There are times when I can’t help being a little bit bad. Like the other day. First of all, it was a beautiful autumn day with the bright blue sky and orange & yellow leaves falling to the earth like feathers. The air had a chill to it, but the sun was still warm enough to take most of the chill away. I was leaving Thrasher Development and something just pulled me over to the corner of the parking garage where Ramos kept his motorcycle. I stopped and stared at it, feeling a rush of longing to go for a ride.

With a sigh, I turned to leave and found Ramos standing behind me with a lopsided grin on his face. “Babe,” he said. “Looks like you’re drooling just a little. Want to go for a ride?”

My breath caught and, even though I knew I shouldn’t, I nodded my head, grinning like a fool. See what I mean about being a little bit bad? I didn’t have any control when it came to Ramos and going for a ride on his motorcycle. What was worse, Ramos knew it. “I have to take a message to someone for Manetto,” he said. “But it shouldn’t take long.”

“Perfect!!”

He popped the trunk of his car and got out the gear I’d need, and I quickly put on the helmet and leather jacket. Before I knew it, I was on the bike behind him with my arms wrapped around his waist. As we pulled out of the garage a thrill went down my spine and my stomach churned with butterflies. We didn’t go far before stopping, and I was a little disappointed. But I shouldn’t have worried. After Ramos delivered his message, we got back on the bike and he said over his shoulder. “We’ll take the long way back.”

“Woohoo!” I shouted, and felt his stomach muscles wiggle with laughter. We left the city behind and took a loop around the University past some big homes with huge trees lining the residential streets. The leaves kicked up as we drove through them and rained down from above as well. It was a timeless moment, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Then we hit the main road and traveled back to the city.

Parking in the garage, I got off the bike like an expert, and stowed the helmet and jacket back in Ramos’ trunk. “That was awesome!” I said, grinning widely. “Thanks.”

“Sure,” he said, thinking it was the best part of his day.

“Me too,” I agreed. “So tell me… if you were going to a Halloween party, what would you dress up as? I think I’d want to go as a biker chick.”

“Babe,” he said. “I’d just go as a hit-man, then I could wear whatever I wanted.”

We both laughed and I was still chuckling in the car on my way home. Then it hit me that not too many people could say that, and here I was, a normal soccer-mom housewife…who’d just taken a ride with a real live hit-man. See what I mean about taking a ride on the wild side?

I recently attended a bridal shower for my cousin’s daughter. I don’t normally like showers where they play silly games and all that stuff. I prefer the drop-in, open the gift, give a hug, eat the goodies, and get the heck-out-of-dodge-kind. Not very sociable, but there it is. I would have skipped this shower all together if it hadn’t been for my mom. According to her, this was one shower I couldn’t miss, or I would get blacklisted on that side of the family. So, of course, I sucked it up and went.

Interestingly enough, there was some tension between the mother of the bride and mother of the groom. Turns out, they knew each other in high school, and the mother of the groom blamed the bride’s mom, my cousin, for something bad, but I couldn’t pick up what. On the outside they were acting all happy and nice, with big smiles that showed lots of pearly white teeth. But inside neither of them wanted this marriage to take place. Especially considering their thoughts that sharing grandchildren was making them both sick. YIKES!

I checked out the bride and groom and, after listening in on their thoughts, there was no question they were in love, so I just had to hope things would work out. But it really bothered me that these two women held so much animosity toward each other. Maybe I could help? Who knew? Maybe it was just a misunderstanding?

“That’s really something that you two knew each other in high school,” I said. “Weren’t you guys like best friends or something?”

Their surprised gazes turned to me, and the whole room got quiet. Then my cousin narrowed her eyes and took a breath to ask me how the hell I knew that. Oops. Before she could utter a word her daughter gasped with surprise.

“You guys knew each other? You went to high school together?” she asked. “Why didn’t you say anything?”

My cousin’s eyes widened and her mouth dropped open. As she took in the curious glances of everyone there, she turned toward the groom’s mother with a tentative smile curling her lips. “We had a falling out,” she admitted. “It involved a boy, as I recall.”

The other woman raised her brows, and was thinking that if my cousin was going to spill the beans, she’d better make sure her side of the story got told first. “He was my boyfriend,” she stated. “You knew how much I liked him, but you got him to go out with you while I was away on a trip. He broke up with me because of you. That was pretty low for someone I considered one of my best friends.”

“Is that what you thought?” my cousin asked. “I didn’t go after him. He asked me out. I admit I shouldn’t have gone, but he was really persistent, and I didn’t think you’d ever find out. It was just supposed to be one date.”

The other woman huffed out a breath. “Yeah, right. As if that makes a difference.”

My cousin dropped her gaze. “I know. I was a bad friend, and I felt horrible about it. I really did. I wanted to explain, but you wouldn’t talk to me after that. If it helps, he dumped me pretty quick and moved on to someone else.”

“But we were friends. You shouldn’t have done that.”

“I know, and I’ve regretted it ever since. Dating him wasn’t worth losing your friendship. But you never gave me a chance to tell you I was sorry. I tried hundreds of times, but you always blew me off.”

The groom’s mother licked her lips, realizing that for the sake of their children, and with everyone looking on, it was time to get over it. “You’re right. It was a long time ago, and really…it doesn’t even matter anymore.”

My cousin smiled, then asked. “Whatever happened to him anyway?”

After that it was hard to pry those two apart. Not only did they have a lot to catch up on, but their children were getting married and now they could finally be excited about it.

I left that shower with a grin on my face, knowing I’d done something good. It was one of the few times my mind-reading skills had really paid off, and was just what I needed. Especially since right after the shower, I had to stop by Uncle Joey’s office. It was after eight-thirty at night and I really didn’t want to go, but he was meeting with someone from his past, and after this experience, I knew it could get tricky. But on the bright side, since I’d helped my cousin resolve a sticky issue, I was sure I could help Uncle Joey. I’d just have to make sure I stood out of the way in case they pulled their guns.

I look forward to summer all year, mostly because of how great it is to be outside and enjoy the fun outdoor activities. The one thing I don’t enjoy so much is the family reunion. That probably makes me a bad person, but ever since I got my mind-reading abilities, family reunions have been quite stressful. Just think about it…do you really want to know what your Aunt Beverly thinks about you? Or how about your cousins? It always seems like a big brag party about who is doing what, who has the smartest kids, who has won the most awards, or what great vacation someone went on, etc. etc. etc.

It’s also a shock to see that the cousins you played with as kids turn up bald and not looking a bit like you remembered them. It makes you hope you don’t look as old as they do. The reminiscing part is kind of fun though, as long as it’s about good memories and not the bad ones. Like the time my older cousins took turns sitting in a rocking chair that belonged to old great-aunt Lucille who had just died, and acting like they were being choked while I watched. Everyone took their turn and the same thing happened. Then they dared me to sit in it. Of course, great-aunt Lucille kind of scared me while she was alive, with her missing teeth and whiskers, so I could just imagine her choking me for sitting in her chair. I refused, and naturally, they called me all kinds of names for being such a chicken, and then later they made fun of me for believing them since they just made it all up to scare me.

That’s why it will be so tempting this year to listen to their thoughts. Just imagine the juicy details I could pick up from their minds to tease them with…but do I really want to know what they’re thinking? What if I pick up something really bad? Probably not a good idea. I’ll just have to put my shields up and act normal, although it might be fun to see if they’re thinking the same things about the reunion as I am. Now that would be something.

Coincidence?

Posted: June 18, 2014 in Experiences

Do you ever feel like someone else is running your life and you have absolutely no control? Lately, it seems like something unexpected is always happening to me, and although it might seem like a coincidence…I’m not really sure. I mean, how many times do crazy things happen to one person? I think I get more than my fair share. Like yesterday…I went out to lunch with my husband. Now that doesn’t sound like something that could get me in trouble, right? There I am, waiting for Chris outside the courthouse, and who should come by, but a judge with whom I’ve played golf in a foursome that included me, Uncle Joey, and Ramos. That day I had on my hair hat, and Uncle Joey introduced me as his niece from Orlando, Shelly Manetto. I was hoping the judge wouldn’t recognize me, but could I be so lucky? Nope…not a chance. It might have been okay, except for the fact that the judge was with the police chief.

The police chief likes me, mostly because I’ve helped solve some hard cases, and he was enthusiastic about introducing me to the judge. The judge remembered me as Shelly Manetto, so when the chief started out with the Shelby part of my name, the judge jumped in with…”Shelly… yes, I’ve met you… you’re…” I jumped in and said, “A consultant for the police,” before he could say Joe Manetto’s niece, like he was thinking. It kind of threw him for a loop, and he wondered what was going on. Then he realized it probably wasn’t a good idea to talk about Joe “The Knife” Manetto with the police chief, and maybe that was why I’d cut him off. But that got him to thinking about me working for the police and “The Knife” and his eyes got big. Did the police chief even know I was Manetto’s niece? Had I infiltrated the police department for Manetto? Then he remembered how I’d driven the golf cart and stopped so suddenly that he’d fallen out and cut his arm pretty bad, and it was probably better to stay far away from me. His life was complicated enough already.

Instead, he said, “Oh, yeah…you help the police, that’s right.” I let out my breath and smiled, then told him it was nice to meet him. The chief was pleased the judge had heard of me, and said something about how great it was to have me on their side. The judge nodded politely, willing to go along with whatever I said, mostly because of Uncle Joey. Then they went on their way, and I let out a relieved sigh. Who would have thought I’d meet those two people at the same time? It was uncanny! See what I mean about coincidences?

 

 

I admit I’m kind of a geek, but when I got the opportunity to meet Nathan Fillion a.k.a. RICHARD CASTLE I jumped on the chance. I LOVE that show! It was a photo op at FANX and after signing up, I checked the guidelines for how to have a great photo shoot. They suggested making it fun and said that the stars loved to ham it up with their fans! They even had a picture showing Nathan Fillion with a fake sword stabbing a bad guy and catching the princess in his other arm. So I decided to figure out something fun.

Thinking of a tie-in to the show CASTLE, I came up with the idea of getting some handcuffs and handcuffing us together, just like Castle and Beckett in season three. That meant I had to find a pair. Naturally, I turned to my police detective friend, Dimples, and asked if he had a set I could borrow. When I explained what I wanted them for he agreed, and loaned them to me the day before the shoot. That night, I was so nervous I could hardly sleep. But the morning came and I got all dolled up just how I thought Beckett might look… if she had blond hair.

When it finally came my turn to meet him, my heart was all a-flutter, and I have to admit I was a bundle of nerves. But he was so gracious and sweet that it calmed me down. He didn’t even blink too much when I pulled out the handcuffs, although he was thinking I didn’t look too scary…and he had bodyguards, just in case. We got them on and I posed like I had captured him, and he was looking a little worried. It was great fun…until it was time to take them off. I knew I had the key somewhere, but for the life of me, I couldn’t remember where I’d put it. I’d left my purse on a table in the other room and had to drag him around with me to get it. After dumping everything out, and his arm flopping with my every movement, I finally remembered I’d zipped it up in my loose change pocket and dug it out.

We all breathed a sigh of relief when the key fell into my hand, but with my fingers a little shaky, I still couldn’t get the key in the lock. Nathan gently took the key from me, inserted it, and like magic, the cuffs popped off. I think my face must have been bright red, or maybe it was all the apologizing I was doing, but anyway, he had them take another picture of us. This time he put his arm around me and gave me a little squeeze. He was thinking that he was glad it had turned out all right, and now he had a funny story to tell about the ditzy, but beautiful blond, and the handcuffs with the missing key.

I made a dumb mistake when Chris and I first got married. Probably the stupidest thing a woman could ever do, but at the time, I thought I was being considerate and practical. You see, Chris would give me flowers for our anniversary…and they were great…but that really made it easy for him…just give me flowers every year, right? Maybe it came through that it wasn’t quite doing the job for me because he asked if I liked flowers, or did I think they were kind of a waste because they just wilted after a few days and then got thrown out. Practical me said “yes, you have a point” and maybe something different would be nice. Well, what ended up happening was a card and dinner (which we mostly did anyway) and no flowers.

He always scoffed at those silly jewelry commercials too…like they were just soooo over the top and who could afford that, and thank goodness I wasn’t like ‘those’ women. (To be honest, I have gotten a nice necklace here and there, but you get the picture) I got chocolates a few times as well, but I probably complained that eating chocolate was bad for my figure, so that soon stopped.

So now, at nearly fifteen years of marriage I don’t get flowers, chocolate, or jewelry. I never thought I wanted or cared about those things, but now? Yes…I do. Mostly, I want flowers. Not the cheap little arrangement either…but the nice kind that brighten up the room and make me feel special. Why did I ever tell him I didn’t need flowers?

I know…I’ll tell him about my seventeenth birthday when the really hot guy I was dating gave me a dozen red roses and how excited and thrilled I was to get them. I’ll tell him that I even took pictures. That should work…right? Or maybe I should just tell him I’ve changed my mind and would like flowers once in a while. Who knows? Maybe he’ll be relieved to finally have something to give me that he knows I want.

What was I thinking???

Posted: February 5, 2014 in Advice
Tags: , , ,

I’ve been going to Aikido for about a month now and I’m loving it! The first few times I went were spent learning how to fall – not too exciting but a necessary skill, believe me. I’m learning what to do when someone grabs my arm, or grabs me from behind, or basically grabs me anywhere, and how to get away…which in my line of work is essential. It’s also given me a feeling of empowerment which I have to say is pretty awesome…only I think I may have overdone it. The other day I made the mistake of telling my friend, Ramos, that I could take him. I know…not very smart of me, but I was looking forward to throwing him over my shoulder like I’d imagined so many times. Naturally, he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to show me how wrong I was. I didn’t know at the time that he was a martial arts expert. Why didn’t he tell me this before I made a fool of myself? Needless to say, I couldn’t get the drop on him to save my life, and I guess it would have been funny if you think getting thrown to the ground and having your @ kicked is fun. Luckily, we were in his apartment which connects to Thrasher Development, and the carpet was nice and soft or it may have hurt. But the worse part wasn’t getting plastered to the floor in the grip of a 200 pound macho man (who was enjoying it way too much, I might add). Nope, it was the fact that Uncle Joey showed up and snapped a picture of that moment. The flash startled me enough, but the smile on his face…like he’d just won the lottery, still makes my stomach hurt. I think he’s putting it in a file…with my name on it. Yikes!! Why does this always happen to me? He says I can earn the photo back from him. All I have to do is help him win his next poker match. I can do that…but seriously?? What was I thinking???

I am not a ‘new year’s resolution’ type person. Mostly because I usually fail, but this year, I’m going to make a goal I can keep. I hope. Not too long ago I got shot in the arm. Not a shot like you get at the Dr.’s office. I really got shot by a bullet! It went right through my arm! It hurt like hell! If you’ve ever been shot, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, I hope that you never do. Although my arm still twinges now and then, it’s mostly better, so I feel pretty lucky. Still, it could have been much worse. So this year, I’m going to make a resolution not to get shot again. I’m also going to start training in a martial art called Aikido. I’m kind of excited about that. My friend, Billie Payne is meeting me at her dojo tonight for my first lesson. I’m eager to learn how to defend myself, and I think it will help me feel more in control of my life. I could turn into one of those cool ninja’s that no one wants to mess with. So now I actually have two new year’s resolutions. One, not to get shot, and the other, learn how to kick ass! This should be fun!

The Lights Went Out

Posted: December 4, 2013 in Experiences, Thoughts
Tags: , ,

Yesterday, I decided I’d better get some Christmas shopping done while things were still on sale. I went to the mall, even though it was snowing pretty hard, and got started. Of course, the first thing that caught my eye was a gorgeous red dress. I’d always wanted a dress in that color and thought, what the heck? It wouldn’t hurt to try it on. Half the time clothes like that didn’t look good on me, so I probably wouldn’t buy it anyway. Even with all my rationalizations, I couldn’t help the twinge of guilt that I was looking at something for myself when I should have been shopping for my family. Before I could change my mind, I found the dress in my size and hurried to the dressing-room. I had just taken my clothes off and was standing there in my undies when the lights went out. I let out a little yelp to find myself undressed and surrounded by total darkness. As my heart raced, my eyes adjusted and I realized a faint light was coming under the door. At least it was enough to see my hand in front of my face. That was when I heard footsteps approaching my door. They stopped right outside and, as the knob turned, I prayed I had actually locked it. “Don’t come in!” I yelled, and rushed to throw on my shirt. The rattling stopped and without a word, the footsteps retreated. What the freak! I quickly threw on my pants, shoes, and coat, then grabbed my purse and high-tailed it out of there. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized my shirt was on inside-out, but at least I was in one piece. And the red dress? After that, it didn’t really matter. Who needs a red dress anyway? So maybe from now on, I’ll try harder to listen to that little voice in my head. The one that’s usually right.

I got a phone call recently from someone I thought was out of my life for good. It really threw me to hear Kate’s voice saying hello and asking me how I was doing. I have to admit I wasn’t very friendly. That’s when she told me she was in town on business, and wanted to know if I’d go out to lunch with her. Seriously?? She thought I’d do that? To set the record straight, Kate is one of my least favorite people, and that is putting it mildly. At one time, she was after my husband, and nearly got me killed. Why she thought I’d like to go out to lunch with her boggled my mind. Until she mentioned we wouldn’t be alone. Then it kind of clicked. She had a new associate, and was hoping to get my opinion on his trustworthiness. As in, she wanted me to read his mind.

“Sure,” I said. “But just so you know, my going rate is five hundred dollars an hour.”

Without hesitation, she quickly agreed, and now I was committed to spending a whole hour with my former nemesis. I didn’t know if I’d done the right thing, but I had to admit, I was certainly curious to find out what kind of trouble she was in, and the money didn’t hurt either. I arrived at the restaurant to find her seated with a tall, gorgeous, blond guy, who loaded on the charm, and greeted me as Kate’s old college buddy. Since she was about six years younger than me, I took that as a complement. I picked up enough from her thoughts to answer his questions about our college days together, and then started asking questions of my own. By the time lunch was over, I knew lots more about their relationship than I wished. After lunch, he had an appointment and had to leave, which suited Kate’s plans perfectly, giving her a chance to ask me what I’d found out. It was tempting not to tell her everything, but since she was paying me, I had to give it to her straight.

“You’re right,” I began. “He’s hiding something from you.” Her face paled, but she motioned for me to continue. “First of all, he works for your rival… Wayne?… and the plan was to make you fall for him, because of his considerable amount of charm and good looks, and then undermine your organization so that Wayne can take a big cut of your profits. But now he’s having second thoughts because… he’s fallen in love with you. He doesn’t want to go through with the plan, but now he’s worried that his boss will kill him. He’d tell you, but he thinks once you find out he was going to double-cross you that you’ll kill him too. So basically, he’s decided he’s pretty much toast.”

“Thank you Shelby.” She handed me five one hundred dollar bills and stood. She was thinking that was the best news she’d heard in weeks and it was worth every penny.

We said our goodbyes, and I smiled at this turn of events. Kate was in love, and I’d helped her. She was going to do everything she could to save her man. Who would have thought? And what a mess! Phew! It made me realize that even with all the trouble I get into, I’m still glad I don’t have her life.