One Surreal Afternoon- Lena Winfrey Seder #FourthWallFriday
Lena has shared a #FourthWallFriday for us today based on characters and story line from the short story “The Ugly Truth” in the collection From Phoenix Flames. Lena and I met in Richard Long’s street team and she has become a supportive and lovely friend over on Facebook. Today is 2015’s first Fourth-Wall. It is the third year I have featured this fun piece on the blog and I am just thrilled with the next three months worth of signups. Lena will also be giving away one random commentor a copy of her collection of short stories, From Phoenix Flames, so make sure you leave her some comment love!
I speed over to Rudy’s with worry because of his strange phone call and request of help for our friend Tom. What is going on?
I am parking my silver Nissan Ultima down the road a bit, as there are some kids playing on their bikes in the street on my way to Rudy’s house. It is generally a conservative, family-oriented neighborhood. He chose to live in Cary, North Carolina just outside of Raleigh so he could enjoy some quiet.
Rudy is a good friend, but a strange one with a funny sense of humor; he finds a joke in almost everything. Even by default. I worry about Tom. I haven’t seen much of Tom since his wedding to Natasha last year. My work keeps me busy as well as some of the travelling I’ve been doing. Tom, Rudy and I used to be so close. Somehow, we have drifted apart, especially Tom. Over the past year, when I would see him at a distance or in someone’s home, he seemed quieter, distant and a bit melancholy. I miss the old Tom who always had a smile for everyone and who could brighten a room with his presence. I wonder what has led to his change in demeanor. I suppose I will find out now, as Rudy demanded I come over to help out and to keep them company.
Touching the doorbell, Rudy calls to me to wait. I am surprised when he has to put in the code for the alarm system. When did he get that thing?
“Hey, Lena, I’m so glad you made it so soon. Tom is inside.”
“Hey Rudy! When did you get this alarm?”
“I got it last week after our neighbors got their house broken into. The thieves shot the man and scared his family, but he did survive. I figured it’s better to be safe than sorry. Let them come to my house; the police will be here in a jiffy when it rings. Not to mention my Glock that’s resting in my bedroom. It could use some practice.”
“Rudy, I hope you never have to find out.”
I walk over to give Tom a hug. Poor guy! He’s all banged up.
“Tom, what happened to you?” I ask.
Tom cannot speak, so Rudy begins to fill me in.
“Poor Tom was the victim of a lunatic wife who just lost it with a baseball bat. He spent a couple of days in the hospital.”
“Tom, is this true? Natasha did this to you?” I ask incredulously.
“Yes, she did. But she just has some issues she needs to work through,” says Tom embarrassedly.
“Issues? Nothing warrants this kind of abuse!” I shout in horror.
“She needs professional help,” states Tom.
“Well, I can see that,” I shoot back.
Rudy orders pizza, and I am so glad because I haven’t had lunch yet. I am starving!
“I hope you both love meat lover’s and vegetarian,” says Rudy.
“Sounds great to me,” I say.
Tom curls up on the sofa to rest, so Rudy and I cover him up with a blanket. We’re watching an action film while waiting on the pizza that they claim will arrive in only 30 minutes.
Suddenly, a car door hits like a sledgehammer! Curses and shouts fill the air. Someone has pulled into Rudy’s driveway and sounds like an erupting volcano!
Tom stirs and asks confusedly, “What’s that noise?”
“It seems like your worse half has just found us,” states Rudy.
I nervously glance out one of the windows. I gasp as I watch Natasha shouting and ranting. She picks up a brick from Rudy’s garden and throws it through his red Ford pick-up truck window.
“Oh, no! You better not…” Rudy cries out.
Meanwhile, Tom is calling Officer Reilly. The neighbors also call the police due to the loud noise. I can see the neighbor Mrs. Mills and her family cramming themselves in like sardines to watch the entertainment from their large living room window. And behind Natasha, the Pizza Delivery Man has pulled up on his motorbike. He is unsure of what to do, so he hides himself safely behind the tree in the front lawn as he witnesses the drama unfolding.
Natasha shouts, “You no good, cheating, lazy, cowardly beast! Get out here and get your butt back home where it belongs.”
Rudy starts to bound out the door, but Tom stops him. “Officer Reilly told us not to leave the house. He’s on his way.”
“But my Baby! She just broke my window!”
“I know, Bro, and I’m sorry, but if you go out there she might break you, too.”
Rudy gets his gun from his bedroom. He makes sure there are bullets in it. He stands by the window and shouts out, “You’ll pay for that window, Natasha!”
“We’ll see who’ll pay!” shouts Natasha. “Send out Tom right this minute, or you’ll have something else to worry about.”
“Don’t you threaten me! I have my Glock ready and aimed at you. If you take one step in my house, I’ll send you to the next life.”
“I dare you to shoot. Are you willing to go to prison for me?” she grins as she walks up the stairs. She touches the front door and rattles it. Then, she starts pounding on it. Suddenly, the alarm rings loudly and almost gives the whole neighborhood a heart attack. Natasha backs up and just stares at the door. When the hell did he get that alarm?
I am almost petrified to the spot! I had no idea that Rudy owned a gun before today. I didn’t know whether to be afraid more from the gun or from Natasha. Tom also is in shock and drumming his fingers nervously on the kitchen table.
Rudy shouts back at Natasha, “Oh, don’t you worry. I won’t shoot you until you enter the house. You’ll be trespassing. It’s my right to protect myself.”
“Rudy, take it easy. She has a mental problem. She needs counseling. Just let it go, OK? The police should be here any minute,” says Tom.
“Yeah, I agree with Tom. Let the police handle it,” I encourage.
“Tom, I know she has a problem. But I want to make sure she doesn’t enter. As long as she stays outside, she’ll be fine. I don’t want to be stuck in this small house with a crazy bitch!”
“Please, don’t talk that way. She’s still my wife, despite she seems now like a stranger. You don’t know all that she has faced in her life. She had a terrible childhood.”
“Yes, Rudy. Really you have to pity the poor woman rather than put her down or insult her. She just needs help,” I say.
“I’m sorry, Bro. I didn’t mean to be so insensitive.”
“I’ll forgive you this time,” says Tom.
Natasha paces on the porch as if she is at a bull-fight and ready to charge. She hates Rudy, and he has brought out every piece of ugliness that she has in her. She picks up the front porch chair and bangs it against the door but to no avail. She even tries to body slam the door. She starts shouting curses and calling for Tom. Then, she throws the chair through the nearby window, shattering it to pieces. She starts to climb inside when she is met by Rudy, who sticks the Glock in her face. She slowly backs up. Tom watches the scene rolling out in slow motion. He can’t believe she is the same woman he has married.
Chills cover my body. I back up and join Tom while looking for a kitchen weapon to defend us in case Natasha gets inside. I grab a small pot and brandish it. Luckily, the Glock discourages her from entering. Whew!
Police sirens are coming from two directions. In desperation, Natasha decides to throw herself down the front stairs. She pummels down and lands on the cement walk. She has sustained a few bruises and scratches as well as possibly a sprained ankle. She smiles to herself as she tries to stand. “See what you did to me! Tom, you’ll go to jail for throwing me down the stairs.”
Tom jumps up and runs to the window. “What are you talking about?”
“Ouch! See how bad I’m hurt? You just threw me down the stairs. I only wanted to come and beg you to come home with me.”
“Okay, this is a new kind of crazy,” says Rudy. “Wow… like something out of Hitchcock!”
“Listen, we were inside the whole time, and you know that’s the truth,” says Tom.
“It doesn’t matter what you know and what I know. It’s what they’ll see and believe,” shouts Natasha as she laughs wickedly.
Tom and Rudy glance at each other and shake their heads. I stand by with my mouth gaping.
As the police arrive, Rudy punches in the alarm code and finally silence envelops the neighborhood. All that can be heard is Natasha’s loud cries. Officer Reilly enters, and Tom explains what has occurred. Another officer is coming up to cuff Tom due to Natasha’s accusations. Officer Reilly stops him.
“Officer Smith, just wait a minute. This is a domestic abuse case, and the lady is not being truthful. See this man’s injuries? They are from his wife. And he’s in no condition at this moment to have thrown her down the stairs,” says Officer Reilly.
“But what about her injuries? She looks like a train wreck!” replies Officer Smith.
“Go ask the neighbors what they saw and confirm it,” says Officer Reilly.
Officer Smith takes another officer, and they go to ask neighbors what they have seen. An ambulance arrives, and they are taking care of Natasha’s minor injuries. She is crying like a lawn sprinkler.
Finally, the Pizza Delivery Man makes it through and is offering the pizza for free, but Rudy tells me to go ahead and pay him with a good tip; the poor man couldn’t help it that he is late and got caught in the drama.
Rudy and I fix Officer Reilly some coffee. We offer some coffee and pizza to the other officers. We sit down to discuss things. Meanwhile, Officer Smith comes back with a statement from Mrs. Mills who has witnessed the whole event. She tells of how Natasha threw the brick through the truck window, and how she threw herself down the stairs. Mrs. Mills verifies that no one came out of the house. She even comments on what a nice neighbor Rudy has been.
Natasha looks up and is bewildered as she finds Officer Smith cuffing her instead.
“What’s going on?”
“You’re under arrest. Anything you say…”
“Yeah, yeah… I know the Miranda rights.”
“Glad to hear, but I still have to read them to you.”
“What the hell do you think you’re doing? He abused me.”
“Ma’am, you might want to wait until you get a lawyer. We have a few witnesses in the neighborhood, so you might want to think of the real story.”
Natasha unhappily closes her mouth. She has done herself in. But she is already thinking of which lawyer to call. She knows that all it takes is money and a good lawyer to get out. She will be seeing Tom and Rudy real soon. She will take her revenge on them when they least expect it!
Officer Reilly gives Tom some advice, as the police and ambulance are all pulling out of the neighborhood.
“Tom, she might make bail. So you need to come make an official statement as soon as possible. You can place a restraining order against her. And I advise calling Mr. Wentworth now. You will definitely need a lawyer. And if she threatens you and comes near you, just call the police. And you can call me directly any time.”
“Thanks very much for your help. What will they do with her?”
“She’ll be charged and go to jail, but as I said she’ll probably be out on bail soon.”
“What she really needs is professional psychiatric help.”
“The judge will determine what’s best for her. And I do agree with you on that one. And you might think to get some counseling for yourself. You’ve gone through trauma. It would help you to cope. Don’t try to go it alone.”
“He won’t. I’ll be here for him,” says Rudy. “And I’ll convince him to get counseling.”
“I’m here for Tom, too. I’ll even drive him to the counselor’s office. Don’t worry about Tom. We’ll take good care of him.”
“See, you have your friends looking out for you! You’re a lucky man, Tom.”
“Yes, indeed I am. And lucky to be alive.”
“Indeed you are. Some people wait until it’s too late and many don’t make it. You have a chance to start a new life,” adds Officer Reilly.
–Lena Winfrey Seder
From Phoenix Flames: A Collection of Short Stories
by Lena Winfrey Seder
on November 14, 2014
From Phoenix Flames is a collection of mostly realistic fictional short stories that follow the struggles and awakening of various characters who evolve and rise from their drastic situations just like the phoenix that rises from the ashes to be reborn. A couple of humorous and paranormal stories lighten the seriousness of these dramatic tales.
These stories are meant to entertain as well as to educate about the growing problem of domestic violence. It is the hope that these characters and their stories can stimulate dialogue that will search for solutions while encouraging those in need to get help.
There are 11 stories in this collection. Some highlights are:
Taking Care of Business: Telekinetic Dani seeks revenge after government experiments tortured her and ruined her teenage years.
The Ugly Truth: This story explores a wife abusing her husband as we learn the horrific details of their relationship. Rudy is the best friend who brings comic relief as he compares Natasha’s hair to Medusa’s.
Going Home: Robert reconciles with his past and comes to terms with his troubled relationship with his father.
She-Devil in Gucci: Through Vanessa’s façade of toughness, we learn how people build walls and protect themselves with prickly thorns after betrayal. Is it possible for her to let down these walls to let love in?
Crossed Communication: Holly believes she has misunderstood her husband John and that their problem was miscommunication. However, there is a surprising twist at the end of this story.
Wake Up: This story follows the serious control and abuse that Emily suffers from her husband. As the problem escalates, can she get out in time?
Surprise House Guest: This piece of flash fiction explores an alternative love story as we meet Jax, a good jinn, who wants to protect Lexi.
Standing Up for Change: This positive story brings together Jewish and Muslim neighbors who stand for justice to help another suffering neighbor. This story leaves us feeling hopeful.
Evolution of Revolution
This collection is filled with tales of suffering and triumph. Some characters will even make you laugh. Come and experience this journey as you watch some of these characters rise from the ashes to be reborn like the Phoenix.
This collection is for both entertainment and education. It sheds light on the growing problem of domestic abuse. I hope that it will change perspectives and encourage dialogue on solving this global issue.
Purchase from Amazon
The Metamorphosis of a Muslim
Lena Winfrey Seder grew up with a loving Christian family in the Virginia countryside. As a shy young woman, she sought to expand her horizons and fly, like a butterfly. At first, her focus was on worldly success and fame, but when she found herself unable to obtain satisfactory answers to her doubts about her religious traditions, she began a spiritual quest for the truth. She emerged from her cocoon with Islam at her side, to guide her in her life and travels.
In this autobiographical account, the author uses a series of flashbacks to weave back and forth among important events and places in her life, before and after she embraced Islam. She explains what attracted her to Islam and describes the effects of her choice on key relationships in her life. Her narration is laced with personal anecdotes and heart-felt advice about being patient in the face of adversity. Her experiences are woven together to create more than just a simple narrative; this is a unique account of the Metamorphosis of a Muslim.
Purchase from Amazon
genre: science fiction, humor, brain, utopia, experiment, future, relationships
Don’t forget to leave some comment love for a chance to win the featured book for free.