Late afternoons I sit at the counter of Woolworth’s sipping vanilla coke watching the day turn into night or dollar green but it seems as Gershwin said, not for me. It is dog days and I am hot and tired and mostly luckless, angry too, my new love dying on the vine. I dream myself into a hot soak in a fancy clawed foot bath tub sinking my dusty body into lilac scented bubbles. I imagine lying back with closed eyes as the hot water flicks at peony nipples. I am what one might call self employed these days.
Settling for a motel shower stall I scrub my body that smells of dusty magnolias with rose scented oil until it glimmers like alabaster. Dutifully stepping into a black sheath and slipping on thigh high seamed stockings and heels saved for the occasion I confidently make my way onto Bourbon Street. At the corner the sounds of a sax carries through the open door of a darkened bar, drift up the alley over the pink roof of a sad brothel. From my booth I stare through a prism of glass at the Dog Star and blow a kiss to the man in the moon already yawning at the deep purple sky.  

175 thoughts on “Lily was Here

  1. I can image Lily being there. Woolworth? It’s been years since there was a Woolworth around here. I think they are something like the Foot Locker now. I would hope not to find Lily in a Foot Locker.

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  2. No one tells a story like you do, Rene. You take us inside the character’s life, in her scene where we see things through her eyes, and feel her cope with life on the fringe. I loved the music video you chose to go with it. It is in the visions you conjure that life is most acute with feeling and emotions, with all the senses on fire.

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      1. I do remember the counter at Woolworths in Tallahassee. That got me going right away. I always got a root beer float but wanted a Cherry Coke. The Root beer had ice cream and I couldn’t pass it up. I get my face all root beered up and my grandmother would take me to the water fountain and wash my face like I was a little Billy goat that got into the milkweed. Dang, those were carefree days. Grandma knew all about Billy goats so she knew how to handle me.

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        1. That’s adorable and hysterical!
          I love root beer floats. I love cherry coke too, I haven’t been to Woolworth’s for ions. I assume it’s still there. I’m going to buy some coke and maraschino cherries!

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          1. I can use my Sergeant Dan voice. 😃.

            “Corporal Hunter, at the preparatory command Get In, of the Command Get In Your Hammock, you will take up position next to your hammock and your hammock only; facing to your left, my right, your left hand with fingers extended and joined resting on the edge of your hammock, not private Snuffy’s hammock, but your hammock. At the command of execution Your Hammock of the command Get In Your Hammock you will fling your government property body into your hammock with gusto and purpose letting out a loud and thunderous roar. Is that clear Corporal Hunter?

            To which you would answer, “Yes Sergeant!” with such force and meaning as to make Sergeant Dan smile with pride in your professionalism and courage. It really doesn’t matter if you understand or not. The only proper answer is “Yes Sergeant. “

            “Very well, Corporal Hunter…GET IN YOUR HAMMOCK!!!

            “Nap well, Corporal. I’ll be right over there napping as well. When I get up in precisely 30 minutes, not 29 or 31 minutes, but 30 minutes exactly, we’ll have a mocha java avocado guacamole frappechino and plan our next mission. G’nite Corporal”

            “G’nite Sergeant Dan.”

            Well, what do you think? Even getting into a hammock in the military is a ritual of drill and ceremony according to the customs and courtesies of the United States Military and the Uniformed Code of Military Justice. It’s fun stuff. I promise. 😁 in today’s Army it is permissible to take a selfie as you fling yourself expertly into your coyote tan hammock. You are allowed to leave your boots on.

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          2. Corporal! Be still my heart. I never thought I’d make the grade Sergeant Dan. I plan to be a good little corporal so I can move up the ranks and be a Sergeant too someday so I can tell you which hammock to lie in and which side to lay on. Oh, I have plans.

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          3. I like a soldier with admirable goals and objectives for self improvement and career progression. You are going to do well and I like having another sergeant around to carry the burdens of decision like which hammock to lie in and on what side. I think I’ll just give you a field commission to acting Lieutenant and platoon leader. What are your orders Ma’am?

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          4. Sergeant Dan, grab a couple of sticks and make a fire, keep quiet the enemy is everywhere. The hammocks will hang between those palms. Lie on your back and count the stars. Sleep well Sgt. Dan. 🤗

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          5. I can handle rain in sub tropical environments but that winter stuff is hard to love. I’ll build us a nice roomy shelter with a fireplace and we can hang our hammocks inside, go native, and wear flip flops. I can tell stories about the glory days in Africa while you relax. Ahhhh, Victoria Falls. Have I told you about Victoria Falls yet?

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          6. A hut of huge palm frond strong enough to hold the hammocks will do nicely. I can kick off my flip flops and listen intently to your adventures in Africa and you can tell me all about Victoria falls.

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          7. Ah, the Victoria Falls. When you gaze upon the widest waterfall known to the world and feel it’s power coursing through the ground and the sound like a hurricane that never ceases, one comes to know that Mother Gaia has allowed us to see only a small example of her power and yet is is far more than the human senses can process. The Garden of Eden had the Tigris and Euphrates but that was a small oasis compared to the water cascading across the land to nurture a continent in an endless Eden not even all the Kings of Sumeria could imagine. And here in the land reported to have given birth to the first humans, we know it must be true. Strange, that it was English pioneers that named this ageless falls after their Queen, perhaps to curry favor. The real name given it by the tribe that knew it as home before Europe emerged from caves was struck from the maps of 19th century cartographers. Zimbabwe, the Pearl of Africa, is by name with the pearl no more, but the falls remain and by any name given by people, it will never be enough to bring a vision of its true beauty. One must go there and be submerged in its ancient and everlasting spirit. It is said that many an atheist has praised the gods before the falls. The true and essential journey is to make passage from the falls in a narrow boat down the Zambezi River to Kariba Lake and then on to Albufiera de Cahokia Bassa in Mozambique where the river takes you through wild twists and turns with the great beasts of Africa to the alluvial plains near Chinde. And there, dead ahead across the Mozambique Channel is Madagascar, an island of such magic and beauty that every moment of wonder and thrill along the high mountains and channels through Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Mozambique is forgotten with one long gasp of awe. What a long and glorious ride it is in the African Queen II. Some day, some day, you’ll see.

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          8. The song is as beautiful as the woman that sings it. “My Love is wider than Lake Victoria.” That is wide indeed. So wide we can see it from space. Another discovery by enraptured English explorers looking for the source of the Nile River. Again the natives explaining it has always been there, the great inland sea.

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          9. I adore your innate ability to know and share such profound talent in music and the arts. You have a wonderful natural songstress’ voice as well. I can think of House of Heart as a sort of navigation rose that points to the best jewels hidden in vast universe of music and art. The centerpiece is always your creations.

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          10. She is an exceptional artist that remained true to her talent and self. She didn’t go the route many go to commercialize a beat to dance to and overt sexuality. Many are not conditioned to respond to grace and natural sensuality in a first class act. I have her first Album in the paleolithic music CD media. It still mesmerizes me on my ancient 80’s Yamaha system.

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          11. Thank you Dan. I love all genres of music. My father was ( aside from being a military man with the Purple Heart) was a professional guitarist. Where as I was never able to play any instrument must to his chagrin. 😊

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          12. That is so awesome 😎. I never learned to play any instrument but I did try to learn piano, organ, and coronet. My attention span was a bit to distracted. My youngest learned drums and piano and my grand daughter is trying her best to be a singer. She practices religiously and fills the house with cute little chirping bird notes singing her scales. The only time I’m really musical is if I’m tired and honk out a note or two on the snore tunes.

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          13. haha! too funny! I’m sure you have a lovely voice! I could sing a little and did with my cousin, we were quite a pair of songbirds. All long ago. My Dad and all his brothers ( 6) were musical and played instruments, never a lesson.

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          14. I haven’t looked, but I bet you can visit via YouTube and not get soaked by the misty spray that constantly wells up from the chasm and nourishes every green thing in the area.

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          15. 😁 I thought you would like it. I have lots of stories about that part and further East to Mozambique. The climate is nice in that area and lots of forest and wildlife. All the big beasts lived in that area too.

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          16. I’ve not been to Niagara yet but my last born child has gone several times and loves it. I keep telling her it would be more fun if she took her dad with her, but I don’t think I convinced her yet. Hmmmm… maybe she needs a sling shot ride too with pops so she’ll know what a screaming good time we can have. 😲😲

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          17. LOL, 😂. I’m gullible like that, especially for my girls. Nothing is out of the question for them. She is a smart girl and the only fatherly sin she ever committed was not keeping her room clean when she was a teenager. After she outgrew her tornado room phase, she went straight into perfect daughter mode and stayed there. So, I guess going over Niagara’s Falls in a barrel isn’t asking too much. 🌊😬🙋🏻‍♀️

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          18. We did real good, Rene. I can’t imagine being more fortunate than having children that strive so hard to be useful and productive contributors to a better world. I know you must be very proud of your son when you know the struggles men face today with respect, honor, and integrity.

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  3. The man in the moon…
    the dark between stars…
    the beacons on stockings,
    calling all fingers
    and hearts…
    I’ll be the light on your window.
    I’ll be the night
    when the sky comes home.
    I’ll be tomorrow.
    Yes,
    I’ll be tomorrow
    for all your tonights.

    I’ll be the hope in a melody…
    I’ll keep your soul in a whisper…

    I’ll be the locket,
    the ache…
    the one little piece
    that no one can take.
    Yes,
    I’ll be tomorrow
    for every tonight

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      1. I want to see what is on the cards. She is by short turns—only short in that you capture so much I have to know more — exotic and with and without hope. It is what makes this brill. ( PS… the Woolworth’s mention so reminded me of another life where I was sacked from there on day one for losing control of a stack of baskets. Talking Bourbon St. I was reminded of Sting, even though listening again, I felt it need more beef to the overall sound https://youtu.be/5i_0PkOqLKA

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          1. yeah, we all listen to music in diff ways and find the way that suits. I like to listen when i’m cooking so that is why I like cds in that if they get in a mess I just make another copy. if I am listening when I am working well I just take the list from the pc.

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      1. Always a pleasure and honor to share your posts, Holly!!!
        How are you handling the election situation??? I’m not good at holding my breath? Ha.
        Hope you are having a great week!
        Stay safe and healthy, Dear!
        xoxo
        😘💕🌹

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  4. Fabulous screenplay, you know you should write for movies. You write scenes that unfold into visuals as one reads. I completely immersed myself. Ah! I love love your language. So so descriptive .. ahhhh ❤️💕

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      1. Oh Wow 🤩 now that is something to look forward to ..a role in a Holly movie .. big time 😍.
        Seriously, I think you have it in you , Holly. Do it. Write when you can.

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  5. Beautifully written my new friend. I love the line about dusty magnolias and thigh high stockings and the smells and our imagination that can take it to many places and what a gorgeous ending as well. Great stuff. Have an amazing day. Love to you and your loved ones, Joni

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  6. Holly, vivid. I recall when a vanilla coke was an indulgence. It adds to the ambience. I love how you define what she slips into. You played it well in your prose that we can see (and for the women readers feel) how the attire drapes and shapes. Well done, my friend. Keith

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          1. We are. I missed that one, but remember it from long ago. We watched a Claude Rains’ movie we had never seen called “The Unsuspected” about two weeks ago. There was another called “The Lady in the Lake” that was shot entirely from the detectives eyes as he spoke with people. It was interesting. Keith

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          2. I loved The Lady In The Lake.
            Keith. Recently they are featuring films directed by women. They have stopped censoring the movies after prime time ,these films are extraordinary. Also, I was fortunate enough to catch Suspicion with Cary Grant the other night. Have a great day Keith.

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          3. Holly, I don’t think I have ever seen “Suspicion.” I looked it up, but the plot does not seem familiar. Of course, I often start watching something and realize I have seen this. There is a recent movie that did not get much acclaim, but I really liked it called “Tolkien.” I watched it again today. It is the story of friendship, love, war and fantasy that led Tolkien to write “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings.” Nicholas Hoult stars as Tolkien and Lily Collins plays his love. I did not know she is Phil Collins’ daughter. Keith

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  7. Oh my gosh the setting Holly was ike I was there… Woolworth and vanilla coke are not ever forgotten. You definitely set the stage for the best is yet to come. I still have those stockings in my drawer… not sure why lol. Great job! ❤️ Cindy

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  8. I read this twice, just because the atmosphere you created pulled me right in there. Excellent piece of noir, my dear Holly Rene…. of course the music added to it (pressed play before reading). Delicious

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