Arms Of Fire

Arms of Fire

triggers of collusion
and loaded
empty apologies
carefully worded
so as not to
cause disruption
cash flow

and families crushed
beneath the blow
steel barriers to
and any care

what can your money
buy you?

your bullets
crushed a nation

and a gun
can be gotten
as easily

it is on you…
it is
your hands

with the blood
of deceit
and greed

and the
cold truth
of a country
and selling…

it’s soul

Cynthia Adler
February 2018

Welcome To The Carnival

welcome to the carnival
where one-percenters chill…
and take the rides and water slides
while you just pay the bill

the taxing clown whose tweets roll down
had promised to evoke
a plan to help the “everyman”
but that clown’s just a joke

the ferris wheel pumps gold and steel
the big balloons burn coal
the fracking band plays, “give us land”
or we won’t save your soul

the freaks control the haunted House
and pay off all the mice
to claim “no global warming!”
as the tilt-a-whirl spews ice

the bumper cars all run on oil
the snacks are GMO
and you can get some scary drugs
at Pharma Land, to go!

as we take roller coaster rides
and puke from all the spin
but when we hit infirmaries…
the doctor isn’t in!

hey, welcome to the carnival
but you can wait outside
the corporations own it now
while you pay for the ride

so… what to do in this array
this sleight of hand that rules the day?
it looks like you won’t have much fun….

till this amusement park…is done!!

Cynthia Adler
January 2018

Marcie Glober The Final Cut

Marcie Glober… The Final Cut

Ever since she was a little girl, Marcie Glober wanted to be a hairdresser. She had shorn most of the hair off her Barbie’s before she was three. At first, her Mom chalked it up to baby rage, but Marcie would hug the dolls and sleep with all six of them every night, so her mother figured it probably wasn’t that at all.

At five, while she was doing some cutouts in a magazine, she took the scissors and cut most of the hair off their toy poodle, Smookie. Then she put little hair clips all over what was left of the dog’s blonde coat.

When she was nine, she took a scissor to her best friend Kimmie’s head and cut her braids off and then used her jello from lunch as a hair pomade. Kimmie’s mother wanted to sue, but didn’t get to first base with it, and Kimmie and Marcie still stayed good friends while in school, even though they couldn’t get together anymore for sleepovers.

In Grover Cleveland High School at fifteen, Marcie became fascinated with hair color. She was failing math and bartered with her friend Kevin, a math whiz, to tutor her in exchange for coloring his hair. She said it would be a surprise, and he would just have to trust her for the color. After two tutoring sessions, Kevin sat quietly with his eyes closed while Marcie applied yellow, red, and purple streaks to his hair. When he opened his eyes, a purple streak of hair covering the front of his eyelid, fell onto his cheek. He just stared for a few minutes and then started crying. He couldn’t even talk, and with the towel that Marcie had put around his shoulders, ran out of the house, leaving his coat behind. Marcie thought he looked great, and luckily, she passed her math test with flying colors. But Kevin never spoke to her again, and refused to take his coat back.

Marcie’s teachers thought she would make a wonderful nurse. She was kind and giving, and always ready to help people. She enrolled in the University of Arizona (U of A), because they had one of the best medical centers in the country and she could study nursing while fueling her hairdressing hobby. She figured in a mountain range like that, people had very little interest in haircuts, so that it might be something that she could bring to the table, along with her future nursing skills.

In her first year at U of A, she studied how to give injections, navigate a bed pan, take blood pressure, and find the best vein for blood samples. Often some of the other students played the patients, and when they were pretending they were asleep, she would snip a lock of hair here and there. Very often her small cuts went unnoticed, but when a student realized that they no longer had hair covering their ear, they reported her to the professors, who told her in no uncertain terms that she had a “problem,” and should probably get some help. She was not allowed in the operating room setups for two weeks after that.

Marcie lived in a dorm with nineteen other girls, and many of them were open to haircuts and dye jobs. They had a Golden Retriever named Augie, who was the mascot of the dorm and liked to sleep with the different girls during the night. He would go from one bed to another, giving each one an hour or so, cuddling up close to them, and then leaving for another. When he got to Marcie, she always had a scissors handy. She would take a little off Augie’s head and ears, and after a few days it looked like Augie had a bald spot and he was brought to the vet by the dorm “mother” to check him out.

Marcie had an obsession. An addiction. She needed to cut hair to survive. She knew she had to see someone about this, someone to help her, but she was too embarrassed and too fearful to expose herself. Marcie decided that the only way to deal with this was to stay undercover. To use dolls, wigs and toupees, and all in the privacy of her very own space.

In her junior year at Arizona, Marcie was farmed out to Marshall Clarke Hospital in Tucson to be a Nurse’s Aide. She worked for a chubby, strident nurse named Georgia Knots. Georgia was quite militant in her attitude towards Marcie. She would command her to get things, make her hold patients buttocks open for longer than needed, shave their privates, and grab hold of their tongues. Marcie found this quite barbaric and when she would let go of a tongue sooner than Georgia found necessary, Georgia would report her to the front desk. Marcie was often reprimanded, but the women at the desk all knew of Georgia’s sadistic tendencies, and in the end they sympathized with Marcie and gave a good report to the school.

Marcie was touched by a lot of what she saw at this hospital. People in constant pain, people healing from operations, people with incurable diseases who were trying to see if certain new procedures would give them more time…and so many others.

Marcie had a wonderful group of friends, who let her give them trims, wildly color a nice chunk of strands, and who would provide more people for Marcie to experiment on, when there was any party at the dorm. Most of her friends had boyfriends…different ones through the years, but they kept up with the dating scene. Not Marcie. She had no interest in men. She was not attracted to women either. She just had very little sexual feeling, and that was true even through her puberty years. But while she was at Marshall Clarke, she encountered a Dr. Dick Bromby. Dr. Bromby was an expert in childhood diseases at the hospital. He was tall, a bit overweight, and was going bald much too soon for his thirty-two years. He was also married. They talked for a long time. Marcie was overwhelmed by his sparkling blue eyes and incredibly warm smile. And for the first time in her life, she felt a twinge of something. Even more than a twinge. She wanted to follow him back to his wing, the Children’s Annex, but Sergeant Georgia would not even let her leave her sight for a minute!

In her Senior year, Marcie applied to the Ketring Hospital in Fargo, North Dakota, to see if she could get a job there after graduation. She picked Fargo, because she loved the television series. She thought she would be needed there in that cold and fairly out of the way place, more than she would be needed in sunny and warm Arizona. Marcie was promptly accepted.

The Ketring Hospital was a noisy and bustling place. So many Fargo people used the hospital to see their doctors and keep up their yearly tests. Marcie got a small but darling apartment right near the hospital, and only steps away from one of the more popular hair salons in Fargo. On her lunch breaks and days off, she would often sit in the salon watching the hair stylists cut and color, her hands twitching and her heart racing. When she would go home at night, she would cut around some of the many inexpensive wigs she bought weekly, styling them in crazy shapes and adding a bizarre mix of color, so that they looked like something Lady Gaga might wear for one of her concerts.

Marcie was a favorite of many of the patients. She took her time, she talked to each and every one of them, and she was interested in hearing about their lives. After a few months in that unit, Marcie decided to make a few visits to the Children’s Unit. She hadn’t been there before, because it reminded her too much of Dr. Bromby back in Arizona, who she still couldn’t get out of her mind.

The Children’s Unit was in a very different part of the building. There were cartoons on the walls and hanging stuffed animals. Marcie felt her heart open. She sat with children who had heart disease, children who had cancer, and children who were on life support.

Sometimes when she would go home at night to work on her wigs, she would mentally place them on the heads of some of the children. Sara Cressel was only eight, but she had lymphoma, and she also found it hard to breathe. She often cried when Marcie was there and told her that she “hurt really a lot, everywhere.” When Marcie got home that night, she looked at her wigs. A small short brown one caught her attention. She took out her dyes and paints and started to put pink streaks onto the strands of hair in the wig. Then she used light green, followed by orange, and then white. When she finished, it looked like something a female circus clown might wear.

The next day, when she went to the Children’s Unit, Sarah was lying down, her head turned away from the other children. Marcie went over to her and sat on her bed. She asked her how she was feeling. Sara didn’t answer. She asked if she would like to play a game. And still nothing. The nurse on call, Carol Leon, told Marcie that Sara hadn’t said a word since dinner the night before, and wouldn’t respond to the other children when they tried to speak to her.

Marcie sat there silently for a while, and then opened her bag, and pulled out the wig that she had dyed so many colors the night before. She reached over and put the wig down in front of Sara. Sara did nothing. Marcie started to touch Sara’s head very gently. She brushed her hair away from her face. Then she went around the bed so that she could face Sara. She took the wig, picked up Sara’s head, and placed the wig on her. Sara didn’t resist. She laid down again, but in a few minutes she slowly rose up. Marcie brought over a mirror from her bag and put it in front of Sara’s face. The other children were silent, but when Sara saw herself in the mirror, she started to laugh. She laughed so hard that all the other children started to laugh as well. Marcie started to well up with tears. Sara was patting her head and then started to walk around to show the other children. Lizzie Stowe, ten years old with a brain tumor said, “Oh, I want one too…can I have one too?” Then some of the other kids started to all call out that they wanted one too. Penny Lyman on life-support, only days from death, said she wanted one too. And Bobby Louter, who had most of his colon removed recently, wanted one too.

Marcie was stunned. She couldn’t even cope with the emotion she was feeling. She realized that the craziness of her colors, her bizarre form of art, finally might mean something more than just an addictive impulse. That maybe there was a reason, way beyond her understanding, for what she was doing all these years. Maybe there was a larger plan in place.

Sara came over to her and sat on her lap and kissed her. “Is this mine?” she asked. “Yes,” said Marcie. “All yours, forever.”

That night, Marcie went home and cut and colored fifteen wigs. The one she made for Bobby Louter was even more outrageous, with silver and gold streaks and a huge heart in burning red dye, in the back of the short fake hair.

Penny Lyman got a long one with crazy bangs that were painted blue and violet. The rest of the hair was streaked with orange and red, like a beautiful flame. Penny wanted everyone to come over and to see her. She told Marcie that this was “her happiest time ever since she came to the hospital.” Even after Penny died many weeks later, living much longer than was expected, her mother had her buried with the wig on, because she believed that’s what kept Penny alive much longer than anyone thought possible.

Bobby Louter had no more pain. Neither did Sara. One by one, each patient started to experience tiny miracles. Not that they got all better, but their symptoms changed. They didn’t feel the oppression of their sickness, the way they had before.

The word spread. The Director of the Hospital, Dr. Spander, gave Marcie carte blanche to buy wigs and dyes, and as each new child came in, a wig was prepared that would lighten their pain or their fear, and the healings and changes were miraculous.

One day, Marcie got a beautiful note from Dr. Bromby. Her heart racing, she opened it. It said, “Dear Marcie…I knew that there was something special about you the day that I met you. And I even thought that perhaps you could have assisted me in the Children’s Annex at Marshall. I did put in a request to Georgia Knots, but she said that you preferred to keep working with her. But I am so very thrilled with the wonderful work you are doing, and I hope this idea will branch out to many other hospitals, and help so many more children. Lots of luck to you, Marcie, and please keep me informed of your progress along the way. I’d like some of your wigs for our wing here as well. Sincerely, Dr. Dick Bromby.

Marcie was breathless. Confused. He wanted to work with her, and Georgia, that witch, never even told her. Never even gave her a choice! But if she did have the choice, would she have done it? Would it have been too much for her, considering the strong and almost uncontrollable feeling she had for him? Marcie suddenly felt a deep rage starting to burn within her. But it didn’t last. “Things probably work out the way they are meant to,” she said out loud, making an effort to finally convince herself of what she really already knew. She remembered that three-year-old girl, cutting the hair off her Barbie’s, and that nine year old, cutting the braids off her best friend, and even that seventeen-year-old, taking some head hairs off a dog that she so loved. And in some deep place inside her, she was truly grateful.

And truthfully, this was enough for Marcie. Yes, she kept Dr. Bromby apprised of everything, all the way. And yes, the “Marcie Glober Wigs” were reproduced by a huge Wig company and sent to many other hospitals, with Marshall Clarke first on that list.

And yes, Marcie Glober eventually found love.

But that…

is a whole other story.


Cynthia Adler

“Mary Lou Logginberry Spaces Out…and Other Crazy Stories” (Stories for Women…) book excerpt.


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Window Pane for “V Day” (End Violence Against Women!)

Window Pane
for “V Day” (End Violence Against Women!)

Come closer…

what do you hear?

a pounding heartbeat
a breath out of time with it’s own
a stirring of heat and
boiling blood
and then a rush,
a frozen moment,
a belt across a face,
a rip,
a snap of a button that once
held a collar.

A breast with bruises
upon earlier bruises,
a cutting,
a jolting punch to the
a twist of an arm,
a blow to the stomach.

The shattered pane
of a window to a
who speaks in darkness,
a violation in
in see-through glass
not able to protect
and too fragile
to bear.

Flight plans lost,
underground tunnels
sealed off,
stark and sacred longings
flowing into
hollow eyes and
and womb,
hidden frostbite
in the dead
of heat…

When will your tiger tooth
and your victim’s tongue
spit up
a warrior
that will crack the
prison bar
and break the

Keep silent…
be cagey
rip the foundation of
the building
before you are dust
your own eyes
and cannot move

Roar to the angels,
take back the territories of your body
and your spirit
your heart

and finally

your life.

by Cynthia Adler

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The Critic vs. Kathy Lohbrau

The Critic
Kathy Lohbrau

Kathy Lohbrau refused to change her name. Her agent told her that it was a name that could be used in some very unflattering ways if her reviews weren’t good, but she told her agent that was her birth name, the name of her father’s family and she was sticking with it. That’s when she was eighteen, and she had just turned thirty-one.

Kathy had been acting since she was ten years old. First in school plays, and then in some little studio shows, that were being produced in her small town in Tulsa Oklahoma. She had the acting bug since very young, when her parents brought her to a production of “Into The Woods,” at a small dinner theatre in downtown Tulsa. She was mesmerized by the actors, looking like they were having so much fun on that stage, while she was picking at her small chicken pot pie, and drooling all over her birthday blouse. It didn’t matter that the show had gotten a limp review by the local paper. To Kathy, this was perfection.

When she was eight, she started taking acting workshops where they played little games, and made the kids do little songs and dances, but her real talent began to show in High School, when she took the lead in most of the school’s productions and gave credit to Mary Parsony’s acting workshop near her home, that Kathy had attended for the last four years. After a production of “You Can’t Take It With You,” re-directed and set in the present by one of her teachers, a local agent came to one of the performances and signed Kathy up immediately.

Willa Carmody was a very small time agent. But she had big aspirations, and Tulsa was just starting to explode with a host of theatre companies and many new theatres as well. Willa believed that Tulsa might become the new Broadway some day. She was a bit deluded, but her clients loved her for her belief in them and the possibilities that could exist for them, theatrically. When she met with Kathy a few days after the show, she told her that her name might be a problem. Kathy refused to even entertain the thought.

But no one counted on the publication of a new newspaper in Tulsa, and a new Critic named, Simon Gusserby. “The T Tabloid,” that Gusserby now edited and reviewed for, quickly became the most popular paper in Tulsa, and specialized in theatrical events of all kinds…movies, theatre, puppet shows, and concerts, just to name a few. But the theatre reviews that Simon did, were the talk of Tulsa. They were long, they were graphic, and they could be brutal. Sure, there were lots of other reviewers that wrote for the other four papers in Tulsa, but no one really cared about any of them anymore after Simon Gusserby hit town. He reviewed a musical called, “What The Cats Dragged In,” written by a local composer, Stephan Schneer and lyricist, Blanka Donka. Gusserby called the play “A cat box of turds,” and called the music “atonal” and the book, “a pitiful and boring disaster.” It closed in two nights, and Blanka Donka moved to Wisconsin the next week to study marketing.

Simon was introduced to Kathy Lohbrau at a party given at the Masked Dome Theatre in downtown Tulsa. Her friend Ronnie Pincus was in a play that Gusserby had reviewed fairly favorably and this was a special dinner for the cast and some of the reviewer’s. A few friends of the cast were allowed to come, and Ronnie really wanted her good friend Kathy there. Somewhere between the appetizers and the salad, Gusserby came over to the table. He was introduced to Kathy, and at once started to freeze inside. She looked exactly like his sister, Greta, who he hated and planned on never talking to ever again, and who had managed to steal his entire inheritance right from under his nose.

Kathy smiled, and so did Simon. He said he was glad to meet her and that he had heard some good things about her. Then he went into the Men’s Room to swallow a tranquilizer so he could keep his equilibrium. He tried to be rational. He tried to tell himself that this woman was a different person than his sister, perhaps a nice person, but the claws inside his gut wouldn’t let go and he sunk into an undercurrent of rage…

Two weeks later, Kathy Lohbrau got cast as a glamorous witch, in a drama called, “An Unsuitable Wife.” It was a play about a young couple, who had just gotten married and had invited the bride’s sister, Plum, (a Witch,) to come spend a weekend at their country house. The mayhem that Plum perpetrated, (along with seducing her sister’s new husband,) lent a kind of vicious overtone to the play, but it was well written and had many surprises for the audience, during it’s three hour stint.

Gusserby sat there opening night, unable to take in the essence of the play. He was fixated on Kathy, and irrationally wanting to strangle her. The audience gave her a standing ovation, and applauded lustily for the other two actors and the dog that shared the stage for about an hour. Gusserby got to his computer later that night. He wrote, “An Unsuitable Wife, should have been called, “An Unsuitable Witch!”. “Kathy Lohbrau’s name really suits her! Last night, Kathy Lohbrau took a dump on what could have been a wonderful evening in the theatre. Mark Elliot and Marissa Goober were delightful as a couple who had just been married and were playful and funny in their roles, in a dark play that should have chilled you to the bone. But Kathy Lohbrau made sure her infantile shenanigans, and sophomoric readings would surely keep you from even knowing what this play was about. Perhaps she should have been cast as the dog. It might have suited her better.”

The other reviewer’s in all the other papers gave, “An Unsuitable Marriage,” fabulous reviews, calling Kathy, “a shooting star” and, “just brilliant and magical.”

But it didn’t matter. No one cared about those reviews anymore.

Kathy’s mother was the first to see the review, and she cried for about an hour. Her father plotted to kill Simon Gusserby, but knew he would never be able to go through with it, and her director scratched his head till some of his hair fell out, not able to take in this bitter and completely bogus review. Many people cancelled their tickets, and the show lasted only three weeks of what should have been a three-month run.

Kathy Lohbrau was devastated. She couldn’t figure out what had happened. She knew she had given a wonderful performance opening night and that the audience loved her. She even wrote Simon Gusserby a letter, asking him why he felt that way about her performance, but all he could do was answer, “My responsibility is to my readers, I write em’ as I see em’. ”

Kathy was starting to mistrust her instincts. Her old acting coach, Mary Parsony, told her that she gave a great performance opening night, and that maybe Mr. Gusserby had just eaten something bad before he came to the theatre.

The months to follow were no different. Kathy was seen in a production of “The Donkey Trails,” a play about a zookeeper and his daughter, who had raised a donkey in their house, since the donkey was a baby. It was a lovely farce, with twelve actors playing different stages of the father, daughter, and donkey’s lives. Kathy had many monologues and she interacted with the donkey gently and beautifully. Gusserby called her, “an asses ass,” and said she looked a little too much like the donkey. Had her mother been fooling around with an animal before she was born?

People laughed when they saw her. Many other ugly reviews were to follow. “Talking Trash,” about a garbage pickup man, “Fred’s Lonely Bone,” a sexual farce, and “Blossom and Doolie At The Table,” where Gusserby called her “Droolie,” and said that her southern accent was completely unintelligible, and perhaps she was a little too old for the role. Bit by bit, Kathy was getting smaller and smaller parts, and was becoming more and more depressed.

Willa Carmody had long ago moved on. She was now a big agent in New York, and had wanted to bring Kathy to the Great White Way, as well, but Kathy wanted to stay in Tulsa with her three cats and her insurance salesman boyfriend, Jeff, who had still not asked her to marry him. Jeff would send threatening letters to Gusserby every time there was another review, but never received an answer. And Kathy wanted to move on with her life. She was thirty-four now, and it was time for a change. She contacted Willa and told her she would be coming to New York to work with her in two months. She had just started rehearsals for another show, “Mr. Blonde Checks Me Out.” It was about a surfer guy who had bedded every woman on this vacation island, and was soon to be murdered. Kathy played his massage therapist, who would tell him when a new woman guest came on the island, and just where she was staying. It was a rather small part, but Kathy put her own stamp on it, and she was great. Opening night was going to be a big thing. The Mayor of Tulsa was coming, the Police Chief, and The staff of “T” magazine. A seat for Simon Gusserby was picked out, eight rows from the stage on the side. Just as he liked it.

But Kathy had other plans for Mr. Gusserby. She asked the director if he could keep the theater rather dark when the audience walked in, because this was such a dark play, and that would set the mood from the beginning. The director agreed, and the lights would be held at one-third from the moment the theatre opened.

When opening night came, Kathy arrived at the theater two hours before show time, with a supply of epoxy glue, and right before they called places, Kathy ran into the audience and slathered Mr. Gusserby’s seat with all the epoxy glue she had. She wore a rubber glove so she could pat it down quickly and then run backstage just in time for “places please”, as stage manager’s are so fond of saying. And she did not work alone. Much of the cast was in on this with her, especially Michael Slovane, the hunky and talented lead actor, who was a great fan of Kathy’s work and hated Gusserby for decimating his close friend, Stephan Schneer, who had never been able to write a note, since. And since there was no intermission in this ninety-minute play, there wasn’t a lot to think about.

The audience took their seats, and were riveted for that entire hour and a half. Gusserby sat there thinking about what kind of vicious review he could give Kathy. He badly needed to go to the bathroom, but knew he couldn’t get up during the play to do that. At the end of the play, the audience was on it’s feet clapping for the longest time. Simon Gusserby was bored. He sat until the curtain came down and then started to get up to make a beeline for the Men’s Room. But he couldn’t move. He couldn’t even lift himself off the chair. He called for an usher. Two young men, (understudies) came over to Simon. “We can’t get you out, sir,” said one. “I think we have to cut you out. You seem to be glued to the seat!” Simon was apoplectic and starting to drip a little. One of the boys, couldn’t contain himself and started to laugh. What was left of the crowd, wasn’t moving. They were fixated on Simon. The theatre manager arrived with a big scissor. Simon tried to get him to stop, but he started to cut around Simon’s pants until he had made a hole big enough for Simon to stand up, exposing his buttocks completely. Many phones were taking videos by this time, and Simon couldn’t hold on any more. As he ran to the Men’s Room with his butt exposed, he left a yellow trail of urine.

The video went viral the next day.

Kathy and Jeff moved on to New York and got married, and Kathy became a favorite on the Broadway Stage for the next thirty years.

Simon quit his job at the paper, the day after the play opened and moved to Istanbul. His replacement, Bob Flotterman wrote a brilliant review of the show, and cited Kathy, as one of the best actresses Tulsa had ever seen.


Cynthia Adler

“Mary Lou Logginberry Spaces Out…and Other Crazy Stories” (Stories for Women…) book excerpt.


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Beryl Stuford and the Dog

Beryl Stuford…and The Dog

Beryl Stuford found it hard to look into the mirror. It was a very old fear that still flung her to the ground when she saw her 30-year-old face in any reflection. Her one glass eye protruded slightly from the corner of her lid and the scar across her upper lip gave her a bit of a mustached look when the light was too searing. She had a slender and beautiful nose that had been carefully sculpted by Dr. Sheldon Martin when she was twenty-three, and a pair of muscular thighs that were shaped and pounded by her uncompromising trainer, Freddie Tyler.

That was before the accident.

Beryl didn’t have a boyfriend. Not that she didn’t want one. No, most of the time she was desperate for one, but she felt too ashamed to share her face with a man. She would wonder what he was thinking. Was he sorry for her or was he nauseated? Or was he just waiting for the right time to split? So Beryl didn’t date. No chat room contacts, no internet searches.

Beryl loved animals. For the past six years, she worked at the Massapequa Veterinary clinic as a Vet’s Aide…she helped weigh the animals and she held them as they got injections or exploratories. And that’s where she met Mr. Floppy.

Mr. Floppy was a cross between a Golden retriever and a Mr. FloppyPoodle. He was a reddish tan color and had the saddest eyes Beryl had ever seen. He had been found wandering all over the streets alone by a family who were visiting the area…no collar, and no tags, so they brought him to the Vet and left him there. Actually, Dr. Polly Fraybush, the Vet on duty, gave him the name Mr. Floppy, because he was a long-haired dog with big floppy ears and a sad sack personality.

But when Beryl came in to hold him down while Polly examined him, he seemed to spark up a bit. At one point he looked up at Beryl and then licked her finger. Polly seemed to be touched by this, and asked Beryl if she ever thought of having a dog. Beryl said no, she didn’t want any animals. She just loved to care for them right here at the Clinic. When the exam was done, Mr. Floppy stood on the table and walked toward Beryl. She picked him up and he seemed to melt close to her. For a while, Beryl couldn’t let go.

They kept Mr. Floppy at the Vet for three days. They put pictures up all over the area, but no one came to claim him. Beryl would take him for a walk every lunch hour and when they came back to the Clinic, he would come close to her legs, and lick her hands. Finally, when nobody had claimed him, Beryl told Polly that she would take him home till they could get someone to adopt him. But she knew in her heart that wasn’t true. Mr. Floppy didn’t judge her. Not with her fake eye or her very prominent scar. No. He looked past all of that and just wanted to give her love. Beryl wanted to cry, but she held it back.

Mr. Floppy was placed in a room for the day with water and some food until Beryl was about to leave. She went in and got him and drove home, with a doggie bowl and a good supply of food and treats.

Mr. Floppy became her anchor, her partner, and her best friend. She talked to Mr. Floppy at night when she couldn’t sleep, and in the morning when she was getting ready to go to work. He slept by her side, and when she would sometimes cry after she looked in the bathroom mirror for too long, Mr. Floppy came to her and begged to be picked up so that Beryl would take her mind off whatever pain she was in. Mr. Floppy didn’t know what that was, but he could feel her sorrow, and he only wanted to make it better.

After a while, Beryl couldn’t bear to be without her dog, so she started taking him to work. Dr. Polly didn’t mind, but he had to be kept in a room while Beryl worked with her on a cat or a hamster…And every lunch hour, Beryl would walk with Mr. Floppy for blocks and blocks around the Veterinary Clinic and she would talk to him about anything that came into her mind. Once, when a very Scared catagitated cat came with it’s owner into the Vet, she managed to pull free from her master’s hands as Beryl came in with Mr. Floppy. The cat immediately ran to the dog and started scratching and hissing and clawing at his face. Beryl quickly managed to pull the wild cat off her dog, but he suffered cuts and some of his hair was torn out. Beryl started to cry, and brought him quickly into Dr. Polly, who tended to him, and gave him lots of treats. But Beryl couldn’t work that day. She took him home, bathed him, dried him off, and hugged him to her, even as she fell asleep.

Three days later, Mr. Floppy was almost as good as new. So Beryl took him into work again and at lunchtime, took him for his daily walk. He hadn’t had a lot of exercise for the past three days, so Beryl decided she would give him a much longer walk than he would usually get. She drove to an area that was fairly new to her and parked the car. As she walked down a beautiful street with lots of shops of men’s and women’s clothing, she saw a tall man walking toward her. He must have been in his forties and had striking red hair. He was wearing glasses and a casual suit. He walked quickly, looking intently at Mr. Floppy. “Scooter,” he shouted, as he got closer. Mr. Floppy tried to run to him. He started to squeal and yelp. Beryl couldn’t understand any of this. The man walked faster and came up to them. “You found Scooter, you found my dog…where did you find him?” He was breathless. “He’s been missing for over a month…he ran away…and we don’t know how he got out of the house. My son must have left the door open to pick up the mail outside and didn’t see him. I’ve been searching for him like crazy and no one had seen him. I saw you out of the window of the Men’s Boutique over there on Third Street and I didn’t believe it. Where did you find him?”

Beryl was silent for a moment. She had to catch her breath. “I didn’t find him. He was brought into the Veterinary Clinic where I work, and I took him home…he had no tags or anything.” Mr. Floppy was licking the man’s hand.

“I’m Lucas Frain…and what is your name?”

“Beryl Stuford.”

She shook his hand. He had a strong grip.

“Thank you so very much for taking care of my precious Scooter…he is such a wonderful spirit,” said Lucas.

“I love this dog. He was easy to take care of,” said Beryl. “Are you going to take him now,” she said.

“No”, said Lucas. “You can take him home now, but I would like to come to your house or wherever you live and we can talk about how to make the exchange a little easier for you. You must be quite attached to him by now.”

Mr. Floppy was straining at the leash to climb on Lucas Frain. Beryl was trying best she could to hold back her tears. She gave him her phone number and told him to call her that evening and they would make a plan.

He thanked her again, looked deep into her eyes as she tried to lower her face, and said he was so grateful to her.

Beryl walked Mr. Floppy-“Scooter,” back to the Center. She told Polly what had just taken place. She started to cry and Mr. Floppy came over to her and licked her leg and looked up at her. His eyes were sparkling.

That night Lucas called at around seven thirty. Beryl told him to come the next day, which was a Saturday, at around two o’clock. Mr. Floppy was very attentive to her. Perhaps even more than he had been in the past month. He slept with her and stayed by her side all the next morning.

At two o’clock sharp, Lucas arrived at Beryl’s tiny home. She had him sit down in her small living room, in her arm chair, and she sat across from him in the rocker. Mr. Floppy jumped off the couch and went to sit on the floor between the two of them. He looked from one to the other, back and forth. Lucas asked Beryl how she came to work as a Vet’s assistant. He asked her where she had lived before, what school she went to. He said nothing about the dog. But he was looking at her all the time. She kept lowering her head as she talked.

“Why do you keep dropping your head,” he asked.

She couldn’t answer. He asked her again.

“I don’t know,” she said.

No one had ever asked her that. Ever. And she was uncomfortable.

“Are you worried about your face? I see that you have had to have an eye replaced, because I work in that field. Are you self-conscious about your scar?” he asked.

She was so flustered, but in that moment she felt more truth come out of her than she had ever been able to admit. “Yes. Yes, I am,” was all she could say.

Lucas just looked at her. After a moment he said, “Raise up your face, Beryl.”

And she did… almost in defiance.

“You know, you are very pretty,” he said.

She could say nothing. Finally she said gently, “I bet your son and your wife miss Scooter very much.”

Lucas looked at her again. “My son misses him terribly. My wife died two years ago from a car accident that was fatal for her. A driver that was drunk.”

They were silent for a long while.

“I’m so very sorry for that. Deeply sorry for you.” Beryl started to well up with tears.

He took a tissue from his pocket, came over to her, and wiped her face gently. She didn’t lower her face.

Lucas told her about his life. He worked for an Urgent Care Clinic, and ran the business. His son was ten years old and has still not gotten over the death of his mother. He talked of his grief and how he had to see many practitioners till he could even make peace with her death. Beryl listened intently. She then talked about her life. Her fear. The accident. Her deep sadness.

At one point, Lucas asked if he could hug her and she told him he could. He held her gently. The hours passed. They talked. They ate some of the food that Beryl had left over from lunch in her fridge. It was eight at night. Lucas left Scooter with Beryl overnight, and said he would come the next day. And he did. And every evening after that.

A happy family

And that’s how Beryl Stuford met the man she would eventually marry six months later, and have a son that she would cherish and love, and a dog who was renamed Mr. Scooter-Floppy by her devoted husband Lucas. A man who loved her for her gentle spirit and deep sensitivity, and the loving care she gave to an animal who carefully and purposefully…

brought them together.

Cynthia Adler

“Mary Lou Logginberry Spaces Out…and Other Crazy Stories” (Stories for Women…) book excerpt.


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Wind Chime

Wind Chime

Cement corridors
cracked with the weight of
unfulfilled expectations
crammed into old
Duane Reade plastic bags
and toxic water bottles
lined up in perfect disarray
like some half crazed
chorus line.

Glazed eyes wrapped in saran
keep out the cold
housed in grey and
lifeless skins,
which scurry from a yesterday
into a hope of a tomorrow
with silly putty promises
made of cheap Styrofoam

Satan’s fracking auction
held on every back street
alley way,
closing out estates of the soul
and suffering children
with a “what am I bid for that?”
bought and sold politicians
with two faces carved into
either side of their
promising everything,
while bargains are made with a devil
who never gives anything
for free.

Alice in wonderland
how serenely and solidly you sit
while a bloody grassland
framed in filth and chemical poison
lies at your feet.
ice caps crying,
boiling and melting
into a
no-man’s land.
bees in a disappearing act
form hideaways
that become
burial grounds.

Play your music you pied pipers
dancing down your
cast iron roadways.
play for all you are worth
because your fireplaces are burning
and your faces are turning to rags
and when your crying children tire
of their pacifiers,
they will strike the set
and pull the curtain
and the next thing you know…
dinosaurs and loincloths…

So take notice
and brace yourself…
the change is coming!
and if you do not rise up
all will have vanished
leaving no trace of what was
except for perhaps
some old Duane Reade plastic
blowing somewhere softly in the wind
around some old rotting huge
landfill spaces.

A wry reminder of the price
of things
to come.

by Cynthia Adler

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What Is A Tummy?

What Is A Tummy?
a Rap for kids by Cynthia Adler

A tummy is a yummy thing
which makes you feel so happy
it’s sometimes round and makes strange sounds…
and sometimes soft and flappy.

It can make you feel full
or can pull at your clothes
when you’ve eaten so much
that you can’t touch your toes
but then when it is hungry
it gives out a sigh,
and says feed me before
I feel cranky or cry.

And when you have ice-cream
or cookies or candy
well, you just have to see how a tummy’s
so handy…

A tummy can growl
or it sometimes can hurt
when you’ve eaten a whole bunch
of fries or dessert
and it’s cute when you swim
and it helps you to float…
It’s the center of you
when you’re rowing a boat.

If you pull it in tight
you could dance through
the night.
It’s a thing we all have
cause the body’s no dummy
so I think we’re agreed

we’re in luck with….

a tummy!!!

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What Is A Heart?

What Is A Heart?
a Rap for kids by Cynthia Adler

What is a heart?
it’s like part of a star…
it’s the light you can feel
in the center of you…
it’s what makes you feel love
for your puppy or fish
or some treat that you eat
that is yummy or sweet.

It’s what makes you feel friendly
to kids at your school.
It can light up a room when
you smile or you laugh
and it’s half more as big
when you’re giving a gift or just singing a song.

It can help you be strong
when you start to get sad
or if someone says things
that might make you feel bad.

It’s what beats really fast
when you’re running or scared
and it might make you cry when you’re
saying goodbye to a friend
you won’t see for a really long time.
It’s what makes you feel warm
on a holiday night, with your family there
in the white of the snow
or the sparkle of sand.
It’s the hand that you hold or the
things that you hug

just the very best part
of yourself…

is your heart.


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What Is Courage?

What Is Courage?

Courage is infusion …
it is the unmasking of the elements
pushing thru the illusion…pulling the veil…
discovering the forgotten core.

Courage is no more than the will to believe…
to know somewhere deeply that you can
regardless of borders or walls or bolts…
regardless of blocked passageways and enforced silences…
it is discovering your own rebirth
and mapping a course to it’s center…

Courage expands…
it moves the unmovable
it roots deep within our being and waits
waits for us to decide if we will live in full array
or crumble into free-fall.

Courage is the will to grow…
it is a commitment
to stoke the fire
impassion the blood
and disarm the demons.

It is the decision to live every moment
of every day
regardless of how much sand remains
in the sacred hourglass.

It is the leap…
the ride
the wave
it is the touch of another hand, another heart
it is where soul meets will…
to rise and flow into glorious golden power
it is the stand to invite destiny…

Courage is ultimately no more than the courage
to say yes.

by Cynthia Adler