A brother from a different mother

aroseIIby Peter Runfola

Servant / sail / met / boxes

400 words

‘Servant to my soul.’ In other words: my ‘free will.’ Possibly one of the most grandly ironic pairing of words since Webster had the mind to categorize – alphabetically, no less .. each and every one of their own peculiar selves … every word .. good, bad, ridiculous, sublime and / or any combination of such – known to mankind.

He would sail into their pasts. Share with the world their ‘parents.’ As well as any alternative lives they sometimes lead when paired with a brother from a different mother.

As an aside: Yeow … what thought could have possibly popped into his head – in what setting – to inspire him to undertake a task of such incredible nuance & breadth? To categorize – alphabetically, no less – every word known to mankind?

Perhaps we’ll never know. But, nonetheless, we shall indirectly continue to silently thank him day in & day out ..word in & word out .. this specific moment, in actuality. Thank him for his role in helping to preserve that rarest of rare gifts. language. Which he chose to categorize & subsequently bestow on mankind in general: Alphabetically, no less. In a compendium of sorts. A dictionary. Whose contents delineate & deliver to .. you .. and .. yours nothing less than:

Simply and succinctly: The gift of communication.

A gift You & I – whether we’ve met or not – right at this precise moment – are both opening up. Even though for me, right now: ‘right at this precise moment’ will be in variance with & from your ‘right at this precise moment.’

For, I am writing this unique concoction of letter configurations to you … “NOW.” That is, MY “NOW.” But you won’t be seeing them until YOUR “NOW.”

Which is to say: “THEN.” At least, from my perspective.

And, interestingly enough, when the time comes that you .. are .. reading .. these .. precise .. words .. from .. me, even though you may be experiencing an undeniable and completely understandable sense of “NOW,” I maintain that you are actually reading them … ‘THEN.” Which is how your upcoming ‘NOW’ translates to me. A quasi-impossible melding of times, tenses and transmutations all wrapped up nice and tidy. An array of gift boxes which keeps on giving and giving.

And .. where would you & I be without them? Writing aimlessly. Saying neither Hello nor Goodbye. All the while confusing & confounding all those near and dear.

Through our gifts of letters, in general. And, their offspring: words, in particular.

…. THE END ….


A Window of Opportunity


“Monastic” was the first word to pop into Nancy’s mind when Guy asked her to sum up their early relationship with only one word.

“Huh?” Was about as eloquent a response he could muster as the two old lovers sat on the edge of the bed. All these years later and still nearly every time her gift of subtle sarcasm never ceased to take him by surprise. Nearly without fail.

They were next door neighbors growing up. Their bedrooms separated only by the width of the driveway between their respective houses. The thick white shade wrapped snugly around a tension bar at Nancy’s window the only thing disallowing Guy peep show after peep show of her increasingly-outstanding, soft, round and ‘budding’ late-teen womanliness.

Not that he didn’t give it his best, most earnest ‘good ol’ college try to see around or through this minimal and oh so cruel veil separating his imagination from its mission of catching just a glimpse of his dear friend’s budding womanliness. That he did. Graduate level effort, even.

But his dearest Nancy obviously had the male species dead to rights – at the very least this particular representative of – and as mapped out as a puzzle constructed of 3 – maybe 5 – pieces at the most. The main, largest piece the one which simply indicated ‘male.’ In which case, to Nancy’s way of thinking: game, set & match.

But, she played along anyway. After all … with the effort he extended on devising a way around the dynamics of physics and light just to sneak a peek into her room? Jeeez. Least she could do would be to put in a little effort on her end. So, what the heck .. she played along. Did her little girly dance … let the curtain slip back from the window … just a touch.

She bent down. Touched her toes. Partly for show, partly to get a peek into his window.

But Guy didn’t seem to be in his window. All this teasing and tantalizing for nothing. Write if off as practice for the real thing .. if .. when .. it ever happens.

“Love you, Guy,” she whispered to her shadow on the shade.

Then … the somewhat muffled sound of footsteps on the carpeted stairs outside her room …

“Love you more, Nancy,” came a whisper from the doorway.

They’ve been inseparable ever since.

The Magic Onion

soft… imprinted on its crisp, gauzy, layered skin – in a language understood only by one person – the experiences .. the people .. places .. memories of same .. which helped make you uniquely .. you.

The ‘You’ which would not exist today without the ‘Us’ & ‘Them’ by your side during the long, strange ride. Nor, in particular, without the You of your childhood …

As one of his favorite sayings alights on a stream of errant thought waves. Fluttering like a pretty leaf in the sky. ‘Can’t have everything, eh?’ ‘And, if you did – where would you put it?’

Thinking how that would be a perfect opening line for one of his songs in the making. He’s a multi-faceted, multi-talented sing-song student / son / friend / ‘father’ … of ‘Spoonful,’ his sidekick for the last 8 years – mostly pure Dalmatian with a smattering of Boston Terrier mixed in, seemingly, for comic relief. Sorry, Spoon – only meaning that you’re so damn surprisingly cute that it’s nearly impossible to not break out into at least a smile – most often, an audible chuckle – when first seeing your nearly-caricature-self.

‘A Boy and his Dog.’ A phrase so powerfully evocative that immediately upon hearing it an image of same alights in one’s mind. C’mon now .. YOU .. who are reading these words right this moment … think .. and share – with anyone else who might be with you – your immediate first thoughts / feelings / recollections when you just a scant moment ago read the words ‘A Boy and his Dog.’

But first: explore them yourself.

Were you immediately thrust back to being your ten-year-old self riding your bike down the street – your four-legged-friend trotting alongside as faithful and deliberate as a shadow?

Or did they send you to your favorite picture album .. walking with your fingers through its sun-dried pages as it whispers its secrets with a soft swoosh in a language only you can understand? Each photo sparking yet another sense to life as you begin smelling / touching / hearing your old friends laughing over some ridiculous shared thought …story from way back in time which feels like it happened two weeks ago.

Hopefully one or the other.

Either way, it was my pleasure. You’re welcome.

An Automatic Habit


Hard? “Hardly,” came the voice from the other end of the phone. More like “impossible” or “flat-out undo-able.”

“Hon – chill. If you can’t even muster up a dollop – that’s all, just a dollop … about the same amount of hot sauce you like on your eggs .. give or take .. but, yeah – just a dollop – of patience, you’re never going to fix it the way you’re wanting it to be.”

To herself, Eleanor thinks: ‘Steerike Two.’ ‘Oh no you don’t. ‘ First: ‘Hon – chill.’ And now: ‘what was that word you used? Started with a ‘p?’ Prurient .. Prevaricator .. Piss pot Fusspot? No. No. No. Ha – just now coming to me: ‘premeditate,’ as in my wheels are going round and round. Best quit while you’re still – or still have – a(head),’ Eleanor teased. Now – tell me again how I need to be ‘patient.’

Good God, Woman. You need to apply for a concealed carry for that brain of yours. Shoot first. Pick up the pieces after. With ‘ask hubby for clarification’ hovering somewhere around the 9th or 10th option.”

But, by this point, hubby’s insights, dressed even as dapper as they were – in their Sunday finery, no less – sounded to Eleanor eerily reminiscent of the sharp snap and retort of a bull whip breaking the sound barrier. Its crackle-pop whistle snap at its apogee. Igniting instantly some dormant dry leaf pile memories. And just like that – whistle snap – she was back to being her 9-year-old self once again.

As automatic as a habit, she retreated into her own head. Her mind both shunning and sequestering all other external stimuli at this point – save the imaginary birth of the bullwhips unmistakable whistle snap against the brick wall between her and reality.

The feeling faded.

It always did.

‘Thank God for that.’

Photo: Angela B. – the woman who coined the term: ‘Automatic Habit’
thanks, girl. hoping you’re at peace with your piece of your pie in the sky.


Custom Order Profile Pictures


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The Multi-Colored Crowd


‘Waves’ to start story
‘rash’ & ‘touch’ in body

Waves upon waves of depraved suit and tie lunchtime crunch-time ‘gotta meet the office deadline’ workers – all neat as a stick pin – departed en masse from the slave ship known as Metro Bus #222.

It was early morning – just a wee bit before 8 am. None the less, every single soul stepping off the gangplank wore the exact same rash ‘trust me for I can smile with the best of them’ foolish grin. That – right there – should be reason enough for any prospective client to embrace the precise equal and opposite desired reaction : by ‘not’ trusting any of them. For, who in their right mind is as bright and chipper at this early hour as the Big Dipper?

Salesmen of the latest and the greatest ‘new and improved’ ONLY $19.95 .. but WAIT .. gizmo or gadget. Doom and Gloom insurance salesmen preying on the fears and tears of the elderly and otherwise prone to worry. Stock and roll prognosticators spit shining their interpretation of the latest indicators. Will it go up? Down? All the way around. Either way, to confuse or confound, 10 somersets they’ll undertake on solid ground.

Fools on the hill – on the lam? – hiding their morals away in the jar just inside their office door jam. Just a touch to the right and under a poster of The Fab Four. The one, sadly, depicting what it claims is ‘the last photo of all 4 Beatles together.’

Maybe one day someone in the multi-colored crowd will notice the empty hypocrisy. As the police converge on his funny home after his latest funny caper. All singing … Big man, pig man ha ha charade you are … ‘they never gave you their money – all they gave you was their funny paper.’

An Unstable Delicacy

An Unstable Delicacy

Parameters: Begin with ‘Waves’
Include: ‘rash’ & ‘touch’


Waves. Upon waves. Upon wave. Upon wavelet. Our secret, stealthy, silent partners as we go about our daily lives. As a rule, they come in peace. An orchestrated cavalcade of oxen bending to do our bidding.

Of sadness .. Of joy .. Of nausea ad nauseam .. Ocean .. Electric .. Sound .. Micro .. even in your Brain .. and mine .. right this exact moment. Thankfully. For the absence of such would prove to be quite deleterious to ones health. Sounding, in such case, no less than a death knell.

Otherwise, life-giving and sustaining, they do their best work behind-the-scenes. In the background. Silently powering whichever ship they captain – and enabling it to thrive in its inherent uniqueness.

The radio playing in the background as you go about your busy day. Serving up, perhaps, that one little ditty which might one day evolve into your wedding’s theme song. Your child’s grade school mascot’s signature piece. Perhaps, even, capturing your core beliefs neat as the proverbial pin. In any event, some pretty heavy lifting. Especially considering the invisible nature of said stealthy radio waves.

Yet even more vaguely esoteric: the rash rush of a single, salubrious, shimmering droplet of just one salty tear as you feel it touch your cheek in its inimitable loving way. Undoubtedly soon to be followed by wave upon wave upon wavelet of its brothers and sisters.

For a tear – like Love – Like Friendship – Like a long distance Love Affair with a kindred soul such as you’ve never experienced before – never travels nor travails on its own. It’s too delicious and unstable a delicacy to dine, as such, alone.

Waving silently – but oh so beautifully and loudly – across the miles – to touch a past that didn’t exist. To create a future not one nor the other could resist.