Monday, November 5, 2012

Check for Kittens!

We have a handmade sign, “Check for Kittens!” taped to our dashboard.

Eight years ago this month, on a cold and rainy November night, I hopped into our car for a quick grocery run. Just as I was about to turn the key, I heard the faintest “mew,” so soft I wondered if it could have been my imagination. I popped the hood, and huddled together next to the fan belt, were two tiny, wet, terrified kittens. I brought them inside and shortly they were warm and dry and their tummies were full. A couple of weeks later, the fellow who came to fix our cable asked to take the sisters to his farm, for his daughters, much to the relief of our two upstairs cats, who were happy to have the full run of the house again.

Since then, I’ve found a variety of critters under the hood – including a neurotic squirrel, who liked to gnaw on the electrical wiring – I trapped him, and released him into the woods, but not until after he managed to chew through our phone line. The same fate awaited a fat opossum, though I’m not quite sure how it managed to squeeze through the space to get up atop the motor. Emma and Samantha, pictured above, were caught on the engine just last year--in August--they are two of the most gentle and affectionate cats we have had the pleasure to know.

There have been at least a dozen other kittens found under the hood of our car over the past few years.

PLEASE, be sure to check under the hood, especially now that cold weather is on its way. Who knows, the life you save might just be the lap kitty you couldn’t do without.

We lost Samantha Nov. 9, 2020. Her sister Emma is still with us.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Cake or Death

 Some decisions are easier to make than others...

(Photo taken in an alley in downtown Indianapolis 10/16/12)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Cargill/Elder Avenue Photo Shoot

The towering concrete grain silos on White River Parkway just west of White River and north of Michigan Street in Indianapolis have been a landmark here for generations. Formerly known as the Evans Mills Co. and later Illinois Cereal Mills, the plant was acquired by Cargill in 1994. When I was young, whenever we would pass the plant late at night, my father would slow the car a bit so we could catch the scent that seemed to fill that block only after dark. Even in the dead of winter, we would roll down the windows to catch the smell that most people agreed was that of popcorn; always to me, though, it was the aroma of fresh-baked sugar cookies, which mom often made in those days.

Though I’ve driven past those silos countless hundreds of times, only recently did Flo and I park nearby and stroll the circumference of the grain plant, on a dual-purpose photo shoot. Two short blocks west of those silos is an empty lot, at 733 Elder Avenue, where the infamous “Battle of Elder Avenue,” or “The Elder Avenue Shootout” took place June 30, 1954.

A YouTube Photo Montage tells the story:

Still remembered and written about after all these years (SWAT Teams: Explosive Face-offs with America's Deadliest Criminals by Robert L. Snow, and mentions in Indianapolis Monthly magazine), the Elder Avenue Shootout ranks as a classic fiasco, in which former Central State mental patient Howard Ellis wounded his wife, then barricaded himself in his home, wounded eight policemen and single-handedly held off over two hundred law enforcement officers for two and a half hours. Ellis was killed when officers rushed him after more than ten thousand rounds had been fired into the house. My father was a rookie officer at the scene, and, with ten years military service, was one of the first to suggest modern S.W.A.T. training be implemented.

A few clippings featuring my father:

Another place to take a camera, and wander through my memories.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Not One of US #48

The Ash Singer, by Mat Joiner
Size 8 (poem), by Holly Day
Dead Air for the River Stones (poem), by Erik Amundsen
Heaven’s Lot, by J.R. Johnson
Siege Mentalist (poem), by F.J. Bergmann
Gold Mountain, by Anna Sykora
Danger UXO (poem), by Sonya Taaffe
More Fun with Cake, by Patricia Russo
Natural Phenomena (poem), by Sonya Taaffe
My Kitchen (poem), by John Grey
A Perfect Wedded Bliss, by Mark Rigney
Twitch the Witch (poem), by K.S. Hardy
Redcap (poem), by Gemma Files
Art: John Stanton

Not One of Us #48 will be available from Chris Drumm Books, or you can order a copy or subscription right now directly from Not One of Us..

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Make Tomorrow Great!


“We tend to think of our 'moods', the way we feel about ourselves and our lives today, as being something like the weather. You can get to recognize 'weather fronts' and understand something of how 'weather systems' work, so that you can have some idea of what's coming. But what's coming is coming, and all you can hope for is some advance warning. Which is handy if a hurricane is on its way.

But moods are not like weather. We can do far more than just prepare for them. We can shape them and direct them, encouraging more of one type of mood and less of another. Learning to do this doesn't guarantee everything in life will go your way and you'll never have another horrid day. But it does mean that you'll be likely to have far more 'great days' -and be a great deal better able to survive the 'not so great days'.”


Sometimes, all it takes is one too many rotten days in a row to develop the habit of waking up expecting the next day to be as trying as the last. Once those filters are in place, it is just way too easy to experience what you have come to expect.

The idea for this track was something I dropped into the suggestion box at Hypnosis Downloads, and I think they did a fantastic job with it! If you would like to start the day in the mood you want, instead of dragging around yesterday’s baggage, check out “Make Tomorrow Great” at Hypnosis Downloads.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Indiana Horror 2012

Available now: Indiana Horror 2012, edited by James Ward Kirk - includes a story by my wife Flo, as well as an illustration of mine.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Justice Alfresco

Mid-afternoon at a fast-food restaurant near a main thoroughfare. Suddenly, my wife and I hear two short bursts of a police siren, and a shabby vehicle slows to a stop next to the median, with a police cruiser right behind it. All heads turn to the street.

The officer approaches the motorist cautiously, his right hand resting on the grip of his weapon. He leans over by the driver’s window, and they exchange words. Moments later, the motorist steps out of his car and his hands are cuffed behind him. He leans over the hood and is frisked. The policeman escorts him to the median, where they wait. Shortly, a van pulls up in front of the restrained motorist’s vehicle; I don’t recognize the logo on the van.

The motorist is rather unceremoniously escorted to the opened double-doors at the back of the van, and helped into it. An officious looking white-haired man exits the van and chats with the officer for a few minutes, then he returns to the vehicle. Meanwhile, a tow truck arrives on the scene, and the van and police cruiser jockey positions to give the tow truck access; minutes later, said shabby vehicle is hauled away, and the policeman, after making comments to the van driver, continues his patrol.

About a half-hour passes with the van parked against the median, lights flashing, motorists giving it a wide berth. Finally, the back doors to the van open once again, and the driver helps the motorist return to the median, where his handcuffs are removed. We don’t see the older gentleman again.

The blinkers on the van change to a left-turn signal, and it pulls back into traffic, leaving the motorist standing in the middle of the median, scratching his head along with the rest of us who were watching this little drama unfold.

Just another case of Law and Order, SUV.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Not One of Us #47


The Glass Presence, by Daniel Kaysen
Classroom Wall, with Voice (poem), by Lucas Strough
The Living Dead (poem), by Amanda C. Davis
When the Blue Hairs Grow, by Patricia Russo
Reiselied (poem), by Sonya Taaffe
Here at the End of All Things, by Francesca Forrest
Twa Sisters, by Mike Allen
The Hero’s Journey (poem), by Sonya Taaffe
Universal Engines (for Christopher Morcom) (poem), by Jeannelle Ferreira
Dr. Crow (poem), by Jeff Jeppesen
The Waiting, by A.A. Garrison
Black Molly (poem), by Marigny Michel
Art: John Stanton

 Not One of Us #47 will be available from Chris Drumm Books, or you can order a copy or subscription right now directly from John Benson.