Anthologies and Short Stories
Short stories are finding homes in anthologies more and more these days. You remember short stories, don't you? You read them in literature classes. Many writers have a few on their computers and under their beds. Maybe you have one lurking on a closet shelf or in a file cabinet.
Well, I do, too, and I plan to join the Indie authors who have put them up on Amazon and made money with them or offered them as free reads. When I became an editor for Gilded Dragonfly Books I wrote a story for our anthology. The anthology has 9 stories that will capture your imagination and make you think.
In north Georgia there is an amusement park called Dancing Dragonfly Amusement park.
And in that park there is a magic carousel, Carousel Déjà Vu by name.
And if you ride that carousel, you should reach for the brass ring.
And if you catch that ring...
You didn't think I would tell all, did you?
Jackson Nighttraveller chooses people he thinks need to ride his carousel, and Dr. Alice is one of the nine riders in our anthology, Carousel Déjà Vu.
Dr. Alice’s Ride
by Mary Marvella
Dr. Alice Compton couldn’t think of one reason she had stopped here this March afternoon, to sit alone on this bench across the way from Dancing Dragonfly Amusement park. Well, maybe one. She and her family had loved this amusement park when the kids were smaller. They had laughed and eaten their share of cotton candy and hotdogs. They had ridden the Déjà vu carousel and other rides and had enjoyed each other and cherished life. Her teenaged kids and her busy husband never wanted to come here anymore. She wouldn’t even be here today if they’d answered their cell phones this afternoon. Mack’s text that he would be working late had prompted her to send several angry responses. She needed her family, damn it! She sniffed, then swallowed hard.
Some force had drawn her out of her way and made her stop here on the way home from the hospital in south Gainesville. Why today, of all days, hadn’t she gone straight home? A sob ripped through her throat as a part of her heart tore off. Little Lila Jones had never ridden a carousel or eaten hotdogs, and now she never would.
Do you think Alice needs to ride? Are there days you might want a do-over?
Funny how your relationship with your sister or sisters changes so radically as you age. When we were kids they thought I was cool. They followed me everywhere. My two younger glued themselves to me. If I wasn't forced to bring them they would sneak and end up behind me. Not that I was doing anything really awful, but I was a rebellious sort. My father was very strict and the worst thing you could ever hear was, I'm telling your father. At that time in the sixties, I was in seventh or eighth grade and on up into high school, and I watched other girls do the things I wanted so much to do. So, I would use any opportunity I could to have fun. I always got myself in trouble for doing things I wasn't supposed to do! I know you're thinking really bad, but my idea of sneaking around now that I think about it was pretty innocent.Why was I always in so much trouble?
I'll give you an example. Maybe I pushed the limits? On Sunday my parents would send me along with my three sisters to go to church. I never got why they didn't have to go, and truthfully going to Catholic school I had religion bubbling up the yin yang. In Catholic school you were in church every day for part of the day. It was endless. On the weekend I resented sitting there for over an hour, on Sunday, in the heat, listening to some old man sing in Latin. My mind was never there. So, I decided to change things a bit. We even planned on what we'd say if they asked what the sermon was about. Now, I do have to admit, I confessed this to my mother years later and she laughed. My father just gave me the look.
I told all three sisters if they ratted on us, they were out and couldn't come with me. They thought I was cool, and compared to them I was. No one ever asked and no one ever told.
On the way to church was a small old time bakery. Where your father would go to pick up fresh Kaiser rolls for breakfast. It smelled like heaven, all yeasty, and hints of cinnamon,with chocolate. So my plan for Sunday was this. We'd go to the church, stay for a few minutes and leave to go to the bakery and buy huge, warm, chocolate chip cookies. And they had gum drops too!
Then we'd stop at a park nearby and swing, slide, or whatever. We laughed and had fun and we loved it. Soon, we stopped stopping at the church at all. I remember it fondly. No one ever knew.
Not any of my sisters ever told anyone. And years later they remember times like that fondly. Which is maybe why they listen to me to this day.That brings me to the point of this blog. I was afraid for a while that my sister forgot who we are, who she is, what's most important in life. It was a defining moment for us as sisters.
Recently my my Mom passed away. She was 88 and I think after my father died she just gave up on living. One of my sisters decided to take my mother's rings and told me that our Mom had told her she could. I stopped the car I was driving so I didn't kill us. And I looked her in the eye. I told her if she didn't bring the rings back, I would never speak to her again. I asked her which was more important, having things or having a sister. She tried to rationalize it and I rebuked her. I told her to put them back...For many years she has had her hand out to my mother and father, and I was afraid that she was going to pull something. My parents made her life easy and they didn't do her any favors. Now she has to learn how to live on her own, within her means.
Well the good news is that she gave the rings back. And we were able to amicably decide who got my mother's rings in a fair way. She got one of the best ones, fair and square in a draw. And I told her to remember this time always, doing the right thing always turns out right for you. I have always believed in being fair.
She will always be the way she is. Things are all she has and that's sad. I would much rather have people who care about me, then things I can't take with me.For all the things she has collected over the years, she has nothing worth it all. Of importance anyhow. And no one to love her if she doesn't get it soon.
But, she listened to me. She listened just like she did when I told her to trust me as a child. She made the choice to not alienate her family. I hope she never forgets what's more important.
So we all sat together in on my parents back porch and we ate chocolate chip cookies. While we remembered times that defined us and bonded at least for the time we were there. I hope she never forgets her priorities and stays that way. I'm not sure about it.
I wonder how many people out there can relate...