Incoherence 101

1.  Skip breakfast for routine blood work.

2.  Pick up coffee and a healthy muffin at the baker.

3.  Add six packages of sugar to the coffee.

4.  Make a pot of coffee when you get home.

5.  Mega load coffee with brown sugar.

6.  Eat lunch at two when your visiting college student wakes.

7.  Spend the remainder of the day trying to keep up with and remember all the thoughts zipping through your caffeine and sugar addled mind.

8.  Crash, exhausted by nine o’clock PM.

9.  Wake thirty seconds later to write Incoherence 101.

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Five, four, three, two, one…

Wind rips at my face as I dive off the balloon. Adrenaline surges through my veins. Free fall, the ultimate thrill. Then the rope jerks up. I whoop as my body springs up toward the teetering balloon, then down again. Each bounce of the bungee decreases in stride until I sway upside down a thousand feet above the ground. Blood rushes to my head. Life as an accountant is boring. This is anything but. I continue to hoot as they pull me back into the swinging basket.

“You idiot!” The balloon pilot’s face is almost purple and his eyes bulge. “Are you insane? You almost tipped the basket.”

Three other sets of eyes glare at me. The looks alone make me burst out laughing again. None of them knew of the stunt until my leap to freedom. A young couple huddle together, ashen faced. Their hands clench the tethers holding them in the basket. The third is my date of the week.

“Hey, Marlene, wasn’t that a blast?”

Marlene walks the three steps across the basket and slugs me so hard I almost fall out of the basket. Maybe it would have been better if I had. She follows it up with a sharp kick that sends daggers of pain from my groin to my fingertips. That destroys the euphoria.

“Kill yourself on your own time, Janus.”

A second later she me hogties me. The fun wears off when they land and leave me tied up in the basket. Last time I date a rodeo champ.

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“Leave him be, Billy.”

“Dumb wolf cur always stares at us.”

“It’s just his way.”

Billy hurls another rock, but I knock it down with my book. Not a sound comes from the fenced in junkyard, but I know from the look on Billy’s face that Midnight is showing off his pearly whites.

“Fine,” he yells, then disappears around the corner.

Midnight’s golden eyes meet me when I turn. “Sorry, Midnight. See you tomorrow.”

Silence greets me, as it has every day for the past five years. I smile anyway, then hurry to catch up with Billy.

A hand slaps over my mouth and I’m dragged into a dark alley. I crash into a wall. My head spins. Three masked figures loom over me. Hands dig into my pockets, yank off my sneakers. A fist slams into my gut. My heart pounds as a knife flicks into view, arm ready to strike. Billy’s body lies nearby. I clamped my eyes shut, and wait for death.

Screams fill my ears, but they aren’t mine. When I finally open my eyes, my attackers lie in a pool of dark liquid. A pair of glowing gold eyes stare at me from across the alley. Then they vanish.


The police never found Midnight and the junk man claimed he never had a dog. I don’t walk that way anymore, but sometimes, out of the corner of my eye, I see Midnight in the shadows, watching out for me.

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Restaurant Review: Chutney – Warm Inviting Atmosphere – Good Indian Food

Looking for some good Indian food? Look no further than Chutney, a new Indian restaurant in Columbia MD. Located at 9400 Snowden River Parkway, the golden yellow walls, decorated with framed posters, reminded me of a warm sunny day. Their attentive and welcoming staff made me and my family feel at home.

We started our meal with Sev Poori Chaat. This crunchy dish made of puffed rice, and vermicelli was cool and refreshing, a perfect way to start a meal. Next up was a light and crispy vegetable samosa with just the right blend of seasoning. The ratio of potatoes to green peas was spot on, and it was probably one of the best samosas I’ve had in a while.

For dinner we ordered Daal Tadka, yellow lentils cooked with ginger, garlic and cumin seeds. While tasty and perfectly spiced for my daughter and husband, it was a little too spicy for my palette. Our waiter noticed me suddenly guzzle water and offered to have the chef prepare a second, less spicy version which was just right. He also brought out a taste of Chana Masala, a chick pea dish cooked with their house blend of spices. It was delicious.

Our favorite of the evening, however, was the Goat Curry. Tender chunks of goat were simmered in a tomato based, piquant gravy.  It had a fresh flavor with a slight kick that went well with the seasoned rice.

We managed to save enough room for Kheer, a rice dessert prepared with nuts and saffron. This creamy creation is a perfect way to end a meal.

9400 Snowden River Pkwy
Columbia, MD 21045
Phone: 410-381-3600
Hours of Operations
Mon – Thu:     11:30 AM – 2.30 PM (Lunch)
                          5 PM – 10 PM (Dinner)
Fri – Sun:        12 M – 3:00 PM (Lunch)
                         5 PM – 11 PM (Dinner)
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Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Star


Congratulations to A. L. Kaplan, whose entry “Blood and Ice” won this week’s Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge.

The voter-selected story was recognized with a special feature at and wins a place in there 2014 Flash Fiction Anthology, which will be published as an e-book when this year’s challenges are completed.

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“This one’s a sceptic,” said Yenta.

Clarence looked at the man curled up on the hay in Pete Forrester’s barn. “He’s here isn’t he?”

“But he doesn’t believe.”

“Yenta, look at him. All alone in a dilapidated barn. The man’s desperate for love. He needs our help.”

Yenta pulled a pair of glasses from her carpet bag and scrutinized the sleeping man. He wore faded jeans and a Frank Sinatra t-shirt. Gray hairs dotted his head and a pair of red cowboy boots sat on the floor next to him. “I don’t know, Clarence. This one might be beyond us.”

“Think of it as a challenge. Just last week you complained this job was too easy.”

“All right. No need to kvetch. Who are we going to pair him with?”

“Merry is about the same age.”

“She’s a cup half-full girl. He’s half-empty. They’ll never agree on anything.”


“With his vinegary attitude?”


“Too explosive. He’d get buried alive.”

“Fine. Ginger.”

“Be serious, Clarence.”

“I am. Lord knows he needs some spice.”

“I don’t know.”

“Where’s your sense of adventure, Yenta?”

“I left it at the shtetl.”

“And then you found me.”

“So you always remind me.”


“Okay. You work on him and I’ll go yell in Ginger’s ear.

“I think you mean whisper.”

“No, Ginger is a heavy sleeper. I’ll need to yell to get through to her subconscious.”

“Well good luck, then.”

Yenta rolled her eyes. “Ginger and Al, a match made in heaven.”

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Grogan yanked the huge oil drum up another step. He was almost to the top of the lighthouse now. Pain lanced his arm, but he ignored it. He had to light a beacon and save the ships headed for the rocks.

Outside the hurricane hammered the old lighthouse. For thirty years he’d been her keeper before they were both declared obsolete. Who needed a lighthouse when everyone had electronic guidance? Now the fancy new phone his granddaughter gave him spewed nonsense. It looked like the ships were fouled up as well.

Good thing they hadn’t forced Grogan to leave when they cut funding and stripped her clean. But now the only way to make the lighthouse shine was to burn her. Tears streamed down his face as he pulled at the drum.

“Sorry, Love. You know it’s the only way.”

Another wave of pain shot through his chest and his foot slipped on the smooth stone steps. He watched with dismay as the barrel clanged to the bottom. Grogan doubled over in pain.

“How can I warn the ships? I need help, Love.”

Suddenly the pain stopped and warm arms pulled him up. Grogan took the last few steps in one stride. He knew what to do now. Fire radiated deep inside him. It burst outward in a blinding light. Almost as one, the storm-tossed ships turned away from the rocks.

“Thanks for your help, Love. You’ve always been there for me. We’ll be together forever now.”

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