Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

Last week, Uncle Joey called me about something that was stolen from his home. He’d already questioned the hired help, but none of them admitted to taking anything. That’s where I came in. Since I can read minds, he knew I’d get to the bottom of it.

I met him at his house, since that was the scene of the crime, and he invited me inside.

“Thanks for coming,” he said.

“Sure.” It was nice that he thanked me, even though everyone knows you can’t say no to a mob boss. “So what’s going on?”

He scratched his jaw, feeling a bit foolish, since the missing item had no value except to him. “I just noticed that my grandfather’s old set of golf clubs is missing. I’ve kept them in the storage shed for years and I just noticed they’re gone. I’ve questioned everyone, but no one will confess to taking them.”

“Were they worth a lot of money?”

“No. That’s why I can’t figure it out. I mean… they’re old, so maybe someone would think they were worth something, but I’m pretty sure they’re not.”

“Why’s that?”

“Because they’re relics from the past, and they’re made out of wood. Nothing like they make them today, and totally worthless in today’s world. I guess I’ve been keeping them for sentimental reasons.” He shrugged. “But I suppose they could be worth something to a museum, but that’s hardly a reason to steal them. All my workers are still here. Would you mind talking to them for me?”

“Okay.”

I followed him to his office. “Wait here, and I’ll send them in.”

The first worker to enter was the cleaning lady. She’d been cleaning Uncle Joey’s house for years, and she was miffed that he suspected her of stealing from him. I smiled and asked her about the golf clubs. “I’ve never seen them. I don’t clean the storage shed, so I don’t know anything about them.”

She was telling the truth, but there was something she was nervous about. “That makes sense,” I said. “And you’ve never seen anything missing around the house?”

She frowned, wondering why I was asking that. “Like what?” Her thoughts flashed to the master bedroom closet where she’d helped herself to a few items of jewelry that Jackie, Uncle Joey’s wife, had kept in the panel of drawers. The worker knew the real stuff was in the safe, but Jackie had so many sets of similar earrings, that she’d never miss the few she’d taken. Besides that, the drawers were stuffed so full of jewelry, it was like a browsing in a jewelry store. There was no way Jackie would remember what was in there.

“You know who my Uncle is, right?”

The skin around her eyes tightened. “Of course.”

“So it’s probably not a good idea to take anything from… say… his wife’s stash of jewelry, right?”

Her face paled. “Of course not.”

“Good. You’re free to go.”

She swallowed, and hurried out of the office. The next person to come in was the groundskeeper. He admitted that he had access to the storage shed, so I figured if it was anyone, it would be him. I asked him about the missing golf clubs and he nodded. “Yes, I know. Mr. Manetto is quite upset about them, but I don’t know who took them. I think they’ve been gone for a long time, though, and he just noticed it now.”

“When was the last time you saw them?”

He shrugged. “A year ago, maybe two.”

“Oh wow. Okay. That helps.”

He was thinking it was around the time that Jackie and Manetto got married. After she moved in, she made several changes, and he remembered that she’d cleaned up a lot of old junk. Maybe she did it?

“Thanks. You’ve been very helpful.”

After he left, the pool maintenance guy came in. He was more nervous than the others, but that was because he’d overcharged Uncle Joey a lot of money, and it had something to do with the pool filters.

“So do you keep an eye on the pool filters?”

His eyes widened. Why was I asking him that? “Yes. That’s part of my job.”

“How many filters are in Uncle Joey’s pool?”

“He has three.”

“Wow. So how often do they need to be cleaned or changed?”

He swallowed, completely thrown by my questioning. “It depends on how much the pool is used. I test it weekly.” He was thinking that he’d told Uncle Joey he needed the pool filters replaced every month, but it was more like every six months to a year. During that time, he just exchanged the filters with some he already had, but charged Uncle Joey the full price. But there was no way I could know that.

I sighed. Was everyone a cheater? “Look… I know you’re overcharging my Uncle for the pool filters. I don’t think he’ll be happy to know about that, but you’ve brought this on yourself. If you’d just been honest, you could have saved yourself some pain, now I can’t promise anything.”

“What? How? Wait… you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

My brows rose. “Yes I do, and I’m telling him.” I shook my head. “If I were you, I’d leave while you’re still in one piece.” He jumped up from his seat and hurried out the door.

I wandered into the kitchen to find Uncle Joey. He was pouring himself a soda and offered me one. I thanked him and he smiled. “So how did it go? Did you figure it out?”

“Not exactly, but I have an idea. Before I tell you what it is, I have some bad news. You’re going to have to hire a new pool maintenance company.” I explained what I’d found out and watched his face darken.

“Anyone else?”

“You might want to find a new cleaning lady too. The gal you have has taken a couple of things that don’t really matter, but I wouldn’t trust her in your house, either.”

“Damn.” Uncle Joey took a breath. “I guess it’s a good thing you came, but what about the golf clubs?”

“None of your workers had anything to do with them. But… you might want to ask Jackie. The groundskeeper said she cleaned out a lot of junk when you first got married. She may have gotten rid of them. Did you ever tell her they had sentimental value?”

He shook his head. “No, I guess I didn’t.”

I patted his arm. “Well… that might be what happened then.”

His lips twisted, and he gave a resigned sigh. “You’re probably right. I’ll ask her when she gets home.” He shook his head. “Well… that’s not what I expected, but thanks for helping me out.”

“You bet.”

“It’s kind of discouraging to think people aren’t as honest as they should be.”

“I know, and I wish it was different. I mean… they all know you’re a mob boss, so you’d think they’d be more careful, right?”

“Exactly.” He was thinking that he’d have to brush up on his image, so this wouldn’t happen again. Maybe make a few threats, that sort of thing.

I shook my head. “I don’t think that’s necessary. These guys just got complacent. But your groundskeeper’s a good guy, so it’s not everyone, and I’ll be happy to come over and check out your new workers, just to make sure.”

“Thanks Shelby.”

We said our goodbyes and I left, glad I could help.

Who knew being rich came with so many problems?

So that’s my story for today. If you’re at a thrift store and you happen to see some old wooden golf clubs, be sure and let me know. There might even be a reward!

Until next time,

~Shelby

The only thing I don’t like about winter is that it’s too cold to go for a motorcycle ride.

But the days are getting longer and the temperatures are rising. Maybe that’s why I like spring so much. This last week was unusually warm, with the temps climbing up into the sixties. So naturally, I decided to be prepared yesterday when I went to Thrasher Development for a meeting with Uncle Joey. I made sure I had my leather jacket, along with some warm, black leather gloves in the back seat of my car. I even threw a scarf in there… just in case.

At the end of my meeting, I walked out to find Ramos leaving to run an errand for Uncle Joey. I ran to stop him, and breathlessly asked if he was taking the bike.

“Uh… it’s a little cold for that,” he said.

“It’s in the sixties… I just checked the weather app on my phone. That’s not too cold. I could go with you.”

His brows rose and he was thinking that I had no idea how cold I could get, but he could tell that I was desperate, and he kind of liked it. “Okay. But only if you brought something warm to wear.”

“You know I did.”

He shook his head. “All right. I need to get my gloves and coat. I’ll meet you in the garage.”

Barely containing my excitement, I hurried to my car to grab my things. I slipped on my leather jacket, wrapped the scarf around my neck a few times, and slipped on my gloves. Ramos came out of the elevator and stepped toward his motorcycle. Instead of his leather jacket, he wore a black parka. He also wore a pair of outer pants over his jeans, and he carried a pair a black leather gloves that fit halfway up his forearms.

As he pulled the cover off his motorcycle, I joined him, and he glanced at me with a critical eye. “I thought you had something warm to wear.”

“I do. See? I brought my jacket and gloves, and a scarf.”

He shook his head. “I don’t think that’s enough.”

“Sure it is. It’s sixty-four degrees outside. I’ll be fine.”

He sighed. “Okay… but it’s not my fault if you get cold.”

“I’ll be riding behind you. It will keep me warm enough.” I almost said, I’m always hotter when I’m with you, but I kept that part to myself.

He popped the trunk of his car, and handed me my helmet before grabbing his own. Ready to go, he rolled the bike out of the space and started it up. Extending his arm toward me, I took hold of it, and swung my leg over the back to settle into the seat behind him. He made sure my feet were on the pegs, and my arms arounds his waist, before pulling out of the parking garage.

Just like always, a little thrill shot through me, and I couldn’t help the big smile that crossed my face. We pulled onto the street, and Ramos expertly maneuvered through traffic until we made it out of the busy city. He turned onto a frontage road and we stayed on it for several miles with only a few traffic signals to stop our progress.

That’s when I realized I had no idea where we were going, or how long it would take. Still… it hardly mattered since I was right where I wanted to be. Pretty soon, my nose started running, and I had to keep sniffing since I couldn’t wipe it. Not long after that, I noticed my toes were going numb. But that was nothing compared to my knees.

I took turns holding one hand over my kneecap while holding Ramos with the other. I did this several times, but it didn’t seem to help. How far were we going anyway? Pretty soon my eyes were watering from the cold, along with my nose, but under the full-sized helmet, I couldn’t wipe them. If we didn’t stop soon, I’d be a freezing cold mess.

Luckily, Ramos slowed and pulled onto a different road that led to a private airfield. It was another ten minutes to the airfield office, and I had begun to shiver. We finally came to a stop in front of the building, and Ramos helped me off the bike. I staggered a little and had to grab his arm to stand.

After he dismounted, he pulled off his helmet and glanced my way. “You okay?”

I nodded, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to pull my helmet off since I wasn’t sure how presentable I’d be.

“Let’s go in and warm up.”

I nodded again, and waited until he turned his back before I pulled off my helmet, and wiped my nose. I grabbed a tissue out of my purse and cleaned up my face, hoping I didn’t look too bad. Ramos held the door open for me and I could barely get my legs to move. I’d never been so stiff in my life.

Inside, Ramos greeted the manager who seemed surprised we’d ridden in on the bike. “Come on into the break room,” he said. “And have a cup of coffee. Looks like you need some warming up.”

He was looking at me when he spoke, thinking that, without the helmet covering my face, I would have frostbite for sure. I shuffled into the break room while Ramos took care of the business part of our visit. After pulling off my gloves, I poured a hot drink into the first mug I found, and wrapped my hands around it, reveling in the warmth.

Soon, Ramos joined me, pouring a cup and taking a few swallows. “Are you going to drink that?”

“Yes… I’m just getting my fingers warm first.”

He smirked. “Colder than you thought huh?”

“Yeah. I thought it was warm enough outside… guess I was wrong.”

“Yeah… it’s easy to underestimate.”

“What about you?” I asked. “Are you okay?”

“Sure.” He took my hands in his, surprising me at their warmth.

It gave me an idea. “Hey… do you mind putting your hands on my knees?”

His brows rose with surprise, but he did as I asked. “Holy hell. They feel like ice.”

I closed my eyes. “Oh… that feels so good. Thanks.” He held my knees for a few more minutes before the manager came in. The manager thought we looked funny sitting there with Ramos’s hands on my knees, but I didn’t care. I stifled a groan when Ramos let go to take the folder from the manager.

After sliding it into his messenger bag, Ramos glanced at me, hoping I was ready to go. Besides needing to get back, he was getting hot sitting there in his warm clothes. With a shake of my head, I finished off my drink, feeling marginally better. Standing, my frozen legs even held me up, and I could almost walk normally.

The ride back was a test of endurance. Ramos had offered me the use of his outer pants, but I’d refused, knowing he would take most of the brunt of the breeze. I tried tucking my knees in closer to his body, and that helped, but they were still nearly frozen solid by the time we got back.

After I staggered off the bike, Ramos shook his head, feeling sorry for me. He slipped our helmets into the trunk of his car, and glanced my way. “I tried to warn you.”

“I know. It’s not your fault.”

“Go home and get warm.” I nodded, but before I could move, he pulled me into a hug. His warmth felt amazing, and I couldn’t get over how he wasn’t freezing like me.

He let me go and I smiled up at him. “Thanks. I feel better now.”

“Good. Maybe we’d better wait until it’s a little warmer next time.”

“Yeah… you’re right.” I picked up that he regretted taking me, and he hoped it hadn’t put me off going on motorcycle rides with him. I chuckled. “Oh… you don’t need to worry about that. Sure, it was freezing cold, but I still enjoyed it.” He sent me that sexy smile of his that turned my insides to mush and I grinned back. “See you later.”

After I got home, it took two hours before my knees warmed up.

Still… I would do it again… only I’d be sure to wear warmer clothes… and snow pants on my legs.

But… with spring just around the corner, next time I wouldn’t have to.

Holiday Hijinks

Posted: December 11, 2020 in Experiences, Thoughts
Tags: ,

All my kids wanted for Christmas was a PlayStation 5. If you know anything about PlayStations, you know this is the newest and most sought after PlayStation in the history of PlayStations, and getting one is like winning the lottery. So… being the wonderful mom that I am, I dutifully put in all the time and effort… including a deal with the devil… to track one down.

So… besides all the time it took to actually order, pay for it, and have it delivered… this happened….

On delivery day, I didn’t want to take any chances that someone would steal it off my porch. So I used my tracking number to pin down the estimated time of delivery. Then I waited, watching out the window for the delivery truck to show up. It got tedious, but, after all of my previous effort, it didn’t matter how long I had to wait by the window and stare out into the street, I would make sure I got that PlayStation or die trying.

At long last, the truck pulled up in front of my house, causing my heart to race with excitement. Not wanting to wait another minute, I opened my door and stood out in the cold while the delivery guy got my package. It seemed to take him a long time to leave the truck, and I was starting to shiver in the cold, but I couldn’t go inside now.

Finally, he hopped out of the truck, carrying a big box with the PlayStation logo on the outside. Seeing me, he hesitated a second before continuing up to the porch. I smiled to put him at ease and gushed out my thanks. “Is that what I think it is?”

“Yup.” That what he said, but he was thinking, if you want an air fryer.

In case you don’t know… I have the rare gift of reading minds. His thought brought me up short and my brow furrowed. He handed it to me, and I looked him in the eye. “This is a PlayStation 5, right?”

He wasn’t expecting that, and his eyes widened. “Of course. That’s what it says right on the box. Have a good day.” Clearly uneasy, he rushed back to his truck, wondering why was I questioning him. There was no way I could know that he’d switched them out.

“Wait!” I yelled. “Don’t you have to scan the box or something?”

He glanced over his shoulder. “Uh… I already did.”

As he closed up the back of his truck, I ran into the house, ditched the box, and jumped into my car. He drove off, but I managed to back out of my driveway in time to follow him. He went a few blocks before making another stop, and I took that moment to put a call through to Ramos, my friend, and a hitman for the mob.

I wasn’t about to let this guy get away with robbing me of my prize, and I knew Ramos was my best chance of getting it back.

“Hey Babe, what’s up?”

“The delivery guy stole my PlayStation 5. I’m following him around so he won’t get away with it, but I could use some help.” I kept him on the phone while following the truck to his next stop, relaying all the pertinent details about where I was.

“I’m on my way. Don’t lose him.”

Just knowing Ramos was coming helped calm me down, but I was so angry, I could hardly see straight. At the guy’s next stop, I wrote down his license plate number, just to be on the safe side. I also got a little closer to his truck than I should have, but he hadn’t seemed to notice me yet.

At the truck’s fourth stop, Ramos arrived, pulling up beside me in his black sports car. After giving me a nod, he parked his car in front of the delivery truck, boxing it in, and I pulled up behind it. This was a perfect spot for a confrontation, since the delivery guy had stopped on a lonely stretch of road with only a few houses.

After dropping off a package, the delivery guy jumped into his truck and noticed Ramos had blocked him in. “Hey!” He yelled at Ramos. “What do you think you’re doing?”

Ramos got out of his car and shrugged. “Oh… am I in your way?”

Before the guy could answer, I made it to the other side of the open doorway and stepped inside the truck. His head whipped around to see me holding my stun flashlight at him.

“What the hell?” The flashlight didn’t scare him, but the look in my eyes finally registered, and he took a step back.

“You stole my PlayStation 5, and if you don’t give it to me right now, I’m calling the police.”

“Go ahead,” he said, deciding to call my bluff. “You have no proof, and I’ll be happy to tell them you’re threatening me.”

“Where is it?” I asked, not the least bit worried. He was thinking that he had it stashed next to his seat in the air fryer box.

“You’re crazy, lady. Now get out of my truck.” He moved toward me, thinking he’d shove me out if he had to. Lucky for me, he’d forgotten all about Ramos.

At that moment, Ramos stepped inside the cab and pushed the guy into the back, up against the side of the truck. “How much do you want to live?” Ramos’s hand came around the delivery guy’s throat causing his eyes to bulge.

“Stop… you’re… choking me. Okay,” he gasped. “It’s under… the seat.”

“No it’s not,” I said. “He put it in an air fryer box.” I searched through the boxes behind his seat until I finally spotted the right one. “Here it is.” I pulled the hastily taped flap open, and there it was. My PlayStation 5.

“Is everything there?” Ramos asked.

I found all the paperwork, and examined it. “Yes. It’s all here.” After pushing everything back into the box, I picked it up and stood. Ramos still held the guy down and I gave him my fiercest look. “I really want to stun you.”

I slid my gaze to Ramos. “Can I stun him?” I held my stun flashlight where the delivery guy could see it, and slowly moved it toward his face. Just to scare him, I pushed the button. The tongs flickered and buzzed, sparking and sounding just like a downed electrical line.

The guy jerked back, hitting his head against the side of the truck.

Ramos’s lips quirked up and he tried not to smile. He glanced the delivery guy’s way. “What do you say?”

Looking between us, the guy swallowed. “Look… I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done it. Okay? Just take it and go… You’ve got your PlayStation now… it’s all cool. Just let me go. We can forget this ever happened.”

That hardly seemed fair to me, but we’d been sitting there long enough that I was afraid one of the neighbors might get suspicious and call the police, and I didn’t want to deal with that. Still… it wasn’t right that he just got away with it.

“Okay. Fine. But I want your name in case I change my mind.”

He gave it to me, and I checked the lanyard around his neck to make sure it matched. “Don’t forget that I know how to find you.” He swallowed and nodded again. I glanced at Ramos. “Okay, let’s go.”

Ramos waited until I stepped out of the truck before he released the guy. As I backed my car up, Ramos did the same, and the delivery guy took off pretty fast. Ramos pulled behind me and got out of his car. As he came to my door. I rolled down the window, and he leaned in close.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen you so mad,” he said. “It was downright scary.”

I heaved out a breath. “If you knew what I’d been through for that PlayStation, you’d understand.”

“I can imagine… I’ve heard they’re pretty scarce, so it makes perfect sense. I’m glad you got it back.”

“Yeah… thanks to you.”

He grinned. “Oh… I’m not sure you needed me all that much, but I’m happy to help. Besides that… now you owe me.”

I huffed. “Yeah… I guess so. What do you want?” Realizing what I’d said, the blood rushed to my face, and my eyes widened. “Uh… I mean within reason… of course.”

He chuckled. Then he got that wicked gleam in his eyes. “A round of pool at the Tiki Tabu, and wear that black shirt… you know which one I mean.” He was thinking about the shirt with the round neck-line that I’d worn the last time we were there. It tended to gape open every time I took a shot.

“Really?”

“Uh-huh.”

I tried to come up with a way out, but I couldn’t think of a single thing. So I tried to put it off. “Fine. But it might have to wait until after Christmas… you know… because it’s such a busy time of year.”

He pursed his lips and shook his head. “Tomorrow… at noon.” His brow lifted and I knew he wouldn’t take no for an answer.

“Okay… I’ll be there.”

“Good. See you then.”

He got into his car and took off, leaving me sitting in a daze. What had I just agreed to? Dang. Oh well… at least I got the PlayStation back, so that was good. And playing pool with Ramos was probably getting off lightly. Ha! Who was I kidding… to be honest, I looked forward to it, and that probably made me a bad person. It was like playing with fire, but I didn’t have much of a choice, right?

So… see what I mean about a deal with the devil? What I do for my kids…

The other day I got a phone call from a friend of mine.

Jerry lives downtown in the condominiums above the mall plaza, and I hadn’t heard from him for a while. We’d struck up a friendship a few months ago, when he’d helped me investigate a man who lived in his building. In fact, he’d called Ramos to save me from a crazy person who wanted me dead, so I owed him.

After a few pleasantries, he got right to the point. “I have a problem, and I wondered if you could help me out?”

“Of course. What’s up?”

“Can you come to the plaza? My usual table? It would be easier to explain in person.”

“Oh… sure. I’m actually at Thrasher Development right now, so I’m not too far. I could be there in about fifteen minutes, would that work?”

“Yes. Do you think you could bring your friend, Ramos?” I hesitated, so he explained. “Not that I think it will get out of hand, but I’d feel better if he were here.”

“Uh… I’m sure he’d be happy to come if he’s not busy. Just a minute and let me ask.” I set my phone down on my desk, and found Ramos in Uncle Joey’s office.

“Sorry to interrupt, but do you remember Jerry from the mall?” They both nodded, so I continued. “He needs my help with something, and he wondered if Ramos could come with me.”

“What’s going on?” Uncle Joey asked.

“He said he’d explain when we got there, but if he needs Ramos, it must be serious.”

“We’re basically done here, so that’s fine, as long as he doesn’t make a habit of it.” He was thinking that I owed Jerry, and sending Ramos along would help keep me out of trouble, so he didn’t mind too much.

I hurried back to my office and told Jerry we’d be there soon. Ramos followed behind, and I picked up that he looked forward to this little diversion. “Want to take the bike?”

“You know it.” Luckily I’d worn my black jeans, boots, and leather jacket to work. Of course, lately, it had become my standard style of dress, and I only rotated between different shirts these days. What can I say…I like to be prepared.

The ride to Jerry’s wasn’t far, but I’d take what I could get. After parking, we took the escalator to the plaza, and found Jerry sitting at his table. He smiled and waved us over. After giving me a huge hug, he asked us to sit down while he explained what was going on.

“Thanks for coming on such short notice. I really appreciate it. Uh…the reason I called is because I have a problem with one of my neighbors.”

Jerry shook his head before continuing. “I’m usually pretty happy to live here, but my new neighbor is a college student who plays his music really loud, and he’s had some people over for parties that have lasted all night. I’ve talked to him and complained to the manager, but nothing has changed and I’m at my wits end.” He glanced at Ramos. “I was wondering if you could scare him straight?”

“Is he home?” Ramos asked.

“Yes, that’s why I wanted you to come now.”

“Sure. Let’s do it.”

Jerry let out a sigh and smiled. We followed him into the building and up the elevator to his floor. As we stepped to the neighbor’s door, Jerry stopped us. “Uh…Brayden won’t be happy to see me, so I should probably wait out here while you…uh…talk to him. Also…maybe Shelby should knock. He’s more likely to open the door for her.”

Ramos looked me over and nodded, thinking Jerry was right to think the guy would open the door for me, so it was a good call.

I rewarded Ramos with a smile and he winked. Shaking my head, I rang the doorbell. Ramos and Jerry stood out of view. A few seconds ticked by before the door swung open and I got my first look at Brayden.

He had that classic rich-boy smirk, with unkempt hair and a lazy demeanor. He leaned against the door-jam and looked me over like I was a prize. “Hello gorgeous, where have you been all my life?”

“Hi Brayden.” I patted his cheek. “We need to talk.” I stalked past him into the room. He followed behind, pushing the door shut. Before it closed all the way, Ramos stepped inside.

Brayden glanced over his shoulder and froze. “Who the hell are you?” He glanced my way. “What’s going on here?”

“Like I said, we need to talk.” The room was nicely furnished, but messy, with plastic cups and plates sitting on any available surface. “I hear you like to party.”

“Uh…yeah. So? There’s no law against that.” He wondered if his stupid neighbor had complained again. That guy just wouldn’t shut up, and it was messing with his social life.

My gaze rested on him. “No, but the way you party is a problem. Loud music, lots of people doing who-knows-what at all hours of the night. It’s a little much for your neighbors.”

“Hey…we’re just having a little fun. I can’t help it if it gets a little loud sometimes, but it’s not that bad, and mostly just on the weekends.”

I shook my head and turned to Ramos. “He doesn’t seem to get my meaning. Maybe he’ll listen to you.”

Ramos stepped toward him, and Brayden backed up until he hit the wall and couldn’t go anywhere. His face paled, and I picked up his fear at the hardness in Ramos’s eyes. Brayden had never been confronted by anyone like him. Then Ramos spoke, and Brayden nearly wet his pants.

“Brayden. Normally I wouldn’t bother with someone like you. But Jerry is my friend. He doesn’t like all the noise and loud music.” Ramos put his hand on Brayden’s shoulder and squeezed. “I don’t like it when Jerry’s unhappy. It brings out the worst in me.” He squeezed a little harder. “It makes me want to hurt something.”

“Ow… okay, okay. I get it. Let me go.”

Ramos dropped his grip and stepped away, his face still hard. With a quick glance my way, he asked, “Does he?”

I picked up that Brayden wasn’t convinced that Ramos would actually do anything to harm him. He might take a break this weekend, but after that, he wasn’t about to change anything. He’d party if he wanted to. “Maybe for a few days…then it’s back to party time.”

Brayden’s eyes widened. Before he could say a word, Ramos stepped close. This time Brayden tried to shove Ramos away. Before he knew what hit him, Ramos held his arm behind his back and had his face smashed against the wall.

“This is a warning, Brayden. One word from Jerry about your parties, or loud music, and I’ll be back. You might wake up in the middle of the night with me standing over you, and I won’t be so nice next time. Now…do you understand?”

“Yes…yes…it won’t happen again.”

Ramos stepped back, releasing his hold, and Brayden slumped against the wall. Ramos raised a brow at me, and I nodded, letting him know that Brayden was sufficiently intimidated. With a hard look at Brayden for good measure, I opened the door and walked out, Ramos following behind.

Jerry waited in the hallway, his eyes anxious. “What happened?”

“I think your problem is solved,” Ramos answered. “But if it happens again, be sure to let me know. I’d be happy to come back.”

Jerry’s shoulders relaxed. “Thanks. I really appreciate this.”

“No problem.”

“I’ll walk you out.”

We left Jerry with a promise to stay in touch, and headed to the elevator. “Wow, that was kind of fun.” Ramos’s brows rose, so I continued. “I mean…not that I’m glad you had to nearly beat the kid up, but setting him straight was rather satisfying. That doesn’t make me a bad person, does it?”

“You? No. You may have your weaknesses, but you’ll never be a bad person.” He gave me that sexy half-smile that turned my insides to mush. “Even though I might wish for it once in a while.”

“Ha-ha.”

He shrugged. “The only bad thing about doing a favor for Jerry is that you don’t owe me for it.”

“Thank goodness. I already owe you too much as it is.” As his eyes lit up, I quickly continued. “Uh…but we’re almost even.”

He shook his head. “Not even close.” He stepped closer, nearly pinning me against the side of the elevator. My breath caught and I froze, mesmerized by the desire in his dark eyes. The elevator doors opened, and I knew I should just jump right out of there, but for some reason, I couldn’t move a muscle. My breathing even got a little ragged.

Ramos stepped away and grabbed my hand to pull me out, since several people were now getting on the elevator and sending me curious glances.

Stepping to the bike, Ramos handed me my helmet, smirking at my total loss of composure. “You want to take the long way back?”

I could have smacked him and said no, but the only person I’d hurt would be me, and there was no way I was that stupid. So I just kept my mouth shut and nodded. His sexy grin accompanied by the twinkle of mischief in his eyes was totally worth it.  

After snapping my helmet on, I climbed behind Ramos and wrapped my arms around his waist, hugging him tightly. We started off, and he took a long and winding route up into the backstreets of the hills on the edges of the city. The sun hit the leaves as they fell, sending a cascade of golden light all around us, landing on the earth in fallen kisses.

The blue sky and white fluffy clouds was the perfect backdrop for this amazing autumn day, and I breathed in the fresh air that carried a chill to it. Soon, it would be too cold for a ride like this, but it didn’t bother me too much. On those cold winter days, I knew this would be one of those perfect memories that I could pull out and savor. But until then…I’d hold on tight and enjoy the ride.

A Dying Wish

Posted: September 4, 2020 in Advice, Experiences, Thoughts
Tags: , ,

As most of you know, I work for a mob boss. He knows my secret that I can read minds, and he coerced me into working for him. Now, I call him Uncle Joey, even though he’s not really my uncle, and he treats me like family. Who would have thought I’d become a mob boss’s niece? Not me.

My ability comes in handy for most of Uncle Joey’s needs, and he pays me well for my time, so I can’t complain too much. Even crazier, I’ve developed a soft spot in my heart for him, and he has for me, so I guess it’s not so bad.

Yesterday, he needed me for an unusual task. It involved visiting his father’s old friend whom he hadn’t seen in years. In fact, the old man was in hospice care and fading fast, but he wanted to see Uncle Joey one last time before he died.

At first, I didn’t understand why Uncle Joey needed me, but on the way he explained that things hadn’t been good between his father and this man for a long time. In fact, they’d had a falling out over a business deal and it had brought his father a lot of pain and remorse. He didn’t know much about what had happened, so this visit might shed some light on that.

The last time Uncle Joey had seen Brent was at his father’s funeral. Brent had come to his father’s funeral with a chip on his shoulder. He had been brusque, and seemed to hold a grudge against his father, even though he was dead.

Uncle Joey figured that Brent wanted to meet with him to settle things before he died, but from past experience, he didn’t trust him, and wanted my special help to know exactly what was on his mind.

Intrigued by the story, I looked forward to meeting the man, and hoped I could figure out the mystery between him and Uncle Joey’s father.

We arrived at a large mansion and rang the bell. A man answered, telling us he was Brent’s caregiver, and Brent was expecting us. He led us up the stairs to a large master bedroom. An old man lay propped up in the bed, with an oxygen mask over his sallow face. The fringe of hair around his head was white, and sticking up in places.

The caregiver stepped to his side and jostled him awake, telling him that the Manettos were there. He moved away and Brent’s eyes landed on Uncle Joey. He brightened with anticipation, and brusquely told the caregiver to leave us.

I picked up that the caregiver didn’t like Brent much, but he paid him well, and Brent would be dead soon, so he’d stick it out.

Brent licked his lips with anticipation, and I picked up his relief to finally get something off his chest that had been bothering him for years. “Did your father ever tell you what happened between us?”

He was thinking that he’d probably poisoned his son against him, and that’s why he’d never reached out to him to make amends.

Oops… this didn’t bode well. Uncle Joey glanced at me before responding. “No. He never said anything about it.”

Brent shook his head. “I meant that little to him? Did he ever tell you anything about me?”

“Of course. He told me you were great friends once, and he regretted what happened between you, but he kept the particulars to himself, so I never knew.”

“That’s hard to believe. Your father ruined me. Not just with the business we were involved in, but my reputation. I lost everything, and I had to start all over because of him.”

Hate poured from him, and I took a step back in response.

Uncle Joey wasn’t as concerned as me, thinking this old man couldn’t hurt him now. “I understand you hold a grudge against my father, but all that happened in the past. What do you want from me?”

“I made a promise to your father all those years ago. Now that I’m dying, it’s time to fulfill it. Come closer, and I’ll tell you what it is.”

Alarm spiked through me, and I grabbed Uncle Joey’s arm before he could move. “Don’t do it. He’s planning to kill you.”

Brent’s eyes widened and he moved his fingers to the gun under his blanket.

“He’s got a gun under the covers!”

Uncle Joey reached across Brent and held his hand down before he could raise the gun to shoot him. Brent’s dismay turned to outrage. “Let me go. You can’t do this.” His outrage gave him uncanny strength, and he grabbed Uncle Joey around the neck and squeezed.

Uncle Joey grasped Brent’s wrist and pulled his hand away from his throat. Brent doubled his effort to use the gun, but still couldn’t get his hand away from Uncle Joey.

I ran to the other side of the bed and pushed down on Brent’s arm. Between the two of us, Brent couldn’t move. He struggled, cursing at us, before all the fight went out of him, and he fell back against the bed, his breathing ragged and harsh.

The caretaker had overheard the commotion and rushed in, just as I pulled back the covers and took the gun from Brent.

“What the hell’s going on?” he asked.

“Brent was planning to shoot Uncle Joey,” I said. “Maybe you’d better put this somewhere safe.”

Before he could move, Uncle Joey stepped forward. “If you don’t mind, I think I’ll take that.”

I nodded and handed it over. Uncle Joey checked the chamber and took the bullets out of the gun. He glanced at Brent, his brows drawn together. “Why kill me?”

Brent had a hard time catching his breath. “Because your father… pushed me out… because of you. I swore I’d kill you before I died. Now… it’s all for nothing… you… you…”

Brent never finished that sentence. His eyes turned glassy and he died right there in front of us.

“Whoa,” I said. “Is he dead?”

The caretaker swallowed, then checked Brent’s pulse just to make sure. “Yup.” Nodding, he glanced at his watch for time of death, so he could write it on his report. “I guess that’s it. He’s gone”

“Wow.” I glanced at Uncle Joey. “He really wanted you dead.”

Uncle Joey nodded, then sent me a tiny shrug. “So much for dying wishes.”

“Yeah. You can say that again.”

We left the house. Uncle Joey kept the gun and the bullets, since the caretaker wanted nothing to do with them. On the way home I glanced at Uncle Joey with a raised brow. “So you really have no idea what that was all about?”

He glanced my way and grinned. “Of course I do. That’s why I wanted you to come along. It’s a good thing I did, too.” I nodded, and he continued. “Well, at least that’s one less person I have to worry about who wants to kill me.”

Shocked, I turned his way. “Yeah… I guess that’s positive. How many more are there?”

“Hmmm… I’d say only two or three now that he’s gone.”

He smiled, and I picked up that he was teasing me. “You’re terrible. You had me worried there.”

He chuckled and I couldn’t help chuckling as well. Still, I picked up a name… I think it was something like Sonny… and I knew that someday, he might come calling. I’d just have to make sure I was around so he didn’t succeed.

So there’s my story for the day. It made me realize that having a dying wish is probably not a good thing.

It’s much better to live life with no regrets, and if you have issues with someone, take care of it while you’re alive. Right? Uh… as long as it doesn’t involve killing anyone….

I don’t know about you, but it’s been so hot here I’ve hardly wanted to venture outside after nine am. It’s even hot enough that I’ve given in to Savannah’s pleas to take her to the country club swimming pool. Josh, my fifteen-year-old son is a life-guard there because of Uncle Joey, the mob boss for whom I work. When people tell you it’s not what you know, but who you know – they’re telling the truth.

I’d recently helped Uncle Joey with a tricky problem and ended up saving him a lot of money. He’d invested in a start up tech company, which, I guess, is the thing to do these days. I was even in on the first meeting, just to make sure they were the real deal. Since I can read minds, I’m Uncle Joey’s ace-in-the-hole.

At that first meeting, I’d picked up a lot of positive thoughts about the start-up and how much money they could make. Looking back, I should have picked up the signs that their enthusiasm and positive thoughts were just that… and not too much more.

On paper, it all looked good, and they were so excited about the prospects that it didn’t seem like much of a risk. Uncle Joey handed over a big chunk of change so they could take it to the next level.

That was a few months ago. We met again yesterday, and it was a good thing I was there. They’d done their best to get the software up and running, but they’d run out of money, and needed a lot more to keep going… like… close to a million.

It still sounded like a good investment until I picked up that one of them had used some of the money for a trip to New York to catch a Broadway show and have a good time. Another one had paid for his daughter’s braces, and then splurged on a motorcycle. The last guy seemed to be the only one who wasn’t taking advantage of all that money.

After they got done with their pitch, I caught Uncle Joey’s gaze and raised my brows.

“Did you have a question for these gentlemen?” Uncle Joey asked.

“Yes.” I turned back to the men. “You’ve got some problems we need to address. First of all, this investment money wasn’t meant to be used on a trip to New York.” I nodded at the guilty party, then turned to the next man. “Or a new motorcycle and to pay your debts.” That guy flushed and his eyes widened. How did I know?

The last guy’s mouth dropped open. He didn’t know anything about their exploits, and he could hardly believe they’d gone behind his back and used the money on themselves. Couldn’t they wait for the big pay-off? He turned to them. “Is it true? Did you really do those things?”

Neither one of them wanted to admit it, but they couldn’t lie… not with me there. They stammered a little before nodding, and I picked up a few other things they’d done with the money that sounded even worse.

I shook my head and turned to Uncle Joey. “Can you get your money back?”

“Whoa, no. Wait. We can still work this out.” That came from the only honest guy there.

Uncle Joey shook his head. “I’m disappointed in all of you. I made my investment in good faith, and you’ve let me down. How am I supposed to trust you again?”

“I didn’t do anything wrong,” the honest guy said.

“True, but can you finish this without those two?”

“Yes.” He didn’t think he could do it, but he wasn’t ready to let go of his dream, and he’d say anything to get the money he needed to finish the project.

Uncle Joey glanced my way and I shook my head. He blew out a disgusted breath. “It’s a good thing I insisted on signing a contract between us. You should know that the contract gives me the power to take over the business if any of you are less than forthcoming with me. In light of that, you two bozos are fired.”

They hadn’t expected that, which concerned me. Didn’t they know Uncle Joey was a mob boss?

“You can’t do that. This is my… our… company.” Their protests stopped when Uncle Joey held up a hand.

“Not anymore. Now get out. And remember… nobody crosses me… nobody. Now leave before I change my mind about letting you live.”

That had the desired effect. They both turned toward the door and found Ramos holding it open. He’d been standing there and they’d forgotten all about him. “I’ll make sure you don’t get lost on your way out… unless…” he glanced at Uncle Joey.

“No… you don’t need to rough them up. They won’t be any trouble, right boys?”

They both quickly agreed, even if it rankled, and hurried out the door before Uncle Joey changed his mind. Once the door closed, he turned back to the other guy. “It looks like you’ve lost your partners, and I’ve lost my investment, but I have a proposition for you. Do you want to continue or let it go?”

“Continue, of course, but, I can’t do it alone.”

“I know people,” Uncle Joey said. “But you’ll have to give up ownership of the company and work for me. I believe in your tech, or I wouldn’t make such an offer. We can negotiate the deal if you agree. Otherwise, we’re done here. But I should warn you. Once investors find out what happened, no one else will give you a dime.”

The guy let out a breath. He didn’t want to give up his company, but Uncle Joey had made him an offer he couldn’t refuse, and he wasn’t ready to give up on his dream. “I agree.”

Uncle Joey smiled. It reminded me of the cat who caught the canary. “Good. Let’s go over my terms and I’ll have my lawyer draw up the papers.” Uncle Joey turned to me. “Thanks Shelby. You’ve been a real help.” He was thinking that I could leave now, but he had the perfect payment in mind.

I raised my brows and he shook his head. “I want it to be a surprise.”

I smiled. “Okay. See you later.” I had to admit that I liked some surprises, but most of the time I ruined it by trying to figure out what it was. I mean… I was already thinking about how fun it would be to find a new Tesla in my driveway, but that wasn’t going to happen. It was probably better to forget all about it and not be disappointed.

You’re probably wondering what this has to do with the heat and the country club. Well… I took Savannah to the pool this morning so we could get in a swim while Josh was there. Even though we’re not members, we’re allowed to use the pool because of Josh.

When I got there, the manager hurried over with a big smile on her face. “Welcome to the club. I just wanted you to know that we’re thrilled you’re now full-fledged members. Your Uncle must be quite fond of you. If there’s anything you need, please let me or any of the staff know. Here’s the brochure about the club and everything that comes with your gold membership.”

“Oh wow… that’s great. Thanks so much.”

She smiled, thinking that it was nice we were finally paying members after all the times we’d used the pool for free. “After you’ve had the chance to look it over, we’d be happy to give you the tour. Enjoy the pool.”

“Thanks.”

Well… Uncle Joey certainly outdid himself this time. I was totally shocked, but at least now I don’t have to feel guilty about using the pool, so that’s a plus. This just reinforces that old adage all over again – it’s not what you know, but who you know, right?

Still, I hate to admit it, but I am just a little bit disappointed about the Tesla.

Car Wash Blues

Posted: May 26, 2020 in Advice, Thoughts
Tags: ,

Yesterday, Uncle Joey asked me if I needed to get my car washed. Since I couldn’t remember the last time I’d washed it, I told him yes. He handed me a paper bag and told me to give it to the operator, who would in turn give me a free super-deluxe wash job.

I probably should have been a little worried because he told me not to look inside the bag. Naturally, I listened to his thoughts to find out what he was hiding. As a mind-reader, it’s hard for most people to keep a secret from me. But he put up his mental shields, and I couldn’t pick up a thing.

“For your own protection,” he said, “it’s better that you don’t know.”

“Fine.” I took the bag, along with the address, and drove to the car wash. I’d never been there before, and when I drove up, I found it was one of those old-time car washes, where you sit inside the car and watch while the machine goes through the wash and dry cycles.

The attendant came out, so I told him I wanted the super-deluxe wash, and handed him the paper bag. He seemed confused, so I told him that Manetto sent me. I raised my eyebrows up and down which finally did the trick. The attendant nodded vigorously, then glanced around to see if anyone was watching.

“Pull inside and stop when the light changes to red.”

Before I could say a word, he rushed back inside, leaving me on my own. So I did as he asked and drove inside the washing garage and stopped when the light turned red. I turned off the car, since this was the super-deluxe wash, and I might be here a while.

A moment later the doors on both ends of the garage came down, shutting me in, and the whirring motors began. A couple of machines sprayed down the car from the front, sides, and back. Then the biggest mop I’d ever seen began to spin, and started whipping at the front of the car, flapping against the windshield, and over the top and then to the back of the car.

Other whirring mops spun and came at the car from the sides, sending soapy splashes everywhere. The noise was louder than I liked, and I cringed every time one of the mops hit the windshield. Then came another spray and the process started all over again.

After the second time, I figured the wash was done, but it started up a third time. I knew I’d asked for the deluxe wash, but this was getting ridiculous. After the forth time, I was starting to get nervous. Was this ever going to stop?

Miraculously, all the mops pulled away and my hopes rose. Then a big blast of air blew down on the car, going from the front to the back several times. It was a relief when the dryers stopped, and I let out a sigh, ready to start my car and get out of there.

I watched the light, waiting with bated breath for it to turn green. After it still hadn’t changed, I wondered if I should honk my horn or roll down my window and start screaming to get the operator’s attention.

To my horror, the process started all over again, with the nozzle spray going over the whole car. The whirring mops began and traveled the length of the car, hitting the windshield with that awful thwapping noise, and sending soapy suds all over the place. What the freak?

It went through the whole cycle again, ending with the blowing dryers, howling around me. They finally stopped, and I held my breath for the light to turn green. The garage doors began to life and my hopes rose. Before opening all the way, they slammed back down and the whole process started over.

No! No! No! This was like an episode of the twilight zone. I picked up my phone and called Uncle Joey. “You’ve got to do something. This car wash is holding me hostage.” After I explained what was going on, Uncle Joey said he’d send Ramos and disconnected.

At last, the cycle ended, and I could hardly wait to get out of there. The garage doors slowly opened, and I let out my breath. As I drove out, I spotted Ramos waiting by the doors, a frown marring his handsome features.

I parked and jumped out, happy to see him. “Thanks for coming. What happened? Where’s the operator?”

“He’s gone, along with the bag. I think he must have set the car wash to cycle through a few times so he could get a head start.”

“Dang. I hope it’s not my fault.”

“Nah… I called the owner, and he’s on his way. We’ll find him and get the bag back.”

“What was in it anyway?”

Ramos smiled. “It’s better you don’t know.”

I shook my head, picking up that there was a large amount of money inside, one the operator couldn’t seem to resist.

“Oh… that’s what I thought.”

“Yeah. But we’ll get it back, so don’t worry.” He was thinking that the boss knew where the guy lived, so it wouldn’t be too hard to track him down. And, since he’d saved me again, it was totally worth it to see that look of adoration in my eyes. Even better, now i owed him one. He liked having me in his debt, and his devilish grin sent butterflies through my stomach.

“Uh… I don’t think this qualifies.”

His brows rose. “What? You don’t think saving you from a car wash qualifies?”

“Well… yeah, but—”

“No buts,” he said. “I saved you fair and square. Now… I’ve got to go, but I’ll be thinking about how you can pay me back.” With a saucy wink, he turned on his heel, and jumped onto his motorcycle. A few seconds later, he was gone.

After he left, I smiled, something I would never let him see. Sure… he was a big tease, but I had to admit that I enjoyed it. And, even better, my car was shiny and clean.

Still, I think that the next time it needs a wash, I’ll do it myself.

 

 

A Major Award

Posted: April 13, 2020 in Advice, Experiences, Thoughts
Tags: , , , ,

A few weeks ago, my friend, Billie Jo Payne, asked me to help her with a story she was writing. She’s a newspaper reporter, and she needed to know if her source was telling the truth. Naturally, she thought of me and my ‘premonitions,’ since I’m highly successful at that sort of thing.

She doesn’t know the truth that I read minds, which is for the best, as I don’t want that little secret to get out. So I call it premonitions, which mostly works out as a good explanation for what I do.

Anyway – While at the newspaper offices, I picked up someone’s thoughts about shooting the big boss. Since Billie and I were talking to him at the time, it made for a tense few moments.

To make a long story short, I was able to stop the shooting spree before it happened, thus earning me a bit of notoriety I didn’t necessarily want, and firmly cementing my reputation as the Queen of Premonitions, and hero of the day.

That led to a whole new threat that I won’t go into right now, but since trouble follows me… well, you get the picture. Needless to say, it wasn’t long before Billie called to ask if I’d come to her office. She was receiving an award for the special interest story that I’d helped her with that day, and she wanted me there.

I wasn’t so sure I wanted to go back. I mean… look what happened the last time? But she persisted, telling me that my help had been one of the main reasons she’d won the award, and she wanted me by her side to enjoy her special moment.

How could I turn her down now? Since I didn’t want to ruin her day, I agreed. Walking into the lobby brought that day back to mind, but I didn’t let it bother me too much. I took the elevator to the third floor, and found Billie waiting for me.

Her delight to have me there offset my reservations, and I was happy to join her and her new husband, Dimples, for the award ceremony. Dimples was my partner with the police, and they’d just recently returned from their honeymoon.

The ceremony involved the newspaper staff and a few family members of the person being recognized, and it took place during their lunch hour in the big conference room. In addition, lunch was provided after the award was given out.

“So, does this happen very often?” I asked Dimples, just before they got started.

“I think the last time they did this was about three years ago. So… it’s a pretty big deal. I guess the board, along with Michael, the editor-in-chief, decide when a story warrants this special recognition.”

“Oh… no wonder Billie was so excited.” She was always thinking of getting a journalism award of some kind, so this was great.

“Yeah, totally. They’re not Pulitzer Prizes, but they’re still nice to get.” He was thinking that this was the first time Billie had made the cut, so it was a huge deal to her.

Michael began, proceeding to explain Billie’s great work on the article she wrote. He spoke of how it got picked up by several news syndicates and boosted their paper’s credibility. He ended with high praise for Billie’s excellent work and tenacity.

Next, he presented the award to her amid a round of applause, and she beamed, gratefully accepting the plaque with her name in bold letters. She fairly beamed with pride, and I picked up that she could hardly wait to hang it on her wall.

With that over, Michael caught everyone’s attention before they could move to the buffet table. “We have one more award to present.” He glanced at me with a smile, and my heart sank. Oh no… it was for me.

“We don’t usually do this, but our editorial board and the newspaper owner felt it appropriate. We’d like to present a small token of our gratitude to Shelby Nichols for her quick thinking and extraordinary measures to keep us from harm on that fateful day. Shelby, would you please join me?”

As I snapped my mouth shut, all eyes turned my way, and I forced my feet toward the front of the room. I tried to smile, but I don’t think it worked, since a few people were thinking that I looked shocked… and how could I be taken by surprise when I had premonitions?

Once I reached Michael, he told the story of that day, making me sound like some sort of super woman. Instead of a plaque, he handed me a beautiful, crystal paperweight with the newspaper logo in gold, and my name engraved underneath.

With a smile, I thanked him and took the lovely triangular shaped object, impressed that this was an award I could actually use.

He insisted that I join them for lunch, and I gave in, sitting by Billie and Dimples. It was a relief that Billie didn’t mind that I got an award too, and it was great to catch up with her and Dimples.

Just before it was time to leave, Michael joined us, and I picked up his satisfaction that I’d been surprised. He’d made sure that no one knew about my award but him and his assistant.

He wasn’t sure what that meant about my premonitions, but he was hoping that I’d agree to a personal interview. He’d mentioned it to me before, but the timing hadn’t been right. Maybe now it would work?

Before he opened his mouth to ask, I jumped in. “Thanks for the award, but the answer is still no.” His mouth dropped open, and he stuttered a little. “When I’m ready to give an interview, I’ll let Billie know. How does that sound?”

“Uh… sure.” He shook his head. “I’m… uh… just so you know, the award wasn’t meant to make you feel like you had to do an interview.”

I smiled. “Oh… I know, and I appreciate it.” He wished me a nice day and left us, thinking he was more convinced than ever that my premonitions were real.

Billie shook her head, and Dimples sent me a knowing smile, thinking that I sure knew how to use my superpowers when I needed to. Since he knows my secret, I nodded and smiled back.

“So where are you going to put it?” he asked. He thought it would look good on my desk at the precinct, but I had other plans.

“I’m taking it home so Chris and my kids can see how great I am, since they’re not always convinced of that.”

He chuckled and we finished up our lunch. Soon, it was time to go. As I carried my award to my car, I knew where it needed to go. I’d use it on my desk at Thrasher Development. It would fit in much better with the decor there than at the precinct, and I wanted to show it off to my boss and the hitman who worked for him.

All in all – that experience hadn’t turned out so bad.

It still proved that my life is a little mixed up and crazy… but hey… now I have a Major Award to show for it, so it’s not all bad. In fact… I think things are looking up. Next week, I’m going on vacation with my family to New York, and it’s going to be a blast!

Until next time ~ Shelby.

 

What Do You Think?

Posted: February 7, 2020 in Advice, Thoughts
Tags: , ,

Recently, I was reading an article about how people think. The author was blown away by the fact that not everyone has an inner-dialogue going on in their heads. Basically, he couldn’t get over that fact that not everyone talks to themselves all the time – like he does.

The post got a lot of attention on social media, and I really wanted to chime in, because that just happens to be an area of expertise for me. On the other hand, I don’t like to blab about my mind reading ability, so if you’re reading this, please keep that part to yourself. But… you can certainly see how I could be considered an expert in the matter.

It gave me an idea that it might be interesting to run an experiment or two, just to understand the whole thinking process a little better. Plus, an added benefit might also help me understand how my mind reading ability works.

Naturally, I wanted to test it out on someone who might not mind too much. This person had to know I could read minds, or I couldn’t ask the right questions.

Since I was in my office at Thrasher Development, I could probably talk to Uncle Joey or Ramos about it. Uncle Joey’s the mob boss who knows my secret, and who pays me to help him out, and Ramos is his right-hand man.

As luck would have it, Uncle Joey and Ramos stopped by my office. “I need you to go visit Nick Berardini,” Uncle Joey said. “Ramos will take you.” After explaining what he wanted, I readily agreed to go. Not that I had a choice, but how could I turn down spending time with Ramos?

Usually, going with Ramos meant riding on the back of his motorcycle, but since it’s winter, I managed to take it in stride, knowing it would give me the perfect opportunity to study Ramos’s thought processes on the drive.

Of course, he knew something was up right away. “What’s going on?” he asked, thinking that he didn’t like the way I kept looking at him. What was I up to?

“Uh… well. I’m trying something out. Do you mind answering a question?”

His brows rose, then his lips twisted. He was curious, but skeptical, especially if it was about him.

“It’s not exactly about you.”

Now he was even more curious. “Okay. What do you want to know?”

“When you were thinking that you didn’t like the way I was looking at you… you know… because it meant that I was up to something… were you talking to yourself?”

“What?”

“It’s called ‘inner-dialogue.’ It’s what people do when they’re talking to themselves… it’s a thought process.”

He shook his head. “I don’t do that.”

“Really? Then how do I know what you’re thinking?”

He couldn’t believe I was asking him that.

“Okay, maybe that was a dumb question. I mean… I can pick up what people are thinking, but I always thought it was because I could hear their inner-dialogue. But if you don’t talk to yourself, then how do I do it?”

He let out a chuckle and glanced my way with a teasing light in his eyes. I held up my hand. “Okay… another dumb question… I get it.”

Taking pity on me, he asked, “How do you think it works?”

“I don’t know. I mostly hear thoughts, but sometimes I get images or feelings, or maybe all three. Then there are other times when it could be called premonitions.”

Now he laughed.

“I know that sounds funny,” I agreed. “Since that’s what I’ve been telling people I do. But just go with it for a minute. What is a premonition?”

“I guess it’s a feeling or a vision that something specific is going to happen.”

“Yeah. But when you think about it coming from someone’s mind, and I’m picking it up, it would come across like that… right? Or maybe more like an intention. So… we could call it an intentional thought. Does that make sense? So maybe not words, but intent. It’s hard to explain, and the fact that you’re not always thinking in words kind of surprises me.”

Ramos nodded and smiled, then added, “I know how to explain it.”

I didn’t know what he was going to say, but I knew he thought it was clever. “What?”

“It’s magic.”

This time I laughed. “Hmm… I like that. To be honest, that’s a much easier way to explain it.”

“Yes,” he agreed. “But don’t get a big head about it. It still gets you into a lot of trouble.” He thought it was a beautiful thing… like me. But still got me into more trouble than it might be worth.

I snorted, but my heart warmed just the same.

SO…. in conclusion, I’ve decided that it doesn’t really matter how we think the way we do. Somehow, it all works out, right?

And, as far as I’m concerned. I’m not going to try and explain how my mind reading ability works.  Not anymore. I can read minds… and it’s magic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As most of you know, I have my own consulting agency, but I get most of my income by working for a mob boss. Uncle Joey and I have recently become more than employer/employee since he told the whole Manetto family that I was his niece. I’ve been calling him “Uncle” from the beginning, so it only made sense to continue the charade.

Now when he introduces me to his business associates, he always tells them I’m his niece, and they always look at me differently. I used to think it was bad to be his niece, given the mob boss aspect. But there are times when it’s pretty awesome. In fact, I probably enjoy it way too much – but I try not to think about that part.

We recently met with a used car dealer who runs a gambling business on the side that he didn’t want Uncle Joey to know about. The main reason for that was because he used Uncle Joey’s name, claiming Uncle Joey ran the business. Saying that gave him an edge, and made it lots easier for him to collect the gambling debts his customers accumulated. Of course, Kurt couldn’t keep that secret from me and my mind reading ability.

So yesterday, Uncle Joey asked me to pay a visit to his gambling establishment.

I usually don’t jump at the chance to work for Uncle Joey, but playing poker is fun for me because I always win. Being a mind reader has some really great benefits, and that’s just one I can’t resist.

Of course, it didn’t hurt that I was going with Ramos. He’s Uncle Joey’s hitman and let’s just say… he’s every woman’s dream; tall, dark and handsome with a little sexy danger thrown in for good measure – only he’s real. And he rides a Harley… what more can I say?

I met him in the parking garage at Thrasher Development. Since we were going on his motorcycle, I wore my black jeans, boots, and black motorcycle jacket. He waited by his bike, and my temperature rose just to see him standing there, decked out in black, and his lips tilted into a lopsided, sexy grin.

“You ready?” he asked, admiring my outfit.

“You know it.” I slipped on the helmet he handed me, and got on the bike behind him. The thrill of motoring up the drive out of the parking garage sent butterflies through my stomach, and I clutched him tightly around his waist. Yup. No matter what else happened tonight, this more than made up for it.

We arrived at the bar. After paying the requisite fee, we were allowed into the basement where the gambling took place. That’s when I got a little nervous, since I’d basically forgotten how to play Texas Hold’em. I didn’t play much on account that nobody liked playing with me since I always won.

Ramos picked up on my nervousness, but I just shrugged and told him that I’d forgotten how to play, but I’d pick it up pretty quick. By then we were sitting at one of the five poker tables and, hearing that, the other four players glanced at me with happy smiles on their faces.

After a few rounds, those smiles were long gone. I won’t bore you with the details, but I cleaned them out. By then, a crowd had gathered to watch me play, and a few brave souls had taken the loser’s places, eager to prove their worth.

The tension in the place rose with each game I won, and one of the players, who’d lost ten grand, began to get angry. After I cleaned him out, he jumped to his feet, shoving his chair back in his rush. “You’re cheating,” he said, pulling a knife from his pocket. The blade flicked open and he held it toward me, his hand shaking with menace.

Before he had a chance to follow up on his threat, Ramos stepped beside me. “What did you say?” His voice was low and held a challenge that wasn’t lost on my accuser, who took a step back and lowered his weapon.

“I’m just… there’s no way she can be that good,” he said, trying to explain. “Something’s going on, and I want my money back. This place is rigged.”

The manager in charge came to our table, and told my accuser to calm down. After glancing at Ramos, he decided the accuser was the least dangerous of the two, and gave him the line that the business was run by the Manetto Organization. “Dude, do you want to piss off a mob boss? Maybe you’d better think about that before you make accusations you’ll regret.”

I’d heard enough and stood, sending them both a disgusted frown. “Stop lying. I know for a fact that my Uncle… Joey Manetto… has nothing to do with this place. In fact, he sent me here to find out what’s going on.”

At their shocked expressions, I continued. “So I think it’s time we cleared this matter up.” I pointed at the manager. “You. Call your boss and tell him he needs to get down here right away to straighten out a disagreement.”

I glanced around the room at all the patrons, who had frozen at the mention of Uncle Joey. “If the rest of you want to get out of here alive, I suggest you leave now.”

Most everyone grabbed their chips and scrambled up the stairs, dropping a few in their haste to leave. The guy who’d accused me of cheating stood his ground. He didn’t want to leave without the money he’d lost.

“I don’t cheat,” I said, glaring at him. “So either scram, or answer to my uncle. He’ll be here soon to deal with Kurt Johnson and these bozos.” I gestured at the rest of the workers.

The guy let out a disgruntled breath, then hurried up the stairs. Under Ramos’s prodding stare, the manager made the call to Kurt who replied that he would be there in half an hour. The manager then left, taking the rest of the dealers with him and leaving us there alone.

“Do you think he’ll come?” I asked Ramos.

“I have no idea,” he answered. “But if he doesn’t, I know where he lives.”

“Okay… good.”

A few minutes later, footsteps came down the the stairs and Kurt appeared, his face a mask of confusion. Not one soul was left in the bar upstairs or in the gambling room down here, and he could hardly believe his eyes.

“Hello Kurt,” I said. “Looks like you have a problem.”

As the truth dawned on him, he turned white as a sheet and swore under his breath. Panic set in and he turned to run. Of course, he didn’t get far before Ramos intercepted him. Ramos grabbed his shirt and jerked him around before shoving him against the wall. “You’ve made a grave mistake,” he said. “And now you’re going to pay the consequences.”

I picked up Ramos’s desire to kill the guy, and alarm shot through me. “Uh… Ramos… don’t kill him… uh… yet.” Ramos worked hard not to smile, but he glanced my way, thinking I was doing exactly what he’d wanted. He turned back to Kurt. “It looks like you get to live a little longer.”

“I’m… I’m… I didn’t think… I’m sorry… I’ll do whatever you want. Whatever you want… it’s yours… just don’t kill me. Please.”

Ramos let him go, but locked gazes with him. “Shelby?” He didn’t look at me, but wanted Kurt to think I was in charge. Since I had no idea what to say, I listened to his thoughts and basically repeated everything he was thinking.

“Fine. As much as you don’t deserve it, I’ll talk to my Uncle and see if he’ll spare you life. Maybe you can make a deal with him?”

“Of course, anything. Whatever you want.”

“Okay. We’ll expect to see you at Thrasher Development at nine tomorrow morning. As of right now, this bar and your little… enterprise is done.”

“Sure, whatever you say.”

“Oh… and I need these cashed out.” I picked up all my chips and followed him to the till. Kurt practically threw money at me without counting it up, hoping that would make his life a little easier.

After tucking the bills into my purse, I smiled. “See you tomorrow… right?”

“Yes, yes. I’ll be there.”

Ramos followed me out, and we climbed on the bike and drove out of the now-empty parking lot. He was thinking that I’d taken to bossing Kurt around like a pro. Who would have thought? He could just see me taking over Uncle Joey’s organization someday, with him as my right hand man. It would be fun.

I entertained that thought for a few minutes, just for the pure indulgence of it. As soon as we pulled into the parking garage and I took off my helmet, I handed it to him with a smile. “That’s not going to happen.”

He grinned. “Yeah… maybe not now, but you never know.”

I punched his arm. There was no way that would ever happen. I was feeling way too guilty as it was for scaring Kurt so bad. On the other hand, it had felt pretty good to catch a liar, and I could do that any day.

So tomorrow… I think I’ll see if Dimples needs help… just to balance it out a bit, and keep me on the right side of things… just in case.