Tom Flanders Stuff

Don't Hate Anyone

Short Story – The Phone Will Ring

the phone

Another sunrise. Another day of waiting. Sitting on the back deck with a line in the water drinking too many beers. It might help if I had bait or hooks or stuff like that, but I find that fishing is much more relaxing without all that catching fish business.

The phone will ring soon. Or later. Or never. Well, so far it has never not rang, but that is always a possibility. It will happen one day. The phone will never ring again and I’ll be stuck here pretending to fish and drinking beer for the rest of my life.

What if the phone doesn’t ring? I can’t just fish for the rest of my life. I’ll need a hobby. I could collect things. That sounds boring enough to kill me. Maybe I could watch every movie ever made. Maybe I could build things, as long as they’re not too hard to build.

I have a friend who builds paper cars. Most of them are pretty easy. A color printer, some scissors and some tape are all you need. When he first showed me his collection I assumed he was insane. Though when faced with the idea of never working again, I can almost see his point.

The problem with paper cars is that while they look cool and are easy to build they are ultimately worthless. My friend is zen enough, or zenough, to think that having a worthless hobby is a good thing. I’d prefer to do something of value I could pass on to the young ones.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any young ones. Nobody to carry on my legacy, which I also don’t have. I guess getting one of them wife people would have helped, but I never got the hang of those relationship things. Maybe paper cars wouldn’t be so bad.

So this is where the mid-life crisis is supposed to happen. Only it doesn’t, happen. Every time I get close to having one I’m overwhelmed with contentment. Then the phone will ring and I’m off on another job and become too busy to think about such things.

The problem is that I have no reason to worry, so I tend to be not very good at it. My brain doesn’t stick like other people’s. My brother has a wife, kids, a dog and a paid-for house, but he worries all the time. Me, I analyze things, decide on an action, then let it go.

Boy, I can spew some bullshit when I get rolling. If I didn’t worry, I wouldn’t be babbling on about not worrying. I’m not ready for this. Let the phone ring just one more time. I’ll prepare for next time. If it doesn’t ring, I’ll be ready.

Then the phone rang. A job. A long job. I won’t have to worry about the phone ringing for at least a year. Then what? I’ve been checking out paper car web sites, but haven’t mustered any interest. Maybe stamps. Maybe travel. Maybe hookers.


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Tags: , | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: January 31, 2020

Tom Week – Winter in the South

roses in winter in the south

1/2/20 – Patriots Fan in The South

We’re in Mobile AL, the land of Moon Pies and things hanging from strings. The owner of the park is an old guy with a Cajun accent so thick that even Alabamans can’t understand him. The funny thing is, he’s a Patriots fan.

1/3/20 – Hard Winter Rain

Fortunately we’re on a hill by the ocean. Lots of the inland lowlands are flooded. I’m getting a little anxious. I haven’t ridden my bike at all this year. Goal is 1200 miles, or 100 miles a month. I can do this. If the rain ever stops.

1/4/20 – Is is still Friday? No It’s Saturday.

Back in Florida, just east of Pensacola. I’m overflowing with testosterone today. I went to Home Depot AND Harbor Freight. I AM MAN!

There is another Winnebago Brave in the park. A red one. Tomorrow I will seek out the owner and we will bond.

1/5/20 – Task Day

Got a pile of little jobs done today. Too cold for a bike ride. I’ve stated work on some weird little videos. I’ll be posting them soon.

1/6/20 – Fall in Florida

We are in Bonifay Florida. It’s fall here. The ground is covered with fallen leaves. It’s very confusing.

We are also in the land of hills. Yes, hills in Florida.

Today at Walmart I got a reminder that we really are in Florida. These people were trying to jump start a car, only their jumper cables had no clamps on one end. The guy was holding the bare wires against the battery terminals, while smoking, and while his helper pulled the filler cap off the battery. I had to turn away because as our RV motto says, “I don’t want to have to testify.”

1/8/20 – Back in Perry

When I went into the office to check in the young woman behind the counter shouted, “Welcome back Mr. Flanders.” As my shock faded she explained that she recognized the Big Yellow Truck.

Today at Walmart I saw the weirdest thing in the clearance aisle, the Harry Potter Lego Advent Calendar. That’s a bizarre combination of words and ideas.


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Tags: , | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: January 8, 2020

Short Story – Bad Boy

bad boy

This is where I tell you the story of the good boy gone bad. Me.

They always used to call me good boy. Then they stopped. I wasn’t trying to be good, or bad. I was just being and doing what I felt like I wanted to be and do. At first it was good. Then, I guess, it was bad.

It started with the broken squirrel. I didn’t understand dead. So even though it wasn’t moving I assumed I could help it if I could unflatten it where the car ran over it. I put it in a cardboard box with a towel like I saw so many people do on TV.

Then I squeezed its sides where it was flat. There was a terrible cracking noise and all its guts and all these bugs came squirting out all over me. I ran to my mother. She threw me in the shower, ripped off all my clothes and left me there freezing for a long time.

She called me bad boy at least twenty times. I stopped counting at twenty, but she said it more. My father called me bad boy too, but just once. Mother threw the squirrel, box, towel and all into the trash. The next day she tried to explain to me what death was.

Death is like broken but it can’t be fixed. It took me a long time to really know the difference. At first I didn’t understand that to be dead something first had to be alive. They tried to explain to me what alive was. If something moves on its own it’s alive. But cars move on their own and they’re not alive.

I gave up trying to figure out and just brought things to my parents to ask them if it was dead or broken. I got called bad boy a lot. Sometimes for breaking things. Sometimes for killing things. I decided it would be better to not break or kill anything so I started spending all my time sitting on my bed.

To try to get me to play outside my parents took my TV away. After that I had to make up TV shows in my head. They all started off good but always ended bad. People killing each other. Animals eating people. Car crashes. Lots of blood. Red became my favorite color.

Then the police brought me home from school. They told my parents I was a bad boy. My parents believed them and didn’t even listen to why I broke that boy’s skull. He was a bully and was hurting the younger kids so I picked up a baseball bat and made him stop.

I thought that stopping a bully would be a good thing. This is what superheroes do. I was protecting the small kids. I’m the good boy. I give up.

So now I have to write this bad boy essay. They better like it cause I know where the warden hides his gun.

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Tags: | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: November 1, 2019

100 Words – Drunken Score

drunken woman

Her face looked like carved marble but was soft as cotton. My pursuit of her was pure folly. She wasn’t just out of my league, she was playing a completely different game.

I was drunk and barely coherent when I saw her at the bar, sitting alone, and went over to ask her out. It took a couple tries before she understand what I was trying to say. She took my phone out of my pocket and entered her number.

My friends tried to convince me to wait to call her. I ignored them. We went to dinner that night.

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Tags: , | Comments (1) | Author: Tom | Published: October 14, 2019

Tom Week – New Jersey

new jersey parking lot

9/25/19 – Slept Late

Checkout time is 11AM. Pat was the first one awake, at 10:20AM. Rush, rush, rush. We were only a few minutes late out the gate, but now we’re all exhausted.

We stopped at a WalMart which turned out to be in New Jersey. The problem with that is they charge you $6.50 to leave New Jersey. Cause nobody would pay to get in.

9/26/19 – Fixins

I fixed a couple things around the RV today. Got some errands done online. Pat did some cleaning. It’s not all fun and games in the big yellow truck.

9/27/19 – Amish Country

We’re in New Holland PA. Just east of Intercourse. We saw buggies and honor-system produce stands and lots of hefty women in long skirts doing yard work. And big horses. Like, can pull down a barn all by themselves big.

Because of the nice weather the campground is full and we are stuck on the back lot which can only be reached by going the wrong way down a one way street. No cable or wifi on the back forty, just drainage ditches and darkness.

9/28/19 – Black Vultures

Walking Abigail in the woods today we were swooped upon by what I thought were giant crows or ravens. We weren’t being attacked. They just wanted to scare us away. Turns out the birds were black vultures. They have five foot wingspans and tiny heads. A bit smaller than turkey vultures but way cooler-looking.

9/29/19 – Intercourse

We drove through Intercourse PA today. My inner teenager insisted.

9/30/19 – Yo Yo Weather

We are in a strange place. Rather than a continuous temperature arc, it wanders up and down all day and night. Dress in layers, y’all.

10/1/19 – October

The summer is gone. The month of my birth is here. We are in Delaware. Not far from where the rest of my family had a get-together last year. I couldn’t make it then. Bad timing.


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Tags: , | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: October 2, 2019


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