Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Free Wally Peppers

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Free Wally Peppers


Sitting in a sports bar with fellow weekend warriors,
from a long time ago, reliving past glories and such;
Anniversary of winning the industrial softball wars,
We hoisted the trophy with the ball, each cut a stitch;

Closing with a toast, a somber moment to mar the event,
By this time, our terrific ten had been reduced to nine.
For all it is worth, for us, this night is time well spent,
A weeknight on a work week, designated driver duty was mine.

As we stood to depart, bestowing a series of long goodbyes,
A young girl approached, handing out coupons to all the team.
With a passing glance, I saw no weekend specials on the flyers,
I suppose, on the surface, not everything is all it seems.

"Free Wally Peppers" was displayed in bold type at the header.
Intent of the document was to invite, or should I say compel?
All the others took a pass. I took an interest in the matter,
Telling the girl I'd be there; she, nodding in her approval.

On the date assigned, as scheduled, I made a token appearance.
My curiosity matched theirs toward me, new kid on the block.
Seems the court system had failed, requiring their interference,
Over an unfortunate situation involving a corpse and a glock.

You would have thought these folks were out to free a royal,
Whose stated objective was to free country, flag and crown.
Enthusiasm was high, delusion running rampant, one and all;
When anyone tried to make eye contact, I just looked down.

When the meeting closed, I left with the girl, who I came for.
Feeling like the fox in the hen house, an unlikely plot twist;
We found ourselves in each other's company at a late night diner.
She asked if I wanted to know more about him. I said, "I insist."

She gave me an overview of a guy in the wrong place, wrong time,
High on drugs, slipped by a stranger, a victim of circumstance.
An accidental shooting occurred, in the act of a petty crime;
Had he known the gun was loaded, he'd never have taken the chance.

The more I heard, the more I had to cringe, as she made mention
As to my feelings on the matter, but I had no response to give.
When she told me the guy was up for parole for what he'd done,
I just nodded, wondering why I was there, questioning my motive.

We ended up at her place that night, not a word of him spoken;
Driving home that night, I wondered what I'd gotten myself into.
As we became an item, my apprehensions faded of a trust broken;
When you fall for a certain someone, who thinks things through?

Months later, all was roses and red wine; a chance worth taking
Had blossomed into the best romance I ever could ever hope for.
She dropped a bomb on me; a welcome home party was in the making;
Due to prison over crowding, her boy about to walk out the door.

I spent the next several days looking for reasons to leave her.
She was so happy with the impending release, she did not notice.
I bit the bullet, went to the gathering, then I saw him enter.
I can't put into words what I felt as he hugged our accomplice.

She backed away, proudly turned, so that she could introduce me;
To say he and I shared a moment, would be a major understatement.
I bet I was the last person in this world he expected to see.
The best day of his life was not turning out to be this event.

When she went to mingle in the mixer, I thought he'd duck and run,
But he surprised me, standing his ground, looking me in the eye.
"I spent the first year living in fear of you, second to none,
Something happened to turn my life around. I can't explain why."

"From that day on, I've just given thanks that chamber was empty,
And your life was spared. I know you hate me now, but I do not.
I still live with seeing your face, never a day it leaves me.
I know you've never forgiven me, rightfully, nor have you forgot."

After hearing him out, I said not a word, excused myself and left,
Thinking on that night after the game, when we stopped for a six,
My team mate, work partner, who died that night in a failed theft
At the hand of the man I had just seen for the first time since.

Wally Pepper's first shot found flesh, in a moment of surprise,
When we walked in on a convenience store robbery, our bad luck;
Second pull on the trigger went click, as I looked in his eyes.
I took him down that night in a blind rage, each blow struck...

Left me feeling he was closer to end up laying still, in chalk.
My attention diverted by the parting words of a dying friend,
I told him to hang on, help was on the way, try not to talk...
When the ambulance arrived, there was no life left to attend.

After years of guilt and remorse, therapy could not prepare
Me for what went down, and what did not, in the meeting place,
Or, maybe it did, as I chose to take his remorse as sincere;
But try though I might, I could no longer conjure up his face.

That night, she and I shared a quiet moment, laying on her bed.
I thought, in detail, about life and death and fault and fate.
If he had told her who I was, I don't know. She never said.
I knew then, what led me to her, could never be tied to hate.


Michael Todd (2014)


***

102 comments:

  1. OK, 3rd attempt at leaving a comment. Loved this. You have an incredible talent. Thank you for sharing. Gail Larkins

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    1. Thanks so much for coming by, Gail, and for always saying the nicest things.

      Oh, and of course... Nice FRISTING !!!

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    2. Wow Myke very powerful. I loved this tale full of emotion and depth between the lines. Great write!! Well done!

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    3. Thank you so very much, Christine. Very happy you enjoyed this one.

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  2. Wow....what an epic tale! This literally took my breath away, Michael! You have woven such a compelling and tragic story that literally comes full circle. Seeing a beloved friend die in that manner and coming close to that same fate.... Haunting, indeed. What a wonderful ending! Thank you for this. You are back on your game, my friend! :D

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    1. Thanks, Colleen, for your very kind overview... Not so sure if I am back on my game, but for sure... I am back to stay.

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  3. Myke, your story is gripping!! The on edge feeling of pins and needles as she gets ready to throw a party and then meeting "him" face to face! Wow! I loved it. I see a movie rolling when I read this...

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    1. Thanks, Deanna... I love how you describe this... Funny how, when I write something, I cannot stand off to the side and see it in third person, until someone else points out things, as you have here... If is very nice to see you, as always.

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  4. What a comeback, dear Myke!
    You definitely know your story telling business!

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    1. Thanks, Alba Leigh... Coming back to you is... well, nice.

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  5. Wow, that narrative was truly compelling, Michael, and the ending was very good. -Donna

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    1. Thanks so much, Donna. Glad you enjoyed. Thanks for visiting.

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  6. gripping! I was not sure what way it was going to turn - wonderful

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    1. Thank you very much, Paula Dawn. You are like, my new best friend. :)

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  7. Myke
    This is stunning. The forgiveness that was received not just by the unfortunate young man, but for the friend as well gives each the courage to begin living. I think this scenario happens more than we know in life. The accidental death of an innocent person. What we don't see, perhaps because it has not been illuminated before, is the role of the friend that you wrote so eloquently of. It's a lesson for all of us. Bravo! Big hugs

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    1. Thanks, Stephany... I wanted, at least once, to be nice, in my return. I don't know how much niceness I have left in me, but for now, it is all good. :)

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  8. love the unexpected, the way this held my attention, my breath really. oh my, i'm wide awake now!!!

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    1. Well, Anna... we could just stay up all night... Really happy you enjoyed this. It is so good to see you here. Thanks!

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  9. ...Ladies and Gentlemen...Myke is BACK in the building!! :)

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    1. Thanks, Stephen Lee Jackson... It is nice to be back in comfortable surrounding, with friends.

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  10. For not having written a poem for over a year it is plain to see that you have not forgotten how! The last line: Perfect!

    Thank you for notifying me that you had posted this!

    Dave from the realm of blue hue

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    1. Thanks, Dave... I had forgotten how much fun the writing and sharing process can be. Hate I was away so long... Not sure what happened to me, really, and I probably will never understand it. Anyways, better times a'coming...

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  11. Replies
    1. Thank you very much, Michael. Hard to believe, it has been 8 years since The Time Machine published my first 3 stories. I still look back fondly at that, and appreciate it.

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  12. This is dark and deep and compelling and really, just damn good. No one does epic quite like you.

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    1. Thank you, Dahlia... Dark and deep is pretty much where I stay these days, so, while results may vary, they probably will not vary much from what you see here... It makes me happy to see you here, though. You have me smiling, and sincerely.

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  13. WOW, Myke! This gave me goosebumps while reading and had me on the edge of my seat. You, Sir, are a master-crafter!

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    1. Thank you, Marsha... So glad you had some fun with this poem, and I know you like happy endings. :)

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  14. you are a wonderful writer. loved this & can't wait to read more! best of luck with this blog my friend!!! x

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Caroline. You know what they say, about first time being a charm. Of course, you bring the charm with you, wherever you might go.

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  15. Harry Chapin called all life a circle.

    You have proven it here.

    Great job.

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    1. What a fantastic analogy, Christopher. Now I want to listen to "Taxi."

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  16. Replies
    1. Brilliant connotation, Seb... I often wonder, if I am still redeemable.

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  17. You, my sweet, have ultimate talent and always surprise me...bookmarked your site also ♥

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    1. Thank you very much, Ruth. You always manage to bring a ray of sunshine to an otherwise cloudy day.

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  18. Michael, I have never read of such powerful irony. This is brilliant. When do you write the screenplay? Magnificent work. Eliza Anne Jones

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    1. Thank you, Eliza Anne... The idea for this was small. I was surprised it grew to full size, at the close. I just can't find a way to condense, for fear of leaving out the good parts.

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  19. Myke, I am glad you broke your poetry posting silence to share this story. I look forward to the next poem.

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    1. Thank you, Katherine, for giving me the fever, and causing me to want to re-enter the arena, and most of all, just for being you.

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  20. Wow... I think I went through a gazillion emotions reading this Michael. You remain my favorite story teller. <3

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    1. Thanks, DeAnna, for always being so supportive, and cordial. I promise, I have never, nor will I ever, take you for granted.

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  21. Wow, very interesting. You do know how to keep your audience captive through to the last line!

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    1. Thanks for your very nice overview, Melody... Always a treat to see you in the house and get to visit.

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  22. Loved it, Myke... I've written some long poems like this in the past and it takes an incredible amount of work and concentration. This was very well done!

    Larry

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    1. Thank you, Larry... I admit, this one took weeks of thought, before I ever brought it to the keyboard. Even then, there were numerous pauses to reflect... Happy Surfing!

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  23. Loved your story....very intriguing character study. I don't believe in coincidences, so the meeting, to me , was fated. ( I call 'em "God-incidences.) Recently I saw a story about a woman who finally found her birth-mother, only to discover that she was also the mother of her husband of 7 years. Sorry, I couldn't delete your comment, so your URL is still visible. I'll try to erase it again.

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    1. Fate and Destiny, Sandi... I say them, as though they are one word, because, to me, they are. I gather, you feel the same, which is a good thing. Bearing witness with you only leads to a good end.

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  24. Awesome. Hugs ( Carol Vaskelis)

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  25. i love the way you unfold everything. and tie it together

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    1. Thanks so much, Liam. High praise, indeed, Sir, coming from you.

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  26. Wowza! What a tale this is! I love love love that last line....not that I don't love every single line, but you know what I mean.

    Irene

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    1. I understand, Irene... It took me a long time to get to the place where I could envision that last line, and all it entailed. It was worth every moment of it, for me.

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  27. Epic form... 2014 has been christened with a new classic... A poem of emotion and grit... Bravo.. David II

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    1. Thanks so much, Dave. I have missed you. Glad to see you back in the neighborhood.

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  28. Your writing is a treasure. So glad to see you back!

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    1. It is so nice to be back, Trish. And, for the record, I treasure you.

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  29. Always a treat, never a disappointment when reading your words. Thank you for alerting me

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    1. Thank you so much for coming by, Rebecca. If does my heart good to see you.

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  30. This was so vivid in the twists and turns of the story I almost asked if this was a true story but I do not remember you being a cop! Well done. Brian from MySpace daze

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    1. Thanks, Brian... Great to hear from you, Sir... and just between you and me, Boomie has friends in law enforcement, and they share secrets.

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  31. I see that 'screenplay' has already been mentioned here...would be a great script for the big screen! Love your ending too Michael!

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    1. Thank you very much, Don. Great to hear from you, Sir.

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  32. Awesome. Epic. I haven't written poetry in so long. I write, (www.ramblingsofabipolarsoberchick.com) just not poetry. I really should get back to it. You've inspired me. This is just fantastic, Myke!
    -Barbara F. O'Dell

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    1. Thank you so very much, Barbara Frances... You just pretty much inspired me right back. Aren't we just the best team? :)

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  33. Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Barb... You make me smile.

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  34. Deep and haunting story with a twist

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    1. Thank, Cherry Rose... So glad this story resonated with you. :)

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    2. Magnificent! Love the layers and how all the cogs turned one big wheel :). Thank you for sharing with me.

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    3. Thank you, for you magnificent vision of this poem, Sandy Glenn. What a nice surprise to have you visit.

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  35. Can I admit now that I was trying to remember if I'd ever heard of or cooked a Wally pepper before I read it? :P

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    1. Oh, absolutely... and just between you and me, there are times the word "pepper" will not come out of my mouth, and the word I use to substitute is... yes, you guessed it... wally.

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  36. well my little scrumplett, you were amazing even way back in the day. I loved this..it reminds me of my gun story. I don't know why. Even though I have no idea what a Wallypepper is, from now on like you when i refer to a pepper, it's gonna be a wally :)

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    1. Is this what it means to be soul mates? If so, Lia, I am all for it. Thanks for bring a smile to your Scrumplet this fine Friday afternoon.

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  37. I could've sworn I left a comment last nite and although I didn't see it post, I figured it needed to be ok'd by you first. But I still don't see it. Good write. Can't really say it's karma but it did come to full circle. The irony of it all :)

    -Leta

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    1. Thanks muchly, Miss Leta... Especially for coming back for a second look...

      I have this site set to wide open... no approvals needed, no captcha...
      I figure is someone is nice enough to share their valuable time with me here, I should make is as convenient as possible. If I could, I would bring pizza and doughnuts for every one in the house.

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  38. Fantastic! Your words had me gripped as the story unfolded. Was not expecting the person to be her son. I reread your writing to see if I missed a clue. You have such a way with weaving a tale. Thank you for letting me know this wonderful piece was posted.

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    1. So happy to see you here, Laura. I think of this as our place to hang out, and it is just better when you are here. Glad you enjoyed this poem. Thanks!

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  39. Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Lana... Very nice to see you here.

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  40. I have no words Myke. You are a brilliant writer that's for sure and I absolutely love your poetry. I cannot wait to read more. :) -Katie DeVore-

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    1. Thanks, Katie D. ~ I have really been enjoying the reception this poem has received, and am looking forward to posting several more, in the coming months.

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  41. What a comeback myke. I have to wonder if i would be that forgiving! Sandra Glodrey

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    1. Thanks so much, Sandra... I think I would be that forgiving. I hope I would.

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  42. Hmm. Interesting twist from a guy down the highway from me.

    Thanks for the visit.
    http://joycelansky.blogspot.com/






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    1. Hello, Joyce... Very nice of you to stop by. If appears we virtually passed each other in the night, and it is raining.

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  43. You have spun an intriguing tale here, Sir Myke! From sports & friendship to romance to intrigue to the twist of fate... life does have a way of bringing people's roads together like that. Great piece!

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    1. Thank you quite sincerely, Sir Ruggi. I love how you brought this through stages. And what you said about life's roads, that is real.

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  44. That was such a riveting story, with unexpected turns all through. Loved it!

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    1. Thank you very much for taking the time to visit, and read, and for your generous overview, Debbie... and, welcome to Tennessee.

      Myke

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  45. Oh Mike, I am completely blown away by this,
    both the story
    and the amazing style you wrote this in.
    WELL DONE
    a surprizing ending
    which I really enjoyed.
    Seriously awesome write my friend!

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    1. So nice to see you here in our Blogspot world, Teresa... Glad you had some fun with this one. I had a great time writing it. Keeping up with all the twists and turns was a bit of a challenge, and I never knew if it would all come together, until it finally did.

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  46. Ah, it's always good when a poet surprises a reader!

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    1. Why, thank you muchly, Miss Carol... What a fantastic holiday surprise to have you come join us here today. I really appreciate that. :)

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  47. Replies
    1. Thank you so much for saying, and for visiting... Myke

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