Short Fiction

Week 402: I Love You, But…The Loved Week That Is; An Invitation and a Veterans Day Act of Remembrance

Latest Big Idea

I heard Stevie Nicks’ Edge of Seventeen for the hundred-thousandth time on the radio this week, and hated it a little more. There’s a Classic Rock station that is played in the warehouse near my workstation, and that despised tune intrudes on my thoughts an average of three times a week. Once upon a time actual human beings designed playlists, now they are done by programs. These programs are flat out poorly constructed for they only select material already heard to the saturation point. Same old same old. Never any happy surprise memories.

The situation got me thinking about why we hate certain songs by people we otherwise approve of. I like Stevie and Fleetwood Mac just fine, but I cannot stand Edge of Seventeen. There is no story behind that, I didn’t like it when it first came out in the 80’s and constant repetition has transformed that mild disdain to a fully realized hate. Something about the noise it makes, I guess.

My job requires very little brain power, which allows me to satisfactorily complete tasks and ponder other subjects at the same time. I expanded the notion further. I began to think of books I did not like by authors I do; objectionable films that star actors I normally enjoy and, of course, more songs. Naturally, a list was born which will close this post. And as always, audience participation is encouraged.

Moving On From the Latest Big Idea

This week, if you will, is the “eve” week of our eighth anniversary. We invite one and all to attend the festivities at this place and time next week. Along with regular business there will be some special features that are becoming anniversary traditions because when something gets to be eight, it usually has acquired traditions along the way. So, bring the kids, show up drunk, or dress as your favorite member of the Village People. There will be something for everyone.

Three site debuts happened this week, plus the quick first return of another and a man who will be hitting the unheard of 200 mark next month. (To put that in perspective, 200 LS posts laid end to end, at five per week, would cover ten months.)

Kristen A. Schmitt began the week in an unlikely fashion. The Memoir is a type of thing we see a lot of yet rarely accept. This proves that you can get anything over if it is well written enough. This piece certainly is that. Thoughtful and fresh, it is well worth the read.

We welcomed J. Bradley Minnick to the site on Tuesday. There is a great deal of scholarship evident in Generative/Iterative/Evaluative. It is to the author’s great credit that he communicates this fairly complicated piece with style and elan. It challenges the reader, which is needed more than ever, for such is a fading thing in the cyber-byte age. Plus it has a Pygmy Hedgehog–what’s not to like?

The great Tom Sheehan stands in the middle of the week like a great mountain. The Young Man Who Said He’d Never Eat Chocolates Again is one of the many that will lead Tom to the 200 summit next month. He also shattered the site record with 51 acceptances for this calendar year. And in honor of Remembrance Day (Veterans Day, US) on 11 November, we have an extra by Korean War vet Tom at the end of this post

Pete O’Connor just made his site debut and he is already back with his second, Seeds. As you all know, when you put out the literary submission shingle you attract a diverse group of artists. Mainly you listen for voices that have a singular quality to them. Such is the case here. And there are already two more in the line for this performer in the near future. Here, a tremendous, harrowing POV that keeps you off balance drives Pete’s follow up work.

It’s a great pleasure to welcome Midori P. Young to Literally Stories. Although it took considerable give and take to get her Fat Pussy on board, it is a fine story whose title should not be misconstrued by the dirtier minds out there. Midori has been a pro all the way and we look forward to working again with her in the future.

Ah, we have now reached the part of the weekly wrap I haven’t improved at one bit in over a year. I am just sort of standing here like a public speaker suddenly self conscious about what to do with her hands. So admitting that is as close to a closing segue I can come this week.

Return of the Big Idea: Leila’s List of Hated Creations Either Created by or Participated in by Otherwise Acceptable Persons

The Books

The Dark Half -Stephen King

Answered Prayers (or what there is of it) Truman Capote

Set a Watchman-Harper Lee

The Films

Bram Stoker’s Dracula– Anthony Hopkins

1941-Spielberg and the entire cast except that goddam dummy on the Ferris Wheel

Mannequin-Kim “Lassie” Cattrell

The Songs

Do Ya Think I’m Sexy -Rod Stewart (still living that one down)

Miss You-Rolling Stones

Within Without You (such a dozy sitar song)-Beatles

P.S. The only reason for this week’s image is from the waste not want not school of thinking.

P.S.S. R.I.P. Gallagher, though watermelons of the world are now safer. Also, Rab Noakes of Stealer’s Wheel and that fabulous S.O.B. Dan McCafferty of Nazareth.


And Now Here’s to Veterans Everywhere

Postscript to Veterans’ Day

I saw them one day earlier in the year at Riverside Cemetery, almost invisible in their khaki colors atop grave site stones at the various Veterans Sections, war remnants atop war remnants; a hundred or more small plastic or metal soldiers not much more than two inches tall,decorating many sites, small enough that the eye has to search them out in the midst of fallen leaves, brown grass, natural detritus gathering up the days, small enough to catch at my heart,most likely glued in the spot for none of them had fallen or been blown down, and small enough to say a great big thank you for what had here transpired, and transpires daily. Some hand, some soul, and an inner music, all at work at one energy, as if they had been orchestrated by a keen musician.

Yet these salutes of a special kind were small enough and big enough to catch up memories clinging to other elements, as though they stood at attention in the ranks, row on row to the keen eye.

I like to think it’s some youngster, perhaps nine or ten years old, who accompanies his father or mother or a grandparent, locked up by memories, into the Veterans’ Section of our Riverside Cemetery and who has grasped a most remarkable sense of where he’s at and what this flag-waving is all about that surrounds him, where each gravesite is also decorated with a small Star-Spangled Banner. I like to think it’s that youngster who, in his own way and of his own choice, has decided to add his specific decoration to each grave site, a youngster who has apprehended a sense of devotion and duty that calls for obligation and thanks, and who, with a special grace, has donated his collection of metal or plastic toy soldiers to a greater cause.

I picture him at recess in one of our schoolyards, or in one of his classes, or thinking of people he has never met but knows all about. I picture him growing strong and brave and never having to know the weight of a rifle on his shoulder, a trigger at his finger, a deadly craft in his hands, but someday ready if he is called.

As the veterans’ names were being read at the memorial in front of the old high school site on Veterans’ Day, I thought of him as comrades and teammates and classmates by the dozens were announced to those who had come to pay their respects. I projected this youngster onto Stackpole Field, World Series Park, the Kasabuski Brothers Memorial Rink in a few years time,getting stronger, becoming proficient in his efforts, being ever a part of this town, and still remembering what had impelled him to graveside decoration.

Again, today, I thought of him, and then, in a still moment, wondered if it was some old man, older than me, who in his special way was saying hello again to old friends, old teammates, old comrades.

Either way, he’s a winner.

Tom Sheehan

14 thoughts on “Week 402: I Love You, But…The Loved Week That Is; An Invitation and a Veterans Day Act of Remembrance”

  1. Yes, certainly an entertaining week of stories and worth reading. With remembrance Sunday tomorrow I can only ask has humanity learned anything? It is a repeat of emotional patriotism, nationalism and political intimidation that fights wars. When it is all over the real answer to why is obfuscated in the many versions of history, none a lie and none the full truth.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Good post and recap. To your list I’d add Number Nine by the Beatles, Show Me the Way by Peter Frampton, Whipping Post by The Allman Brothers. All I can say about the Postscript to Veterans’ Day by TS is … Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, David

      Totally agree with Number Nine. It was one of those things that made me think “Even I could do better than that” when I heard it and my opinion hasn’t altered since.
      And thank you for noticing Tom.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. An entertaining post as always with some lovely little nuggets. Thank you. I don’t really like to criticise books that are already published because – what’s a poor author to do – it’s out there. Okay, they can try a bit harder but I know full well that we are all trying just as hard as we can. However, I think sometimes writers, and publishers for that matter, should know when to stop. A series is great but there is a limit to how many times you can roll out a story with a different frock on and tell everyone it’s new.

    Penny Arcade by Roy Orbison makes my hackles rise – unfortunately the husband likes it. I enjoy most of Roy”s stuff but that has talkable untalkables in there!!

    The Colour of Money. I had a big old crush on Paul Newman but that film made me want to run screaming from the cinema if I hadn’t been comatose with boredom.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Diane

      I understand the Roy Orbison thing. I liked him all right, but that eroded when I had to listen to my mother (a big Roy) fan play his greatest hits over and over and over and more again, when she moved in with me. I don’t like any performer that much. Never seen Color of Money–Tom Cruise irks me.


  4. Tom Seehan’s demonstrates once more his extraordinary gift for making stories believable.
    Bad book by Great Author: St Ives by RL Stevenson. Abandoned by Stevenson, it was completed after RLS’s death by Quiller-Couch. Why?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Of the things I know about – Agree on Dark Half. Disliked “The Dome” enough to write “The Dumb” (you may have seen it). Of the songs with the exception of Do ya Think I’m Sexy at least mildly fond, but never understood most of “Edge Of Seventeen” and after looking up the lyrics doesn’t make much sense.

    War is horrible. Regular people are punished for the stupidity or cruelty of their rulers or the cruel or stupid in other countries. Anyone who has read “Garden Of The Beasts” should be apalled at WWII and the many ways it could have been stopped. Hussein was our good buddy while he invaded Iran using poison gas, but he was a bad guy when he invaded Kuwait. US government wisdom. You may know how one of the LS friends has suffered.

    The current president of the USA signed off on invading Iraq, as did one of the candidates in the 2016 elections. Some may gave them a pass, but I never will. I still hear she was right about everything.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Doug
      I recall The Dumb, which is better than that tedious King book. I borrowed The Dome from the library and decided that it was too bad that King was too big to be edited down. I read two hundred words and quit. Too many needless words.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Leila,
    Tom shows what Tom does!!

    Your usual excellent round-up.
    I have never heard that ‘Number 9’ song so looked it up. I’m glad I didn’t know it!!!
    For me –
    Escape From New York / L.A – Kurt Russell. I loved his performances in ‘The Hateful Eight’, ‘Death Proof’ and ‘Tombstone’
    All his comedies – Robert Di Nero
    To Sir With Love – Sidney Poitier

    Queen – ‘Bicycle Race’
    Queen – The whole of the ‘Flash Gordon’ soundtrack
    Fleetwood Mac – ‘Big Love’
    Rainbow – ‘I surrender’

    Books (This one is easy as I used to keep a spreadsheet with the headings of: ‘Read More’, ‘Shite’ and ‘For The Love Of God, NO!’ (They were normally single reads!)
    ‘The Tommyknockers’ – Stephen King
    ‘The Redemption’ – Peter Blatty (To be fair, I only had one other book to judge him on.)
    ‘The Retribution – Val McDermid (‘The Mermaids Song’ and ‘The Grave Tattoo’ are both belters)
    ‘Four Blind Mice’ – James Patterson.

    Thanks Leila, I loved thinking on this!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I read one Patterson and never went back. His plots may be OK, but in my expert (wink, wink) opinion the dialogue was dreadful. I assumed that the dialogue would not get better. I don’t think that Irving Wallace or Elmore Leonard were good at dialogue. I could honestly say that my sister’s writing (a series of “Murder She Shrunk” mysteries) was a better writer than many best sellers.

      One of the things that jars my appreciation of stories or other forms is constant clever dialogue. Few people are that good.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Thank you, Hugh
      Escape From LA is a mess. (Never saw the other) But Kurt, like King, has made so many I guess there will be the clunkers here and there. Both are usually very good.
      Saw DeNiro on Saturday Night Live once and he was absolutely dreadful. A great great actor but no comedian.
      “Revolution Number Nine” on the White Album isn’t even a song. Stinks of LSD tripping. Incoherent. A real waste of time. Could have let George have the space.

      Liked by 1 person

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