‘I have your wife and children. Their blood tastes sweet. You can try to find them, but you’d be too late. The banality of evil is how I destroy your happiness.’

****Blogger’s note****

This is my answer to the folks at Write on Edge and their Red Writing Hood prompt of “write a text, 160 characters, that is scary. . So I went the route that scared me, my wife and my teenage daughter. They wrote off on this one.

Today’s song has always been a creepy one. I know this song is about a cheating boyfriend trying to apologize but the lyrics kind of fit a bad guy talking and thus relate to this story. Here’s The Strokes’ Reptilia.

Silver Lining


Last time with Helene Troy:

In a musician’s life, bad gigs are deaths. The aftermath is funereal. Helene Troy sat behind the bar, hiding herself from the dissatisfied audience and her musical hero in attendance, Ramona Gallery. She went over all of her mistakes in her head, as jack daniels and coke dulled her senses.

To save money, Helene’s band, Slipper Socks Medium, used a friend to mix sound. He was too busy leering at women to notice the microphones were turned up too high. The band sounded pitchy and out of sync. The new manager suggested popular cover songs. Helene ignored him and played mostly original material. The poor sound quality just angered the crowd. The saving grace of a lousy set was a rousing rendition of Led Zepplin’s Communication Breakdown that excited the masses and lyrically symbolized the night.

The manager collected the other band members, Sadie and Mara. They found Helene, swallowing the last of her whiskey. Helene put her left hand up to indicate she didn’t want a lecture. She got one anyway.

“I told you girls not to suck and you ignored me. So guess what, Slipper Socks Medium? For the next 3 months what I say goes or we tear up the contract right now.”

Sadie and Mara looked at Helene with dark wounded eyes. Sadie spoke first.

“We sounded like shit. We’ll be better next time. I thought we closed like rock stars!”

Helene slid her glass down the wooden bar top and pointed to the bartender for a drink to go. The manager shook his head at all three women and countered.

“There’s no way in hell I’m letting you all take the stage next week fronting The Golden Apples. You need set direction, a  professional sound engineer, and rehearsal time. This band starts tomorrow at the Soho studio. Figure out a time that works.”

Helene clenched her fists and her eyes twitched with ire.

“All 3 of us work nights and weekend days. We can practice Mondays through Thursday in the mornings. We need money for a new amp, a mixing board, and clothes.”

The manager nodded positively.

“The good news is, you cleared $335. I’ll go collect that cash and I’ll call you tomorrow afternoon, Helene. Don’t suck again, girls.”

Helene, Sadie and Mara looked each other and in unison responded sarcastically.

“We promise nothing.”

The manager walked away annoyed and found the bar owner to apologize. Sadie and Mara began worrying. Helene ignored them as she saw Ramona Gallery milling around the side entrance. Helene and Ramona walked toward each other, meeting in front of the stage. Ramona smiled. Helene looked away, embarrassed.

“You caught us on a bad night. I can’t believed you stayed. I’m so sorry Ramona.”

Ramona pulled her long straight red hair behind her ears and hugged Helene.

“Don’t be goofy, Leney. You rocked the set close. Your sound guy was staring at tits. I evil glared him a handful of times before he finally realized what was going on. You have a good chemistry with your players. I liked the originals a lot.”

Helene couldn’t speak. Just talking to Ramona was too unbelievable. Ramona looked at the plastic cup, half-full of whiskey and soda.

“Looks like my girl needs another couple of those. The White Room has better booze. Let’s go across the street and I’ll get you rolled into a cab properly in a couple of hours.”

Helene smiled , showing every tooth she had.

“It’s been a crazy last few days. I feel like I’m living in a cage.”

Sadie called out to Helene.

“Hey, we’ll get the equipment! Meet us over at Mara’s apartment tomorrow morning.”

Helene raised her left hand and waved goodbye. She pulled her wet, brown bangs away from her face and downed the last drink of whiskey. Ramona put her arm around Helene and whispered.

“I love the new tattoo. Now, shake it off. It happens. There’s a silver lining Leney. Trust me, I know why the caged bird sings. Because she has to. Let’s go get drunk and tell lies.”

Helene and Ramona laughed as they walked out of the Drunk Rhino bar.

****blogger’s note****

This is a new story episode of The Ballad of Helene Troy. You can find the story so far here:

This is my response to the IndieInk challenge  from K. Syrah of  “Why does the caged bird sing?” My challenge went to Kevin Wilkes with “write a 500 words from the viewpoint of a fed up, stressed out superhero.”

Today’s song is Rilo Kiley’s Silver Lining. Lyrically it doesn’t quite match but feel of the song is good for the story. It’s a late night, relaxed, what the heck just happened kind of tuner. Here’s 2007’s Silver Lining by Rilo Kiley.

You Better You Bet


“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” – Mark Twain

“I hope I die before I get old.” – Roger Daltrey

I have a lot in common with transsexuals. Let me explain. People who are born in a body that they don’t indentify with, sometimes live as the opposite sex. Some even get surgery to become the man or woman they were supposed to be.

I’m like this.

My mind, heart, and body don’t match. I think like an artist. I love like a suburban husband and father. I ache like a former pro wrestler. It’s frustrating. I still think like the early 20 something writer wannabe. Every once in a while, I wish I could take Bobina, a bottle or 3 of whiskey, find a beach, and write until some idiot published me. I treasure my children and the life my wife and I have made with them. My teenage daughter’s last cheerleading competition was Saturday and I’m in withdrawals, wanting more. I’m breaking down her team’s routine instead of studying how the Jets can beat the Dolphins on Monday night football. My 7 year old’s report card is the most important piece of paper in my house right now, not the books I’m supposed to be writing. Most of all, my body is falling apart. I think I am in the onset of andropause. I haven’t been to a doctor yet, but I’m having hot flashes, irritatibility, aches and pains, sleeplessness, and massive losses of energy.

Yesterday I killed it at the gym. The workout was hard but I nailed it. I felt amazing. I came home and just passed out. By the late afternoon I was snapping at everyone in my house, burning up from the waves of fire over my body, and felt like I was 80 years old. Then Indy race car driver Dan Wheldon died, leaving a young wife and two children under the age of 3, and I hated myself for having problems at all.

I know who and what I am. I just don’t think I like it all the time. It’s no fun being nice and responsible and caring and happy. It kind of sucks. It’s me I’m talking about. Bobina and the girls are the best. Without them, I’m just some loser. The point is, I wish my head and body matched my heart.

This is a lot of sarcasm with a smattering on insight.

My wife watches every vampire with a heart show on television and the movies. You know how those teenaged looking kids that are really 200 years old are moody and brooding because they have to drink pig blood instead of eating humans like they’re supposed to? Look, jerks, the shows are on and sometimes I’m writing in the same room, get off me. Anyway, that’s me. I need to feed.

I’m supposed to go the doctor tomorrow. I’m sure she’ll tell me it’s the aging process and I’m “normal”. I’m hoping she tells me I’m really a teenage vampire and I’ll live forever. Then I’ll walk out in the sun and become dust.

****blogger’s note****

Technically this falls under 30 Days of Shamelessness numbers 12. – Share a health struggle and number 24 :”share a struggle you just have to get over”. So now the 30 days nazis JenO and Dawnie  will be satisfied (joking). New Helene Troy story episode for my Indie Ink challenge “i know how the caged bird sings”, tomorrow.

Today’s song is from The Who. I’ve always interpreted You Better You Bet as a dysfunctional relationship between an aging rock star and his trying to be normal, responsible girlfriend/wife. I feel this way sometimes. I listen to the sounds of ol T.Rex and I love my wife’s passport picture. She has the cutest nose. Play this loud, it helps. Here’s You Better You Bet


How Soon Is Now?


I notice what I don’t see. One daughter’s karate, no fathers. Another daughter’s school event, few fathers. My oldest daughter’s cheerleading competition with hundreds of parents in attendance, and you can count the fathers on one hand.

I’m not better than anyone. I am there. Where are the others? Don’t they know that’s how strippers are made?

The children know when you aren’t involved. The girls forget nothing. Work is important but nothing exceeds your kids’ happiness.

“It’s just one thing”.

That’s the lie some tell to feel satisfied as a parent. How Soon is Now? Now is when they need you.

*****blogger’s note****

This is my response to velvet’s 100 word challenge The One word prompt is SATISFIED.

Today’s song is one of my favorites. It’s a way to interpret the post. Laziness, lack of attentiveness, avoidance, it’s all an excuse. The Smiths once asked How Soon Is Now? to explain their feelings about politics, relationships and life. I use it to ask about fatherhood.

Here’s one of the greatest guitar riffs of all time….

The Sun, The Moon and The Stars


Last time with Helene Troy:

On the train, Helene looked in her backpack and found a notepad and a broken pencil with just enough lead to write a few sentences. A melody wandered through her head. She clumsily sounded it out, “num nuh do dah oh, wah bah dum dah.” It wasn’t working. She and Sadie could strum out the melody on acoustic guitars at Mickey’s Bar & Grill later, Helene thought.  She scribbled lyrics.

It’s my dream not yours, you can’t hate something that cures, the disease that wakes me at midnight, burning up from white hot light, that leaves me with scars. I’m not asking for much. I just want the sun, the moon, and stars.”

Helene put the jagged pencil to her forehead. She watched strands of brown hair fall over her hand. She moved the pencil behind her left ear and grinned coyly. The train stopped and she got off a few blocks from Mickey’s. Helene sat on a dusty silver bench next to a trash can. She wrote again.

“failure means doing nothing at all. It’s ridiculous to say music is my call. But I live to play, I can’t deny. Maybe I shouldn’t do something that makes me cry. I’m sick of the struggle. I’m sick of the bars. I’m not asking for much. I just want the sun, the moon, and the stars.”

Helene dialed Mickey’s.

“Hey, I’m going to work through my first break. I’m coming in a few minutes late. I have to do something really major. Bye.”

Helene walked up to the street and down 37th about two blocks. She excitedly opened the door to Ajax Tattoo & Piercing.

“I want the sun, the moon and the stars in black and white on my left wrist. I want to see it when I play guitar.”

*****blogger’s note****

This is a new story episode of The Ballad of Helene Troy. The rest of the story, so far, can be found here: This episode is my response to my friends at

Red Writing Hood – Tattoos

This week we asked you to write a piece – fiction or creative non-fiction – in which a tattoo figures prominently. We wanted you to explore the many facets of tattoos: why someone would get them, what the meaning was, what the tattoo says about them. Word limit was 300.

Today’s song is mood music for what Helene was going through. I’m not an Augustana fan. They’re ok. I liked Stars and Boulevards when it came out about five or six years ago. It sort of fits here. Plus, I haven’t herad it in a while. Weird how you think of songs, sometimes? Here’s Augustana’s Stars and Boulevards.

Just A Girl


Last time with Helene Troy: New Episode:

In the webbed pocket of her little black backpack, the duct taped repaired cell phone vibrated. Annoyed and emotional, Helene carelessly grabbed for the phone. She noticed the number and gasped, fumbling the phone out of her hands. It flew down the stoop, settling between a steel girder near the turnstiles. Helene panicked. She saw the phone open as it found it’s place. Ramona Gallery was on the other end. Helene dove to the ground, pushing her chest against the cold concrete.


Helene called helplessly into the dark crevice as she reached her hand through trash and dirt to pick it up.

“Hey dear, yeah, it’s me. Are you working? You sound really far away?

The hard, cold ground chilled her entire body. Yet, beads of sweat formed over her brows as she desperately tried to reach the phone.

“Uh, yeah, I mean, no, well, I’m on my way. I’m in the train station and it’s hard to hear. Can I call you in a few minutes?”

Helene stopped trying to grab the phone and moved her arms to her side so she could manuever the left side of her head closer to the phone. She looked like a seal sliding to catch a fish. Ramona continued.

“Can’t do it, Leney. I’m playing in Long Island tonight and tomorrow, but I’ll be back in the city for your show Friday at the Drunk Rhino. I only want to see my girl, though. I’m too old for drunk dudes and shitty cover acts. I know that’s bitchy, but I’ve earned my old lady crotchiness.”

Helene laughed. She was thankful for duct tape and a good phone speaker.

“Oh my God Ramona, you’re not old. I don’t want to hang around drunk guys and shit bands either. I can’t wait to see you. Afterward, you want to go to The White Room across the street and drink some beers?”

Her head was wedged almost inside the area between the girder and the stairs. Ramona answered.

“Honey, I’ll call you. That sounds a hell of awesome maybe. Get a new phone. This is the 21st century. Well someone told me it was. Go catch your train. Bye Leney.

Helene reached into of her little black backpack and took out a white t-shirt. She balled it up and used it to fish out the phone. Then, t-shirt smudged with black filth, she wiped the side of her face and her phone.

“I can’t believe Ramona fucking Gallery is going to see me play!” She shouted. Helene got onthe train and sat next to a black and white poster of the New York skyline. It looked like the glamorous city she daydreamed about growing up in Pennsylvania. In the moment,Helene Troy couldn’t stop smiling.

*****blogger’s note****

This is a new story episode of the novella I’m writing about a female rock musician named Helene Troy. The rest of the story so far is here: 

This is also my answer to my Indie Ink Challenge of  “black and white” from LiLu: and I challenged the superhero Supermaren – eith “blue skies and palomino ponies”

I’m also guest posting over at vie’s place. My 7 yr old got a great review from first grade today. She’s a writer like dad. I wrote about that.:

Today’s song is one of the few Gwen Stefani things I associate with. This was 16 yrsago when she was still that spunky ska chick from Anaheim who wore pants and sports bra and jumped around a lot. I imagine this song playing a lot around the women I live with as they go about their lives not needing a dude for anything except me, of course. This song just ran through my head as I wrote Helene’s next scene. Here’s No Doubt and pre Hollaback Girl Gwen with Just A Girl.

“Girls Are The Bunk”


I was going to show you a new Helene Troy story episode themed “black and white” after my prompt. I literally dotted the eyes and crossed the t’s in my notebook and tracked down the song. As I closed my computer I saw this commerical during a break in the Cardinals blow out win over the Brewers NLCS baseball playoff game:

So Dr. Pepper has a new diet cola, “10”, that has ten calories. They’ve decided that only men should drink this product. I’m fascinated by this advertising strategy. This is how I imagine the braintrust came up with this idea.

I’m a man. I realize I live with 4 women, write constantly about it, have a majority of blog readers who are women, and I know more about bras and femine hygiene products than most dudes. But, thank goodness I finally have my own drink!

I’ve been a Dr. Pepper fan since I was a kid. Like Forest Gump, I once drank about 15  Dr. Peppers’ and then had to pee.

So, dudes who read this blog raise your right hand.

Let’s pledge to not let any women drink our Dr. Pepper 10s because “girls are the bunk”.

ps……..Dr. Pepper 10 tastes like crap.

The late great Bill Hicks said best about advertising and marketing:

******blogger’s note****

Helene Troy story episode for Indie Ink prompt later today, pinky swear…..

Today’s song, or at least the one for this post is from Joe Jackson. It’s ironic, like this post. Here’s I’m The Man: