Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Fiction

In the spirit of what today is, here's a little flash fiction for you.  Now, if I could only do a scary witches cackle, this would be the appropriate time for it ...

Happy Halloween ...

Terror On Hilltop Drive

 by CJ Heck

She was home alone. The sound of breaking glass had wrenched her from sleep. Fear in icy tendrils prickled at the nape of her neck, yanking the wisps of hair and standing them on end. Perspiration beaded her forehead, little runnels slipping down between her breasts and soaking the front of her nightgown.

A shot rang out in the darkness.  It was a bold flash, all at once blinding! Her ears were stunned to sudden silence. A scream tore from her throat, as she waited in the hushed gloom that reclaimed the dark, her eyes again adjusting to the night.

She crept through the doorway and into the hall. The smell of burnt gunpowder and blood was nauseating. Smoke clung to her like a shroud, its gray wisps still rising from the trembling.38. 

Afraid of the dark, but even more afraid of turning on a light, she dialed the number ...

“Nine-One-One ... go ahead, what is your emergency?”

“Help me ... I’ve just shot an intruder."

"Ma'am?  Could you repeat that, please?" 

 Please HURRY ...”

Bookmark and Share

Saturday, October 30, 2010

An Announcement

I have some good news, everyone! My website for children, Barking Spiders Poetry, recently won two awards for it's design.  I may have written the content inside the website, but the credit goes entirely to CJ Design, a company located in Germany, for their gifted creativity in developing the website.  I couldn't have chosen a better website designer.

To see the awards, please visit:

Easy Design.Org - Page 3

Easy Design.Org - Page 6

To see the entire website:
Barking Spiders Poetry

Thank you, Cedrik, for your friendship and for your patience over the last year.
Your friend always,

Bookmark and Share

Friday, October 29, 2010

Monster in My House

In a child's imagination, monsters do exist. According to my brothers and sisters, years ago, monsters came from many places ... the streetlight shining through the curtains let them dance around on the ceiling; they whispered and chittered through the heating vent in the floor from the furnace room in the basement; or they tapped and clawed at the window, wanting to get in, from outside in the big apple tree that stood nearby. My own imagination convinced me that monsters lived in the crawl space under my bed and, if I wanted to get to the bathroom, I had to hit the floor in a dead run. On my return, I had to leap back into bed so they wouldn't grab my ankles and drag me under.

Of course, all of our monsters disappeared when Mama and Daddy came in to kiss us good night and tell the monsters to go away. Here is a little children's poem dedicated to my youngest sister, whose monster was of a different sort ... Happy Halloween!

Monster in My House
by CJ Heck

(Shhhh) there's a monster in my house.
It came in a great big box.
Mommy says it isn't so,
but something eats my socks.

I used to have a full sock drawer,
with red socks and some blue.
I even had some white ones,
'cause I wear white socks, too.

There's a monster in my house.
It came in a great big box
and I must make it angry
or it wouldn't eat my socks.

It lives around here, somewhere.
(Shhhh) I hope it's not around
'cause every time I wake it up,
it makes such awful sounds.

Most times, it says, 'Yum-Yum---Yum-Yum'
sometimes, it just goes 'SWISH-H-H'
and then it eats my socks up
without a spoon or dish.

Mom says they're underneath my bed
or spread around the floor
(the monster musta' burped 'em there
when she opened up the door).

(Shhhh) there's a monster in my house
and it came in a great big box.
Mom says it's just the washer ...
but it's a monster that just eats socks!

Note: Personally, I could never see it as being a monster. I always thought the washer was saying, "This is awful, this is awful, this is awful, this is awful" so I always kinda-sorta thought it just didn't like it's job ...

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, October 28, 2010


I'm going shopping today -- I want to have plenty of candy on hand for the ghosts and goblins who ring my doorbell this weekend.  Last year, I was new in town and not around for "Trick or Treat".  I was in Ohio visiting family.

I wonder, do kids still prank if no one answers the door and they can see lights on inside the house?  I remember years ago, we pranked houses that ignored trick or treaters. We didn't do really bad things, although I heard stories about kids who did. Our pranks were mild compared to some. Did you prank as a kid? Feel free to send me your stories and I'll post them here:   CJ's Email

Again in the spirit of Halloween, here's another little Halloween poem for children:

by CJ Heck

Bats can hit a baseball.
Girls can bat their eyes.
But the bats I want to talk about
fly with radar in the skies.

Bats are cute and furry.
I think bats are cool,
(if I could only catch one
I’d bring it in to school).

I’m sure YOU think they’re creepy.
They might even make you scream.
But bats will always be a part
of scary Halloween.

It's not so hard to like them,
well, it's not exactly automatic,
but mom and dad don’t mind them
IF they don’t live in our attic.

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Grandmothering Toddlers

Tyler, Jack  and Pogo the dog

As you know, I spent all last week in Connecticut babysitting two of my grandsons -- I have seven grandsons, actually, and two granddaughters -- and these are the two youngest grandsons, 1-1/2 years and 3 years old, that I babysat. Before I go any further, I have to ask. Why is it they call it babysitting? No one actually sat during a twenty-four hour period, them or me, that is, until I put "Dora The Explorer" on TV or had them safely strapped in their chairs for meals. Oh, and they also sat in the bathtub for a few minutes while they were being bathed, although that's actually not true, either ... did you ever try and wash a fish?  And I'm convinced that toddlers don't have feet ... they have invisible wheels.

Funny, when I was a young mother of three daughters, I actually got pretty good at it by the time my youngest was a toddler. I could juggle every task that needed to be done, do it, and still have plenty of play time with them. As a matter of fact, it was probably the time of my life I most enjoyed ... and raising my daughters is still the one achievement I am proudest of.

Ahhh, but I digress ... now don't get me wrong, I had the time of my life last week. I love those little boys with all my heart -- but I have to admit that I've never felt so totally short on brain cells. I woke up the first morning to calls of "Graaammy, I'm uuuup ..." and it was suddenly like I had never had a child before -- ever. Before my first cup of coffee, I honestly had no idea, whatsoever, what I was supposed to do. Thank God, my daughter wrote everything down ... sheets and sheets and sheets of blessed instructions, just in case.

I also didn't realize going in, that grandmothers have far less energy than young mothers do ... and muscles hidden on and around their bodies that working out at the gym and the treadmill, for some reason, didn't quite touch. At the end of each day, it was a monumental decision whether to soak in a tub with a glass of wine, or just fall into bed sore and exhausted.  Most nights, the bed won ...

I am happy to report that by the end of the week, things had begun to fall into place. I learned to get up a half hour before they did and have my coffee, which allowed my brain cells to multiply and my organizational skills to reconnect, (as did my patience) -- even my sore muscles ceased their screaming, after coffee ...

Someday, I want to write about the new language I've learned,  "Toddler-Speak" ...

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Children's Halloween Poem: Mr. Bones

Mr. Bones

Mr. Bones

by CJ Heck

I was looking up some haunted stuff
because it’s Halloween.
I saw black cats, ghosts and witches,
and all of them looked mean.

Then I saw your picture.
You’re an awesome skeleton!
I read that we are just like you,
deep down beneath our skin.

Before you got turned inside out,
did you really look like me?
I think I'll call you Mr. Bones
since bones are all I see.

Two more questions, Mr. Bones ...
through your bones, I just see air.
When you walk do you make noise?
Are you cold because you’re bare?

Mr. Bones, oh Mr. Bones,
you have a scary mouth
and there’s nothing where your eyes should be.
You're so spooky wrong-side out!

Poor, poor Mr. Bones,
it’s sad you have no skin ...
I guess that I'd look frightening, too,
with my inside out, my outside in.

[From the book,  "Barking Spiders 2" (the sequel), by CJ Heck]

"A writer soon learns that easy to read is hard to write." ~CJ Heck

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Rant on Work Ethics

I guess you could call this blog a short rant against what I see as a growing problem -- the slow demise of the work ethic in our society. In talking with a manager at a slow fast-food restaurant the other day on my way back from Connecticut, I was surprised to learn that turnover is high, higher than ever before. He told me kids these days up and quit for anything: asking them to remove facial piercings, not allowing them the exact days off that they want, or if they're even spoken to about poor work habits. Sad, very sad.

The other day, a friend relayed something that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. She routinely works with several mentally-challenged adults at a group home nearby, licensed by the state of Pennsylvania. The work is challenging, difficult at times, and always involves huge responsibility, including giving out the proper dosage of medications, dealing with copious and varied behaviors, and continually monitoring client safety throughout the entire multi-day shift.

When it was time for her shift to end the other night, and the next shift to come on the clock, she said she could smell alcohol on the breath of one of the young males assigned to take over for her. My friend was faced with an uncomfortable decision -- whether or not to report the young man to management.

Then, last night, I had an opportunity to be introduced to a young lady in the parking lot outside a grocery store I was heading into. She had been Robert's co-worker, until being let go for making some bad decisions, drugs and alcohol being only one part of them. She was obviously strung out on something last night, even as he was making the introduction.

What's happened to the work ethic in our society? All of this made me think back to when I was a kid. I remember my brothers all had paper routes and they mowed lawns in the summer, or raked leaves in the fall, shoveled snow in the winter, all over the neighborhood. My sisters and I babysat or went door-to-door selling colorful potholders we had created with little looms we bought in the dime store down on Main Street. In my family, we learned at an early age that the best way to have money to spend was to work for it. There was such a great feeling of satisfaction, knowing it was all ours, earned by work we had done -- and it wasn't any different with the friends I knew from school -- almost to a family, the "work ethic" was alive and well in my little hometown.

Sadly, it seems there's a growing number of young people who can't be bothered to follow the rules in a job, or they bend them, or don't work at all, relying instead on an allowance from mom and dad, or handouts from gram and grampa.

Is it laziness, or a Catch-22 -- a sad by-product of over-worked parents who haven't the time or energy to instill the very principles in their youngsters that the parents, who are doing it all for their children, are too busy and too tired to teach them? Like with so many other things, it's the children who lose out ...

Bookmark and Share

Friday, October 15, 2010

Kisses, Hugs & Toddlers

Remember what it was like to be a child? It was something very different from who we are today. It was to believe in love and magic, to believe in fairies, to believe in belief, to be so little that the elves could reach to whisper in our ear; it was about turning pumpkins into coaches, and mice to horses, and nothing into everything, because every child has a fairy godmother in its soul ... and a grandmother for a best friend. ~CJ

Hello Everyone,

Just to give you a little heads up ... I'm going to be out of town for the next week, leaving today. I'll be in Connecticut babysitting two of my grandsons, both preschoolers, while a daughter and her husband go away for a much-needed R&R to rediscover that they are more than a mommy and daddy.

I'll be in Grammy Heaven; however, being a little out of practice with busy toddlers, I'm relatively sure any down time I have while they're napping will be spent doing laundry, cooking, picking up toys, or (I had to admit it), taking a power nap of my own to recoup. There probably won't be much time for the internet and its writing pleasures, including posting here.

Stay with me.  I promise I'll be back online when I return on the 23rd. In the meantime, please think of me knee-deep in much-missed grammy hugs, bedtime stories, night-night kisses, and playing cars and Legos on the floor with two little boys that I love so dearly.


P.S. I would LOVE to see my email box overflowing with your thoughts and stories when I get home ...

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, October 14, 2010

For Halloween

Have you ever been kidnapped by a poet?   I would like to kidnap YOU for a few minutes ... I'll scare the warm and fuzzies right out of you ...
~Hugs, CJ

Half Past Five
by CJ Heck

There’s a sewer drain
in town
on Peck's Corner,
and at half past five,
the street lamp
flickers on at dusk,
near where gentlemen
routinely take a leak
after leaving
the Raven's Wing Pub.
They’ve been doing it
for years, and
no one seems to notice,
except for the smell
of piss that assaults
the nostrils,
which in turn
informs the brain,
but only the vermin care
and there were
plenty of them
near the sewer drain
in town
on Peck's Corner.
I saw the body there
as I walked by
at half past five
on Monday.
The clock in the tower
told me it was so,
and when I called,
that’s what I told
the authorities.
His head
was in his lap,
the legs askew and bent
at impossible angles.
The arms hung down
with elbows facing out,
hands on top
of the head,
the head that was
in his lap
just above
the flaming red hair.
He was sitting
in a pool of
his own blood.
His mouth was frozen
in a scream that
no one will ever hear,
but the eyes,
the eyes,
I will never forget
the eyes.
The vermin had eaten
both eyes.
Will anyone ever know
the horror they saw,
on Peck's Corner
just before
half past five ...

A poem should not necessarily mean anything ... it should just simply, BE.

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Flu Season: When Mommy's Sick

It's that time of year again. Robert and I went for our flu shots yesterday. Surprisingly, it only takes half a minute for the shot ... it takes a whole lot longer to fill out the paperwork that allows them to give you the shot.

Last year, I had a cold and had to pass on the flu shot -- bad, bad, bad. I eventually got the flu and was flat out and miserable for a good two weeks.  I didn't feel really well for another two.

It makes me remember years ago, when my children were young and I was sick ...

When Mommy's Sick ... no one's happy

When Mommy's Sick
by CJ Heck

Mommy's sick in bed today.
Doctor says she has the flu.
Sissy's got a stuffy nose
and she might get it, too.

When Mommy's sick it makes us sad
she doesn't feel so good.
She's having juice and medicine
like the doctor said she should.

It's not the same when Mommy's sick,
our hugs are all sick, too,
and kisses for our boo-boos
also have the flu.

Our sads are even sadder
so our happys aren't as glad
and when we're being naughty,
that even feels more bad.

Let's get her better, Sissy!
We'll get some more juice in her,
'cause I remembered something else,
ewwww, Daddy's cookin' dinner ...

Don't forget your flu shot. 
Hugs, CJ

"A writer soon learns that easy to read is hard to write." ~CJ Heck