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[Book Review] When the Mob Ran Vegas

Written in 2014. Review of: When the Mob Ran Vegas by Steve Fischer  

I originally found When the Mob Ran Vegas by Steve Fischer while in Half Priced Books back home in Kentucky. It was one of those days where I walked out of the bookstore with 20 books that had been on sale and 5 records. Very good choice I made with this book, definitely. 

I am ecstatic to say that I finally finished this book! After a long week and half of trying to finish, reading every free moment I could, but still having interruptions… I finally finished! This book was such a great read! 

I love unique stories–and ones that are true–so this book was perfect for me. Even how he came about to write this book was unique. It all started with listing his Vegas items on eBay and telling the history behind each piece. As I scouted the web to find more info, it looks like his book was probably the first that had been written indirectly from eBay auctions. So. Very. Cool. (Kind of like me writing poetry from reading marine industry lit.) 

When the Mob Ran Vegas taught me a lot that I didn’t know. I didn’t know the history behind each casino, nor did I know any of the early mob names….and the biggest shocker of them all — seeing that Frank Sinatra was a big part of the mob name. Apparently everyone who knew I was reading this book knew this piece of information… everyone except me. 

I’ve only been to Vegas one time in July of 2012. We stayed at the Flamingo. I loved it so much because it was pink, shiny and some of my favorite animals were in the habitat there. I almost refused to go because I was so against “sin” and going to a casino was exactly that — so much gambling (that I don’t like) — but now? I kind of embrace the sin around me. (I still have never gambled and don’t plan on it.) 

Because of some of the crazy things I did in the city — like find a need to collect calling girl cards and telling the tale to everyone around, the sights and city lights at night — I have been heavily missing Vegas lately. 

Reading When the Mob Ran Vegas has certainly quenched my thirst for the earlier history of Vegas and how each hotel/casino there had come about. 

The way that Fischer wrote this book — in tiny chapters, divided by whatever he was talking about, whether it be a certain mob or casino — was absolutely amazing. It’s definitely a must read in my opinion. Also, after searching the web for more information, there’s apparently a showgirls themed book coming out eventually. I hope it’s real soon. 

A sign of Preparation & Loss

Written in 2010 © Karen Maeby

One day, in the middle of November 2004, my parents were coming home from somewhere late at night and they had called me on the phone to hurry up and raise our garage door. There was this huge dog that was outside that would not leave and they were afraid that the dog might have something wrong with it. They quickly got out of the vehicle, lead the dog to the back yard and shut the gate. We fed it and took care of it overnight, as my dad had called the humane society and his police friends and nothing could be done until the next day. 

The next day, someone came and got the (what we later found out was a) boxer. The boxer had mange, so all in all, we didn’t get the dog like we had hoped. I called this dog “Doggie Stares” and the dog was growing on our entire family. Days later, I realized this was a preparation for what was yet to come. 

Our next door neighbor’s wife had just passed away and he couldn’t take care of their Lhasa Apso dog, Peaches, anymore. So it was his deceased wife’s wish (as well as his) that we took over Peaches. He handed her to us on November 29, 2004. 

Now, before I go on, something about my parents? They didn’t ever want pets because of the mess they created. However, with the incident of “Doggie Stares,” something changed. 

From the very day we got the newly two-year-old Peaches, our world instantly changed. We went from being a family of three to a family of four. She became the center of our world; I finally had a sister even though it was a mutt. 

I remember having to take care of her the first night we got her and she puked all over my bed. Welcome to… parenthood. Peaches was a very good dog, even though she bit a lot, because she was never really “trained” to stop doing that at a younger age. We took her on various many trips, had tons of fun with her, and did the usual dog thing of evening walks, running and playing in the backyard. Everyone must know she had this amazing howl she would do when one of us came home. It was set in high soprano and we adored it, even though it was extremely loud and ear-breaking to the neighbors who were home to hear it. It was more unique than most people had ever heard coming out of a dog. 

The only terrible down fall of Peaches was having to watch her suffer through seizures every few weeks. It was one of the most heartbreaking things you can imagine to watch a helpless dog fall into one of those… especially after being really happy to just play like normal. This happened so often and we tried everything we could with the vets to figure out why. This, my friends, was left up in a mystery. 

Fast forward a couple years to 2008. After having dealt with everything from my store closing in January, moving on with my life, Peaches started getting sick after a wonderful weekend of activity. She started hanging around me the most, wouldn’t really leave my side and just always stared at me. A few weeks before the end of February, Peaches grew ill. 

[These next two entries were taken from my MySpace.] 

[27 Feb 2008 | Wednesday] 11:11 PM

Monday she didn’t seem ok at all… she laid around the house all day and wanted to be held be all of us. Seemed like she had been trying to tell us something all along. Anyway, she wasn’t eating or anything like that…

Tuesday rolls around and she’s not any better. At 3pm we took her to the vet and they ran a blood test on her. First thing, she had 16% blood count instead of where she was supposed to be like 45-50%… Blood wasn’t coming out of her body so something inside her had been eating it up and disposing of the blood.

So she had to have a blood transfusion. And lots of pills being given to her.

Today (Wednesday) they ran more tests on her and they said something about her liver being flamed. So she has some rare infection in her liver. They’ve got her hooked up to IVs and hospitalized so she can get better.

[01 Mar 2008 | Saturday] 3:24 AM

She stayed in there Weds-Fri… Thursday she seemed to be better, up walking around and noticing movement and such. Friday – still no change in her habits but she had fallen into a seizure and they had to put her down because it was so bad she couldn’t come out if it. Mom and I had planned on seeing her in the afternoon but mom called at 9am to see how she was doing (and she was fine); after running errands she stopped by there and the vet told her hold on and said “we just called your husband, Peaches didn’t make it.” So I got a phone call from mom then my dad called and we three were up there saying goodbye.

February 29, 2008 was the day we I got the phone call that Peaches passed away. Mom was already at the vet and my dad was on his way when I arrived there. I walked into the room where they left Peaches in the cage where she died. 

I gathered myself on the floor and stuck half my body on her inside the cage and just cried. Cried for hours just laying on her, remembering asking “why, why?” and saying how much I was going to miss her and what a good mutt sister she had been. It was the most heart breaking moment in such a long time. When my dad arrived, it was just… bad. I rarely saw him cry and this is definitely one of the moments where he did. That broke my heart even more. 

Peaches, having a dog in our lives, were a staple to us being a family. A compete family. 

Before we left that vet office, the final goodbye, I took one of Peaches’ stuffed animals (a dog) that I had bought for her one Christmas and just rubbed the fur all over Peaches. I put that dog in the dashboard of my vehicle and it has remained there since that very day, never having been moved yet (even 3 years later). We decided to have her cremated and put into a pretty oak-wood box with her name on the top of it. 

Peaches died on leap year, which occurs every four years. We had her for four years. 

A couple weeks later after her death, my parents went on a search to contact the owners that gave Peaches to our neighbor. They found them and went to visit them in Ohio and one day that I came home, there was a new Lhasa Apso that greeted me named Bella. Bella was a sister to Peaches somehow down the line and they needed to get rid of her or a male dog and my parents wanted her. 

I must say, after all Peaches was my baby, I was quite offended and thought it was too soon to get another pet. I remember telling mom prior to Peaches’ death that if something happened to her, I was going to be leaving that house and that statement was more than true.

Bella turned out to be a very quiet and calmer dog, even still, after finally finding her barking voice months later after having adopted her. Bella still remains with my parents and is in good health, considering she was having struggles with anemia right at first. 

2019 UPDATE: Bella passed away in December of 2017.

[Book Review] My First Five Husbands (and the ones that got away)

Written on 4/29/2012. Review of:  My First Five Husbands (and the ones that got away) by Rue McClanahan.

For the past couple of months, I’ve been on a Golden Girls / Blanche Devereaux kick and have been seeking out watching other shows with Rue in it. I found a few on Netflix to watch (Sordid Lives, the latest) and one day when I went to the library, I decided to find Rue’s book. I’m so glad I did.

Review of Rue McClanahan’s book, My First Five Husbands…and the ones that got away… 

I found myself saying “holyshitsticks!” in my head (A LOT) as I read Rue McClanahan’s book. Wowzah. Being the exact opposite of Rue, the more careful examiner of EVERYTHING I do before actually doing it and the consequences that would follow, reading this book ignited the ‘dare devil / risk taker’ in me….and every time I had to stop reading for things like – y’know – living life, going to work, finishing work and sleeping — I kept thinking of just checking out for a while to continue reading! jaja!

Overall, I just want to say that her book was so wonderfully written – adding snarky comments in parenthesis or little “go dies” to people who made her mad or saying ‘no pun intended’ while talking about something sexual that was most definitely full of pun. Her book? So full of the real southern charm and some sort of a delicate properness that instantly makes you want her to be in your life. Not to mention, the delicious tales about her relationships that leaves you thirsty for more. (I think I even learned a little something from her writing and it made me want to add even more to my very own autobiography.)

Rue’s life was a mess. Holy moly son of a gun was it ever a mess!  She made mistakes like crazy, not thinking almost anything through, before diving right into it. Imagine a diver, not ready to dive, but dives in the pool without prepping for the dive. Yep. But, I have a sneaky suspicion that she knew what she wanted, even if she… didn’t know. (I know, how’s that make sense, right?) She made the mistake of marrying just so she wouldn’t be alone – it was her panic – instead of marrying for just love or other reasons, it was so she wouldn’t be alone. Well, I guess I should say, she felt like each time if they left, they were abandoning her. That was the major downfall…acting on impulse and fear of abandonment.

She was born in a small town, and like a select few of pearl-like individuals, she knew she belonged elsewhere. She knew she was destined to be in the Big Apple: New York. When she talked about getting to New York and it was “home” to her, I smiled and I smiled BIG when I read that because I completely knew what she meant by that. (I was born in a small town, knowing that I wanted something much more than what I was confined to, I knew the whole thing with that. And, my “home” later became Florida.)

Rue was a soul that I would have loved to get to know, that’s for sure. Her life was adventurous – she traveled every where, was in several Broadway shows / plays and later TV shows, and all through her relationships, she had a child and somehow made almost all of the right decisions regarding his life while she was trying to live hers. I give her props for that. She met a ton of people, lost touch with them, and somehow they always shown back up later on in life. I learned just so much from her own words, experiences and what have you.

She often remarked with snark comment, like – everything is perfect, when will the other shoe drop? Boom! It did. Over and over again. It was crazy, her crazy life. It was like getting down to the last piece of the puzzle and that piece being the wrong one – from another puzzle. So the question would be, what? Where is the other piece of the puzzle? Time to move on and try to find it. As I write this, I found the song “Don’t Rain on My Parade” floating through my head as I thought of all of the many times her good times went astray, so to speak. 

Some of her decisions were pretty smart though – she mentioned making decisions based up on being a show person or a businesswoman. It was most telling. Not to mention, her decisions about houses and when to get rid of them upon her loss of big jobs or whatnot. She was extremely smart and you could tell.

A few things I took to note, her very little words on politics. I was so happy when she mentioned being happy that Obama won the presidential campaign of 2008 and then later mentioning being close to / seeing Bill Clinton back when he won his presidential years. Very exciting that we shared those opinions and likes of those presidents. And, the shared comments about the “one in the middle”.

Every time she said “yes, I kept that” or “I still have it” or even the “hell no, I don’t have that any more” I had to smile. Lots. I knew what she meant by that. I still have a lot of things that people gave me or life’s souvenirs.

Later on the in the book she talks some about her days of The Golden Girls. It was sad to read that some of them had issues often at times and the personal struggles within their time acting for the show. She didn’t dish a lot about the show, as promised by her, but it was enough… this book was about her, not The Golden Girls. The one thing that did stick out, all of them were animal lovers and fought for animal rights. That right there is precious. I knew about that from previous reads but it was just cool re-reading that again and learning even more of what they did.

The end of her book brought the most sad. Something that will continue to sit with me is how she lost some of the closest people to her and then said, ‘it’s the end of an era’. That’s just a really sad thought to think about…  Comparing to how *I’ve* felt when I’ve lost a huge chunk of people that I felt a deep connection with (whether I knew them or not), yeah.. it hurts…and I knew. But, how must I feel or how do I explain that the people I cared about most are all older and have passed away compared to the friends now? And how do I explain my deep connection with the famous people (not as they’re famous but themselves) who have either passed away or are alive but don’t know I exist? It goes a long ways with my thoughts of ‘the dead pay more mind to me than the alive’. But, I digress.

A quote of hers towards the end – “Not all important people are famous, and not all famous people are important. She was definitely a beautiful soul and I wish to find a Rue to be friends with some time in my life.

Also towards the end of the book, she marries one last guy that she stayed with until she died. She said, being with him felt like home. Once again, I know this feeling… and I smiled.

What a lovely, lovely book. I’m glad I finally got to read this book about one of my favorite Golden Girls. I learned a great deal of things about her that I didn’t know, rediscovered some things I did know and even learned some about the Golden Girls. But most of all, Blanche was just a character that made Rue more famous with the every day world at the time. It was another reminder that life is never like fiction. Another reminder as to why I don’t like it so much. But nonetheless, Rue and Blanche were both amazing characters while they were alive.

[Book Review] If You Ask Me

Written on 8/29/2012. Review of: If You Ask Me by Betty White.

This book is wonderfully written, considerably short (250 pages, with personal photos) – and sweet – just like the writer. If You Ask Me is written in short chapters as a basic outlined insight to and by Betty White, herself.

Betty White gives her insight to growing older, about her career, awards, her love of animals, Golden Girls, the Snickers commercial / a few movies / her SNL show, some of her choices in life, funny stuff, serious stuff and so many other things. Little stories – with just the right amount of content.

I had forgotten some of the details I had learned about her in the past, but this definitely reminded me of what a great lady and role model she really is.

My journal was sitting right below me and in the middle of reading, I had to pull it up and document some of the things that I found highly in relation to me/my feelings. Here’s a passage of what I wrote yesterday:

If You Ask Me on page 14 – she said, “Animals don’t lie” and that she prefers the company of animals to humans. I just tweeted that same thing (animals don’t lie) the other day when I was frustrated with life and people. Weird.

(Side note: my tweet was 4 days ago on the 25th – and I didn’t even have this book until yesterday.)

Other similarities that made me so happy that I wasn’t alone in this:

On page 91 – she mentions going to the store and buying packs of paper, even if she’s not out, and gets excited to write on new paper. A new notebook/paper dotes on inspiration.

181 – She talks about her amazing experience with animals. She seems to be like an animal whisperer, just like I’m an animal tamer.

195 – Betty White is a stuffed animal collector! Holy crap! She even admitted to saying “I love you” to them as she leaves the room.

201 – Found out she can’t swim either.

229-230 – She talks about piles she has in her house. Like, the room where her stuffed animals are are so piled up that she has to take her stuff downstairs to work on. Sounds like me.

I loved this book for many, many reasons – love the woman, she’s an amazing actress and funny as shit. She’s also such a great writer, sweet lady and she loves animals the way that I do. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and I know that I really need to find and read her previous books now.

At the end she talks about her moment with Koko, the gorilla, which I think is just an amazing experience in itself because when animals can trust humans so openly right away, it says something for both parties. I’ve had a few incidences myself and I know.

Overall, if you’re a Betty fan, you won’t be disappointed reading this book!

[Book Review] I Loved Lucy

Written on 9/1/2012. Review of: I Loved Lucy by author Lee Tannen.

In my second library fix of the week, I found this gem. Wow. Wow. Wow. What a book. What an amazing book – I’m so very glad that I found it and picked it up to read!

I Loved Lucy is written from the author’s perspective of spending time with Lucy in her older years. Lee Tannen gives us insight from private moments of theirs, what Lucy was like [really], a deep description of her houses and the moments leading up to her death.

As someone who grew up with Lucy many years later after the show had already been on the air for almost 40 years, I loved this book. I read Love Lucy back in high school, and remember most of it, but reading what someone close to her wrote about being with her puts another spin on things.

Lee starts off with a bunch of ‘can you imagine….. with Lucille Ball’? Oh, no I couldn’t – but now I can – and I wish I had. 

The story of Lee and Lucy just is just another example of how fate and luck is delivered in life by the universe and a reminder as to how the little things make up the bigger part of life and you should never take anything for granted. Lee met her as a child, grew up, she came into his life again — and then permanently for the latter of her life.

I learned a lot about Lucy, in fact, things I didn’t really know.

Lucy played a hell of a lot of Backgammon. I don’t think I could ever play that much on a game. Oh wait, I have played Bejeweled and some word games about that much… I like to play psychiatrist every now and then and analyze people’s actions…perhaps always playing Backgammon made her focus entirely on the game and not what bothered her, like missing some of the most important people in her life and growing older.

It’s odd to find out that she thought no one really loved her as she grew older… when in fact, everyone still loves her. It’s just crazypants. Not to mention, she didn’t really watch any of her episodes and she had rooms full of every single one. At this point, I had to wonder if it would have been damaging to her if she watched considering she had to be in control all the time (perfectionism).

Speaking of that, there are several characteristics in Lucy that I found in myself…and some of these characteristics are just aggravations that aggravate the piss out of people (lightly said).

I found it really, really sad when Lucy pushed Lee out of her life just because they had a heavy quarrel but I’m glad they made up a while later, because otherwise, there wouldn’t have been such a great story.

As one loved by many, she sure liked to dodge the crowd when she’s not feeling it and stay home — but I could understand why. We also find out that: she still loved Desi more than anything, missed Vivian a lot, Lucy didn’t like growing older with her last failed show, loves her fans + stops to gives autographs/take photos as much as she could and Gary probably wasn’t the best suited businessman for her — and more.

About three chapters to the end, I was having a difficult time reading — moments that led to her first ailment, then saying ‘goodbye’ without ‘saying goodbye’ to Lee in one of his last visits (that was…wow) and then the moment when she died.

She passed away before I was even 2 years old and I love her show still to today so much. One of the best shows out there, ever. I hope that wherever she’s at, in Heaven, she’s smiling down at all of her fans and seeing that we really did love her and we still love her – and adore her – and watch her episodes over and over again.

Lee Tannen did a wonderful job compiling all of his stories with Lucy for the world to see. I’m really glad that I came across this book, that was ever so wonderfully written nonetheless. I read this in almost a full day, once I started reading I couldn’t really put it down. Just another reminder as to why she’s one of my heroes. I sure wish I could have met her.

PS – I downloaded Backgammon on my iPhone. Yes Lucy, I’m game. 

Under the Apple Tree (Poem)

03/07/2012 © Karen Maeby

I am saddened to hear about Andy Griffith passing away. I loved his show, so much, and it was the only show that my best/ religious grandma would ever tolerate watching when she was alive. Hence, the reason why this kind of triggered my sense to write this poem that’s been trying to bust out of me forever.. I guess it really wasn’t time yet? Maybe I have written it before. I don’t remember. All I know is that I have struggled long enough to write this…But here goes:

Under the Apple Tree – for dVerse Poets –
by Karen Maeby 3/7/12

A special book lies before her.

It’s a story book – opened – directly to the future.

Years from then – and only – she didn’t know.

She leans up against the trunk of her claimed apple tree.
Not one worry about the ants or little critters around her –
she continues to take tiny bites of her apple
until she’s done and she grabs her Barbie dolls and
continues to play. She fixes to swing on the tiny wooden plank
tied with rope in her apple tree.

A young life is sitting under the apple tree,
swinging-
thinking-

small town
same scents
each and every summer

makes a difference as she’s small.
A small town seemed so big

until she’s grown
and the memories fade
to be nothing more than written on paper.
It’s such a rush to take notes
on the dreams she has to fulfill those memories –
trying to make it last. Trying to share her story.

Years later:

Her fill of the tree is over:
even if she didn’t want it to be – but there’s
so many cores in the ground from so many picked apples.

She’s so close to the Heavens and so close to God.

Lying under the apple tree one last time
in the dirt and muck, nothing but a piece of clothing
coming between her and the ground. She feels closer to them –
the ones that are gone. The ones who are buried there.

The ones she never knew – but the ones she’s much closer to.
She holds the hand of those that died.
She holds the hand of every single one of the ones that have died. 
It’s a special gift that only she has and very few has heard.
– something she can mention but no one will understand
and they will call her crazy.

“They’re cutting down my apple tree?” Was the last thing she said,
in a questionable manner.

She’s trying her best to put her story together
and it’s so very hard to do. Feelings from every where.
But as every good thing – it must come to an end.
But she keeps holding on, as at one point,
the alive must meet the dead.. in the center… and settle in.

The School Daze: My Love Life (Non-Fiction)

Written in 2011, never published anywhere. © Karen Maeby.

Wait for it. Yep. Crickets. That was basically my love life throughout my school days and half of my college years. I had a few takers but at some point (and quickly), they lost interest. You’ll hear more about that later.

I had so many things stacked against me, like for the fact that I wasn’t pretty and I wasn’t skinny. Oh, and I didn’t have boobs, either. Yep, stack all of those against me at the time and it would have been taller than I.

As a poet and writer, not having love but always yearning for it was such a struggle and kind of damaged me, so to speak. There were many nights where I wrote some of the most depressing poems out there for love. I was always reaching out to someone who wasn’t there, or who was there, but wasn’t. Feel me? 

I remember when our choir director was having issues with us not putting passion into singing a love song. (I want to say the song was Love is Like a Red Rose.) She said, “Pretend you are singing this to the person you love.” Boom. ‘Dear future boyfriend or husband, I am singing this song to you. Please be at our concert. Love, me.’ Just kidding about the last part, but still, dude (er, ma’am), I had no one to love (or sing to)! 

After reading tons of books and watching so many movies and shows with love as the main key factor, I ended up just milking a bleeding soul. I had to imagine, without knowing, how love felt. And, you know what? People always told me I was ‘beyond my years’ because damn straight I was! Not to mention, I was right about love this whole time. 

What was love to me at that point? A best friend, someone who cares for you, does things with you, had fun with on trips, had a deep connection with on every level and so on. Just to let you know in on a secret (again), I had it right, then. 

I was more than ready to find “the one”. I never really wanted those high school relationships where you were with someone one minute and then the next you weren’t. 

I thought and dreamed in proper terms, like the most amazingly irresistible passion that makes your clothes want to instantly come undone (as seen in Gone With the Wind)! Or, some of the other classic love stories that makes you keep your pants on but yearning for those days. Oh, Mr Darcy. Swoon.

I was plenty lonely and it was awful. If only you people could have seen what I saw out of my two eyes — and what I felt within my heart. It was bad. 

Like most lonely teens (and I don’t say that in a snarky way, either because I can relate in so many ways), when I would see couples in love it would affect me. It sent me into several patches of depression, wondering what in the hell was wrong with me that I couldn’t get anyone. 

On my senior year prom date, guess what I was doing? I was at home working on Momma’s retirement video which needed to be done that weekend. I didn’t have a date to prom and no one even came near me to ask me, so I was completely fine with it. I later got the video of prom from graphic arts, and eh, I’m perfectly fine with the decision I had made. The decision of which made all of the difference in the world. 

Masquerade Fantasy – A short story (Fiction)

Masquerade Fantasy – A short story by Karen Maeby © April 15, 2017

(Copyright notice: This document shall not be replicated or posted elsewhere unless the author provides written permission. As of right now, the only place this short story is on the author’s private blog at KarenMaeby.com – Thank you for understanding.) 

He sat almost lifeless at his computer, obsessively staring at the screen, as he tapped his pen against the desk. Everything stopped for a minute—the noise of ambulances rushing down the road, the neighbor’s kids screaming as they play, background music on the TV—and all he could hear was his own heartbeat ringing through his ears. As he came to, he wiped the sweat that was pouring off his forehead.

“I have to do this.” He says out loud, as he replies to an ad for a call girl. After responding he hurried up and closed out of the computer when he heard his girlfriend coming in the door.

“Hi honey, what’s going on?” She asks.

“I need to go out for a bit.” He gives her a light kiss then quickly rushes to his car and out of the driveway.

One knock on the door, and this beautiful woman dressed in a Masquerade mask and a black silk nightgown, opens it. “Hi, Sugar. Come on in.” She moves aside as he walks in, taking note of everything in the hotel room.

He doesn’t even take a minute to get settled in. “The beautiful mask. You hide behind it–your true identity. Tell me…. how does it feel to hide your true identity? What is your name?” He asks her, as he brushes her face.

She replies almost uneasy, “My name is Marilyn. You contacted the Masquerade hotline, so the mask is part of the game, Sugar. Now…do you want to start, or should I?” She reaches for him, and he grabs her arm to stop.

“I only want to talk.” He says, “I need to talk to someone and I felt that someone like yourself—with secrets of her own—would be a good contender to lend an ear. Would I be correct about this?”

“…Yes? In a way?”

“Oh don’t worry, beautiful. You’ll still get paid your wage.” He paces the floor. “I suspect my wife is cheating on me, and I want to put a stop to it, but I think murder is the only option. I have thought about this every night since I started suspecting her. Here’s what I will do: I will cook her dinner—her favorite meal—put some sleeping pills in her red wine, and seduce her all the way to bed. Then, after we’ve done the deed for the last time while she’s alive, I will smother her to death. I will wrap her body in a bag—attach some weight to it so there’s not a chance her body will float up—and throw her in the river that’s about 25 miles north of where we live, that way, it’s not suspecting on my part. I would have no reason to go to private property farmland, because that’s where the river is located.” He continues, as he is rubbing his hands together like he’s concocting a plan. “I will wait a day and call 911 to file a missing persons report, then I will call everyone that we know and ask if they’ve seen her.”

Horrified and shaking, Marilyn says as she’s backing away from him, “Are—are—you sure you want to commit murder?”

“Oh Marilyn,” he reaches for her and strokes her arm, “I’m not going to harm you, my dear, there’s no need to be terrified.”

“Why do you think murdering your wife the only option, instead of just talking to her? Couldn’t you go to counseling?”

“Because Brandy had it coming.”

“Had?”

“Has. I mean, has… if I catch her in the act, she’ll be punished.”

“Okay, so say you caught her in the act—wouldn’t you think, that if someone you knew saw you with me here—and let her know—she wouldn’t think you’re doing the same thing?”

“It’s logical, but doubtful. We’re too far from my neighborhood for anyone to recognize me.”

“Chuck, I’ve never been in this position before. I’ve never had someone to confess something this outrageous to me, so you’ve got to understand where I’m coming from, please forgive me… but are you absolutely sure you want to kill your wife? There really are other options to avoid jail time for the rest of your life. Maybe a divorce will suit?”

“If I go to jail over this, the kill will be well worth it.”

“You’ve puzzled me, Chuck. I wish I could help you resolve this so you wouldn’t go to such lengthy matters and end up in so much trouble. What if she’s really not cheating?”

“You could help me find out. I’ll even protect your identity when the time comes, that is, if we have to commit murder.”

“NO! No, I will not help you murder anyone, Chuck. I will talk to you all day here if need be to help change your mind, but I cannot ever do something like that. How could you even think about this yourself? How do you sleep at night with this on your mind?”

“I have slept just fine.” He says, in a matter of fact way.

A buzz of a phone disturbs the awkward silence of the conversation. It was Chuck’s phone. “Oh it’s my girlfriend Diane. She wants to know when I’ll be home and what to fix for dinner.”

“But I thought your–” A knock at the door dismissed Marilyn’s sentence, as she got up to open it, five police were standing outside the door.

One rushes in with a gun drawn, “CHUCK POLASKI, YOU ARE UNDER ARREST FOR THE MURDER OF BRANDY ELAINE POLASKI.”

As the police were reading Chuck’s rights to him, he kept glaring at Marilyn. They escorted him to the police vehicle, and Marilyn shortly followed.

Back at the police station, several people were in the interview room, among them: Diane, Chuck, Marilyn, two detectives and a police officer.

One of the detectives said, “After twenty years, we finally have you. Twenty years. It took two decades to find you, but we did it.”

Chuck spits out. “Who the hell are you, Marilyn? Were you in on this? I should have known you were asking too many questions!”

Diane starts to cry, “Your questions are irrelevant, Chuck. I suspected you were cheating on me, so I hired a private investigator and they’ve been following you around for a while now. You’ve been having some odd behavior that resembled that to a murderers. Sadly, I was right.”

Chuck says, “No, Diane, I suspected you! I thought you were cheating on me.”

“So that’s why you went to meet with someone from the Masquerade hotline? Really?”

“Obviously I contacted the wrong Masquerade hotline.” He snorts.

“Oh no, it was the right one but unfortunately, for you, your date was with an undercover cop.” Marilyn says, as she flashes her badge in his face.

One of the more threatening looking detectives leans in. “Now, Polaski, let’s get down to the nitty gritty business of why we’re really here. Our private investigators have followed you to and from the location of where you threw Brandy’s body in the water. You drive there at least three times a week and you’re walking a very thin line of trespassing on private property. And, according to your confession today of a pre-confessed murder, you already knew it was private property.

And, let’s think about this next one for a minute—you’re not married, you’re with a Diane who holds girlfriend status, so who in the world is Brandy?

Brandy was your wife that you murdered in cold blood twenty years ago. Am I right, Polaski? You just couldn’t take it anymore. You had to tell someone, but yet, you picked your destiny. You could have gone anywhere else but you fell right into a trap of your own doing. But we are so thankful you did, so thank you, Polaski, for setting your own trap.

Needless to say, if we can’t keep the confession as evidence for the court, we can submit your fingerprints. For twenty years, Polaski, we’ve been missing your fingerprint in our database for the proof of closing this case and arresting your ass. It would be in your best interest to plead guilty. So, what will it be, Polaski?”

The Tequila Lady (Non-Fiction)

Written for my book, In Love With a Sailor + The Captain in Me, 2013-2014 © Karen Maeby

Since I reference the adult beverage more than once in my book, I felt that I needed to share a really funny story from my retail days about the Tequila lady.

It was midday on New Years Eve in 2005. Several customers had already come in after last minute New Years outfits, paid for their items and left. It was quiet for a few minutes until this lady presented herself outside the fitting room. 

She was blonde, aged somewhere between 20s and 30s. Her eyes burned holes in my body as she walked near me. She asked, “Does this look good on me?” 

Oh dear… That was the most dreaded question you had to answer while working in retail. Now, if it was a “yes”— it wouldn’t have been so bad. But, if it was a “no, no, no”—it was a “please don’t make me answer that question.” 

She had a black dressy top and a denim skirt on that didn’t even compliment her body at all. Taking that chance I might offend her, I told her the truth that it didn’t look good. 

“AND WHY NOT?” She demanded, as her jaw dropped to the floor.  

“I think you… just need a different shirt,” I told her, as I silently prayed she would go away. 

I felt like I was on a hidden camera show. As she continued to oddly stare at me for about what seemed like ten minutes, I sighed a huge sigh of relief when she finally walked away. As soon as I turned around to walk back to the cash register, the other employees were near me, looking and grinning from what they had seen. 

As she walked out of the fitting room, she asked, “Does this look better?” 

I turned around to get support from my coworkers and every single one of them split! I slowly turned back around to her and said, “Yes… it looks…better.” Honestly, it did look better than the other shirt. 

After she had another battle of the shocked deer-in-the-headlights look, she walked back to the fitting room to gather up her original clothes and walked up front to check out at the register. 

This time? I stared at her. 

“Ma’am.. you’re going to have to put your original clothes back on.” 

“What do you mean, you can’t check me out when I’m wearing these clothes?” 

“No…” 

“You mean to tell me you can’t get these tags off with me wearing them?” She asked, as she proceeded to put her leg up on the counter, displaying the tags. 

“Uhmm…no.” 

As she walked off, I held back what would have been the loudest laugh in the world. 

Minutes later, she arrived back at the register with her original clothes, and handed me the ones she was buying. 

The lady and I talked while I rung her up. She told me that she wanted the new clothes for when she went out that night for New Years. She paid for her clothes, then looked around as if she misplaced something. 

Oh, and she did. 

Just as serious as could be, she asked me, “Where are my clothes?” 

I looked at her and she looked down. “OH! I’ve got them on!” Then she quickly walked off towards our bathroom to change into her new clothes. 

When she officially left the store, I finally had the chance to laugh. Tears were POURING out of my eyes I was laughing so hard! Oh my, amazing. That was such an amazing moment. My manager who had seen and heard the entire conversation was laughing just as hard as I.

For days, I told and retold this story to the coworkers who had missed it. 

It definitely brought a whole new meaning to the lyrics of the song “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off.” I still haven’t forgotten the story and every time I hear it (even years later), I grin as I remember the Tequila lady. 

2019 UPDATE: I don’t hear this song very often, but when I do, I still think of this story. Last year when I went back home, I visited with someone who used to work with me there, and I brought up the Tequila Woman and we laughed like it happened yesterday. It was too bad she didn’t see that. In 2016 or 2017, I wrote a short play about this, but it turned out terrible….so I am in the process of converting it into a musical.

The Storm is Passing Over (Non-Fiction)

Written for my book, In Love With a Sailor + The Captain in Me, 2013-2014 © Karen Maeby

Back in April of 2014, I had a dream that our choir family from high school got together for a reunion of some sorts. I woke up crying because I knew there was a huge chance it wouldn’t ever happen. 

Well, to my surprise, it actually sort of did. In May of 2014, my high school choir director, Ellen, retired from the school that she went on to teach at a few years after I graduated. Since it was a last minute decision, I couldn’t attend this wonderful “last concert” reunion sort of thing that her family was planning for her. When I saw photos and comments pertaining to the reunion, it seemed like it was a great time. 

I was reminded of the great times I had in choir. The KMEA assessments, music festivals, trips to Philly & Atlanta, preparing for concerts and concert nights. I remember how powerful I felt when I had my black choir dress on with pearls. I still have all of the programs from each concert and any of the newspaper clippings that we were in. 

Out of all of the concerts I attended, my senior year spring concert in 2004, had to of been the best. Prepping for that night was completely epic. One phone call turned into way too many and my mom’s sneakiness was figured out. She was trying to hide the fact that some of my family from Indiana was down for the concert. 

The very last song that my group of seniors sang with the rest of the choir was “The Storm is Passing Over.” The weather was quite maddening and I will never forget the moment when I saw lightning out of the corner of my eye. As much as it was storming outside, it was definitely doing the same inside.

After the song was over, the choir members from my graduating class gathered around Ellen and Larry and sang several songs for them. It was such an emotional night. Both of them had such a positive impact on every single student that was a member of the choir. I know that I’m right when I say that for the majority of us, choir was one of the single happy moments of our high school lives. 

For six years from 1998-2004: I was a teacher’s aide for a choir director, a part of the choir, helped out at every concert that I could, taught myself how to play piano, learned the history of music and composers, studied music theory, learned how to judge choirs at contests, choir stage presence and so much more. 

After six years of nothing but music on my mind, I went on to study it my first year of college but then I stopped due to life taking me down another route. Unfortunately, I haven’t returned to music yet, but I’m almost always surrounded by song every day. 

Music and lyrics alone are the gateway to someone’s soul, recollection and relatedness to and in life. It’s the one language that everyone speaks. 

2019 UPDATE: Music has always been with me, especially as a poet/writer, but it wasn’t until Feb 2019 that after 15 years of being without music in my life–I’m back in.