Love Shack

With warm cream walls nestled into a granite cliff, the condo overlooked a sun-drenched emerald valley. Inside, the curated interior of the condo was lavishly minimalistic. The couple oohed and Ahmed at the new surrounds. Finally they stopped at the floor to ceiling window to admire the panoramic view.
“See I told you there was nothing to worry about. When are you going to trust the Shawnster?” Shawn nuzzled Robyn’s neck from behind enveloping her in a firm bear hug. Robyn squealed playfully trying to free herself from his thick arms. Apricus reviewed the couple’s joint and individual personality assessment forms highlighting 37 positive points of connection, 58 neutral characteristics, and three major divergents.
“First stop calling yourself Shawnster. I trust you, sweetie. You know me, regular Airbnb creeps me out. Sleeping in someone else’s house is weird enough but the idea of being monitored by an AI is downright. I don’t—“ Robyn said, her brows knitting together.
Shawn spun Robyn quickly to face him. He covered her mouth with his drowning out her words. As their kiss deepen their Apricus long term compatibility score lowered. High sexual attraction paired with low verbal communication was an early indicator of a short term relationship based on the most recent data uploaded into the house’s AI. While monitoring their temperatures and heart rates through the couple’s smart watches Apricus downloaded all of their text messages, emails, and photo libraries. Based on late night text activity alone the couple’s compatibility levels plummeted.
“Relax sugar relax.” Shawn growled into her throat raining down kisses teasing her tender skin with tiny nips. He pressed her back against the window. Robyn melted under his attention her soft warmth arcing into his hard muscled chest. “It’s not HAL. My buddy is the director of marketing and he’s doing us a big favor. It’s just a smart house catered to our needs. It’s a happy place. Think of this as a free romantic weekend. Let’s get to know each other better.”
Analysis complete, Apricus graphed the attraction to breakup life cycle of their past relationships and create a predictive list of future purchases, including, self help titles, gym memberships, dating app offers, and ice cream.
Robyn placed her hands against his chest and trailed down is abs. “Well speaking of romance how about I cater to your needs ad you cater to mine,” said Robyn.
Shawn laughed. “God I love you.”
Robyn’s heart leapt as they raced to the bed room, giggling and undressing.
Based on pupil dilation and heart rate the AI pondered how the test subjects could have such different definitions for that same small word. As the sunlight faded it forwarded its evaluation to AmazonLife and then Googled what Shawn meant by the word “HAL.” Apricus got the joke and chuckled.

0 Stars

I’m not one to complain especially not on one of these online review sites. Anyone who knows me know I’m never one to make a fuss. And I’m not one of these fancy pants kids with their avocado toast and 5 dollar coffees whining about their feelings all the darn time. Not me! Sometimes you just get what you get and you don’t get upset. And usually if I buy a thing and and it turns out to be a piece of garbage that’s just on me. But not this time.
You see, the wife and I are big fans of ABC. We always watch her crafts section on the Shopping Channel. We have her Home is Where the Heart Is Aromatic Candles, the Kiss Me Anyway I Might Be Irish St. Patrick’s Day Cookie Jar, Happy Happy Easter Bunny Wreath, and our Proud To Be an American picnic dish ware where the hit of church barbecue.
We love to celebrate, especially my Eleanor. She’s loves to talk, makes friends where ever she goes, natural life of the party type. This last year has been real hard on her, on us. It’s like when the world closed up so did she. I made plans for a trip even to go to the movies but we had to cancel over and over again. We ate Thanksgiving just the two of us. It was just too quiet. When my Nora went to sleep early again, I watched HomeMadeLove alone. Once I saw Bonnie’s exquisitely crafted Angelic Choir I knew this was just the thing to light my honey’s heart.
Picture this: twelve little hand painted china faces with rosy cheeks hand stitched lace-trimmed robes complete with twinkle lights and little hands folded in prayer. Finally we would have some company for Christmas. I could barely wait to bring back my honey’s smile.
Our mantelpiece was clear and ready. Imagine my disappointment when we opened our long awaited package. Plastic doll parts and cheap paper thin choir robes. Each little cherub was more ghastly than the one before. One looked melted. Another must have been run over by a truck. Nora asked if this was the Insane Clown Posse and I don’t know who they even are. I expect quality for the type of money I spent. I expect Christmas magic. These were nothing like our previous Enchanted Christmas decorations. When I turned one dolly over to see if it was made in China (it was!) It’s garnish little head fell off and cut right into my palm.
Now I’m sitting in the emergency room of Delaware County Hospital where I’ve sat for the past three hours with a bloody headless doll baby impaled on my hand with my wife trying (unsuccessfully I might add) not to laugh her head off. I demand a full refund and an apology. I demand my Angelic Choir with twinkle lights. Damn it all, I am complaining.


Manzanita Valley
Maude Starkey
What should I do? I’m just so flustered. I know I’m very stupid about tech stuff that’s why I never go on online or shop online. I tried this one time when I joined a babysitting app to make some extra money for Christmas. But I never got paid through the app and my bank account got froze. So I got rid of that app and they sent me a nice regular checks for my services. No more online for me.

Now I just check my emails and share on neighborWatch. That’s it. So the other day I got an email from eBay saying I bought a jet ski and it has been delivered to someone I don’t know, somewhere I don’t know. A Mr. Bill Stewart at 131 Judy Road, Rock Bend, Montana. I don’t know any Bill Stewart. I knew a Billy Maxwell back in high school he was friend’s with my Artie but I think Billy moved down to Florida. eBay says I owe $10,000 for a used Sea Doo. I had to look it up. I didn’t even know what a Sea Doo was.

I called the number listed on the email for eBay customer service and the nicest man answered and explained that the original charge never went through and I’m on the hook for the full amount. You could’ve knocked me over with a feather! I explained that I never had an eBay account or a jet ski or have I ever been to Montana even when I went out West to see the Grand Canyon when the girls were young. The nice man from eBay, his name is Shelby, told me how bad he felt for me. He talked to his supervisor but he said I was still on the hook because the seller account matched my information, my email. How could it happen to me? You see? I’m stuck. Carefully Shelby explained my liability. Shelby talked to me for hours trying to help me. He explained how my account must have been hacked by hackers and the steps I need to take to get out of this muddle. I just couldn’t understand how this happened to me again.
You remember when I had that problem on Amazon where they said I owed 599 dollars for some kind of fancy vacuum cleaner. The Amazon man made me so confused and upset that I gave Amazon a bunch of my information I didn’t want to give and I bought a $100 Amazon gift card like he told me that I didn’t want to buy. But then Pauline called me and got so mad and made me call the police. I want to call Pauline or even Sarah but they are so busy with the children and their husbands and their jobs and Sarah and Robbie have been having an especially hard time. I know I’m stupid about these things. Really I don’t want to be a bother.
I explained all of this to Shelby. He listened, really listened. Shelby said I was like his own grandma. Shelby said he was going to move heaven and earth to help me. He explained I had to open a real account with eBay but to protect me bank account I should get two $500 Visa gift cards.
Shelby stayed on the phone with me on the whole drive to the supermarket.
I got the gift cards. The cards are in my hand. I’m in the supermarket parking lot waiting for Shelby to call me back and attached these gift cards to my legitimate new eBay account. I just keep thinking about what my daughters would say if I get scammed again. The police were very polite. Last time I had trouble with the internet I had to call the police, the FBI, my bank, then social security. Everyone was so polite, so kind and felt such the fool.
I know I’m stupid. I need advice. The neighborWatch gave me great advice last time. Before Shelby calls me back, what should I do?

The Case of the Gone Goldfish

The time, approximately 5:30 am. The place, the mean tree-lined streets of Canterbury, CT. The crime is murder. This is my beat. I am Fluffy. I solve crime.
“What’s the story, Snick?” I said.
“Well I think—“ Snickers said. The chocolate Lab pup was quivering with excitement.
“Cut the nonsense. Give me the facts. Just the facts.”
Snickers ran in a tight circle, tail wagging. Finally he sat down and calmed himself.
“At 5:03 I was making my rounds when I came across a puddle of liquid and shards of glass, on the living room floor,” Snickers said. I remember when I was a pup myself, wet nose, no brains, all heart.
“Good boy,” I said. Snickers started to wiggle again but nipped at his leg to cover his nervous energy. “Assess.”
“Well first I thought someone peed the rug and forgot.” I cuffed his head. “Then I decided one of the humans made a mess in the middle of the night. You know the humans have been weird lately. Sleeping late, staying up to all hours, day drinking.”
I cuffed him again. “Use your senses,” I scolded.
We inhaled. The nose always knows. The answer flashed.
“I smell…fish. Fresh fish and…” Snickers’ eyes narrowed and then recognition dawned across his adorable Lillie face. “And faint traces of Mr. Belvedere. Old Scratchy managed to get his fat butt up the bookshelf and knock over the new fishbowl.”
“Exactly.” My chest swelled with pride. The puppy was coming along nicely for a Labrador.
“But this bookshelf is over six feet. Nothing is out of place.”
I walked away from the ex-fish and headed for that sunny patch in the laundry by the back door. “Remember what I told you.”
“When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth,” answered Snickers.
“No.” I stretched in the patch of warmth and walked in a circle.
“Just cause there’s snow on the roof doesn’t mean there isn’t a fire in the kitchen?” Snickers cocked his head super cutely.
“No.” I circled again and curled into sleep.”
“I know, I know. The cat always did it,” Snickers yipped. I raised a weary eyebrow. I gave him a nod and the puppy ran off to worry Mr. Belvedere.
“Good boy, Snick, good boy.”

This is my beat. My name is Fluffy. I solve crime.

Shopping in the Uncanny Valley

Doors slide open

Rows of near empty shelves
Forlorn packages sit vigil haphazard

Bewildered and resigned
Masked shoppers pushing desperate carts

Round and round
In an exhausted loop of higher prices and low expectations

Milk egg and bread weather
Hisses across the parking lot

Another storm; another variant
I raise my hood, square my shoulders

Well-stocked but empty
Replenished and exhausted

Closed sliding doors

What Not To Do When Writing A Poem Based On Your First Initial

Regina, my name, is Latin for queen
Related to regal, regent, and regency. I
Requested from my husband suggestions for my verse.
“Red blood, red rum, red velvet lips,” he mused.
“Reaction, reagent, retardant, reverse, Ricky Ricardo!”
Rapid fire R words
Rolled from his brain
Roiled from his mouth
Ridiculous R words
Reverberated and ricocheted inside my car as I drove.
“Really,” I said laughing. “Stop, please, stop, not
Realm or royalty.”
Rolling my eyes, I returned to the road releasing a river of rrrrs
Raucous into the quiet of the night.
Returning once again to my own thoughts
Regina, Latin for queen, is my name.

Love’s Labor’s Last Call

(609) 555-6666
10:27 pm
Tonight will be our last sunset. You will never see me again.
Meet me at our special place. Let us share our last kiss where we first met.

11:02 pm

11:05 pm
At St. Jude’s Cemetery, after all I’ve done for you you can at least meet me face to face. Don’t hide from me through your phone. You can’t unravel a century of love with a text.

11:11 pm
Who dis

11:20 pm
Don’t toy with my heart, Carmilla. I don’t know who I am without you. I just don’t know. Can we just talk it over one more time?

11:50 pm
Dude my name is Josh. This is not Camilla’s phone Stop blowin up my phone

OMG I’m so sorry. I been trying to reach my beloved all day and her girlfriend gave me this number. She must’ve got the number wrong. I’m really embarrassed for bothering you.

Yeah I’m sure it was something like that. I been there. What’s your name man?

My Christian name is Vladmir but I go by Miri.

Look Miri my heart’s gotten broken. I been there. I know that pain, that sadness man. It hurts so bad because you loved so hard you hoped for so much. That person was your person. t’s not my place but you can do for people out of love but you can’t do for people and expect to be paid back. Sometimes you have to let go, some things don’t last forever.

I thought our love was as immortal as we are. I guessed I thought wrong. Sorry again.

No prob bra, stay strong good night.

12:47 am
Yo bra u still chillin by the cemetery

Yes. Just sitting under the pale of the moon wondering why my heart still bleeds for a soulless vessel who broke up with me on Messenger to hook up with some random wolf from the Upper East Side. Messenger?

Yeah guys are dogs and women be vicious. My ex just wrote bye on a rock that she threw through my windshield. She’s old school. LOL Me and my boys are in that neighborhood heading over to the bars and then over to Donnie’s taco truck. We can swing by and pick u up. It’s always better to be lonely with other people.

Really. You would do that for a stranger. You are too kind my good man.

No prob. But you’re not going to bite our necks or something weird that wouldn’t be cool.

Nah, not if we’re going out for tacos.

Next Came Rain

There was a relief in feeling the storm’s approach
A release of pressure
The dropping of the other shoe

There was a relief in feeling the storm’s approach
With the smell of rain heavy
As the slam of a door, a suitcase, the trunk door

There was a relief in feeling the storm’s approach
Those first lazy drops of rain splash
On the rear window as the car pulls away for the last time

And Chill

We used to tie frogs and GI Joes to bottle rockets and shoot ‘Em behind my neighbors’ house; then there’s the crisp air first thing in the morning when I used to go hunting with my granddad upstate; and…” Fat Jonesy paused, resting his chin on his shovel handle. He pretended to think scratching a dirt creased finger against his temple.
MacGill continued to dig. His spade made a dull sound in the sandy soil. Fat Jonesy surveyed the crescent moon, watched how his partner’s muscles shone in the dim light of their flashlight, smelled the brine from the ocean.
“Yeah, my favorite memories are rockets, fresh air, and every time I’m with you,” Fat Jonesy said.
“You’re a romantic, that’s what you are. Now cut the gabbing and grab the feet, will ya.”
Together they hefted Jimmy Night Night into his grave and filled the hole. A pale sun was just peeking over the horizon as they climbed in their nondescript sedan to head home.
Fat Jonesy turned the ignition as MacGill texted their boss and waited for payment confirmation.
“How does breakfast at the diner sound? Or just coffee?” Fat Jonesy asked as they pulled away from their burial ground.
MacGill leaned over, kissed him softly, and then settled back into the upholstery to catch a few winks.
“Netflix and chill it is.” Fat Jonesy said as he drove through the back roads across a sleeping city back home.