What to Watch This Weekend. Free.

TubiTv.com is another free streaming service with ads. You don’t have to give any credit card details.

Here are a few movies to check out this weekend.

The Switch film poster.The Switch: 51% Fresh. (I know that’s low but this is a nice feel good movie that I enjoyed.) Kassie (Jennifer Aniston) and Wally (Jason Bateman) are best friends. Being unlucky in love, Kassie has decided to have a child using artificial insemination. Wally doesn’t like this idea, but he isn’t capable of admitting to himself, let alone to Kassie, that he’s in love with her. At Kassie’s artificial insemination party, Wally gets very drunk and spies the sperm donor’s sample in the bathroom. Wally was way too drunk to know what he did that night, and Kassie has moved away because she doesn’t feel that New York City is a place to raise a child. Now 7 years later, Kassie has moved back with her son Sebastian. While she is looking to get Roland (the sperm donor) more involved in their lives, Wally can’t help but notice the many striking similarities that he and Sebastian share. Written by napierslogs

Beatrix Potter Artist, Storyteller, and Countrywoman (2018) poster.Beatrix Potter: Artist, Storyteller, and Countrywoman: Documentary. This documentary film about the life of the remarkable author and illustrator of The Tale of Peter Rabbit is based on the successful biography, Beatrix Potter: Artist, Storytellers and Countrywoman by Judy Taylor. With Lynn Redgrave.

 

 

 

Spotlight movie poster.Spotlight: 97% Fresh. I loved this one from beginning to end. Great cast. “When the Boston Globe’s tenacious “Spotlight” team of reporters delves into allegations of abuse in the Catholic Church, their year-long investigation uncovers a decades-long cover-up at the highest levels of Boston’s religious, legal, and government establishment, touching off a wave of revelations around the world.” Written by Open Road

Vudu.com Free Movies & More to Watch Week of July 1-5.

If you don’t have a Vudu.com account yet, you need to get one. You get to watch movies for free, rent them, and buy them. You can buy the physical copies of a movie or the digital. This week I chose one of each of the following; Romance, Drama, Success Story, Documentary, Family Night Film.

Begin Again film PosterBegin Again: 83% Fresh. “Gretta (Keira Knightley) and her long-time boyfriend Dave (Adam Levine) are college sweethearts and songwriting partners who decamp for New York when he lands a deal with a major label. But the trappings of his new-found fame soon tempt Dave to stray, and a reeling, lovelorn Gretta is left on her own. Her world takes a turn for the better when Dan (Mark Ruffalo), a disgraced record-label exec, stumbles upon her performing on an East Village stage and is immediately captivated by her raw talent. From this chance encounter emerges an enchanting portrait of a mutually transformative collaboration, set to the soundtrack of a summer in New York City.”

The Impossible film poster.The Impossible: 81% Fresh. “A regular family – Maria (Naomi Watts), Henry (Ewan McGregor) and their three kids – travel to Thailand to spend Christmas. They get an upgrade to a villa on the coastline. After settling in and exchanging gifts, they go to the pool, like so many other tourists. A perfect paradise vacation until a distant noise becomes a roar. There is no time to escape from the tsunami; Maria and her eldest are swept one way, Henry and the youngest another. Who will survive, and what will become of them?” Written by Ronaldo Ferreira

 

East Side Sushi movie poster.East Side Sushi: 94% Fresh. “Single mom Juana can slice and dice anything with great speed and precision. After working at a fruit-vending cart for years, she decides to take a job at a local Japanese restaurant. Intrigued by the food, she learns to make a multitude of sushi on her own. Eventually she attempts to become a sushi chef, but is unable to because she is the ‘wrong’ race and gender. Against all odds, she embarks on a journey of self-discovery, determined to not let anyone stop her from achieving her dream.” Written by Anonymous

 

Sound City movie poster.Sound City: 98% Fresh. Documentary. “The history of Sound City and their huge recording device; exploring how digital change has allowed ‘people that have no place’ in music to become stars. It follows former Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighter Dave Grohl as he attempts to resurrect the studio back to former glories.” Written by Joe

 

 

DUma movie poster.Duma: 93% Fresh. “During a nightly Porsche ride with his doting rascal Xan, white South African farmer Peter finds and adopts an orphaned cheetah cub, dubbed Duma (just Swahili for cheetah). It becomes the boy’s inseparable playmate, even taking it to bed. Peter made clear from the start that the cheetah should be returned to the wild before its full adulthood. But the father is stricken down with a disease just before the cheetah could be returned. Xan’s mother sells the farm and moves in with a city aunt. The cheetah escapes, but finds Xan at school, where the new boy is bullied. He decides to run away to the mountains with Duma. On the way they face countless perils, which courage, Xan’s intelligence and Duma’s instinct overcome.” Written by KGF Vissers

Weekend Binge! The Umbrella Academy-A Review.

The Umbrella Academy click to open IMDB.comThe Umbrella Academy is a new series on Netflix based on the comic book series of the same name created by My Chemical Romance lead vocalist Gerard Way, released by Dark Horse Comics, one of the leading publishers in the business who has been responsible for such books as Hellboy and Sin City. Some films released based on Dark Horse Comics books are The Rocketeer, The Mask, 300, Alien vs. Predator, Hellboy, and the recent Netflix release Polar, which I enjoyed a lot.

I’ve been a comic book fan since I was in single digits, and I’m not telling you my age now, but I’ve been collecting for decades. I’ve even been to a few conventions and met some great creative minds. I haven’t read The Umbrella Academy but have read the Wikipedia detailed descriptions of the first two limited series, as well as a few other fan sites. Elements of both series are included in this 10-episode season of The Umbrella Academy, and I will leave it at that for now.

I couldn’t wait once I first heard this series was coming out. I did my reading up so I would have some idea of what was going on, what good that did me. It did at least give me a basic idea of the characters and how they came to be.

For those who like comic books, you’ll enjoy this. If you can take or leave comics, you will still enjoy this because there really isn’t much that will take away from reality so much.

(A quick edit here. You MUST check out the soundtrack to this series. By clicking here you will go to a BuzzFeed article that has the Spotify soundtrack Netflix created but also a list BuzzFeed put together of the videos of the songs so you can enjoy.)

The character casting is perfect as far as I am concerned for this series. The visual casting, of course as with any superhero project has been given some creative freedom, although most are perfect. In the Cast section I give each a grade on their performance. All were good, just some were exceptional.

What is it? Think, The Brady Bunch meets Time Cop meets Sixth Sense meets The Terminator, maybe even with a touch of the John Hughes angsty Brat Pack films of the 1980s thrown in for good measure. All scaled down in tone to blend together. That’s what comic books accomplish that a lot of other medium can’t, but this live action series is doing a pretty good job accomplishing. After all, you have seven siblings with separate lives.

The Background: Reginald Hargreeves, billionaire inventor and businessman, adopts or purchases seven of 43 children born on the exact same day. One thing for sure makes all 43 unique, their mothers were not pregnant that morning. As for the seven in the series, they all have superpowers. Hargreeves names them 1-7. I haven’t seen a specific reason why certain numbers were applied. They are given the numbers at birth, apparently, but it seems awfully convenient how the numbers ended up being so appropriate. There is one hint during a scene, but that could just be my imagination. Regardless, Hargreeves, also known as The Monocle, does not give them names as it was too much to remember, and I imagine would have meant too much of a potential for emotional attachment, as he was very much a task master to the children as he trained them to be superheroes.

City: No specific city is given, but the show is shot in Ontario, Canada. I get the vibe of a New York or some other East Coast major city with history to it. There is a scene that gives me the NYC idea that is related to Hargreeves himself.

Year: The kids are born in 1989 and they are in their mid to late 20s in the first season, although they don’t have cellphones, which I find a bit odd. But, it’s all kind of cool in a way.

The Show: Hargreeves trains 1-6 as superheroes and sends them on missions in their younger years until they become old enough to leave, which they all do, except for #1. The series picks up when Hargreeves dies and the siblings come together for the funeral. The seven siblings are everywhere from one being based alone on the moon to another a Hollywood star and from another being a vigilante to another a junkie.

There is somewhat of a mystery surrounding the death of Hargreeves, as well as a potential apocalypse they need to stop. That’s if they can get over their family issues.

I think people will enjoy seeing #5, The Kid, still as a perhaps 13-year-old, driving, drinking, and generally being an adult because he time jumped to the future and lived to a mature age before being able to return to the present to help save the world, only to end up being 13 again, the age he was when he went to the future. Oh, and he’s a seriously kick-butt assassin, just ask Dolores.

Mary J. Blige as a time traveling hitman is something to see. She is perfect in the role. Just call her Cha-Cha. She was born to unload rounds on a 13-year-old boy.

The action is often enough to keep you interested.

The emotional advancement through the series is enough to keep you hoping about love and family connections, and you of course have the inevitable frustrating moments that are just part of siblings being siblings, and especially siblings in this family.

There are humorous moments that are sometimes light and sometimes dark, but you can’t help but laugh. I love #4, Klaus.

#7 is the outcast of the group, not because she’s bad, but because she wasn’t trained as a superhero and being raised just like any other ordinary girl, except with superhero siblings.

As far as the season ending? It promises a season two but one that will be its very own and with some fresh twists to it.

I give this season an overall 7.5. It accomplishes a lot in just 10 episodes. When you sit back at the end, it surprises you just all that happens.

More Background: Something to know, this is an alternate reality book where JFK is not assassinated. It is surprising how that one event can change history. Although that information is from the comic book series history you are given a hint of it from a scene in one of the episodes as well.

The Cast:

Tom Hopper Tom Hopper as #1, Luther Hargreeves, Spaceboy, the team leader, thus being #1. You might recognize him from Game of Thrones as Dickon Tarly, Black Sails as Billy Bones, or Merlin as Sir Percival. He has great strength and has lived on the moon for four years doing research for their father, Reginald Hargreeves, which we find out the purpose for during the series. Visually he is probably a good fit. He is the most loyal of the siblings to their father as he is the only one that never left, until sent to the moon. At first, I thought his acting was not that good but once I considered he spent years alone with his father in a big mansion and then four years alone on the moon, I understood why Luther is the way he is, a bit quiet and somewhat socially awkward. (B-)

David CastanedaDavid Castañeda as #2, Diego Hargreeves, The Kraken. I would say that you most likely would know David from Jane the Virgin as Nicholas, and Switched at Birth as Jorge Castillo, Daphne’s ex-boyfriend. He can hit whatever he throws a knife at, and excellent fighting skills. He is the only one that currently works as a crime fighter, or vigilante as the police would say. He got kicked out of the police academy. Another great casting regarding playing the of the part, but in this case, the physical aspect is pretty much a 180° but I think David fits better for the show. Diego has an attitude because he is #2 and not #1. I am waiting to see how things work out as the series continues because I would like to see a certain aspect of the book come to fruition in the series, and it would it explain something as well. (B-)

Emmy Raver-LampanEmmy Raver-Lampman as #3, Allison Hargreeves, The Rumor. If you are a theater fanatic you may have seen her in Wicked or as Angelica Schuyler, in the first US tour of Hamilton. The visual doesn’t match the comic, but it works. The Rumor’s ability it to tell a lie that then becomes reality. We quickly find out she is an actress, divorced and her husband has custody of the child. There are a couple of interesting things for her this season, and at first, she, long with Luther were my least favorites because of how I perceived their acting, but their acting does reflect their situations. (B-)

Robert SheehanRobert Sheehan as #4, Klaus Hargreeves, The Séance. Robert probably has one of the longest careers as far as those of the siblings goes dating back to 2003. He’s Irish, acts with an American accent, as does all the siblings, he was King Louis XIV in the series Young Blades, Addison Teller in Rock Rivals, and more recently, if you are a Netflix fan, he played Luba in Mute, starring Alexander Skarsgard and Paul Rudd. The movie may have not received the best reviews, buy I enjoyed it for the movie it was, not the movie that people may have expected it to be and Sheehan’s part was entertaining and well played. Incredible casting in this series. Perhaps the best of the series as well as being the most entertaining. The Séance can see and communicate with dead people, which is less than what he can do in the books, but this is not unusual for filmed adaptations of comic book characters. He self-medicates to keep from going insane. Klaus is the loveable sibling that the others just can’t stay mad at. (A+)

Aidan GallagherAidan Gallagher as #5, The Boy. The best I can come up with for Aidan is the series Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn in which he plays Nicky Harper. He’s only been on film acting since 2013. #5 or The Boy either has no given name or no one uses it. I kind of think the fact no one uses a name hints at when the other siblings get their names. Watch the series to see if you can pick up when it might have happened. His original powers are spatial jumps, disappearing from one place and appearing somewhere else, but this leads to time travel, which he does so well into the future and gets stuck. I’ll leave it there for you to learn more. He’s a bit of a brat in my opinion when he and his siblings are younger. What else he can do other than his time and spatial jumps is a bit surprising, but you’ll kind of enjoy the surprise of it, but only because its television. His relationship with his siblings is a bit strained, when he has them at all, but the more you learn during the series, the more you understand why. He might be a bit difficult to like for some, but he has his reasons for being the way he is. The visual and character casting are great for #5. An entertaining character at times, with some humorous moments that are sad at the same time. (A+)Justin H. Min

Justin H. Min as #6, Ben Hargreeves, The Horror. Justin is an actor and model. The Horror was able to summon horrible creatures through portals under his skin, usually in the form of tentacles. He’s been dead, reason not given, sense even before the comic book series began. Ben still appears in the Netflix series to The Séance, #4, who can see dead people. Ben acts as Klaus’ better half, supporter, and almost like a sponsor trying to keep him clean from drugs and alcohol, although not in a nagging sort of way. Great casting here. (B)

Ellen PageEllen Page as #7, Vanya Hargreeves, The White Violin. (A+) Some of you will know Ellen Page from her role as Kitty Pryde in the X-Men movie franchise or as Tallulah in Tallulah co-starring with Academy Award winner Allison Janney. She plays the part perfectly for the history of the character as shown in the Netflix series. If you’ve read the books, don’t expect exact plot elements for her or any of the other characters. Vanya lives alone, teaches violin, plays in an orchestra, and has written a tell-all book about her life as a member of The Umbrella Academy. The character is subdued which I think is ideal for what I know of the comic book version. Vanya is not part of the superhero team that Reginald Hargreeves, The Monocle, forms with the other 6. The reason I will leave for you to find out by watching the series. This has a big impact on her life. (A)Jordan Claire Robbins

Jordan Claire Robbins as Grace (Hargreeves), Mom. Another fresh face to the screen, I think you might know her from the Clive Owens film Anon, one I enjoyed a lot. She plays Elaine Selak. See the movie if you haven’t, it’s on Netflix as of this writing. Jordan is a great fit for this character as far as looks go. She has that perfect mom look. I think she probably gives the robot character the occasional moment of humanity that helped raise the children. When I say robot, I do mean she is a robot. I chose to mention her here more in depth rather than Pogo or Reginald because I think she is a more influential part of the life of the children as far their ability to even think of what a family is as far as the Netflix series is concerned. (B)

 

The Bad Guys:

Mary J. BligeMary J. Blige is Cha-Cha. Do I really need to tell you who she is? In the series she is a sugar loving, time traveling, cartoon mask wearing, assassin who takes assignments to kill people that might change the time line. Incredible job. Cha-Cha is a man in the comics, but it doesn’t really matter, and I think this version does a lot for the series. You’ll see what I mean by the end. (A)

 

Cameron BrittonCameron Britton is Hazel. You might know him from Stitchers as Tim or Mindhunter as Edmund Kemper. IMDB shows him screen acting only since 2014. Hazel is just like Cha-Cha except a little less blood-thirsty and seems to have more of a heart. They have been partners for a long time. Hazel has a good story line in the show that puts him at odds with Cha-Cha. (B)

 

 

The Umbrella Academy umbrella promo photo

Ronovan Writes Weekend Mick Flick. Moulin Rouge.

ronovan writes

I suppose you might want to know what a Mick Flick is. Well every man fears, actually dreads two words; Chick Flick. That’s right, we know what it means. Romance, tears and we are deemed as failures either because we are men or because we aren’t the men in that, dare I say it, RomCom.

Instead of Chick Flicks, men need an alternative. And this is something we men need to embrace and women, you should as well and you may find date nights become a whole new experience.

The alternative? Rooster Flicks? No. I don’t even like saying Chick Flicks so giving it some form of relevance by actually calling the alternative as Rooster doesn’t work for me. And with the various possible definitions one could give to Rooster based ones mindset and locale, I am just not going there. No, Male Chick Flick. That’s right, the Mick Flick.

What constitutes a Mick Flick?

  • It needs a touch of humor if it doesn’t have action.
  • It needs to tug the heartstrings in some way, with a message or something.
  • And yeah, an attractive female lead might work out, but it’s not completely necessary. Oh, you don’t believe me on this one? I shall prove you wrong, although attractiveness is in the eye of the beholder. For me it is the eye of the personality. Pretty lady, ugly personality equals scary run the other way. Yeah, NOT attractive.

Today’s Mick Flick is:

Moulin Rouge

nicole kidman ewan mcgregor

Nicole Kidman (Satine)

Ewan McGregor (Christian)

John Leguizamo (Toulouse-Lautrec)

IMDB 7.7/10 over 202,000 users.

 

Dramancical (Drama/Romance/Musical)

Obi Wan isn’t feeling the Force in this movie. No, nor does Norma Jean got any Happy Feet. We gots us a shocker here folks. Who knew a Jedi could sing and a Top Gun Ex could either?

McGregor as Christian shows up in Paris around the year 1900. He’s a writer wanting to write and has come to the artsy place of the world to do it in. Being Paris it of course doesn’t take him long to find a woman to fall for.

Enter Kidman as Satine, cabaret star and all around gorgeous woman. A case of mistaken identity throws the two together and it’s love and fireworks. But problems arise with a rich nobleman wants Satine for himself or he wants fund a musical that could make Satine a star or worse yet he’ll have Christian killed.

Of course there is a final twist on the whole thing that I won’t mention.

What did it for me? Guys, these two can full on sing. There is some serious performances here that should have won Oscars. McGregor wasn’t even nominated for an Oscar, and Denzel Washington won it for Training Day while Kidman was nominated but lost to Halle Berry for Monster’s Ball.

The acting, the set designs, the atmosphere, everything was perfect with this film. How will it hold up to the Taco Rating? I’m not sure but it is one dang good movie, guys.

 

 

Now time for the BroJo to get going.

Men, why you need to watch this movie.

Nicole Kidman. Girls in cabaret costumes. Some seriously awesome looking sets make this whole film look cool. It’s almost like another world.

Now to the ranking of the movie:

Good acting – No doubt here guys. Seriously some of the best.Yes.

Attractive Female Lead – Nicole Kidman. Duh. Yes.

Insane Characters – Toulouse. Kinda weird. Just saying. Plus the Baron is a little nuts. Yes.

Humor – There is humor built in but I’m not really seeing it as much of a thing here. I’m going with a No.

Bodily Harm – There is some murder attempts. Threats. Yes.

Food Humor – Not that I remember. No.

Action – The whole attempted murder thing. Yes.

Good Message – Love is for real and it conquers all. You believe in it and put it before materialistic things and even your own life. Yes.

Tear Moment – A serious Yes.

Male Lead is Not Made Out to Be Stupid: – Correct. Christian is a smart guy. Yes.

Cuddle Taco Bonus (CTB) – Oh yeah. Musical. Romance. You got it, Dudes. Yes.

So on the Taco Scale of 10 Tacos being awesome  and 1 being like tacos without the meat, cheese or sauce,today’s Mick Flick receives:

 9 out of 10 Tacos.

Feast is on. Eat up, Dudes. You gonna need your strength with that CTB this week.

 

9 out of 10? How did that happen? I seriously was not expecting that at all. You might would even take 1 Taco away for it being a Musical and it still would be an 8. Wow.

That’s my Dramancical Recommendation for this weekend. What movie can you think of that meets the Mick Flick requirements?

Much Respect and Much Cuddling for you This Weekend.

 

Ron_LWI

 

 

 

 

@RonovanWrites

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Q&A Jo Robinson of African Me & Satellite TV @jorobinson176

Everyone, you know Jo Robinson from her blog here on WordPress now meet her as an unbelievable author. I had no idea how strong and intelligent she really was. Talk about someone who knows what she’s doing. I was so impressed, I have asked her to do some guest blogs.

Click to read her Q&A at my new LitWorldInterviews site.

 

Jo Robinson (2)
Ronovan

Lit World Interviews

AM Cover V1 - CopyAfrican Me & Satellite TV

Jo Robinson

“Even though this is not the type of story I would normally read, I enjoyed the other three different themed books by this author (Fly Birdie, The Visitation and Shadow People) so much that I decided to try this latest one – and I’m glad I did, because it let me see yet another aspect of her talent as a writer.”-Chris Graham

The author has done a masterful job describing a wide range of characters. The artistic Suzette, the rugged men who work the land, the cook, maid, and tragic gardner – all have distinct personalities that leapt off the page. Enter the villainous couple who I wanted the smack from the moment I met them.”-Mark Myers

There is never a dull moment in the Hertzog household, which consists of Suzette, her loving husband Herman, their cook, Precious, the gardener, Christopher and their…

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She was easy . . . they all knew it: A 3 Minute Book Review of The Convenience of Lies

Book Review on my new LitWorldInterviews site. Come check it out and Follow the site.
Much Respect Ronovan

Lit World Interviews

Title: The Convenience of Liesgirl_crying.jpg

Author: Kimberly Castillo

ISBN-13: 978-1492314943

ISBN-10: 1492314943

Website http://kimberlycastillobooks.blogspot.com/

Pages: 171 pages with a Discussion following

Genre: Young Adult (YA) Romance/Suspense/Drama

What’s it about?

New girl in town, Mackenzie and local girl, Kira are best friends forever, and then there is Ramon, a crush and ex-boyfriend in a small California town. The three send us on a trip of real teen life and feelings mixed with some unexpected surprises along the way with a group of vandals and thieves thrown in who make their attacks personal. Who has it in for these three friends?  This story is told in an authentic teenage voice as Mackenzie Fairbanks recalls that particular summer before her senior year in high school.

Highlights of the Book

The book flows well taking the reader  from one chapter to the next. It is an absorbing  read, well written…

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10 Things I Hate About Facebook

If you haven’t read this before and even if you have, read it. Inside the Life of Moi always has an entertaining take on real life things. You’ll enjoy. And if you aren’t following already…click it.

Holloway Part One

Holloway

by: Ronovan

Part One

French Boarding School

The lightening was high up in the clouds, threatening of the coming storm. It was the only light in the cloud covered night. The boys face was drenched and his forehead was plastered with his brown hair, not from the first drops of rain but with the sweat of anxiety of what he was facing. Hundreds of feet below lay trees and rocks and a river.

The boy’s chest was heaving as his breaths became quicker and quicker. He looked over his shoulder. His eyes suddenly became clear and void of the panic that had filled them moments before. He looked back out over the scene below him, closed his eyes, and leaped outward.

 

That’s where I wake up each time, and have every day for the past week. I could follow Eric all the way down, just like I did that first time, but I can’t, I won’t ever do that again. His funeral had been a week ago. After that my parents had given me something to make me sleep.

I stopped taking the pills when I couldn’t wake up from that first dream. Falling through trees and feeling them and hearing them as they snapped and tore at Eric and then the impact of his landing, never again.

At Ridgeline Lake we had all been at the cabins like we did every year. I was there with Emily and Abbie in one cabin, and Eric had been there with Jessie and Milo in another. Our parents had their own cabins. It was a tradition before school started back. We had to make it a week earlier than usual because of football practice for Eric and Jessie who were starting quarterback and tight end, Milo was team…well I don’t know exactly what he does, but it’s not water boy or anything like that, he does something with the electronics for the stadium and things like that.

It had been the best summer yet, with Eric and I having just started dating during the spring. He was a year older, which was fine, and the brother of Emily, which was weird because that almost made him my brother too. Emily, Abbie, and I had been best friends since Kindergarten so our families were each other’s families.

Early that Thursday morning, way before dawn I had sat up in bed. Everyone had put it down to a clap of thunder as the storm finally broke over the cabins. All I knew was something was wrong. I woke Emily and she came with me to my parents’ cabin. I told Dad that I was worried about something, that I just felt something was not right. Over the years he had learned to listen to my feelings.

We knew that Abbie was okay, so we went to the boys’ cabin. Eric wasn’t there. Milo, Abbie’s boyfriend, said he had heard something earlier but thought it was just one of the guys going to the bathroom. Dad ran to Eric’s parents’ cabin and a search began. They wouldn’t let the girls go because of the rain and lightening. But the fathers and boys went.

Jessie, Emily’s boyfriend and Eric’s best friend and Eric’s dad were the ones that found the note on the tree. It was too dark to tell what had happened. My Mom had already called the sheriff and as soon as it became light enough the storm had passed and they said they could see broken limbs down below where the note was found stuck to the tree with Eric’s pocket knife.

The river was up and moving fast so they couldn’t find Eric. The note said he was tired of trying to be perfect all the time and was just ready to rest. Wednesday they had a funeral to at least mark a spot for him to rest in. Everyone from school was there. I had noticed a lot of people staring at me, but I just thought it was out of curiosity. Yeah, they were curious.

 

 ~~*~~

“McKenna, hurry up, you’re going to make everyone late the first day of school!” Mom called up the stairs…again. This was supposed to be a big day, the biggest day yet for me and my girls. No, we’re not a gang or anything, but we had been looking forward to high school for two long years. The school had a history to it and you just knew when you walked through those doors you were an adult. Okay, so on your WAY to finally being an adult.

But things had changed. Mom had not listened when I said I didn’t want to go yet, that I wasn’t ready. Emily had said the same thing about her mom too. Abbie…well she was always ready for school. She got bored during the summer and wanted the challenge of seeing if a teacher could teach her something new. For her high school would be like a candy store full of new things she had never tried.

I looked in the mirror. I hated what I saw. Holloway High was not a private school but it had followed the trend of a dress code to keep everyone equal. I liked skirts, real skirts, but the gray pleated skirt and white blouse were just not real to me. But it was better than the khaki pants that I could have chosen. I’m sorry, but I am not in the army or like in my thirties. Give me jeans and a t-shirt or even a real dress and I am fine.

Glancing down out of my window I saw the top of a head of dark hair parted down the middle and tied off into two pigtails. It was hovering over a book and moving ever so slightly as the reader moved back and forth from word to word.

I grabbed my bag and thumped down the stairs. “Good luck, sis,” called a voice from an open doorway at the top of the stairs. I ran back up and through the door. The tall boy braced himself as I leaped at him. I felt the bear hug as my brother, a freshman in college showed me he loved me best.

“You too, bro,” I said as I punched him in the stomach. “And no sorority girls until junior year, remember, you promised.” I ran out without waiting for a reply.

Throwing open the front door I had barely opened my mouth when I heard, “Hiya, Mac.”

I looked at the back of the pigtailed head still reading the book. “And just how do you know it’s me?”

“I doubt your mother would resemble a thundering herd of rhinos coming down the stairs like that…twice,” Abbie said. “I take it Ken begins college today.”

Grrr…she knew everything. “Yeah,” I said as I leaped around and in front of her. Ken was short for McKenzie, just as Mac was short for McKenna. Are we Scottish or Irish? I have no idea.

Abbie looked up from her book and scrunched her nose to adjust her glasses. She looked me up and down in my uniform, which she was wearing the exact same version of. She nodded and stood up. When I said she wore the exact same version I meant even the size, although she was smaller than me by a little. She never wore clothes that fit her.

“Did you eat breakfast, or are you sticking with tradition?” She asked me as we began walking to the Japanese but made in America SUV parked in the driveway. It was Mom’s turn for carpool. We could ride the bus but we didn’t. I have no idea why not, the mom’s had just decided it years ago.

The doors clicked and I jumped in the front while Abbie slid into the back and across to behind the driver’s seat. Mom walked around the front with the keys in her hand. “Always stick with tradition,” I said.

“Good, because Em has a new yogurt she wants me to try and some kind of bagel with like all sorts of things in it for you,” said Abbie. “She said she forgot to ask you last night before you two hung up.”

“I didn’t even think about it,” I said. Last night the thought of breakfast had been as far from my mind as…as…hmm…as anything else. “Em always comes through though.” Emily always had something for us for breakfast, just a little something. Okay something little for her and Abbie, and something crazy for me. I liked to eat but I worked out a lot so I could handle it.

We all lived on the same street, although it was a long street. Abbie always walked to my house because she wasn’t far away and she liked to read along the way. Then either Mom or Emily’s mom would take us to school. Abbie’s mom was the pickup mom after school. Emily lived a little further along the street at the very end. The gates were just shutting as she was attempting to hold a bag of our food, a holder of drinks, and wondering what to do with her book bag.

Mom saw the situation, sped up just a little and came to a quick stop. I jumped out and grabbed the drinks. “You seriously need to have like someone out here and help you or have them put a table by the mailbox,” I said as she hugged me. I stood back and looked at her.

We wore the same thing but she still looked like a million dollars. I looked like just the average girl who just…didn’t…care? I cared how I looked. It’s just that there wasn’t anyone at school I cared to impress enough to take the time. Not that Emily really took much time. She was just naturally gorgeous.

Even though we all had to wear the same brand and colors of clothing, shoes and accessories were different. And accessories made the difference. Don’t ask me the name of her shoes or the cut of the diamonds in her ears. But she made them both work, not that she needed them.

She jumped in behind my seat and I got in with the drinks. I handed Mom her coffee, and passed Abbie her juice, and Emily her smoothie. I had a big bottle of milk. I liked milk. When we were all little people thought we were sisters because we all had dark hair and dark eyes, and we might as well be. But we had always been very different in a lot of ways.

The bagel was loaded with roasted veggies and some white cheese, amazing. Before I took my second bite, I asked a question. “Hey, Abbie?”

“Yeah?”

“Do you have your locker planned yet?” I heard an almost snort from Emily.

There was a muffled noise from Abbie and I glanced back. She was nodding with one hand slightly up to her mouth as she was swallowing her yogurt quickly. “Yes. I was able to get the list of books and find out the sizes. I have the perfect plan for what I want to do.”

I didn’t dare look in the mirror. One of the last things Emily and I had talked about was Abbie’s tradition of planning out the most efficient locker. It was a thing she did and it actually always worked out best. Our lockers were never that neat and we always had to hunt for things.

I caught the raised eyebrow from Mom. I gave her my toothy innocent grin and she just shook her head and took a sip of the gourmet coffee from Emily’s housekeeper.

“What class do you have first, Mac?” Emily asked.

“I have English with Ms. Trask. “How about you?”

“P.E. with Coach Tompkins, can you believe it? First period?” I could see her eyes rolling in the visor mirror. “What do you have Abbie?”

“Honor’s Algebra with Mr. Mason.” We all got kind of quiet as we realized that we weren’t going to be in the same classes any more. Emily and I might luck into some, but Abbie was going to be in a whole different world than us. I mean Emily and I are good in some classes but who knows if schedules will let all three of us be in those together.

Mom joined the line of cars dropping off students. I guess if every student rode the bus then they would need a lot more busses.

“There he is!” Emily shouted in my ear. She had leaned forward and for some reason was looking over my shoulder at exactly the same view she could have seen from her window.

“Might as well let us out here, Mrs. Lark,” said Abbie.

“Yeah,” I said, as I gathered up my bag. “She’s spotted Jessiekins. Bleck.”

I felt the tap on the top of my head. “Oh, hush,” said Emily. But Mom stopped and before Emily could even touch the handle the door was promptly opened by the muscular blonde boy wearing khaki pants and pale blue polo, of course covered by the Holloway High crimson and white letterman’s jacket.

“About time you showed up, princess,” said Jessie. Some might almost hurl at hearing his nickname for her but the truth was he treated her like one. It wasn’t a cheap name every boy in school called their girlfriend. You could see it in his ice blue eyes that he really adored her.

Abbie scooted around the oblivious duo and slipped her hand into Milo’s. Their adoration was less obvious but no less real. “Call me if you need me, McKenna,” said Mom. “I have to meet a client about a catering assignment but it’s okay to call.”

“Will do,” I said smiling. Mom was her own boss. She ran a catering company that didn’t just handle business in Holloway but pretty much anywhere. She even had assignments several states away. She was good. She pulled away and I turned back to look at my new school.

Holloway High was at one time the home of an exiled member of French royalty. He had this huge palace built out here in the middle of nowhere that was now a school. There were a lot of stories about from when the guy lived there.

The walkway to the main doors was wide and designed with tiles. There were tall trees everywhere and flowers of all kinds. It was really an odd place for a school and had even appeared in magazines and on TV several times. Movie companies used it during the summer sometimes.

“Don’t be too impressed,” said Jessie, who had finally stopped hugging Emily. He nodded at the high school. “It looks impressive, sure, but once inside and in classes, it doesn’t take long to just think of it as a school.”

“Very true,” said Milo.

Before we could even take a step toward the school four figures stepped in front of us blocking our way.

 

© Copyright-All rights reserved-RonovanWrites.wordpress.com-June 05, 2014.

Rose & Ghun-Simply Murder-Episode Two: Is that Opportunity Knocking or is My Brain Rattling

gettyimages © Original Photo by Paul LoveKing
gettyimages © Original Photo by Paul LoveKing

“Whur uu srrrrs?”

“Try it again,” the woman said. “Without the towel over your face.”

“I asked, were you serious.” I put the towel and ice back on my face. The left eye and left side of my lip were like golf balls.

“Yes,” she said.

I moved the towel slightly. “I don’t do contract killings, or killings at all for that matter. Spiders rule my apartment. I think mice use a closet for a time share in the winter.”

“I really just need you to find him, and I’ll do the rest.”

I put the towel ice pack on my desk. “Accessory is the same as doing it myself. Can’t help you. But thanks for getting me back here.” I stood to escort her to the door. Or at least I tried.

“Listen to the situation first before you turn me down. Besides you can’t even stand up.” Well she was right there and I had nothing else to do but suffer at home in bed. I might as well suffer here with a beautiful and somewhat exotic looking woman who wanted me to help kill someone.

“Go for it,” I said and kicked my feet up on the desk. Mistake. Don’t try to look nonchalant and tough when the woman you are trying to impress has seen you lying in the middle of the street like a ragdoll. She’s knows there is no tough in you.

“First, are you going to do what that woman said?” She asked.

“First, what’s your name?”

“Monika.”

“Monika…,” I prompted.

“Ghun,” she said.

“Almost like gun,” I smiled, winced, and almost blessed out the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, but I held back. I couldn’t afford a nickel for the swear jar.

“I know Mr. Rose. I get the joke, guns and roses.”

“Was afraid younger people might not get it,” I said. I couldn’t tell her exact age. He dark skin was toned and her slightly almond shaped eyes had no wrinkles. Chinese and African American. I wonder why we always think African American, why not just African, or Black? Focus, Trevor. She wants to kill someone and you are working what exotic blend she is. Think about that later.

“We do. Now for your answer.”

I looked at her a few seconds wondering why I was going to trust her. Then I realized I was trusting her and there was no reason to be hesitating. Maybe I was just being a guy who didn’t care as long as they face was pretty. “There is really nothing to be done. Cornelia and her men don’t exactly listen,” I said. “The fire that burned down the warehouse was arson, no doubt, but there isn’t anything linking her to it. They have the guy that did it, a homeless guy. He said a man gave him some money to do it. Since it was abandoned, he saw no harm in it.” I moved slowly to a better position.

“Then why the worry from the swinger?”

I smiled at the name. “She is just covering her bases.”

“And you are just going to let her get away with this?” She asked looking at my face.

“Private detectives have to walk a different line than other people. I know Cornelia and her motivations,” I said. “If she had wanted me dead or in the hospital, I would have been. This was more of a message sent around the city to everyone else.”

“Tell her to take out a sign next time.”

“Good idea.”

There was silence for several moments. She just watched me trying not to show pain while I watched her trying not to notice that she was not my normal client. I usually received men or women wanting proof of adultery or some other sleazy kind of case, and they usually had little money. Monika Ghun wasn’t one of them.

For one, no one would adultery on her. I thought about the Ten Commandments and what Jesus had said about one’s thoughts and realized that she probably had been the cause of plenty of it in her life. Pardon me while my mind wanders. Getting hit in the head a lot does that to me.

“So are you going to help me or not?” She asked.

“Tell me about it,” I said. I leaned back and closed my eyes. If I looked at her I might just fall into a trap.

“Ever heard of Miles Stratford?”

I was glad my face was covered or my reaction would have been a give-away of interest. “I take your sister was the one he hit that night.”

“Yes. He’s out on bail and he’s run.”

I sat back up properly. “Skipped bail?”

“And his family says they don’t know where he is.”

“Not likely. Tight family and he’s the heir to it all,” I said. Wheels were turning. I glanced at her and there was a slight smile. She knew she had me.

“So you’ll take it?”

“Not to kill him, but to bring him back.”

“I just want justice done,” she said.

I stared into her eyes and didn’t flinch. There was a lot of confusion there. Taking the case might have been the best idea I had for the night. She needed someone to watch out for her.

“Okay, I’ll do it.”

“Good.”

“Start first thing in the morning,” I said.

The knock at my office door at that time of night made both of us jump. I found relief only in the fact that at least her reaction proved she was human. Then there was the look on her face.

“Who is it?”

“Mr. Rose?”

“Yeah,” I said, not moving.

“I’m Carl Stratford. I have a job for you.”

When I looked back at Monika she was gone. The only other way out of my office was the window and we were three stories up. And I didn’t have a fire escape. Maybe I had been wrong.