Shabby Sunday: Roald Dahl – Switch Bitch – 1974

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Shabby Sunday Meme

I have a lot of old vintage books and one of my plans when I first started blogging was to do a post every week or so that shared one of my cherished vintage books. Then I thought that maybe there might be other book bloggers out there that have some vintage books, heirlooms, or maybe some old books from childhood that they might want to share. I decided to start a weekly meme titled ‘Shabby Sunday’ for those who would like to participate and share some of their old vintage books. Do you have some shabby books you’d like to share? Please feel free to participate. Feel free to use the picture I’ve provided if you’d like to. If you decide to do this meme, please consider linking back to me so that I can see the book you’re sharing.


Today’s shabby share is:

Switch Bitch

by Roald Dahl

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Blurb: Switch Bitch is a 1974 short story collection for adults by Roald Dahl. The book is made up of four stories: “The Visitor,” “The Great Switcheroo,” “The Last Act,” and “Bitch”. The stories had been written by Dahl for Playboy magazine and published separately in 1965.

My Thoughts:

Roald Dahl wrote dirty stories for adults? Yes, he did! I ended up getting this in a lot of Roald Dahl books that I purchased online. I was intrigued because I always considered him solely a children’s book author, but it isn’t so.

This book contains four stories that were originally published in Playboy magazine. I won’t formally review this one quite yet because so far I’ve only read one, The Visitor, and it was pretty good but incredibly weird to me. This really isn’t my kind of reading, but I enjoy branching out and reading books like these sometimes. It’s all writing without any illustrations and all the stories do involve sex which makes it inappropriate for young readers.

If you like Roald Dahl and you’re looking for some adult reading, this one is worth taking a look. It’s definitely different!


 

You can find this book on Amazon and Goodreads

  • Hardcover: 210 pages
  • Publisher: Alfred a Knopf Inc; 1 edition (September 1, 1974)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394494733
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394494739

 

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Continue reading “Shabby Sunday: Roald Dahl – Switch Bitch – 1974”

Magic Numbers – A Short Story By Anthony Jones

I found this beautiful story on Goodreads this evening. It’s a short story titled “Magic Numbers” written by author Anthony Jones. I hope you enjoy it…

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Magic Numbers
By Anthony Jones 

Terri sat at the desk in her finest evening gown and opened the center drawer. The sweet odor of the cigar box arose like a warm hug from her father. She could hear Jim’s footfalls on the tile floor as he approached the den.

“Are you ready to go?” Jim asked in a stern voice.

“I’m ready, but we can’t leave yet. You know what day it is.”

Jim’s eyes fell to the cigar box on the desk, and his heart sunk. “Yeah, today is the day the Association is honoring me at the annual awards dinner and it happens in eighty minutes. Let’s go!”

“Who do you think your talking too? If you’re in such a hurry to leave, just go. I’ll meet you when I’m done.”

“Done? With what? An OCD ritual created by a lunatic? I have had it with this!

Terri looked up from the desk, eyes filled with hurt and anger. “Why don’t you calm down. Why are you acting this way?”

“Don’t turn this on me!” Now Jim was on a roll and was powerless to stop. This was the last straw. Even his ears burned hot with rage. His words cut her like a razor.

“You drug that damn box to Hawaii last year and we missed our anniversary dinner cruise. And for what? So, you can carry on a stupid tradition of your dead father that is ruining our lives?”

The tears she was fighting back began to stream. Jim didn’t understand. This was her time to remember her father in her own way. Terri’s first memory was sitting on her father’s lap at age three while the weekly drawing played on television. He would take out the box, where he kept every ticket he ever bought. The tickets were meticulously filed chronologically dating back to the beginning of the lottery. He even had a special pen to circle each of the numbers that hit. Then he would number the ticket at the bottom in small print and hand the pen to Terri to draw the sad face indicating another loser. He always played the same numbers and bought the ticket at the same mom and pop bait shop in Rio Vista and never missed a week. He died in a head on collision seven years ago returning from that very store. After the funeral, when her mother asked if she wanted any of her father’s things, she chose the cigar box. For seven years, Terri has never missed a week playing her father’s magic numbers.

“Please Jim, you know how important this is to me, go on and I will catch up.” Terri said trying to compose herself, dabbing at her eyeliner with a tissue.

“Don’t bother! I don’t want you there! I’m done!” Jim slammed the door on his way out.

Terri used her small mirror to assess the damage her sobs had done to her face. Black lines traced the tracks of her tears. She took out her make up kit to complete the repairs; then she put it away and laid her head on her folded arms and cried again.

The tall grandfather clock’s chimes brought her back from her sobs and she took the remote from the desk drawer and turned on the weekly drawing. She opened the cigar box slowly and allowed the aroma of tobacco mixed with her father’s spiced cologne to scent the air. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath through her nose. She felt a smile on her lips as she imagined her father playing his magic numbers. Terri opened her eyes, picked up the special pen and began to circle the numbers as they appeared on the television screen. She printed, not this week at the bottom of the ticket. Then she numbered the ticket 1,507 and drew a small sad face on it and placed it meticulously in the box with the others. When she was done, she returned the pen to the box, placed the box in the drawer and turned off the television. It was seven twenty, she had plenty of time to make it to the awards banquet, but the sting of Jim’s words would not leave her. Instead she went to her room, curled up on her bed and cried some more.

The next morning, Jim was gone. Terri remembered this was his annual training conference in Los Angeles. In their eight-year marriage she thought their boundaries were fully tested, well defined and set in stone. They had never separated for any extended period while angry with each other or without saying goodbye.

***
It was Saturday when Jim left his hotel for the airport. Why hasn’t she called? Jim tortured himself all the way to the airport replaying the awful things he said about Gabriel. Did I really call him a lunatic? Jim asked himself. Truth be known, Jim really liked Gabe and missed him deeply. He was like the father he never had. Jim even made the trip with Gabe to Rio Vista on occasion and enjoyed chatting about the Forty-niners and fishing in the delta. And now, he was not speaking to his beloved because she wanted to carry on her father’s rather benign tradition.

After processing through security at the airport Jim found a seat at his terminal and took out his cell phone. He scrolled through his photos finding dozens of selfies of him and Terri. When he came across the Hawaiian anniversary vacation he stopped on a photo of Terri in her sexy bikini on the beach with her arm around his neck. The love and adoration in her eyes was priceless. What was it I said to her about the cruise we missed because of the lotto thing?

Now he remembered it differently. It was he who suggested they skip the dinner cruise that night. He hated pre-ordered food and the pretentious on-board jazz band that would expect them to dance as the boat cruised the blue haired old ladies a mile off shore. It was him who insisted on ordering room service and using the in-room spa. Jim remembered it was Terri who rocked his world so passionately that night, he measured all other romantic encounters against it and nothing in his life has ever come close.

By the time he landed in Sacramento and collected his luggage, Jim was contemplating what he would say when he got home.

Where do I start? He thought as he pulled out of the long-term parking lot. When he reached the freeway, he noticed his gas gauge was on empty. At the Chevron, Jim thought about texting Terri with something sweet to test the waters but chickened out fearing it was too impersonal after a week of the silent treatment. No, he would have to do this one in person. He simply had not figured out how to apologize so she would know he is sincere. I am such an idiot, he thought as he entered the store to pay for the gas. He wandered to the cold drink section and selected a water and approached the counter.

“Hello, my friend” the clerk said as he rang up the water.

Jim took out his wallet. “Hi, I got forty on pump seven.”

“The lotto is at a record three hundred and ninety million, would you like to add a ticket to your purchase?” The clerk said pointing to the lighted sign.

Jim looked at the sign and shook his head, then noticed fresh cut roses on the counter beneath it.

“You know odds of hitting the lotto are higher than being struck by lightning; how much for the roses?”

***
Terri was halfway to Rio Vista to get her weekly ticket when her phone rang. “Hello,” she said.

“Mrs. McLain, this is Sergeant Thomas with the California Highway Patrol, I’m sorry to inform you your husband has been in an accident on the causeway.”

“Oh my God. No!” Terri cried into the phone, “Is he ok?”

“I’m afraid not ma’am; he has been life flighted to UC Davis Medical Center and listed as critical.

Terri’s stomach clenched. UC Davis is where they took her father before he died.

“I’m on my way!” She said and turned her car toward Davis.

When she arrived at the hospital, the nightmare started all over again. The same faces at the counter, the same elevator, the same smell of iodine and disinfectant mixed with a pasta aroma escaping from the cafeteria. The same nurse Jodi that tended to her father before he passed.

“I’m sorry Mrs. McLain,” Nurse Jodi said, “your husband just came out of surgery and must spend some time in intensive care, no visiting. Come with me and I will show you where you can wait.”

Terri followed the nurse to the emergency room waiting area. “Can I get you anything while you wait?” Nurse Jodi asked. Terri shook her head and sat down.

For five hours, she sat, not wanting to believe it was happening all over again. She thought about all the things she wanted to tell Jim. She wanted to tell him she was sorry and would put her father’s box away forever, and that he was far more important than a silly game. She would choose another way to remember her father, perhaps visiting his grave from time to time like normal people. She prayed for a second chance to talk to her beloved, a chance she never got with her father.

As she sat contemplating the worst, she noticed the nurses chatting about the lottery being at a record high.

Today was the last day to get a ticket. The drawing was coming up in two hours and would forever break the living chronological chain in the cigar box. And it was ok, if only she could speak to Jim once more she would give anything. She felt ashamed for the way she acted last week. The awards banquet was an important night for Jim and she made it all about a stupid game. “Please let him be ok.” She whispered.

“Mrs. McLain, your husband was moved to another room. You can come in now. The doctor said he is going to be just fine,” Nurse Jodi said.

Terri welled up as she looked at Jim sleeping peacefully. “Thank God!” she whispered and sat beside him. She took his hand and pulled it to her lips and kissed it softly. She sat quietly thinking of all the things she would say when he awakes.

A short time later, Nurse Jodi came in the room. “Mrs. McLain, would it be alright if I turn on your television just for a moment, I want to watch the lotto drawing. It is at a record high and we all went in on tickets,” she whispered
Terri nodded, still holding Jim’s hand.

When 16 came up Terri smiled and thought, one of father’s magic numbers. When 15 and 4 came next, she started to laugh. Then 42, 8 and finally 23. Now Terri was laughing hysterically, then crying a little bit, then laughing again.

“Are you ok Mrs. McLain?” Nurse Jodi asked.

Tears were tracing her face as she said, “You did it daddy.” When she reached for the tissue she noticed the roses.

“They’re for you, the EMT said your husband refused to let go of them, so I put them with his personals,” Nurse Jodi said, pointing to the small table with her chin.

Then Terri noticed something else. The distinct color of an orange lotto ticket was poking from Jim’s wallet. When she opened it, and saw that Jim had played her father’s magic numbers. Her tears returned and she placed her hand over her mouth.

Nurse Jodi left the room shaking her head.

Jim awoke to Terri’s sweet kisses on his face.

Continue reading “Magic Numbers – A Short Story By Anthony Jones”

Lessons From Grandpa #3

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Me with my grandfather when I was about 1 year old.

When I was in 6th grade my grandmother received an unexpected diagnosis of cancer. It was a rare form of cancer and she had roughly 6 months to live because after watching her daughter (my aunt) suffer through chemotherapy treatments at the age of 28, she didn’t want to go through it herself. She knew it would only extend her life by a few months and didn’t want to be sick. She was very bitter about having the cancer and my grandfather was very sad. It hit everyone like a ton of bricks.

At one point, my grandmother was in the hospital for awhile and I was heading back and forth to the hospital with my grandfather to see her. It was a very eerie feeling for me being in the hospital and seeing my grandmother like that. My grandfather decided to take me to a family restaurant right across the street because we hadn’t eaten. I remember ordering mozzarella sticks and we sat at this little table together. As I sat there eating my cheese sticks this song came on the radio by Christopher Cross titled “Sailing.”

Every time I hear this song, it takes me back to that very day with my grandfather, when he sat at that table in the restaurant in tears and told me,

“Be sure to appreciate everything you have, especially your loved ones while they’re here.”

Later on that week, my grandmother became worse. She wasn’t going to be here much longer and I still wasn’t with it. I was simply too young and this would be the first death I would mourn. The situation with my grandmother was causing him a great deal of pain and I remember one day hearing him very upset in our basement. He was crying loudly, yelling at himself and throwing things around. He was saying over and over how much he was angry with himself for not telling my grandmother that he loved her enough. He felt that he hadn’t appreciated her like he should have. It really made me cry and I didn’t know how to help him. Around a month after that, she was gone.

A few years passed and my grandfather was back to golfing and living his life the best he could. I started spending more time out of the house, predominately at the roller skating rink in the next county over. I loved skating and because the rink was in a different county, I was able to meet new people from different schools. My main issue with skating was the fact that I had big feet and always had to wear these ugly men’s skates that made my feet hurt, until I came to know a girl by the name of Anne. Anne was there to mainly socialize with everyone else and because she was from that county, many of the kids there were her schoolmates. f85a1ed11c87e9aa7ca220c5d0007a53--quad-skates-speed-skates.jpgShe had these amazing black speed skates with shocking magenta wheels that were low-cut and my size! I was near a size 12 shoe at that point and it was hard for me to find anything to fit. She told me that I could borrow them if I wanted to and I took her up on the offer. They felt so smooth rolling on the ground. Every weekend we were there together I would use her skates and we came to know each other. We became best friends.

Anne was like the friend of a lifetime. She always had the right things to say and made me feel so good about myself. She was as tall as me and we had a lot in common. When I started driving, we would go places together and shop. She was a year or so younger than me, so getting my license was a huge plus for us. We had some of the same friends and It was because of her that I found my first boyfriend. She would come over often and she always enjoyed my grandfather’s company. He always had something funny to say to her. We played pool at the local pool hall, drove around listening to music, and swam in our friend Jen’s pool in the summer. Life was good. We were young without a care in the world.

One of the first things I did after graduating high school was graduating from cosmetology school. I started working in a salon right away and Anne loved it. Now she could have her hair and nails done whenever she wanted. She always said that I could create the best shaped acrylic nails she’d ever seen and loved the way I styled hair. It would be me that put her hair in an updo for her junior prom.

Another year went by and I was busy living life. I took a job managing a car dealership because it was more money, but continued doing cosmetology on the side. I got involved in a bad relationship and had made a few stupid choices, but I was okay. I wasn’t seeing Anne very much because I was just too busy for much of anything, or at least I thought I was. We sort of began to grow apart a little bit, but would occasionally hang out.

Anne was about to take a vacation to Florida with her family and really wanted me toflorida-beach-Medium.jpg give her a pedicure, manicure, hair style and the whole works. I thought it would be fun for us to catch up. I spent about 4 or 5 days heading back and forth to Anne’s house that week. She was showing me the summer outfits she bought to take on her vacation. It was a lot of fun. I can still remember sitting in her room on her super soft bed. I always loved Anne’s room. As we sat together she told me that she had a boyfriend. I was shocked! We had some real catching up to do. She told me all about how they met and I became confused. She proceeded to tell me that he was older than her and in prison. I was alarmed, but I didn’t want to say anything negative to her at this point. I asked her why he was in jail and what he did wrong, but she said it didn’t matter and that he would be getting out soon. Little did I know, this would be the last time I would see Anne.

About a month went by and Anne was back from vacation. I’d heard a rumor from a mutual friend that she was hanging out with the wrong crowd in a bad neighborhood. Her boyfriend was out of jail now and she began spending late nights with him where he was living. I tried calling her often, but her mom would always answer and tell me that she wasn’t home. She would tell me about their troubles and arguments. More than once she said that she couldn’t keep Anne home and away from these dangerous people. Anne was now 18 and able to make her own choices and she was taking some tremendous risks. We finally talked a time or two and I tried to convince her to come back home and to stay away from this group of people. She wouldn’t listen to me and at one point I felt like I’d really upset her. She said she loved this guy who was just out of jail and she didn’t think there was anything wrong with the decisions she was making. Who was I to judge? I was mainly concerned for her safety. The only time I could speak with her was when she was at home because it wasn’t common for teens to be running around with cell phones yet. Everything was different back then.

bright-hot-sun_1463106832514_1305923_ver1.0_640_360.jpgI was sitting at work a few weeks later. It was a slow day and the sun was baking me through the tall glass windows of the car dealership. It was such a hot summer that year. The phone rang and I answered it. It was my friend Michelle calling to ask me if I’d heard the news. Of course it was a ‘roll your eyes’ moment because Michelle always had stories to tell and she was the ultimate story ‘spicer’ which everyone knew. She proceeded to tell me that Anne was dead. I didn’t believe her and actually got a little mad and told her I’d call her back. There was just no way. I called Anne’s house and her mom answered the phone. Not long after my first words were spoken, I heard a dead silence on the phone. I can still remember sitting there with the phone in my hand as her mom was crying and not speaking a word. I stood up and couldn’t breath. It felt like my lungs weren’t functioning. I dropped the phone and began pacing around, out of my mind. I don’t even remember what my initial thoughts were. I just remember being in a total state of panic and denial. I got back on the phone with her mom and we both just cried on the phone together. She apologized for not calling me and told me that she couldn’t bring herself to tell me what had happened yet. Finally she told me the story.

Continue reading “Lessons From Grandpa #3”

Lost – A True Story…

I told the kids to let you both out. It was a busy day and I had no time for anything. I was a little stressed and hadn’t managed my time very well that day.

I’m not sure how much time went by, maybe ten or fifteen minutes, but I realized you weren’t in the house. I realized that I forgot you guys were even outside.

I opened the door and you were nowhere to be found. I called you both and a minute later Winston came running up to the house from the woods, black and murky from head to tail.

I knew you guys either ran to the pond or maybe the ditch. Judging from the fish water smell, I guessed the ditch because the stench was almost unbearable. But, why weren’t you coming home?

I wasn’t surprised that Winston ran home so fast. He’s a home boy, but not you. You’re one of those dogs you see in the commercials on TV, running through fields of freedom, a hard working dog that can run all day without a break. Like the hard working dog on the Sesame Street video from when I was a kid.**

I continued to call for you and by that point, I started to panic. From the look on everyone’s face, it was obvious what they were thinking. I’d really screwed up this time. Where had you gone?

My first thought in my mind was that if someone found you, we’d never get you back. All it would take is one look in those big brown eyes. You’d be gone forever. How could I have done this?

We called and called and clapped our hands. All was quiet. We checked the pond and walked to the ditch. You weren’t anywhere in sight. I knew if you heard us calling your name, you’d bark. You always do that to let us know you heard us. I realized you must’ve been really far, but where?

I hopped in the car and began to drive. I realized that I’d been so busy, we never got a chance to play Frisbee with you guys. It was still cold out too. Why didn’t I take the time to run you out today? Had you eaten? Shoot, you didn’t even have your identification collar on.

I drove all over from block to block looking for you. I glanced over at every field. It was sunny, but cold, and absolutely nobody on the road. I pulled over and got out. I called for you. After about twenty minutes, the tears started. I began to panic.

I continued to drive. I was hysterical and the tears were flooding my eyes to the point where I couldn’t see well. I pulled over and began to pray. “Please God, bring her home. I screwed up. I’m so mad at myself. Please bring her home safe. Please, God, don’t take her from me.”

It was 3:45pm and at that point it had been over a half hour. The humane society closes at 4pm daily and I needed to call to report that you were lost, otherwise they wouldn’t know to watch for you.

First, I called animal control and left a message. When I called the Humane Society I could barely hear the guy. There were so many dogs barking in the background. I couldn’t describe you to the man. I was losing it and entered a totally panicked state.

I gave him your description through my broken voice. “She’s a black and white border collie, 2 years old, on the smaller side.” He asked your name and that’s when I really lost it. He told me, “We’ll call if she shows up or we hear from somebody.” I could hear the reassurance in his voice, but it still didn’t comfort me.

I had to call mom. Who else could I call? I knew she would ask me why I left you out. She would ask, “How did you forget?” She loves you too.

I told her the truth, that I was too busy doing other things. My mind was lost somewhere between the internet and washing clothes. I cried and couldn’t sit still. I wasn’t breathing right. I paced around the house.

We probably had about forty five minutes of daylight left. I began thinking about the boy that showed up late one night last fall and asked us if he could look around our property for his dog. That night I was thinking, “that poor guy.” Now, I might be in those shoes.

As my mind kept analyzing what to do next, mom was talking into the phone, but I was barely processing anything she was saying. I couldn’t concentrate. Every word went in one ear and out the other.

I started thinking about what life would be like without you. I’d miss your herding behaviors around the house. You wouldn’t be at my feet anymore. No more hugs and smiles. You’re the only dog I know that truly smiles.

As I stood in the hallway with my back to the door, I began to put my shoes back on. I was going to have to drive some more. I wasn’t coming back home without you. I had plans to start asking door to door.

I went to open the door and there you were. I could see you standing just behind the glass in the door. My heart dropped into my stomach. I let out a long sigh.

You were so dirty and had icicles hanging off your fur. While I’d been panicking, you were running free and having the time of your life. I knew you must’ve been swimming in the ditch. I bet it was really fun for you, all that freedom.

When I brought you in and saw the mess, I knew it would take hours to get you clean. You had burrs throughout your whole coat of fur. You were shaking and breathing hard. I was so happy to see you. I wasn’t mad at you.

I put you in the tub and began cleaning you up. I continued to cry and was still very angry with myself. I thanked God repeatedly for helping you find your way home. It was a close call and it was going to take me awhile to get over this, even though you were home. I was so thankful.

I enjoyed every minute of grooming you that day. I appreciated every second of it. I stopped to reflect on just how much you meant to me. I reminded myself that this incident could never happen again.

Every time I bathe you, I think about that day, the day we almost lost you. I won’t ever forget it, Cynder Rae. I’m not going to screw up like that again. I’ll be sure to remember your Frisbee time from now on too.

-Mischenko

 

Continue reading “Lost – A True Story…”

Bolded Hearts by Jane Jago

34193593I recently came across a short story titled Bolded Hearts on Goodreads by author Jane Jago. After seeing a few reviews and instantly falling in love with the cover, I had to try it. It turned out to be a really short fantasy read about two main characters named Amal and Chin-Cha.

Amal is a healer and has been labeled a witch because of it. Chin-Cha is her once human protector. Follow along in the story to discover their future.

 


My Review:

Nice short fantasy read

Bolded Hearts by Jane Jago is a short, well written fantasy story about two main characters, Amal and Chin-Cha.

I was a tad confused when I first started reading, but as the story goes on, the characters become better understood. It essentially feels like folklore. The story and characters are genuinely magical and I loved the ending.

4-stars


Here are a few of my favorite Q&A’s with Jane Jago on Goodreads:

 

Q: You have a human turned wolf in Bolded Hearts. Was it fun writing a character like that? What kind of changes in your own thinking did you have to make?

Jane Jago Chin-Cha was a challenge to write, in that I wanted to give him depth as well as difference. I had to make quite a few adjustments.

First, there’s always the thing of a woman writing a man. Then there was the need to make him both human and canine at the same time, and all within the word constraint of a short story.

But I liked him so much that it was pleasure as much as work.

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Q: Which do you have more fun writing – Fantasy or twisted thrillers?

Jane Jago Fantasy is more fun to write, but the twisted thrillers are more of a compulsion. 

 

Continue reading “Bolded Hearts by Jane Jago”