Category Archives: Creative writing


Today, Fandango’s Dog Days of August prompt is “Pets.”

It all started when my mom & I were trying to cross a busy street. There were lots of loud machines coming & going in both directions, plus it was raining. Mom & I were both wet and she was irritated. Finally she saw a break & thought we could make it across, so we ran.

Mom didn’t make it.

The big machine that hit her just kept going, like nothing happened, but right away another machine stopped on the side of the road. A human got out and picked me up and took me…  I dunno, somewhere. Everything happened so fast!

The next thing I knew, this other human came to get me and I lived with her for 21 years.

She took me to the vet and even gave me this gigantic name: Nicole Tatiana. Everybody just called me Nikki, though.

It was a good life. My humans were an absolute laugh riot. I used to do this thing where I’d stand by a closet door and whine really loud and look at the humans. It never failed, one of them eventually got up and opened the door to see what was in there, and I’d walk away. Then they would start laughing their asses off. The humans got such a kick out of that! No matter how many times I did it, they always fell for it. At least they were easily amused.

I lived with three other cats, too, but not always the same ones. Some went to Rainbow Bridge and then after a while a new cat or kitten would move in. For the most part, we all got along.

Many years passed and then one day, I noticed that mouths were moving, but no sound came out. At first I thought they were all playing a joke on me, but then it came to me that I wasn’t hearing any of the usual noises. No birds chirping, vacuum cleaner, music, no garbage disposal. Nothing.

The next thing that happened was little by little things got blurry. Each day, they got blurrier until eventually I couldn’t see anything at all. Boy, was that scary! Imagine not being able to hear or see. By memory (and smell!) I was able to make to the litterbox & back, but it took forever. My bones hurt like hell for some reason.

Sometimes I’d lose all sense of direction and had no clue what room I was in. Talk about terrifying! I’d start howling I think, but I’m not sure because I couldn’t hear myself. My human came right away and picked me up, which startled me of course, because I couldn’t hear or see her coming.

It got old bumping into walls and getting disoriented. That’s when my human began carrying me around everywhere. That worked okay but she didn’t always know where I wanted to go, or when.

I was ready to go and my human knew it.

So we took our last car ride together and now I am at Rainbow Bridge.

What humans don’t know though, is that The Bridge isn’t far from Earth at all.

It’s just behind a thin curtain-like thing. Like all the pets here, I can come back and visit whenever I want.

So don’t worry; you’re never really alone.


Nicole Tatiana (Nikki)

Firsts That Last

It’s time for Fandango’s Friday Flashback!

This was first posted on April 2018

I don’t remember how we met, but it must have been at the school bus stop. We lived one block away from each other, but somehow had never crossed paths. I don’t even remember our first conversation. All I know is that one day I didn’t know Marta, and the next day we were best friends.

It was the beginning of the school year, and we were in the eighth grade. Back then it was called junior high school. Now they call it middle school. Anyway, Marta was a much more sophisticated 12-year-old. She knew about make-up, nail polish, and read Cosmopolitan magazine regularly. Hence, she knew what guys liked and how to get a good one to notice you.

I was in awe.

I experienced a lot of firsts with her that year. She took me to Kmart and helped me buy make-up. Then, we went back to my house where she taught me how to apply too much it. I’d purchased a purple eye shadow palette with matching purple mascara and eye liner. I wanted to get the blue shades like Marta wore, but she said that since I had brown eyes and a darker complexion, blue would make me look fake and slutty. We certainly didn’t want that! So, purple it was.

She also taught me how to smoke cigarettes. A couple of afternoons a week, she’d sneak a couple of Winstons from her dad’s pack and we’d walk the few blocks to the creek. There, amongst the lush trees and clear, trickling water we’d light up and enjoy our smokes. Neither of us inhaled. We didn’t know we were supposed to.

Then, one Friday night, my mom gave me the okay to go to the Arvada Plaza theater with Marta. We saw “Deliverance.” It as the first time I’d seen a movie in a theater without parental guidance. I felt so grown-up! A whole new world was opening up for me — and all because of Marta.

On Saturdays we’d go horseback riding. I had my own horse, and the people who operated the ranch where I boarded him were kind enough to let Marta borrow one of their horses. There were many intricate trails and ditch banks to explore at the time. One even took us past an old graveyard enclosed with barbed wire. Many times, we’d discussed climbing over the wire to get look at the head stones close-up, but we never did.

One Sunday, toward the end of the school year, Marta came over to my house. She was out of breath and terribly excited. It seemed her father had gotten a job transfer to a small town in Wyoming. And the best part about it, she’d said, was that she’d be getting a horse. They’d be moving as soon as school was out.

My heart sank to my ankles. I couldn’t believe it. I thought we were real friends, but Marta was so excited and thrilled to be leaving me. It didn’t make sense. How could this be? What was I missing? It reminded me of when my family moved from the Chicago area to Denver and I had to leave my bestie Joanne behind. I too, was promised a horse, but I wasn’t at all happy about leaving.

So, I put on a brave face and pretended to be happy for Marta. At the same time, I began to distance myself and my feelings. I’d begun to build a wall of protection that to this day, few people manage to breach.

I don’t even remember saying goodbye to Marta, although I must have. We’d only been friends for a year, but I will never forget what her leaving felt like.

After she moved, we’d kept in touch for a while. Eventually though, the letters stopped coming. We’d both moved on with our lives.

Just a few weeks ago, I decided to try and find Marta. I Googled her name and promptly found her obituary. She’d passed away in 2015. It didn’t say the cause of death. All I was able to glean was that she’d been married and had a daughter. She had also owned her own beauty salon.

I’ll bet she was one hell of a beautician.

Rest in Peace, my old friend.

The Class of 51

Picture it : 1966 in Arlington Heights, IL at Our Lady of Perpetual Angst Catholic School.

Mrs. Ludy’s third grade class had been designing their special Valentine mailboxes all week. Snippets of red construction paper cut with blunt-nose scissors speckled the classroom floor. Tatters of paper lace doilies and glitter stuck to clothes and jackets while the aroma of Elmer’s School Paste permeated the air. The would-be pretty girl with matted hair who sat in the back of room was peeling dried paste off her fingers and eating it. Linda Calvert was her name. She could really put away the paste.

Finally, the big day arrived. The fancy, red mail satchels were securely fastened to each child’s desk with masking tape, awaiting the many cards and heart-shaped candies that were sure to be delivered. It was a class of fifty-two kids, so most of them fashioned their paper satchels extra large.

Row by row, Mrs. Ludy allowed the students to deliver their Valentines. Of course it was mass confusion; much squealing and giggling ensued.

One little girl sat quietly at her desk with a perplexed look on her face. Her chin quivered and her eyes welled with tears. She fought them, though. She’d be damned if she’d let anyone see her cry.  She was a quiet child who got along with everyone but wasn’t extra-chummy with anyone. Perhaps that was why there were only two Valentine’s in her satchel. One was from Mrs. Ludy, who pretty much had to give a card to everyone. The other was for another child that was mistakenly put in the wrong satchel. The little girl got up and delivered it to its rightful owner.

One Valentine? And from the teacher!

“How can this be?” she wondered. “I’d brought Valentine’s for everyone—even the yucky boys— but they all forgot me.”

It didn’t seem real.

Why would they do this? Was it a conspiracy? Do they hate me? But why?

She watched in confused silence as her classmates ate candy, chattered and read their cards. Mrs. Ludy was grading papers or reading a magazine at her own desk and wasn’t paying attention.

The little girl could just as easily not have been there, or even existed. She felt invisible.

After about ten forevers, the school bell rang and it was time to go home. Fifty-one students packed up their Valentines and satchels and headed home. After they left, the fifty-second student ripped hers into quarters, then into eighths, and deposited the pieces carefully in the waste basket by the door.