmer room.”
    “That would be good. I want a few of my men to start searching. Bruce here says there’s a gun on the ground. I don’t want whoever it is to come back for it.” The sergeant issued orders and took a look at the bed.
    “Daniel,” Nurse Wilson said, coming back, “the room is ready upstairs.”
    “Thanks, Nellie. Sergeant, do you want to follow us while I move Tommy to a new room?”
    “Yep.”
     Dr. Hall stooped over the boy who lay shaking on the soft carpet. “All right. Tommy, I know this isn’t going to be pleasant, but you’ll feel better after we get you back in bed.”
    Tommy bit his lip to keep back his cry of pain as the doctor gently lifted him and carried him from the room.
    It was several minutes after Tommy had been laid in the new bed upstairs, covered with warm blankets and given a spoonful of medicine before the pain subsided enough for Tommy to be able to think.
    “Can you talk now, son?” Dr. Hall asked softly.
    Tommy frowned in pain. “What’s today?”
    “December thirtieth,” Dr. Hall answered, his fingers once again on Tommy’s pulse.
    “Then there’s still time ta stop ‘em.”
    “Stop them? Stop who, Tommy?”
    “Begin at the beginnin’, laddie, so’s it’ll all make sense to me,” the officer said.
    Swallowing a bit of the drink the doctor held to his lips, Tommy stroked his dog’s head. “I was takin’ shelter in a doorway of an abandoned building on the east side from that sleet we had that mornin’. I heard voices. I looked out an’ seen two men. One was in a fancy car an’ the other was on foot. The wind blew their words right to me an’ I couldn’t help hearin’.” His hand dropped over the side of the bed and found Diego’s head as he fell silent.
    “What did you hear, Tommy?”
    “They were plannin’ on robbin’ the Vandermark’s house on New Year’s Eve when the family was gone to a party.”
    “How were they going to do that?” The policeman looked skeptical.
    “The man on foot works for the Vandermarks. He was going to let the other man in.” Tommy shivered a little and Dr. Hall rose.
    “Let me get another blanket.”
    This was done quickly, and Tommy relaxed a little. “It was a wager.”
    “What was?” The sergeant scratched his head.
    Tommy frowned a little. Couldn’t this man understand? Why hadn’t Officer Joe come in to ask questions?
    “Go on, Tommy,” Dr. Hall’s voice was low. “Tell us everything you know.”
    “The man in the car said he had a wager with several friends that he could rob the house and get away with it. Said it’d be the perfect crime.”
    “Couldn’t be a perfect crime if the other man knew about it,” muttered the sergeant. “Do you know who the other man was? The one in the car.”
    Tommy nodded and immediately wished he hadn’t, for his head started to throb again. “It . . . was . . . Edward Stratamyer.”
    “The father?” Disbelief filled the sergeant’s face.
    “No, the son.”
    “And after you heard all this, what happened?”
    It was easy for Tommy to hear the skepticism in the policeman’s voice. “I waited till after they were gone, but it weren’t long enough, I guess. They had moved off, out of my sight but they stopped to talk again, an’ when I left the doorway . . . they saw me.”
    “Where were you goin’?”
    “The police.”
    Dr. Hall picked up the story. “So they saw you and must have realized you had heard them, right?”
    “Yes,” Tommy whispered. He didn’t want to remember the threats he’d received or the beating he had gotten.
    “They must have taken you to the alley where you were found and dumped you to die.”
    “But why try and kill me now?” That was the part Tommy didn’t understand.
    “You haven’t seen the papers, son. They had a big headline about you and how you had been found. There has been something almost every day about you and how you don’t remember what happened. No doubt these two men have read that and decided that they needed to make sure you never remembered.”
    Tommy lay silent. He had never dreamed as he sat shivering in the icy doorway that the men who had been planning a robbery would try to kill him twice. He was just a newspaper boy. And why would someone who came from a family with as much wealth and influence as the Stratamyers want to rob another wealthy family anyway? Didn’t that young man know the Bible said not to steal? It was all very puzzling.
    “The only thing to do,” the sergeant said, after standing up and pacing to the window and back, “is for Tommy to die.”
    Tommy gasped and turned startled eyes on the doctor. No, surely his new friend wouldn’t allow that!
    “Relax, son,” Dr. Hall said. “Just in the papers. If they print a headline about the shooting and say that you are dead, I think Edward Stratamyer will go on with his plan and the police can catch him.”
    “Oh.” Tommy closed his eyes again. Right then he didn’t care if the playboy son of the great Mr. Stratamyer got caught by the police or not, the only thing he wanted was to be left alone to sleep.


*

    “Tommy.”
    Sleepily Tommy made a sound in his throat but couldn’t get his eyes open. They were too heavy, and he didn’t want to wake up. It had been late before the police had left, and Dr. Hall had given him something to help him sleep.
    “Tommy.” A hand rested lightly on his good arm. “Come on, Tommy, wake up.”
    “Go ‘way,” he muttered without moving.

Did you read the story first?
Have you ever felt like Tommy when someone woke you?
Did you enjoy any snow this week?

Friday, January 31, 2020

What Tommy Didn't Know - Part 6

Good morning,
I'm tired. But I didn't want to stay in bed. Ever feel that way? You really can't sleep, and wish it were morning, but you don't really want to get up. That's how I was feeling. Why? Because I called the police at 3:15 this morning and didn't get back into a deep sleep after that.
I know, I know, you want to know why I called the police, right?
Well, our city has a noise ordinance and you're not supposed to mow your yard, use power tools, play loud music, or be really noisy after 10 PM and before 7 AM. However, one neighbor has taken to playing his "music" really loudly at all sorts of times. The trouble was, we thought we knew which neighbor, and we don't know them. The police won't check on it until after 10 at night. Some times it would go off around ten only to be turned on again in the middle of the night. Finally, I wrote done the police number so I didn't have to try and find it in the phone-book. 
Last night, or early this morning I should say, I was awakened by a loud pounding of bass and occasionally I could hear the voice of the "singer". It was not pleasant. So I called the police. Then I couldn't sleep. I had said I'd sign a complaint, but I didn't ask when I'd have to sign it (when you are sleepy and just want to go back to bed it's hard to think straight), so I was wondering if they were going to come knocking on our door.
Finally I saw the police car with no lights on, driving slowly down the alleys. Then I saw an officer in the back yard of the rental house I was pretty sure the noise was coming from. So I went downstairs just in case. The officer drove to the front of the house and by then the music had stopped. The officer only talked to the person for no more than 30 seconds before returning to his car and driving slowly away. Does that mean he couldn't do anything since it was already off? Does that mean I still have to sign a complaint? I have no idea. But I went back to bed and it took a long time to doze off only to be awakened by the train a few blocks away, or the train in the valley.

Anyway, that's why I'm tired.
This week has been a good writing week. I've more than reached my goal of 5k this week. And I started a new shorter story. This one is for a writing challenge some friends are doing where we all take the same title and write a 4-5k word story for it. Mine just doesn't want to stop being written. Oh well. That's a good problem to have sometimes.

Here's your next part of this story. Enjoy!


What Tommy Didn’t Know
Part 6
Just as he closed his eyes and was drifting back into sleep, the low growl of his dog roused him.
    “Diego?” Tommy whispered. He dangled his hand over the side of his bed, but no cold nose or warm furry head met his searching fingers. A strange sensation of danger tiptoed up his spine and snatched at his breath. He stiffened. Lying rigid and motionless except for his shallow breathing, Tommy lay with eyes wide open staring into the dark room. Why was Diego growling? What had upset him?
    Soft moonlight spilled in through the half open curtains, but Tommy could see nothing. He wasn’t sure where his dog was in the room. Turning his head, he glanced toward the door. It was shut. Another growl whipped his face toward the window with a speed that made his head begin to throb.
    “Diego!” It was a whispered call, but in the stillness it sounded loud.
    Diego ignored his master and stalked toward the window, keeping in the shadows. His tail was out and even in the darkness, Tommy knew his hackles stood out and his teeth were bared.
     A sudden terror gave strength to his injured body, and Tommy slid out of bed and onto the softly carpeted floor. His first thought was to run from the room and get help, but his legs crumpled under him and he fell. Somehow he took most of the impact with his good arm, but the jolt still sent wave after wave of pain shooting through his left arm and up into his shoulder, while his head pounded and his injured ribs screamed in protest.
    Lying on the floor in a heap, Tommy fought back the cries of pain and tried to remain conscious.
    There was a sudden crash followed almost at once by the loud, ferocious barking of Diego, and one, no two, gun shots!
    “Diego!” Tommy’s cry was a mere gasp.
    The frenzied barking stopped but was followed by snarls, a muffled curse, a clatter as though of something falling, and then Diego’s renewed racket.
    A door crashed against the wall and lights were turned on.
    “Tommy!”
    “Daniel, the window!”
    “Nellie, call the station. Get them to send several men here at once. Bruce, take a look out that window and see if you see anyone.” Dr. Hall’s voice was commanding. “Diego, quiet!”
    But the dog continued his frantic barking.
    Still fighting the pain his fall from the bed had caused him, Tommy licked his lips and managed to give a whistle.
    Instant silence filled the room.
    “Tommy,” Dr. Hall was bending over him, “what happened? Are you hit?”
    “No,” Tommy’s voice was a moan. “Was going to call . . . someone . . . legs . . .” He closed his eyes as the doctor gently eased him into a more comfortable position and began running his hands over him to check for injuries.
    “Dr. Hall,” the man addressed as Bruce said, “this window’s broken, there’s a scrap of fabric in the dog’s mouth, and I think there’s a gun in the snow.”
    “You didn’t see anyone?”
    “No, sir. I think whoever did this ran off down the path. I shoveled it this afternoon.”
    The doctor grunted. “Come help me get Tommy back into bed.”
    Gritting his teeth, Tommy prepared for the pain the movement would bring but opened his eyes when Bruce spoke again.
    “I don’t think you want him back in that bed, Doc. There’s two bullet holes. One in the pillow and the other in the blankets.”
    “What?” Dr. Hall sprang to his feet. He stared for a long minute at the bed before he sighed heavily. “Tommy,” he said slowly, “I think you must know something that someone doesn’t want you to know.”
    Tommy was beginning to think so too, but right then he couldn’t think of anything but the pain he was feeling. He saw Dr. Hall kneel down beside him and felt fingers on his wrist.
    “We’re going to get you to another room, Tommy, just as soon as we can.”
    “The police are on their way,” Nurse Wilson said, her voice nervous and frightened. “What happened?”
    “Someone tried to kill Tommy,” was the doctor’s blunt answer. “Nellie,” Dr. Hall said, glancing up, “fetch a blanket, please. And we’ll need to get the bed ready in the upstairs room next to mine.”
    “Room? Upstairs?” Nurse Wilson seemed dazed and made no move.
    “Nurse Wilson, a blanket must be brought at once,” Dr. Hall ordered. “And then a bed must be prepared.”
    Snapped from her shock, Nurse Wilson hurried from the room.
    Tommy closed his eyes. He could hear Dr. Hall and the other man talking in low voices, but it was too hard to concentrate on what they were saying. A soft whine at his side and wet tongue on his face made the boy open his eyes. Diego was standing beside him, a piece of torn cloth in his mouth.
    “Did ya go after the man, Diego?” Tommy whispered, lifting a shaking hand to take the fabric from the dog’s mouth.
    Diego willingly yielded his find to his master and crouched beside him.
    Several things happened at once then. Tommy gave a startled cry, Nurse Wilson arrived with the blanket, and the police pounded on the front door.
    “Bruce, let the police in. Tommy, what is it?” and Dr. Hall hurried to his side and knelt next to him. “Nellie, the blanket please.”
    But Tommy just lay staring at the cloth in his hand.
    “Tommy!”
    Tommy blinked at the sharp voice and drew a quick though painful breath. “I know.”
    “You know why someone was trying to kill you?” The doctor had quickly spread the blanket over his patient, for the night air was cold.
    “Yes.”
    “What’s going on here, Hall?”
    The police had arrived.
    Dr. Hall quickly filled the officers in and then added, “Tommy just remembered why someone would want to kill him, but I want to move him to a warmer room.”

Have you ever called the police for anything?
Have you ever written a story based on a title before?
What do you think Tommy remembered?

Friday, January 24, 2020

What Tommy Didn't Know - Part 5

Good morning, FFFs!
Guess what? It snowed last night! Not enough to cover the grass, and it didn't stick on the streets, but it did snow instead of sleet. While I would have been delighted if we had gotten several inches, I'm going to be happy that we got snow at all.

This week has gone by quickly. I've spent time working on blog posts, trying out the new editor for WordPress. I am loving it, by the way. I've also been writing. This secret project is really coming along. It's longer than I thought it would be, but it's also more complicated than I had figured. But, as long as everything comes together right I don't mind.

I've done some reading. Beta-read a story yesterday, and found a few more books I want to read while I have Kindle Unlimited. It can be a bit complicated trying to balance reading with everything else I need to do and work on. But I also know that if I don't read my writing won't be as good.

Here's the next part of the story. I hope you enjoy it.


What Tommy Didn’t Know
Part 5
Now, with his right hand dangling over the edge of the bed where he could feel Diego’s head, Tommy pressed his lips together against the pain.
    “I don’t think he did any permanent damage, but I know he caused pain.” Dr. Hall’s voice was quiet. He poured something into a spoon and held it to Tommy’s lips. “This will help a bit, but you need to be still and rest now. Can you do that if I leave your dog in here?”
    “Yes.” Tommy swallowed the water Dr. Hall offered. “Now that Diego’s here, I can sleep.”
    Dr. Hall didn’t look convinced, for at that moment Diego was sniffing all around the room. “Will he stay calm and let you sleep?”
    For answer, Tommy snapped his fingers and Diego trotted over. “Lie down, boy,” he ordered. Obediently, the dog lay down on the rug beside the bed and stretched his muzzle over his front paws. “See,” Tommy whispered, “he’s already settled down.”
    “All right, then I’ll leave you two for a bit. Nurse Wilson will be along later with your breakfast.”
    Tommy closed his eyes but didn’t fall asleep. He heard the doctor say something in low tones, and then he heard Nurse Wilson’s voice.
    “Daniel, how could you leave a dog in a sick room? He probably has all sorts of diseases. I want him out.”
    Opening his eyes, Tommy cautiously turned his head. The door of his room was open, and in the dim hall he could see the white clad nurse and Dr. Hall. The doctor was shaking his head, but his words were too soft for Tommy to hear. Nurse Wilson turned and disappeared, and Dr. Hall shut the bedroom door.
    “Don’t worry, Diego,” Tommy whispered to his friend, “if’n ya get sent away, I’ll go with ya.” He moved a little and groaned softly. Right then he didn’t feel like he would ever be able to toss a newspaper again.

*

    It was evident to Tommy that Nurse Wilson disliked Diego. Even if he hadn’t overheard her words, he saw her distain and disgust when she entered his room. Diego seemed to know she disapproved of him, for he slunk under the bed upon her arrival, but Dr. Hall was met with a wagging tail.

    For another long day Tommy lay in the soft bed, ate the nourishing food, enjoyed the luxuries around him, and wondered when he would go home. Dr. Hall told him that he would have his old paper route again, though he didn’t know about his corner. This relieved Tommy’s mind considerably, but something still puzzled him. How had he gotten to the alley where he had been found? And what had happened to him before that?
    “Dr. Hall,” Tommy asked late in the afternoon when that man came in for a visit. “What happened ta me the day ya found me?”
    “Didn’t I already tell you that?” Dr. Hall sat down in the chair beside the bed and recounted the story again, ending with, “Have you remembered anything?”
    Tommy shook his head. “I’ve been tryin’ ta figure out why I was way out thataway, but there ain’t nothing that makes sense. My paper route ain’t near there, an’ I don’t shop on Fifth Avenue. It just don’t make sense that I’d be hurt way out there. There ain’t no reason for it.”
    “Well, son, I may not know the reason, but God does. I know if you’d been hurt somewhere else and not been found, you probably would have died.” The doctor’s voice was grave.
    Tommy lay silent a moment. “An’ if’n I had died there wouldn’t be nobody to help Mrs. Hernandez, or watch Sassy an’ her brother for Mrs. McGuire.” He dropped his hand over the edge of the bed and fondled Diego’s ears. “I know the Bible says that all things work together for good to those that love God, an’ I reckon I qualify in that area.” A frown puckered his brow and Tommy stared across at the mirror. “It ain’t that I got found an’ helped that’s botherin’ me.”
    Dr. Hall tipped his head quizzically. “Then what is?”
    “It’s why I were so far from home. I know I must know, but I ain’t sure what I know.”
    “Don’t try to force it, Tommy. God knows the reason, and He can bring good even if you can’t remember.”
    Stirring restlessly, Tommy gave a slight moan and then said, “It was kind of ya ta take me in, Doctor, but Diego an’ me, we ain’t wanting to be troublesome–”
    Dr. Hall placed his hand lightly on Tommy’s leg which was hidden beneath the bedclothes. “You’d be more troublesome if you tried to go home before I’ve released you.” His mustache twitched with his smile. “I don’t have time to drive all the way to your home several times a day to check on you. You aren’t in the way, and you’re giving Nurse Wilson something easy to do while she rests from her last strenuous case.”
    “She don’t like Diego.”
    “No matter. She’ll either get used to him or at least tolerate his presence. Diego is a very well trained dog. Now,” and Dr. Hall rested both hands on his knees, “I’m going to bring your supper in and see how much of an appetite you have.”

*

    It was late. Tommy wasn’t sure how late it was, but everything was dark and quiet. He didn’t know what had awakened him. Perhaps it was the pain. His arm ached, and when he moved too much, he could feel the bruises on his body. Just as he closed his eyes and was drifting back into sleep, the low growl of his dog roused him.

Have you gotten snow this week?
Do you make time to read?
What do you think of this story?

Friday, January 17, 2020

What Tommy Didn't Know - Part 4

Happy Friday, FFFs,
It's cold and rainy here. Quite a contrast from last Friday when it reached the upper 60s. Then we got sleet the next day. Right now it's just above freezing. A good day to stay indoors and read. I really want to read because I just got two books from the library, and . . . I just got 3 months of Kindle Unlimited for $.99! I'm not sure if the deal is still on or not, but you can check it out here. And if you get it, you can read almost all my books on KU. I'm not sure when this deal expires, so check it out soon.

This week hasn't been quite as good for writing. One reason is that I worked nursery on Wednesday night so only got a bit of writing done earlier. The other reason is that my secret project is at a crossroads. I'm not sure if it should go this way, that way, or another way. I'm waiting for my editor to read the last 3k words and see if she has any thoughts. She's hoping to read it this morning, so maybe I can write it again this evening. Things have come up in this story that I was not expecting which is pretty exciting.

I'm also trying to get some other things done and blog posts worked on. Some days I just don't feel like doing anything productive, but I'm trying to get something done. Even if it's just 15 minutes of working on a blog post. It can be pretty amazing how much you can get done in 15 minutes of focused work. Try it and see.

All right, here is the next part of your story. Enjoy!


What Tommy Didn’t Know
Part 4
    Tommy lifted his head, but the doctor’s hand on his shoulder kept him from trying to sit up. “Mrs. Hernandez? But she– Sure I’d like to see her fine. But–”
    Dr. Hall opened the bedroom door and, followed by a policeman Tommy hardly noticed, escorted a small, bent lady with white hair to the side of the bed.
    “Tommy, lad,” Mrs. Hernandez said, sinking into the chair the doctor set beside the bed for her, “I’ve been worried near sick when you didn’t show up last week!” Her wrinkled hand held onto Tommy’s. “And when you didn’t come this mornin’ I up and did something I vowed I’d never do.” She chuckled a little. “Yes, I did. I called the police. Took a long time to get you found though.”
    “I was found,” Tommy said, a faint smile lighting his face. “The doctor an’ some policeman found me.”
    Mrs. Hernandez patted Tommy’s hand. “Yes, yes, they did that. And one of the policeman–Joe something–he came and drove me way out here and told me he thought the boy I was looking for was at Dr. Hall’s. And sure enough, here you are.” She leaned back in the chair with a sigh. “I’m mighty glad you got found right side up, Tommy lad.”
    “Have ya seen Diego?” Tommy’s greatest concern was for his dog.
    “Your dog? No, I can’t say as I’ve seen hide nor hair of him. Did he run away? Was that what took you from home?”
    Tommy shifted in bed and frowned at the pain. “No. I don’t think so.” He bit his lip and closed his eyes in an effort to hide his tears. After a few moments he was able to answer some questions from Officer Joe about where he lived.
    “I’ll head over that way when I take Mrs. Hernandez home,” Officer Joe promised. “If he’s at home, I’ll find him. And if he’s not, I’ll ask around a bit and see if someone hasn’t seen him. What sort of dog is he?”
    “Just a reddish–brown dog. He’s got longer ears an’ a feathery tail. He ain’t real big.” He lifted his eyes and looked into the blue eyes of the officer. “You’ll try ta find him?”
    “My word on it, sonny. Now, I’m going to take Mrs. Hernandez home and leave you to the care of my friend here.”
    Tommy smiled a little at the old widow and then lay watching the doctor and the policeman escort her out of the room.
    In a moment Dr. Hall returned. He placed his fingers on Tommy’s pulse and looked at him. “Feeling a bit down about your dog, are you?”
    Tommy gave a faint nod.
    “I can understand that. Dogs have special places in the hearts of boys who love them. I know. I had a dog when I was a young fellow. Tommy, do you remember anything about what you were doing the day you got hurt?”
    “Can I have a drink?”
    “A drink? Certainly.” And Dr. Hall gently lifted Tommy’s head as he held a glass of water for him. “Is that better?”
    “Yes,” Tommy whispered as his head was lowered to the pillow. He tried to think, but he couldn’t recall anything. “What day was I found?”
    “Friday.”
    “Friday,” he murmured. “I’m sure I would’ve done my paper route ‘cause that’s early.”
    “It was in the early afternoon when you were found.”
    There was a long silence. Dr. Hall waited and Tommy thought.
    “I dunno,” the boy admitted at last. “I ain’t rememberin’ anything.”
    Dr. Hall patted his arm gently. “That’s all right. Don’t try to remember. Do you feel hungry?”
    Tommy shook his head. How could he eat when he didn’t know if Diego was hungry?

*

    The following morning Dr. Hall, after changing the bandage on Tommy’s head and checking his injured arm, remarked casually, “Officer Joe found your dog last night. Would you like to see him?”
    The words jolted Tommy into almost sitting up in spite of the painful injuries. “Diego? He found Diego? Where’s he? Is he all right? Was he at the house? Can I see him?”
    “Easy there, Tommy. Yes, you can see for yourself that Diego is all right. It seems your neighbors were taking turns caring for him. They were both worried about you when you didn’t show up. Now, if you promise me you won’t try to get up, not even sit up, I’ll let your dog in. Will you promise?”
    Eagerly Tommy nodded, his eyes already fastened on the door.
    When the door was opened, a reddish–brown creature streaked across the floor straight to Tommy’s bedside. Leaping up, he managed to get his front paws on the bed. Tommy laughed and cried as he tried to pet his dog while Diego licked his hand and his arm, whining and wagging his tail so fast it was only a blur.
    “Diego! Diego!” was all Tommy could say at first. Then he looked up at Dr. Hall. “Can’t he get up on the bed just this once?”
    Dr. Hall started to shake his head.
    “Please!”
    “I’m afraid he’ll bump your arm. You have a lot of bruises and scrapes, son. Diego isn’t going to be careful of them.
    “I don’t care if’n it do hurt. I won’t complain. Please! Jest this once. I can’t hug him from there.”
    After a quick glance toward the door, the doctor nodded. “Just this once. My sister would have a fit if she saw.” He lifted the dog onto the bed. “Only for a minute.”
    A minute was long enough, Tommy decided, when the doctor set his dog back on the floor. Diego hadn’t cared if he was injured. He had stood on Tommy’s chest, had shoved the broken arm a bit, and his body had pressed on bruises Tommy hadn’t known he had. Now, with his right hand dangling over the edge of the bed where he could feel Diego’s head, Tommy pressed his lips together against the pain.

Would you have wanted your dog on your bed?
Have you tried Kindle Unlimited before?
Do you make yourself be productive even if you don't feel like it?

Friday, January 10, 2020

What Tommy Didn't Know - Part 3

Happy January, Faithful Friday Fiction Fans,

January. I always think of winter, cold, snow, cleaning things out, organizing, reading, and getting to those projects that I was too busy to get to in November and December.
Well, I've been organizing and cleaning out, and getting to projects, but no cold, snow, or winter really. This week has been really nice with a high in or near the low 60s almost all week! You would think it was March or something. Tomorrow it's supposed to be cold and snow. And have freezing rain. Thanks, but I'd rather just have snow.

I won't be teaching writing classes this semester since most of my students couldn't do it for one reason or another. So we decided to just take a break. I haven't had a break from teaching for years, so I'm excited! I will be doing some online writing coaching. If anyone is interested let me know. I'm only taking a limited number. We'd work on whatever you felt you needed to work on.

And guess what? I've been writing! After over a month of not writing, I'm having so much fun getting back to it! So far I've written over 4,800 words just this week. My goal is 5k. :) I should be able to reach and pass that goal. So far I've worked mostly on my "Secret Project" and then a little on a "Ria and the Gang" story. I had been stuck on it last year, but it's moving again now.

All right, I won't keep you longer since you might want to find out what happens to Tommy next.


What Tommy Didn’t Know
Part 3
    At that Tommy stared at the face above him. “Wellington Avenue. It ain’t much of a place, but it’s mine. An’ Diego’s.”
    “Home is home no matter how small, right? Ah, here is Nurse Wilson with your milk. Let’s see how you do sitting up just a bit. Don’t move yourself, Tommy, let me lift you.”
    Tommy did as he was told and leaned against the doctor’s strong arms as his head and shoulders were raised a small bit and Nurse Wilson settled the pillows behind him. He took the cup of milk with a shaky hand, and only the doctor’s own steady hand kept the milk from spilling over the side. Eagerly Tommy drank his milk, a rare treat for him.
    When the glass was empty, Tommy’s right arm dropped beside him as though it weighed twice as much. He stared down at it in bewilderment. His arm couldn’t be tired already! He’d only held a glass of milk.
    “Don’t worry, son,” Dr. Hall said, as though reading his thoughts, “your arm will regain its strength. It will just take time.”
    Time. Tommy’s eyes widened, and he tried to sit up but was pushed back onto the pillows by the doctor.
    “None of that, Tommy. You can’t expect to get back on your feet all at once after the injuries you received. Now just relax.”
    Tommy felt the hands still on his shoulders, but he shook his head. “I can’t. I gotta get up, sir. Please,” he begged.
    But the doctor, keeping one hand on his shoulder, shook his head and sat down beside the bed. “You aren’t fit to be up yet, Tommy. You couldn’t even make it out of this room on your own.”
    “But I gotta!”
    Dr. Hall placed his fingers on Tommy’s pulse a moment, and then said, his voice low and steady, “Tommy, I promise you someone will go look for your dog, and–”
    “It ain’t Diego. It’s the Times.”
    It was the doctor’s turn to look puzzled. “The Jefferson Times?”
    “Yes, sir. I deliver papers. Got my own paper route an’ then sell ‘em on my own corner. Oh, someone else’ll take my route an’ my corner!” He closed his eyes. Why did it have to be him lying injured in luxury while his whole livelihood was pulled out from under him? How would he take care of his dog? Who would watch Sassy and young Mike when Mrs. McGuire had to work late? And who would keep the Schlindler boys from terrorizing each other and any animals with snowballs? Who would fetch the groceries home for old widow Hernandez, or shovel snow? It was just too much. A tear rolled down his cheek and he drew a quivering breath.
    “Tommy,” Dr. Hall said.
    But Tommy didn’t open his eyes. He knew more tears would escape if he did, and he was too old to cry.
    “Tommy, I want you to swallow this for me, and then rest.”
    Keeping his eyes shut tightly, Tommy opened his mouth and swallowed the spoonful of medicine.
    “Do you live on the east side of town, Tommy?”
    Tommy gave a faint nod. It no longer mattered where he lived. Diego was probably dead from cold or had found a new home. He lay still and heard the doctor and nurse talking.
    “I want the boy’s cap, Nellie, if it hasn’t been washed.”
    “It hasn’t. I was going to throw it away when I washed everything else, but I didn’t. But, Daniel, what on earth are you going to do with a bloody cap?”
    “Going to see if I can find Diego.”
    Nurse Wilson sighed. “Really, Daniel, you are impossible. Isn’t one boy enough without adding a dirty dog?”
    The doctor laughed softly. “Surely you know me better than that, Nellie. After all, I am your baby brother. Keep an eye on Tommy for me, won’t you?”

*

    It was late in the afternoon. Tommy had been awake for a short time earlier, but only Nurse Wilson had been around. She had fed him like he was a baby and then had told him to go back to sleep. This Tommy had obediently done, for he was too upset to stay awake and think over all the hardships that had come his way.
    But now he couldn’t sleep. Nurse Wilson wasn’t in the room, and Tommy was alone with his thoughts. If he lost his job, he wouldn’t be able to keep Diego, who was his one confidant and friend. Diego never laughed at him or argued. And it was Diego who comforted him when he was feeling lonely or sad. What would he do without Diego?
    As he lay staring at the mirror with its gilded frame, his thoughts jumped to his accident. What had happened? He had no memories of anything. Had the doctor said he was found in an alley? Tommy squinted as he tried to remember. Yes, an alley near 6th and Elm. What was he doing over there? He didn’t live near that part of town, nor did his paper route take him in that direction. He couldn’t have gotten lost.
    Wearily he rubbed his uninjured hand over his eyes and brushed the bandage on his head. He winced.
    “I don’t like bein’ sick in bed,” he muttered. “I can’t think here.”
    “What was that?” Dr. Hall’s cheery voice came from the doorway.
    Tommy glanced over at him and then turned back to stare at the wall. “Nothin’.”
    The doctor crossed the room and looked down at him. “Feeling a little blue? How would you like a friend to cheer you up?”
    “Don’t got any.”
    “Oh, I don’t know about that. Shall I let her in or tell her you aren’t up for visitors?”
    At that Tommy’s eyes met the merry brown ones above him. “Who is it?”
    “Mrs. Hernandez.”
    Tommy lifted his head, but the doctor’s hand on his shoulder kept him from trying to sit up. “Mrs. Hernandez? But she– Sure I’d like to see her fine. But–”

Have you gotten any snow this new year?
What do you think of when you think of January?
What do you think happened to Tommy?

Friday, January 3, 2020

What Tommy Didn't Know - Part 2

Good morning, Friday Fiction Fans,
I know this is a bit late, but I'm on vacation at my grandparents, so you really can't expect me to be on time, right? ;)
I hope you all have had a good start to your new year. Did any of you stay up to watch the new year come in? I didn't. I stayed up to watch 2000 come in and was so tired the next day that I decided it just wasn't worth it. Besides the new year looks a whole lot like the old year.
I've done some planning for this year of things I need to do and work on. I have a planner that I'm having fun writing things in. Some plans are for blog posts. ;) Well, blog posts for Read Another Page. Stay tuned.

I'm going to keep this short as I'm hungry and want to go eat breakfast. I hope you enjoy this next part of this story.


What Tommy Didn’t Know
Part 2
    “Well, Just Tommy, I’m Dr. Hall. Where do you live? Do you have any folks we can notify of your injuries?”
    Tommy was feeling more confused than before. He was hurt but not in a hospital. He didn’t remember getting hurt. “Where am I?” he asked, not paying attention to the questions the doctor had asked.
    “You are here in my home. I would have taken you to the hospital, but it’s over crowded right now after the accident on the railroad, and not a bed was available.”
    For several minutes Tommy lay quite still. He had been injured. How? He didn’t know. How had the doctor gotten involved? “But,” he asked at last, wanting answers even though he was tired and his head was beginning to ache, “how did I get here?”
    Before answering, the doctor held a spoon to Tommy’s lips. “Swallow this for me, Tommy, and then I’ll get you a little water and tell you everything I know.”
    Obediently Tommy swallowed the bitter tasting spoonful and then the cool water.
    “That’s better. Now,” Dr. Hall said, resuming his seat by the bed, “I don’t know how you came to be injured. I was passing by the corner of 6th and Elm in my car when a boy ran out of an alley waving his arms and telling me someone had been killed and needed a doctor.”
    “Killed folks don’t need doctors,” muttered Tommy, staring at the mirror on the opposite wall without really seeing it.
    “You’re right, but I stopped and so did a policeman. It turned out you weren’t killed but badly hurt. The policeman didn’t know you, and the boy who had called for help said he didn’t know you either. There wasn’t much we could do except take you home and patch you up and thaw you out. You were near frozen.”
    “The hospital was full?”
    “Yes. Where do you live, Tommy?”
    But Tommy didn’t answer. He was too busy trying to understand what he had just heard, and his mind refused to to think. His eyes closed, and he murmured, “Should get home,” before falling asleep once again.
    For a few minutes the doctor sat and watched the sleeping face of his patient. “Poor little Just Tommy. I wonder where you came from and what you were doing so battered in that alley. I’ll let Joe know all I’ve found out. Perhaps I’ll send something to the Times. Someone knows more than we do.” Rising suddenly, the doctor knelt down beside the bed and prayed for the young boy who had come into his home in such an unusual way.

*

    For another day Tommy woke only for short periods and didn’t answer any questions of where he lived or seem to remember much about himself. In truth, he was still confused and puzzled about how he came to be injured in the first place and didn’t pay attention when questions were asked. But finally he woke up feeling more awake, and more aware of the pain in his body and the softness of his bed.
    Opening his eyes, he saw the curtains were open and early morning sunlight was peeping into the room. A cardinal hopped onto the snowy window ledge and sang a few notes, and Tommy suddenly remembered something.
    “Diego!” He struggled to sit up, but a woman’s voice ordered him to lie still.
    “You are not to get up until the doctor says so, Tommy.”
    “I have to.”
    “And why is that?” The woman in white stood by the bedside and looked down at him.
    Tommy shrank from her gaze and wished he hadn’t called out. “I’ve got ta get home,” he murmured.
    “Where is your home?” persisted the woman.
    But Tommy wouldn’t answer. A lump had risen in his throat as he thought about his home and Diego. Had his friend died? Had he run away? He pressed his lips tightly and closed his eyes to keep from crying.
    “Now see here, Tommy,” the woman said, not unkindly, “we can’t help you if you won’t talk to us.”
    “What is it, Nellie?”
    Tommy clenched his right hand in an effort to keep back the tears, for the doctor’s kind voice sounded sympathetic.
    “He said he wants to go home but won’t tell me where his home is, Daniel,” the woman said. “He was trying to get up when I entered the room.”
    “Tommy,” Dr. Hall said, gently smoothing back the brown hair from the hot face. “Does something hurt?”
    Tommy shook his head slightly. It wasn’t true; his head and his arm hurt, but his heart hurt worse. How could he have treated his friend like that? Poor Diego! He must get home to him. He must!
    “Tell me about it, Tommy.” The doctor slowly began opening Tommy’s clenched fingers. “We want to help you. Nurse Wilson, will you bring a small cup of milk for Tommy? Thank you. Now Tommy, take a slow breath and relax. That’s better. Can you tell me where you live?”
    “I don’t live any real place,” he murmured. “It’s just a shack ain’t a real house. Don’t even have numbers nor nothin’ on it.”
    “Do you live there all alone?”
    Once again tears filled Tommy’s eyes, and he looked at the doctor. Maybe he would help him. “No, sir. Diego lives with me. Or he did. But I ain’t been home. He might be dead or maybe run away!”
    “How old is Diego?” Dr. Hall questioned, concern in his voice.
    “Dunno. He were just a puppy when I found him.”
    “Ah. Do you think he’s full grown now?”
    “Dunno.” Tommy blinked back the hot tears. “I have ta get home.”
    “All right, Tommy, I understand. Can you tell me what street you live on? Perhaps I can find your house and see about your dog.”
    At that Tommy stared at the face above him. “Wellington Avenue. It ain’t much of a place, but it’s mine. An’ Diego’s.”

How was your New Year?
Have you made plans for this year?
What do  you think of this story?