A friendship can weather most things and thrive in thin soil; but it needs a little mulch of letters and phone calls and small, silly presents every so often - just to save it from drying out completely.
She heard music. Angels singing? she thought, dizzy. It seemed odd for angels to sing after table sex. She managed to swallow on a throat wildly dry. "Music," she murmured.
"My phone. In my pants. Don't care."
"Oh. Not angels."
"No. Def Leppard.
Nora Roberts (The Search)
Never let it be said that Harry Dresden is afraid of a dried, dead bug. Creepy or not, I wasn't going to let it ruin my concentration.
So I scooped it up with the corner of the phone book and popped it into the middle drawer of my desk. Out of sight, out of mind.
So I have a problem with creepy, dead, poisonous things. So sue me.
Jim Butcher (Storm Front (The Dresden Files, #1))
By just living one’s life, sadness accumulates here and there, be it in the blankets hung out in the sun to dry, the toothbrushes in the bathroom, and the phone history logs.
Sometimes you’re 23 and standing in the kitchen of your house making breakfast and brewing coffee and listening to music that for some reason is really getting to your heart. You’re just standing there thinking about going to work and picking up your dry cleaning. And also more exciting things like books you’re reading and trips you plan on taking and relationships that are springing into existence. Or fading from your memory, which is far less exciting. And suddenly you just don’t feel at home in your skin or in your house and you just want home but “Mom’s” probably wouldn’t feel like home anymore either. There used to be the comfort of a number in your phone and ears that listened every day and arms that were never for anyone else. But just to calm you down when you started feeling trapped in a five-minute period where nostalgia is too much and thoughts of this person you are feel foreign. When you realize that you’ll never be this young again but this is the first time you’ve ever been this old. When you can’t remember how you got from sixteen to here and all the same feel like sixteen is just as much of a stranger to you now. The song is over. The coffee’s done. You’re going to breath in and out. You’re going to be fine in about five minutes.
Kalyn Roseanne Livernois (High Wire Darlings)
Where’d that world go, that world when you’re a kid, and now I can’t remember noticing anything, not the smell of the leaves or the sharp curl of dried maple on your ankles, walking? I live in cars now, and my own bedroom, the windows sealed shut, my mouth to my phone, hand slick around its neon jelly case, face closed to the world, heart closed to everything.
Megan Abbott (Dare Me)
Throughout history, men have broken women’s hearts in a particular way. They love them or half-love them and then grow weary and spend weeks and months extricating themselves soundlessly, pulling their tails back into their doorways, drying themselves off, and never calling again. Meanwhile, women wait. The more in love they are and the fewer options they have, the longer they wait, hoping that he will return with a smashed phone, with a smashed face, and say, I’m sorry, I was buried alive and the only thing I thought of was you, and feared that you would think I’d forsaken you when the truth is only that I lost your number, it was stolen from me by the men who buried me alive, and I’ve spent three years looking in phone books and now I have found you. I didn’t disappear, everything I felt didn’t just leave. You were right to know that would be cruel, unconscionable, impossible. Marry me.
Lisa Taddeo (Three Women)
You go through life thinking there's so much you need. Your favorite jeans and sweater. The jacket with the faux-fur lining to keep you warm. Your phone and your music and your favorite books. Mascara. Irish breakfast tea and cappuccinos from Trouble Coffee. You need your yearbooks, every stiffly posed school-dance photo, the notes your friends slipped into your locker. You need the camera you got for your sixteenth birthday and the flowers you dried. You need your notebooks full of the things you learned and don't want to forget. You need your bedspread, white with black diamonds. You need your pillow - it fits the way you sleep. You need magazines promising self-improvement. You need your running shoes and your sandals and your boots. Your grade report from the semester you got straight As. Your prom dress, your shiny earrings, your pendants on delicate chains. You need your underwear, your light-colored bras and your black ones. The dream catcher hanging above your bed. The dozens and dozens of shells in glass jars... You think you need all of it. Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.
Nina LaCour (We Are Okay)
...when a phone call competes for attention with a real-world conversation, it wins. Everyone knows the distinctive high-and-dry feeling of being abandoned for a phone call, and of having to compensate - with quite elaborate behaviours = for the sudden half-disappearance of the person we were just speaking to. 'Go ahead!' we say. 'Don't mind us! Oh look, here's a magazine I can read!' When the call is over, other rituals come into play, to minimise the disruption caused and to restore good feeling.
Lynne Truss (Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today, or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door)
maybe you’re sleeping and I suppose I could just say this in the morning, but now I can’t sleep and I’m just lying here so I might as well get it over with, and well . . .I’m sorry about this afternoon, J.D. The first spill honestly was an accident, but the second . . . okay, that was completely uncalled for. I’m, um, happy to pay for the dry cleaning. And, well . . . I guess that’s it. Although you really might want to rethink leaving your jacket on your chair. I’m just saying. Okay, then. That’s what they make hangers for. Good. Fine. Good-bye.”
J.D. heard the beep, signaling the end of the message, and he hung up the phone. He thought about what Payton had said—not so much her apology, which was question-ably mediocre at best—but something else.
She thought about him while lying in bed.
Later that night, having been asleep for a few hours, J.D. shot up in bed
He suddenly remembered—her shoe.
Julie James (Practice Makes Perfect)
Dust sleeping on your bookshelf
and all your plants are drying out
you are too busy to save yourself
is your mind heading for burnout?
Coffee rings on your bedside table
anxiety pills under your pillowcase
working round the clock to foot the bill
is there no time for breakfast these days?
Friends haven't seen you in a while
your phone is always out of reach
you're slowly forgetting how to smile
is your silence a figure of speech?
Life can sometimes seem to be unfair
but hoping is better than you think
send the message in a bottle if you dare
is it so hard to not force yourself to sink?
When love dries in a marriage, the children become mortar for the bricks. When the children leave, the bricks just sit atop each other. When the children die, the bricks tumble.
Mitch Albom (First Phone Call from Heaven)
For we die every day; oblivion thrives
Not on dry thighbones but on blood-ripe lives,
And our best yesterdays are now foul piles
Of crumpled names, phone numbers and foxed files.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pale Fire)
Look under the passenger seat in a black plastic bin. There should be a book.”
Raphael hopped out, dug under the seat, and pulled out a dog-eared copy of The Almanac of Mystical Creatures.
“Got it,” I said into the phone.
Raphael flipped the book open and held it up. On the left page a lithograph showed a three-headed dog with a serpent for a tail. The caption under the picture said CERBERUS.
“Is that your dog?” Kate asked.
“Could be. How the heck did you know the exact page?”
“I have perfect memory!”
She sighed into the phone.
“I spilled coffee on that page and had to leave the book open to dry it out. It always opens to that entry now.
Ilona Andrews (Must Love Hellhounds)
And so now, having been born, I'm going to rewind the film, so that my pink blanket flies off, my crib scoots across the floor as my umbilical cord reattaches, and I cry out as I'm sucked back between my mother's legs. She gets really fat again. Then back some more as a spoon stops swinging and a thermometer goes back into its velvet case. Sputnik chases its rocket trail back to the launching pad and polio stalks the land. There's a quick shot of my father as a twenty-year-old clarinetist, playing an Artie Shaw number into the phone, and then he's in church, age eight, being scandalized by the price of candles; and next my grandfather is untaping his first U.S. dollar bill over a cash register in 1931. Then we're out of America completely; we're in the middle of the ocean, the sound track sounding funny in reverse. A steamship appears, and up on a deck a lifeboat is curiously rocking; but then the boat docks, stern first, and we're up on dry land again, where the film unspools, back at the beginning...
Jeffrey Eugenides (Middlesex)
This is my friend Veronica,” I told him. “And this is Kaidan.”
“Oh, I've heard all about you.” Veronica gave him a big smile.
His brow elevated, but he didn't take the bait. Instead, he stared at me funny. “Nice wart.” Leaning forward without touching me, he flicked the wart from the tip of my nose.
Veronica let out a loud cackle, proving she should be the one in my costume.
“I told you it was stupid!” She gloated.
With my pointer finger, I moved the paint around my nose to fill in the blank spot. When I finished, he was still watching me.
“Your hair's grown a lot,” I said to him.
“So has your bottom.”
My eyes rounded and blood rushed to my face. Veronica hooted with hilarity, bending at the waist. Even Jay let out a loud snicker, the traitor.
I wished Kaidan weren't so perceptive, but it was true. The feminine curves that had always eluded me were finally making an appearance. Stupid tight dress.
“Dude, you can get away with anything,” said the pirate to the straight-faced ape.
“I meant it as a compliment.”
“That was awesome.” Veronica grabbed Jay by the hand. “Come on. Let's go find me a drink.”
She winked at me as they ambled away. I gave my attention to the dry, trampled grass and scattered cans for a moment before working up the nerve to say something.
“My dad gave me a cell phone.” And a car. And a ton of money.
Kaidan set the ape head on the ground and pulled his phone from a fuzzy pocket, blowing off brown lint. Then he held his furry thumbs above the buttons and nodded at me. I started to give him my number, but his brow creased in frustration with the big, costumed hands.
“Here,” I said, taking his phone. Saving my number for him gave me a thrill.
Wendy Higgins (Sweet Evil (Sweet, #1))
There is a certain quality of light to be found only in midsummer in the South, as day, slipping into dusk, acquiesces to the filament, the bulb, the porch light; this seductive light is beautiful when it washes across dry cement, the sidewalk and stoop. The light spilling from the phone booth softens and cleanses all that it touches. It's a forgiving and almost protective light. The Minotaur is drawn to it from across the parking lot.
Steven Sherrill (The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break)
By just living one’s life, sadness accumulates here and there, be it in the sheets hung out in the sun to dry, the toothbrushes in the bathroom, and the history logs of the mobile phone…In the last several years, I have forged ahead without any regard, just to touch what I cannot reach. Without understanding the sources from which this menacing thought surged forth from, I continued working. When I at last noticed, my heart had already become hard from the gradual loss of its youthful vitality. And on certain morning, when I at last came to an earnest realization that I had lost everything that was beautiful, I knew I was at my limits and quit the company.
you are an exit wound
the extra shot of tequila
the tangled knot of hair that has to be cut out
you are the cell phone ringing in a hushed theatre
pebble wedged in the sole of a boot
the bloody hangnail
you are, just this once
you are flip flops in a thunderstorm
the boy’s lost erection
a pen gone dry
you are my father’s nightmare
my mother’s mirage
you are a manic high
which is to say:
you are a bad idea
you are herpes despite the condom
you are, I know better
you are pieces of cork floating in the wine glass
you are the morning after
whose name I can’t remember
still in my bed
the hole in my rain boots
vibrator with no batteries
you are, shut up and kiss me
you are naked wearing socks
mascara bleeding down laughing cheeks
you are the wrong guy buying me a drink
you are the typo in an otherwise brilliant novel
sweetalk into unprotected sex
the married coworker
my stubbed toe
you are not new or uncommon
not brilliant or beautiful
you are a bad idea
rock star in the back seat of a taxi
top shelf, at half price
you are everything I want
you are a poem I cannot write
a word I cannot translate
you are an exit wound
a name I cannot bring myself
to say aloud
Luke pulled up photos on his phone. Lots of them. Falk scrolled through with the polite forbearance of the childless.
Jane Harper (The Dry (Aaron Falk, #1))
I hung up the phone. After that I put some cold water on my face and dried it, the same face I had always had, the one I would have until I died.
Sally Rooney (Conversations with Friends)
Shelly doesn’t have a cell phone?” Roscoe crossed his arms.“How does she survive?”
“Air, food, and shelter, I suspect.” Billy sent our youngest brother a dry look, making Jethro laugh.
Penny Reid (Beard in Mind (Winston Brothers, #4))
As for Lamb, he’d hang River out to dry if he took another step without putting him in the picture. That was something to think about, so River thought about it as he stuffed the phone away, and took the rest of the stairs three at a time.
Mick Herron (Real Tigers (Slough House, #3))
Can you imagine no love, pride, deep-fried chicken?
Your best friend always sticking up for you even when I know you're wrong
Can you imagine no first dance, freeze dried romance, five-hour phone conversation?
The best soy latte that you ever had and me
That maybe I’m the answer,’ I blurted. ‘To healing your heart. I could … you know, be your boyfriend. As Lester. If you wanted. You and me. You know, like … yeah.’ I was absolutely certain that up on Mount Olympus, the other Olympians all had their phones out and were filming me to post on Euterpe-Tube. Reyna stared at me long enough for the marching band in my circulatory system to play a complete stanza of ‘You’re a Grand Old Flag’. Her eyes were dark and dangerous. Her expression was unreadable, like the outer surface of an explosive device. She was going to murder me. No. She would order her dogs to murder me. By the time Meg rushed to my aid, it would be too late. Or worse – Meg would help Reyna bury my remains, and no one would be the wiser. When they returned to camp, the Romans would ask, What happened to Apollo? Who? Reyna would say. Oh, that guy? Dunno, we lost him. Oh, well! the Romans would reply, and that would be that. Reyna’s mouth tightened into a grimace. She bent over, gripping her knees. Her body began to shake. Oh, gods, what had I done? Perhaps I should comfort her, hold her in my arms. Perhaps I should run for my life. Why was I so bad at romance? Reyna made a squeaking sound, then a sort of sustained whimper. I really had hurt her! Then she straightened, tears streaming down her face, and burst into laughter. The sound reminded me of water rushing over a riverbed that had been dry for ages. Once she started, she couldn’t seem to stop. She doubled over, stood upright again, leaned against a tree and looked at her dogs as if to share the joke. ‘Oh … my … gods,’ she wheezed. She managed to restrain her mirth long enough to blink at me through the tears, as if to make sure I was really there and she’d heard me correctly. ‘You. Me? HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA.
Rick Riordan (The Tyrant's Tomb (The Trials of Apollo, #4))
Gustavo Tiberius speaking."
“It’s so weird you do that, man,” Casey said, sounding amused. “Every time I call.”
“It’s polite,” Gus said. “Just because you kids these days don’t have proper phone etiquette.”
“Oh boy, there’s the Grumpy Gus I know. You miss me?”
Gus was well aware the others could hear the conversation loud and clear. He was also aware he had a reputation to maintain. “Hadn’t really thought about it.”
“I miss you.”
“I miss you too,” Gus mumbled into the phone, blushing fiercely.
“Yeah? How much?”
Gus was in hell. “A lot,” he said truthfully. “There have been allegations made against my person of pining and moping. False allegations, mind you, but allegations nonetheless.”
“I know what you mean,” Casey said. “The guys were saying the same thing about me.”
Gus smiled. “How embarrassing for you.”
“Completely. You have no idea.”
“They’re going to get you packed up this week?”
“Ah, yeah. Sure. Something like that.”
“You’re being cagey.”
“I have no idea what you mean. Hey, that’s a nice Hawaiian shirt you’ve got on. Pink? I don’t think I’ve seen you in that color before.”
Gus shrugged. “Pastor Tommy had a shitload of them. I think I could wear one every day for the rest of the year and not repeat. I think he may have had a bit of a….” Gus trailed off when his hand started shaking. Then, “How did you know what I was wearing?”
There was a knock on the window to the Emporium. Gus looked up.
Standing on the sidewalk was Casey. He was wearing bright green skinny jeans and a white and red shirt that proclaimed him to be a member of the 1987 Pasadena Bulldogs Women’s Softball team. He looked ridiculous. And like the greatest thing Gus had ever seen.
Casey wiggled his eyebrows at Gus. “Hey, man.”
“Hi,” Gus croaked.
“Come over here, but stay on the phone, okay?”
Gus didn’t even argue, unable to take his eyes off Casey. He hadn’t expected him for another week, but here he was on a pretty Saturday afternoon, standing outside the Emporium like it was no big deal.
Gus went to the window, and Casey smiled that lazy smile.
He said, “Hi.”
Gus said, “Hi.”
“So, I’ve spent the last two days driving back,” Casey said. “Tried to make it a surprise, you know?”
“I’m very surprised,” Gus managed to say, about ten seconds away from busting through the glass just so he could hug Casey close.
The smile widened. “Good. I’ve had some time to think about things, man. About a lot of things. And I came to this realization as I drove past Weed, California. Gus. It was called Weed, California. It was a sign.”
Gus didn’t even try to stop the eye roll. “Oh my god.”
“Right? Kismet. Because right when I entered Weed, California, I was thinking about you and it hit me. Gus, it hit me.”
Casey put his hand up against the glass. Gus did the same on his side. “Hey, Gus?”
“I’m going to ask you a question, okay?”
Gustavo’s throat felt very dry. “Okay.”
“What was the Oscar winner for Best Song in 1984?”
Automatically, Gus answered, “Stevie Wonder for the movie The Woman in Red. The song was ‘I Just Called to Say I Love You.’” It was fine, of course. Because he knew answers to all those things. He didn’t know why Casey wanted to—
And then he could barely breathe.
Casey’s smile wobbled a little bit. “Okay?”
Gus blinked the burn away. He nodded as best he could.
And Casey said, “Yeah, man. I love you too.”
Gus didn’t even care that he dropped his phone then. All that mattered was getting as close to Casey as humanely possible. He threw open the door to the Emporium and suddenly found himself with an armful of hipster. Casey laughed wetly into his neck and Gus just held on as hard as he could. He thought that it was possible that he might never be in a position to let go. For some reason, that didn’t bother him in the slightest.
T.J. Klune (How to Be a Normal Person (How to Be, #1))
As if reading his mind, Lily huffed. “You’re as predictable as the spring rains, son of mine, and as boring as drying paint. Unless there’s an emergency, you’re home every night by seven, you eat dinner by yourself, go for a run, watch exactly one hour of TV by yourself, and go to bed at ten o’clock. If God ever loses his watch, he only has to look at Lance Beaufort to get back on schedule.”
“I’ve been having trouble with my phone,” he tried.
Lily took two strides to the desk, leaned over it with both hands braced on the surface, and stared.
“Okay, yes! I have been over there. But it’s for work. And…and it’s work related!”
“Oh? Explain that to me, because I thought you were the sheriff, not in training for a role in Lassie.
Eli Easton (How to Howl at the Moon (Howl at the Moon, #1))
Stranded in this spooky town,
Stoplights are swaying and the phone lines are down
Floor is crackling cold,
She took my heart, I think she took my soul
With the moon I run,
Far from the carnage of the fiery sun
Driven by the strangle of vein
Showin' no mercy I do it again
Open up your eyes
You keep on crying, baby I'll bleed you dry
Skies are blinking at me
I see a storm bubbling up from the sea
And it's coming closer [2x]
You shimmy-shook my boat,
Leavin' me stranded all in love on my own
Do you think of me?
Where am I now, baby where do I sleep?
Feels so good but I'm old
2000 years of chasing takin' its toll
And it's coming closer [4x]
Kings of Leon
You might want to pop your collar."
"Hey if the biker doesn't pop his, I'm not popping mine. Also? We're thirty years past that fashion faux pas."
"Yeah, but it still comes in handy when you're sporting a hickey."
"What?" My hands flew to my neck, and I found the tender spot. "Shit. No, that's not-- I burned it. My hair wasn't cooperating, so I dragged out the curling iron."
"Gabriel has a curling iron?"
"No, I meant--Damn it." I rooted through my bag for concealer. "I'm sorry. If I'd noticed, I'd have hidden it."
"I know." His lips twitched. "It is kinda funny, though, watching you guys scramble with excuses. Gabriel told me you weren't answering my calls because you forgot your phone in the car. Which is about as likely as you leaving your arm behind. He dried his hair so fast the back was sticking up. And then he scarfed down half the food I brought for lunch. I've never seen him eat like that." He smiled. "But I do appreciate he's being circumspect."
"He's not going to wave it in your face."
"No, but we are talking about Gabriel, who never goes out of his way to cushion anyone's feelings but yours. He's being very thoughtful. It's sweet. Just don't tell him I said that."
"I won't." I finished applying the concealer. "Better?"
"Yep." He leaned over for a better look and then stopped. "Is that a bite on your collarbone?"
"Shit! No. Damn it.
Ricky laughed as I frantically applied more makeup.
Kelley Armstrong (Rituals (Cainsville, #5))
Fine, fuck it," Clay said, tossing the plate into the yard. The chicken parts bounced nicely, breading themselves with a light coating of sand, ants, and dried grass. "When did chicken become like plutonium anyway, for Christ's sake? You can't let it touch you or it's certain fucking death. And eggs and hamburgers kill you unless you cook them to the consistency of limestone! And if you turn on your fucking cell phone, the plane is going to plunge out of the sky in a ball of flames? And kids can't take a dump anymore but they have to have a helmet and pads on make them look like the Road Warrior. Right? Right? What the fuck happened to the world? When did everything get so goddamn deadly? Huh? I've been going to sea for thirty damned years, and nothing's killed me. I've swum with everything that can bite, sting, or eat you, and I've done every stupid thing at depth that any human can -- and I'm still alive. Fuck, Clair, I was unconscious for an hour underwater less than a week ago, and it didn't kill me. Now you're going to tell me that I'm going to get whacked by a fucking chicken leg? Well, just fuck it then!
Christopher Moore (Fluke: Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings)
The door slammed and someone came home and low voices could be heard, the single lilt of a question as it rose, “How was it?” or “Are you hungry?” Something plain and necessary, yet extra, with care, a voice like those tiny roofs over the phone booths along the train tracks, the ones made from the same shingles used for houses, except only four rows wide—just enough to keep the phone dry. And maybe that’s all I wanted—to be asked a question and have it cover me, like a roof the width of myself.
Ocean Vuong (On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous)
when i left them, i painted myself burgundy and grey
i stopped saying the words “please” and “i’m sorry”
i walked into grocery stores and bought too many
clementines, ordered too much Chinese, spent my
last four dollars on over the counter sleeping pills
that made my stomach bleed but my soul forget
every time i wanted to tell you “i’m sorry”, i wrote
you a poem instead, i said things like “i hope your
mother calls you beautiful” to strangers and when
boys with dry hands and broken eyes asked me on
dates i didn’t hesitate no, didn’t even stop them
when their hands grazed my breasts and when
they moaned my name against my thighs i cried
i opened the mail and didn’t tell anyone for a week
that i got accepted into law school, i stopped watering
the plants and filled the bathtub with roses and milk,
when i got invited to parties, i wore blue jeans with
white shirts, sat alone in some kitchen drinking hard
liquor until some boys mouth made me feel like home
i stopped answering the phone for a month, i didn’t
like how my name tasted in his mouth but he was
older and didn’t say things like “it doesn’t matter”
and i think i went insane, my heart boiled blisters, i
couldn’t understand why my bones felt like cages,
i walked around art museums until closing, watched
them lock up the gates and then open them up
again the very same morning, i thought about clocks
and how time was a deception of my fingertips,
i had stars growing inside of me into constellations,
and only when some man on the 9 AM bus asked
me for the time did i realize that you cannot run
from light igniting your lungs, you cannot run from
The last time I’d been unwell, suicidally depressed, whatever you want to call it, the reactions of my friends and family had fallen into several different camps:
The Let’s Laugh It Off merchants: Claire was the leading light. They hoped that joking about my state of mind would reduce it to a manageable size. Most likely to say, ‘Feeling any mad urges to fling yourself into the sea?’
The Depression Deniers: they were the ones who took the position that since there was no such thing as depression, nothing could be wrong with me. Once upon a time I’d have belonged in that category myself. A subset of the Deniers was The Tough Love people. Most likely to say, ‘What have you got to be depressed about?’
The It’s All About Me bunch: they were the ones who wailed that I couldn’t kill myself because they’d miss me so much. More often than not, I’d end up comforting them. My sister Anna and her boyfriend, Angelo, flew three thousand miles from New York just so I could dry their tears. Most likely to say, ‘Have you any idea how many people love you?’
The Runaways: lots and lots of people just stopped ringing me. Most of them I didn’t care about, but one or two were important to me. Their absence was down to fear; they were terrified that whatever I had, it was catching. Most likely to say, ‘I feel so helpless … God, is that the time?’ Bronagh – though it hurt me too much at the time to really acknowledge it – was the number one offender.
The Woo-Woo crew: i.e. those purveying alternative cures. And actually there were hundreds of them – urging me to do reiki, yoga, homeopathy, bible study, sufi dance, cold showers, meditation, EFT, hypnotherapy, hydrotherapy, silent retreats, sweat lodges, felting, fasting, angel channelling or eating only blue food. Everyone had a story about something that had cured their auntie/boss/boyfriend/next-door neighbour. But my sister Rachel was the worst – she had me plagued. Not a day passed that she didn’t send me a link to some swizzer. Followed by a phone call ten minutes later to make sure I’d made an appointment. (And I was so desperate that I even gave plenty of them a go.) Most likely to say, ‘This man’s a miracle worker.’ Followed by: ‘That’s why he’s so expensive. Miracles don’t come cheap.’
There was often cross-pollination between the different groupings. Sometimes the Let’s Laugh It Off merchants teamed up with the Tough Love people to tell me that recovering from depression is ‘simply mind over matter’. You just decide you’re better. (The way you would if you had emphysema.)
Or an All About Me would ring a member of the Woo-Woo crew and sob and sob about how selfish I was being and the Woo-Woo crew person would agree because I had refused to cough up two grand for a sweat lodge in Wicklow.
Or one of the Runaways would tiptoe back for a sneaky look at me, then commandeer a Denier into launching a two-pronged attack, telling me how well I seemed. And actually that was the worst thing anyone could have done to me, because you can only sound like a self-pitying malingerer if you protest, ‘But I don’t feel well. I feel wretched beyond description.’
Not one person who loved me understood how I’d felt. They hadn’t a clue and I didn’t blame them, because, until it had happened to me, I hadn’t a clue either.
The FRG … was the closest thing any of them had to family, this simulacrum of friendship, women suddenly thrown together in a time of duress, with no one to depend on but each other, all of them bereft and left behind in this dry expanse of central Texas, walled in by strip malls, chain restaurants, and highways that led to better places. Most of them had gotten used to making life for themselves without a husband, finding doctors and dentists and playgrounds, filling their cell phones with numbers and their calendars with playdates, and then the husbands would return and the Army would toss them all at some other base in the middle of nowhere to begin again.
Siobhan Fallon (You Know When the Men Are Gone)
He was the one, however, with whom no one wanted his or her picture taken, the one to whom no one wanted to introduce his son or daughter. Louis and Gage knew him; they had met him and faced him down in New England, some time ago. He was waiting to choke you on a marble, to smother you with a dry-cleaning bag, to sizzle you into eternity with a fast and lethal boggie of electricity—Available at Your Nearest Switchplate or Vacant Light Socket Right Now. There was death in a quarter bag of peanuts, an aspirated piece of steak, the next pack of cigarettes. He was around all the time, he monitored all the checkpoints between the mortal and the eternal. Dirty needles, poison beetles, downed live wires, forest fires. Whirling roller skates that shot nurdy little kids into busy intersections. When you got into the bathtub to take a shower, Oz got right in there too—Shower with a Friend. When you got on an airplane, Oz took your boarding pass. He was in the water you drank, the food you ate. Who’s out there? you howled into the dark when you were frightened and all alone, and it was his answer that came back: Don’t be afraid, it’s just me. Hi, howaya? You got cancer of the bowel, what a bummer, so solly, Cholly! Septicemia! Leukemia! Atherosclerosis! Coronary thrombosis! Encephalitis! Osteomyelitis! Hey-ho, let’s go! Junkie in a doorway with a knife. Phone call in the middle of the night. Blood cooking in battery acid on some exit ramp in North Carolina. Big handfuls of pills, munch em up. That peculiar blue cast of the fingernails following asphyxiation—in its final grim struggle to survive the brain takes all the oxygen that is left, even that in those living cells under the nails. Hi, folks, my name’s Oz the Gweat and Tewwible, but you can call me Oz if you want—hell, we’re old friends by now. Just stopped by to whop you with a little congestive heart failure or a cranial blood clot or something; can’t stay, got to see a woman about a breach birth, then I’ve got a little smoke-inhalation job to do in Omaha. And that thin voice is crying, “I love you, Tigger! I love you! I believe in you, Tigger! I will always love you and believe in you, and I will stay young, and the only Oz to ever live in my heart will be that gentle faker from Nebraska! I love you . . .” We cruise . . . my son and I . . . because the essence of it isn’t war or sex but only that sickening, noble, hopeless battle against Oz the Gweat and Tewwible. He and I, in our white van under this bright Florida sky, we cruise. And the red flasher is hooded, but it is there if we need it . . . and none need know but us because the soil of a man’s heart is stonier; a man grows what he can . . . and tends it.
Stephen King (Pet Sematary)
I turn on my heel, which is no easy feat in a gravel parking lot. Not losing eye contact with Galen, I stare him down until I get to the door he's opened for me. He seems unconcerned. In fact, he seems downright emotionless. "This better be good," I tell him as I plop down.
"You should have returned my calls. Or my texts," he says, his voice tight.
As he backs out of the parking space, I yank my cell out of my purse, perusing the texts. "Well, doesn't look like anyone died, so why the hell did you ruin my date?" It's the first time I've ever cursed at royalty and it's liberating. "Or is this a kidnapping? Is Grom in the trunk? Are you taking us on our honeymoon?"
You're supposed to be hurting him, not yourself, moron. My lip trembles like the traitor it is. Even though I'm looking away, I can tell Galen's impassive expression has softened because of the way he says, "Emma."
"Leave me alone, Galen." He pulls my chin to face him. I knock his hand away. "You can't go forty miles an hour on the interstate, Galen. You need to speed up.”
He sighs and presses the gas. By the time we reach a less-embarrassing speed, I’ve abandoned my hurt for rage-o-plenty, struck by the realization that I’ve turned into “that girl.” Not the one who exchanges her doctorate for some kids and a three-bedroom two-bath, but the other kind. That girl who exchanges her dignity and chances for happiness for some possessive loser who beats her when she makes eye contact with some random guy working the hot dog stand.
Not that Galen beats me, but after his little show, what will people think? He acted like a lunatic tonight, stalking me to Atlantic City, blowing up my phone, and threatening my date with physical violence. He made serial-killer eyes, for crying out loud. That might be acceptable in the watery grave, but by dry-land standards, it’s the ingredients for a restraining order. And why are we getting off the interstate?
“Where are you taking me? I told you I want to go home.”
“We need to talk,” he says quietly, taking a dark road just off the exit. “I’ll take you home after I feel you understand.”
“I don’t want to talk. You might have realized that when I didn’t answer your calls.”
He pulls over on the shoulder of Where-Freaking-Are-We Street. Shutting off the engine, he turns to me, putting his arm around the back of my seat. “I don’t want to break up.”
One Mississippi…two Mississippi…”You followed me like a crazy person to tell me that? You ruined my date for that? Mark is a nice guy. I deserve a nice guy, don’t I, Galen?”
“Absolutely. But I happen to be a nice guy, too.”
Three Mississippi…four Mississippi…”Don’t you mean Grom? And you’re not a nice guy. You threatened Mark with physical pain.”
“You threw Rayna through a window. Call it even?”
“When are you going to get over that? Besides, she provoked me!”
“Mark provoked me, too. He put his hand on your leg. We won’t even talk about the kiss on your cheek. Don’t think I didn’t hear you give him permission either.”
“Oh, now that’s rich,” I snort, getting out of the car. Slamming the door, I scream at him. “Now you’re acting jealous on behalf of your brother,” I say, spinning in place. “Can Grom do anything without the almighty Galen helping him?
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1))
What its withered technology lacked, the Game Boy made up in user experience. It was cheap. It could fit in a large pocket. It was all but indestructible. If a drop cracked the screen—and it had to be a horrific drop—it kept on ticking. If it were left in a backpack that went in the washing machine, once it dried out it was ready to roll a few days later. Unlike its power-guzzling color competitors, it played for days (or weeks) on AA batteries. Old hardware was extremely familiar to developers inside and outside Nintendo, and with their creativity and speed unencumbered by learning new technology, they pumped out games as if they were early ancestors of iPhone app designers—Tetris, Super Mario Land, The Final Fantasy Legend, and a slew of sports games released in the first year were all smash hits. With simple technology, Yokoi’s team sidestepped the hardware arms race and drew the game programming community onto its team.
David Epstein (Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World)
There’s our homecoming picture. Last Halloween, when I dressed up as Mulan and Peter wore a dragon costume. There’s a receipt from Tart and Tangy. One of his notes to me, from before. If you make Josh’s dumb white-chocolate cranberry cookies and not my fruitcake ones, it’s over. Pictures of us from Senior Week. Prom. Dried rose petals from my corsage. The Sixteen Candles picture.
There are some things I didn’t include, like the ticket stub from our first real date, the note he wrote me that said, I like you in blue. Those things are tucked away in my hatbox. I’ll never let those go.
But the really special thing I’ve included is my letter, the one I wrote to him so long ago, the one that brought us together. I wanted to keep it, but something felt right about Peter having it. One day all of this will be proof, proof that we were here, proof that we loved each other. It’s the guarantee that no matter what happens to us in the future, this time was ours.
When he gets to that page, Peter stops. “I thought you wanted to keep this,” he said.
“I wanted to, but then I felt like you should have it. Just promise you’ll keep it forever.”
He turns the page. It’s a picture from when we took my grandma to karaoke. I sang “You’re So Vain” and dedicated it to Peter. Peter got up and sang “Style” by Taylor Swift. Then he dueted “Unchained Melody” with my grandma, and after, she made us both promise to take a Korean language class at UVA. She and Peter took a ton of selfies together that night. She made one her home screen on her phone. Her friends at her apartment complex said he looked like a movie star. I made the mistake of telling Peter, and he crowed about it for days after.
He stays on that page for a while. When he doesn’t say anything, I say, helpfully, “It’s something to remember us by.”
He snaps the book shut. “Thanks,” he says, flashing me a quick smile. “This is awesome.
Jenny Han (Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #3))
The ghost was not a ghost at all, or so it claimed - it claimed to be a psychic energy baby, birthed in some ethereal dimension, and pulled into the phone by the powerful magnetism of phone signals. It remembered with perfect clarity how it came to be - remembered coalescing from the membranous surface of the world, streaked with reflected light, humming with surface tension under the pressure of emptiness underneath. The Psychic Energy Baby found form among the emanations of people's minds and the susurrus of their voices, it found flesh in the shapes of their lips and eyes made, the surprise of 'o's and the sibilations of 's's; its skin stretched taut like a soap bubble, forged from the wet sound of lips touching; its thoughts were the musky smells and the nerves twined around the transparent water balloons of the muscles like stems of toadflax, searching restlessly for every available crevice, stretching along cold rough surfaces. Its veins, tiny rivers, pumped heartbeats striking in unison, the dry dallying of billions of ventricular contractions. And it spoke, spoke endlessly, it spokes words that tasted of dark air and formic acid. It could speak long before it took it's final shape.
And when it happened, when all the sounds and smells and words in the world, when all the thoughts had aligned so that it could become - then it found itself pulled into the wires, surrounded by taut copper and green and red and yellow insulation; twined and quartered among the cables, rent open by millions of voices that shouted and whispered and pleaded and threatened, interspersed with the rasping of breaths and tearing laughter. It traveled through the criss-crossing of the wires so fast that it felt itself being pulled into a needle, head spearing into the future while its feet infinitely receded into the past, until it came into a dark quiet pool of the black rotary phone, where it could reassemble itself and take stock.
Ekaterina Sedia (The House of Discarded Dreams)
Leta walked to the door and opened it with a ready smile for Colby Lane. And found herself looking straight into the eye of a man she hadn’t seen face-to-face in thirty-six years.
Matt Holden matched her face against his memories of a young, slight, beautiful woman whose eyes loved him every time they looked at him. His heart spun like a cartwheel in his chest.
“Cecily said it was Colby,” Leta said unsteadily.
“Strange. She phoned me and asked if I was free this evening.” His broad shoulders shrugged and he smiled faintly. “I’m free every evening.”
“That doesn’t sound like the life of a playboy widower,” Leta said caustically.
“My wife was a vampire,” he said. “She sucked me dry of life and hope. Her drinking wore me down. Her death was a relief for both of us. Do I get to come in?” he added, glancing down the hall. “I’m going to collect dust if I stand out here much longer, and I’m hungry. A sack of McDonald’s hamburgers and fries doesn’t do a lot for me.”
“I hear it’s a presidential favorite,” Cecily mused, joining them. “Come in, Senator Holden.”
“It was Matt before,” he pointed out. “Or are you trying to butter me up for a bigger donation to the museum?”
She shrugged. “Pick a reason.”
He looked at Leta, who was uncomfortable. “Well, at least you can’t hang up on me here. You’ll be glad to know that our son isn’t speaking to me. He isn’t speaking to you, either, or so he said,” he added. “I suppose he won’t talk to you?” he added to Cecily.
“He said goodbye very finally, after telling me that I was an idiot to think he’d change his mind and want to marry me just because he turned out to have mixed blood,” she said, not relating the shocking intimacy that had prefaced his remarks.
“I’ll punch him for that,” Matt said darkly.
“Ex-special forces,” Leta spoke up with a faint attempt at humor, nodding toward Matt. “He was in uniform when we went on our first date.”
“You wore a white cotton dress with a tiered skirt,” he recalled, “and let your hair down. Hair…”
He turned back to Cecily and grimaced. “Good God, what did you do that for?”
“Tate likes long hair, that’s what I did it for,” she said, venom in her whole look. “I can’t wait for him to see it, even if I have to settle for sending him a photo!”
“I hope you never get mad at me,” Matt said.
Diana Palmer (Paper Rose (Hutton & Co. #2))
I water my plants when the soil looks dry, and I haven’t forgotten my nephew’s birthday once ever. In fact, I started to think about my nephew and all the time he uses that phone, always checking for likes on that Instacart. It’s good to be bored in the car, I always tell him. Spend some time with just yourself and your thoughts and nothing to do. How else will you learn who you are? I’m worried about your posture, dear. I’m concerned that it comes from all the looking down. What with your phone and the Xbox and the taxi TV and that music player you wear on your arm and the headphones that look like donuts on your ears, doesn’t it make life so much smaller? If absolutely everything important is only happening on such a small screen, isn’t that a shame? Especially when the world is so overwhelmingly large and surprising? Are you missing too much? You can’t imagine it now, but you’ll look like me one day, even though you’ll feel just the same as you do now. You’ll catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and think how quickly it’s all gone, and I wonder if all the time you used watching those families whose lives are filmed for the television, and making those cartoons of yourselves with panting dog tongues, and chasing after that terrible Pokémon fellow…well, will it feel like time well spent?
Lauren Graham (Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between))
The chair faced the room instead of the window. Reading while waiting for marijuana was out of the question. He considered masturbating but did not. He didn’t reject the idea so much as not react to it and watch as it floated away. He thought very broadly of desires and ideas being watched but not acted upon, he thought of impulses being starved of expression and drying out and floating dryly away, and felt on some level that this had something to do with him and his circumstances and what, if this grueling final debauch he’d committed himself to didn’t somehow resolve the problem, would surely have to be called his problem, but he could not even begin to try to see how the image of desiccated impulses floating dryly related to either him or the insect, which had retreated back into its hole in the angled girder, because at this precise time his telephone and his intercom to the front door’s buzzer both sounded at the same time, both loud and tortured and so abrupt they sounded yanked through a very small hole into the great balloon of colored silence he sat in, waiting, and he moved first toward the telephone console, then over toward his intercom module, then convulsively back toward the sounding phone, and then tried somehow to move toward both at once, finally, so that he stood splay-legged, arms wildly out as if something’s been flung, splayed, entombed between the two sounds, without a thought in his head.
David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest)
Maddie spun to her left - looked back to the cliff - but it was too late. He was already there, standing in front of her. The gun was trained on the center of her chest, and the look on Stefan's face was pure, unadulterated loathing.
"You should have forgotten about the phone," he said.
Maddie had seen evil up close; she'd witnessed terror and rage, and she knew better than most people the effect that pure hate can have on the human body.
First, in Maddie's experience, it was terrible for your skin. (If there was one thing a zit loved, it was stress.
Second, it could do awful things to your eyes. They got glossy, but not with tears, with wild and untamed fury.
Finally, that much adrenaline might make you strong enough to lift a Toyota off a toddler or whatever, but it could also make your hands shake and your heart race.
That's how Stefan looked. His eyes were too wide, his lips were too dry, and his grip was too hard on the gun.
Maddie didn't scream. Or plead. Or cry. She just rolled her eyes and said, "But I'm a teenage girl. We're addicted to our phones, or haven't you heard?"
She could feel the boulder at her back, as Stefan stepped closer, she knew there was nowhere to go. So she tensed.
"You think you are so smart." Stefan's accent was thicker. The words were cold.
"Well, not to brag, but I am number one in my class. Does it matter if you're the only one in your class?" she asked. "I don't know about -"
"Shut up!" he yelled, limping closer.
Ally Carter (Not If I Save You First)
For things to change, somebody somewhere has to start acting
differently. Maybe it’s you, maybe it’s your team.
Picture that person (or people). Each has an emotional Elephant side and a rational Rider side.
You’ve got to reach both. And you’ve also got to clear the way
for them to succeed. In short, you must do three things: → DIRECT the Rider FOLLOW THE BRIGHT SPOTS. Investigate what’s working and clone it. [Jerry Sternin in Vietnam, solutions-focused therapy] SCRIPT THE CRITICAL MOVES. Don’t think big picture, think in terms of specific behaviors. [1% milk, four rules at the Brazilian railroad] POINT TO THE DESTINATION. Change is easier when you know where you’re going and why it’s worth it. [“You’ll be third graders soon,” “No dry holes” at BP] → MOTIVATE the Elephant FIND THE FEELING. Knowing something isn’t enough to cause change. Make people feel something. [Piling gloves on the table, the chemotherapy video game, Robyn Waters’s demos at Target] SHRINK THE CHANGE. Break down the change until it no longer spooks the Elephant. [The 5-Minute Room Rescue, procurement reform] GROW YOUR PEOPLE. Cultivate a sense of identity and instill the growth mindset. [Brasilata’s “inventors,” junior-high math kids’ turnaround] → SHAPE the Path TWEAK THE ENVIRONMENT. When the situation changes, the behavior changes. So change the situation. [Throwing out the phone system at Rackspace, 1-Click ordering, simplifying the online time sheet] BUILD HABITS. When behavior is habitual, it’s “free”—it doesn’t tax the Rider. Look for ways to encourage habits. [Setting “action triggers,” eating two bowls of soup while dieting, using checklists] RALLY THE HERD.
Chip Heath (Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard)
Lester.” Reyna sighed. “What in Tartarus are you saying? I’m not in the mood for riddles.” “That maybe I’m the answer,” I blurted. “To healing your heart. I could…you know, be your boyfriend. As Lester. If you wanted. You and me. You know, like…yeah.” I was absolutely certain that up on Mount Olympus, the other Olympians all had their phones out and were filming me to post on Euterpe-Tube. Reyna stared at me long enough for the marching band in my circulatory system to play a complete stanza of “You’re a Grand Old Flag.” Her eyes were dark and dangerous. Her expression was unreadable, like the outer surface of an explosive device. She was going to murder me. No. She would order her dogs to murder me. By the time Meg rushed to my aid, it would be too late. Or worse—Meg would help Reyna bury my remains, and no one would be the wiser. When they returned to camp, the Romans would ask What happened to Apollo? Who? Reyna would say. Oh, that guy? Dunno, we lost him. Oh, well! the Romans would reply, and that would be that. Reyna’s mouth tightened into a grimace. She bent over, gripping her knees. Her body began to shake. Oh, gods, what had I done? Perhaps I should comfort her, hold her in my arms. Perhaps I should run for my life. Why was I so bad at romance? Reyna made a squeaking sound, then a sort of sustained whimper. I really had hurt her! Then she straightened, tears streaming down her face, and burst into laughter. The sound reminded me of water rushing over a creek bed that had been dry for ages. Once she started, she couldn’t seem to stop. She doubled over, stood upright again, leaned against a tree, and looked at her dogs as if to share the joke. “Oh…my…gods,” she wheezed. She managed to restrain her mirth long enough to blink at me through the tears, as if to make sure I was really there and she’d heard me correctly. “You. Me? HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA.
Rick Riordan (The Tyrant's Tomb (The Trials of Apollo, #4))
Back in bed I listen to every sound. The plastic tarp over the table on the balcony crunching in the cold wind. the two short clicks in the walls before the heat comes on with a low whoosh. I hear a constant base hum all around, the nervous system of the building, carrying electricity and gas and phone conversations to all our respective little boxes. I listen to it all, the constant, the rhythmic, and the random. It's hard to measure the night by sound, but it can be done. I know that when the traffic noise is quietest, it's about 4:30 in the morning. I know that when the 'Times' hits the door, it's around 5. Now the clock says it's morning, 5:45, but the November sky still says midnight. I hear the elevator ding twenty yards down the hall outside our door. Seven seconds later, I hear his keys in our lock, then his heavy backpack hitting the floor. I hear the refrigerator door open, the unsealing vacuum wheezing as the cold inside air meets the dry heat in the apartment. The cupboard door. A glass. The crescendoing fizz of a new two-liter Diet Coke bottle opening. It's a one-sided conversation with no one actually talking. I lie in the dark, close my eyes, and try not to listen to his movements around apartment. these are the sounds of our life together before it got so messy. I want to say something back. Anything, anything that sounds like things sounded last summer. Even just to myself. Just something out loud.
The inside of my eyelids turn pink. My door has been opened and the light from the hallway shines through them. I won't open them. There is no noise.
Like an eclipse, the world behind my closed eyes goes dark again. For just one second, before I feel a kiss on my right eye. I keep them closed. A kiss on the left one. I open them. Jack looks down at me and closes his eyes. He leans forward and puts his forehead on my chest and goes limp.
''Blues Clues' is on,' he says softly into my tee shirt. His muffled voice vibrating only a half inch away from my heart.
Josh Kilmer-Purcell (I Am Not Myself These Days)
Sam dragged her over to a small plot. Unlike the historic ones, this seemed like an ordinary grave. The headstone read Paul Danvers 1950-1997. “And this guy,” Sam said through clenched teeth. “Got so drunk one night, he accidentally set his house on fire, killing himself and his seventeen-year-old son.” Margot pulled back. This date had turned as sour as the feeling in her gut. “Murdered his own son.” Sam’s voice was tight and full of emotion. “He was going to college in the fall. Got a full ride and everything.” “That’s awful,” said Margot. “Where’s the son buried?” “So glad you asked.” Sam smiled so mournfully that Margot regretted asking at all. He pointed to the headstone next to Paul’s. In the darkness, it was nearly impossible to make out the young man’s name. Margot knelt on the soft grass and leaned forward, using the light from her cellphone to see the engraving. She gasped and nearly dropped the phone. “Sam Danvers,” she said, barely getting out the words. “That’s not funny.” Margot’s hands shook. “Is your name really Sam?” He no longer smiled, just nodded. “It is.” Sam came in close and said her name in such a soft whisper, Margot ached to touch him. He reached up to her face and tucked a strand of wavy hair behind her ear. “If things were different at all…” She put her hands on his. His skin felt dry and cold while hers felt clammy. “What does that mean? If what was different?” Sam leaned in, his face encased in shadows, and kissed Margot. She gasped before being taken in by the kiss. His breath tasted oddly of licorice and she was suddenly aware of the scent of fresh-cut grass. His lips were soft, but his kiss was urgent. He gripped the belt loops of Margot’s jean shorts and pulled her in tight against his chest. Her head swam and her heart pounded. She pulled away from him and attempted to catch her breath. She looked at him, her eyes bright with fury. “That wasn’t an answer.” He ran his hands through his hair. A typical guy stall tactic, thought Margot. But Sam wasn’t stalling. He was struggling. “Margot, I’m Sam Danvers,” he said. Margot shook her head — “No. No. No.” — and marched away from him.
Kimberly G. Giarratano (One Night Is All You Need: A Short Story)
That afternoon eight men met at the counter inside the Mother’s Rest dry goods store. The store owner was already there, with his two shirts and his unkempt hair, and the first to join him was the spare-parts guy from the irrigation store, who was followed by the Cadillac driver, and the one-eyed clerk from the motel, and the hog farmer, and the counterman from the diner, and the Moynahan who had gotten kicked in the balls and had his gun taken. The eighth man at the meeting came in five minutes later. He was a solid guy, red in the face, fresh from a shower, wearing ironed blue jeans and a dress shirt. He was older than Moynahan and the spare-parts guy and the Cadillac driver, and younger than the motel clerk and the store owner, and about the same age as the hog farmer and the counterman. He had blow-dried hair like a news anchor on TV. The other seven guys stiffened and straightened as he walked in, and fell silent, and waited for him to speak first. He got straight to the point. He said, “Are they coming back?” No one answered. Seven blank looks. The eighth guy said, “Give me both sides of the argument.” There was some silence and squirming and shuffling, and then the spare-parts guy said, “They won’t come back because we did our jobs. They got nothing here. No evidence, no witnesses. Why would they come back to a dry hole?” The Cadillac driver said, “They will come back because this was Keever’s last known location. They’ll come back as many times as it takes. Where else can they start over, when they’re getting nowhere?” The eighth guy said, “Are we sure they got nothing here?” The counterman said, “No one talked to them. Not a word.” The store owner said, “They only used the pay phone once. They tried three numbers, and got no reply from any of them, and then they went away again. That’s not what people do, with red-hot information.” “So the consensus is they learned nothing?” “The what?” “What you all think.” The Cadillac driver said, “What we all think is they learned less than nothing. They finished up in my store, chasing some non-existent guy named Maloney. They were nowhere. But they’ll still come back. They know Keever was here.” “So they did learn something.” The store went quiet.
Lee Child (Make Me (Jack Reacher, #20))
1. I WON'T SHAM
Why pretend all is well, yet in hurt
When inside I’m dying for your affection?
Why should l flout you?
When my heart yearns for communion?
'l don't care' cries the broken hearted
When inside the heart cries for love
When the very reason they are crying
Is them they are pretending to slur
'l never loved you' cries the divorced
When their heart bleeds for love, just one act of love
The one that brought them together at first
The very reason they even got married
'l hate you' cries the frustrated
When fulfillment is all they long for
The reality of which is still a fallacy to them
If only they could hold on just a little longer
'That's a dry joke’ cries the scowling
When laughter is what they long for
In as much as they pretend to frown
Merriment is still so true in their hearts
But, l hate to say goodbye, when all l want is to be with you
I hate to walk away, when l could have gone with you
You'd make me sad by waving goodbye
When all that's true is for you and me to be together
I hate to shout at you, when l can just speak tenderly
l hate to hang you down on the phone,
When l could have said a little more to make you blissful
I hate to say goodnight when l'm not heavy-eyed myself
All that's real to me is l abhor to be a dummy
But hold on my love, l WON'T SHAM....
Muriah approached him with a new pair of khakis and a couple of T-shirts. “I guessed at the size so you might want to go try these on first.”
He took the clothes and slid his arm around her waist, maneuvering her toward the fitting room.
“Hey, I didn’t sign on to be your dresser.” She grumbled, but didn’t struggle.
He pulled the door closed and turned to meet her eyes. “It’s light in here and full of people. Apep will not be able to surprise us, and his serpents cannot spy. We need to talk.”
He stripped off the wet shirt, exposing his chiseled torso. She did her best not to choke on her tongue. His tanned skin and taut muscles tempted her, luring her to touch him. Turning around to give him privacy seemed like the right thing to do, but there wasn’t a hint of modesty in this Mayan god, and if he could handle getting this personal, then she could, too.
When he unzipped the wet pants, she held her breath. Would an ancient guy wear underwear? She was about to find out. He bent over to lower the wet slacks. When he straightened up, she realized he’d been talking, but she didn’t have a clue what he had said. Instead, all her attention was focused on a fine trail of dark hair leading from just below his navel and disappearing under the low-slung elastic band of his boxer briefs.
Her gaze snapped up to meet his. Thank the universe he couldn’t read her thoughts. “Yeah?”
“Did you hear my question?”
He stood two feet from her in only his underwear, and he thought she was listening? He was either completely unaware of his sex appeal, or he was way too accustomed to being obeyed.
She cleared her throat. “I must’ve missed it.”
A spark lit his eyes that told her he might have more than a clue to his sex appeal.
He picked up the T-shirt and pulled it on. “I asked if you knew of another hotel closer to the airport so we can get out of New York as soon as the sun sets tomorrow.”
“I’m sure I can find one.” She pulled out her phone, grateful to have something to pretend to focus on besides him tucking his package into the new khakis she pulled off the rack for him.
“I probably should’ve grabbed some dry underwear, too.”
“They are nearly dry now. I will be fine.” He popped the tags off, and she glanced up from her hotel search. “They’re not going to like you taking the tags off before you pay.”
The corner of his mouth curved up. “They will be honored to take my money.”
She groaned and rolled her eyes. “Do you ever not get your way?”
He stepped closer to her, his chest an inch from hers until her back pressed against the modular wall of the fitting room. “Rarely.” His dark gaze held hers, and the deep rumble of his voice sent heat through her body. “But some things are worth the extra effort.
Lisa Kessler (Night Child (Night, #3))
I awake with a start, shaking the cobwebs of sleep from my mind. It’s pitch-dark out, the wind howling. It takes a couple seconds to get my bearings, to realize I’m in my parents’ bed, Ryder beside me, on his side, facing me. Our hands are still joined, though our fingers are slack now.
“Hey, you,” he says sleepily. “That one was loud, huh?”
“Thunder. Rattled the windows pretty bad.”
“What time is it?”
“Middle of the night, I’d say.”
I could check my phone, but that would require sitting up and letting go of his hand. Right now, I don’t want to do that. I’m too comfortable. “Have you gotten any sleep at all?” I ask him, my mouth dry and cottony.
“I think I drifted off for a little bit. Till…you know…the thunder started up again.”
“It should calm down some when the eye moves through.”
“If there’s still an eye by the time it gets here. The center of circulation usually starts breaking up once it goes inland.” Yeah, all those hours watching the Weather Channel occasionally come in handy.
He gives my hand a gentle squeeze. “Wow, maybe you should consider studying meteorology. You know, if the whole film-school thing doesn’t work out for you.”
“I could double major,” I shoot back.
“I bet you could.”
“What are you going to study?” I ask, curious now. “I mean, besides football. You’ve got to major in something, don’t you?”
He doesn’t answer right away. I wonder what’s going through his head--why he’s hesitating.
“Astrophysics,” he says at last.
“Yeah, right.” I roll my eyes. “Fine, if you don’t want to tell me…”
“I’m serious. Astrophysics for undergrad. And then maybe…astronomy.”
“What, you mean in graduate school?”
He just nods.
“You’re serious? You’re going to major in something that tough? I mean, most football players major in something like phys ed or underwater basket weaving, don’t they?”
“Greg McElroy majored in business marketing,” he says with a shrug, ignoring my jab.
“Yeah, but…astrophysics? What’s the point, if you’re just going to play pro football after you graduate anyway?”
“Who says I want to play pro football?” he asks, releasing my hand.
“Are you kidding me?” I sit up, staring at him in disbelief. He’s the best quarterback in the state of Mississippi. I mean, football is what he does…It’s his life. Why wouldn’t he play pro ball?
He rolls over onto his back, staring at the ceiling, his arms folded behind his head. “Right, I’m just some dumb jock.”
“Oh, please. Everyone knows you’re the smartest kid in our class. You always have been. I’d give anything for it to come as easily to me as it does to you.”
He sits up abruptly, facing me. “You think it’s easy for me? I work my ass off. You have no idea what I’m working toward. Or what I’m up against,” he adds, shaking his head.
“Probably not,” I concede. “Anyway, if anyone can major in astrophysics and play SEC ball at the same time, you can. But you might want to lose the attitude.”
He drops his head into his hands. “I’m sorry, Jem. It’s just…everyone has all these expectations. My parents, the football coach--”
“You think I don’t get that? Trust me. I get it better than just about anyone.”
He lets out a sigh. “I guess our families have pretty much planned out our lives for us, haven’t they?”
“They think they have, that’s for sure,” I say.
Kristi Cook (Magnolia (Magnolia Branch, #1))
The Raisin meditation2 Set aside five to ten minutes when you can be alone, in a place, and at a time, when you will not be disturbed by the phone, family or friends. Switch off your cell phone, so it doesn’t play on your mind. You will need a few raisins (or other dried fruit or small nuts). You’ll also need a piece of paper and a pen to record your reactions afterward. Your task will be to eat the fruit or nuts in a mindful way, much as you ate the chocolate earlier (see p. 55). Read the instructions below to get an idea of what’s required, and only reread them if you really need to. The spirit in which you do the meditation is more important than covering every instruction in minute detail. You should spend about twenty to thirty seconds on each of the following eight stages: 1. Holding Take one of the raisins (or your choice of dried fruit or nuts) and hold it in the palm of your hand, or between your fingers and thumb. Focusing on it, approach it as if you have never seen anything like it before. Can you feel the weight of it in your hand? Is it casting a shadow on your palm? 2. Seeing Take the time really to see the raisin. Imagine you have never seen one before. Look at it with great care and full attention. Let your eyes explore every part of it. Examine the highlights where the light shines; the darker hollows, the folds and ridges. 3. Touching Turn the raisin over between your fingers, exploring its texture. How does it feel between the forefinger and thumb of the other hand? 4. Smelling Now, holding it beneath your nose, see what you notice with each in-breath. Does it have a scent? Let it fill your awareness. And if there is no scent, or very little, notice this as well. 5. Placing Slowly take the object to your mouth and notice how your hand and arm know exactly where to put it. And then gently place it in your mouth, noticing what the tongue does to “receive” it. Without chewing, simply explore the sensations of having it on your tongue. Gradually begin to explore the object with your tongue, continuing for thirty seconds or more if you choose. 6. Chewing When you’re ready, consciously take a bite into the raisin and notice the effects on the object, and in your mouth. Notice any tastes that it releases. Feel the texture as your teeth bite into it. Continue slowly chewing it, but do not swallow it just yet. Notice what is happening in the mouth. 7. Swallowing See if you can detect the first intention to swallow as it arises in your mind, experiencing it with full awareness before you actually swallow. Notice what the tongue does to prepare it for swallowing. See if you can follow the sensations of swallowing the raisin. If you can, consciously sense it as it moves down into your stomach. And if you don’t swallow it all at one time, consciously notice a second or even a third swallow, until it has all gone. Notice what the tongue does after you have swallowed. 8. Aftereffects Finally, spend a few moments registering the aftermath of this eating. Is there an aftertaste? What does the absence of the raisin feel like? Is there an automatic tendency to look for another? Now take a moment to write down anything that you noticed when you were doing the practice. Here’s what some people who’ve attended our courses said: “The smell for me was amazing; I’d never noticed that before.” “I felt pretty stupid, like I was in art school or something.” “I thought how ugly they looked … small and wrinkled, but the taste was very different from what I would normally have thought it tasted like. It was quite nice actually.” “I tasted this one raisin more than the twenty or so I usually stuff into my mouth without thinking.
J. Mark G. Williams (Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World)
Gather six to 12 months of checking, savings, and credit card statements, and break your income and expenses down into categories and then line items. I have suggested some here, but add your own as needed. Check to see if your bank or credit card company provides reporting that categorizes charges or lets you assign categories—your work may already be almost done for you: •Income—paychecks, interest, dividends, rents, royalties, business income, pension, social security, child support, spousal support •Housing—mortgage/rent, property taxes, HOA dues, insurance •Utilities—gas, electric, propane, phone, TV/Internet, trash, water/sewer •Food—groceries, dining out •Auto—car payments, gasoline, repairs, insurance •Medical—health insurance, doctor/dentist visits, prescriptions, physical therapy •Entertainment—travel, concerts/shows, sports •Clothing—personal purchases, dry cleaning, uniforms •Personal care—hair/nails, gym/yoga, vitamins/supplements •Miscellaneous—gifts, pets, donations •Children—education, activities, school lunches, childcare You can use a spreadsheet or pen and paper to take note of income and expenses as you go through statements, then calculate a monthly average for each item.
Debra Doak (High-Conflict Divorce for Women: Your Guide to Coping Skills and Legal Strategies for All Stages of Divorce)
According to Eden’s personal secretary, Oliver Harvey, his master was ‘horrified’ by Churchill’s plan and tried to talk him out of it. He failed. In despair, he rang the US ambassador, John Winant, who, similarly taken aback, advised that such a visit would not be appropriate until the New Year at the earliest. Harvey too was appalled, noting, ‘I am aghast at the consequence of both [Churchill and Eden] being away at once. The British public will think quite rightly that they are mad.’ If Eden called off his Moscow mission, however, it would send the wrong message entirely to the Kremlin, since ‘it would be fatal to put off A.E.’s visit to Stalin to enable PM to visit Roosevelt. It would confirm all Stalin’s worst suspicions.’20 Eden persisted. He phoned the deputy prime minister, Clement Attlee, who agreed with him wholeheartedly and undertook to oppose the prime minister’s scheme at Cabinet. His objection had no effect: nothing would divert Churchill from his chosen course. When Cadogan spoke to him later that evening, to explain that Eden was ‘distressed’ at the idea of their both being out of the country at the same time, Churchill brushed him aside, saying, ‘That’s all right: that’ll work very well: I shall have Anthony where I want him.’21 Though he did not put it quite so bluntly when discussing this personally with Eden, Churchill left him in no doubt that ‘a complete understanding between Britain and the United States outweighed all else’.22 This conviction was reinforced by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and, according to the new CIGS, Brooke, the pressing need ‘to ensure that American help to this country does not dry up in consequence’.23 Eden’s opposition to Churchill’s visit had genuine diplomatic validity, but neither was he entirely disinterested, for, as Harvey put it, the prime ministerial trip would ‘take all the limelight off the Moscow visit’.24 The unfortunate Foreign Secretary was not only unwell but also disconsolate as HMS Kent set off into rising seas and darkening weather. The British party of Eden, Cadogan and Harvey, accompanied by Lieutenant General Sir Archibald Nye (the newly appointed Vice Chief of the Imperial General Staff) and a phalanx of officials, set foot on Russian soil on 13 December. Their arrival gave Cadogan (who was not a seasoned
Jonathan Dimbleby (Barbarossa: How Hitler Lost the War)
So, I’ve got good news and bad news.” “Let me guess,” François says. “You’re the bad news.” Yasmine, without looking up from her phone, gives a dry chuckle. Tony ignores them both.
Zelda French (I Want to Kiss You in Public (Colette International #1))
Resigned that I wasn’t going back to sleep, I rolled up and got out of bed once another glance at my phone confirmed it was seven thirty and instantly peeked out the window.
There was a dull, repetitive sound coming from out there.
It was Mr. Rhodes.
And I mean shirtless.
I’d expected something nice beneath his clothes from the way he filled them out, but nothing could have prepared me for the sight of… him. Reality.
If I wasn’t already pretty sure that there was dry drool on my face, there would have been five minutes after seeing all…. That through the window.
A pile of foot-long logs were tossed around his feet, with another small pile that he’d obviously already chopped, just to the side. But it was the rest of him that really drew my attention. Dark chest hair was sprinkled high over his pectorals. The body hair did nothing to take away from the hard slabs of abdominal muscles he’d been hiding; he was broad up top, narrow at the waist, and covering all that was firm, beautiful skin.
His biceps were big and supple. Shoulders rounded. His forearms were incredible.
And even though his shorts grazed his knees, I could tell the rest of his downtown area was nice and muscular.
He was the DILF to end all DILFs.
My ex had been fit. He’d worked out several times a week at our home gym with a trainer. Being attractive had been part of his job.
Kaden’s physique had nothing on Mr. Rhodes though.
My mouth watered a little more.
And I must have done it a lot louder than I’d thought because his head instantly went up and his gaze landed on me through the window almost immediately.
And inside… inside, I died.
He lifted his chin.
I backed away, trying to play it off.
Maybe he wouldn’t think anything of it. Maybe he’d think I’d whistled… to say hi. Sure, yeah.
A girl could dream.
I backed up some more and felt my soul shriveling as I made my breakfast, making sure to stay away from the window the rest of the time. I tried to focus on other stuff. You know, so I wouldn’t want to have to move out from shame.
Was I tired? Absolutely. But there were things I wanted to do. Needed to do. Including but not limited to getting away from Mr. Rhodes so my soul could come back to life.
So an hour later, with a plan in mind, a sandwich, a couple bottles of water, and my whistle in my backpack, I headed down the stairs, hoping and praying that Mr. Rhodes was back in his house.
I wasn’t that lucky.
He had a shirt on, but that was the only difference.
Mariana Zapata (All Rhodes Lead Here)
Disconnecting the call before Mimi could lambaste her further, she tossed the phone on the bed and darted for the bathroom. Her toe caught on the bedpost, sending a shot of pain through her foot and up her leg. Howling with righteous indignation, she called the bed a few choice names as she hobbled her way to the tub. Performing the world’s fastest strip down, she jumped into the shower and nearly slipped. “Holy fright,” she barked, catching herself on the handrail. Her brain was still groggy with sleep, her toe ached like a mofo, and she’d almost head-butted herself with the shower. This was clearly not her day. Like, at all. She needed a strong cup of coffee, STAT. And better karma. And apparently, a new alarm clock. Lathering the shampoo into her long, unruly curls, Evangeline replayed her evening. She had read for an hour before turning off the bedside lamp, and she distinctly remembered flipping the alarm to the on position. Having purchased the alarm clock radio at a secondhand store in what she thought was a great deal, she now figured it was past its prime, and she’d need to buy a new one when she got paid on Friday. Because who wouldn’t love to spend what little she earned on a new small appliance? After playing the lather-and-rinse game with the conditioner, she washed her body before carefully stepping from the shower to grab a towel. The last thing she needed was to do the splits across the linoleum floor. Her dang toe still throbbed to the tempo of an agitated mariachi band. After a quick towel drying that left her hair dripping rivulets down her back, she chose a blousy blue top, black gaucho pants, and a pair of ballet flats, which she managed to slip into without ripping, breaking, or slipping on anything.
Andris Bear (Enter the Witch (Witches of Whisper Grove Book 1))
there.” Disconnecting the call before Mimi could lambaste her further, she tossed the phone on the bed and darted for the bathroom. Her toe caught on the bedpost, sending a shot of pain through her foot and up her leg. Howling with righteous indignation, she called the bed a few choice names as she hobbled her way to the tub. Performing the world’s fastest strip down, she jumped into the shower and nearly slipped. “Holy fright,” she barked, catching herself on the handrail. Her brain was still groggy with sleep, her toe ached like a mofo, and she’d almost head-butted herself with the shower. This was clearly not her day. Like, at all. She needed a strong cup of coffee, STAT. And better karma. And apparently, a new alarm clock. Lathering the shampoo into her long, unruly curls, Evangeline replayed her evening. She had read for an hour before turning off the bedside lamp, and she distinctly remembered flipping the alarm to the on position. Having purchased the alarm clock radio at a secondhand store in what she thought was a great deal, she now figured it was past its prime, and she’d need to buy a new one when she got paid on Friday. Because who wouldn’t love to spend what little she earned on a new small appliance? After playing the lather-and-rinse game with the conditioner, she washed her body before carefully stepping from the shower to grab a towel. The last thing she needed was to do the splits across the linoleum floor. Her dang toe still throbbed to the tempo of an agitated mariachi band. After a quick towel drying that left her hair dripping rivulets down her back, she chose a blousy blue top, black gaucho pants, and a pair of ballet flats, which she managed to slip into without ripping, breaking, or slipping on anything.
Andris Bear (Enter the Witch (Witches of Whisper Grove Book 1))
When observing distracted souls of his own day (not unlike those of our time), he noticed that if you “take away their diversion, you will see them dried up with weariness,” because it is to be ushered into unhappiness “as soon as we are reduced to thinking of self, and have no diversion.”8 Pascal’s point is a perennial fact: the human appetite for distraction is high in every age, because distractions give us easy escape from the silence and solitude whereby we become acquainted with our finitude, our inescapable mortality, and the distance of God from all our desires, hopes, and pleasures.
Tony Reinke (12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You)
Cops coming and going, keyboards clicking, phones ringing. She looked haggard. Hard. She hadn't always, Vince figured. The worry lines bracketing her eyes, her mouth, the dry skin, the chapped lips, the sense that she really didn't give a damn what she looked like—those things had been strangers to her that first day. The day her kids hadn't come home from school. Now those lines, that hardness, had made themselves at home. It looked as if they planned to stay awhile. This shouldn't have
Maggie Shayne (Gingerbread Man)
ARE MY CHILDREN still alive?" Sara Prague asked the question in a quiet, steady voice that he heard very clearly despite the noise around her. Cops coming and going, keyboards clicking, phones ringing. She looked haggard. Hard. She hadn't always, Vince figured. The worry lines bracketing her eyes, her mouth, the dry skin, the chapped lips, the sense that she really didn't give a damn what she looked like—those things had been strangers to her that first day. The day her kids hadn't come home from school. Now those lines, that hardness, had made themselves at home. It looked as if they planned to stay awhile. This shouldn't have happened to Sara Prague, a PTA mom whose world revolved around her kids. It shouldn't have happened to her husband. Mike, full-time plumber and part-time Little League coach. It shouldn't happen to anyone. Ever. Vince walked around his desk and eased Sara Prague into a cracked vinyl chair, ignoring the chaos around them. He poured her some stale coffee from the pot on the nearby stand, just as he had every day for the past three weeks. She came in here like clockwork—something the Center for Missing and Exploited Children had probably told her to do. He thought she would keep doing it, too. For years, if necessary. It wouldn't be necessary, though. She took the foam cup and sipped automatically. It was all part of their daily
Maggie Shayne (Gingerbread Man)
Despite an icy northeast wind huffing across the bay I sneak out after dark, after my mother falls asleep clutching her leather Bible, and I hike up the rutted road to the frosted meadow to stand in mist, my shoes in muck, and toss my echo against the moss-covered fieldstone corners of the burned-out church where Sunday nights in summer for years Father Thomas, that mad handsome priest, would gather us girls in the basement to dye the rose cotton linen cut-outs that the deacon’s daughter, a thin beauty with short white hair and long trim nails, would stitch by hand each folded edge then steam-iron flat so full of starch, stiffening fabric petals, which we silly Sunday school girls curled with quick sharp pulls of a scissor blade, forming clusters of curved petals the younger children assembled with Krazy glue and fuzzy green wire, sometimes adding tissue paper leaves, all of us gladly laboring like factory workers rather than have to color with crayon stubs the robe of Christ again, Christ with his empty hands inviting us to dine, Christ with a shepherd's staff signaling to another flock of puffy lambs, or naked Christ with a drooping head crowned with blackened thorns, and Lord how we laughed later when we went door to door in groups, visiting the old parishioners, the sick and bittersweet, all the near dead, and we dropped our bikes on the perfect lawns of dull neighbors, agnostics we suspected, hawking our handmade linen roses for a donation, bragging how each petal was hand-cut from a pattern drawn by Father Thomas himself, that mad handsome priest, who personally told the Monsignor to go fornicate himself, saying he was a disgruntled altar boy calling home from a phone booth outside a pub in North Dublin, while I sat half-dressed, sniffing incense, giddy and drunk with sacrament wine stains on my panties, whispering my oath of unholy love while wiggling uncomfortably on the mad priest's lap, but God he was beautiful with a fine chiseled chin and perfect teeth and a smile that would melt the Madonna, and God he was kind with a slow gentle touch, never harsh or too quick, and Christ how that crafty devil could draw, imitate a rose petal in perfect outline, his sharp pencil slanted just so, the tip barely touching so that he could sketch and drink, and cough without jerking, without ruining the work, or tearing the tissue paper, thin as a membrane, which like a clean skin arrived fresh each Saturday delivered by the dry cleaners, tucked into the crisp black vestment, wrapped around shirt cardboard, pinned to protect the high collar.
Bob Thurber (Nothing But Trouble)
Rishikesh is one of the most wanted places for adventure lovers. Rishikesh is also well-known among Hindus for its pilgrimage. The free of charge graceful river and also Substring Mountains make this place beautiful for travelers. It is really one of the best locations for people wanting onward to get tons of adventure, and fun. It's also a precious knowledge for nature lovers. The major fair activity in Rishikesh is White Water Rafting. It has grown to a well-liked and daring spot for white water rafting enthusiast as the place offers an impressive experience of average to very tough and rough rapids in the region of River Ganges. Uttarakhand adventure is well known rafting company in Rishikesh. Many adventurous tourists both from India and overseas stay this place to experience the real challenge of white water rafting. All services for white water rafting Rishikesh is available here, and there are preparation guides for rafting from whom a tourist can take help in this sport.
River rafting in Rishikesh is one of the majority popular sport activities because of free flowing rivers from Himalayas. Rafting, camping, trekking, and Rock Climbing, Bungee jumping is some of the sports education that a traveler can consider. We are best rafting company in Rishikesh. Important and Helpful Information and Rafting Safety Tips for All Rafting Users
• Important Equipments Shell Be take for River Rafting and Camping
• Sunglasses and water glasses with retaining cord, Battery Torch
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• Only Use River Sandals & old Sneakers , no flip flops
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• Waterproof disposable camera with Extra Battery (Full Battery Charge).
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• Trekking Shoes
Suddenly she appears in the driveway, barefoot, in a t-shirt and tight black leggings, running to her car on her tiptoes. Yanks the door open, ass sticking out of the cab when she leans in, swiping an unseen object from the center console. Slams the door and turns back toward the house. She doesn’t see me standing here. “Laurel,” I call her name in the rain, loud enough that she spins on the grass, brows raised, surprised to see me in her yard. Shocked, actually. “Rhett?” She steps toward me, clutching her phone charger. “Rhett, what are you doing here?” She squints her blue eyes up at the sky as beads of water blanket her hair. Her skin is already dewy. “I came to see you.” “Okay.” She smiles, giving a hasty glance up at the sky. “Do you want to come inside?” “No.” My head shakes, adamant, the brim of my ball cap keeping only my face dry. “No, I need to say what I came to say.” Laurel nods slowly, hair now completely saturated, falling in limp sheets to her shoulders. She tightly winds her phone cord and tucks it into the back pocket of her jeans.
Sara Ney (The Learning Hours (How to Date a Douchebag, #3))
BRANDON!” I stepped out of the shower and wrapped a towel around me, “Brandon!” He came bursting through the door less than a second later, “What’s wrong?!” His eyes were wide and panicked. “Are you okay?” I laughed and nodded, “My water just broke!” “Are you serious?” His face fell for a few beats then broke out into a wide grin. Closing the distance between us he kissed me until my knees were weak. When he pulled back, he cupped my cheeks tenderly and smiled. “So he’s coming?” “Guess so, you ready for this?” Brandon suddenly gasped, “Wait, we have to go! That means we have to go!” He turned around and took off into the bedroom. By the time I dried myself off, I could hear him on the phone with either my family or his. I felt strangely calm as I pulled on the dark blue shirt, and searched around for a clean pair of sweats. Brandon rushed out of the room with the hospital bag, I heard the front door open, close, open and close again before he came running back to me. I was sitting on the bed smiling at his behavior. “Harper, we have to go. Come on sweetheart, is there anything else you can think of?” “Phone chargers.” I watched as he yanked both ours from the wall. “Headphones, can you grab me one of your sweatshirts?” I didn’t care if it was September, the nights were cool, and when we’d been in that hospital last week, it was freezing. “What else?” “I need you to kiss me, then calm down and drive us to the hospital.
Molly McAdams (Taking Chances (Taking Chances, #1))
In 1991 two hikers in the Italian Alps stumbled upon a 5,300-year-old corpse that would later be dubbed “Ötzi the Iceman.” Preserved for more than five millennia in the ice and dry mountain air, Ötzi is the oldest intact corpse ever found. Forensic investigation revealed that Ötzi was most likely a shepherd. Ötzi was also a murder victim. He had been shot in the back with an arrow. As a Bronze Age shepherd who became a murder victim, we might think of Ötzi as the Abel of the Alps. I find it poignant and sadly apropos that the oldest human corpse was not found resting in a peaceful grave with attendant signs of reverence, but sprawled upon a bleak mountainside with an arrow in his back. It’s a distressing commentary on the origins of human civilization. It seems that human civilization is incapable of advancing without shooting brothers in the back. From the lonely death of Ötzi in the Italian Alps to Neda Agha-Soltan in Iran, whose violent death in Tehran during the 2009 election protests was captured on a cell-phone camera and witnessed around the world, the number of Abels who lay slain by a Cain are incalculable. In a world that spills the blood of the innocent, it’s easy to despair. But it’s the world Abel, Ötzi, and Neda were slain in that Jesus came to save.
Brian Zahnd (A Farewell to Mars: An Evangelical Pastor's Journey Toward the Biblical Gospel of Peace)
Would you care to share with the rest of the class what is so funny?”
Madison gulped. Ms. Healy was staring hard at Madison’s PalmPilot, which was absolutely forbidden in class, along with cell phones, CD players, and any other distracting electrical equipment.
Madison instantly started vamping. “Well, Ms. Healy, I was just musing on how ridiculous a scarlet would be today, and who would have to wear one--senators, actors, teachers, even a few of our presidents. In fact, there would probably be more people wearing the scarlet letter than not wearing it.”
Ms. Healy’s cold blue eyes looked huge through her extra-magnified glasses. “This is funny?”
Madison swallowed hard. “I guess it’s really more ironic, wouldn’t you say?”
Ms. Healy, who knew Madison as a straight-A, straight-shooter kind of student, softened a little. “‘Ironic’ is indeed the perfect word for it,” she said with a brisk nod. “Now put the personal digital assistance away and pay attention, Ms. McKay.”
As Ms. Healy walked back to the front of the room, Henry Cooney, Madison’s partner in chem lab, mouthed the words, “Nice save.”
Madison wiped some imaginary sweat off her forehead with her hand and tried to focus once again on the lecture. She forced herself to keep her eyes glued to Ms. Healy and soon found herself wondering what had turned the teacher into such an old grump. She was clearly smart and sometimes very funny, in a droll sort of way. Take away those awful glasses, let her hair out of that tight metal barrette at her neck, and Ms. Healy could almost be considered attractive. Maybe she’d had some brush with failed love that had made her go sour. Or worse yet--what if she had never had any brush with love at all, and this dried-up old prune was what Ms. Healy had become?
Jahnna N. Malcolm (Perfect Strangers (Love Letters, #1))
This was a media beat-up at its very worst. All those officials reacting to what the media labeled “The Baby Bob Incident” failed to understand the Irwin family. This is what we did--teach our children about wildlife, from a very early age. It wasn’t unnatural and it wasn’t a stunt. It was, on the contrary, an old and valued family tradition, and one that I embraced wholeheartedly.
It was who we were. To have the press fasten on the practice as irresponsible made us feel that our very ability as parents was being attacked. It didn’t make any sense.
This is why Steve never publicly apologized. For him to say “I’m sorry” would mean that he was sorry that Bob and Lyn raised him the way they did, and that was simply impossible. The best he could do was to sincerely apologize if he had worried anyone. The reality was that he would have been remiss as a parent if he didn’t teach his kids how to coexist with wildlife. After all, his kids didn’t just have busy roads and hot stoves to contend with. They literally had to learn how to live with crocodiles and venomous snakes in their backyard.
Through it all, the plight of the Tibetan nuns was completely and totally ignored. The world media had not a word to spare about a dry well that hundreds of people depended on. For months, any time Steve encountered the press, Tibetan nuns were about the furthest thing from the reporter’s mind. The questions would always be the same: “Hey, Stevo, what about the Baby Bob Incident?”
“If I could relive Friday, mate, I’d go surfing,” Steve said on a hugely publicized national television appearance in the United States. “I can’t go back to Friday, but you know what, mate? Don’t think for one second I would ever endanger my children, mate, because they’re the most important thing in my life, just like I was with my mum and dad.”
Steve and I struggled to get back to a point where we felt normal again. Sponsors spoke about terminating contracts. Members of our own documentary crew sought to distance themselves from us, and our relationship with Discovery was on shaky ground.
But gradually we were able to tune out the static and hear what people were saying. Not the press, but the people. We read the e-mails that had been pouring in, as well as faxes, letters, and phone messages. Real people helped to get us back on track. Their kids were growing up with them on cattle ranches and could already drive tractors, or lived on horse farms and helped handle skittish stallions. Other children were learning to be gymnasts, a sport which was physically rigorous and held out the chance of injury. The parents had sent us messages of support.
“Don’t feel bad, Steve,” wrote one eleven-year-old from Sydney. “It’s not the wildlife that’s dangerous.” A mother wrote us, “I have a new little baby, and if you want to take him in on the croc show it is okay with me.”
So many parents employed the same phrase: “I’d trust my kids with Steve any day.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)
Do you ever feel the need to go somewhere
Forget everything so you can remember yourself?
You get a good way down the road and then the phone rings
A night for nights
Dried blood by the bus stop
A car patching out in the parking lot of the market
Where the hell could I go?
No, I’m plugged in
Henry Rollins (See A Grown Man Cry/Now Watch Him Die)
Have you ever been swept away by a toxic lover who sucked you dry? I have. Bad men used to light me up like a Christmas tree. If I had a choice between the rebel without a cause and a nice guy in a sweater and outdoorsy shoes, you can imagine who got my phone number. Rebels and rogues are smooth (and somewhat untamed); they know the headwaiters at the best steak houses, ride fast European motorcycles, and start bar fights in your honor. In short, the rebel makes you feel really alive! It’s all fun and games until he screws your best friend or embezzles your life’s savings. You may be asking yourself how my pathetic dating track record relates to your diet. Simple. The acid—alkaline balance, which relates to the chemistry of your body’s fluids and tissues as measured by pH. The rebel/rogue = acid. The nice solid guy = alkaline. The solid guy gives you energy; he’s reliable and trustworthy. The solid guy calls you back when he says he will. He helps you clean your garage and does yoga with you. He’s even polite to your family no matter how whacked they are, and has the sexual stamina to rock your world. While the rebel can help you let your hair down, too much rebel will sap your energy. In time, a steady rebellious diet burns you out. But when we’re addicted to bad boys (junk food, fat, sugar, and booze), nice men (veggies and whole grains) seem boring. Give them a chance!
Kris Carr (Crazy Sexy Diet: Eat Your Veggies, Ignite Your Spark, And Live Like You Mean It!)
For things to change, somebody somewhere has to start acting differently. Maybe it’s you, maybe it’s your team. Picture that person (or people). Each has an emotional Elephant side and a rational Rider side. You’ve got to reach both. And you’ve also got to clear the way for them to succeed. In short, you must do three things: → DIRECT the Rider FOLLOW THE BRIGHT SPOTS. Investigate what’s working and clone it. [Jerry Sternin in Vietnam, solutions-focused therapy] SCRIPT THE CRITICAL MOVES. Don’t think big picture, think in terms of specific behaviors. [1% milk, four rules at the Brazilian railroad] POINT TO THE DESTINATION. Change is easier when you know where you’re going and why it’s worth it. [“You’ll be third graders soon,” “No dry holes” at BP] → MOTIVATE the Elephant FIND THE FEELING. Knowing something isn’t enough to cause change. Make people feel something. [Piling gloves on the table, the chemotherapy video game, Robyn Waters’s demos at Target] SHRINK THE CHANGE. Break down the change until it no longer spooks the Elephant. [The 5-Minute Room Rescue, procurement reform] GROW YOUR PEOPLE. Cultivate a sense of identity and instill the growth mindset. [Brasilata’s “inventors,” junior-high math kids’ turnaround] → SHAPE the Path TWEAK THE ENVIRONMENT. When the situation changes, the behavior changes. So change the situation. [Throwing out the phone system at Rackspace, 1-Click ordering, simplifying the online time sheet] BUILD HABITS. When behavior is habitual, it’s “free”—it doesn’t tax the Rider. Look for ways to encourage habits. [Setting “action triggers,” eating two bowls of soup while dieting, using checklists] RALLY THE HERD. Behavior is contagious. Help it spread. [“Fataki” in Tanzania, “free spaces” in hospitals, seeding the tip jar] ————— OVERCOMING OBSTACLES ————— Here we list twelve common problems that people encounter as they fight for change, along with some advice about overcoming them. (Note
Chip Heath (Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard)
pring is a great time to introduce your children to the wonders of God's creation. Take them to a garden center and let them pick out a tree to be planted in your yard. Let them help dig the hole, add soil amendments, and place the tree. As they fill the hole around the tree, talk about how amazing God was when creating the world. Your children will love
watching the tree grow through the years... as they grow with it.
And remember when you used to press flowers in a scrapbook? Why not do it again? Use the pages of your phone book or apply heavy weight as you press and dry the flowers. When they're completely dry, use a tiny bit of glue to arrange them on colorful or white poster board. Add lace and ribbon, and you've got a perfect pressed flower arrangement. Or make it more masculine by adding graphics of sports, animals, cars, or trucks.
ere's a tip that'll help in the dilemma of what to do with your various collections. Always arrange them in odd-numbered groupings. Three is a magic number. Cluster things that have differing shapes, but keep a theme going.
ho is your best friend? Who is your second best friend? Now think about it. Is there really such a thing as a "bad" friend? Not all friendships are alike, to be sure. Some are casual and relaxing. Others are intense and stimulating. And some surprise us by
seeming to come out of nowhere. Some friendships will fade ...a truth we have to accept.
I have several "friends of the heart." These people aren't necessarily "best friends" because
Emilie Barnes (365 Things Every Woman Should Know)
Fukuoka, more than any other city in Japan, is responsible for ramen's rocket-ship trajectory, and the ensuing shift in Japan's cultural identity abroad. Between Hide-Chan, Ichiran, and Ippudo- three of the biggest ramen chains in the world- they've brought the soup to corners of the globe that still thought ramen meant a bag of dried noodles and a dehydrated spice packet. But while Ichiran and Ippudo are purveyors of classic tonkotsu, undoubtedly the defining ramen of the modern era, Hideto has a decidedly different belief about ramen and its mutability.
"There are no boundaries for ramen, no rules," he says. "It's all freestyle."
As we talk at his original Hide-Chan location in the Kego area of Fukuoka, a new bowl arrives on the table, a prototype for his borderless ramen philosophy. A coffee filter is filled with katsuobushi, smoked skipjack tuna flakes, and balanced over a bowl with a pair of chopsticks. Hideto pours chicken stock through the filter, which soaks up the katsuobushi and emerges into the bowl as clear as a consommé. He adds rice noodles and sawtooth coriander then slides it over to me.
Compared with other Hide-Chan creations, though, this one shows remarkable restraint. While I sip the soup, Hideto pulls out his cell phone and plays a video of him layering hot pork cheeks and cold noodles into a hollowed-out porcelain skull, then dumping a cocktail shaker filled with chili oil, shrimp oil, truffle oil, and dashi over the top. Other creations include spicy arrabbiata ramen with pancetta and roasted tomatoes, foie gras ramen with orange jam and blueberry miso, and black ramen made with bamboo ash dipped into a mix of miso and onions caramelized for forty-five days.
Matt Goulding (Rice, Noodle, Fish: Deep Travels Through Japan's Food Culture)
Oh, I'm tired as fuck
Oh, I'm tired as fuck
Dry my eyes on the back of my sleeve and do my coat up
Oh, I'm tired as fuck
Oh, I'm tired as fuck
Put down the phone, put on my gloves and wish me luck
Wish me luck
Oh, I'm tired as fuck
Oh, I'm tired as fuck
Dry my eyes on the back of my sleeve and do my coat up
Oh, I'm tired as fuck
Oh, I'm tired as fuck
Put down the phone, put on my gloves and wish me luck
Wish me luck
Oh, I'm tired as hell
Oh, I'm tired as hell
Busted bed, broken door and I'm keeping to myself
Oh, I'm tired as hell
Oh, I'm tired as hell
Put down the phone, put on my shoes and wish me well
Wish me well
And so now, having been born, I’m going to rewind the film, so that my pink blanket flies off, my crib scoots across the floor as my umbilical cord reattaches, and I cry out as I’m sucked back between my mother’s legs. She gets really fat again. Then back some more as a spoon stops swinging and a thermometer goes back into its velvet case. Sputnik chases its rocket trail back to the launching pad and polio stalks the land. There’s a quick shot of my father as a twenty-year-old clarinetist, playing an Artie Shaw number into the phone, and then he’s in church, age eight, being scandalized by the price of candles; and next my grandfather is untaping his first U.S. dollar bill over a cash register in 1931. Then we’re out of America completely; we’re in the middle of the ocean, the sound track sounding funny in reverse. A steamship appears, and up on deck a lifeboat is curiously rocking; but then the boat docks, stern first, and we’re up on dry land again, where the film unspools, back at the beginning . . .
Jeffrey Eugenides (Middlesex)
a simple chicken emergency kit A simple chicken emergency kit should include: STYPTIC POWDER. To help blood clot, use cornstarch or flour, or use Kwik Stop which can be found at most pet stores. ANTIBIOTIC OINTMENT. Be sure to buy a product intended for animal use. VET WRAP. This bandage clings to itself and inhibits bleeding without cutting off circulation. HYDROGEN PEROXIDE. Use this to wash wounds. STERILE GLOVES. STERILE COTTON BALLS AND SWABS. Use these to help clean and dry wounds. TOWEL. You can wrap the bird in this for safe handling. LIST OF VETERINARIAN PHONE NUMBERS to call in an emergency.
Jessi Bloom (Free-Range Chicken Gardens: How to Create a Beautiful, Chicken-Friendly Yard)
I watched as Ian pulls the cooked squash out of the oven and drops it on the part of the cooktop that is currently not in use to let it cool for a moment while he mixes honey vinegar and a touch of brown sugar into thick crème fraîche, tasting along the way with the spoons I keep in a little cup on the stovetop. Satisfied with the crema, he turns back to the food processor, where he has chopped the pistachios, shallots, olives, and herbs, and empties out the contents into a bowl, adding a splash of the honey vinegar, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and a healthy glug of olive oil. He tastes, adds salt and a good grinding of black pepper, tastes again, and nods, pleased with himself.
"Ten minutes to go," I say, checking my phone. "Keep talking me through things."
Ian reaches for a large flour tortilla and places it in a dry nonstick skillet. "I'm going to assemble the quesadilla now," he says, sprinkling shredded fontina cheese over the whole surface of the tortilla. He dots the shredded cheese with small bits of fresh goat cheese. "I'm using fontina because it melts well and is mild, and some chèvre for a bit of punch and creaminess. Now the pork." He has sliced the pork thin, and layers it over the cheeses, following with cubes of the roasted squash.
Stacey Ballis (How to Change a Life)
Oh, she says gravely, when a bell chimes or a phone rings, we simply take the opportunity to switch off and abandon all our plans and emotions - all our thoughts about other people and ourselves.
Abandon all our human perceptions? I ask indignantly. In that case, what’s left for us?
No, she says with a shake of the head, I only mean our conception of the world.
I like the way she pronounces the word ‘conception’ in her Dutch accent, as if it were hot and she might burn her lips on it.
I wish I could speak a foreign language as fluently as you do, I tell her. Please say ‘conception’ again. Explain it to me. What’s the difference between my perceptions and my conceptions?
Resolutely, she makes for a cafe beneath some plane trees whose leaves are casting decorative shadows on the white tablecloths. She sits down and regards me sceptically, as if gauging whether I’m bright enough to merit an answer. Most of the time, she says, we form an opinion about things without really perceiving them.
She points to an elderly woman waddling across the square laden down with plastic bags. For instance, she goes on, I look at that woman and I think, How bow-legged she is, and that skirt! A ghastly colour and far too short for her. No one should wear short skirts at that age. Are my own legs still good enough for short skirts? I used to have a blue skirt myself. Where is it, I wonder? I wish I was wearing that blue skirt myself. Where is it, I wonder? I wish I was wearing that blue skirt right now. But if I looked like that woman there... She props her head on her hands and regard me with a twinkle in her eye.
I haven’t really ‘perceived’ the woman, she says, I’ve merely pondered on skirts and legs and the ageing process. I’m a prisoner of my own ideas - my conceptions, in other words. See what I mean?
I say yes, but I’d say yes to a whole host of things when she looks at me that way. A waitress of Franka’s age takes our order. She’s wearing a white crocheted sweater over her enormous breasts and a white apron tightly knotted around her prominent little tummy. Her platform-soled sandals, which are reminiscent of hoofs, give her a clumsy, foal-like appearance.
Now it’s your turn, says Antje.
French teenager, I say. Probably bullied into passing up an apprenticeship and working in her parents’ cafe. Dreams of being a beautician.
No, Antje protests, that won’t do. You must say what’s really going through your head.
Come on, do.
Please, she says.
OK, but I take no responsibility for my thoughts.
Sexy little mam’selle, I say. Great boobs, probably an easy lay, wouldn’t refuse a few francs for a new sweater. She’d be bound to feel good and holler Maintenant, viens! That song of Jane Birkin’s, haven’t heard it for years. I wonder what Jane Birkin’s doing these days. She used to be the woman of my dreams. Still, I’m sure that girl doesn’t like German men, and besides, I could easily be her father, I’ve got a daughter her age. I wonder what my daughter’s doing at this moment...
I dry up. Phew, I say. Sorry, that was my head, not me.
Antje nods contentedly. She leans back so her plaits dangle over the back of the chair. Nothing torments us worse than our heads, she says, closing her eyes. You’ve got to hand it to the Buddhists, they’ve got the knack of switching off. It’s simply wonderful.
Doris Dörrie (Where Do We Go From Here?)
my shoulder. She dropped her knees and let her feet hit the floor. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to get so upset.” Her entire demeanor changed. One quick nod from her father, and Aubrey’s tears dried up. Just how much had he overheard? How much had Aubrey told him before I got here? “Fine,” I said. “I’ll try and think of someone I might have seen after I left the park,” she said. “I’m sure there’s someone,” Dan chimed in. “She hasn’t been sleeping since all this started. You understand.” “I do,” I said rising. “But you both need to understand how serious this is. I need complete honesty. No surprises. I can’t sugarcoat things. I’m not your enemy. Whatever you think you have to protect, it can’t be from me. I need to know it all.” “You do,” Dan said. Aubrey folded herself against her father as he wrapped his arms around her. She looked so small. “I’m going to need access to your medical records, your school records. You made a phone call to a friend of yours earlier in the night. Who was that?” Dan and Aubrey exchanged a glance. “Kaitlyn,” she said. “Kaitlyn Taylor. She’s my best friend. I swear I don’t remember what we talked about.” “Fine,” I said. “I’m going to talk to her too. I’m waiting on the medical examiner’s report on Coach D. We’ll have more to talk about when that gets back. In the meantime, anything I ask for, you need to get it for me. No questions. No arguments. This is the rest of your life we’re talking about, Aubrey. Not your mom’s. Not your dad’s. Yours. Do you understand?” She nodded but dropped her head again. “Good,” I said. “I need to be one step ahead of the prosecution at all times. Is there anything in those records I just mentioned that’s going to make me unhappy?” “Aubrey was seeing a therapist a little while back,” Dan said. “Your basic teenage drama.” Aubrey didn’t make eye contact with me. Teenage drama, my ass, I thought. Something was going on with this girl. Something tricky enough that Larry Drazdowski was bothered by it. And I was starting to believe with all my heart her father was at the center of it. Chapter 8 Someone was lying. Someone was always lying. In Aubrey’s case, it was more a lie of omission. And her father was a problem. Instinct told me he’d been coaching her all along. She still trusted
Robin James (Burden of Truth (Cass Leary Legal Thriller #1))
he shot her a dry, sidelong glance. “The phones started
Barbara Delinsky (Twilight Whispers)
handwriting inside, dedicated to just one sentence, dried out my throat upon impact. I must see you again. He left no signature. No phone number. Not even an email address. But the strangest part about it all? I wasn’t surprised. He was Killian Jamison Stone. And he kissed like that. Things—and people—came to him,
Angel Payne (No Prince Charming (Secrets of Stone #1))
first floor of a small hotel on the outskirts of San Antonio. Cooper made himself a bet as he walked in. Neon signs for Shiner Bock, smoke-stained drop ceiling, jukebox in the corner, pool table with worn felt, chalkboard with specials. Female bartender, a blonde showing dark roots. The specials turned out to be on a dry-erase board, and the bartendress was a redhead. Cooper smiled. About half the tables were occupied, mostly men but a few women too. The tabletops held plastic pitchers and cigarette packs and cell phones. The music was too loud, some country-rock act
Marcus Sakey (Brilliance (Brilliance Saga, #1))
If it is a good habit, write “+” next to it. If it is a bad habit, write “–”. If it is a neutral habit, write “=”. For example, the list above might look like this: ■ Wake up = ■ Turn off alarm = ■ Check my phone – ■ Go to the bathroom = ■ Weigh myself + ■ Take a shower + ■ Brush my teeth + ■ Floss my teeth + ■ Put on deodorant + ■ Hang up towel to dry = ■ Get dressed = ■ Make a cup of tea +
James Clear (Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones)
The email alarmed Ive and Dye. They feared that the message Chaudhri sent could be interpreted to mean that Apple’s best days had passed. Its river had run dry. It was one thing for outsiders to say that the company was no longer innovative, but another thing altogether for that critique to come from someone who had helped birth multitouch technology for the iPhone. They worried it would poison morale and moved to contain the damage. Shortly after the email, Dye fired Chaudhri. The move had crushing financial ramifications. Chaudhri would no longer receive his shares. Stung, he complained to friends about the dismissal, telling them that Ive and Dye misunderstood his comment about the river. He explained to those people that the email was a personal reflection on his own lack of joy, not a comment on Apple.
Tripp Mickle (After Steve: How Apple Became a Trillion-Dollar Company and Lost Its Soul)
I tucked my laptop into a big enough handbag with my purse, phone, and keys, along with the other essentials like just-in-case sanitary products, a lip balm, a charge cable, a hairbrush, three pens, one pack of chewing gum, a half-empty bottle of water, three hundred receipts from the past two years, four car park tickets, the dried liver of a goat, six crow’s feet, and the blood of a virgin.
Emma Hart (Love Language (The Aristocrat Diaries, #1))
The ability of the murderer to know exactly where Edie was, the phone being used only where it would be most difficult to pinpoint who’d used it, which implied knowledge of police methods, and the extraordinarily detailed knowledge about the two new characters for the film that Yasmin had said Ormond had. Murphy was now asking her about her own holiday plans. Robin pulled herself together enough to describe learning to ski, back at New Year. The conversation was only lightly personal, but it was pleasant and easy. Murphy made Robin laugh with a description of a friend’s accident on a dry ski slope, where he’d taken a date he was keen to impress. At no time did he mention his previous invitation for a drink, nor did he make her feel uncomfortable in this small space, and she was grateful for both these things. They were approaching Blackhorse Road when Robin suddenly said, astounded by her own bravery, ‘Listen – that time you called me about a drink – the reason I was so – I’m not used to people asking me out.’ ‘How’s that possible?’ said Murphy, keeping his eyes on the road. ‘I’ve just got divorced – well, a year ago now – from someone I was with since we were seventeen,’ said Robin. ‘So – anyway, I was in work mode when you called, and that’s why I was a bit – you know – clueless.’ ‘Ah,’ said Murphy. ‘I got divorced three years ago.’ Robin wondered how old he was. She’d have guessed a couple of years older than her. ‘Have you got kids?’ she asked. ‘No. My ex didn’t want them.’ ‘Oh,’ said Robin. ‘You?’ ‘No.’ They’d pulled up outside her flat before either spoke again. As she picked up her bag and put her hand on the door handle, Murphy said, ‘So… if, after I get back from holiday, I called you again and asked you out…?’ It’s only a drink, said Ilsa’s voice in Robin’s head. Nobody’s saying you’ve got to jump into bed with him. An image of Madeline Courson-Miles flickered before Robin’s eyes. ‘Er –’ said Robin, whose heart was hammering. ‘Yes, OK. That’d be great.’ She thought he’d look pleased at that, but instead he seemed tense. ‘OK.’ He rubbed his nose, then said, ‘There’s something I should tell you first, though. It’s what you say, isn’t it, “come out for a drink”? But, ah – I’m an alcoholic.’ ‘Oh,’ said Robin again. ‘Been sober two years, nine months,’ said Murphy. ‘I’ve got no problem with people drinking around me. Just need to put that out there. It’s what you’re supposed to do. AA rules.’ ‘Well, that doesn’t make any – I mean, thanks for saying,’ said Robin. ‘I’d still like to go out some time. And thanks for the lift, I really appreciate it.’ He looked cheerful now. ‘Pleasure. Better get back to my packing.’ ‘Yes – have fun in Spain!’ Robin got out of the car. As the blue Avensis pulled away, Murphy raised a hand in farewell, and Robin reciprocated, still amazed at herself. It had been quite some morning. She’d just unlocked her front door when her mobile rang. ‘Hi,’ said Strike. ‘Is that offer of the sofa-bed still open?’ ‘Yes, of course,’ said Robin, both confused and pleased, entering her flat and pushing the door shut with her foot. ‘How’s Pat?’ ‘Bloody grumpy. I got her home all right. Told her to get an emergency appointment with her doctor. Half the door flew off and hit her in the back. I can tell she’s sore: she could’ve cracked something. She told me to piss off, though not in those exact words. Probably thinks I’m accusing her of being too old to survive a door hitting her.’ ‘Strike,’ said Robin, ‘I’ve just found something out. They’re about to arrest Phillip Ormond for murder.’ Silence followed these words. Robin walked into her kitchen and set her handbag down on the counter. ‘Ormond?’ repeated Strike.
Robert Galbraith (The Ink Black Heart (Cormoran Strike, #6))
I went into the bar and sank into a leather bar seat packed with down. Glasses tinkled gently, lights glowed softly, there were quiet voices whispering of love, or ten per cent, or whatever they whisper about in a place like that.
A tall fine-looking man in a gray suit cut by an angel suddenly stood up from a small table by the wall and walked over to the bar and started to curse one of the barmen. He cursed him in a loud clear voice for a long minute, calling him about nine names that are not usually mentioned by tall fine-looking men in well cut gray suits. Everybody stopped talking and looked at him quietly. His voice cut through the muted rhumba music like a shovel through snow.
The barman stood perfectly still, looking at the man. The barman had curly hair and a clear warm skin and wide-set careful eyes. He didn’t move or speak. The tall man stopped talking and stalked out of the bar. Everybody watched him out except the barman.
The barman moved slowly along the bar to the end where I sat and stood looking away from me, with nothing in his face but pallor. Then he turned to me and said:
“I want to talk to a fellow named Eddie Prue.”
“He works here,” I said.
“Works here doing what?” His voice was perfectly level and as dry as dry sand.
“I understand he’s the guy that walks behind the boss. If you know what I mean.”
“Oh. Eddie Prue.” He moved one lip slowly over the other and made small tight circles on the bar with his bar cloth. “Your name?”
“Marlowe. Drink while waiting?”
“A dry martini will do.”
“A martini. Dry. Veddy, veddy dry.”
“Will you eat it with a spoon or a knife and fork?”
“Cut it in strips,” I said. “I’ll just nibble it.”
“On your way to school,” he said. “Should I put the olive in a bag for you?”
“Sock me on the nose with it,” I said. “If it will make you feel any better.”
“Thank you, sir,” he said. “A dry martini.”
He took three steps away from me and then came back and leaned across the bar and said: “I made a mistake in a drink. The gentleman was telling me about it.”
“I heard him.”
“He was telling me about it as gentlemen tell you about things like that. As big shot directors like to point out to you your little errors. And you heard him.”
“Yeah,” I said, wondering how long this was going to go on.
“He made himself heard—the gentleman did. So I come over here and practically insult you.”
“I got the idea,” I said.
He held up one of his fingers and looked at it thoughtfully.
“Just like that,” he said. “A perfect stranger.”
“It’s my big brown eyes,” I said. “They have that gentle look.”
“Thanks, chum,” he said, and quietly went away.
I saw him talking into a phone at the end of the bar. Then I saw him working with a shaker. When he came back with the drink he was all right again.
Raymond Chandler (The High Window (Philip Marlowe #3))