SUCCESS PHILOSOPHIES WITH DR. CHUBACK: EPISODE 26

In our quest to assist writers in becoming the best they can be and remain motivated, we would like to introduce you to John Chuback, M.D. A cardiovascular surgeon, Dr. Chuback found his goals waylaid by his lack of motivation.

In a series of interviews with Paul W. Reeves, host on Impact Radio USA, Dr. Chuback continues his discussion of the tools leading to success with his book “Make Your Own Damn Cheese: Understanding, Navigating, and Mastering the 3 Mazes of Success.”

Please click on the link below to hear Episode #26 of SUCCESS PHILOSOPHIES WITH DR. CHUBACK, the first episode in the second series, and start enhancing your journey toward success today.

DR. JOHN CHUBACK, a cardiovascular surgeon from New Jersey, is the author of, “Make Your Own Damn Cheese: Understanding, Navigating, and Mastering the 3 Mazes of Success,” “The Straight A Handbook – The 50 Most Powerful Secrets For Ultimate Success In And Out Of The Classroom” and other books.

DR. CHUBACK joins HOST PAUL W. REEVES weekly to discuss his books, “The Straight A Handbook – The 50 Most Powerful Secrets For Ultimate Success In And Out Of The Classroom” and “Make Your Own Damn Cheese“, each of which explores the human mind and becoming all that you can be.

Throughout this portion of the series, Dr. Chuback will discuss “Make Your Own Damn Cheese“, and the research behind his success philosophies.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Audiobooks on Audible

The Straight a Handbook: The 50 Most Powerful Secrets for Ultimate Success in and Out of the Classroom Audible Logo Audible Audiobook – Unabridged

Written by John Chuback, M. D.
Narrated by Paul W. Reeves, Ed. D.

Click for Audible version on Amazon

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Previous Episodes of “Success Philosophies With Dr. Chuback”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dr. John Chuback

Picture

Dr. John Chuback was born and raised in Bergen County and graduated from the Dwight Englewood School. He earned his medical degree from New Jersey Medical School at UMDNJ, in Newark. Dr. Chuback then completed a five-year General Surgical Residency at Monmouth Medical Center (MMC). Dr. Chuback is the author of Make Your Own Damn CheeseKaboing, and The Straight A Handbook.

All books are available on Amazon. com. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Impact Radio USA

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is impact-radio-usa-modern-large.jpg

Welcome to ​IMPACT RADIO USA, where we strive to provide the best in news, talk, sports, and music 24 hours a day, 52 weeks per year. Our goal is to keep you as the most informed and entertained Internet Radio audience.

As we are continuing to add content on a daily basis, please feel free to click on the “LISTEN NOW” button at the top of the page to hear us 24 hours a day. While you are here, please check out all of our links to our shows, our podcast page, our blog, and learn how YOU can host your own show with us.  Thank you for listening to IMPACT RADIO USA!!!

Impact Radio USA ListenNow

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Paul W. Reeves 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 11700698_10204467697476836_1401739541151934347_o.jpg

Paul W. Reeves, Ed. D. is an author, radio talk show host, educator, composer/arranger, and professional musician.

Listen to “Dr. Paul’s Family Talk” on Impact Radio USA and visit Paul’s websitehttps://paulwreeves.com for more information on his books and CDs.

https://www.impactradiousa.com/

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is book-cover.jpg

Paula Shablo: Leaving the Light

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms.  Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support! 

Images are free-use images and do not require attribution. Image by Ludovic Charlet from Pixabay.

Leaving the Light

Paula Shablo

Bonnie sat on the bottom step of the spiral staircase and craned her neck to stare up, up, up to the unlit beacon.

Belle was asleep. Bonnie never felt more alone than at naptime. Belle kept up a litany of nonsensical chatter all day; it was too quiet when she was asleep.

“We’re leaving,” Bonnie whispered. She’d taken to talking to herself in the past year or so.

Well… she was talking to Joseph, really.

He’d sailed off just before Belle was born and never returned. A freak lightning storm had taken the ship and all aboard it; it seemed unbelievable to her that such a thing could still happen in modern times, but nature was a force no one could tame.

What was happening in the here and now, though—it wasn’t nature, exactly. It happened in the same way as a sudden lightning strike, or so it seemed to Bonnie. But it had to have been people who did it.

The town, seven miles away, was nearly empty. The people who remained were not alive. They lay where they’d fallen, unattended.

Bonnie had been shocked on the day she drove into town from the lighthouse to get supplies. She was afraid of plague, but none of the dead looked like they’d been sick. If anything, they looked like they’d recently just fallen asleep—albeit on the floor, against the cash register, behind the wheels of cars in the parking lot, and one old man bent over into a shopping cart.

What could have caused such a thing?

Where did everyone else go, and how did they escape the fates of the dead?

Bonnie leaned against the wall, still looking up the staircase.

She remembered the day she’d gone into labor.

Joseph had been gone for several days, and she’d only learned the fate of his ship the morning before. She was alone in the lighthouse, sitting near the beacon, watching the light sweep its warning arc across the rocky shoreline. Once in a while, she would sound the bellowing horn. “Weeeeeehonk! Weeeeeehonk!” As it groaned out its alarm, Bonnie screamed.

And the pains of labor began, causing her to voice a different scream, one that contained physical pain as well as the anguished pain of her loss.

It occurred to her now that she’d been feeling the pains all along, but in her grief, she’d been oblivious until the tide turned, and urgency reared its head.

Her water broke.

Alone, high in the lighthouse tower, Bonnie brought forth her child. Alone. She wrapped the infant in her shirt and slowly made her way down the spiral staircase. Then she re-wrapped her, fed her, dressed herself, and called an ambulance to take them both to the nearest hospital to make sure they were okay.

“We’re leaving this place,” she whispered again.

How could she leave the birthplace of her only child?

Their food was almost gone. There was no power, except for the generator. Fuel was going to be a problem.

Besides that, there were no more ships. It had been weeks since she’d seen anything in the harbor.

Everything was packed into the truck and onto the flatbed trailer attached.

Almost everything. She’d load the last of it right before they left.

Yes. They were leaving this place.

What good is a lighthouse when you light the way for nothing and no one?

If they stayed for the winter, they’d freeze. Or starve. They had to go.

Bonnie sighed. Belle would be awake soon, and she’d cook their last meal. They would climb the tower for the last time, and she would fasten the safety gate. She had spread out a big sleeping bag so they could watch a Disney movie on the little portable DVD player while waiting for the sun to go down.

And for the final time, she would light the beacon. They would watch the sweeping arcs of light reveal the shoreline far below them. Belle would sing words only she could understand in her perfect pitch, and Bonnie would sigh, thinking for the thousandth time that it was a damn shame no one else could hear her.

It seemed fitting to sleep beneath the light of the beacon on their final night.

In the morning, they’d be leaving the lighthouse behind forever.

Please visit Paula on her website: https://paulashablo.com/

Writing Tips, Tools, and Tidbits!: LIGHTNING versus LIGHTENING

Writers Unite!’s mission is to offer a haven for writers to share their work and hone their craft. As the writing process is our focus, author, and WU! admin, Lynn Miclea has created a series of “tips, tools, and tidbits” about writing for our members or anyone interested in writing to help improve their writing. Check the menu bar for any tips you may have missed or click on this link.

Writing Tips, Tools, and Tidbits!

Images are free use and require no attribution. Image from Pixabay.

LIGHTNING versus LIGHTENING

People often mix up the words lightning and lightening. They may sound similar, but these words mean different things and are also different parts of speech. Hopefully, this will help to use them correctly.

***

Lightning is most often a noun and is the electrical discharge that happens during storms. It is the flash of light in a storm that is followed by thunder. Lightning can also be an adjective meaning fast, such as lightning speed. Lightning has two syllables. If you want a noun meaning a flash of light, use lightning.

Examples:

  • When there’s lightning, I know thunder will soon follow.
  • She often got scared when there was lightning and thunder.
  • The lightning flashed and lit up the room.
  • He didn’t mind the lightning, but he hated the thunder.
  • Lightning always precedes thunder.
  • She finished the task with lightning speed.
  • He was as quick as lightning.

***

Lightening is the present participle of the verb lighten. It means to make something lighter in color or weight or in being less serious. It can also mean brightening, and it is the opposite of darkening. Lightening has three syllables. If you want a verb meaning to make lighter, use lightening.

Examples:

  • He was always lightening the mood with his jokes.
  • The white paint will be lightening up the room.
  • He is lightening the load by giving some work to others.
  • She wants to be a blonde and is lightening her hair again.
  • He will be lightening his jeans by adding bleach to the water.
  • She added white to the paint, lightening the color.
  • He watched the lightening of the sky as the sun came up.

***

Basically, if you want a noun meaning an electrical discharge or flash of light during a storm, use lightning.

If you want a verb meaning to make lighter, use lightening.

Hint: Lightning, without the “e,” has fewer letters and only two syllables, and is shorter and faster, like a flash of light.

Lightening contains the word “lighten” in it and means to make lighter.

He tried lightening the atmosphere by joking about the lightning and thunder.

***

Please look at the chart for an easy summary and helpful reminder.

***

I hope you find this helpful. These tips and much more are also on my website and blog, and also in my Grammar Tips book.
Thank you!

Website – https://www.lynnmiclea.com/
Blog – https://lynnpuff.wordpress.com/
Grammar Tips Book – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09N2BQMCG/

Kenneth Lawson: The Potter Case

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms.  Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support! 

Images are free-use images and do not require attribution. Image by Ludovic Charlet from Pixabay.

The Potter Case

A James St. James Noir Mystery

Kenneth Lawson 

I turned off on a side street, cut across town, and barely got there before they did. Pulling into the drive and getting out, I popped the trunk and pulled out the pump shotgun and lever-action rifle. By the time they arrived, I had the long guns on the hood next to me and my forty-five in my hand.

The Caddy pulled in first, followed at an angle by the sedan. This time he didn’t wait for the door to be opened. He wore a black fedora pulled down low over his face. Approaching me, he looked puzzled.

“Victor Simpson,” I greeted him.

 Victor stopped where he stood. “You have me at a disadvantage, Mr…?”

“St. James, James St. James, and if you’re looking for Lew Potter, he’s unavailable. He did, however, tell me about your proposal this afternoon. Upon further discussion, we’ve decided that I would be handling things from now on.”

I pulled a folded paper from inside my jacket. “This is a bill of sale. He sold me the entire business, lock, stock, and barrel. I now own Lew’s Auto Sales and Salvage and all its holdings. So, any ideas you have about dealing with Mr. Potter are null and void. You have to deal with me now.” 

My gun never moved an inch from his chest. Victor stood still. I could see the wheels in his mind turning. He hadn’t expected to be met by someone else, much less someone armed to the teeth.

“About that deal, it was just an idea I thought he could help me with, is all. I can get someone else to do it.”

“You do that, Victor.” Victor turned on his heels and headed back to the Cadillac. His goons backed up slowly and got back in the cars. The sedan backed out, and the Caddy backed out. I didn’t move a muscle. Once they were out of sight, I breathed again. I’d bluffed them once and bought myself some time, but I knew his type. I’d just slapped him with a white glove and challenged him. I called his bluff. He had to back it up.

Earlier that morning, Lew called, asking me to come to the salvage yard to discuss photos he’d received by mail the day before. The photos, taken through his living room window, showed him with a young girl that wasn’t his wife. He told me the gal showed up asking to use the phone because she was stranded. When he took her to the phone, she had thrown her arms around him and kissed him to thank him. There is no doubt that Victor fabricated the scene to put Lew in a compromising position. 

Lew told me that Victor visited Lew’s shop in the afternoon and asked him to fake new titles for cars with changed VINs and make them legal again so that they could move the stolen vehicles. Cash was offered and refused, and Lew told him he’d already shown his wife the pictures, so good luck trying to blackmail him. Angry, Victor left, saying he’d be back. 

When I arrived and got the lowdown, I told Lew to close up shop and leave town with his wife but had him sell me the business for a dollar before they left. Once I got them out of harm’s way, I made some calls from a payphone to learn more about Victor. Then I called Brenda at the bar. 

“Hi, Hun, Walt there yet?”

“Sure.” I heard her hand the phone to Walt.

“Listen, the case from this morning just got ugly. I need you to watch the guy’s lot and make sure it doesn’t burn down overnight. I’m going to check out this Victor Simpson and rattle his cage some more and see what else he’s up to.”

“Okay, I’m on it.” He handed the phone back to Brenda.

“I should be back in time to help close up. Be Careful. This guy knows who I am.”

Brenda told me she had the shotgun under the bar and not to worry. 

I went back to Lew’s shop and waited for Walt. Ten minutes later, Walt’s black Mercury sedan slid into view. I fired up the Packard, took off in the other direction, and headed to Lew’s house. 

I swung by the home address Lew had given me. The drapes were closed, but the hairs on the back of my neck were at attention. Something was wrong. I’d had the same feeling back in the war and had learned to pay attention to it. I checked the address he’d given me. I was in the right place. I headed up the driveway and noticed his car was still in the garage—he hadn’t left. I headed to the back door and found it wide open. My blood ran cold. Nudging the door with my pistol barrel, I peeked in. 

Lew and his wife were still there. Dead. Blood splattered over the wall, where Lew had slipped down the wall after a shotgun blast, fired at close range, had torn through him, cutting his insides up into ribbons. His wife was lying next to a suitcase, its tweed fabric already soaked with her blood. 

“Shit!” was all I uttered. Lew hired me to protect them, and I failed. Careful not to touch anything, I left the place as I’d found it and headed for the diner I had passed on the way and used the payphone there to call my friend Bob, an LA detective.

I reported finding Lew and his wife dead and gave him the address. He said he’d be right over, but before he hung up, Bob gave me what information he had on Victor that I had called him about earlier. 

Bob said Victor Simpson was a wanna-be tough guy who wasn’t as tough as he thought. He only kept any muscle working for him because he paid well, but it was a mystery where he got the money. He was known to deal in stolen cars, but no charges had stuck to him. 

Bob gave me a couple of addresses where they thought Victor hung out, and before I hung up, I told him about Victor’s visit to Lew the day before and my run-in with him. 

The first address took me to the seedier side of town. It was a garage and looked like Lew’s place, except run down with overgrown weeds. The main yard gate was padlocked with a heavy chain, and for a minute, I considered getting the bolt cutters from the trunk and going in anyway, but the office door looked easier to open. I popped the excuse of a lock on the door and slipped in. 

The top of a small desk, pushed against one wall, was covered in papers. I rifled through those and checked the filing cabinet but found nothing of interest. I entered the back office—probably Victor’s. The desk was a mess of papers, but I lucked out searching through the drawers. Buried in a bottom drawer of the desk, I found a listing of cars—makes, models, and old VINs with the new VINs beside them. I figured it was a list of the vehicles for Lew to create titles. There were too many numbers to copy, and I didn’t dare take the list. I jotted down the first five numbers in my notebook and stashed the list where I found it. 

I needed to find the cars attached to the VINs and catch Victor with them, but I had no idea where he had stashed the cars. 

The sun was beginning to work its way towards the horizon. I eased the Packard out of the driveway, heading towards the other address Bob had given me. There had to be at least fifty cars on that list, requiring considerable space to store them. A warehouse would be ideal, but the address was an abandoned salvage yard and not a warehouse. 

I got out to look around, finding most of the windows broken in and the locks rusted and covered in grime. I wasn’t climbing over broken glass, so I drove around to the side to see if there was another door. The doors were chained shut, and the weeds were so tall, I couldn’t get to the door without a machete. I was no closer to Victor or his stolen cars, and the sun had disappeared, and street lights replaced the sunlight. It was getting late. I needed to get back to the bar. 

Twenty minutes later, I pulled into the alley behind the bar, unlocked the backdoor, and stepped inside the storeroom. My office was on one side, and Brenda’s on the other, with another small storeroom and freezer behind the kitchen.

Brenda was behind the bar serving beer to a regular when I joined her. “Yo, St. James, you finally made it,” was the greeting I got from a regular customer. I nodded yes and started helping Brenda behind the bar. After we closed, I told her about finding Lew and his wife dead. 

~~~

Early the next morning, I drove to Lew’s Salvage Yard to relive Walt. He said it had been quiet, and no one had been around. While he headed home to sleep, I knew I couldn’t keep a twenty-four-hour watch on the place and still deal with Victor. I still wasn’t sure what he’d do, but it would be violent. I fished out the card he’d left for Lew from my pocket. There was a phone number. 

I headed back to the bar and called the number. “Victor?”

“Yeah. Who’s this? How’d you get this number.?”

“It’s St. James. We met yesterday at Lew’s.”

“Yeah, I remember. What do you want?”

“Lew told me about the cash, but he didn’t say how much there was.”

“Twenty grand. You want it?”

“Maybe. Lew might not have been interested in your deal, but I could be.” I let my words trail off. I didn’t let on that I knew Lew was dead. 

“Yesterday, you told me to get lost.”

Yeah, I know, but I just found out I need some serious cash right away. I know some people who can move your cars.”

 “What about Lew?”

“What about Lew? I own the business now.”

“So, it’s like that?”

“Yeah, it’s like that. Hate to do it to Lew, but I need the cash fast.”

“All right, the deals are the same. You get me new titles and make my cars clean again, and the twenty grand is yours.

“Fifty.”

“Fifty?” Victor’s voice raised an octave. 

“Yeah, at least that much. If I do this, I need enough to disappear for good, and frankly, Lew needs some for his trouble. I want to see the cars before I start creating the paperwork.”

“You’ll see ’em when I deliver them for the new paperwork.”

“Not good enough. I want to know what I’m risking my neck for and screwing Lew over.”

“Yeah, right.” He was quiet for a minute.

“All right, you can see them. You got a number?”

I gave him the number for the third line to the bar. We only used it for my undercover work.

“I’ll call you later today.”

After he hung up, I called Bob, filled him in on my findings at the first yard, and gave him the VINs I copied. Then I told him about my deal with Victor. He wasn’t happy about my arranging the meeting but agreed it was better than doing nothing. He told me they had found witnesses that put Victor and his cronies at Lew’s house. 

I spent the rest of the morning working around the bar and catching up on paperwork in my office. About noon, the third line rang.

I picked up the receiver. “Yeah?”

“St. James?” It was Victor. 

“Yeah, you got the cars?”

“Yeah, I have them at one of my lots. You can come see them for yourself.”

“Where and what time? And the fifty grand?”

“Hell no, I’m not giving you fifty grand upfront.”

“Twenty upfront, rest when I’m done.”

“Yeah. That’s fine. I’ll bring the twenty.”

“That’s assuming I take the job. If the cars are all junk, I’m not doing it, no matter how bad I need the money.”

“They’re all good.”

He told me where and when and hung up. I called Bob, giving him the information.

~~~

I arrived at the lot early. Not sure what I’d find, I didn’t get too close. I spotted an old church that overlooked the lot. I decided I wanted a vantage point to get the lay of the land. I pushed in a side door of the abandoned church and climbed up the winding staircase inside the bell tower. It was dusty and full of cobwebs, but I could see the car lot from the top of the tower quite well. I noticed tracks in the soggy ground from a big rig, probably a car carrier that transported the cars here. 

A movement at the far end of the street caught my attention. Recognizing Victor’s Cadillac, I hurried down the circular stairs to my car. I stood by the Packard with my hand near my revolver as the Cadillac pulled up.

Victor got out and slammed the door. The resounding thud echoed through the empty street. Victor was still wearing his hat low over his eyes, and the coat he wore looked expensive even from a distance. Up close, he oozed money, and I knew he liked everyone to know he had money. Two goons got out of a second car. 

“Well?”

“Wells are deep. Let’s see the cars. You got a list?”

He pulled the paper I’d seen yesterday from inside his pocket. I took it and read it over. Victor played with his hat while I took my time reading the list. Most of it was for show. I wanted him to stew as much as I could.

“Okay, looks good. Let’s see if the cars match the list.”

He led me to the main gate. One of his goons ran ahead and unlocked the padlock and chain, and swung the gate open as we approached it. I saw nearly 50 cars enclosed in a tall privacy fence.

I walked past the cars, looked at each VIN, and checked it against new ones on the list. Bob had confirmed the first five VINs I had given him were stolen vehicles. They were here.

“Let’s see the money.” 

Victor grunted, and the other goon appeared with the same briefcase from Lew’s place. The goon unceremoniously slammed the case onto the hood of a 1949 Mercedes-Benz 170S. The two-door convertible was in excellent shape and would get a good price on the black market.

“Careful!” Victor growled at his henchman, who muttered “sorry” as he opened the case. Inside was the stack of bills that Lew had described. “Twenty grand as we agreed.” 

I nodded and glanced at the open gate. Reaching under my jacket, I extracted my revolver. “I’ve got a new deal for you, Victor. I don’t shoot you, and you go to jail for grand theft and attempted blackmail and murder.” 

As Victor reached for his gun under his fancy coat, a voice yelled out, “Don’t even think about it. Pull the gun out slowly with two fingers and lay it on the money.”

“What the hell?” was all Victor could get out.

Bob and several uniformed officers emerged through the gate. Victor turned red as he realized I’d set him up. His goons, who had drawn their weapons, carefully laid their guns on the grounds—dissuaded by the officers’ shotguns. 

Bob twisted Victor’s arm behind his back and cuffed him. “I’m arresting you for the murder of Lew Potter and his wife. We have several witnesses placing you and them,” Bob pointed to the two goons, who were now in cuffs, “at the Potter house before their deaths.”

I spent the next day giving an official statement to Bob. A week later, Brenda and I attended the Potters’ funerals. That night I sat in the bar drinking a beer. Brenda sat down next to me and kissed me on the cheek. I returned the kiss.

“Damn.” 

“Look, Jim, you did the right thing and the best you could. You tried to help him, but…”

“Victor was one step ahead of me.”

“Jim, put it behind you. Victor’s going to jail, and tomorrow a new case will walk in, and you’ll do your best for them. “ 

Brenda kissed me again, and I slipped my arms around her. She was right. The next time that door opened, it could be a new case. I took a drink of my beer, and as I set the mug down, I heard the bell on the entrance door tinkle. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up. 

Wonder if that’s my next case. 

Please visit Kenneth on his website: http://kennethlawson.weebly.com/

Calliope Njo: After Graduation…

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms.  Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support! 

Images are free-use images and do not require attribution. Image by Ludovic Charlet from Pixabay.

After Graduation…

Calliope Njo

It was graduation day, and I was so psyched up about it. Done with school and done with everything that involved childhood. I could take a year off before ever looking at a textbook again.

Then my joy turned to disbelief. I only laughed because it was either that or screaming.

“Daughter,” Dad said. “I have been charged with giving you a lecture about the next phase of your life.”

Why did Dad always have to sound so formal?

“After this, we will no longer be responsible for you. Whatever consequences come from your actions, you will face them on your own. Of course, we will be here to see you graduate, but we expect you to leave by the end of summer after this. Goodbye.” He turned and left.

I couldn’t sleep that night. I turned on my left side. I turned on my right side, then ended up on my back, wondering what would happen if I came home with Prince Charming. It wasn’t even that time of the month. Before the sun popped up, I went downstairs and left the house. Maybe a walk would help.

It seemed a little too quiet since people were still sleeping. No dogs barking or cats hissing. Birds made themselves known, but that was about it.

I found my way to the cafe and applied for a job. The lady at the front counter saw me and nodded. She patted a space at the far end of the counter. “I put you over here so he can’t see you,” she whispered as she pointed to the cook. She came back with a plate of scrambled eggs and toast. A glass of OJ on top of that. “I know, hon. I know.”

I ate that, and it felt good. About to leave, she tugged on my finger. “Can you start tomorrow? It’s dishwashing. If you don’t have a problem getting dirty and wet, you got the job.”

“I’ll take it. Thank you.”

“Wait a week before you say that.” She laughed. “Eight in the morning.”

I nodded.

“Dress accordingly.”

“Got it.” I left in a better mood than when I came in. I was relishing in the sunlight so much I wasn’t paying attention and bumped into someone. “Oh. I’m sorry. You OK?”

“I’m… Gisa?” She said something in a language I didn’t recognize.

“Hey. Que Pasa?”

“Oh. I apologize.” She covered her mouth and shook her head. It was hard to see behind her dark sunglasses. The loose long dark hair shone like glass. I’d kill for hair like that—the dark suit not so much. I could never dress up. The walking stick with the glass bauble on top was something I had never seen before.

“You just look like someone I used to know.” She took off her sunglasses and came closer to me. “Something happened. Didn’t it? Talk to me, little elf. Come on. It’s Myaire.”

I had no idea what happened, but I went with my gut. My gut told me she wasn’t bad. Maybe a little weird, not that everyone was sane, but not bad.

“It’s nothing, and I’m not that little. Keep in mind not everyone is what, six, six-one.”

She smiled. “I can’t help if you don’t tell me. You used to be able to—just tell me.”

“I’m sure it’s nothing.”

She cupped my cheek. Not sure what that was supposed to do, but she did it. I watched her as she tilted her head.

I held up my hands. “OK. All right. Fine. Just don’t come back at me with a sledgehammer.”

She straightened up. “A what? Why?”

I told her what had happened. She growled before she walked into the cafe. She came back a moment later and took my hand.

“You always had such cold hands. OK, Gisa. I’m sorry, what’s your name?”

I started to get used to that name. “It’s Emmersette.”

“OK. Emmersette, I need you to do a few things for me. I will tell you what I can do, and I will trust it to stay with you only.”

“What does that mean?”

“Uh… right. That means not to say anything. Do not tell anyone what I am about to say or show you.”

Visions of mass murders and a room full of torture stuff came to mind.

She laughed. “You do have an imagination. Nothing like that. I promise.”

How did she know? “Oh. Kay.”

Her long legs carried her at a faster rate. I had to double-time it to catch up.

We ended up in that abandoned factory that the city was supposed to demolish. “A little bit of history before we go in. Before WWII, it was a milk factory. At the start of WWII, it turned into a gunpowder factory and went out of business when the war stopped. Due to the large homeless population that took over, the city turned reluctant to the idea of getting rid of it. They needed to rethink the original plans.”

She looked at me. “I had no idea. Every time I came, nobody was here. Who would’ve thought it turned into living quarters?” We walked a few steps into a large area. It smelled, and on top of that, the building creaked, groaned, and smashed. Other noises came from somewhere in the darkness. Maybe they were rats or stray cats. “While I can’t show you everything, I will show enough for you to understand. No, I can’t show you who Gisa was.” She swallowed hard. “Not yet.”

“All. Right.”

Between the dancing trash and the talking building, I got the idea that she wasn’t normal. Of course, I had to be sure. “Yeah. I get it. You’re a magician. All of this could’ve been staged.”

She raised an eyebrow. “Why?”

“I don’t know. Maybe to show off.”

“There are a lot of ways to show off, Emmersette. Spending needless energy to do so would not be one of them.” She waved her hand in front of a wall.

I saw images of me when I was a junior with the spiky hairstyle that Mom insisted I get rid of because it wasn’t even human. I had it for one year for that reason alone.

Then it turned to Becky Thompson and me. We knew each other because of math. I was never sure about Becky’s feelings, but I knew how I felt. I wanted to find out what the draw was between two women.

After school, we went out to the parking lot dumpster. There was a side that nobody could see. We didn’t do anything but kiss each other. That was it, and we left each other and never talked about it.

“All right. All right. Just shut it off.” Something fell somewhere. It made me stop yelling. “I never told anyone about that. How did you know?” I went right up to her and looked at her as straight as possible even though she was a foot taller.

“I got that memory from you. You have nothing to be ashamed of, as it is natural to wonder. You investigated. You came up with your own conclusion, didn’t you?”

“I don’t want to talk about it.” She didn’t need to know the details. “I’ll make you a deal. I don’t brag about you. You don’t say anything about this.” How dare she?

“It’s all right. I only needed to prove to you what I could do. I will not tell a soul, either living or dead. That is a promise, and you know that, huh?” She cupped my cheek.

I wasn’t sure what to think about that. I put it in the back of my mind to think over later.

She grabbed my hand as we walked outside. “In order for you to work for me, I need you in a place that I have ready access to a bit of a distance away. It does come with furniture and modern living standards. Apart from that, you need to shop for your own clothes and whatever else you may need. Pass that expense onto me, and you will be rewarded for it. In the end, I am paying for it, so yes, I expect the best. You will work reasonable hours, meaning from sunrise to sunset. No earlier. No later, unless otherwise necessary. You set the days. Anything else we will talk about. Questions?”

“Pay? Healthcare?”

“Ah yes. I am sorry. I seemed to have forgotten that. How does two thousand five hundred every fortnight plus expenses sound? As for healthcare, if you are in a state that is beyond my skill, I will take care of it.”

“Wait. What’s a fortnight?” Is that even a word?

“It is a period of fourteen days.”

Holy cow. Two times twenty-five hundred means five thousand. That’s… that’s twelve times five, which is… sixty thousand a year plus expenses for only a high school graduate? There’s gotta be a catch.

“No catch, darling. I believe in paying people so they can live without having to worry between comfort and health.”

“Yeah, but. Yeah, but sixty thousand a year? I don’t mean to be a pain, but….”

“I promise.” She smiled and patted my hand.

The last thing I noticed was the smell of bread when we passed the bakery. Then somehow, we ended up in a parking garage. Nobody better ask me how we got there. I wouldn’t know how to explain.

For some reason, I expected a stretch limo. The long silver car made anyone dream that a superstar was inside with a handful of friends riding along. Instead, we ended up at a blue Porsche. We got in and then pulled out of the garage.

At some point, we ended up at a red brick building. I thought the cobblestone street was cute. Even better was the planter of flowers with a tree in the middle.

The building had three windows across and five high. The forest green door had to be the front door, and the white trim made it look cute. I pictured gargoyles sitting on top. I loved that cartoon when I was a kid.

“Well, this building is yours to manage. I own it. You manage it. If there’s anything that has to do with it, you need to let me know before deciding on your own. Five people live here currently. You need to be responsible enough to be sure to manage the necessary expenses. Yes, I am working on an electronic payment system. However, for now, it needs to be done by hand.”

“OK. Do I get a place here? Or?”

“Oh, of course. Yours is on the fifth floor. There is an elevator on the main floor. Simply turn left. The mailroom is to the right side. The laundry room is a little farther down the hall on the left. Everything is marked.” She held out her hand.

I looked at the two sets of keys. I wondered if this was a test or something, so I only picked the one that wasn’t marked, Porsche.

“The other one too.”

Huh?

“You are not that old.” She laughed and opened my hand to put the other keys inside. “You are adorable, Gisa. You always have been.”

I looked at the two sets of keys and remembered what the car felt like. I wished my mouth would remember how to work. About the only thing I did was stare at the keys.

“It is unfortunate that I have to go. I must meet someone detestable.” She growled like a cat. “Tomorrow, you will go shopping. Try to find colors of the season. They must appear professional. Skirt or pants I leave up to you.”

“Oh. Right. OK. Uh… dinner in an hour?” Where did that come from?

“I cannot. My time will be taken up. Perhaps another time.” She cupped my cheek before she left.

I turned around to look at my car, a brand-new Porsche.

I went back to take a look at it one more time. I couldn’t believe it was mine. About the only thing I ever drove was Mom’s Ford.

My new Porsche had an automatic transmission, which was good. A car like that costs a bunch. Oh my God, it had to be a dream.

After I stopped drooling, I looked around to find a secure spot. As luck had it, there was a guarded parking garage across the street. Move the car over there, do whatever it was I had to do to leave it there and be able to sleep.

Getting in wasn’t a problem. Pull up to the machine, get the ticket, watch the gate open, and go in—no expected paperwork to fill out. The only problem was finding a space. I found a space on the second level and had to remember green B16 Row 2. I made sure to lock the car before I left. Signs everywhere that warned of people watching you. I almost laughed at that.

I returned to the building to realize I needed to go back home. After I got the car back, I returned home. I took a breath in and out to ready myself for whatever came.

I had other priorities, so I ignored my stomach monster. Whoever Gisa was, I counted on her to get me through this. I had a chance to think about the situation, and it sounded too good to be true. It did happen, though.

I knocked on the door, and Dad answered. “Why are you here?”

OK. Here we go. “It’s good seeing you too. If I could come in?” Remain nice and calm. Nice and calm will always win. Yeah, right, I was an elf in real life.

I planted my feet and folded my hands in front of me, and tried to smile. “I am only here to give you an update. I found a job working as Myaire’s right hand. Yes, I know who she is.” Although, it took me a while to remember.

“You only have a high school education. No skills. No advanced training.” She laughed. “We’re not stupid, you know.”

“No. I never said you were. She spotted me right outside the cafe after I went in to fill out an application. She came back out and told me I worked for her from that moment forward.”

Both laughed. Dad snorted. “You mean to tell me that only the most prestigious woman in this community hired you? She has more style than that. How much did she pay you to tell us this? What did you take?”

I should’ve known. “Yes, she did hire me. I don’t even know why I bothered to come here. As for the last question, I refuse to dignify that with an answer.”

I watched both of them, and they continued to stare at each other.

“I see. In that case, we’re done then. Goodbye.” Mom opened the door. “I guess you have nothing to explain. We’re done.”

Dad stood there. No expression.

I got back in the car and made the long trip back, wondering about the whole thing. No apologies. No attempts at an explanation. That was it. Did they even care?

I only had to be sure where I was going. There were some spots I remembered seeing, and I used those as my markers. Sure enough, I found it without getting lost.

My stomach growled again. I closed my eyes to hold back the tears long enough to get something to eat. Down the street from the building, there was a food store. Fresh produce out front with other things inside that needed to be refrigerated.

I grabbed an apple, a small loaf of bread, and an assortment of lunch meats. I tried not to look at the man for fear my tears would start rolling. He put a cup in my hand when I left.

To wear myself out to be too tired to feel anything, I walked up the winding staircase eand counted them. I counted one hundred and five steps to get to the fifth floor. Another few to get to my place.

I reached into my pocket and grabbed a big gold key with a five engraved on it. I unlocked the door, and holy cow, it was gorgeous. She said it was furnished, but I didn’t expect any of this.

The back wall was one big window where the light came from. I stepped inside and closed the door behind me. The wall behind the two-seater sofa was forest green. The sofa had a velvet touch, and the cushions were soft. The tan color was nice.

The glass table in the middle would break next week, though. An open shelf unit had several spots with books and a spot in the middle with a TV. Behind that was something brick-colored. I went to take a look, and my mouth dropped open.

A mattress on the floor. A nightstand on the side with a clock. A dresser against the far wall, and by that was the bathroom with a shower stall. There was a closet with wall-to-wall shelves, a spot in the middle with a table, and a secure spot I assumed for jewels. All of this was mine. Of course, I had to work for her, but this was mine.

OK, tomorrow I have to do some serious shopping—a lot of stuff to get.

I put the food on a counter. There was a desk in the kitchen by the fridge with a telephone and a charging station but no router. At least I didn’t see any. That was when I found a note in the drawer. Electronic tablets and WiFi router will be delivered in the morning. Wow.

I sat on the sofa. My day started something awful, but it turned out all right in the end. I may get in over my head, but I could manage.

I went back to get the bag. I ripped the plastic sleeve the bread was in apart and ate the lunch meat along with it. The cup had coffee in it. On the side, someone wrote, coffee made everything better. I laughed.

After a few minutes, some things came to mind. I had to remember to tell her that my name was Emmersette. Gisa was a nice name but not mine. I could tell she loved her an awful lot.

I noticed on the main floor of the building there were no pictures. Even the boring ones with a tree in the middle would help. Get back to her on that.

Here I was, an assistant to an influential woman. She gave me an opportunity, and I accepted.

Thank you to whoever listened. I raised my cup. “Cheers.”

Please visit Calliope on her blog: https://calliopenjosstories.home.blog/

 Anita Wu: Choice of Stairs

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms.  Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support! 

Images are free-use images and do not require attribution. Image by Ludovic Charlet from Pixabay.

Choice of Stairs

 Anita Wu

“It doesn’t make sense, you know.”

Those words gave me pause. He stood in the dark narrow stairway alone, and the idea that he was speaking to himself when he appeared low on time — the possibility of his insanity—amused me enough that I settled myself amongst the clouds. I would observe this world a bit longer.

Intriguing—he seemed to be staring back at me.

“Go up, into enemy territory, and die a scout. For the honor, they say,” he mumbled to himself. But I could hear every word he said as if he stood right next to me.

“Or turn back and be killed for disobeying captain’s orders,” he spat. I smiled. 

He clenched his jaws and tightened his grip on the lantern, the flame flickering on its last bit of oil, almost gone. He hesitated for a moment before flinging it to the stairs above him, his only source of light extinguished.

He looked back in my direction in the sky, as though he could see through the cement and compact mud like I could. His brows furrowed, and his lips snarled. I was tempted to send a man to him just to watch the events unfold, but my friend would set fire to my own world for meddling in his. 

“You could do something.” He spoke words like they were fact. “You have the power that most would kill for.”

“What would you have me do?” I took the bait, entranced that he seemed to know I was watching, listening.

His head tilted the slightest upwards, and his eyes narrowed briefly, but he kept his countenance mostly neutral. If he knew who I was, he did not show it.

“You speak as though I have any influence on the matter.”

My lips arched upwards. “And you as though you have spoken to one of us before.” I toyed with him, studying the lines that aged his face and the stitches that peeked from the collar of his soiled uniform. A seasoned soldier, the world would tell me.

“Does it matter? Nothing I say or do is ever taken into consideration. I am a mere pawn until the day I die,” he snarled. “When have you heard of a soldier who returned as the same man who left? They are all scarred, sworn to duty even as their minds betray them and until their physical bodies collapse.”

I thought about the other worlds I had observed. “I’ve heard of some.” Few. A handful. They were the ones that people often paid no mind to, but I was drawn to them time and time again, so I followed their stories, and they often led me to interesting places. I hoped he would offer me the same.

“Well take me there, for it is certainly not here.” He sat on the stairs, one hand propping his head and tousling his hair. “Look around.” He swept his free arm around him. “There are almost certainly guards at the top of the stairs. We’re in enemy territory, after all.”

He was partially wrong. Only one woman waited above ground in the area where the stairs led. Black clothing that allowed her to blend into the night, she lounged in a tree, but her eyes were trained on the hidden entrance to the stairs. Her figure may be small, but I have seen many assassins single-handedly overtake teams of trained, armed men. 

“Just call for backup.” I glimpsed the men at the bottom of the stairs, bodies that he could surely make use of and weapons that could help him against his foe.

“Captain hides behind his men. Ben and Cyrel would flee at a moment’s notice. They love their families too much to commit to anything that could endanger their lives. They’re here out of obligation — like I am — but their top priority is to leave alive and in one piece. Lopez is new blood. I would never drag him into a sure death.”

“Sounds like you’re just digging your own grave.” I was getting bored, my interest in this man betraying me. This soldier was doing nothing, and his conversation was no longer entertaining. I peered around for the exit. 

He chuckled.

“Something funny?” I dryly commented as I spotted the slit in the clouds off to the right. 

“You enter my world for entertainment and leave as soon as you’re not given what you hoped for. Your very existence is amusing. You have no purpose, just a wandering, lifeless soul.”

I flinched. That was a personal attack. “I have a life with my wanderings. Not like you would know.”

“Of course, you have a life. You didn’t have to give up your dreams for a life that others have laid out for you. You got to live the way you wanted—moving from world to world, endlessly entertained by our struggles.

“Like that God that took my dream from me,” he muttered. 

God was a peculiar word, for I knew my friend disliked introducing religions in his world. God, however, was the self-declared nickname of a personal rival of mine. Who exactly was this God he spoke of, I did not know. But this soldier knew of my people—that much was certain.

“What was your dream?” I steered the conversation away from me. The more information he knew, the more likely a trace of my involvement would remain. 

“Like you care.” 

I didn’t, but I wished to know who so obviously allowed him to remember them. Rule number one of meddlings was to ensure no one ever remembered the encounter.

I pulled up his information, looking for that moment where God had spoken to him prior. I found it almost immediately.

He was a child when he met him, disguised as a being of magic capable of fulfilling any wish. A child, he beamed and spilled his deepest desires for a peaceful life, unlike his parents. “A farmer,” the child motioned his hands to indicate a large harvest that could feed the entire city. But his visitor convinced his parents that the child had to follow in their footsteps, that he had to gain the esteemed rank of colonel like his father and grandfather before him. 

The visitor was careful not to leave any obvious trace of his identity and meddling, but the child’s memory held clues that twinkled like the stars in the sky. I knew my personal rival’s mark when I saw it, and I would take any opportunity to meddle in his affairs. I grinned. 

“What do you think about dropping everything you’ve done so far and pursuing that dream of yours?”

“Impossible,” he scoffed. “I am about to die. What kind of question is that?

“And even if I were to miraculously survive,” he considered it, a brief light blinked in his eyes before it vanished, “I have been climbing this one-way staircase for far too long. My only options are to keep climbing or to slip and fall to my demise. There exists no other option.”

“Dig yourself a tunnel to another stairway,” I offered as I approached the assassin above the ground.

“Think about it.”

***

The silence consumed him as his thoughts ran wild. If he had the opportunity, he didn’t know if he would be able to take it. He no longer knew if he still held the passion to live a peaceful life or if his body knew how to relax. 

He slapped his face, allowing the pain to bring him back to reality. Statistics proved that a lack of focus was the leading cause of death on missions. He knew better than to allow distractions. 

He stood, placing his left hand on the cold, rough wall and his right hand on the dagger at his hip, and stepped forward, silent and slow, relying on his ears to pick up any unusual sounds.

His head hit a wooden frame with a thud, and he felt what seemed to be a latch that should lead into the target’s library if his sources were right. Given the target’s wealth, he was prepared for guards at every location. 

He pulled the latch and pushed the door slightly, just enough for him to survey the area. He saw grass and open space. No guards on the ground.

“Damn it,” he cursed under his breath. He filed the possibilities away: the information could have been out of date, the source could have been fake, or someone within his organization could have sabotaged the mission. 

He needed to gather more intel before he returned to the captain. He pushed the door ajar, climbed out, and dashed to the nearest tree for cover. He identified the mansion a hundred meters away and insufficient structures to cross the distance without being identified from anyone monitoring from above. The tall walls surrounding the area made it difficult to flee if they were caught. They would need to retreat and find another way. Another time.

That was when he felt the cold pressure against his neck. A chuckle escaped his throat, and history flashed before his mind.

“What’s funny?” A woman’s voice.

“I had the feeling I would die today. I just didn’t expect it would be a dagger to the throat. It was how I was betrayed many years ago. Left to die.”

“If you knew you were going to die, why did you still come? Any sensible man would run.”

He lowered his head. “I do not have the luxury of that option.”

“On the contrary, sir,” her voice sweet, her words like freedom, “you hold the power to do whatever you want. And I get the feeling…”

She slipped around him and pushed him against the tree, keeping the dagger at his throat. “That you want today to be your last day. Else you could just as easily reverse our position. Am I right?”

Hazel eyes gazed at him while the rest of her face was concealed. He remained silent. Speaking too much was what gave him the last scar on his neck.

They stood in that position for far longer than it took to take a life.

“I don’t attack people who don’t fight back,” she stated as she withdrew her dagger and slipped it back into its sheath on her hip. She slumped onto the grass beside him, cross-legged, and propped her head against the tree trunk. “So tell me, soldier, why do you want to die?”

He held her gaze for a moment before reluctantly sliding down, settling next to her.

“Why don’t you fight those who don’t fight back?”

“I took my friend’s life once,” she disclosed as if they were close friends, “by accident. 

“She did not want to train with me, no matter how I pleaded. So I thought if I drew my blade, she would be forced to draw hers, and we could spar. But she never drew her weapon, never defended against my strike, even though I knew full well that she could.

“It took ten seconds before she lost to my fatal strike.”

Her eyes still held life, he noticed, as she told her tale without hesitation. He believed that she had much ahead of her.

“I did not want to be a soldier.”

“So why are you?”

“I don’t have a choice.”

“There you go again.” She motioned her hand to swat the excuse away.

“Those around me expected certain things from me.”

“And you have the power to do otherwise,” she repeated, “What would you do?”

“Live a peaceful life as a farmer,” he blurted, his earlier thoughts taking a hold of him. He remembered the little child who woke up before dawn in order to make the trek to his neighbor’s property, who walked the miles under the burning sun with an empty bucket to gather water from the river to feed the crops, who collapsed onto the bed at night with his arms aching and a wide smile on his face.

There was a child who cried when he found out that a thief had visited during the night and left with his favorite chicken. The child loved to harvest the crops and share them with those around him. The smiles, hugs, and thanks convinced him to return.

“Then walk out of here and get on with it.” She held his gaze once more as she pointed towards the wall encaging the open space, knowing full well that he could climb it just as easily as she.

“I’m the only one here, and I’m not stopping you.”

***

I tapped my fingertips along the clouds, a smile on my face as I looked over my work. 

My friend would surely burn my world in retaliation for making such a drastic change to his, but I tasted the sweet satisfaction of sabotaging that future that my rival put into motion.

As the soldier scaled the wall, I took my leave through the clouds, wondering where I would go next.

Please visit Anita on her blog: https://soreispeaks.wordpress.com/

DR. PAUL’S FAMILY TALK PODCASTS: Peter Moore

PETER MOORE, the Co-Founder of Seamless Entertainment Ltd and The Entertainment Engine podcast from London, joins host Paul W. Reeves to discuss his work in the entertainment industry that spans over several decades, working across many entertainment verticals, including Artists-management, Festival implementation, Finance and Business structure, SYNC for film and TV and working with major labels like Sony (Dance label) helping to sell over 1 million records.

FROM HIS WEBSITE:

“Seamless Entertainment has a diverse range of skill sets to deliver and execute our client’s objectives across music, film, TV, and gaming. We work with our clients to set realistic expectations to meet them, and we are passionate to go above and beyond to exceed them. Our services include working across music supervision for film, TV and Gaming. The team have worked on independent and major film and television productions, commercials, advertisements, and gaming, an unclaimed royalty collection for artists, bands, and rights-holders, and we have our Grammy & Award-Winning in-house music production and songwriting team who write for Film, TV and aspiring music talent projects (singers, songwriters, and musicians).

Seamless is the creator of the entertainment industry podcast called The Entertainment Engine podcast streamed and downloaded on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Deezer, Google Podcasts, Castbox, and much more. 

​The Entertainment Engine weekly podcast provides helpful tips on navigating the entertainment industry across Music, Film, and TV for bands, artists, actors, songwriters, and creatives. We have informal chats, providing in-depth knowledge, advice, and professional experience. We’re joined by special guests on the show and keep our listeners updated with current industry news, fun facts, and trends.”

seamlessentertainment.co.uk

—————————–

Admin Note: Welcome to our newest source of information for authors. “Dr. Paul’s Family Talk” radio program on Impact Radio USA offers interesting and entertaining interviews of authors who share their writing journey as inspiration for all writers finding their way. Dr. Paul also interviews individuals who are successful in education, business, finance, conspiracy theorist, medicine, self-help, motivation, musicians, artists, and more. These interviews give insight into various careers providing writing research and possible character ideas.

Look for additional Dr. Paul’s author interviews in the coming weeks on the page found on the menu bar. Enjoy!

Impact Radio USA

Welcome to ​IMPACT RADIO USA, where we strive to provide the best in news, talk, sports, and music 24 hours a day, 52 weeks per year. Our goal is to keep you as the most informed and entertained Internet Radio audience.

As we are continuing to add content on a daily basis, please feel free to click on the “LISTEN NOW” button at the top of the page to hear us 24 hours a day. While you are here, please check out all of our links to our shows, our podcast page, our blog, and learn how YOU can host your own show with us.  Thank you for listening to IMPACT RADIO USA!!!

Impact Radio USA ListenNow

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Paul W. Reeves 

Paul W. Reeves is an author, radio talk show host, educator, composer/arranger, and professional musician!

Listen to “Dr. Paul’s Family Talk” on Impact Radio USA and visit Paul’s websitehttps://paulwreeves.com for more information on his books and CDs.

https://www.impactradiousa.com

SUCCESS PHILOSOPHIES WITH DR. CHUBACK: EPISODE 25

In our quest to assist writers in becoming the best they can be and remain motivated, we would like to introduce you to John Chuback, M.D. A cardiovascular surgeon, Dr. Chuback found his goals waylaid by his lack of motivation.

In a series of interviews with Paul W. Reeves, host on Impact Radio USA, Dr. Chuback continues his discussion of the tools leading to success with his book “Make Your Own Damn Cheese: Understanding, Navigating, and Mastering the 3 Mazes of Success.”

Please click on the link below to hear Episode #25 of SUCCESS PHILOSOPHIES WITH DR. CHUBACK, the first episode in the second series, and start enhancing your journey toward success today.

DR. JOHN CHUBACK, a cardiovascular surgeon from New Jersey, is the author of, “Make Your Own Damn Cheese: Understanding, Navigating, and Mastering the 3 Mazes of Success,” “The Straight A Handbook – The 50 Most Powerful Secrets For Ultimate Success In And Out Of The Classroom” and other books.

DR. CHUBACK joins HOST PAUL W. REEVES weekly to discuss his books, “The Straight A Handbook – The 50 Most Powerful Secrets For Ultimate Success In And Out Of The Classroom” and “Make Your Own Damn Cheese“, each of which explores the human mind and becoming all that you can be.

Throughout this portion of the series, Dr. Chuback will discuss “Make Your Own Damn Cheese“, and the research behind his success philosophies.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Audiobooks on Audible

The Straight a Handbook: The 50 Most Powerful Secrets for Ultimate Success in and Out of the Classroom Audible Logo Audible Audiobook – Unabridged

Written by John Chuback, M. D.
Narrated by Paul W. Reeves, Ed. D

Click for Audible version on Amazon

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Previous Episodes of “Success Philosophies With Dr. Chuback”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dr. John Chuback

Picture

Dr. John Chuback was born and raised in Bergen County and graduated from the Dwight Englewood School. He earned his medical degree from New Jersey Medical School at UMDNJ, in Newark. Dr. Chuback then completed a five-year General Surgical Residency at Monmouth Medical Center (MMC). Dr. Chuback is the author of Make Your Own Damn CheeseKaboing, and The Straight A Handbook.

All books are available on Amazon. com. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Impact Radio USA

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is impact-radio-usa-modern-large.jpg

Welcome to ​IMPACT RADIO USA, where we strive to provide the best in news, talk, sports, and music 24 hours a day, 52 weeks per year. Our goal is to keep you as the most informed and entertained Internet Radio audience.

As we are continuing to add content on a daily basis, please feel free to click on the “LISTEN NOW” button at the top of the page to hear us 24 hours a day. While you are here, please check out all of our links to our shows, our podcast page, our blog, and learn how YOU can host your own show with us.  Thank you for listening to IMPACT RADIO USA!!!

Impact Radio USA ListenNow

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Paul W. Reeves 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 11700698_10204467697476836_1401739541151934347_o.jpg

Paul W. Reeves, Ed. D. is an author, radio talk show host, educator, composer/arranger, and professional musician.

Listen to “Dr. Paul’s Family Talk” on Impact Radio USA and visit Paul’s websitehttps://paulwreeves.com for more information on his books and CDs.

https://www.impactradiousa.com/

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is book-cover.jpg

Writing Tips, Tools, and Tidbits!: ATTAIN versus OBTAIN

Writers Unite!’s mission is to offer a haven for writers to share their work and hone their craft. As the writing process is our focus, author, and WU! admin, Lynn Miclea has created a series of “tips, tools, and tidbits” about writing for our members or anyone interested in writing to help improve their writing. Check the menu bar for any tips you may have missed or click on this link.

Writing Tips, Tools, and Tidbits!

Images are free use and require no attribution. Image from Pixabay.

ATTAIN versus OBTAIN

People often mix up the words attain and obtain. They may sound similar and have somewhat similar meanings, but these words are used differently. This should help to use them properly.

***

Attain means to achieve, accomplish, get an achievement, or reach a goal, usually through hard work. If you mean to achieve something, use attain.

Examples:

  • She finally attained her dream and became a lawyer.
  • He studied for many years and finally attained success.
  • After years in school, she finally attained her goal and graduated.
  • He attained a higher rank after working diligently.
  • She hoped to attain a high mark on her test.
  • After many years, he finally attained fame through his movies.
  • She worked hard but never attained the recognition she wanted.
  • He strived to attain excellence in everything he did.
  • She attained a high degree of proficiency on the piano.
  • He worked hard to attain his goal and speak several languages.

***

Obtain means to acquire or get possession of something. If you mean to acquire or get possession of something, use obtain.

Examples:

  • He obtained the hammer and nails and then hung the picture.
  • The police obtained a warrant before searching the house.
  • He finally obtained tickets to the concert.
  • She obtained the photocopy to show her friends.
  • He needed to obtain the tools before he could start the job.
  • She obtained the key and then opened the door.
  • After he obtained his license, he opened an office.
  • She needed to obtain a passport before her vacation.
  • The detective obtained enough evidence to convict the suspect.
  • She needed to obtain permission before she could go.

***

In general, you attain goals, but you obtain objects.

If you mean to achieve or accomplish something, use attain.

If you mean to acquire or get possession of something, use obtain.

Hint: Attain starts with an A for achieve or accomplish.

Obtain starts with ob for obtaining an object.

Note: There is some overlap if hard work is involved, such as attaining or obtaining a degree—either can be correct, depending on the emphasis and context. Attaining a degree refers to reaching that level of education, whereas obtaining a degree refers to actually getting the degree or diploma.

***

Please look at the chart for an easy summary and helpful reminder.

***

I hope you find this helpful. These tips and much more are also on my website and blog, and also in my Grammar Tips book.

Thank you!

Website – https://www.lynnmiclea.com/
Blog – https://lynnpuff.wordpress.com/
Grammar Tips Book – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09N2BQMCG/

Raymond G. Taylor: Picnic in St Petersburg

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms.  Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support! 

Images are free-use images and do not require attribution. Image by Ludovic Charlet from Pixabay.

Content warning: this story includes references to Covid lockdown and preparations for the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It does not intentionally include any political statement in respect of the conflict. The characters and dramatic action are entirely fictional, set in London, England, and St Petersburg, Russia. The author considers that the fictional depiction of real-world events is a valid approach to creative writing. 

Picnic in St Petersburg

Raymond G. Taylor

Stopping by the door to rest, Matthew glanced up at the spiraling staircase, the elaborate ornamental railings belying the simple function of the stairwell he had descended.

“We have an unusual assignment for you, Matt,” the rather stuffy head of curatorial services at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Mr Hepworth, had said to him. “Have you ever travelled on the St Petersburg Metro?”

“Yes, many times. Why?” he replied.

It was true. During the placement semester of his Conservation of Fine Art master’s degree at Northumbria University, Matthew had taken an assignment at the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg. He had commuted between his shared apartment on the outskirts of the city and the Admiralteiskaya metro station. That was over seven years ago, and it had been as long since he had last met his one-time friend Kostya.

For six months Kostya, also a student of fine art attending an extended course at the Hermitage, St Petersburg’s famous ‘Winter Palace’, had shared an apartment with Matthew. They had a glorious time there, riding the Metro with its ornately decorated pedestrian tunnels, marble pillars and elaborate archways. Anyone seeing it for the first time would think they were already in a museum and not travelling a city subway. When they weren’t studying or commuting, the two friends would be out exploring the old city or making the most of the nightlife.

Kostya and Matthew were like brothers during that free and easy time marking the end of their student days and before they each moved on with their lives. That was then. Now, apart from the occasional letter or Christmas card, they had fallen out of touch.

“Well, we have been asked to take on a conservation assignment there,” Mr. Hepworth had said, recalling Matthew from his reminiscence.

“You mean in the Hermitage?” asked Matthew.

“No, in the Metro itself. You will no doubt be aware of the ornate and artistic décor of Metro stations in St Petersburg…” Mr Hepworth was only aware of this since it had been explained to him by the museum’s director, who had downloaded some images of the beautifully decorated Metro to help the explanation.

“Well, of course, I spent six months there at the end of my studies.”

“So, I understand, Matt. And you speak Russian?”

“After a fashion, yes,” said Matthew. “Although most of the lectures at the Hermitage were given in French when I was there.”

“Well, as a Russian speaker, I thought you might like to take this one on.” It was in fact the museum’s director who had suggested he ask Matthew. Mr. Hepworth himself put no effort into understanding the background or capabilities of his staff.

“You still haven’t told me what the assignment is, Mr. Hepworth.”

“Oh, yes, the assignment. Apparently, the Russian authorities have uncovered a previously unknown access point to the St Petersburg Metro, including a room that appears to hold a wide range of, as yet, unidentified artefacts that may have come from 17th century Versailles. Paintings, sculptures, ornaments, and furniture.”

 “I’m afraid I know very little about furniture, sir.”

“Well, that’s as may be, but as a Russian speaker, you are clearly the best person for the job,” said Hepworth. “Would you have any objection to going?”

So, the conversation proceeded. Of course, Matthew would be delighted to return to St Petersburg, and, while his Russian may have been a little rusty, it would help him to pick it up again. He would also have an opportunity to visit Kostya, who still lived in St Petersburg and now with a young family. That is, if Kostya agreed.

After a lot of probing, Matthew found out that the assignment involved visiting the site, examining the newly discovered room, and making an initial assessment of the contents, including potential values for insurance purposes. In particular, he would help establish the extent of any conservation work that may be required and whether it would be safe to remove certain items to a suitable location for work to begin. The municipality of St Petersburg was concerned that movement of any of the artefacts would risk damage. It was all within Matthew’s special area of expertise as a conservation expert at the Victoria and Albert.

When Matthew sent a message to Kostya, he was delighted to receive an enthusiastic reply, assuring him that Kostya and his wife Natalya would love to welcome him into their new home, where he must surely stay as their guest during his time in St Petersburg. Natalya was dying to meet Matthew, having heard so much about him, Kostya had written.

Then Covid struck, lockdown happened, and travel was curtailed. All of the plans had to be put on ice. The civic authorities in St Petersburg secured the room and said that it would remain sealed until their honored guest and expert from the Victoria and Albert Museum could rearrange his visit. It was fortunate that the St Petersburg authorities were paying for the visit, otherwise it would have been cancelled altogether. The V&A, like most attractions in London, had been closed down for months, revenues had of course plummeted and grants were being reviewed. Matthew considered himself lucky to have kept his job, let alone get an all-expenses trip back to Russia.

When the time came to replan the visit, life had moved on again for Kostya. He had changed job, Kostya had said in a letter. For some reason Matthew could no longer get in touch with his friend through any of the usual messaging platforms and so he had had to resort to old-fashioned airmail. The reply said little about the mysterious new job, but Kostya said that he would explain when they met. Unfortunately, they had also recently moved to a new apartment further from the city and it would no longer be possible for Matthew to lodge with them, the letter had said.

Not to worry, he had no doubt that his Russian hosts would find him a good hotel for his long-awaited stay.

Having finally arrived in St Petersburg, Matthew had a little time to look around the city and settle into his hotel. He had arranged to meet Kostya at a bar they had frequented all those years ago, but their reunion never happened.

“Kostya asked me to meet you personally,” said Natalya in halting English, having introduced herself. “He is so sorry unable to be here, but been called away.”

It seemed that Kostya had, astonishingly, just joined the Russian Army. Matthew couldn’t imagine his old friend in uniform. Natalya did not tell him much and wouldn’t say where Kostya had gone. Natalya was very charming and said how delighted she was to meet Matthew after all she had heard about him. Yet she was obviously embarrassed. After a halting conversation in part Russian and part English, Natalya excused herself, saying they would rearrange something during Matthew’s stay if they could. He spent the rest of the evening alone.

The following day, when he was due to be greeted by his hosts, it didn’t go any better. Firstly, he was delayed at the hotel in an incident over his working visa. Officials from the Federal Bureau of Security had arrived at the hotel to question his status as a ‘highly qualified professional’. It seems they were not sure that conservation of artworks was included in the definition of ‘highly qualified’. It took several frantic phone calls from the museum to placate the dour-faced officials. Then, when he turned up on site, he found that two of the three people he was due to meet had tested positive for Covid and had had to stay at home. The third, having waited for over an hour, had gone on without him. He was directed by an officious security guard to take the access staircase down to the mid-level door, which he would find unlocked and where his “accomplice” would be waiting for him. The word that the security man used made it sound as if Matthew was involved in some kind of criminal conspiracy.

There was of course no elevator. The staircase spiralled down from the derelict house that had once been occupied by the principal engineering commissar responsible for building the Metro in 1941. He had had the ornate staircase built to allow him access to one of the early tunnels dug for the Metro at any time, day or night, in case of emergency. The official was killed during the siege of Leningrad (as the city was then known) and details of the access point destroyed, hence the only recent discovery.

It seemed to take an age for Matthew to descend to the level of the room and his calf muscles were aching unbearably by the time he reached the door. He had not even been able to see the door until he was quite a way down. When he finally arrived on the landing with the only door to be seen he found it locked. He tried the handle both ways, tried pushing and pulling but it would not budge.

Banging on the door, he called out in Russian but to no avail. Hell, he wasn’t going to walk all the way back up to ask for a key. Pounding on the door brought no reply, so he wondered what to do next. Peering down the staircase, which continued to spiral way below the current level, he thought he could see another door far below. Perhaps he had been banging on the wrong door. Then again, if he walked all the way down to the next door he would have further to walk to get back to the top if it wasn’t the right one.

Resigned, he decided to try the door on the lower level and hope for the best. Thankfully it did not take too long to descend to the lowest level at the foot of the staircase, and with a single unmarked door cut into the side of the stairwell.

Turning the handle, the door opened easily. Stepping inside the pitch-dark room, he could hear voices in the distance. He couldn’t quite work out what was being said but he thought he heard the words ‘picnic’ and ‘Ukraine.’ Yes, it was definitely ‘picnic’ he had heard, the Russian word being pretty much the same as the English word.

Walking towards the sounds of voices in a shadowy light that appeared to be produced by distant arc lamps, he passed a stack of wooden packing cases. Although unmarked, one or two had the word ‘picnic’ scrawled across them in an untidy Cyrillic. Why ‘picnic’? thought Matthew. As he continued on, the light gradually got brighter, and he could see a figure approaching him from the direction of the light.

He stopped in his tracks as he saw the uniform of the soldier marching towards him.

“Ruki vverkh!” (hands up!) shouted the soldier, as he levelled the rifle he was carrying, shining a fierce flashlight in Matthew’s eyes.

Matthew froze, before quickly raising his hands, palms forward.

As the soldier approached, he lowered the rifle and looked at Matthew quizzically.

“Matthew, is that you?” he said in English.

“Kostya?” said Matthew, recognizing the voice. “What’s happening? What’s all this talk about Ukraine and picnics?” Blinking, he could now see into a huge underground chamber ahead, brightly lit and with dozens of uniformed soldiers loading packing cases into some army trucks.

Kostya became stern. “Do yourself a favour, friend, and go back home. Forget what you have seen, forget about picnics and forget about Ukraine.”

Please visit Ray on the internet: https://raymondgtaylor.com/picnic-in-st-petersburg
or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Raymond.G.Taylor.author,
and look for his novel on amazon.com.