Tag Archives: beauty

Mr. Valentor

 [a short story by   ~burning woman~  ]

Ada Muir has just finished with the bathroom and exits into the hall leading into the kitchen when there is a knock at the door of her small, clean suburban bungalow.

She thinks, ‘What the…at eight AM?’

She looks through the peep hole and sees a man with what appears to be a roll of papers under his arm. She opens the inner door a wedge, “Yes?”

“Ah, good morning ma’am. My name is Valentor. My company has just expanded its readership into this area and I represent the Venus Monthly, a magazine with a varied theme, but dealing mostly with stories emanating from this system. If you could give me a few minutes of your time, I could introduce you to our feature article of the month.”

“I’m sorry, but do I look like I was born last night?” She replies a bit huffed. “I don’t have time for this nonsense.”

“Oh, ma’am, time need not become an issue. If you don’t have any of yours, I’m entitled to let you use some of mine, within reason. Shall we say, a half hour of my time for free and you take out a one year subscription to Venus Monthly.”

Ada Muir, as it happens, is a part-time reporter for the Rosedale Herald and she realizes this cockamamie story could have potential. Plus she is totally taken by his rich, deep, bass voice. She unlatches the inner door.

“C’mon in, Mr. Valentor.”

He walks in. She sees that he is very tall, possibly the tallest man she’s ever met. Well dressed and under the sharp suit, she senses a body of perfect proportions. The face is chiseled but not harsh. She is particularly attracted to his lips and his ears… she gets a sudden urge to kiss him and chew on his earlobes.

‘What’s the matter with me!’ she remonstrates to herself as she smiles at her visitor.

“Nothing is the matter with you, Ada,” says Valentor. “I have that effect on most earth women. It’s called “sex appeal” and one of the reasons I’ve been given charge of this sector. It’s enjoyable for me. I hope it will prove as enjoyable for you.”

“You know my name; read my thoughts?”

“Yes, of course. Why? Should I not? Is this a breach of protocol?”

“I can’t read yours so it isn’t really fair, is it.”

“I don’t understand ‘fair’ in thought exchanges. Whether I read your thoughts or not doesn’t stop you from having them.”

“What if I thought something, well, too personal, or critical of your appearance, and such like?”

“What of it? It makes no difference. They’re still your thoughts. Have them.”

“What if they hurt your feelings in some ways?”

“That is of no concern of yours, they’re my feelings, not yours. What I do with my feelings is my business. Speaking of business, can I show you this month’s copy of our magazine? Cover page here, that’s the Crab Nebula, awesome isn’t it?”

“Are we on your time now?”

“Yes.”

“When you leave it’ll still be eight o’clock my time?”

“Yes, of course. That was the understanding.”

Ada shakes her head. “Oh my, so sorry but in all this I forgot to offer you something to drink, to eat? Do you drink coffee, Mr. Valentor?”

“Yes, I have developed a taste for coffee. It is pleasant. I will have a coffee.”

She deftly slips a pod in the machine, slides a cup under the spout and flips down the actuator, pressing ‘medium’ to be safe.

“Cream and sugar?”

“Sugar only please. Two lumps.”

“They taught you to say that, didn’t they, your trainers before you came here? I knew it, I just knew it!” She half laughs, half smiles. She smells a story; she’s on track.

“I don’t understand. If you knew it, why did you ask?”

“It’s a different kind of knowing. Never mind. Have you ever tried your coffee black only, or with cream, or cream and sugar?”

“Those choices were not included in my training manual. I was not made aware of their availability.”

“Are you an AI Mr. Valentor? Artificial Intelligence? A robot? Are you human?”

“All of the above, of course, but I am also Pleiadian, primarily from source.”

“You mean from the actual Pleiades star system? Now you’re pulling my leg.”

“I would never do such a thing! Such a pointless and cruel thing to do to anyone; particularly to someone as pretty as yourself. What made you think I would pull your leg off? Why? You have such crude notions of relationships here.”

“I didn’t mean that literally! It’s just what we say when we think someone’s lying to us.”

“Why not just say, ‘You’re lying to me?'”

“Never mind. Here’s your coffee. Tell me if it is to your taste.”

“How could it not be? I don’t understand how it could be to someone else’s taste when I’m the one ingesting it.”

“Forget it!”

“That is an order I cannot comply with. I am designed to remember everything.”

Ada puts her head in her hands, “Oh, God! This conversation is becoming anal!”

“I am not God and you have no need to pray to me. Do not be worried, you will get your magazine, I assure you, and on time each month. To clarify, we were not having an anal conversation, we were definitely using our mouths.”

“Arrrgh!”

“Would you like a glass of warm water to help clear your throat impediment?”

“I don’t have a… Look, if we’re going to get along, will-you-please-not-comment-on-everything-I-say?”

“That seems quite impol…”

“Shut up! Just shut up, Mr. Valentor.”

Ada knows that she is now quite flushed and before she even realizes what she is doing, she stands up abruptly. Facing her alien salesman, looking down at his gorgeous face she drops her robe. Valentor looks up at the nude twenty three years, eight months, three days and thirteen hours of age Earthian female and thinks, ‘this I understand.’ He stands also, makes his clothing vanish and lets Ada get a full frontal view of his anatomy, waits while she tries to gather her thoughts, knowing what would come next.

Ada impulsively throws herself into the man’s embrace and hugs him to feel all of him. She then backs away, takes his hand and leads him to her bed.

It is a good thing the neighbours had already gone to work and their kids to school. If they had heard Ada’s cries they would have been certain someone was killing her and likely have called 911. The aftermath of an armed RCMP intervention would definitely have made a colourful story, though probably not one Ada would have cared to read about, much less watch on the evening local TV news.

There’s a lesson for us ladies here. Watch out for those tall, dark and irresistibly handsome time-traveling Pleiadian magazine salesmen. They’re a lot more than they at first appear. Just sayin’!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Golden Boy

(*** for Vidhika at “The Grateful Dead” blog***)
   [a Short Story – by Sha’Tara]

It had all happened so fast.  Maybe because everything spoke of perfection, a dovetailing of events that happen only in fairy tales.  It was my fairy tale.  That perfect Summer.
 
I probably better go back a bit and explain.  Our family, that is my mom, my dad and me, well, we were what is called dysfunctional.  My dad is an alcoholic and an abuser.  Even as I write this, and admit it to myself I cringe inside.  I can still see him come into my room those nights when mom worked the night shift at the hospital.  I can still smell his breath and feel his hands on me as he tugged at my nightgown while I tried to hold on to it, curling up and crying, begging him to leave me alone.  But every time I had to let him or get beaten.  If I got beaten I lied to mom about the bruises.  I was so sure all of this was my fault and if she found out she’d hate me or beat me up and maybe send me away to a foster home or something.
 
But then he beat her too and she fought back.  She’s a nurse and you could say she’s pretty tough.  She kicked him out of our lives finally, divorced him with an injunction against him not to contact us.  He tried it once.  He went to jail.  I don’t know where he is now and hope I never find out.  I’m still afraid of him; afraid he’ll show up one day, even though I’m now living on my own.
 
After the divorce things got better for mom and I.  I told her then what dad had done to me and we became, well, more like two women who share their pain in understanding rather than mother and daughter.  You will say, she should have known, but I think she didn’t want to face it then.  I was only fifteen then but my life had made me mature in some ways, though in others I trailed behind.  In school I did well and I had a dream to become a doctor. 
 
Mom had saved up some money and some vacation time and after I turned sixteen she decided to spend a whole month in a cabin at a popular lake near the mountains.  Kind of a birthday gift for you, she said.  We took only what we could pack and took the bus to Chanesville, then a smaller tour bus to the resort on lake Chitsaw.  Our cabin was back in the trees, a bit old and moldy smelling at first, but it was far enough we didn’t have to hear the jetskis and power boats that continually tore up the waterfront.
 
The beach was perfect.  Golden sand under a golden sun.  I tan easily and within a couple of days I felt pretty good walking around in one of my two bikinis.  I had a blue and a pink one and sometimes I mixed the colours.  Within a week I knew almost everybody and had a couple of girl friends from my school.
 
I saw him during the second week and I fell in love.  No, not just infatuated, but deeply and madly in love.  It was as if he had materialized from inside my dreams.  Tall, handsome, beautiful of face with shoulder-length blond hair.  I wasn’t the only one who noticed him, of course, and soon he was the talk of our circle.  We dared each other to go over and talk to him.  Sometimes he walked alone along the shore and it seemed to me that the sand became even more golden after he touched it. 
 
I decided I’d risk it and waited until he took one of his walks by himself and walked to the water in an intersecting path.  When he was within a couple of yards from me I bent over pretending to be inspecting something in the sand.  He came over and asked what I was looking at.  I lied and said I thought I’d seen a green bug burrowing in.  He laughed.  Introduced himself: Dean.  I did likewise: Shauna.  We walked together.  I, lost in a lucid dream.  He, probably looking me over as men do.  It often made me uncomfortable but with him, well, I would have danced naked for him if he’d asked me!
 
D’you have someone?  No I said.  Neither do I.  There’s a party at our cabin tomorrow evening.  I’ll come by your place and escort you, if you want to come.  Sure I said.  It’s number forty-three, up there in the trees.  Yeah, I know, he said.  I’ve watched you before and I followed you yesterday. 
 
Well, with that my feelings went off the chart.  The rest is just too predictable, right out of a bad novel.  He came to our cabin and I introduced him to mom.  She didn’t take to him the way I’d expected.  She took me into her room and closed the door.  You watch yourself, Shauna, she said.  This boy makes me uncomfortable.  Maybe it’s just me, being your mom and seeing you go out on a date like that.  Promise you’ll be home by midnight and that you won’t walk back alone?
 
Yes mom, yes.  Promises are easy to make when your mind, your heart, your whole being is somewhere else.  Walking with Dean was like floating in the air.  Everything was wonderful, beautiful.  The stars were brighter than usual.  The air was cleaner, sweeter.  The party was great.  When most of the people had wandered off, the kids to “midnight swims” and the adults back to their own places, I found myself practically alone with Dean.  Come upstairs, I’ll show you my room, he said.  I felt a twinge of something – a warning?  Mom’s words tried to make me stop.  But I couldn’t.  He was my golden lover. 
 
Yeah, we made love.  Wildly, passionately.  He had experience.  He drove me crazy.  I lost myself in him and finally fell asleep in his arms.  He woke me up just before midnight, reminding me of my promise to my mother to be home by then.  We got dressed and he walked me home.  I was still in that mood you get when you walk out of a movie theatre when the romance has triumphed.  Dizzy with love.
 
I spent most of the rest of that vacation with Dean.  Inseparable, we were.  Afterwards, we talked every night on the phone.  It was long distance but mostly he made the calls so it didn’t cost me much.  Then I missed my period.  I knew I was pregnant.  I couldn’t tell mom and didn’t know what to do.  So stupid.  I just forgot the damned pills.  Just figured it couldn’t happen until Dean and I were married, or living together, you know?  I told Dean.  Dead silence on the other end of the phone.  Dean?  Yeah, well, you going to get an abortion, aren’t you?  They’re not legal here and I can’t tell mom.  What do we do?  I asked stupidly.  I don’t think it’s a question of what we do, babe.  It’s not really my problem, is it.  You have to get an abortion.
 
I must have passed out.  When I came to, the phone was talking to me.  I hung up and tried to wake up from a nightmare.  But it was like before with dad.  It was no nightmare.  Real.  This was real.  Dean dumped me.  Then mom noticed and after much crying, I told her.  She was real mad at first, said I should have told her and she could have made the arrangement.  Stupid, you’re so stupid.  Now it’s too late.  What are your plans?  She asked.  My plans?  I don’t have any plans!  Dean and I were going to move in together eventually, get married.  Now I’m alone again, just like when you worked the night shift and dad molested me.  What can I do mom? 
 
You have to give my mom credit.  She didn’t stay mad, or in blame, or denial.  She asked me, what has life taught you so far when you have a problem?  And I told her, I have to find my own solution to it.  It’s my problem and I must deal with it.  And I want my baby I said suddenly with a new kind of passion I’d never had before. 
 
I continued in school until it got too embarrassing.  Took correspondence courses put together for girls in my situation.  Mom supported me.  She attended when I had my baby.  At first, well, he was just a typical shriveled up little thing with a loud mouth.  But as he grew I saw the spitting image of Dean in him.  He is my golden boy and I love him.  He’s the legacy of my lost pleasure and happiness as a stupid young girl and he’s my joy now, my life. 
 
I’m nineteen now, soon I’ll be twenty and Shane is three.  I moved away from home last year, just to be alone with my son.  It feels right to do this by myself and for him to know who his real mother is.  Mom was spending too much time with him thinking I needed time to myself.  I don’t need that much.  I like my work – I work in a hair dressing shop where they train you.  I like working with people and pleasing them with the right words, the right touch and of course, the right hairstyle.  We live in a basement bachelor suite in a run-down old quadplex but it’s a good place.  The owners live upstairs; an old Jewish couple who adore Shane.  They baby-sit for me, most of the time for nothing.  What can I say more?  My life and my world are good.
 
The other day as I was getting on the bus I noticed a stretch limo stopping on the other side of the street by a Starbucks.  I smiled – I always do at those ostentatious ugly vehicles that have only one message for the rest of us: Hey look at me, I’m rich.  Dumb.  Then I saw a man step out as the chauffeur opened the door.  Tall, handsome, blond.  It was Dean.  I know it was.  My heart was pounding in my chest and I had to grab the back of the seat to keep my balance.  I looked again but he was gone and the bus pulled out.  It’s then I realized how good my life really is.  It’s mine.  Dean could have been a part of the wonder we created in our foolishness.  But he chose not to and left the entire fortune in my hands and my heart.
 
When Shane is old enough I’ll let him go and give him his life too.  We make our own way in life; we don’t depend on others or belong to others.  Then life is truly good. 

The Sea

                a short story – by Sha’Tara

His greatest remembered impression was of the sea, how it fascinated him. It was not only alive, but relative to the rest of his world, very big. It was always there and it had moods so deep, his heart was always touched by them: moods that frightened him when he stood on the rocky shore and it trembled as waves many times his height would rush at him raging, then sweep back hungrily sucking every loose particle of matter they could grasp; moods that calmed him when a silver moon rose slowly, painting a shimmering trail of soft-hued light over the waters of a windless night.

The sea had many other moods, not nearly as extreme in either terror or beauty, but moods he could identify with. He would strip and dive off a smoothly rounded stone and float among the debris, pretending to be but another piece of half-life the sea had found and tucked between her breasts to be put to sleep by the rising and falling of her tidal breath. He loved her deep laughter as she chased herself through crevices among the stones.

Yes, he loved the sea more than anything else he had discovered on his world. And he wondered why. What was it about the sea that attracted him so, even, and perhaps especially, in her madness? Who was the sea? He knew if he could answer that, he’d know who he was.

He wasn’t the only one who liked the sea. Many came, for as many reasons. They sat on the sand, swam in the cove, or took small crafts out when the weather was calm. He remembered once, asking another much like himself, what brought him to the sea.   “My parents.” was the reply. “No, I mean, what brings you here?” “I told you.” “But, what do you like about it?” “I like watching other people, especially the girls sunbathing or swimming.   I like looking for stuff in tidal pools; throwing sand at the anemones. And I like swimming when the water’s warm enough.”

He opened his mouth about to rephrase his question, then stopped, realizing he was not going to get the answer he was looking for. He wanted to ask, “What calls you here?” but understood intuitively the other had not been called. What he felt for the sea, these others did not feel. They came to get, and to take. He was alone on this shore. Only he could hear the music of the great oceans all the way around his world.   Only he could hear sea birds who glided far away from land, for months on end, crying, calling to one another.   Only he could hear the whales telling their sad story. For they too had found they were alone and the sea could not protect nor save them.

For a new sea had come forth and was covering his world. This was not a sea that gave life. It was full of feet that trampled everything; full of hands that grasped, choked and killed; full of mouths that ate and ate but were never sated. The pieces of this sea looked like him and he would wonder at times if he was of the same material, but when he saw the mouths open and eating their own children, he knew then it wasn’t so.

He knew the history of this new sea. It had begun as an accidental intrusion in a very recent past, had grown into an invasion and become a cancer, a destructive force without any sense of purpose. Nothing of his world was safe from the greedy motions of this chaotic mass. Not even the mass itself, for he saw it had no mind of its own, yet moved as if it was the only legitimate force on his world. It mindlessly absorbed everything it came in contact with, including parts of itself.

As he sat by the sea, he noticed the stars gradually fading from his sight. Less and less of them could be seen. They weren’t being extinguished, he knew that. But they were using the sad blanket of effluents created by the cancerous sea to hide their faces from his world. Even the greatest stars, with memories that spanned billions of years, would no longer look upon his world.

He noticed the songs of the deep changing year by year. The whales’ mourning was ending. The great birds no longer flew over the tossing waves for too many had died. And the stories brought forth from the oceans spoke of death; of rivers of poisonous waters draining from the lands, or oozing from broken ships. And the sea spoke of sands red with blood, of raging fires and billowing black smoke… and sometimes the fires burned over the skin of the sea and he felt her pain and it was his pain.

“What should I do?” he wondered. “What can I do? I have the language of the ancient sea, but not of this new sea. I do not feel its rhythm. I cannot enter into its moods, for they are savage, always at odds with one-another.   I belong to the old way, yet have the form of the new. Why?   Where are those like me? Are they all gone now? Am I the last? Or am I the first?”

The old sea, his mother, rose from her bed and extending a giant arm to his perch, swept him within herself and holding him firmly, cradled him to sleep.  

Pictures from Latest Kayak run on the River

Thought it’s time to post a few more pictures from a mid-summer kayak paddle on the River…  This was taken on the fifteenth – a week ago.  Enjoy!

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Immature red shafted flicker, you can still see the scruffy baby feathers – yes, a bit shaky but hand holding in a kayak, pointing up in the sky’ll do that at high magnification…! 

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Hope river reflections in the morning – and you can already see and sense those fall colors developing.  

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River otter – Hope river – actual caption: “What cha lookin’ at?” 

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Red barn – this is an encore: I just love this scene. I have a special folder of just “red barn” images taken over the years passing by this “Kodak moment” farm…

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Turkey vulture… either cooling off or just showing off.

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Lesser yellowlegs (large sandpiper) feeding on the banks of the Hope river.  Notice the flattened shape of the leg bones – these birds can actually swim if they are forced to. 

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Receding waters on a back channel of the Fraser river – every bit as wonderful to be in this as it looks, perhaps even better. 

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Mid-summer Fraser: expanding gravel bars, receding waters.  As I never wear shoes (and usually nothing else either – blushing) while kayaking, here’s where you are truly thankful for tough soles and feet. 

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Hi there, excuse me, uh, sorry a bit drunk.  I seem to have gotten myself tangled up here, can you help me?  No?  OK, well, have a nice day… 

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Picturesque landscape-Fraser river channel with Mt. Cheam in background – typical Chilliwack view.

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Typical gravel bar grasses

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mini “sunflowers” (they’re not, actually, but I don’t know what they really are – relatives of the dandelion?) blowing in the wind

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Camera follies – some sort of goofy setting that lets the camera have fun with landscapes

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More camera follies. Next generation won’t even need a photographer. Just send the camera out by itself to get pictures… !

Some New Pictures from the Hope and Fraser Rivers – July 24th and 26th

Many years ago, a client who then owned a small second hand store here in Chilliwack gave me a used Powershot (Canon) camera for some work I’d done she was thankful for beyond what I charged.  The camera served me well for many years but finally broke down a couple of months ago.  I sadly had it recycled and decided it was time to upgrade to a new Powershot.  A model SX 720 HS – a pretty impressive little camera for the non-professional.  Now I get to take pretty decent pictures of wildlife and macro shots of plants, flowers and insects.

The following pictures are some results of my efforts in learning how to manipulate this little computer.  It’s got a 40X  optical zoom lens, plus very good digitally enhanced zoom up to 160X.  Enjoy.    (PS: if any of these pictures interest you and you want to use them for whatever purpose, please feel free to do so – all permission granted… 🙂 )

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Blue Heron on the Hope River

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Daytime moon

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Blue Heron on an arm of the Fraser River about 100X zoom shot

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Water plaintain(?) – Hope River

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Female Mallard enjoying the sun

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Fraser River back waters starting their summer drop

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Pearly everlastings – Fraser river banks

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Thistles – Fraser River

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Some colourful Fraser river gravel bar rocks and a piece of driftwood

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Yeah! The gulls are returning again. Flight of California gulls returning to their winter feeding grounds on the River

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The Fraser river in full regalia and summer glory!

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Two smiling young mallards swimming along but ever watchful

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Blue damselfly on a blade of grass – Hope river shallows

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Skittish solitary or spotted sandpiper on the Hope river

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Immature rufous hummingbird on a honeysuckle branch

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Red dragonfly – I wanted to emphasize the beauty of her wings

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A spider web in an Alberta spruce: this spider’s on crack!

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A Western crow on a distant snag giving me the eye

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The red barn – on the little Hope river