A new author published a book the other week and has only sold enough copies to count on her fingers. She wanted to know how to get sales. Don’t we all? I swear we need a crystal ball and lots of magic.
But what if we had that crystal ball? What would we see? Do we really want to see into the future? Do we want to know what is coming?
My second mother was my best friend’s mom. I loved her dearly and fortunately she loved me. I don’t really know what prompted her to do it, but she went to see someone who read the future in the stars(?) by birthday, time, and place. Mom#2 came home from that peek into the future shaking. Everyone tried to convince her it was all hogwash, but apparently most of the predictions came true over the next fifteen years. The one that had upset her was that she would die a slow and very painful death. It hung over her head, and colored her life. I’m not sure exactly of her age at the time, but I’d surmise she was in her early 50’s when cancer consumed her.
Maybe if I could pick and choose what I could see, then I’d love to look into that crystal ball. Will I still be writing twenty years from now? Will people scoff up my new releases like solid gold being tossed their way? Is there a cabin in the woods someplace with my name on the deed or a condo overlooking the water?
Maybe a little fairy magic so that all my books hit the best seller lists. A little sprinkle here and there. And I wouldn’t have to worry about laundry or grass cutting. I’d dust the dog so she wouldn’t bark when my neighbors three doors away closed their car doors, but she’d sound like a hungry Doberman if a stranger came to my door.
Speaking of Dobermans, it reminds me of a funny joke and a not so funny incident. I’ll start with the joke.
A man broke into a house and was confronted with a parrot. The parrot looked at him and said, “Jesus is watching you.”
That un-nerved the burglar, but he kept going through the house with his flashlight and a knapsack, picking up things he wanted.
The parrot kept repeating Jesus is watching you and when the man had enough, he reach out for the parrot, figuring he’d kill it. The parrot wasn’t stupid so he flew a few feet away, each time inching closer to a beautiful open staircase that led to the second floor. And with each short flight, the burglar followed. When the parrot reached the stairs, he flew to a spot half way between the floors and sat on the handrail.
The parrot laughed. “Jesus is watching you. He’s at the top of the stairs.”
The burglar couldn’t resist shining the flashlight up the staircase. At the very top, stood a Doberman with teeth barred.
The parrot looked in the dog’s direction and then at the burglar. “Thought I was joking? I’m not. Sic’um, Jesus!”
(For my readers who don’t know our American slang, sic’um is a slur of the two words get and him or get and them.)
The other is an incident.
Many years, ago we lived in a small city that had a beautiful riverfront community of older homes, very similar to the one I often write about in my River City books. Well the one resident was elderly and her husband died leaving her alone to rattle around in a humongous house. Her children wanted her to move to a retirement village, but this was her home and she intended to stay. They begged and pleaded. She assured them that she could take care of herself. This was also back in the day when people only had a few phones in the house and they were attached to a wall jack.
The woman’s oldest son compromised and said he’d have an alarm system installed. She agreed and the alarm company was to come on Monday morning. But Saturday night, she sat alone in her bedroom grieving her recent loss. That’s when she heard an odd noise downstairs. Putting her feet into her slippers and pulling on her robe, she wiped away her tears, padded her way to the top of the stairs, and looked over the staircase into the foyer below. Everything appeared to be normal, but she heard what sounded like a drawer opening in the dining room. She listened hearing only the sound of her own breathing. Then she saw what seemed to be a change in the moonlight pattern in the dining room.
Far from a phone, any sound she would make would travel in the quiet house. She kept her wits, summoned her courage, found her voice, and called out, “Henry get the gun. I think we’ve got a burglar!”
Floor-to-ceiling window glass broke in the dining room. She returned to her room, picked up the phone, and called the police. She was lucky as there was a patrol car about four houses from her and another nearby. In just a few minutes, the community was surrounded and they caught the guy. He’d left a very bloody trail to a neighbors shed.
When the lead officer took the elderly woman’s statement, he asked what she did to scare the man. She told the officer what she had said. The officer patted her hand and said, “But ma’am, you just buried Henry the other day. Did you forget?”
“Oh, no! I knew that Henry was dead, and I also know there’s no gun in this house, but that burglar didn’t know any of that.”
The officer stayed with the woman until her son arrived. The officer assured the son that the woman was just fine living alone. And how do I know all that? I knew the woman, her son, and the officer.
And since there is no fairy dust. I’ll keep folding my laundry by myself and writing the next book hoping that maybe that one will skyrocket to the top of the charts and cause all my readers to seek out every book I’ve ever written. In the meantime, I’m thankful for all the folks who do read my books and love them. And if there is some horrible fate awaiting me, I don’t want to know about it. Life is far from perfect, but it’s really not that terrible. If there’s some super-duper wonderful thing around the corner, then let it be a fantastic surprise. I’ll just cross my fingers that no one ever attempts to break into my house, but if someone does, I’ll punch 9-1-1 into my cell phone and call for Henry to grab the gun.