Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Post Apocalyptic Living






Unofficial Summer has been kick-started with Memorial Day weekend. Perhaps like myself you scored a BBQ invite and actually got to see old friends and make new acquaintances with people willing to stand within 6 feet and not a mask in sight. The pandemic may not be quite 100% over with, but signs are popping up everywhere that a return to normalcy is underway. Those of you with kids may have found summer camps will be in operation. Perhaps your local pool has announced that they plan to be open. Restaurant dining is a thing again for those not inclined to enjoy home cooking for every single meal. When you go shopping you're still likely to see mostly masked faces. Or at least you are if you live in my neck of the woods in NJ, USA. But for the most part it's a precaution and habit not yet kicked rather than the following of mandatory instructions. In short, free at last - free at last - Thank God Almighty. If you're vaccinated (because you're not a conspiracy theorist who believes the government is using Covid vaccines to control us) then you are likely feeling quite liberated these days. We're experiencing a modern day Juneteenth.

So what are planning to do with your new found freedom? Embark on more traveling? Do more socializing? Check more things off your bucket lists? Continue with hobbies you took up when holed up inside (sure you have not grown sick of puzzles)? Become more generous with dispensing your hugs? All of the above?



Perhaps you were you a content introvert before Covid-19 came along, found that a global pandemic didn't alter your lifestyle too much and perhaps even provided some benefits (feel free to work from home indefinitely!). If so, those of you who live somewhere with cold weather winters must still be happy about the arrival of summer regardless of the degree to which it alters your routine. Most especially if you are blessed with central air. Most most especially if you are a teacher or a student with central air and a whole lot more leisure time on the near horizon.

Introvert or extrovert or somewhere in between - are you intrigued by recent spacey developments which hint that the truth is out there?


Did any of my blog readers who happen to be fellow writers manage to get out a whole pandemic book like I did (humble brag)? I published my first children's book in 2020 and am deep into draft #1 of novel #3 and am going to pat myself on the back and keep patting until my books make me filthy rich.


Whether you're planning to change everything about your life or not a single thing - what's on your post-pandemic agenda? Not to be overly nosy. By this question I of course mostly want to know - WHAT ARE YOU PLANNING TO READ?


Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Lawless and Orderless

 


Can it really be SO DIFFICULT to come up with a set of policies that best guarantee the public safety without pride or prejudice? Surely there are level headed, non-controversial even, solutions to the overabundance of people who are "mistakenly" killed by police officers. Obviously it's a dangerous job because it requires dealing with the criminal element. But they seem to be making it far more difficult than it needs to be, routinely perceiving law abiding citizens as threats and promptly turning them into corpses. And far too often than anyone should be comfortable with, those unarmed, law abiding citizens who end up being killed by a cop despite not being a threat to anyone happen to be African American. We can do better. We must do better. The alternative is anarchy. The alternative, eventually, inevitably, is Civil War.













































R.I.P. Adam Toledo. Gone way too soon. A child taken from us for no reason that seems reasonable to me. 

 


Enough is enough. I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired. Far too many hashtagged names. Far too many Lives of Color  needlessly lost.


Sunday, February 21, 2021

BOOK GIVEAWAYS



For five days, from March 19th to March 23rd, the Kindle edition of PATCHES OF GREY will be FREE at Amazon.








From March 14th to March 18th, the Kindle edition of MATTERS OF CONVENIENCE will be FREE at Amazon.








You can check out my novella FEEDING THE SQUIRRELS for free either here at A Line A Day or else at Wattpad any time you want.




As for THE ABSOLUTELY AMAZING ADVENTURES OF AVA APPELSAWSE, no giveaway is on tap for it just yet. But I highly recommend buying a copy and putting it into the hands of a child that you love who loves to read or be read to.







Those of you who choose to take advantage and add this zero expense content to your Kindles - reviews on Amazon, GoodReads, your blogs, your booktube channels, and anywhere else you happen to spread the good word about books you have enjoyed would be greatly appreciated.

CREDITS: The paintings found in this post are the work of Erin Rogers Pickering. The photographs were taken by Roy L. Pickering Jr.


Saturday, February 13, 2021

LOST LOVE - My first short story



I thought this short story of mine, written in the mid-1980's, was lost for good. But then it was found and now I'm presenting this never published tale here at    A LINE A DAY just in time for Valentine's Day 2021. 
                                   


                                           Lost Love

By Roy L. Pickering Jr.

 

 

Charles walked slowly down the street with a look on his face that displayed the sadness filling his heart.  His grey eyes, which seemed to be fighting a losing battle against pent up tears, glanced around in all directions.  He was searching, as fruitless as he knew it was, for the love of his life, a life that would not be worth the effort of maintaining without her by his side.  He had loved her more than anyone or anything, and thought she felt the same way about him.  But when he awoke this morning she was gone, with no explanation and for no reason Charles could think of.  Now he was filled with despair.  The only thing that could lift his spirits would be to find Shirley, and he would go to the ends of the earth to bring her back where she belonged.

     He first met her three years earlier.  Charles had gone out to buy food for his fish, and as he browsed the pet store she caught his attention.  Never had a pair of eyes so captivated him.  Ordinarily shy and reserved, usually slow to take any action unless it was mulled over a thousand times, Charles suddenly felt as impetuous as the guys in those commercials for deodorant who just had to buy flowers for a beautiful woman walking by.  Call it love at first sight if you must, because from that moment on, Charles knew Shirley must be his. 

     The memory of their first encounter triggered many others.  Evenings in front of the television watching Monday night football or their favorite sitcoms; moonlit strolls along the pier; the look on Shirley’s face when he came home from work; the two of them falling asleep side by side after an exhausting day; being awakened by her in the morning with the covers all on her side.  A smile crept onto Charles' face as he thought of the many good times they had shared.  But then he remembered the undeniable fact that she was gone, and his smile disappeared.

     Charles did not have any close relationships other than with Shirley.  Even as a child when life had yet to impose the rules of adulthood, he had been a loner.  Whether this was by his choice or that of others, he was never quite sure.  What he did know for certain was that he and other people simply did not get along.  

     After meeting Shirley, he realized how empty and unfulfilling his life had been.  As a youth, he would go to school and then come straight home.  He never knew his father and his mother paid him minimal attention, even on the rare occasions when she was home.  She was usually off on a date with whichever guy was currently at the head of the line.  After doing his homework, Charles would either watch television or read.  The characters he viewed or read about constituted his social circle.  He rarely had the nerve to talk to girls from school, despite how hard the pangs of puberty pushed him to.  On the few occasions he was able to muster up the necessary courage, nervousness caused him to talk like a blubbering idiot.  The time he attempted to get a date for the prom was a particularly horrifying experience.  There was only one girl he had really spoken to in high school, and the main reason he did was because she lived only a couple of houses away from him. They often left for school at the same time, and she couldn't go for more than ten conscious minutes without talking to someone.  As school was a fifteen minute walk away, she would engage Charles in idle banter about her latest outfit.   

     He was not particularly attracted to Cindy, as she was overweight and over-pimpled.  And he sure as hell didn't want to be surrounded by a bunch of people whom he disliked and vice versa.  But since he did not want to be stigmatized as the guy who couldn't even get a date for the prom, he decided to ask Cindy.

     Charles started off on the wrong foot by accidentally spilling his soda on her blouse.  After that, the right foot never made an appearance. 

     Life after graduation from high school consisted of going to a job where he had to put up with the grinding monotony of an assembly line, then returning home to his television set and his science fiction fantasy books. 

     Shirley was like a breath of fresh air to an inmate in solitaire.  For the first time there was more to come home to than just an empty, loveless room.  Charles began to see that life was not something one had to trudge through reluctantly, but a thing of beauty to be enjoyed and cherished.  And now she was gone.

     He turned right on Sycamore Road in order to walk past the park.  This had been their favorite place.  So many hours had been spent here lounging on a blanket, catching some rays, tossing a Frisbee around, enjoying a nice picnic lunch.   

     Shirley had stormed into his life like a brilliant beam of light, illuminating everything around him.  Then, just as quickly, she abandoned him to darkness.  How could she just leave without any kind of warning?  What had he done wrong?  Charles did not want to revert back to his former way of living, but he couldn't see how to go on without Shirley being there to love him, and be loved by him. 

     They had had a perfect relationship.  She was also always there to lend a sympathetic ear when he felt like the world was collapsing on him.  Charles could tell just by the way Shirley looked at him that she understood, and this alone was reassurance enough. 

     Perhaps she did not need him as much as he did her.  Maybe she had outgrown him.  It may have been that only he gained anything from the relationship, while she was merely biding her time.

     Shirley had given him the greatest gift that could be given to someone.  She had taught him how to love.  But then she took that love away.  Better to have never received it in the first place.  How could she do this to him?  After all they had meant to each other.  Didn't she have any feelings?  Didn't she know how much he cared for her?  Their relationship had not been a one way street, he had given to her as well.  He had given all he had to give.

     His feelings of remorse started to turn into anger.  How dare she walk out on him?  How dare she hurt him more than he had ever been hurt before?  What a bitch!

     Then he spotted what he had feared he would never see again, causing his heart to give a jump.  Could it be?  Was that Shirley about fifty yards ahead?  There was only one way to find out.  Charles started running as fast as he could.  Oblivious to everything around him, he narrowly avoided being hit by a car as he dashed across the street.  He turned the corner and saw the object of his chase casually walking down the street.  "Shirley!" he called out.  She turned around.  It really was her.

     The two of them ran towards each other.  The second they came together, Charles pulled her into his arms and held on tightly, almost afraid to let go.  "I can't believe I found you Shirley." Tears of joy fell from his eyes.  "You don't know how much I missed you."

     Shirley looked at him with those big brown eyes that had drawn Charles to her on the day they met, forever changing his life.  His temporary anger was wiped away by the incredible euphoria now washing over him.  "I'm never going to let you get away again", he said. 

With that, Charles put the leash he had been carrying around Shirley's neck and walked his dog home. 










Tuesday, January 19, 2021

A New Start at a New Start