Spot 044: Don’t Get Me Wrong



by Sandra Davies

Gaspar, the maître d’ at Giuliano’s, was well-versed in discretion and the number and variety of women Ed Hetherington brought to his restaurant inevitably amused him, as did their pleasure at being in his company. He had a lot of admiration for such a man, for his taste and for his ability to draw to him and keep happy such ladies – all with far more than looks to recommend them.
But this one … he was not sure. The equal of any of the others in her possession of that indefinable something extra; possessed of the same natural attractiveness, something more than could be applied externally, but he had seen her once before and had wondered then …
Two weeks ago, the first time. She’d come with Ed, and had looked even less happy than she did today. She had made Ed late (he had phoned to warn which had made him smile) but when he arrived it clearly hadn’t been that that had made him late; he did not look at all satisfied, not like he usually did. And she had obviously been crying a lot.
Today she had arrived early, and alone. A little more controlled but still filled with sadness and confirming his suspicions from last time: definitely with child. With four daughters and three sons, all married, he knew the signs. And this one, unlike so many of the others, did not wear a wedding ring.
Gaspar assumed Ed knew, presumably that had caused his dissatisfaction.

See Authors page for Sandra’s bio.


by Bill Lapham

In the sea of people populating the planet, we had never met. Our fleeting glances collided in the smoke and locked-on in the dim and boisterous tavern, people packed drinking getting tighter and tighter. She was in no hurry but neither did she disengage the glance, and I was afraid to. I looked down for barely an instant, watched golden bubbles fire from the sides of my mug to join the others at the head. When I looked up she had moved closer, still staring. She moved in the in-between spaces, where poles either attract or repel, repelled, permitting her passage. Her feet didn’t seem to touch the floor, her strides seemed to require neither immaterial thought nor physical function; she just moved in her own space, all the time staring at me and never blinking her dark moist eyes, never wasting a single motion. I blinked and she placed her pint on the tabletop, wrapped her hand over mine. She breathed and her diamond solitaire responded. Her lip gloss reflected my nervousness back at me, reminded me how powerless I was, how weakened, how weak. She said something, but I couldn’t hear it, cocked my head like confused people do. She came around to my side of the table, leaned over and whispered in my ear: “Don’t get me wrong if you say “hello” and I take a ride upon a sea where the mystic moon is playing havoc with the tide.” I felt her breath, and I was gone.

See Authors page for Bill’s bio.


by Paul de Denus

At times I don’t mind being so alone. It’s eye opening, this break from the world, from the rat race and responsibility that accompanies it. I certainly don’t miss the humdrum of work, the noise and pace, the treadmill routine. In some ways, I find it a blessing.

Don’t get me wrong. I do miss you and the kids. How could I not? I do wish to be home but honestly, I’m sometimes overwhelmed by the beautiful solitude of my surroundings. I find it’s all I need. Not that I don’t miss the comforts – the hot meals, warm showers, and our bed, even with the kids bouncing about. I hope you are all okay and not too worried.

I’ll admit it can be boring, but each day I find something useful to do. I need to be prepared. I’ve been working out. I’ve lost about fifteen pounds. That beer gut you used to tease me about is gone. Oh, but what I wouldn’t do for a cold one right now.

I send out messages every day, scribbles on scraps of paper from several travel magazines that washed ashore. I stuff them in empty water bottles I salvaged from the plane before it went down. Maybe a passing freighter will find them, figure out where I am and find this beautiful dot in the Arafura Sea. Until then I’m a regular Robinson Crusoe, thinking of home and pondering my future.

See Authors page for Paul’s bio.


by Michael D. Brown

After listening to each of your, quote reasons unquote, for joining this group, I’m convinced that separately or together you cannot help me. Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure all of you feel your stories are valid, and that for you these represent the biggest problems in your world, but my wife has tried to kill me, and that’s no lie. For many years we lived a meager existence, and I paid for our meals and the furniture, and transportation to our jobs before and after her car broke down. She won’t let me in the new one, since I’ve been out of work for the last two years. Now that we reside in the house her father paid for, she calls me a piker and says I’m living off the fat of the land. Oh, how quickly we forget yesterday’s sacrifices! If I mention the turnabout, or try to explain how I need time to finish my book, she says I had little to do with anything good in our lives, that eighteen months is a long time to have come up with only three chapters. She doesn’t appreciate perfection, and they are good. She’s a merciless Philistine, and it’s not true that I hide her things. Sure, she’s paying for these sessions because she wants me legally declared having failed to do me in with slow poison. In short, you’ve all come with problems of your own making whereas I was forced because someone else has greater issues.

See Authors page for Michael’s bio.


by Gita M. Smith

Have you been listening to a word I’ve been saying?
Yes. There’s nothing wrong with my hearing.
Then answer me.
I didn’t hear an actual question. All I heard were declarative statements.
Okay, then how’s this: Are we going on vacation this year and if so, what did you have in mind?
I plan to go to Kansas in July to a writers’ gathering. I do not care what you do.
So you’re just going gallivanting off to Kansas with God knows who from the internet?
That’s about the size of it, yes.
And I am supposed to do what in the meantime?
Whatever you like. Feel free as the wind.
Then I am coming with you!
Madge, dear, don’t get me wrong. Going to this workshop means a lot to me. I don’t want to hurt you. But if you insist on tagging along, you will be quite sorry.
What’s that supposed to mean? Are you threatening me?
When you put it that way, I guess I am.
Oh yeah? What do you think you’re going to do?
Any number of quite ugly things.
You wouldn’t.
I would.
Well….how long will you be gone?
Five days give or take.
Will women be there?
Yes, several. All homely librarian types.
Men too?
Oh yes, all pudgy and professor-ish.
I suppose I could go to my sister’s in Cleveland.
Sounds like a ripping good time.
See Authors page for Gita’s bio.


Illustrations for Spot 044 derived from various sources.



8 Comments to “Spot 044: Don’t Get Me Wrong”

  1. wow. this is a very attractive page. I haven’t read the stories yet. I just wanted to be the first to comment. Love these photos and the way Michael used them.

  2. Exceptionally well-sourced photos here this week Michael, and Bill’s piece atmospheric in a very different way for him, much enjoyed. Paul’s guilty enjoyment of solitude and Michael’s self-obsessed paranoia are deep investigations into the human psyche.

  3. I agree- the pics are perfect. Bill’s story suggests one can’t go wrong with a Siren’s call, Sandra’s Ed has apparently done the girl wrong and Michael has gone wrong in the wrong relationship. I could be wrong, but there’s some ‘write-ous’ work here.

  4. Your, yous guys’s, stories are smokin’ good. I’m out of practice and it shows. I don’t belong here. I’m not worthy!

  5. Back to comment after a nice slow read. Lapham’s false modesty in his comment is, like, so transparent. He belongs here. (Has he paid his annual dues yet?) I love this phrase about moving through a crowd: “She moved in the in-between spaces, where poles either attract or repel.”
    Sandra’s Gaspar, the nosy maitre d’, is a lovely character study, I think. Miss Sandra has become most adept at painting people in a few brush strokes and making them seem real.
    I love Michael Brown’s whiny husband in group therapy.The moment
    I read the words “my wife has tried to kill me,” I thought once again how well Michael does dysfunctional relationships.
    Paul’s piece interests me. I don’t think I’ve read about an ambivalent shipwreck survivor before. Usually they’re singlemindedly trying to get rescued.

  6. @G. The very sentence you highlight for acclaim is the one that sucks the most. I do appreciate how you go about pointing it out though! Well done!

  7. Posting this spot was a lot of fun. I know, I know, it’s taking me forever, but still, taking time to find appropriate illustrations has proven satisfying. I wish all of them were so much on target.
    Have been reading back through earlier spots and have to say once again you are an astounding group of writers. There need be no modesty among you as time and again each proves his or her worth. I’m beaming as I re-read, and think these are stories I want to carry with me forever.
    Sincere thanks to all for the privilege.

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