No politics on the first date (Dylan)
The woman behind the counter has hair cut about to her chin, longer at the front and shorter in the back. It’s dyed a bronze color, and I can’t tell her age or even her general appearance because the makeup she wears is thick as wood-grain veneer on cheap particleboard. Her eyelids, thick with glittery blue eyeshadow, flutter as she talks to a man behind the counter who isn’t wearing an airline uniform. Actually, he doesn’t appear to be there for any other purpose than to flirt with the woman.
“Excuse me,” I say.
She ignores me and continues to smack her gum.
I like to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. But if this is how everyone is going to behave in New York, I’d just as soon go back to the South.
“Excuse me, Miss?” I try my best to contain my irritation. I can’t go as far as Ma’am, though my Mom wouldn’t approve. Mamma always told me to keep up my best manners even if the world was coming to an end.
“What?” The look she gives me is anything but accommodating. Is it the Southern accent? Or because I’m a teenager? Or is she just normally rude? Who knows? Impossible to tell. What I do know is that she’s making me angry.
“I was on Flight 658, along with my friends.” I gesture to the others from the Atlanta delegation. “None of our luggage has shown up at the baggage claim.”
She gives me a briefly scornful look, then picks up a phone and dials. “Yeah, Gary? This is Bethany, in Terminal 4. Yeah, that’s me. I got some teenagers here, they say their luggage didn’t come off Flight 658.”
She pauses and tilts her head. “Uh huh… uh huh …. Yeah? Well, that’s a bummer. All right.”
None of that sounds good. She hangs up the phone. It’s clear she’d rather be flirting with the guy, or doing a crossword puzzle, or just about anything else other than talking with me. “Sorry, but security diverted one load of luggage at Hartsfield.” She doesn’t pronounce the -R- in Hartsfield, instead saying it like Hahhtsfield. She continues. “It should catch up with you in the next day or so. You gotta fill out some paperwork, and give it to the TSA supervisor. I’ll call him over.” She’s already taking out the paperwork. A lot of it.
Forty minutes later—without luggage—we join up with the students from the other groups. Except for Tameka, I haven’t had a chance to get to know any of the others in my group. Tameka lives in Virginia Highlands, a neighborhood in northeast Atlanta, and goes to Grady High School. She’s a junior and heavily involved in sports and academics. They all are. The five of us had to attend a dinner where we gave short introductions a couple of weeks ago—these four girls are all high achievers at their schools. It makes me feel like I’m not up to scratch—a year ago I was a high school dropout and I still don’t understand why they let me on this trip.
As we approach the ground transportation area, next to the baggage claim, I see a woman holding a large sign: Council of Great City Schools Foreign Exchange Program. She is medium height with blonde hair, cut in a relatively short style with bangs. I’d guess she’s around thirty-five years old. She waves as she sees us approach. I wrinkle my nose—this part of the airport smells vaguely like piss and old-stale cigarette smoke.
A group of twelve or so teenagers stands in a loose semicircle around the woman. Harried and tired passengers stream by on their way to wherever they are going. One girl stands to the left of the group and a few feet away as she talks on what looks like an iPhone. I’ve never seen one before–they just came out a few months ago and no one in my circle can afford toys like that. Her bags are on the floor and she has a pained expression on her face. What catches my eyes is her long, luscious-looking brown hair, slightly olive skin, and how her sweater hugs her upper body.
“No, Mom. We haven’t even left the airport yet.” Silence, then the girl rolls her eyes, giving me a look at her deep green irises. “Of course. Yes. Yes. I will. Okay.”
A crease forms in the center of her forehead as her eyebrows draw together. “No, I don’t think I’ll have a chance to see Carrie, we’ve got a pretty full schedule before we leave for Tel Aviv. But I’ll call her if I get some free time.”
When her eyes swing toward me, I quickly look away. Then I nearly jump when someone speaks almost in my ear. “Jaysus, she’s hot, isn’t she?”
I jerk back. The speaker is a guy with brown curly hair. He looks like a caricature of a teenager. Basketball-player tall, but with arms and legs more like a stick figure than a human, all elbows and knees. I’m not really up on the latest fashion, though a lot of my classmates back home are—homelessness, even for a brief period, gives you an appreciation of having any clothes at all. But this kid clearly hasn’t ever missed a meal, and he’s decked out in an array of corporate logos and brand names.
I instantly dislike him—then I back that off. I’m here to learn, not to judge the other kids. I know better than to judge people just by their appearance.
“Yeah,” I murmur. The girl is way the hell out of my league.
“I’m Mike,” he says. “From Chicago.”
“Dylan. I’m from Atlanta.”
“Oh, yeah? Southern boy, huh?”
“Through and through,” I reply. Is he serious?
He looks at me and asks, “What’s your politics?”
“You know. Democrat? Republican?”
I snort. “I don’t talk politics on the first date.”
“Okay,” said the woman. “I’m Marie Simpson; I’ll be one of your chaperones for the next several weeks. Please let me get everybody’s names. We’ve got the Chicago and San Francisco and Atlanta groups here?”
She begins to read out names, starting with the students from Atlanta. Tameka is first, then two of the other girls, then me. A few minutes later, after she gets the names of the five students from Chicago, she moves on to the San Francisco group—five of them.
The San Francisco group has four girls–including the one I’ve been trying to not obviously stare at. The fifth kid in the group is a vaguely Asian or Pacific Island looking guy. Then she responds to her name, which I hear for the very first time.
A View From Forever is available for pre-orders now at a special pre-order price of $2.99:
Author website: http://sheehanmiles.com
I don’t know. You see,
Love isn’t just about all flowers and shit.
it ain’t about the dance, or the ring,
it’s not about the house, or the romance.
Love isn’t lavender,
It’s not poppies
Or delicate white roses.
It’s not the flesh of that first kiss
It’s not when you lose your virginity
It’s not the oh so sweet taste of the beautiful maidenly breast
And it ain’t a battefield either
And you know what else? Love doesn’t always feel good. In fact sometimes it fucking hurts
2 o’clock in the morning, when you’re wiping shit off a sick kid
Love is reaching outside of yourself
Love is learning how to say I’m sorry
And really meaning it
Love is learning from your mistakes
so you don’t make them again.
Love is being patient, it’s letting people make mistakes
Love is giving up something you want so someone else can have something they want
What I’m saying is:
Love is not a feeling
Love is not something that happens to you
Love is not something you find in a singles bar
as if somebody left it lying around to be picked up.
Love is not to be mistaken for lust, or that heady feeling you get when you’re infatuated
What I’m trying to say is: love is not a thing at all
It’s an action
Love isn’t something you find
It’s something you give
It’s not something you can lose,
it’s something you have to give away
Love isn’t giving a dollar to a homeless shelter.
It’s giving your name to a homeless person
Love doesn’t matter
Unless you do something about it
more details soon 🙂
the most exalted one
king savior messiah
i’ve got a bone to pick with you
a dust devil of hate, the shamal of rage
flecks of sand tearing my skin
a turbine hot jet fuel
dripping from the cracked fuselage
this hole in my chest
locust burrowing in
twitching and scratching and biting and clawing
we roll in the dirt infected pigs
fleeing over the cliff
innocent bystanders for your demons
we suffer we die we agonize in Your name
the pigs are the children who got in the way
wrong place at the wrong time blackened and broken limbs
to love my enemy i must love myself
but if you only knew who
then you would hate me too
the hate suppressed causes pain in my chest
why do you lie why do we die
and seriously didn’t those egyptian kids deserve to live too?
do you specialize in innocent bystanders?
plagues and boils and locusts against the oppressors
especially the ones who were infants in arms
saul didn’t commit enough genocide for you
so you found someone bloodier
the girls sold into slavery wasn’t enough
it wasn’t good enough for you because they weren’t all dead
moses left on the wrong side of the river because he didn’t
kill enough of his own people for Your taste
what is his name? moses asks. who should i tell them sent me?
maybe you should have replied
I AM …
… the unbalanced?
skin becoming wrinkle, hair turning gray,
pungent cortisol is all flooding my brain, aging my body, killing me in slow-motion
these times i need a drink or two
the thrill of the bet
the calming elixir of sugar,
the rush under my skin, the touch of a warm body in a dark place
but these things no longer work
they leave me deader than before
i lash out in search of an answer
i seek solace without pain
the baptism of sex
the sacrament of addiction
the scripture of greed
gives me no salvation
maybe I’m from missouri
because i want you to show me
no. who are you really?
A one room schoolhouse
Fields of grain
Soft sounds of rural life
Creaking of leather straps and wagon wheels
Manure and hickory smoke
The wind blows metallic terror
as a truck backs up into a nightmare
“I’m trying to find something”
he says to disarm
then he brings out the guns
The clatter of rounds in the chamber
A threat revealed
Some are let go
adults with babies, and all the boys
hot with fear and sweat
but the girls are kept in quivering terror
zip ties cut into the flesh
trembling faith stretched thin by evil
Some real or imagined offense
far in the man’s past
brings murder to Nickel Mines
take me first, says one girl, that the others may live
a second girl asks for the same
One shot, two, three, then four, Five and six,
Acrid smoke fills the room
Naomi and Lena. Mary Liz and Anna Mae. Marion
Did the killer believe in Jesus and
if so, was he whisked straight to heaven
How do you get justice when someone kills themselves after murdering children
When it was all over
the families sought out the wife and children of the killer
and touched them
for the families, how is it that the first thing they did
copyright 2015 Charles Sheehan-Miles
Andrea Thompson ist schlau, selbstbewusst und hübsch. Sie ist außerdem schrecklich einsam. Sie wird in Europa von ihrer Oma großgezogen und hat schwer damit zu kämpfen, dass ihre Eltern sie nicht bei sich haben wollen. Und sie hat keine Ahnung, warum das so ist.
Als Andrea einen dringenden Anruf von ihrer älteren Schwester Carrie erhält, stimmt sie zu, in die Vereinigten Staaten zu fliegen und ihr zu helfen. Carries neugeborene Tochter Rachel benötigt eine Knochenmarkstransplantation.
Was Andrea nicht weiß, ist, dass ihre Rückkehr in die Vereinigten Staaten eine Kette von Ereignissen auslösen wird, die Geheimnisse aufdecken werden, die seit Jahrzehnten gewahrt wurden. Geheimnisse, die die Thompson Familie erschüttern und einen politischen Feuersturm auslösen werden.
Geheimnisse, für deren Wahrung Menschen bereit sind zu töten.
If there is a God, he abandoned that home
Just as I abandoned common sense
The pursuit of life
a gaudy parade of
Tiny puckered nipple
A captive audience
A willing body
Flashing lights and a club
raw sewage under the surface of my soul
If a man doesn’t hurt himself
does he exist?
Cash. Skin. White. Black. Cream and tan and everything in between.
What happens when they’re too old
to be exploited?
Short snippet of what I’m working on, a prequel to Just Remember to Breathe. Alexandra Thompson’s point of view:
She arches an eyebrow. “Oh? Tell me. Wait… is it… a guy?”
I frown. “Carrie….”
She smiles. “You can tell me anything. Cross my heart.” She does, first making a sign of the crucifix, which would drive Mother insane if she saw it, then pretending to turn a key in her mouth and throw it away. But we’re interrupted when the waitress appears. Both of us order specialty rolls, and Carrie orders white wine for both of us. The waitress gives me a very skeptical look, but doesn’t ask for ID.
“There is a guy who fascinates me on this trip,” I say.
“What’s his name? Tell me everything.”
“I don’t know anything about him,” I say. “That’s why I’m so intrigued. His name’s Dylan Paris—he’s a senior, from Atlanta—and that’s all I know. He doesn’t really talk with anyone.”
I shake my head. “The opposite, I think. All of the other guys are preppies. He’s not, and I think maybe he’s intimidated.”
Carrie smiles. “You should take him under your wing then, before you guys leave for Tel Aviv.”
“Well, I’d have to get up the courage to talk with him first.”
She throws her head back and laughs. “You’ve got a point, sister. Do keep me up to date. You’re running off to a foreign country with a strange guy.” She gives the barest of mischievous smile as she says, “It’s very romantic.”
“He’ll probably turn out to be gay,” I say.
A View From Forever is available for pre-orders now at a special pre-order price of $2.99:
Author website: http://sheehanmiles.com
I’m excited to share the news that in a few months A Song for Julia will be available in Turkish, published by Yabancı Yayınları Publishing, translated by Asli Tumerkan.
Want to order an autographed paperback or hardcover? Autographed books make great gifts!
You can get your copies in time for Christmas if you order by Tuesday, December 16th at 2 PM (we’ll be delivering the books for shipment to the post office that day). Here’s the pricing breakdown:
Book 1: A Song for Julia – $16
Book 2: Falling Stars ($8)
Book 4: The Last Hour ($17)
Book 5: Girl of Lies ($16)
Book 6: Girl of Rage ($16)
Book 7: Girl of Vengeance ($18)
To place your order, simply select which books you’d like and check out through PayPal (you don’t have to have an account to purchase through them). If you are ordering for shipment to Europe, contact me first please. For US domestic orders, please allow $4 shipping per book.
Ready to order? Total up your books and send payment to email@example.com via Paypal!
Remember, if you want the books shipped in time for Christmas, I must have your order in by Tuesday, December 16th!