Tuesday, October 17, 2017

LitCrawl 2017: Nerds* On Surfboards and in Bikinis* Read Their Prose.

I'll be reading at the Kahuna Tiki (link below) along with some great talent.

Malibu Writers Circle | A Cool Buzz and Some Tasty Words

Date(s) - 10/25/2017
8:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Kahuna Tiki

11026 Magnolia Blvd - Los Angeles

*I am a nerd
*My bikini is in the shop

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Marshall: Showdown in the Courtroom


Who do you call to the defense of a black chauffeur accused of raping wealthy white woman in conservative Connecticut? The NAACP promptly sends out Thurgood Marshall.

         Yes, the Thurgood Marshall, an ambitious and dedicated young attorney, not yet the first African-American Supreme Court Justice. He’s played by Chadwick Boseman (Jackie Robinson in “42”). Boseman’s acting is good and will certainly earn him an academy award nomination. He manages to present the young Marshall as smart, ambitious, and even a bit cocky. Let’s not forget the swagger, either, which provided some heart and humor to this famous lawyer.
         The movie is a tense courtroom drama (Connecticut v. Joseph Spell) rather than a cradle to grave biopic. This is not the future man in robes but a real person who smoked and drank, loved and lost.
         Remember, this was 1940. Marshall had more than a decade of experience to earn before Brown v. Board of Education, a landmark United States Supreme Court case in which the Court declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students to be unconstitutional.
         There are several twists in the story. First, in order to try the case in a state where he’s not admitted to practice law, the NAACP hires Sam Friedman (Josh Gad) an insurance attorney who has never litigated a criminal case. He doesn’t even want the case fearing that defending a black man might ruin his legal career. Marshall and Friedman face not only prejudice based on color, but Jews are not exactly allowed in the country clubs, either. The two, Boseman and Gad, make a fine combination – sparring and challenging each other, but there’s also respect. I wouldn’t be surprised if Gad is nominated for Best Supporting Actor.
         To further complicate matters the judge (James Cromwell) orders Marshall not to speak in the courtroom while allowing him to sit at the defense table. That means Marshall must be the coach, the “court whisperer.” It’s hard for both attorneys, but they’re relentless.
         What’s Twist #2? While we’re hoping things will go Marshall’s way, new evidence is introduced. Spoiler Alert! Just kidding, I’m not telling.
         A final note, the music is outstanding. Never intrusive and even inspiring. As is this story.

Sunday, August 13, 2017


This story was published in a couple of anthologies. Remembering Mom:

In her thirties, Nellie wore miniskirts and go‑go boots, false eyelashes and hairpieces, and seemed oh‑so with it, up‑to‑date, and modern. Her small square teeth gleamed in a perfect line behind a red lipstick mouth. She laughed and giggled weak‑in‑the‑knees through days where nickel and dime tips forestalled economic disaster. Her life was hard work and more work and raising kids, and sexual trysts on the sly. Nothing long‑standing, nothing lasting. 

         Even the children metamorphosed into upwardly mobile wraiths who disappeared, then reappeared with babies. But Nellie was strong, looked younger than her age, and then there were her teeth. Perfect. She had no cavities.

         In her fifties, she finally needed dental work. Nellie traveled to Juarez, Mexico to get the work done cheap.  The dentist suggested gold fillings for three of her front teeth.  He patted her knee.  "Special price for you."   

         Her children had only seen gold teeth on winos and the occasional rap music star. "Why?" they asked each other in disbelief.

         Nellie shrugged.  "He said gold would last forever."  

         She flashed her golden smile often, and the kids gave her $500 to get the gold taken out. Nellie bought a new water heater instead.  “I look fine,” she said. “You try taking a shower in ice cold water and see how you like it.”

         In her seventies, her teeth began to trouble her. They would have to be removed. "Give her the best dentures available," her children told the dentist, secretly relieved that the gold‑lined teeth would go. Nellie would look like every other senior citizen equipped with porcelain choppers.

         "Don't let the dentist keep that gold," Nellie warned her children when they took her for the surgery. "I paid a pretty penny for it!" 

         "Everyone wants their teeth blazing white these days," her children told her. "You'll look modern."      

         Nellie frowned.  "I don't want people to know I'm wearing false teeth.  Makes you look old." 

         The dentist fitted her dentures perfectly to her mouth and handed her a mirror. Nellie smiled at her reflection, turning her head to the right and the left. She ran her tongue over her small square teeth gleaming in a perfect line and nodded at the dentist, satisfied.

         Her children waited in the lounge and stood to greet her as she left the office. She gave the dentist a hug.  “You’re a genius!” she gushed. “I look better than ever.” 

         Nellie turned and smiled wide at her sophisticated children, gold now lining every single artificial tooth in her mouth.


Wednesday, March 29, 2017



introverted, Probably.

Fearful, I reject this.

unsociable, Like my cat. She has a strict schedule. Pretty much no in the day. Oh yeah, she’ll meet your car and roll around on the driveway playing pretty kitty, but she won’t let you touch her. 

She waits for me at night, curled up in a corner of the bedroom. I open a book. She meows and head bumps the book. No hb’s for humans. I scratch between her ears, her neck, under her chin, maybe we do elevator butt. Then, I push her down next to me and return to my book. She usually moves to the foot of the bed, right where my feet will go. 

Turn off the light. She makes her way up to me, lays down as close to me as she can get, but with her head facing out so she can make a quick getaway. I’m mostly not like my cat. Not so regimented. I hope.

inhibited, I can’t own this.

reticentreservedretiringprivate, Hell no! 

reclusive, I like the sound of this. It’s solitary.

Solitude is the state of being alone without being lonely.

shytimid, Aw.

aloof, I wish.

indrawn, as in introspective, yeah.

Informal standoffish, Rube version of aloof. Oh yeah, baby.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Weekend Lover

The telephone rang twice before the machine answered. Lydia paused, fingers over keypad to hear who was calling before answering.


“Hello. How are you?”

“I’m sooo happy to hear from you,” Lydia said, meaning every word of it. Garry had been her lover through three years of college and one year of graduate school thirty years ago. He lived 60 miles away and drove in on weekends, and usually midweek, as well.

“I left a message on your voice mail about a month ago,” she said.

“Oh, really.” He was flattered by her exuberance.

Lydia had dropped all pretense when she turned fifty. She never toned down her enthusiasm. People either basked in it, or thought she was faking.

“My home or cell?”

“You told me to call your cell,” she said.

He was married to his fifth wife. They'd met a year after his divorce from his first wife. During the weekend years, Lydia had thought she might become Mrs. Garry number two. They discussed it, but their timing was off. She went to graduate school out-of-state and they opted for an "open" relationship.

“Damn, I’ve been having trouble with my cell. Why did you call?”

“Check up on you, of course.”

They laughed. Garry was twenty years her senior. When he hadn’t returned her call, she’d worried that he might be dead, but she didn't say that.

“Probably something to do with politics,” she said instead. Garry and Lydia had always found it easy to talk with each other. Their weekends had been filled with lively political debates which added an unexpected sensuality to their lovemaking.

Their conversation now flowed from the presidential candidates to the economy to the environment to family, mainly the children: his and now, hers. They took care to avoid discussing their spouses. Garry’s wife was notoriously jealous. Lydia’s workaholic husband veered in the opposite direction.

Garry launched into a description of his latest entrepreneurial venture, something high tech. He was very creative, and extremely wealthy. He'd made investments in every state she'd moved to in order to write off his travel. While he spoke, Lydia imagined his head, now partially covered with silken white hair, bobbing up-and-down between her legs.

“So I just need to raise another million,” Garry said.

“Well, at least you have some,” she said, meaning hair on his head, not money.

“Yes,” he said, “but not enough.”

“But you’re sooo amazing with what you do have,” Lydia said, sounding like a love-struck nineteen-year-old.

Across the miles and years, they laughed again.


Tuesday, January 03, 2017

A Latina By Any Other Name