Tom Flanders World

Writer of Fiction

Tom Week – Montana Hail

Montana hail

6/8/19 – Bozeman Hail

Cold day. Mix of rain, hail and snow this morning. Yes, snow, in June. Abigail was pretty sure she didn’t want to be stepping on that white stuff. I don’t think she’s ever seen snow before.

According to Pat’s records this is our 99th park on this trip.

6/9/19 – Billings

It’s much warmer today. We’re 2000 feet down from yesterday. Something’s going on. I took trying five places before I could find an available rental car.

Looking through local Yelp reviews I came across a couple doozies. For a place called Daisy Dukes Saloon and Dance Hall a one-star review complained about the lack of hip-hop music. Another one-star reviewer for the Rainbow Bar complained that she was kicked in the head by a man dancing on the bar. People, if someone is dancing on the bar, you step back! Be aware of your surroundings.

6/10/19 – Rental Car

There are no rental cars available in Billings. Or, nearly none. I went through all the normal outlets and got nothing but rejection. Finally I got lucky at Rent-A-Wreck. They had a pickup truck. It was described on-line as a Nissan Frontier or similar. The Frontier is a mid-size pickup that I like very much.

However, what I actually got was a Chevy Silverado 2500 Z71 4×4 with a diesel engine. It takes a ladder to get into it. Also, being a Rent-A-Wreck, it has issues. Perhaps personality is a better word. Does anyone need a stump pulled?

6/11/19 – Bike Ride

I knew my luck had to run out. The last several stops having been biking Nirvana. Billings snapped the streak. What Google maps lists as bicycle-friendly are two lane highways with no bike lane, shoulder or even sidewalk. The drivers try to be nice, but with 45mph speed limits it’s just not a safe place for bikes.

Then there were the bike paths along the river, which are all currently torn up due to construction. Not a nice surprise. There some streets with nice bike lanes though. They’re just no connected to each other.

Then we got the great news that the Vice President and his wife are coming to town. That will mess up traffic for two days.

6/12/19 – The Veep

I found much better bike paths today. There were even some hills. My climb was cut short though as I stumbled upon Mike Pence’s motorcade. He’s in town to chat with some other pasty-faced old fellows. I didn’t get my camera out fast enough. I’ve got to work on that.

We ate dinner at the Texas Roadhouse. Tonya likes it there because it’s very loud.

6/13/19 – Sitting

Spent much of the day working on the website and computer. Details, details, details.


country dolls

A couple of Gabby Hayes wannabes at a Montana restaurant/casino/bar/liquor store

snow-covered picnic table

Bozeman’s weather proved disappointing. It’s JUNE people!


The spider on the spigot helped me with my unhooking duties

path closed sign

Not all bike paths are created equal. Turns out I should have turned left.

police road block

The veep needs his space

big red truck

The rent-a-wreck giant pickup truck

Facebook LogoTwitter Logo
Tags: ,,, | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: June 13, 2019

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

Facebook LogoTwitter Logo
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.

Facebook LogoTwitter Logo
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

Facebook LogoTwitter Logo
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?


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


Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 3 other subscribers

Copyright 2019 Tom Flanders - Most rights reserved