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The Poetry/Fan Fic or Other--Writing Thread!
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Picture of Free Madness
Hey all!

Put out your poems, song lyrics, short stories, what-have-you! It can be fan fiction or anything ya darn well please! Big Grin This is your Creative Outlet, so have at, and enjoy. Smile

"Even when you're down and blue, just remember that someone out there loves you, even if you don't know it and even if you haven't yet met them. There's someone out there waiting for you, remember that and keep faith. You'll get there."
~~Johnny Depp.

Posts: 3539 | Location: Dreamland | Registered: 06 April 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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This is a song I wrote for when I form my band and start singing out! Smile

Oh, and Druana Kerridwen will be my "stage" name, and later legal name! Big Grin

By Druana Kerridwen(Kate Quinn) ©2015

Your pain is like a siren
Screaming in my soul
I feel it like a piercing knife
About to lose control…
Oh, no, no, no…

Baby, can’t you hear me?
I’m shouting out your name
You’re crying in your sleep so hard,
My tears just flow like rain
It’s insane…it’s insane!

Come on, baby, let me reach you
Come on honey, hear my voice!
Don’t you know you’re deep within me?
Half of me, I have no choice.
I want you, I need you, I beg you—to
Get Free!

When I just look at you
I cannot escape your eyes
Just like a captive creature
When he’s just about to die
Oh, why, oh why, no,

Baby! Gotta find you,
And rip that cage apart!
Won’t take it, need to touch you,
Tell you all that’s in my heart.
My heart—our heart—

Come on, baby, let me reach you
Come on honey, hear my voice?
Don’t you know you’re deep within me?
Half of me, I have no choice.
I want you, I need you, I beg you—to
Get Free!

"Even when you're down and blue, just remember that someone out there loves you, even if you don't know it and even if you haven't yet met them. There's someone out there waiting for you, remember that and keep faith. You'll get there."
~~Johnny Depp.

Posts: 3539 | Location: Dreamland | Registered: 06 April 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Something Missing

By Druana Kerridwen(Kate Quinn) (c) 2015

He knew there was something about her when he met her in that strange way--so long ago. No. Not THAT long ago--eleven years, to be exact. But to him, it feels like a lifetime.

A FULL lifetime, not merely the partial lifetime of an eleven year old kid!

He knew that when she ended their communication nine years ago, for what she'd said was the last time, that a piece of him had gone missing. Something missing, that he'd once told her she filled. Did she even care, when she left him? Did she think about him? At all? Did she cry, knowing she'd never speak to him again?

He had. Buckets of tears. Rivers, oceans. He'd lived in tears, bathed in them, for two weeks solid.

Now, as he sits at the breakfast table, staring at the daisy in the vase in front of him--he thinks about her. Her name will not leave his mind. Even as now he is newly married after years of just dating and having fiances. Even now that there is a new "her" in his life, one sealed by vows and legal papers.

His wife, upon moving into this house, had redecorated practically everything, including his kitchen. Everything is flowers, flowers and more flowers--mostly daisies. Themes of yellow(cheerful, she calls it!). And it looks like 1950's housewife retro.

He always hated it. But he doesn't have the heart to tell her. She's so happy when they're at home together. They rarely fight, and she is much more relaxed, even if she talks a mile a minute about absolutely nothing. The coffee doesn't do much but make her more hyper. He half-listens, not saying much in response. Now and then he smiles at her, just to let her know he cares about her. She likes that. Otherwise she flips out and accuses him of not paying attention to her. Smiling, not nodding, not saying, "yes dear,' or anything like that. He would not want to agree to anything he didn't hear her propose.

However, even smiles can get one into trouble!

Upon his third smile, she jumps up, runs around the table, and throws herself in his lap, spilling his coffee. His mug, his favorite mug, that his son gave him for his fiftieth birthday, falls to the floor and shatters.

"Oh, who cares!" she cries, shrugging as she kisses him long and hard. He kisses her back just as furiously as she's kissing him--more to redirect his anger so that he does not scream at her.

Her lack of consideration baffles him to no end! She knows how much that mug meant to him. At the time he received it, all he could do was weep, and she even was there! She'd wiped his tears for him, held him! Good God, his son had not even spoken to him in months, and that was his first communication! How DARE she say, "Who cares?" About THAT mug?

Then, the words come from her lips, the words that sent a chill down his spine and caused his throat to dry up, so that he had to reach for his orange juice quickly. Fortunately, he still had some left!

"I knew you'd finally consent!" she cried, tears of happiness in her eyes. "I KNEW it! Yes! YES!"

She jumps up, and he loudly warns her not to step on the broken pieces of his now dead coffee mug gift. She leaps away in time, and he numbly rises, and while she's cavorting around the kitchen, away from the mug, he walks around the pieces, goes to the broom closet just at the edge of the kitchen, and takes out dustpan and brush. Numbly, he returns and sweeps up the broken pieces, quickly dumping them into the trash can under the sink, before he can look at them. Before he can look at them and cry. How many words has his son said to him recently even since the gift of that mug? Not many! He'd certainly been spending a lot of time with his new stepmom of late, however...

What do they talk about, anyway?

Suddenly, all thoughts of his son vanish as the sound of his wife's screeching voice pierces him like a blunt blade right through his skull.

"HE AGREED!" her voice screams loudly into her phone--she has obviously called her sister. Or somebody...

"HE AGREED!" his wife shouts again as a female voice is heard saying something like, 'calm down!" She will not calm down though, as she screams again, the words that finally make him snap.


That is the end of it. The very end.

He walks away, he walks out of the kitchen. She is so busy shouting into the phone, she does not notice him as he leaves.

Just as well! He goes into the hall, grabs his coat, and his "male" purse, with everything he needs to travel light. He puts both on and takes his keys from the hook. He takes one look at his two pit bulls who stare at him lovingly, as they rush to the door, hoping to go out. He ushers them out, and, not looking behind him, takes them out the front door to his car. He unlocks the car, opens the back door, and the dogs immediately jump inside.

He'll leave the two Yorkies with her. They were a gift to her from him as it was. But the pit bulls? They are HIS. They were his before she came into his life.

He gets into the driver's seat, shaking, but not so hard that he can't function. Shock, devastation, anger--it's churning within him, but he wills it not to overpower him. Yet.

He turns the key in the ignition, immediately putting on the air conditioning. He wants to cool things down for the dogs, as well as the rising turbulence of his feelings.

He tears out of the driveway, just as the two Yorkies are spotted running after him from the fenced-in yard, barking soundlessly. The raised windows keep out all sound. He looks away before he can get choked up. He knows he'll never see the Yorkies again. After all they've been through together--especially recently--he'll never hold them close to his chest again. Or on his lap.

It's too much to think about right now.

As he drives, the two pit bulls are relaxed in the back seat,loving the air conditioning, and the chance for a ride in the car! What dog doesn't love to ride in a car?

He lets his mind go, hoping he won't break down completely before he reaches his destination. Turning on the radio, he flips to a rock station and lets the heavy metal music fill his senses. He hopes the music will soon drown out his wife's piercing voice in his mind.

The band is Metallica, and the song is "...And Justice for All."

Forget control. He begins to cry. Tears flow down his face as he sniffs loudly. However, he is able to focus on the road despite the sobs that now shake him. He hopes and prays he can get to his destination without having to pull over.

He pushes on, determined. But his thoughts will not stop racing, and the tears will not stop flowing. He blots his eyes with a folded up bandana from his pocket. This will at least help him to see the road. But his sobs are loud now, and the dogs are whining along with him, even as they stay put in the back seat, as they'd always been trained to do, no matter what.

His wife. Why? WHY had she said that? WHY had she even brought UP a baby, much less declare that he'd agreed to have one? More to the point though--WHY had he taken to smiling and tuning her out in the first place?

He would never do that again, he thought. Never!


She'd forgotten. Or maybe she was in denial? Forgotten that he'd had a vasectomy before they got married. The kind of vasectomy that could not be reversed.

Her obvious, still-active desperation for a baby had apparently caused a memory lapse of sorts. He had always been honest with her, before they got married, and shortly after they began dating. He'd ended a fourteen-year relationship with his kids' mother to be with her. But she was young! He knew that, and the thought of clipping her wings and keeping her from having a baby tore him apart. He told her the truth, a truth that still remains the same today. He'd been prepared then, for her to walk away from him. Even with the end of his foutteen-year relationship with his kids' mother, he was prepared to lose his new love. That fourteen-year relationship had been phoned in ever since 2008 as it was.

He doesn't want to be a new father in his fifties! The thought of sending a kid to college at the age of seventy-two is just too much. What if his body started to fail then? What if he got Alzheimer's or something? How fair would it be to a kid just starting out his or her life in college, where adulthood begins in earnest--to have an ailing father on top of that? What man in his right mind would want to put a child through that? His own kids, his daughter sixteen and his son thirteen, would at least be somewhat old enough to have lived a little bit. Maybe even had young ones of their own, before their father got sick. But--a twenty year old? Seriously? No. He;d explained it to his new love. He told her that as much as he loves her, loved her enough to end his previous relationship, that he didn't want to stunt her.

She's young, he thinks now! She's vibrant! She's strong and healthy! Why shouldn't she have a child? Why does she want to be with an older man of fifty-two who has DONE the fatherhood routine already, and now just wants to help his kids grow up in the world, and enjoy his last years on Earth, however many there would be?

His last years on Earth...

She had insisted she wanted to be with him, insisted that it didn't matter about the baby. Oh, it was true that she wanted one. It was true, but he had given her so many outs in the relationship, and she had not taken one. Not one! She wanted to be with him, she'd said. She loved him passionately, loved him more than she'd ever loved anybody in her life, she'd said. She wanted to be with him, and her longing and her love for him overpowered her desire to bring a baby into the world. She'd looked him right in the eye and told him this.

So, in the end, she'd accepted his decision to have a vasectomy, so that they wouldn't have to worry about mishaps with birth control.

She'd promised him it would be all right. She vowed to be a second mother to his two other children, as much as she could be. Never mind that she would never be friends with their natural mother. It didn't matter. He was touched that she wanted to be in his kids' lives, despite the fact that they'd been born to another woman.

He had believed her. STUPID, he chides himself now! How could he have believed her? How could he have believed that would be enough?

As much time as she was spending with his son, despite his daughter's refusal to even CALL her a stepmom, much less a second mom? Could he REALLY have been so blind as to think she was "fine" with--with such a big sacrifice on her part?

He feels like the world's biggest fool. Not to mention--jerk! He should have broken up with her. He should have ended it before it began! How DARE he go along with her so-called "solid" decision to sacrifice the gift every woman is given--the gift of creating LIFE?

Who did he think he WAS?

It was time to rectify this. Before it could go any further. Before time went by, and she reached the age where babies would not be possible for her.

He turns onto the road that leads to a secluded spot that she doesn't know about. Parking, he now allows himself to cry more freely, releasing the pent-up feelings of shame, devastation, self-loathing, fury. The dogs whine in concert with his sobs. Now and then he turns around to pet them, putting down the bandana he is using to soak his tears. He tells the dogs without words that it's all right. Daddy will be all right in a few moments, as he always is.

When finally he can cry no more, he wipes the last of his tears away, blows his nose, and then takes out his phone. He has some calls to make.

The first person he calls is his wife. He will not ask for a divorce over the phone. Instead, he tells her that he needs time to himself, but that he will be back in a few days. He gently reminds her of the vasectomy, and apologizes for not listening to what she was asking of him, and mistakenly agreeing to it.

She shouts at him, insults him and overall has a screaming tantrum with words he can't make out. He shouts over her his promise to come home and talk to her in two days.

She loudly tells him he will not be able to get in the house, as she will have changed the locks. He ends the call, promising himself he will try to reason with her later when she's calmer. He really doesn't want to talk about divorce over the phone, but he has a feeling she knows something. Sharp as she is--she probably knows exactly what his plans are.

He calls his kids next, to tell them there will be a change taking place. His daughter does not pick up, so he leaves her a message to call him immediately, asking that she not reveal to his wife that he called her today. He wonders how soon his daughter will call him back, figuring that curiosity will drive her to call as soon as she is able to get away from whatever work, or play, she is involved in at the moment.

He calls his son, and his son does pick up.

The man is completely honest. He explains to the boy what is going on, and why. He shares only the basics of the conversation with his wife, and his wanting to wait and talk to her in person. He confides that she probably worked things out in her mind, asking his son not to reveal anything. If asked anything, his son is to say he hasn't spoken to his father at all. The boy asks if it is definitely over. Yes, the man says. It's over. No going back.

He then tells his son he is always there for him and his sister. He will always love them. His son's exact words almost bring fresh tears to his eyes.

"It's a good thing," the boy says into the phone, his thick French accent, which came from his native French mother, coloring his words. The boy spent more time in France than America, as a child. His English is fine overall, but not as good as his sister's.

"It's the best thing," he continues. "Yes it's good. I love you, Dad!"

His boy was always a man of few words! Shortly after he says he loves his father, he tells him he must go, but to keep him posted as things move along.

The phone call is over, and with it, his son's voice, which stabilize the man more so than anything has in a long time.

He knows he is making the right choice. He will not clip his wife's wings. He will not stunt her. She's still young. She can still have a baby.

Let her have that baby! Let her have it--with someone else.

They were not compatible, as it was, anyway. He knows that now--even despite the baby issue.

They both have independent spirits, yes, both strong opinions--but what good does that do when they barely agree on anything? And then her constant attempts to CHANGE him. As if he ever gave ANYONE, let alone her, the impression that anyone could change him!

All those months, and now years--four years, but it was enough. Four years of her insisting that he get rid of everything he loved, just because it reminded her of his children's mother. Even with her promise to be loving to his children! Insisting that he lose weight, insisting that he change his style of dress--insisting, insisting! Was he really a husband to her--or a project??

How many more years will he have left on Earth? Twenty, at least--perhaps more? Hopefully at least thirty?

It will do. It's not enough, but it will do. It's enough to re-invent his life again--with his kids coming first.

Perhaps also, with the one woman he was always meant to be with...

Not the mother of his children. There is no resurrecting a love that will not return. He will always be fond of his old love, with which he shared fourteen years--but he cannot and will not lie to her. Or his kids. Or himself. He hopes his kids will understand.

There is only one woman for him now--if it is meant to be. The girl that got away in Christmas, 2006. The girl he did NOT tell his son about--but will tell him and his sister about later, depending on how things work out.

His Something Missing. Was there still hope? Could there be?

He is not getting any younger, he tells himself fiercely. He has to find out.

He now calls the private jet company to ask for a plane to take him and the dogs away. Anywhere. He'll tell them exactly where, when they arrive. Right now, he just needs to book the flight. He needs to know he is getting out of where he is now.

They tell him they will send him a plane. He says, "Thank you," to the nice gentleman, that he will wait, and to take the payment out of his saved credit card there.

Then--he looks through his contacts for the name, and the number his Something Hissing had given him all those eleven years ago. She'd said it was a cell phone number. Would it work now?

He finds her name, and hesitates for a split second. Then, as one of the dogs begin to whine as if in anticipation--he calls the number.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Free Madness,

"Even when you're down and blue, just remember that someone out there loves you, even if you don't know it and even if you haven't yet met them. There's someone out there waiting for you, remember that and keep faith. You'll get there."
~~Johnny Depp.

Posts: 3539 | Location: Dreamland | Registered: 06 April 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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i'm nowhere's near as creative as you are, Kate!
i guess that's just my goofy fate,
just ask the wives of xc,
they'll say "he's soooo simpleminded, ya see"
Natalie Adele will agree, purring, "darn straight!"

Ugh- what a lousE poet i is!
Posts: 12023 | Location: State of Insanity | Registered: 11 May 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hey if it rhymes it's poetry! Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin Keep writin,' xc!

I think I may sing a song I wrote next, put it on YouTube and post the link. That is, if I can make the music and the video thingie work together, lol! Razz Big Grin

I was excited that I got the video thingie to work for my voice, at least--it's just adding the music that's iffy right now.

We shall see! Big Grin

"Even when you're down and blue, just remember that someone out there loves you, even if you don't know it and even if you haven't yet met them. There's someone out there waiting for you, remember that and keep faith. You'll get there."
~~Johnny Depp.

Posts: 3539 | Location: Dreamland | Registered: 06 April 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Edited with a Better Vid. Here's a raw take on a song I wrote back in 1990...still relevant today. Enjoy! Big Grin

You probably know this by now, but Druana Kerridwen is my stage name. Big Grin


(c)1990 by Kate Quinn
(c)2015 by Druana Kerridwen

When I first saw you
It seems like eons since I looked at you
And saw nothin' but a friend,
It seems like yesterday
You kissed me for the first time,

And oh, what came over me,
I lost my mind,
I didn't mean to fall in love with you,
I didn't mean to hurt you,


Those cold dark nights,
Walkin' hand in hand in the cemetery,
No stars! They were hidden by the sun!
You held my hand and I felt so safe--oh, babe--
What happened to those days?
Didn't we wake the dead, we made the night...

We came together as one,
Oh, God, I felt so like a bird, naturally high and free,
Just like I was in a movie!
Why did it have to end?
Everything should have a happy ending,
Why did you get scared?
I thought you cared, do you


So many years, so many wasted years,
Why did I wait so long?
So many years, so many wasted tears,
Denying a power so strong!
Now my love, my beautiful love,
I open up my heart to you!
Will you live a lie? Will you deny?
Or will you


I miss you,
I want you
I need you
Come home..please...

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Free Madness,

"Even when you're down and blue, just remember that someone out there loves you, even if you don't know it and even if you haven't yet met them. There's someone out there waiting for you, remember that and keep faith. You'll get there."
~~Johnny Depp.

Posts: 3539 | Location: Dreamland | Registered: 06 April 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Bumping this up to inform all that the earlier video I posted has been replaced--with a BETTER version! Big Grin

Enjoy. Smile

"Even when you're down and blue, just remember that someone out there loves you, even if you don't know it and even if you haven't yet met them. There's someone out there waiting for you, remember that and keep faith. You'll get there."
~~Johnny Depp.

Posts: 3539 | Location: Dreamland | Registered: 06 April 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I didn't write this, lol--but I've been addicted to SingSnap lately. I love Deep Purple, but everyone and his grandmother knows "Smoke on the Water." How many people know "Sweet Child in Time" aside from diehard fans of not only DP but other bands of that nature? Big Grin Anyway, this song is unbelievably epic, and I WISH I had written it, but it's a great inspiration. Smile Instead of what normally happens at the very end though, with the grunting and talking about bullets, lol--I threw in a little Shakespeare, just to shake it up. No pun intended. Wink Anywho--enjoy! Big Grin

"Even when you're down and blue, just remember that someone out there loves you, even if you don't know it and even if you haven't yet met them. There's someone out there waiting for you, remember that and keep faith. You'll get there."
~~Johnny Depp.

Posts: 3539 | Location: Dreamland | Registered: 06 April 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Homecoming for the King and Queen

by Kate Quinn (c) 2016

He walked out of the room, just walked out, and everyone was like, "What just happened?"

He gave his little "corporate" speech in the "formal" world that he hates so much and just--left. The last thing he said was, "It's over with. Bye!"

She sends him love over the waves of distance, sends him good thoughts and peaceful vibes. She wishes this were a "Harry Potter" movie of some sort where she can "apparate" over to where he is and give him a hug. And a kiss or two...or three, or more.

She wishes nothing but for him to be happy, whatever he does. She only wants him to be free, and not weighed down by a world that makes demands upon him, to be what he is be what he never WANTED to be.

She walks down the street, to the store, to buy some dinner. She suddenly stops, the shock of her life upon her. She sees before her in the store, none other than HIM. The king...the king who never wanted the crown, because it has too many thorns! There is only ever one place he wanted to be King. And that is where he is trying to go. He's had it with the demands and the guilded throne they made him sit on for years until they decided he was getting too "fat." He's over it. All of it.

As she watches in wonder, love and a fierce need to protect him, he asks the cashier what the address is for a certain lady who lives around here. The cashier doesn't know. He begins to get agitated. The cashier gets nasty and he responds by cussing at her. Someone threatens to call the police...

Only to have everything stop in its tracks as the woman who loves the former "king," of the tinsel world, loves him more than he ever knew, walks up to him and says, "Hey, it's okay." He stops cussing, gets out of line, and they walk into an aisle together, for some privacy.

He says, "Where have you been?"

She says, "Right here, honey. I'm right here. Hey...let's get out of here. Let's go home."

"Good idea," he says...and smiles.

No smile ever lit up his face like this one did. She is practically in tears, she's so happy! He is shedding his "skin" like a snake and being born into a new and simpler, saner existance. She takes him home, they order delivery and kick back with old episodes of the Three Stooges, and finally, a showing of "Wuthering Heights," one of his favorite movies of all time...and hers too.

"'Heathcliff,'" he suddenly says to her, holding her tight as he quotes the Kate Bush song, "'It's me, Cathy. I've come home! I'm so cold...let me in your window, love.'"

"You are home," she says to him, and kisses him. The kiss is long and passionate and it ends with him smiling again, then colapsing, weeping on her shoulder. Tears of joy this time, not desperation like before.

"'Here,'" she says to him, quoting the movie in her own way, "'Here, love--you will always be my King!'"

They plan the rest of their lives in the sweet, small but cozy house with the cats and dogs...simple existance, no rat race, no demands.

They have come Home. At last. Home to Love. And Simplicity.

Home to Real Life, for a change!

(c) 2016 by Kate Quinn

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Free Madness,

"Even when you're down and blue, just remember that someone out there loves you, even if you don't know it and even if you haven't yet met them. There's someone out there waiting for you, remember that and keep faith. You'll get there."
~~Johnny Depp.

Posts: 3539 | Location: Dreamland | Registered: 06 April 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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By Kate Quinn, (c) 2016

The vision pounded in his head like a song you can't get out of your ear. It was so vivid, he couldn't take it anymore. He screamed right in the middle of the crowd.

Screamed--just screamed, wordless screaming, while his wife tried to pretend she wasn't with him by smoothing down her hair.

He screamed again, and then suddenly he bolted up from his seat, and, pushing his way out of the crowd as they cussed at him. He ran past them all, ran out of the room and out of the building. His black eyes bulged out of his face, and he clutched at his hair, pulling it out of its sleeked back look.

He jumped into his car, and told his hired driver, "GO GO GO!" It took awhile before he could articulate where he was going, but at least the driver had the sense to start the car and pull out onto the highway, even if he had to change course once the destination was set.

They drove for hours, hours and more hours, and the driver did his best to focus on the road as every now and then his passenger would break into loud screaming, that turned into coughing fits.

Finally, the coughing fits became quiet, percussive sobs, and the driver breathed a sigh of relief. At least it wasn't as loud as the screaming, he thought!

They reached their destination. The driver was paid double his salary as his passenger ran to the remote townhouse in the quiet street, and pounded on the door. For a moment, it looked like he was going to smash the door window!

"YOU'RE MINE!" he screamed at the woman who answered. Without a word, shocked but enchanted all the same, she left the house and--well, thought the driver, I'm not done yet!

His passenger entered the car again, letting the woman in first. The driver drove them to a far away place, a land that literally no one but a select few know about.

"I better get quadruple by the time we make it there!" the driver grumbled.

His passengers weren't paying attention. The windows were steaming up as they made mad, passionate love in the back seat. Occasionally the driver cursed loudly as he had to wipe the windshield clean.

Finally, they reached their destination. The driver's employer simply told him this.

"Don't worry, Sam. I'm turning two accounts into your name. One was co-owned by my wife, but the pre-settlement agreement says she has to turn it over to me if I just give her the big rock in the middle of nowhere. You know, the one named after her."

Sam, the driver just stood there, stupified, as the man and the woman, two reunited Flames, walked into the mist, never to be seen again until they decided they wanted to be seen.

"What just happened?" Sam asked himself.

Back in the crowded room, where business had continued as if nothing unusual had occurred before, the wife finally stopped smoothing down her hair. Realizing her husband was no longer beside her, she said loudly for all to hear,


That's when the spirit of Alan Rickman, manifested as a beautiful blue butterfly, landed on her shoulder and, just before vanishing into thin air, he said simply this:

"Love, stupid girl!"

"Even when you're down and blue, just remember that someone out there loves you, even if you don't know it and even if you haven't yet met them. There's someone out there waiting for you, remember that and keep faith. You'll get there."
~~Johnny Depp.

Posts: 3539 | Location: Dreamland | Registered: 06 April 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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One Perfect Star
©2016 by Druana Kerridwen(Kate Quinn)

Heading into the night
To the glittering party lights
I feel so alive but then suddenly, I start to cry.
Tears I cannot stop
Watching each one drop
I go into a quiet place
So they can’t see my eyes.

What happened to the joy?
What happened to the music playing?
Dancing, I was dancing, til I fell to my knees!
I feel the pain you’re in!
I don’t know where you end and where I begin!
Oh baby, you’re so far away, I can’t be there!
To rock you through the night
Tell you everything’s going to be all right
So let each tear I shed turn to sparkling stars…
That guide you to a place where you’ll take back your heart

Take back your heart
Take back my heart
Let them blend together in perfect harmony
Turn it into a song
Everything that has gone wrong
No matter how far away, we are one perfect star!

People laughing in your head
It’s so loud that you start to see red!
They’re smirking and pointing, and claiming you’re nothing at all!
You want to knock them down
Anger spins your thoughts around
Until you see me in a crowd, backed against the wall!

They’ve pushed me through broken glass
They swore they were my friends, but it just didn’t last.
I lost all my ground in their eyes
Now you run through the woods, find a cliff and just scream out, “Why?”

You feel the pain I’m in!
You don’t know where I end and where you begin!
You scream, baby, you’re far away, I can’t be there!

Yet, you rock me through the night
Now I begin to feel all right!
Your spirit’s beside me, your eyes full of sparkling stars…
You guide me to a place where I’ll take back my heart

Take back your heart
Take back my heart
Let them blend together in perfect harmony
No matter what has gone wrong
We’ll turn it into a song!
No matter how far away, we are one perfect star!

"Even when you're down and blue, just remember that someone out there loves you, even if you don't know it and even if you haven't yet met them. There's someone out there waiting for you, remember that and keep faith. You'll get there."
~~Johnny Depp.

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NOVEL: Rivers of Stardust, by Druana Kerridwen(Kate Quinn, (c) 2017)


“I trust my guitar! Sometimes, we black out together.” –Patti Smith

It was February, and raining. Jaime McGrath sat at his computer desk in the small room he called his “sanctuary,” and stared out the window at the bleak, cloudy sky. Not a star in sight, he thought.
In one week it would be Valentine’s Day. Jaime, although married, did not even acknowledge that day anymore. Neither did his wife, for that matter. Jaime vaguely wondered what he would do when St. Valentine reared his ugly head on the fourteenth. Perhaps he’d go out of town and lose himself in the scenery there. New people, new situations. Jaime needed something to take his mind off not only St. Valentine, but the fact that on the twenty-seventh of this month, he would hit a half-century old. Fifty. When everybody’s life was supposed to have fallen into place.
Oh sure. Great fantasy. Pokemon Go, anyone? Jaime thought bitterly. Besides, where would I go anyway, and with what money? New York? Maybe. If I can stand the crowds. California? Yeah, right. Where would I get the money for a flight, let alone train fare and a hotel? Rob a bank? Tap an ATM machine?
Kill my wife, bury her in the back yard, steal her identity on the internet and rob her rich parents’ bank accounts??
Jaime laughed at his twisted thoughts and told his mind to shut up. That was the trouble with his mind. It had always been a tsunami. One day, he swore he would write a book, to put voices to all the screeching noises in his head.
He was a lot steadier than he used to be, he rationalized—considering he’d battled depression all his life, and more recently alcoholism. He'd finally stopped drinking in 2011, and had celebrated his fifth year of sobriety last June the eleventh by spending all day at Fairmount park either walking or meditating, alone with a picnic lunch of peanut butter and jelly on rye, Doctor Pepper, and about three Tastykake pies, strawberry, lemon and chocolate éclair. Jaime seldom if ever craved wine, beer or whiskey anymore. Even when out at restaurants with those who drank, it didn’t really phase him at all. He didn’t even go to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings these days, hadn’t gone in two years, and his sobriety was better than it ever had been.
How about that, he thought!
Well—Jaime wasn’t completely addiction free. Sugar was a problem, and his weight had escalated to the point where he was not feeling very energetic. He knew his blood sugar was high, and he would have to take care of that, and fast. The cinnamon he used for all his food dishes, good as that spice was for keeping blood sugar levels normal, did so much but not enough. The sugar cravings were always too hard to resist. Rarely did Jaime go a day without at least two Tastykakes, two packs of Hostess cupcakes, or otherwise, anything chocolate. It was comfort food, and it kept him happy, but only for a few moments. Then, disappointment set in, and that all too familiar bloated feeling in his stomach, that, if it didn’t depress him to tears, made him want to just curl up on a couch and sleep for hours.
Jaime was more than ready to find a way to end the sugar addiction, but he was damned if he'd quit smoking. No…the feel of inhaling that pleasurable taste of real tobacco, as he never smoked “commercial” brands was irresistible. The nicotine, like sugar, took the edge off of life’s various stressors. Since he’d already resigned himself to giving up sweets eventually, Jaime decided he needed at least one vice. So, he would continue to smoke for the time being, until he was ready to quit. Jaime had, at the suggestion of his wife Linda and her family, tried the electronic vaporizers and e-cigs, but they just weren’t the same. Cost-efficient as they were, Jaime was too accustomed to real tobacco. After all, he had been smoking it since he was eleven years old.
Linda hated smoke in the house, but Jaime had finally talked her into letting him use one room to smoke in. Linda had grudgingly agreed, since she hated the room anyway…it was too cold for her. Jaime didn’t mind it. It was a tiny room, but it was his.
At least he didn’t have to go outside and smoke in the rain, he thought gratefully!

Jaime lit a C-note, a mini cigar he’d gotten hooked on from his many visits to the Smoke lounge in Manayunk, just walking distance from the house he co-owned with Linda. Jaime had lived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania since he was twenty, and the Smoke lounge was his hangout these days. Jaime enjoyed the homelike comfort of the lounge, where he could get away from it all, de-stress, and be around other smokers. It was a nice atmosphere when it got crowded and people just talked about their favorite cigars and hookah, or the popular art of rolling one’s own cigarettes. People would brag about their rolling paper, usually licorice or any other exotic thing. Jaime didn't have a lot of concentration skills when it came to rolling his own cigarettes, so he just used his fixed income, for whatever he could afford. He wasn’t much of a regular cigar smoker, so his preference was C-notes, usually two packs, since Jaime didn’t carry much cash with him. The Smoke lounge had a fifteen-dollar minimum when using an ATM card, and a ten-dollar minimum to sit for a while there.

Jaime would have loved to go there now, but Starxene suddenly came into his mind, as she would, out of the blue while he was alone and thinking.

Starxene was the lead singer and lead guitarist for the Flame Keepers, a rock band that had emerged on the music industry in Hollywood five years ago. They were famous for at least twenty hit songs on the top ten. Kids, teenagers and adults alike, as well as multi-opinioned critics had completely flipped out when Star and her band hit the scene. Sam Ginger, one of the most famous and renowned managers in the music industry, had signed Starxene and her band almost immediately, when he happened to walk down a busy New York street. It was there that he saw Starxene playing and singing in the blistering cold, with just a few members of the band she had now. Her haunting voice which people compared to that of Grace Slick, Patti Smith and Ann Wilson of Heart, stole the hearts of many men and women too. Her amazingly toned body didn't hurt either. Star did not play on her looks, however, and throughout the five years of her mega-successful career, she'd stuck to her guns.

Star wrote all the songs for the Flame Keepers, and was their leader. Her musical style was influenced by classic rock and roll, that of the sixties and seventies, with some nineties mixed in. Starxene was mostly renowned for her live performances, where she would do at least three cover songs, from several different decades. Usually the nineties, the sixties and the early 2000’s, or the seventies, the latest material of today, and the eighties. Once in a while, a few fifties tunes would find their way in, like Buddy Holly and even Connie Francis one time. However, all the covers were done in Starxene’s distinctive style, as she refused to imitate the original artists. She would often say about it, that if people wanted that, just go see the original artist perform—or listen to a playlist of them if they’re dead.
Jaime turned his attention back to his computer in front of him, his desktop background bearing a large picture of Starxene rocking out at the Kimmel Center last month. Jaime had missed that concert because his wife Linda had, at the last minute, thrown a tantrum about his "obsession" with Starxene. Jaime was trying to get out the door but Linda had barricaded herself in front of it. By the time he finally got out and was able to catch the bus, there was too much traffic on the road. Jaime had made it to the concert—just as it was ending.
Looking intently at the picture, Jaime relived the bitter memory, vaguely wondering if he should change the picture on his desktop. He sighed, as he drifted into the memory, fighting back tears as he did so.

He’d arrived at the Kimmel Center at 11:30 at night, having not been able to get out of the Manayunk house until nine. The argument with Linda had resulted in her, once again violently attacking him. Jaime’s arms and chest were smarting with bruises. She’d managed to miss his face, thankfully, because Jaime remembered to duck this time. He was not particularly interested in going to a Starxene concert with a bruised face. But he’d finally had to listen to Linda’s hour-long diatribe about how ignored and abandoned she felt all the time. Jaime had simply told her that lately she’d been impossible to hold a conversation with, since everything turned into a fight. Just as Linda was about to strike out at him again, Jaime finally ran out the door.
The concert had started at eight, and Jaime was already an hour late. He had had to take two buses, which were both held up by traffic. The 9 bus took the longest, thanks to a four-vehicle accident that had kept everyone on the expressway there for nearly half an hour. Jaime, agitated and furious at Linda, had stormed into the Kimmel box office, demanding to know what time it was. He had left his cell phone, his only time-keeper, at home, having dropped it while running out the door of his house. When the condescending woman behind the glass told him the concert was over, Jaime had demanded to go backstage. The woman smirked at him and said that no, Jaime couldn’t do that without a pass. Jaime had stormed out of the box office door, and looked frantically around for any sign of Starxene signing autographs.
“Where’s Starxene?” he shouted at some teenaged kids who were dressed like Star herself. They looked at Jaime like he was crazy, and, curling his lip, one guy with a buzz cut and a tattoo on his forehead, had said that she’d already left in her limo.
“But Trevor’s over there, and some others from the band,” said another teenager, a girl with long blonde hair, in a more polite tone. “Why don’t you go talk to them? Maybe they can tell you where Star went.”
Jaime thanked her tonelessly and managed a smile, before slithering into the shadows while the rest of the teenagers laughed raucously. Jaime felt mortified for his behavior with them, as well as with the clerk at the box office. He was sure that would get back to Star. He hated to think about what she would look like, how she would respond.
Jaime was entirely too upset to go and talk to any of the band members. He was sure they’d think he was “some nut” as well, and didn’t want to inflict that upon them.
Jaime froze, suddenly. Trevor Washington, the drummer, was staring right at him, with a quizzical look on his face.
Jaime's anxiety and anger turned into a panic attack. He turned his face into the wall of the Kimmel Center, breathing heavily, trying to get himself under control. It was no use, however. Making sure to avoid the clerk at the glass window, Jaime ran into another door to the Kimmel center. Thankfully, he found a men's room practically right in front of him.
Opening the door, Jaime was relieved to see that it was a single restroom, no stalls to speak of.

He immediately locked the door, and leaned against it, practically hyperventilating. Then, Jaime sat down on a chair near the toilet, and burst into uncontrollable sobs. Tears spurted out of his eyes, and his nose promptly began to gush as well. Jaime took out his handkerchief and clutched it to his face, trying desperately to keep the sobs quiet so as not to alarm anyone in the hall outside.
He was grateful that his panic attack had turned into tears, which would at least calm him down considerably. He felt absolutely miserable. He almost debated staying in that restroom overnight. Would anybody notice?
Jaime shook his head at himself. He felt like a teenager who had been grounded for the weekend, or a little kid sent to his room without supper. What was wrong with him, he wondered?
Jaime knew exactly what was wrong, and it mortified him. He’d panicked outside, yelled at a clerk, scared the shit out of some teenagers and now Trevor Washington thought he was a nut. All because Jaime had missed seeing Starxene in concert. He had never missed one of her concerts, not ever. Not since she had come on the scene in 2011.
What was it about her, he wondered? Why did she affect him so much? Jaime blew his nose and shifted the handkerchief to a drier side.
Am I really that obsessed? He asked himself. Is Linda right? Have I lost all touch with reality and reverted back to teenage-hood with an immature crush on a drop-dead-gorgeous fucking FAMOUS WOMAN THAT I WILL NEVER MEET?
No. It’s more than that. Much more.
Somehow, and Jaime didn’t know what to make of it except a distant memory that haunted him—Starxene was a kind of lifeline. A mystery that needed solving. Someone whom Jaime just had to meet, for meeting her would bring the answer to a burning question that had tormented him for years.
What that question was, Jaime couldn’t remember now. However, he knew that there was more to his fixation on Starxene than a reversion back to his younger years. Never mind that the average therapist would blame it on Jaime’s depression, and perhaps the stress of his near-dead marriage.
There was a connection between himself and Starxene—a powerful one. It was something Jaime had not wanted to think on, given Star’s position in life as compared to his. However, he knew in his heart, that he and Starxene were what his native people had always called “twin spirits.”
Jaime knew he HAD to meet her. His life would never be complete, otherwise.
He must have wept for an hour before someone finally knocked on the door, and a loud, irritated male voice shouted that the center was closing. Jaime blew his nose one last time, pocketed his wet handkerchief, and fished for his dark glasses. After a brief struggle where he tried to get them securely on his face, Jaime walked nonchalantly out the door. He avoided the irate guard who was now shaking his head and muttering swear words while staring at Jaime.
“Fuckin’ crazy people everywhere,” he said audibly. Jaime just pushed the door open that led to outside, and stormed out as several people cackled in laughter behind him.
Jaime didn’t care. He felt a relaxed kind of euphoria, and again was grateful that he’d been able to let himself cry in that men’s room. Weeping brought great relief, and in fact created a better high than alcohol ever had. Almost always, Jaime felt stronger and freer after a good, old fashioned sob. At least he’d managed not to make a spectacle of himself by losing his temper and cursing out one of those heckling teenagers or guards. Or worse, trashing the men’s room, throwing the wastebasket against the mirror, so that it broke. Seven years of bad luck—hah. Jaime wasn’t superstitious at all, and had loved to smash mirrors to fuck with whoever had pissed him off at that moment.
Walking on the now nearly empty streets, Jaime found the bus stop, and huddled within the shelter there. No people were around, and that’s exactly how Jaime liked it. Anymore, he really didn’t care much for human beings. Starxene was one exception, but aside from her, Jaime thought he could live in a world without people and feel perfectly at ease.
It was times like these that Jaime longed for a cat or a dog. Animals were so innocent and naturally accepting of anything humans did, so long as it wasn’t abusive towards them. Unfortunately, Jaime had had to give up his dog and cat when he’d moved in with and later married Linda. She was deathly allergic to animals and terrified of them as a result. The house was not a large one, and the dander of any animal always got to Linda. She never went into a house where pets were, as the mere sense of them caused her throat to swell up inside and her having to be rushed to the hospital.

When Jaime got home, Linda proceeded to scream at him for spending “all that money” which indeed had been seventy dollars, on Starxene’s concert. Jaime just ran upstairs, refusing to even argue with Linda that SHE had made him miss the concert in the first place. He did feel stupid for having spent the money, however, important to him as the concert had been. The fact that he’d missed the concert and the money had been wasted, was something Jaime would have to process for a few days, at least.
The little house Jaime and Linda owned had been bought cash-outright after Linda’s grandmother had died of cancer in 2010, and left Linda a large inheritance. This had been nearly three-hundred thousand dollars and the house had cost them almost two-hundred thousand. However, the money had run out in 2012, in large part because of Linda’s own spending habits. When she’d first gotten the money, she was like a cat with unlimited cream. Never had she seen that much money in her life. She’d soon gotten used to shopping at the best stores and eating at the finest restaurants in the city. They’d tried to invest the money, but to no avail. They kept having to pull money out of the principle, usually to fix things in the house after Linda destroyed them in one of her rages. There was barely anything left after all of Linda’s indulgences and the repairs, to pay bills and save for property taxes. They were behind on the gas bill as it was, but fortunately the law in Philadelphia prohibited shutoffs during the winter for those with gas heat.
Jaime gritted his teeth, knowing that Linda really had no room to talk about his own spending, but these days, it was impossible to discuss anything with Linda without it getting volatile. They were both on Social Security Disability, Linda for bipolar, drug abuse and post-traumatic-stress, and Jaime for severe depression, post-traumatic stress and alcoholism. Jaime had applied after he realized he’d gotten to the point where he called out sick from work almost every week, sometimes twice a week. For a long time, Jaime just couldn’t bear to leave the house. People and stimulation outside agitated him. His drinking hadn’t helped, and the job he’d once prided himself in having, ended up with him being fired for showing up so intoxicated he could barely stand up. He had been completely non-functional by the time he’d been able to obtain Disability. He hadn’t worked in six years, five of which he’d been sober.
However, even getting sober did not take away the depressive episodes that used to keep Jaime immobile and “paralyzed” in bed all day. If he wasn’t crying, he was sleeping almost constantly. This had continued to make it impossible for Jaime to be reliable to employers in a steady job. One of the rules of continuing to be eligible to receive benefits, of course, was that Jaime had to see a psychiatrist and preferably a therapist as well. After all, some kind of treatment and medication was needed for so severe a condition as Jaime’s depression had become. Now that Jaime had been taking St. John’s Wort for two years now, he felt perhaps he could handle some kind of freelance-writing position online. Or, even more preferable…music. If there were still a fly’s chance in hell, he thought!

Jaime's thoughts came back into the present as he turned and looked absently at his reflection in the full length mirror of the closet on the wall facing him. He stood up, sighing and frowning into the mirror, looking himself over. Suddenly he felt very warm, even though the room was chilly as always. He threw off his robe and swore loudly. Had Linda turned the heat up again? Jaime sighed, frustrated, as he looked his naked body completely over. He didn't know why he felt the need to do this, but he went on with it, numbly, quelling his frustration with how hot he felt.

Jaime was not tall, but he was average height--five feet and ten inches. He'd always been considered a major looker among women. He had dark brown hair that was starting to gray more now, coal-black eyes and a pale complexion with a hint of copper in his Irish skin tone. He wore no facial hair, but his regular hair was long now, where it used to be short. He'd had to wear it short for the job he'd held for a while. Now, he could do whatever he wanted. Tangled as his hair was right now, he did like the length, past his shoulders and almost to the middle of his upper arms. At least he wasn’t balding, he told himself with relief, gray as the hair was becoming now.

He still looked good in the facial features, and this was some small comfort. Even now, people had trouble believing he was nearing fifty. However, age had affected him in other ways. His body, once taut and lean from regular workouts, had gotten soft and paunchy in the middle. Jaime had lost the desire to do sit-ups and work out with weights several years ago, even while he had begun walking in the park again every morning. He would have to work up to lifting weights and working on his abs and love handles. The extra flesh bothered him, and his indulgence in sweets didn’t help, but he was getting better for the most part, despite the stress he still dealt with at home.
Jaime’s eyes fell on the latest bruises and bandages on his chest and arms, the result of Linda having attacked him yesterday on his way out the door to the Smoke lounge. He’d lit a C-note just in the doorway, and she had flown into a rage, thinking he was “disrespecting” her wishes about not smoking in any part of the house but his tiny room. Jaime shook his head, shivering and turned away from the mirror. No, he told himself. No. I will NOT think about that right now. He flung open the closet door to get the mirror out of the way and his eyes fell on the large wooden trunk that sheltered his guitar. He kept it locked in a trunk with a special combination lock that “froze” after one attempt to get the combination right. When it froze like that, no one could re-attempt for twelve hours. This trunk also held many things sacred and important to Jaime that he was sure Linda would destroy if she got her hands on them. Fortunately the lock on Jaime’s room door was a strong deadbolt…just in case Linda thought about breaking in, which she’d never been good at. Picking locks wasn’t Linda’s specialty.
This brought a needed calm as Jaime sat down at his computer desk and puffed on his C-note. At least he was rekindling his love of music, thanks in large part to Starxene as well as the Saint John’s Wort. Not being required to see a therapist also helped, as they had done more harm to Jaime than good.
He had, upon the emergence of Starxene and her band, dug out his old Les Paul copy, a vintage guitar he'd bought back in the nineties from a pawn shop somewhere in Center City. He practiced for an hour every day at first, then worked up to two hours, and finally three. Eventually he was playing solos that even rivaled Starxene’s guitar chops, and that was saying something. Starxene was maybe one half-step below Jimi Hendrix and Keith Richards in skill, as Keith Richards himself had said once.
However, there were no real outlets for Jaime, currently. Everybody knew everybody, and there was entirely too much competition and “cliquishness” for Jaime to even want to be there. He had dreams of escaping to New York or Los Angeles, but there was just no money.
Jaime wore whatever clothes he liked, usually blue jeans with patches, writing on them, and large knee holes. His choice of shoes these days were converse sneakers, and his shirts, when not baggy T-shirts in the summertime, were long-sleeved, large flannel shirts and a jeans jacket in the wintertime. He also had a plethora of fedoras and different-colored berets he wore over his long locks. He topped all this off with a brown leather vest that he wore over his jeans jacket. Jewelry hung from his neck in droves, most of it Native American, some of them Celtic pendants like the knot and the tree of life. He had a few tattoos, not too many, but most of them bore Navajo symbols, and were up and down his arms, which he prominently displayed in the summer, as Jaime often ripped the sleeves off his T-shirts, or wore muscle shirts. It wasn’t a bad look, he thought, but he was always being told he looked like a hippie or was trying to dress “young” like a twenty-something in the nineties when grunge music was popular. When it was particularly cold in the wintertime, Jaime employed a very eighties-throwback leather trenchcoat.
There were not many local talent managers in Philadelphia who cared for his “style” when it came to marketing him as a musician. He was always encouraged to lose weight and play on his great looks, wearing whatever was in fashion and making it count. And…dress more appropriately for his age, and cut his hair. This, he’d been told, would at least get him local gigs that paid REAL money, not just paltry tips. Even if Hollywood didn’t have time for people nearing fifty, Philadelphia offered an outlet for making really good money. Usually, these outlets ended up being wedding gigs, or other functions of that nature.
Jaime rejected all of that with a passion, so his music rarely, if ever, left the house. The “rock” scene in Philadelphia, while classic rock was still in vogue in some parts, just had too much competition for Jaime to even have the patience for it anymore.
He supposed Hollywood was a closed door after all, if he couldn’t even cope with competition anymore.
Like Starxene, Jaime refused to play on his looks. However, if it had worked for Star, a woman in a still sexist society—why couldn’t it work for him?
Age, he thought bitterly. Starxene was fifteen years younger than he was. Even though she was not in her twenties, she was still marketable in Hollywood, or had at least passed the last line of the “border.” She had emerged when she was thirty, after all, five years ago.
Jaime had been put into too many boxes for his liking, all due to his physical features. This happened with his personal life as well as his professional life. Jaime had never had great luck with women as they'd always seemed to go for his “beautiful face” first, only to be "disappointed" when the man behind the handsomeness "wasn't what they had expected." It was a wonder, he thought, that he'd made it to fifteen years of marriage to Linda, turbulent as their marriage had been, and was now all but over.
Jaime sighed and put his robe back on before stamping out his finished C-note and lighting another. He did not feel as warm as he’d felt earlier—in fact, the room was chillier than usual. Jaime often wondered where these sudden “hot flashes” for want of a better word, came from. Was there some truth to the latest revelations of “male menopause?”
Great, that’d be all I need, he thought, laughing bitterly.
A sudden desire to hear Starxene sing a particular favorite of Jaime's eliminated those troubling thoughts. Once more, he more turned to his computer and Starxene's piercing eyes which resonated with love and compassion. They were the strangest eyes Jaime had ever seen. They seemed to change color in different photos of her. The colors were always the same...tropical blue, jade green, or pure silver.

Jaime thought of Starxene’s haunting voice, and wished he had the confidence to sing. He had the ability, but was just too frightened to do it in front of people. He had a phobia about it. It made him feel too exposed. More often than not, his attempts would cause panic attacks. Jaime was content to stick with the guitar, and let his story be told through the strings.

He puffed on his C-Note, absently flicking the ashes into the tray. Jaime opened Google Chrome and navigated to YouTube, in search of the Flame Keepers' version of Prince’s “The Beautiful Ones." This was one of the few eighties tunes by Prince that Starxene covered on her first album. The song itself, from the movie “Purple Rain,” had not been as popular as Prince’s other tunes, although it had been well loved. It was the most beautiful love song Jaime had ever heard, save for Starxene’s originals of “I’ll Wait,” and “Two Hearts, One Soul.”
Like Jaime, Starxene loved the Native American spiritualism and didn’t have time for American politics. She was also an open Celtic healer and made no bones about it in the jewelry she wore. While this had sparked controversy, it was also part of her charm.
Jaime smiled, as his eyes fell on a video of an interview with Starxene on the Howard Stern show. It was a podcast recording, but there were pictures of Starxene with her band throughout the interview. Jaime put “The Beautiful Ones,” aside for now, and clicked on the video podcast. He chuckled as he heard Starxene talking about labels to Howard, who had just asked her why she did so much “classic rock” in her song covers. Starxene loathed labels—in practically everything, another reason Jaime had been drawn to her.

"Let me ask you something, Howard. What the fuck is 'classic rock' anyway?” Starxene was asking, in that sweet, musical voice that had joy and laughter all around it. “What the fuck is NEW music, really? You know me, Howard, I’m not one to label anything—it’s all music, right? Like Billy Joel once said, hey—‘it’s still rock and roll to me.’
“Man, I get sick of all the labels. Especially when they label love. What is up with that? You got homosexuals, heterosexuals, bisexuals. That, to me, is segregating love. So what if you love someone of the same sex? You love them, pure and simple, it shouldn't even be an issue. Shouldn't even be a catagory. Hell, they even segregate male homosexuals and female homosexuals! Gay--and lesbian. Why don't they just segregate male and female bisexuals? What would it be, like shisexual, and hisexual? Hisexual--hmmm, guess that would mean the male bisexuals would have to get high all the time--oh, fuck, I'm confused. Are you confused too?"

Fortunately, since it was the Howard Stern show, Starxene could get away with cursing. Howard had actually laughed as hard as Robin had. Howard loved Starxene, though. She was no-bullshit all the way, and was not politically correct by any means. She wanted to transcend all that shit and not only eliminate feminism but make it about ALL human rights, not just for blacks and women, or LGTB or whoever.
Jaime laughed and it felt good. More humorous talk about labels and Starxene’s music ensued. Then, Jaime felt a triumphant kind of vindication when Starxene began to talk about "old" and "young."

"I get sick of the age discrimination in Hollywood. SICK of it," she ranted to Stern as he told her, like so many other talk show hosts had, that Starxene looked nineteen instead of her natural age of thirty-five. "I mean—yes, I guess it's nice to look nineteen or whatever..."

"Do you get carded in bars?" Howard had interrupted.

"No," said Starxene. "Then again, I guess cuz everyone knows I'm thirty-five anyway."

They'd all laughed then.

"Yeah I guess that would be pretty stupid," Howard admitted. "I mean--you're Starxene! Fucking Starxene! Perpetual youth! Do you still get asked if you're a vampire?"

Star had laughed that powerfully mysterious cackle.

"Last time someone asked me that I told them I was really fifty, not thirty-five," she said, her voice pitched down with powerful mystique. "I said I'd been bitten by Anne Rice's Lestat when I was twenty. Because I didn't feel like telling anyone I was twenty, I told them I was thirty five and that at least allowed me the leverage to play the cover songs I do. Gives me more leeway."

That got a round of intense laughter.

"FIFTY! You gotta be kidding, Star! I can just see Sam Ginger laughing right out if you ever told him you were that age. He’d NEVER believe that!" Robin had chortled. "Do you think he would have signed you on if you were that age?"

"No way," Howard quipped, that signature sneer in his voice. "Not at fifty. No one would ever sign on any new artist at age fifty. Even if, by some fly’s chance in hell, they happened to be as hot as you are, Starxene? Male or female, mind you! It’s not ever gonna happen! Not by a long shot. It’s just not the way the music industry works."

"You got that right, Howard! It was enough pulling teeth to get Sam to sign me at thirty," Star said soberly. "I don’t get it, guys. I really don’t. I mean look at Alice Cooper, Aerosmith, Patti Smith, Bruce Springsteen. They're all in their sixties and they--"

"Starxene—Starxene," Howard had interrupted, in a condescending tone, "Those people have been around since their twenties. Those people--"

"Oh, I know all that," Starxene interrupted him, laughing flippantly. "I mean, of course they're gonna get to tour, get to make albums. Maybe not get as much airplay as Katy, Kanye, Justin and Taylor do, but they'll keep working. They're veterans." She sighed. "What sucks balls though, is that no one gets a chance, say if they can’t get a break when they’re young, but they keep trying. I swear, somewhere on the globe is someone over fifty or maybe turning fifty, and plays guitar every bit as good as Jimi Hendrix ever did. And he can't get a break. Why? Because he's fifty. What?" She broke off with a laugh as Howard could not stop laughing all through her speech. Finally Howard cleared his throat.

"I'm sorry, Star," he said sardonically, "I got lost on what you're saying because I could not get the image out of my mind. Katy Perry, Kanye West, Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift. What are the odds of all of them being in bed together, you think?"

Star had laughed loudly.
"Oh, my God!” she chortled. “Throw in Jimi Hendrix and you REALLY have a fun time!” She cleared her throat. “Of course, he’s dead, so that wouldn’t be possible of course. Unless they dug him up and made him a zombie.” She giggled as Howard and Robin groaned. “The only time I even REMOTELY see that happening though is if—say—Hillary and Trump got in bed together!"

"Oooh, don't even joke like that!" cried Robin although Howard let out a loud guffaw.

Jaime let the interview finish itself out, and, still smiling, clicked on the video of “The Beautiful Ones,” taken from a performance in Dublin, Ireland last year. Somehow, as Star sang through the song, Jaime felt it was some kind of personal message. Starxene certainly was feeling that angst and passion, almost as much as Prince had in the movie "Purple Rain," as he had directed the powerful, climactic question to Appelonia while she'd sat with Morris Day near the front of the stage.

The only difference was Starxene's reversal of the genders.


Then, as Starxene finished the song, she looked ahead of her, straight into the camera. Her lips mouthed the words, "I love you."

The audience was silent for a moment, before breaking out into loud, thunderous applause.

"Thank you!" Starxene had shouted, smiling broadly at her audience. "Thank you, WE LOVE YOU, DUBLIN!"

Starxene and the band waved as the applause grew more intense. She turned and made her way off the stage, and suddenly Billy Simmons appeared out of nowhere, put his arm around her and walked with her out the backstage door.

Jaime felt himself stiffen and his heart plummet to his feet. Billy Simmons was Starxene's live-in boyfriend, and there were more reasons than simple jealousy for Jaime to dislike the little prick. Billy just—didn’t fit in to Starxene’s world, and it wasn’t merely Jaime who wondered what she even saw in the conceited ass. Billy was twenty-nine years old and always seemed to want all the attention even at Starxene's events. At least she looked more "subdued" when she posed for pictures with him, say at the Grammy's or other red carpet events such as premiers for Billy's movies. He wasn't the biggest A-List actor around, but he was A-List enough that people reported his movie premieres. His movies made money and Billy was handsome and played on those looks. There wasn't much else TO the guy except that he liked to quote Starxene's songs as his philosophy of life. He did it entirely too theatrically however, too rehearsed. Also a model, Billy had six-pack abs and did commercials for things like men's cologne ads, or car commercials like Ferrari, or Mercedes. Or wine commercials, as Billy ran a vineyard. Star loved her red wine as much as Jaime had loved his, and lately she'd seemed more intoxicated at events with Billy, especially those around wine tasting. She and her band would play for Billy's wine functions as "support" as they donated the money they made to charity. Sometimes Star would break out into a sweat, and this added to her proverbial "hotness" as men would call it, but lately the tabloids were suggesting she was on drugs. Her hair would get wet, and sweat would pour down her face. This did nothing but make her look more beautiful, but every week she seemed to lose more weight. Until she took a hiatus after every tour and came back fresh and healthy looking as if nothing had ever happened.

Jaime felt Starxene’s presence now, deep in his soul, as the connection with her continued to grow. When would he meet her, he wondered, frustrated? When would he get out of this fixed-income existence with a wife who hated him, and finally get to do something meaningful once and for all?

However, Jaime knew he HAD to meet Starxene. There was just something about her. A familiarity of sorts.
The vague thought returned in a vision and played on his mind.

He'd known her before. He HAD to have seen her. Why, he thought, when she was born in 1981 and he in 1967, did he think he'd known her as a child? And had been practically the same age, to boot?

As he began to meditate, going into an altered state of consciousness, his mind to travelled back to that odd "memory" that he wasn't sure was real or a fictionalized character, like those who'd lived in his head before he put them to life in books. The pretty little girl who sang along with Joni Mitchell's "The Circle Game," while Jaime played the guitar. Grown-ups and kids alike were stunned. What had ever happened to that little girl?

And what was her name? Where had she gone? Had she died?

Jaime lit a candle and began to chant ever so softly, trying to call up the memory—if he could.
Where are you? He wondered, as he felt himself drifting off. Where are you, my friend? You, who had put Joni Mitchell under the table with your sweet, childlike but passionate voice? What happened to you? I never felt so complete in my life as when you were there. We were just kids, but I really thought we'd grow up together. I was eleven, and you were going to be ten in the summer. When was your birthday? Why did we separate? You left, all of a sudden, and my parents told me you had changed schools. Why did I never hear of you again? What was your NAME?

Or—do I already know?

"Even when you're down and blue, just remember that someone out there loves you, even if you don't know it and even if you haven't yet met them. There's someone out there waiting for you, remember that and keep faith. You'll get there."
~~Johnny Depp.

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Here are chapters 2 and 3 of "Rivers of Stardust," for those who are intrigued. Feel free to comment and ask questions, even give feedback. Enjoy! Big Grin

A novel by Druana Kerridwen(a.k.a. Kate Quinn), (c) 2017

Chapter 2
“I’ve seen the needle and the damage done.” –Neil Young

Jaime wasn’t the only one in that house with a bad addiction. Linda had struggled for years with heroin, and had, finally, it seemed, managed to stay clean for seven years.
Well…until recently that is, but she didn’t want to think too much on that.
Linda Raymond had met Jaime at a local bar sixteen years ago. She had been twenty-nine years old and Jaime had been thirty-four then. Linda remembered her model-like friend Danielle Malley had stopped speaking to her shortly after that night. Simply put? Jaime was every girl’s dream back then. Five-foot-ten with long black hair and eyes, pale features with just a hint of the Native American coloring in it(Jaime was half-Navajo, half-Irish), there wasn’t a woman in Philadelphia who had not wanted to take him home. Not that Jaime dated much, which led many to think he was gay. One night, Mike Nills, a gay activist with Philly Pride, had worked up the nerve to ask Jaime out for a date. Jaime had simply smiled and thanked Mike for asking him. However, he truly did love the ladies and respected all men as brothers. Jaime had even told Mike that if he were, indeed, drawn romantically to the same sex, he would have loved to go on a date with him. After all, there was no reason any man who loved the same sex wouldn’t do the same, handsome as Mike was. Unless, of course, they were blind or stupid!
Such was Jaime’s charm…he never discriminated against anybody, and in fact hated the idea of “segregating” love by labeling people “gay or straight.” He didn’t think it should even be an issue. So two men walk around with their arms around each other, or two women kiss in the park. Big deal, he always said. It should be respected as nature, just as romance between a man and a woman was. Jaime’s genuine respect for all humankind was as much of an attraction for everyone as his looks.
Regarding women and his own love life, Jaime had finally confided to a bartender that he hated casual dating. If he went out with a woman, even took her to dinner—she had to be SPECIAL. As in—THE ONE. He wouldn’t take any woman out if he had no intentions of marrying them. This made him even more of a hot commodity.
Linda’s friend Danielle had been shallow and narcissistic but drop-dead gorgeous. Tall, with long, naturally curly red hair, Danielle played on her looks everywhere they went. Her perfectly toned stomach, round hips, full breasts and long, shapely legs never failed to get her more dates than Linda could dream of. Danielle often made subtle comments that Linda was seriously plain in comparison to herself. Always, she tried to “doll” Linda up for their outings, with makeup, hair-tricks and the like. Danielle was a professional makeup artist and hairdresser, and was always frustrated that she couldn’t make her friend look “good” enough to hang out with her. Danielle certainly did know how hot she was, and how much men loved her! Meanwhile, Linda was skinny, with long, straggly blonde hair, and wide, dreamy blue eyes. Instead of a full, hourglass figure like Danielle had, Linda’s breasts and hips were small, and her legs thin as “twigs.” Usually, Linda’s complexion was pale and sallow, her blonde hair and pale eyes making her seem “vapid,” to some. However, Danielle, in addition to her body, had a perfectly proportioned face, and sharp, green eyes that never missed a thing. Linda struck people as too quiet and spacey sometimes. Danielle always held “court” while Linda merely sat in her shadow.
Many men loved sharp, feisty women like Danielle, but Jaime wasn’t impressed by her shallow personality. He was interested in Linda, considered her mysterious. Jaime saw her as “otherworldly,” like a pixie or fairy in Celtic Mythology. He also believed Linda had amazing beauty that she downplayed, including the love inside of her. He had told Linda many a time, that she was disconnected from her true nature, and that this caused her to shame herself heartlessly and allow others to walk over her. Jaime encouraged Linda to take back her power.
Obviously, Jaime didn’t view Linda as other men had, but other men were comparing her to Danielle. Jaime never went for looks alone, in a woman. Linda had never been able to relate to Jaime’s philosophical mumbo-jumbo, but she did feel a certain vindicated freedom being “Jaime’s girl,” and then “Jaime’s wife.” Changing her name to McGrath had filled her with intense pleasure. They weren’t super-rich, but Jaime had an excellent job as a web programming manager, which earned him about 40k a year. That was a lot of money in the nineties. Then, there was music. Jaime and Linda were both young, clueless and not entirely concerned with wealth, although it was nice to have a little extra money to spend on nicer clothes than even Danielle had been able to afford on her hairdresser/makeup artist salary. Then there were the amazing dinners in the finest restaurants in Philly, like Bookbinders and Valley Greene Inn.
Then, there were the drugs.
Jaime had certainly captured Linda’s heart in more ways than just looks, and every month of their first year together, he grew on her more and more. His compassion was the most endearing, as was his generosity. He would do anything for Linda. He not only took her on exotic vacations whenever she wanted them, but he always wanted to know how her day was, and was interested in what she appreciated. She and Jaime liked the same music, and would often talk for hours about their favorite bands, and music composers. Linda appreciated classical and opera a little more than Jaime did, and she loved movies too. Jaime had embraced her interests so that he could learn more about her. He learned as much as he could about Mozart, Ralph Vaughan-Williams, Puccini and Verdi. Linda had wanted to be an opera singer all her life, but lacked the vocal abilities for that. She was great at folk and pop music, and pretty good at rock singing when she’d worked at it. Her voice reminded Jaime of Dale Bozzio from Missing Persons when she sang rock and roll. Sharp and pointed, it was a great voice. When she sang folk, her voice took on a soft, little girl quality that had moved Jaime to tears. For the first seven years of their relationship and six years of marriage, it had been a dramatic, passionate whirlwind that both of them had reveled in despite the often tough times. Somehow, both always thought they would get through it and come out fighting. Both had been popular back then, very much “in” with the Philadelphia music scene. So it wasn’t hard to get gigs, once Jaime and Linda decided to form a duo, which they simply called “Freedom.”
However, Linda had managed to get under Jaime’s radar, sharp as he was in other ways—with her heroin usage. She’d kept her use of it a secret for five of their years together, and even though she would fly into rages, often striking and throwing things at Jaime, including kitchen knives, Jaime always forgave her. He knew, and was very concerned about Linda’s emotional issues, which stemmed from extreme neglect by both her parents. Linda was an only child, and had virtually raised herself. Jaime was determined to take care of her, and always wanted to know if she was feeling down or upset. Linda had once confided to Jaime that she couldn’t cry, but shortly after two years of their time together, she finally was able to release the tears. Many was the night that Jaime would hold her as she sobbed and just sobbed for hours, sometimes using up to three large boxes of Kleenex in the process. Cathartic as that had been, what had ruined it for Linda was that eventually Jaime would start to cry. It wasn’t long after that that she’d realized what a wet blanket he was. She felt competed with, as Jaime never cried lightly, certainly not like other men Linda had dated. Jaime would literally sob, as if he’d lost a family member in a car crash or something. What was wrong with him, Linda would wonder? It was her pain, not his!
However, when she confronted Jaime about it, he didn’t get it. It just didn’t register to him that that was wrong. He’d looked at her like she was from Pluto the first time, and simply said that he was empathizing with her and feeling her pain along with her. He’d gone on to tell her about his loving Navajo grandparents and aunt, as his parents didn’t have much time for him either. Like Linda, he was also an only child. His aunt, grandmother and even his grandfather had encouraged Jaime to cry from the time he was a child. Cry, and let the tears flow as freely as they would. Never had Jaime even considered the idea that men had to be “tough” and not show their vulnerability. Jaime’s grandfather had a saying Jaime never forgot: “The strongest warriors flow with the waters. They do not battle them.”
Linda did not relate to all that Native American jargon, and simply didn’t appreciate Jaime’s one-upmanship. The argument had ended in stalemate, and for a few weeks afterwards, neither was sure the marriage would work. However, Jaime had won Linda’s heart one night when he showed himself to be more of a man than she’d thought he was.
One night, Linda had been beaten, and badly, by a drug dealer, who had accused Linda of not paying him the money he was owed. Linda had paid him, but he was too stoned to remember. She’d gotten away before he could rape her, and run home to Jaime, hysterical.
Jaime had held her while she cried, but this time did not cry with her. When her tears subsided, he’d asked her in a stony voice, “Where’s this guy live, baby?”
Linda had told him, and Jaime went directly to the house, and beat the living shit out of that dealer. His name was Matt, and he was well-built, but Jaime was lean and agile, and in the end, Matt was too stoned to stand his ground.
Linda never had any trouble from Matt again after that night.
It was that night that she’d finally told Jaime about her heroin addiction. Jaime was not even angry at her. He merely told Linda that he was there for her, that he understood about the need to get high…but worried about her. “I don’t want to lose you, baby,” he said calmly. “But you have to be ready to stop it yourself. I’m here for you either way. I won’t leave your side for a minute.”
And he was true to his word.
Now and then, Linda did try to quit, but preferred Jaime and only Jaime at her side during the detoxes. Once in a while, it would work, but whenever the detoxes needed to happen, Jaime became terrified that Linda would die of them. It took years, but he was able to get her to agree to go to a rehab, where he stayed at her bedside while she cried and screamed from all the pain she endured during the detox. When she’d finished, she’d gone to Narcotics Anonymous, and by their seventh wedding anniversary, Linda had been clean for a year.
Those were amazing times. Jaime became easier to live with and Linda learned the amazing power of Patience and Compassion. She was able to listen to Jaime’s problems more so than she could before. For Jaime’s part, he felt a lot better confiding in Linda than before, when she was using. Linda even held him when he needed to cry, which she then began to encourage and when she cried with him, they would become even more intimately connected.
Most of the time, things were happy—certainly happier than they’d ever been. Jaime and Linda had continued playing music even through the bad times with heroin, taking a break only when the final detox had happened. It was 2008, and they were now a pretty prominent musical act. Linda’s voice was in great shape then, and she and Jaime shared the writing of the songs. Sometimes Jaime wrote the lyrics and Linda the music, and sometimes it was the other way around. Everything was great—until the Brad Cameron dilemma.
Linda had met Brad in Narcotics Anonymous when she was relatively new to the program. He had been clean for twelve years. Linda, not knowing the protocol of “men with men” and “women with women” had asked Brad to sponsor her. It was generally frowned upon for a man to sponsor a woman or vice versa, because the cautionary warning was that romance might be a temptation. This, of course, would interfere with the newcomer working the program and might cause them to start using again.
Brad pooh-poohed that “rule” by saying yes, and assuring others that he was, after all, living with a man and loved him above all else. However, Brad was bisexual, not gay, so many in the rooms had their suspicions. Linda and Brad, however, began working together, and Linda learned quite a few things from him.
Brad was tall, burly and had a bald head. A large tattoo of a red rose was prominent on the side of his head. Brad wore a leather jacket and rode a motorcycle, but was always careful to wear a helmet. One night, after a meeting, he showed up with an extra helmet and offered Linda a ride back to his house where they were scheduled to do some twelve step-work.
Linda agreed. She’d never ridden a motorcycle before. The feeling was unlike any high she’d ever experienced.
She was already in love with Brad by the time she got to his house, where they would have their second step-work session together. The first session had been at Starbuck’s on Main Street. Linda was thrilled and fascinated with Brad’s house, which was located in Chestnut Hill. It was a twin house with about three bedrooms, one of which was the master bedroom, the second, Brad’s lover’s work room, and the third, Brad’s den where he listened to his music and vaped. Brad was a vaper. Electronic cigarettes had not worked for him as well as the liquid filled nicotine vaporizers, which he said tasted better and were a much healthier alternative to real cigarettes. Linda had never smoked, and always hated the smell of cigarettes, which of course Jaime would never give up. The vaporizers didn’t bother her at all, however. They had a sweet scent to them, when you could actually smell them. Brad indulged in “flavors” like berry, vanilla, chocolate and coffee. He didn’t smoke any tobacco flavors.

Linda had resisted her feelings for Brad that whole year while they worked together as sponsor and sponsee. By the time a year had gone by, Linda had worked all the steps with Brad, and had, in fact, completed the twelve steps. Shortly after her one year anniversary, Brad encouraged Linda to take commitments, such as chairing meetings, speaking and also sponsoring. Linda had a couple of good sponsees…only two, but Brad said that was great compared to twenty sponsees who didn’t want to work the program. Linda had had ten people at least, ask to be sponsored by her. However, only two had prevailed.
By the time Linda had been clean a year and a half, she and Brad finally were forced to get honest about their feelings for each other. Brad had asked his lover, ironically the same Mike Nills that had asked Jaime out years ago, to leave. Mike had another house of his own, as he was pretty well off, and while he was heartbroken, he understood and appreciated Brad’s honesty. Brad was, of course, devastated, but Linda did not think even that compared to how she felt about giving up Jaime.
Brad insisted that he and Linda go and tell Jaime directly before they even began dating, even kissing. However, Linda had to find another sponsor at first… a woman this time.
Linda found Ava, a tough-talking old timer who definitely agreed with Brad that they should both tell Jaime together. However, Ava made Linda go on a retreat with her and other NA women, so she could talk to her, and Linda could really think it over. Ava told Linda she had to be SURE of what she was doing. After all, this was a marriage she was talking about ending. An exchange of sacred vows. And…if Linda was really honest, she did still love Jaime. Very much so, in fact.
Linda had spent that whole week at the retreat crying, but also forcing herself to be useful in service and listening to others. She often wept as she shared, but she did pick up two more sponsees even so. Finally, she had to admit to herself that if she’d really been that much in love with Jaime, she never would have fallen in love with Brad.
Ava agreed with her. She also told Linda she was proud of her for figuring that out without needing to be told. Linda went home from the retreat, and went right to Brad’s house. The two went together to Linda’s home with Jaime…and told him.
Unfortunately, Jaime was drunk. VERY drunk.
At that time, Jaime’s drinking had been constant, but he never got so inebriated that he couldn’t function. He said he forgave Linda her affair with Brad. However, he refused to let her go.
It had been a horrible scene. Lots of anger, screaming and sobbing on Jaime’s part—and on Linda’s part as well. Brad had been calm as a cucumber, but Linda knew, once he looked at her the last time, that he had known how this scene would play out, from go. When Linda finally decided to stay with Jaime, Brad had simply stormed out of the house, without another word to her.
To this day, Brad’s eyes as he’d left—eyes that looked like the soul had given up the will to live, haunted Linda’s nightmares.
Linda never saw Brad again after that. Then again, she never saw Ava again either—or NA. It was too much for her. Finally, inevitably, she started using again. This brought up so much intense anger at Jaime, she couldn’t control it if she wanted to. She’d given up a chance at a love that was stronger than her marriage…and now Jaime, perhaps to punish her for Brad? Was obsessing over a younger woman a million miles away, a famous woman who didn’t know Jaime existed, and probably didn’t care.
Linda didn’t care that Jaime had stopped drinking and was trying to improve his life. He still smoked, didn’t he?? And he sat around in that horrible room daydreaming about Starxene like a lovesick teenager. It was disgusting.
Linda began to formulate a plan. Enough was enough. It wasn’t going to be long before one of them died in one of their fights anyway.
She picked up her cell phone and looked for the number her latest dealer Jen had given her. A number for someone—who could possibly do something horrible, for a price. It wouldn’t have to be money. In fact, this guy preferred sex. Or even just pornographic photography!
No problem, thought Linda. No problem at all.
Heart pounding in her throat, Linda called the number. The last thing she expected was the voice on the other end.


Chapter 3

“If you catch me saying 'I am a serious actor', I beg you to slap me.” -- Johnny Depp

Starxene hated Billy.
She didn’t like to admit this to herself, but she did. Hate—it was a strong word and she knew it, but when she thought of how SHE hated, she never wished a person dead. No—she just wished them away. Away from her, away from her family. Just—away, to live a good life for themselves where they’d never affect her or her family again.
Family, Star thought, swallowing hard. Well…they’re the only family I’ve ever really had.
Starxene, born Alexa Marie Dillon, had disowned her family for a highly publicized hate crime they’d committed back in 1996. Starxene had been sixteen at the time, and barely recovered from a head injury due to a car accident when she was ten years old. She’d spent years recovering and while she didn’t have all her memories back of her childhood, she had some flashbacks that were getting more and more apparent—but she kept them to herself.
The Dillon Pilgrims, as they’d called themselves, had been executed for destroying a Navajo reservation, a hate crime that had shocked the nation. The Pilgrims consisted of all four of Starxene’s blood family: parents Maryann and Steve Dillon, Steve’s brother and Star’s uncle David and his wife, “Aunt” Sandy-Lynn. Starxene, had had no brothers and sisters, and no cousins, as Steve had been sterile and couldn’t bear children. Neither he nor Sandy-Lynn had any time for kids anyway.
Young Alexa, after three years in the hospital where she underwent intense treatment for her head injury, had spent time in an orphanage after her parents made it perfectly clear they didn’t want her back. Alexa had no recollection of why she’d even been in a car accident in the first place. She only knew what she’d been told by the doctors and other adults. She’d run away from home and had been found by plain-clothes police officers who were taking her back to her parents. The two cops had gotten into an argument because the one driving was intoxicated. The result was him driving the car off the road. Starxene had no idea how she’d survived but this is what she’d been told. No one knew where the cops had found her after she’d run away, because the intoxicated cop had forgotten to wire a report to the chief. It was that issue that had begun the argument. The female officer was just about to speak into her walkie-talkie to tell the chief they’d found Alexa and where…when the car went off the road.
Alexa couldn’t tell anybody anything, naturally, as she’d woken up in the hospital with amnesia and hardly any physical or mental functionality whatsoever. It was a miracle she’d survived, much less would eventually grow up to become one of the most renowned rock musicians of this day.
Alexa, before she became Starxene, held onto one “dream” vision that helped her to focus on getting better as well as her memory back. It was something about a little boy who’d played guitar and had the most incredible black eyes Star had ever seen. His dark brown hair was long, down to his waist, and his face was like an angel when he smiled. However, that was all Alexa had been able to picture on her own, and while it gave her courage and focus, she never told anyone about it until she met her current and REAL family as far as she was concerned. When finally the years of therapy and treatment had revived her to some semblance of mental and physical functionality at age sixteen, the doctors had told Alexa she would never have her childhood memories back.
Aside from the little boy, who Star had never forgotten, that was fine with her. She had no time or grief for her family, whatsoever. Like Bette Davis had once said, “Just because someone is dead, doesn’t make them nice.”
Starxene was grateful to Temple University Hospital for their treatment of her, but it had been her adopted Navajo family where she’d REALLY learned to heal. When she’d mentioned the little boy to them, however, the medicine man Francis Glenn, whose son Angel, Star’s bodyguard eventually succeeded, looked at her solemnly.
“You speak of our brother,” Francis told Starxene, with sadness in his eyes, but a slight smile on his lips. “He is not only our brother, but your twin flame.”
“What?” Star had asked wonderingly. “Twin flame? Please, what is his name and how do I find him?”
Francis had gestured “no,” and shook his head sternly.
“It matters not to you, not at this time,” he said evenly. “You are not meant to meet him yet, child. Perhaps you never will.”
“No! I must, I must meet him!” cried Starxene, and that was when Angel interrupted.
“I had a vision,” he told his father. “It came to me as our sister healed. The Great Spirit will call on our brother to fight for her! Then, and only then, she shall meet him. But…” and his eyes fell on Starxene.
“You must be strong, my sister,” he said fiercely. “You must be very—VERY strong. For the time will come when you shall have to make a choice. And you shall learn a deep secret which the Great Spirit cannot reveal to you now.
“You will be healed again, and yet you must be strong enough to let go of another, perhaps even seeing them die,” Francis said, picking up where his son left off. “Then, and only then, if my son’s vision is correct…you will be reunited with your twin flame.”
No amount of badgering, begging or cajoling would make anyone talk of this twin flame or Angel’s vision to Star again. She quickly learned to never mention it further to her family. However, since then, Star never stopped thinking of him. That little boy—why didn’t they at least tell her his name? He HAD to be a Native American, since Francis and Angel had called him “brother.” They never said he was a Navajo, but somehow, Star knew that he was.
Starxene had decided that she WOULD find this boy—man, she knew he would be now. If he was still alive, and more importantly her spirit twin? She had to find him. Find him, and reunite with him.
This made relationships with men difficult, and the very reason Starxene refused to marry any of them. Somehow—some way, she knew her true mate was that guitar player, wherever he was. Wherever he might be.
Often, Philadelphia called to her, and when she’d played there, particularly at the Kimmel Center recently, she’d felt a tug and a pull at her heart. She’d left in her limosene and instead of going back to the hotel, she’d had the driver travel all over Philly. Roxborough had been her first stop, but there was no “feeling” there. She’d suddenly panicked at the last minute after a particularly odd text from Trevor. She still remembered the text, had memorized it, line by line.
“Star…where are you? I heard you never came back to the hotel. I don’t know why I feel the need to tell you this, but this guy was here, and he’d apparently missed the concert. It really seemed to upset him, Star. Think you can get Sam to schedule one more date—tomorrow night? I’d really like to see if we can get this guy over here. Problem is, he ran into the Kimmel Center before I could send anyone to get his name. I finally went in and was told there was a guy in the men’s room for an hour and when someone finally knocked, he’d just opened the door, and bolted out the entrance. I only just missed him.”
A chill had gone down Starxene’s spine.
“What did he look like?” She demanded of Trevor. “How old did he seem?”
“Star—I don’t know. I didn’t get a good look at him,” Trevor sounded frustrated. “Wait—he had long hair, dark hair…”
“Long hair?”
“Yes. And a fedora on his head,” Trevor said, as if he were trying to remember more. “Oh! And a long black leather trenchcoat. That I should have remembered right away. He was a mess, Star. I heard him yell at some kids, demanding where you were. They just laughed at him and that’s when he turned away and I caught his eye. Then, he just ran into the Center.
“Why do you ask, Star?” Trevor had said quizzically. “Is he like—does he sound like someone you might know? Come to think of it, I was kind of reminded of Angel. Maybe he’s a Navajo or something.”
“Just trying to get an idea, is all,” Star had told him evenly. “Maybe if I call the Kimmel Center they might have his name on file…say if he bought a ticket through their website.
“Well, thanks, Trevor. I’m gonna see what I can do.”
Starxene had hung up then, and wasted no time calling Sam Ginger. However, Sam flatly refused to change the schedule of the tour merely to accommodate one fan. Star had yelled and shouted at him and that was one of the worst fights they’d ever had. She’d hung up and just cried and cried, and wasn’t even able to do the next scheduled show in New York. She’d never felt so much grief since she’d learned of the Dillon Pilgrim killings.
However, she was even more determined to find this man. What—just what was his NAME? Calling the Kimmel center had proved futile, as Sheila, the clerk who had been in the box office window, had merely described the guy as "totally messed up. Probably on drugs. He didn’t even show me a ticket, and he was demanding to get backstage!”
“Can you send me a list of those who bought tickets online but didn’t make the show?” Starxene had asked coldly.
“Sure, Star, I’ll send it to Sam Ginger right away.”
“No! Send it to me,” Star had said through gritted teeth.
A pause.
“We’re not allowed to do that,” Sheila had said, sounding incredulous. “No one is supposed to have your personal email address—everything we do with your band is communicated through Sam Ginger and only him. It’s for your protection, Starxene. Surely you know all this?”
Star had sighed, thanked Sheila tonelessly and told her to forget the request for the list of names. As she hung up, she vowed that she would find this man…whoever he was, and wherever he lived. She wished Trevor had gotten a picture of him on his phone.
She wished she could fire Sam Ginger, and go with some other manager. However, he really was the best in the business. Controlling though he was, he was the only one Star trusted to manage her music career—especially the business and marketing aspects of it.
At least Sam, invasive though he could be, didn’t judge Starxene’s personal life too harshly. Her love life was always an issue for some reason, with Sam constantly bugging her to marry Billy and just settle down with children already! However, Sam had been an amazing support regarding Starxene’s family and the Navajo killings. She’d not wanted to tell him about that, but after breaking down crying one day upon hearing a reference to that disaster…Sam had put his arms around her and just rocked her while Starxene sobbed out her grief. When the tears had passed, Sam had gently told Star that she could tell him anything. He was a personal mentor as well as a manager, and would therefore never break her confidence. He’d take it to the grave, he’d told Star. So, Star had revealed her parentage and her hatred for that family for what they had done. She’d legally changed her name to Starxene to rid herself of that horrible affiliation with her family.
Moved beyond belief, Sam had promised to make damn sure that no one outside himself and Starxene’s Navajo family would ever know that Starxene had once been Alexa Dillon, daughter of two of the “pilgrims.”
Star shared her large home with her Navajo sister Dorothy and Dorothy’s husband, who happened to be Angel. The rest of the scattered survivors of the Dillon Pilgrim killings had moved away now lived in another Navajo reservation on the border of Mexico. Starxene had learned all she needed to learn, mainly from Dorothy and Angel who were ten years older than Star and had taken her under their wing. Starxene was now an honorary medicine woman.
Dorothy and Angel worked as her driver and bodyguard. Starxene, upon healing completely from her head trauma, had been determined to become famous even if she detested the commercial side of Hollywood. She was determined, after that horrific crime by her family, to pave the way to healing this planet as best she could…by getting a message of truth and light as far across the world as possible.
What better way to do it than play music in as many places as possible—and be known for it?
Unfortunately, Billy was also a celebrity, a pretty popular A-list actor. He was no Ben Affleck or Leonardo DiCaprio, but he was pretty high on the list. Handsome, with dark red hair and a nicely trimmed goatee, Billy was the picture of Hollywood heartthrob. Star had fallen for him because he’d seemed—different than the rest. He seemed to know about things other than Hollywood, things Star enjoyed talking about. He certainly loved the sixties and the revolutions that used to take place, the protests. He didn’t like the state of the world, least of all Hollywood.
Well—Starxene would later learn that Billy had only been faking that last, to win her over. As it turned out, however? That limelight and those constant parties and functions Billy went to, all those talk show interviews he did—were NOT because he “felt he had to do it” to “shut them up.” He did not have a love-hate relationship with his manager, as he’d originally told Star. Billy had first complained that Megan Lorrencio was always pushing him into things, and was a nightmare to work with. Star had promised to help him get better management, which Sam could help her find, and get Billy into more of the low-profile life she herself indulged in.
By then, however, Billy had done an about face regarding Megan. In fact? He had a pretty close relationship with her. Very affectionate, it seemed, lots of hugging, even kisses, well, pecks, on the lips! Sometimes, those pecks were almost smooches. That had angered Star to the point of ending it with Billy until he pleaded with her to take him back, promising in the most sincere voice he could manifest, that he’d change.
Things had been fine for two years until Billy had proposed. This had been Christmas Eve of two years ago. Star had explained that she just wasn’t the marrying type, but wanted to go on living with Billy, sharing and giving, with love flowing as naturally as rain. Billy had not only been upset about this, he’d downright pressured Star all through the first part of the year. He finally let up in March, only to start again in May. That was when Star put her foot down and literally told Billy, even while hating to give him an ultimatum, that the next time he proposed to her or even mentioned marriage—would be the end of their relationship. For good.
Billy was good for his word. They'd had a wonderful holiday season and went into the new year with what Star had thought was a whole new beginning for them.
Now—as Star sat there watching as Billy accepted the best supporting actor award for his movie “Veteran’s Day,” she simply could not believe what had just happened. Billy had gone through all the motions of thanking everyone, the director, the cast, the crew, his mother, his father, whoever. The Academy, the writer of the original book. Then…he looked out at Star, who smiled on cue as the camera man stood right over her, camera right in her face.
“But most importantly—I’d like to thank my—unofficial wife, Starxene,” Billy said, his face and voice serious, eyes shining as he looked right into her eyes. “Star—you are the best thing that has ever happened to me. You are—my whole world. I would give you the moon if you want me to. Starxene—we are literally two hearts, and one soul.”
Billy had choked up then, and blinked his eyes as he looked down. Star smiled, and clapped, mouthing the words “I love you baby!” back to him, even as she squirmed at his quoting that particular song of hers. “Two Hearts, One Soul,” had been number one for a whole year since its release. Star had written it before she’d met Billy, however.
Still, everything would have been okay if he’d left it at that. It may have given Star some hope that the relationship would remain somewhat stable. Even Billy’s use of the word “wife” would have been forgivable. Until his next statement.
“Starxene—I am going to ask you in front of all these people. Because I just—I just can’t bear it any longer. Starxene, our love should be sealed and bound under God. Starxene—I am going to ask you. One more time. Will you marry me?”
“No. He. Didn’t,” Lorraine Flawless whispered in her ear from behind her. Lorraine was currently dating a B-list actress named Sueann Lorenson. Sueann had been in “Veteran’s Day,” but was not nominated for any awards. Her part had been so small, no one had really noticed her. It might have been a bigger part, and she deserved it, since she was a great actress. But most of her part had been cut at the last moment. The only reason Sueann was even there at the Oscars was because Lorraine had wanted to go, to support Star, as she worried about her whenever she went to functions with Billy. Sueann did too, so she didn’t mind, all things considered. Starxene had always been good to her and Lorraine and supported their relationship, even as she fought the “label” mystique. Both Lorraine and Sueann agreed with Star that labels were what kept bigotry alive. Nothing more, nothing less.
No one heard Lorraine’s whisper, however, as the crowd burst into a croon of “Awwwww!”
Eventually, they began chanting.
“Star-xene! Star-xene! Star-xene!”
Starxene felt like she was going to die.
Then—she couldn’t take it anymore.
“Billy!” she shouted, smiling at him. “Billy Simmons, I love you immensely, and I always will.”
The crowd burst into great peals of applause and Billy threw his hands up in the air, clasping them around his reward and crying out, “YES! YES!”
Starxene quickly grabbed a microphone out of the hand of a reporter who came her way.
“I didn’t say yes yet,” she said into the mic.
This silenced everyone.
“You didn’t have to,” said Billy lovingly. “I knew what you meant…”
“No, you didn’t,” Starxene said softly. “Billy—Billy, I don’t like this government. EVERYBODY knows that. I don’t like churches either. EVERYONE knows that. I don’t like legal contracts, and we ALL know everyone knows THAT!”
There was nervous laughter all over the room. Billy was starting to look angry, but he schooled his face into a neutral expression.
“But I love YOU, Billy,” Starxene said. “When will you finally understand that when two people live together, that is a sign of ultimate trust? I trust in our LOVE, Billy, we have lived together for a year!
“I need no confirmations from the government, Billy,” Star cried passionately. “If I have YOUR trust, YOUR love, if you REALLY believe we are two hearts and one soul, let me reverse the question and ask you. Billy. Do you love me enough to release those things? Do you love me enough…to let nothing else but the Great Spirit and the powers of the sky and earth…as WELL as our two hearts—be the only contract we will ever need?
“Billy,” Starxene said, voice shaking a little, “Billy do you trust in our love enough, to let that be enough?”
The audience burst into thunderous applause. Several people were wiping tears.
“You go, girl,” Sueann whispered proudly into Star’s ear, her hand on Star’s shoulder. Starxene grinned and put her own hand on Sueann’s.
Billy finally put out his hand.
“All right!” he shouted into the mic. He laughed a little, shaking his head.
“Ah, my Star,” he said. “She’s so flowery with words, isn’t she? Of course, that’s just a very poetic way of saying ‘no.’ Right here, in front of two-hundred million people, she told me no!
“But she’s right about one thing,” Billy said tenderly, looking at Star. “I love her. Starxene, I love you. Yes, I love you enough not to walk away from you and discard you like the used piece of toilet paper I could have thrown you away long ago…for more reasons than I can count!
“But no. You’re just--too beautiful, Star. No matter what you hide, in that spinning little head of yours—you will always be the most beautiful woman this world has ever known. Therefore…I will say yes, that I love you. I trust you, and I love you.”
“But,” he said, winking, “I will never stop trying. I’m gonna have you as my wife, Star. I LIKE those contracts. So sue me! I like wedding rings! I like white dresses, and beautiful flowing veils! I will never stop trying, Star. I will keep trying…until you finally, for the sake of our unborn children—say YES, you will marry me in the court of law.”
“Okay, Billy,” Star said, a cold edge to her voice. “You keep trying!”
Just then, Chris Rock, the host of the Oscars, came up and spoke into Billy’s mic.
“Okay. We’re gonna have to break for our sponsors,” he said, patting Billy on the shoulder.
“Be grateful, man,” he said to Billy. “You got a woman that’s beautiful inside and out. Appreciate that—and you’ll never go wrong!
“WE’LL BE RIGHT BACK!” Chris shouted into the mic as Billy turned almost as red as his hair, with anger. The audience cheered, very awkwardly. The cameras went off as the familiar red light went on, signaling that all eyes were off of the people at the Academy Awards, 2016…except those in the room. Another light, an amber light, lit up, showing that the press had also turned off their cameras.
Starxene rose, surreptitiously as the people began whispering amongst themselves. Chris and Billy were arguing onstage, loudly. However, the mics were not on, so no one really heard what they were saying.
Star walked toward the hall and quickly entered her dressing room, bolting all the locks on the door.
Then, she took out her cell phone and called Dorothy.
“Where are you?” she asked quietly.
“Outside your dressing room, honey,” Dorothy said evenly.
“I’m coming out,” said Starxene fiercely. “I’m not staying here another minute!”

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Free Madness,

"Even when you're down and blue, just remember that someone out there loves you, even if you don't know it and even if you haven't yet met them. There's someone out there waiting for you, remember that and keep faith. You'll get there."
~~Johnny Depp.

Posts: 3539 | Location: Dreamland | Registered: 06 April 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Scroll Guardian

Picture of Free Madness
posted Hide Post
I was thinking about the Poetry forum from days of olde. I really enjoyed that forum, so many awesome literary talents on the scrolls!!! Smile

I'm bumping up this thread in case anyone wants to put out any creative energy. Xc was posting about writing recently. No pressure. Big Grin It's been awhile since I put anything up here anywho.

I'm prolly gonna put another novel up here...but it'd be cool to have a forum for writing and stuffage so more threads can be created for specific stories. Ah, but I know hardly anyone posts here anymore so I don't expect that'll happen anytime soonage.

I suppose I'll just have several different books, poems, stories, etc. in one thread...hey even if I'm the only one using it, hey at least it's an outlet!

Word of advice to any writers looking to publish who may not have published before. Self-publishing...don't do it. Unless you're amazing at self-promotion or have a decent agent who believes in you and doesn't demand high bucks for shite advertising. All while trying to mold you to fit the Joneses. It just isn't worth it. I know agents need to make a living but one needs to get the right one who really can pinpoint your target audience. I got screwed royally by a racket company who said they'd market my work and ended up eating up my savings instead. Bullcrap!!! smash

And forget about sending work to a big publishing house if you've previously self-published anything! Apparently no agent will send off manuscripts to big houses or even smaller ones if you've already self-published your work.

It's an unfortunate lesson I had to learn the hard way. Social media may be magic to some, but I seem to have a lack of "talent" for marketing myself. I'd rather leave that to the experts. And yeah I considered the fact that maybe I suck, but you can take all the classes ya want and still walk away confused. I gotta just keep writing and trying to improve or enhance, even if I write something a hundred times.

I did get a great compliment from someone recently...apparently what I'm working on now isn't "too wordy," it's very direct and easy to understand. And it's a complicated plot!!
But it holds his interest, and he's of the generation where people's attention spans started to fade a bit and the "old style" of long-winded writing of deep-assed plots, i.e. science fiction stuffage, doesn't quite wash anymore. But that was encouraging when I heard that. Guess my muse and I are working more in sync than before. Still more to learn of course, but never stop!!!

There are lots of people who can help you sell if you need to do the agent does take work and continued dedication and making sure your story is clear and yada yada, etc. Sometimes the trends and fads cater to the stoopid old regurgitated plots but original stuff can work. Lately, the movies have been very interesting, a lot of originality. Particularly the fantasy movies and I'm drawn to fantasy, so that's cool. Been wanting to take a screenwriting class anywho...novels are great but I think kids today are still very visually oriented. My boyfriend's an artist so maybe we can do a manga-like thing. Who knows!!!

Ah well, back to the muse!!!! Smile

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Free Madness,

"Even when you're down and blue, just remember that someone out there loves you, even if you don't know it and even if you haven't yet met them. There's someone out there waiting for you, remember that and keep faith. You'll get there."
~~Johnny Depp.

Posts: 3539 | Location: Dreamland | Registered: 06 April 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Scroll Guardian

posted Hide Post
Tweet no more
You fascist bore,
leave, leave Washington fast
take your Nazi cult and go,
go down to Mar-a-Lago
Blow your Hitler-like rhetoric out your ass,
Sleepy Joe will do just fine
Whilst you rot on the golf course, o' Dumb-old Trumpenstein.
Posts: 12023 | Location: State of Insanity | Registered: 11 May 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Chief Chesty Forlock

Picture of Argeaux
posted Hide Post
Originally posted by xenacrazed:
Tweet no more
You fascist bore,
leave, leave Washington fast
take your Nazi cult and go,
go down to Mar-a-Lago
Blow your Hitler-like rhetoric out your ass,
Sleepy Joe will do just fine
Whilst you rot on the golf course, o' Dumb-old Trumpenstein.

Lovely work. Couldn't have said it better myself.


Posts: 5433 | Location: Oz | Registered: 22 June 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Chief Chesty Forlock

Picture of Argeaux
posted Hide Post
Could we actually not just have one thread for all the creative pieces in this forum?

How we used to do it was a new topic for each new piece.

That way people can see when there is a new bit of writing up, and whether they want to read it.

We've got enough long threads for people to scroll through, without adding another one.


Posts: 5433 | Location: Oz | Registered: 22 June 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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