Tom Flanders World

Writer of Fiction

Tom Week – Idaho to Montana

bike at Idaho Sonic


Welcome to Idaho! Hot day but an evening thunderstorm cooled thing off a bit. It also interrupted our power a couple times.

Abigail made some friends today, but then one tried to hump her and hurt her leg. She’s limping but not too badly.

On the drive we wound up on this terrible road, rippled by trucks and frost heaves. So much for the scenic route.


Nice bike paths in Northern Idaho, but kind of hilly. Besides the bike ride I did nothing all day.


Another day, another state. We are in Missoula Montana for five days to let our mail catch up with us. It’s a college town so there are many bike trails. The RV park is in mall land so everything is half a mile away.


The rental car is bright blue and has Nevada plates. It also has to be locked and unlocked by putting the key in the door’s keyhole. I haven’t had to do that in a long time.

We went to have lunch at Fuddruckers. It was 1PM and there were only three raggedy old cars there. The Arby’s down the street was packed. When you can’t compete with Arby’s it’s time for a change. We ate elsewhere.


What day is it? Where are we? If this is Tuesday it must be Missoula. (AKA Zootown)

Did a whole lot of laundry today in machines that you need a special card for instead of cash or a credit card. So high tech.


Pat spent much of the day dealing with pharmacies and insurance companies. We took Abigail for a haircut. She looks good. I finally got around to cleaning out some of the storage bins. It seems that no matter much stuff we get rid of we still have too much.


If you ever need blood work done go to the Lab Corp in Missoula Montana. We were in and out before our appointment time arrived.

Then we ate at Perkins which we were surprised that it existed. It doesn’t appear on Yelp or Google Maps. Good food cheap.


We made it to Bozeman. Yes, that Bozeman. We are in a little park run by Maryjo and Marty. By the office there is a wood carving of either a bear or a wolf. Whatever it is it has large wooden genitals.

It may snow overnight then by Wednesday it will be in the 80’s. Love Montana.


dog at steering wheel

Sometimes Abigail helps me drive

black rabbits

Some of our bunny neighbors in Missoula

bigfoot statue

Bigfoot makes sure all the doggie owners use the poop bags

spider-shaped bench

Beware the spider bench


This bike trail in Idaho had everything

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Tags: ,, | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: June 7, 2019

Short Story – Bad Meditation

scary meditation face

Meditation was supposed to be relaxing. Nobody told me about the nightmares, or medimares or whatever the hell you call them. The visions of horror that jump out of the nothingness of the cleared mind. Not horror like you see in movies. Personal horror. Seeing yourself strangling puppies kind of horror.

It started about a month after my first attempt at meditation. It took me that long to learn how to clear my thoughts. To think about nothing. It was a slow process but there was progress. Then one day I did it. I was just there and there was nothing. I was relaxed and receptive.

Then my six grade teacher was there, only he wasn’t just being his usual asshole self. He was carving runes into the skin of my friends and there was nothing I could do to stop him.

Another time I was sitting, feeling very mellow and free, and suddenly I saw myself picking up a kitten and throwing her against the wall over and over again. That one sent me to the therapist.

Obviously I was doing something wrong the therapist told me. She had me do my deep breathing and relaxation ritual. She kept whispering good and yes. Slowly she, and everything else faded away. I felt calm. My last thought was to let go of thinking about not thinking. Then out of nowhere came the vision of my aunt falling from a great height and splattering on the sidewalk.

The therapist suggested that meditation might not be my thing. Instead, she gave me some pills to try to help me relax.

No more pills! At least when the meditation went bad I could snap out of it pretty quickly. The pills trapped me in the nightmare. Hours of dogs with knives, talking bloody cabbages and me, killing or hurting everyone and everything I could get my hands on.

The therapist got mad at me when I described my childhood as normal. After a few sessions she hypnotized me. When she brought me back up she pissed, having found nothing to blame the horrors on.

I’m a nice person. Never arrested, well once, drunk in public the night of my college graduation, but I never hurt anybody. The thought of these horrors living in my brain makes me vomit. Literally. I started to wonder if I’m too nice a person, working too hard to suppress the bad in me.

No meditation. No pills. Just sleep. It happened again. I was in a workshop. On the counter was a bird cage with eleven robins. I took each one and crushed it’s beak with a vice. The noises they made. I woke after the eleventh had surrendered its beak. Surely I am insane. I never want to sleep again.

My therapist has given up on me. She says I’m not trying to get better. She referred me to a new doctor. In our first meeting he wired me up to a bunch of machines, asked me a bunch of questions and said “huh” a lot.

A week later they removed the tumor.

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Tags: , | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: June 5, 2019

Tom Week – Kent to Ephrata

steeple not in Kent


We are in Kent Washington, just south of Seattle. Nice old park. A little cramped but well-kept and run by nice people. Had to go early to pick up the rental car because I got an email warning that if I was late they might have to give my car away.

I got a Nissan Sentra. The rental guy was trying to give me a bigger fancier car. Thought I was weird for wanting the Sentra instead. I like it because it has more upright seating and fewer confusing gadgets.


The GPS on my phone took me on a series of very scenic roots today. It wasn’t until it told me to turn left onto the intercity bike path did I realize that I had it set for bicycle directions.

A strange trip to Camping World today. They actually had what I wanted.


This place has great bike paths. You can get from Seattle to Tacoma with almost never having to cross a street. Wide, smooth and mostly flat. Great fun.


Twenty miles on the bike this morning. Almost made it to Tacoma but I started getting tired.

Tonight we ate at the Red Robin in Des Moines. Yes, there’s one here in Washington only the pronounce the “s” at the end like a “z”. In Iowa both esses are silent.


Sometimes in the middle of the day you realize that your plans are right. In this case last night’s lack of sleep caught up with me and I didn’t want to drive any more narrow mountain roads. So we pulled into a parking lot and searched for the closest RV park. It was a mile away. It turned out to be very nice.


Today we went to Leavenworth Washington. It’s a faux Bavarian village in the Cascade foothills. Unfortunately it was way more faux than funky so today we also left Leavenworth.

We wound up in Ephrata. No, I never heard of it either. Pat’s favorite part is the pond right behind our RV. She spent quite some time watching the birds and turtles.


There are more birds here than you can ever imagine. I’ve seen or heard quails, ducks, whippoorwills, woodpeckers and a bunch of other unidentified species.

Central Washington is much flatter than I expected. Great for bike rides.



The legendary red tray of three forks

bike statue

A metal bike statue on the Green River Trail

pat looking at pond

Pat found her bliss by the pond

church steeple

Not your usual RV park structure

rv parking sign

Ephrata knows how to treat its visitors

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Tags: , | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: May 30, 2019

100 Words – No Excuses

sledge hammers - no excuses

“I have no time for your excuses. I want the money and I want it now. So shut up, pay up or it’s the sledgehammer to the balls again.”

He paid up. They always do.

I am slowly winning the battle over the voices in my head. Their screaming has been subdued to a mere whisper. A gentle melody telling me to do terrible things.

Doing the things the voices tell me to do eases the pain, but it always comes back. I think that if I can silence the voices I will silence the pain. What do you think?


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Tags: | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: May 25, 2019

Tom Week – Washington State

a bay, not in Washington


Wandered up the coast some more. Landed in Lincoln City.

This campground has more pop-up trailers than any campground I have ever seen. It’s pouring rain but all the people are hanging around outside. Apparently getting soaked with cold rain is better than being in a pop-up.

I was taking Abigail for a walk and she started barking like there was a dog but there was no dog. I took her over to show her there was no dog and we found a gravestone for a dog named Moe. Creepy.


Surprise sunshine today. I got a bike ride in and Tonya got to sit outside in her rocker for a while. It rained hard in the afternoon.


We are in Tillamook Oregon. The land of cheese. Also the land of RV parks that look much nicer on their websites than in real life. Fortunately there are many choices and we found a nice little park on the bay. The lady in charge was even nice enough to let us switch spots when our neighbors smoked us out.


Too windy to ride today so I spent most of the day getting my laptop up to date. Yes, I am that much the geek. Also did some laundry.

This morning I was walking Abigail and the bay had gone. At low tide it’s just a bunch of sandbars covered with people digging for clams.


Zoomed through Portland today. Not the kind of place you can explore in a day or two. We have reservations for Memorial Day Weekend up near Seattle. Stopped at a park on the north end of Vancouver Washington. Yeah, another state! It’s almost all residents here, but they had a cancellation so here we are.

Lesson: Never believe the No Vacancy sign.


Someone is watching over us. We had planned at staying in a city park tonight, but after a long search in Walmart I decided it wasn’t the night for adventure. So we moved on.

The next park was full. The one after that was a parking lot. Pat called ahead to one that sounded good and made a reservation. Turned out to be one of the prettiest parks we’ve ever seen. In the woods but with full hookups. Well, no cable TV, but that just helps it be even more quiet.


The quiet and the sunlight-blocking trees let us sleep till after 10 this morning. I could get used to this.

It’s much flatter here than I expected. A nice long bike ride and less than 200 feet of climbing.


Moose on a motorcycle

Tonya used to have the same stuffed moose.

the 45th parallel

Irving the bike. Half way between the equator and the north pole.

low tide

The bay at low tide


The bunny did not want his picture taken

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Tags: | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: May 24, 2019


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