Thursday, November 19, 2009


Bright lights hit my eyelids and I moaned as I grabbed my pillow and threw it in the general direction of the sunlight. Hungover, possibly still drunk, I groaned as my sheets were pulled off of me. “What the hell?” I mumbled into my pillow, peaking one eye open to see Anthony, my agent, standing above me.

“Welcome to Pittsburgh buddy, looks like you had a good night.”

“Don’t yell.”

“I’m not yelling. Come on, I’m taking you to lunch, then we gotta head to Mellon to get you all situated.”

“Fine, fine.” I crawled out of bed and made my way into the bathroom. I was trying my damn hardest to remember the night before. How did I get home? What time did I get home? So much for not drinking to get drunk. That might be the first time I’ve ever blacked out. Fucking Talbot and his bottomless bar tab. On the house. Who the fuck gets that many drinks on the house?

Dressed in jeans and a black shirt, I made my way downstairs where Anthony was surveying my door jamb job. “Was it like this when you moved in?” he asked pointed to the dozen or so nails hammered in random places.

“Nope, just a little damage control. Let’s go.”

I grabbed my keys off the counter and followed Anthony out the front door. I hear something to my left and look over to see Madison with Stacy, Anthony’s wife. “Wait, what’s going on?” I asked Anthony as Madison gives me a look of pure annoyance.

“Oh, Madison, your neighbor, is one of Stacy’s clients. She’s a writer, so we’re all going on to lunch. It was her birthday yesterday, so Stacy wanted to celebrate. Figured we’d kill two birds with one stone.”

“I’m pretty sure she hates me though.”

“Oh, it’ll be fine. Come on.”

I look at him for help, for an out, but he just rolls his eyes at me and I follow him down onto the driveway. She stands there, her boobs looking amazing under that ruffley thing, and I notice she’s standing with her toes pressed up against the black line down the middle of the driveway. Almost as if she’s afraid to pass it. “Have fun with your friends last night?” She asked with an edge of irritation to it.

“Oh shit, we all came back here?”

“You don’t remember?”

“Not exactly,” I look at Anthony for help once again but he just has a smirk on his face.

“Well, I’ll have to remind you over lunch,” she smiles sweetly, but her teeth are grinding.

I nod completely embarrassed. I learned one thing about the guys last night and that was Talbot isn’t afraid to be heard. He’s loud and crude. This isn’t good at all.

I open the back door of Anthony’s rented SUV for Madison and she smiles at me before climbing in. I shut the door and go to walk around to the other side, but I see Stacy was already occupying the other back seat. I opened the passenger side door and climb in, only to have Madison kick the back of the seat. “Oh sorry,” she spits out, completely annoyed. Alright, whatever happened last night wasn’t good at all.

We head down to a strip of bars and restaurants I had been introduced to the night before, and Anthony makes his way to the Cheesecake Factory. I wouldn’t have chosen the place, but maybe this was where Madison wanted to go. I just need to keep my mouth shut. Didn’t want to pour gasoline on the already bursting fire.

I was grateful when the waitress sat us at a square table as opposed to a booth. I didn’t want to sit next to Madison where she could easily elbow me in the balls without anyone seeing. If I was going to be physically attacked I wanted it to be out in the open. As embarrassing as it could be, she looked like a woman that could easily take me down. Sure, sweet and innocent looking on the outside, but every time her eyes landed on me, I swear I could see Lucifer. Horns popped out of the top of her head, her green eyes turned red and her fingernails got long and pointed. I was living next door to the woman that was for sure going to murder me.

“So Craig, I met your teammates last night,” she smiled after the waitress took our orders. She kept playing with her silverware, making sure that they were symmetrically even with the end of the table. Just to fuck with her, I grabbed my fork and turned it horizontal. She eye balls my fork, and I know she wants to straighten it. “A Maxime, Marc, Kris, Tyler and Sidney. I believe that was all of them. Does that sound about right?”

“Yeah, what time did you meet them?”

“Oh it was around 3:30 this morning.” Both Stacy and Anthony sent me glares and I sunk in my seat. “I was just going to bed. I was working on my newest book when I heard the loud one out front talking about my physical features.”

Oh fuck.

“And you told him to wait at least a week before asking to see my breasts. Then of course later on he tried to climb on my balcony.”

Oohh fuck.

“Craig, who was doing that?” Stacy asked completely shocked and appalled.

“That sounds like Talbot. I’m sorry Madison. The guys took me out for a few drinks last night to welcome me to Pittsburgh, and I guess we all had one too many.”

“You guess?” She snapped, her hand reaching over and straightening my fork. I wondered how long it would take for her to correct my obvious error.

“I’m sorry, it’ll never happen again.”

“I hope it doesn’t. Your house should be your haven, not your hell.”

I looked at her completely confused. My house should be my haven? My house is where I sleep and eat. I don’t need to bow down to my house and pray to it. It’s shelter, not the second coming.

“Hey Craig,” Anthony grabs my attention and I look over at him. He leans towards me and whispers in my ear, “haven means shelter. A place of rest.”

I grab my fork and turn it thirty degrees. “It is my haven. It is where I eat, sleep and fuck.”

“CRAIG!!” Stacy shouts as our waitress reappears with our food. She sends me a death glare as our food is being placed on the table. I look down at my sandwich and can’t help but laugh as I notice my fork is once again straight, right next to my knife. Two can play this game. I reach over to her and grab her spoon, flipping it upside down and angling it much like I did with my fork. I look up into her eyes and dare her not to touch it. How long will she last without touching it?

“Craig,” Anthony leans forward once again and whispers in my ear, “she has a bad case of OCD, you might be crossing the line here buddy.”

A smile crawls over my face as I glance down quickly at her spoon, her hand is resting on top of it, but it hasn’t moved. This is absolutely killing her, and I love every moment of it. I should feel like an ass considering it’s an actual disease people live and deal with, but for some reason, with her, I don’t care. It’s free entertainment. She picks up her spoon and uses it to cut her chicken. She just cheated. I shake my head in disbelief.

Lunch flies by, and I manage to keep my mouth and hands to myself. Even though she already hates me, I wasn’t going to waste my energy to get on her good side. Neighbors hate each other all the time, why can’t we just be like everyone else? I actually don’t hate her, I actually want to bang her, but I’m not exactly sure how sex and OCD work.

Would I have to enter her at a certain angle? Would she have to fold all of our clothes before proceeding? How does it work? As long as I can get off and see her boobs, I don’t care what I have to do. Now I have to get on her good graces, because just thinking about her naked breasts smashed against my face makes me hot.

“Come on Craig, we’re leaving,” Anthony announces and I get up from the table, noticing they were already half way to the door. I jump up and jog over to catch up with them. I obviously got lost in my thoughts of motor boating Madison’s chest.

We drive back in silence and drop off Stacy and Madison. Anthony and I were headed down to the arena to meet with management and do all the crap one does when they’re picked up by a new team. I jumped out of the SUV at the last possible second and stop Madison.

“Look, I’d like to make everything up to you. I obviously gave off a terrible first impression. I’d like to cook you dinner.”

“You? Cook?” She laughed out, quickly covering her mouth with her hand, but I could still see her squinty eyes.

“Well okay, maybe not. But I’d like for you to come over a share a meal. Maybe we can get to know one another, and I could stop being an ass.”

“Well I don’t know about the whole you stop being an ass thing. I like you being an ass, then that way, I don’t have to like you, or at least pretend like I like you. I don’t like to pretend.”

“I don’t like to pretend either, and I’m not usually an ass. I guess you bring out the bad boy side in me, the side that wants to do naughty things.”

“That’s unfortunate.” With that she turned on her heel and headed up to her front door.

Unfortunate? I just threw her a line and she told me it was unfortunate. Either I’m a failure at life or she doesn’t know when someone is flirting with her. I turn around and jump back in the SUV and Anthony and I make our way into downtown. “Don’t fuck with her Craig. She’s been a family friend for a long time, she’s not one to mess with.”

“Anthony, I haven’t gotten laid in a long time, and she is a beautiful specimen of the female kind. She’s weird, and she hates me, but I’m going for it.”

“It’s your death.”

Monday, November 16, 2009


Somehow, someway, having a neighbor move in was a burst of inspiration. I now knew where I was taking my next book. A murder mystery starring Craig, a burly man killing everything that crosses his path living next door to a helpless widow, who he might actually fall in love with. Dare I name the murderer Craig though? Through three-thousand words, the main characters name was represented by a dash. He doesn’t know who I am, he probably doesn’t even read. He wouldn’t mind, right? If anything I could just say it was written before I met him. Either way, how could a five minute conversation develop into a character? It didn’t. Well, maybe it did.

I pushed myself away from my desk, cursing at myself to stop thinking. I couldn’t write with my mind wondering about the simplicity of a character’s name. But it wasn’t that simple. Names were everything. It had to be a name that rolled off of your tongue, but simple enough that you would remember it. The name Craig just kind of spits out. “Craig.” I shook my head. The name fits him anyways. How dare he accuse me of smoking pot. I haven’t touched pot in . . . 4 months? Maybe 5. I only smoked it to understand the effects of it for a book anyways. I’m no pot head. I don’t even drink alcohol. My poison of choice is lavender oils. Now if anything can really mess you up and show you a good time, it’s lavender.

I glanced at the clock on the wall to my right to see it was just past 3 AM. This was when the question rises for me to answer. Do I continue to write, or do I catch some sleep? I did get sidetracked there for a moment with the name debacle, but my mind was spinning and falling asleep on such inspiration is a bad thing to do. I pulled myself back to my desk to continue writing when I heard loud laughter outside of the window. I jumped up and peaked through the blinds to see Craig and five other men pay a cab driver and stumble all over the driveway. I cracked the window the slightest bit so I would be able to hear them. “I’m gonna go see if she wants to come over and maybe see if she wants to get naked for us!” One shouted as he slowly made his way toward my front door.

“Dude! No, don’t! I just fucking moved in! Can we wait at least a week before we ask to see her tits!”

“Come on Craig, stop being such a cock block!”

“Talbot come on! It’s like three in the fucking morning, she’s probably sleeping!”

“I just want to suck a tittie, come on Craig!”

“Damn it Flower, get your boyfriend in my house and away from her door!”

“I just want to see her vajayjay!!!”

I watched as another man pulled the horny one away from my front porch and toward Craig’s door. So obviously Craig told his little friends about me, and whatever he told them was purely physical. I knew my outfit was too sexy to meet a new neighbor. I’ll have to start covering myself up when I venture outside of my house.

Now with my inspiration wiped away, I decided getting some sleep was the best course of action for me. I cleaned up my desk, shut down my laptop, placed all of the pens and pencils in their respective jars and headed up to my bedroom. “Holy fuck dude!” I groaned when I heard the men made their way out to Craig’s balcony. He wasn’t making a very good first impression. I tried to ignore their shouts and whistles as I prepared myself for bed. I washed my face, twice, brushed my teeth, combed my hair, stripped out of my clothes, pulled on my black silk nightgown, brushed my hair once more and headed back into my bedroom. “Do you think I could jump onto her balcony?!”

Fed up, I pulled on my robe and yanked back the sliding glass door, stepping outside. “Really? Are you guys serious?”

“Holy fuck!!!” The guy who was crawling on the railing yelled before jumping back onto Craig’s balcony.

“I’m sorry, please allow me to introduce myself and my friends here. My name is Maxime Talbot, have you heard of me before?”


“Excellent. I’m five foot eleven . . . on a good day, six foot two. I work out seven to eight days a week, I enjoy long walks along the railroad tracks, a good bottle of Boone’s Farm and I’m French-Canadian, so that’s a plus. It’s always a plus. Now if you let me, I can give you the most intense orgasm of your life. Can I come over?”

“No. Who are your friends?”

“Ah, oui. Marc-Andre Fleury, A.K.A. LeFlower, Sidney LeCrosby, Tyler LeKennedy, Kris LeLetang. Wait. Le-Letang? Merde. Deux négatifs jouer un rôle positif . . . OUI!! LeLetang. Oh, and you already know Craig LeAdams.”

“That’s nice,” I smile sweetly as each of them wave to me, Craig standing in the corner, his head bowed down. “Now if you don’t mind, I’d like to get some sleep. Could you please take your Leparty into the fucking Lehouse?”

“Fiesty, I like you,” Maxime smiled before Craig began to push everyone back into his bedroom.

Satisfied that I got my point across, I walked back into my bedroom and discarded my robe before preparing to crawl into bed. Hopefully this was a onetime thing. A house warming party with his buddies. I hope he doesn’t force me to buy a BB gun to keep him from being obnoxiously loud. I pulled my comforter back half way, making sure it was even on both side before doing the same with the top sheet. I crawled into bed, tucking my feet under my blankets, I made sure my butt was snuggled into the dip in the middle of the mattress before I leaned forward and grabbed the ends of the sheet and comforter. I pulled them back with me as I lay down, my head resting centered on my lone pillow. I twist my upper body and reach across my chest and shut off the lamp. Sleep hitting me as soon as I was back in my comfortable position.

“Madison! Oh Maddie! Wake up darling!” I slowly opened my eyes to find Stacy standing above me.

“What are you doing here?” I groaned as I sat up and pushed my blankets down to fold them in half once again.

“One of Anthony's clients moved in next door, so he came down to see if he got settled in, and I figured I'd come with to see how you were doing."

"You're my agent, not my mother."

"I worry about you Madison, when was the last time you left the house?"


"Where'd you go?"

"Next door to welcome the new neighbor. Wait, he's one of Anthony's clients? How?"

"He's a hockey player. Just got traded from Chicago to Pittsburgh. And by the way, walking next door to greet your new neighbor doesn't qualify as leaving your house. You have to be at least five hundred feet away."

"Why do I need to leave my house?"

"Just once go to the grocery store, socialize."

"I have my groceries delivered, and I don't need to socialize. Although, I met a few men last night, or early this morning, however you want to look at it. This hockey player you speak of, he had some men over and they were all drunk, and very loud. One actually offered to give me an intense orgasm."

Stacy began to laugh loudly as she pulled some clothes out of my closet, tossing them on the bed. I grabbed the bunched up clothes off the bed and laid them flat to prevent any wrinkles. "Now get dressed, I'd like to take you out to lunch."

"I'll make you lunch."

"No, Anthony, Craig, you and I are going out to lunch. Besides, it was your birthday yesterday and I want to celebrate. Now come on, it's already 11:30. We'd like to leave in a half hour."

“You want me . . . to leave my house . . . to have lunch . . . with the monster next door? ARE YOU FUCKING OUT OF YOUR MIND?!” I could feel my anxiety start to hitch and Stacy pulled open my nightstand drawer and handed me my inhaler. I shook it quickly before sucking down two intakes.

“Yes. It’s a business lunch.”

“How? I write. He plays a barbaric sport. The only connection here is you and your husband.”

“You’re neighbors, isn’t that enough of a connection?”

“You owe me. I want a week extension on my draft due date.”

“Fine, I’ll talk to your publisher, now get ready.”

I couldn’t believe I had agreed to do this. I hadn’t left my house in a month or two. I knew when the day come for me to venture into the city I wanted it to be for something monumental, not lunch with my agent, her husband, and his client. The hockey player. I guess that should explain what I had experience earlier in the morning. Of course hockey players were the only form of human beings alive that were irresponsible enough to stay out drinking until the wee hours of the morning on a weekday. Wait, was it a weekday? Didn’t matter. They got drunk, and that was irresponsible.

I dressed in the clothes Stacy pulled out for me, a pair of jeans, and a high neckline sleeveless shirt with ruffles cascading down the front. It wasn’t something I would normally wear, but I didn’t feel like arguing, so I just wore it. Yet when I saw my clothes in my closet starring back at me I felt sorry. There had to be something else I could wear. Something more logical. Was this too sexy for Craig? After what I heard the night before? “Maddie!!” Damn it.

I cleaned up my bedroom and bathroom quickly and rushed downstairs just in time to follow Stacy out the front door. I inhaled the fresh air and looked to my right, instantly making eye contact with Craig. Lovely. This isn’t how I was hoping to spend my day.

Friday, November 13, 2009


Being placed on waivers was a pretty shitty feeling. It was like a father who didn’t want you anymore and wanted to send you away. An orphanage for hockey players, batting their eyelashes hoping someone would adopt them. That’s exactly what happened to me, luckily I ended up with a dysfunctional family that loved each other very much. The Pittsburgh Penguins. What was there to say about the team? A bunch of rambunctious kids who kicked their own father to the curb a few weeks before, and brought in a new one. A younger one. Now all of a sudden they were a family again, a more functional one, and they plucked me out of the NHL waivers orphanage.

I threw my whole life into the back of a U-Haul truck and set out from Chicago to Pittsburgh. My agent found me a condo close to the city, with what he described was a beautiful view of the city. I’d have to see it for my own eyes to believe it. No skyline compared to Chicago’s. I left Chicago around 4 AM, hoping to make it to Pittsburgh before noon to get as much unpacked as I possibly could.

I drummed my fingers on the steering wheel as I sang along with Johnny Cash. “When I breeze into that city, people gonna stoop and bow. All them women gonna make me, teach ‘em what they don’t know how. I’m goin’ to Jackson, you turn-a loose-a my coat. Cause I’m goin’ to Jackson.” I pause to allow June Carter to sing her part. I suddenly wanted to pull over and find a nice glass of whiskey, but I looked at the GPS to discover I only had twenty more minutes till I arrived at my new home. I guess I could wait just a little bit longer.

I finally pulled up in front of my duplex, and could see a hint of skyline behind the house. “Eh.” I shrugged my shoulders, still not convinced yet. My eyes drifted to the house and it looked like a big ass black line split the duplex straight down the middle, right through the driveway. It looked like if I climbed on the roof and hammered a nail into the middle, the house would split and fall apart. Strange. I backed the U-Haul onto my side of the driveway and headed inside the house to check it out.

Holy crap was that a view. The city almost looked fake as I stepped out onto the balcony off the master bedroom. It looked like a gigantic cardboard cutout of a bunch of buildings placed on a triangle piece of land surrounded by water. It was surreal. It was no Chicago, but it was something. It had personality, an attitude almost. I could only hope my laid back style would fit into not only the cities personality, but the teams as well.

I was coming into the team at 31 years of age, and as single as they come. I fell into the unknown category. The category the younger single guys and the older married guys didn’t know what to do with. Do they invite him to a family BBQ with all the other married couples? Or do they invite him out to a night club with a bunch of young people and terrible music? How does one avoid the awkwardness in this? At least in Chicago I had Burish, but even that was detrimental to my health. Who did Pittsburgh have that I could hang out with? Talbot? Fleury? Oh good Lord. The season was almost over anyways, I didn’t need friends.

I took a deep breath of fresh air before heading back out to the truck to unload it. I already knew my condo was going to be pretty bare, after all I was fitting a seven hundred square foot apartment into a fifteen hundred square foot condo. It was going to look like an art gallery, just . . . no art. The only art I needed was the beautiful bottles that were going to be placed in a cabinet. I’m not an alcoholic, far from it, I just enjoy the taste and beauty of alcohol. I don’t get trashed, or even buzzed. A glass to relax after a grueling game is all I need. After all, I’m a man.

Packing up in Chicago felt like a piece of cake compared to unpacking in Pittsburgh. There were lots of stairs, and lots of small doorways. I hauled my black leather couch up to the living room and pulled it through the doorway, bring the doorway with me. Fucking fantastic. Luckily it was just the frame that came down, and none of the drywall. The last thing I needed was a full blown repair 30 minutes within arriving at my new home.

I unpacked the rest of the furniture before I started repairing the door frame. Nothing a hammer and a few nails couldn’t fix. I grabbed all the nails I had out of my tool box, which wasn’t a whole lot. I figured if I just pounding on the thing for a bit, maybe it would just stay in place. So that’s what I did. I pounded and pounded until it wasn’t moving. Almost sounds like the last date I had.

I headed back out to the truck to grab the rest of my boxes. I piled a few high on the dollie U-Haul gladly rented out to me, and headed back into the house. Damn doorframe fell out. I groaned and ignored the wood laying on the ground and continued to unpack my things. The quicker I got done, the sooner I could have that drink. Once my clothes were neatly folded in the corner of the room, and a white sheet was thrown over my mattress I headed back to the doorframe. I grabbed the hammer and nails and went to work.

I stood back and admired my somewhat decent job, but a smile appeared when I knew it wasn’t going anywhere. That fucker wasn’t budging. Obviously most women are wrong about me, I am good for more than just hockey, I’m a handyman too. A knocking on my door brought me out of my confidence boost and I headed toward the door figuring it was my agent welcoming me to the city. I swung the door open and was greeted by a gorgeous woman. My eyes traveled down her body and I tried to suppress the frown. She looked like an hourglass, large chest, plump ass, tiny waist. Just how I like them, unfortunately, her clothes made her look like she was an 80-year-old grandma.

“Hi,” I smiled just as she shoved a basket out at me.

“Hi, I’m Madison, I live next door, I just thought I would bring you a home welcoming gift and ask you what in the world that pounding is?”

Oh hell no. Really? Already she was bitching about something? It’s not like I was pounding away for a hour or two. It was ten minutes here and maybe five minutes there. It was no big deal. I took the basket from her hands, it looked like she just grabbed whatever she had and tossed it inside. “Sorry about the pounding, I accidentally tore out a door frame, so I’m just putting it back up. I’m Craig by the way.” I hold my hand out for her to shake and she places her hand in mine, almost as if she’s afraid I’ll break some bones. “I’ll try and keep it down.”

She nodded her head then turned and walked away. So my neighbor is smoking hot, needs a new wardrobe, and is a little bit on the loopy side. I watched her carefully as she jiggled the handle of her door. Was she having a problem? The door swung open and she wiped her feet numerous times before disappearing into her home. Interesting. I wonder what she looks like naked. I hope she doesn’t wear granny panties. Those things cause erectile dysfunction.

I looked around my house, having everything unpacked in less than a hour and a half. It sure was empty. Hopefully Pittsburgh won’t dump me the way Chicago did, and I’ll stick around for a few years, give me time to fill the condo up. My phone vibrated on the kitchen counter and I snatched it up before making my way up to my bedroom. “Hello?”

“Hey Craig, Sidney Crosby here. Just calling to see if you got settled in?”

“Sure did, enjoying the view right now.” I opened the sliding glass door and stepped out onto the balcony.

“That’s great. Look some of the guys and I want to take you out for dinner tonight. Show you around a bit, you down for that?” I nodded my head as I heard something to my right, I looked over and saw Madison smoking something out of a bong.

“Hey Sid, hold on a second.” I pulled the phone away from ear and looked harder at her. “Are you smoking pot?” I shouted her direction.


“I’ve never seen anything like that before, sure as hell looks like a bong to me!”

“If I was smoking pot, do you honestly think I would do it out in the open?” She had a point, but I still starred at her. I wouldn’t be surprised if she was a pot head, she at least looked like one. A hot one. Maybe she was stoned when she put her clothes on. Smoke drifted over to me and it suddenly smelt like Sunday mornings back at my mom’s house.

“Is that . . . strawberries?”

“It is, it’s a hookah, and I’m smoking sisha. It’s flavored tobacco.”

“Oh. Okay.” I nodded my head, realizing I probably looked like an ass. But what if it was strawberry flavored pot? Don’t potheads have the technology now to make that? Aren’t there thousands of different kinds of pot? I pulled my eyes away from her and her bong and headed back inside, placing the phone back on my ear. “Sorry about that Sid, just having a friendly conversation with my neighbor.”

“If accusing your neighbor of illegal activity friendly, sure, no problem. So I heard you live up on Mt. Washington? I’ll come pick you up around six, sound good?”

“Yeah perfect, see you soon.” I snapped my phone shut and stuck my head out the door one last time to look at her. She was gone. Great, I really was an ass to her.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


What the fuck . . . was that pounding . . . on my wall?!

I looked down at my tidy desk and straightened everything up, placing my pencils in the glass jar, my blue pens in the tin can, and then shoved all of my black pens into my drawer. I hated black pens, I don’t even know why I had them in my house. I quickly paper clipped the stacks of papers on my desk, doubled checked my pencils then jumped up from my chair. I walked out of my office and into my living room where the black and white photograph was knocked crooked from the pounding. I walked up to it and straightened it out. I stood back to make sure that it looked level and the pounding started again, knocking the picture crooked again.

Twenty minutes later when the pounding finally stopped, I pulled my arms down from the picture frame and stretched my arms. Twenty minutes of pounding! Twenty minutes I had to stand there to make sure my photo stayed level. The pounding meant only one thing, someone finally moved in next door. Crap.

What does one do when they get a neighbor? Bake a batch of cookies? Start playing music extremely loud non-stop to get them to leave? I walked to the front window and pulled back the sheer white curtains and looked down at the driveway. A mid-sized U-Haul truck was backed into the driveway, staying on it’s respective side. A man in shorts with thick legs and a solid upper body was stacking boxes on top of a dollie. He looked like he was alone, and there wasn’t a whole lot in his truck from what I could see. Maybe he’s just renting. Maybe I hope I’m right.

I turned from the window and headed back to my office. I sat down in my oversized leather chair and grabbed a pencil, sharpening it to a fine point, lightly pressing it down on a blank piece of paper to make sure it won’t break. Once I was satisfied, I pulled the paper clips off of the stacks of papers, and set them inside my drawer. Back to work.

Once the pounding started up again, I pressed my pencil a little too hard into the paper, causing the tip to snap. That was it, I’ve had enough. I went through the motions once again, cleaning up my desk. I got up from my chair and headed into my kitchen. He’s obviously pounding for cookies. His great big “fuck you neighbor, I’m here, come say hi” greeting. I glanced into the living room quickly to see the frame had been knocked crooked again. Oh dear lord. I looked away and turned back toward my kitchen. The image of the tilted frame was stuck in my head though, and I couldn’t even think about what I was doing until I leveled it out. I grabbed the duck tape on my way out of the kitchen and headed for the frame. I ripped off a long piece and made a sticky loop. I placed it along the bottom backside of the frame, and pushed it against the wall, where it stayed in place.

One could never go wrong with cheese, crackers and a bottle of some unknown wine that’s been sitting in my kitchen for over 6 months. I found an old basket and place them inside of it before walking out of my front door. I locked the door behind me and twisted the handle twice to make sure it was locked. I placed my key in my front pocket when I was satisfied and headed down the stairs and across the driveway to his front door.

I knocked three times then stood back from his door. I looked down at my clothes to make sure I was presentable, in this case I was. There was nothing more sophisticated than khaki slacks and a white button up shirt tucked in. It was sexy, modern day sexy. The door swung open and there stood a man with very dominate eyebrows. “Hi,” he smiled as he greeted me.

“Hi, I’m Madison, I live next door, I just thought I would bring you a home welcoming gift and ask you what in the world that pounding is?” I asked in one long breath holding out the basket towards him.

He chuckled slightly before taking the basket out of my hands. “Sorry about the pounding, I accidentally tore out a door frame, so I’m just putting it back up. I’m Craig by the way.” He held out his hand for me to shake and I hesitantly placed my hand in his. “I’ll try and keep it down.”

I nodded my head and turned my back to him, heading back to my own front door. I stopped in front of my door and fished the key out of my front pocket. I held it in my right hand, and twisted the handle, smiling when I noticed it was still locked. I placed the key inside of the lock and twisted it to the right, back to the left, and then to the right once again before pulling the key out. I twisted the handle and the door swung open. I released the handle and wiped my shoes on the outdoor mat four times each before stepping inside. Once I was inside of my home, I took my shoes off, shut the door and locked it. Now, I had to get back to work.

The first draft for my next book was due in a month, and I had no inspiration running through my body at all. One month to write a three-hundred page mystery, I had four pages written. I glanced down at my desk and decided maybe a break was in order.

I headed up the stairs toward my bedroom and located my hookah. A nice smoke was in order. I took it out to my balcony off my bedroom, and set it down on the table. I looked out over Pittsburgh and smiled. This was the reason I bought the over-priced condo on Mount Washington. It wasn’t the greatest view, but it was enough to see the skyline I fell in love with at the tender age of twenty-two.

Twenty-two years old, that felt like a decade ago. Crap. I pulled my phone out of my front pocket and glanced at the date. It was a decade ago. How did I not know it was my 32nd birthday? I blame it on the book. I’d been staring at blank white sheets of paper for so long, I didn’t even realize what the date was. I shook my head and got to work on the hookah. Filling the bowl to the brim with strawberry flavored tobacco, making sure none was falling over the edge. It had to be perfect, to taste perfect. I wrapped the foil on top, punch exactly 28 holes, lit a coal on fire, then placed it on top.

Once the smoke was filing the vase, I inhaled deeply then pushed out smoke rings through my mouth. I instantly got a head rush, but it was calming enough for me to close my eyes. I continued to smoke from the hose, the taste of strawberries filling my mouth. I searched deep in my mind for inspiration. I need something, anything.

“ARE YOU SMOKING POT?” I jumped from my seat and looked to my left to see Craig standing on his balcony starring at me in disbelief.

“No!” I shouted back completely offended, placing my hand over my chest.

“I’ve never seen anything like that before, sure as hell looks like a bong to me!”

“If I was smoking pot, do you honestly think I would do it out in the open?” I fired back before sucking in some more smoke, blowing it out towards him, hoping he could pick up the smell.

“Is that . . . strawberries?”

“It is, it’s a hookah, and I’m smoking sisha. It’s flavored tobacco.”

“Oh. Okay.” He nodded his head and starred at me a bit longer before heading back into his bedroom.

I rolled my eyes and looked at my beautiful hookah, which consisted of a blue glass vase and silver hardware. It was a gift from a friend in New York City. He was who turned me on to the dangerous addiction. I noticed a very obviously finger print on the vase and it took every muscle in my body to prevent me from jumping up. I just wanted to sit there and enjoy smoking. I needed a break. Yet the longer I looked at it, the bigger it got. Fuck. I set the hose down and headed inside to grab the Windex and some paper towels. There never were breaks in my life.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Coming Soon

Craig Adams came to Pittsburgh at the right time. Right when the team was on the up and up from a long losing streak. A new coach, some new faces and a new attitude, Craig felt right at home. Home with the team that is.

Instant regret hit him when he moved into a duplex next door to Madison Johnson. A best selling author, with such bad OCD tendencies, Craig found himself picking up her habits in the locker room just from brief meetings in the driveway.

After Craig throws a party at his house, all claws are out. Madison isn’t happy, and Craig could only hope that she just keeps her mouth shut and allow him to enjoy his whiskey in peace. He physically works his ass off day in and day out, and she sits there and types away; the man should be able to enjoy a drink in silence.