Writing, Reading, and Smiling . . . It's Contagious.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

"Ruby June"

After last month's "Mindy May," you probably saw this one coming.

OK, seriously, I got the idea for this short-short during my family's annual Memorial Day trip to visit my grandfather's grave. You all know him as "Ace" from my latest book, Haunted Voices from My Past: True Narratives of an Ohio Family

Anyway, we took an exit for a much-needed bathroom stop and as I waited for my mother's return, I noticed the area was infested with motels and the sky was littered with signs (most of them red). Add that with the dwindling month of May and some other strange sights along the way, and you've got . . .

"Ruby June" 

Ruby June crying best friends forever and writing soapy words on the window.

Ruby June gliding through the water and nabbed by a fish. Ruby June drowning in the sand, dirt caking under nails down to the quick. Man grilling hot dogs on a rotten porch close by. It sears your nostrils and creeps past the homemade flea market on the roadside. Glass beads on rawhide, two for a buck that’s killed in the ditch and bleeding in the ruby sky.

Ruby June dreaming of stretching out under the earth. If you listen, you can hear Ruby June in the maple tree that loses its leaves in the fall. Ruby June crying down the window, freezing in lights strung on pines. Cut down your own one at a time.

The sky is rosy orange but you can check in day or night. Ruby June pretending it feels good and right. Ruby June in the shadows, searching for the sheet. Ruby June, the two-legged cat, tiptoeing out of sight.

Ruby June hanging over the bridge and writing words in the snow. Hear the cocks crow. Red lights blinking on towers now. Ruby June and buildings lighting the night sky. King Avenue, a quarter of a mile. Next exit, take the road to the crumbling brick house and forget all you’ve learned. Ruby June getting the tune to sound right.

Ruby June smiling at the man with tattoos on his chest. Ruby June is bad, dropping on the floor. Make sure it’s dark. Hide the scars and cry really hard and no one will suspect. Ruby June howling at the moon.

Remember Ruby June in the field. Tracks in the wheat. Get beans in fast. Ruby June taking the dog out of the bun and feasting on relish.

Ruby June wanting a break, but blinking towers are back. Ruby June running from them coming down the drive. Drown in the river or spread arms wide and be the cat in the alley. Feet bleeding but they don’t care. Look the other way and lick stained white socks when it’s over.

Ruby June is the thought you get when blood stops flowing and you freeze to the floor. No animals now in the meadow or in the zoo. Ruby June is a month late and the drive-though is closed. Quiet now. Hands over my eyes and die.

Ruby June spread over a blanket, raining on the dirty wool and drowning in a red stream.

Give me back my doll, Ruby June. You’ve killed it.


You're probably shocked by the direction this piece took. So was I. I had no intention for it to be this dark. It just happened that way as I was writing in the back of a darkened car that was eating up the interstate. I often find that my work takes a different direction from the original plan. In this case it worked. Hopefully the next piece will be a little brighter.

Keep your chin up!



Make sure you check out E. Michaels' latest addition to The Feel Good Series. The book is entitled Little Duck Gets Ready for School and includes a story to read and color, activities to complete, and games to play. 

Yeah, I know it's summer vacation, but now is the time to get your youngster used to the idea of the first day of school. I remember my grandfather (who was a bus driver) driving the bus down to our house during the summer vacation before my first day of school and letting me practice getting on and off the bus. It helped immensely. Hopefully this book will do the same for your child through an encouraging story with games and activities that have a school-based theme.


As always, I love to hear from you.
If you’re in the cyber-neighborhood, drop me a line.

In the meantime, keep writing, reading, and smiling.
It’s contagious.


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