Category Archives: Stories and Poems

The Lottery Ticket – Part 2 (written 8/12/2012


This piece follows “The Lottery Ticket”.

The Lottery Ticket – Part 2

The ticket flutters in the wind, Tim’s mouth is opening and closing, but he’s unable to form a single, coherent word. One-way flight to the moon?Is this for real? What a strange lottery!

The news announcer expectantly glances around the crowd waiting for someone to yell that he or she has won. Except for the crowd muttering to itself, silence reigns.

Tim finally breaks his reverie and yells, “I won!” The crowd swarms around him, pressing in.

“Out of my way, out of my way,” the announcer says as he tries to get to Tim. Slowly the crowd parts and he eventually makes it to Tim’s side. Someone tries to yank the ticket out of Tim’s hand. The cops begin moving the crowd back, using force where necessary.

Tim swallows nervously and eyes the crowd.. This whole experience is surreal. Is he dreaming?

“Ladies and gentlemen may I have your attention please?” The crowd begins to quiet down and look expectantly towards the announcer.

“Sir, what is your name?”

“Tim Ryan. Is this a joke?”

“No, sir, it is not a joke. Lunar Landings is offering this once-in-a-lifetime prize to help populate their new development on the moon. The prize includes the one-way shuttle flight to the moon, a job at Lunar Landings, plus your own house. The only requirement is that you must stay with the company for at least 10 years and if you decide to return to earth you will have to pay the cost of the return ticket.

Tim grins. A job, a house and his ex-wife and her mother far, far away. What could be better?

“When do I leave?”

~~~~~~~~~

 

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The Lottery Ticket – Part 1 (written 6/7/2012)


The prompt: You have 500 words to write a piece, fiction or non-fiction, which includes the phrase to the moon.”

Now showing my age, I have to admit the first thing that popped into my head was “The Honeymooners” with Jackie Gleason, where Ralph Kramden says to his wife Alice, “You are going straight to the moon, Alice.” However I couldn’t work that into anything helpful.

While I was trying to figure out what to write I pulled a bunch of books out of the shelves and read the first lines. One of them struck a chord and something flowed from it. I didn’t use that person’s line, but it was enough to send my creative juices flowing.

500 words seemed like a lot when I started and then once I got to writing I found that it wasn’t enough so I spent last night during my sleepless hours tweaking it down to about 496 words according to the word counter. This is my finished version.

The Lottery Ticket

By Teresa Smeigh

The wind whistled loudly down the alley and Tim Ryan tried unsuccessfully to turn up his collar to protect his neck and ears. He should have dressed warmer. He didn’t even have gloves or a hat. He couldn’t leave to go get them either because the line behind him was growing rapidly.

He had been daydreaming ever since they announced on the morning news that they were holding a special lottery at midnight. A lottery where you didn’t have to purchase a ticket. Only so many tickets would be handed out, but they wouldn’t announce how many they were going to hand out. You had to be there to win. They weren’t even going to announce the prize ahead of time, but they promised that it was a once-in-a-lifetime prize.

Tim Ryan was down on his luck. His ex-wife was demanding her alimony and he didn’t have it. She was threatening to report him and get him thrown in jail for not paying his support. He had lost his job a few weeks ago and hadn’t been able to find a new one yet, but being in jail wasn’t going to help. Surely she had to see that? He knew this lottery just had to be the answer to all of his problems. He would do anything to get her off his back.

So here he was, standing in a freezing alley with hundreds of others. He had hurried to the drawing spot as soon as he had heard the announcement. He just knew that the place would be packed. He noticed that the line was getting even longer behind him.

Tim was jumping around trying to keep warm. He certainly hoped that the prize was worth all of this. He was cold and tired. He had to stay alert to make sure no one jumped the line. This prize just had to be his.

The clock tower struck midnight and the crowd quieted down expectantly. The announcer stood on the back of a flat bed truck and spoke into his microphone telling everyone to stay in a straight line and begin moving towards him and take an envelope, but they were not to open it yet. The line would continue to move until all envelopes had been handed out.

Tim followed the line in front of him. Finally he was close enough to see that they still had a pile of envelopes. He was going to get one. He was told to move over with the others. Once the last envelope was given out, the announcer wished them luck and told them that the winner would know what their prize was when they opened the envelope, there were 99 blank tickets and one prize, but not to open it until he said “go!”

Once the announcer yelled “go” the crowd ripped open their envelopes. Tim ripped his open and his mouth fell open. Printed on his ticket was “ONE-WAY FLIGHT TO THE MOON.”

I AM a writer! (first blog piece written 6/4/2012)


I am in my late 50’s right now and have been writing something ever since I was in grade school. I wrote poems and short stories and  people told me they were good. However I didn’t think of myself as a writer.

My recent research has told me that if you write, anything, you ARE a writer!

This thought was shocking to me. Me, a writer? I sure wanted to be, but how could this be?

However I spent some time to reflect on this and I believe they are right. I may not have been paid for any of my writing, but I did have a poem published in an anthology and a mention in a contest even if I didn’t become one of the top winners, I WAS mentioned. Plus I am writing all the time. So yes, I AM a writer.

This blog will be a way to post what I am up to and to capture my progress as I continue my journey of becoming a real published writer.

I have entered several contests over the years. The first time I sent a short story to a magazine I was in my teens and it was rejected. I was broken-hearted and the rejection to me was a failure. I couldn’t take it and after that no one ever saw my writing. I wrote for me only.

When I was in my 30’s I entered a contest for “Writer’s Digest” magazine. That is where I got the mention, although it wasn’t a win, it gave me just a little more confidence. I also wrote some poetry one of which was published, but in an anthology which I believe is sort of like a vanity press type of deal. But seeing it in print gave me another boost. So I have entered some of my poetry and another short story in the last 10 years. The rejection stings, but it didn’t result in the same feelings of failure. My skin is thickening.

I enter NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month) every year, however I never make the full 50,000 words that are required. It doesn’t have to be a polished novel. Just write, and keep writing for a full month. After that you can edit and proofread if you want to do something with it. If you are interested just go to www.nanowrimo.org and check it out. I just found out that they are now doing it in June too. The original was in November. How about that. This is June. Maybe I should see about entering again and make it a goal to finish this time.

I know that professional writers make a time to write every day and stick to it. It takes discipline and I am sorely lacking that right now. Perhaps I can work on that discipline and make it a goal to write so much per day. Now how long should I make it. Since I am just starting out I should probably make it for about an hour to begin with. An hour is not that long.

I am researching writing prompts. I know they exist and just might be the boost I need to get started writing again.

Here’s to my brand new life, the writing life!

Teresa (Tessa) Dean Smeigh

-Advocate for Mental and Invisible Illnesses

-Author of Articles, Stories and Poems

http://www.tessacandoit.com

http://www.finallyawriter.wordpress.com (moving posts to other blog and will be deleting this one).

Enter with Caution – Short Tale Challenge #3 – Ruins


Short Tale Challenge #3 – Ruins

Enter with Caution by Tessa Smeigh September 2017

Sitting peacefully in the shade of the grand old trees in the forest Susan looked around and wondered what else there was to see there. This was an area new to her.

Finishing her lunch, she gathered her things and headed off down the trail. This part of the forest was quiet, devoid even of animal sounds.

She came upon the ruins of some old buildings. One was a small cottage and very quaint. It still had its door. She slowly opened the door and stepped into the old cottage.

She fell…there was no floor.

Teresa (Tessa) Dean Smeigh

-Advocate for Mental and Invisible Illnesses

-Author of Articles, Stories and Poems

http://www.tessacandoit.com

http://www.finallyawriter.wordpress.com (moving posts to other blog and will be deleting this one.

The Con Man and Me… (non-fiction) – Part 3


After he left I went to bed. He was supposed to work the midnight shift.

Over the next few days he never came home, didn’t call, didn’t answer my calls or the other tenants. They were coming to me with problems.

Now I had finally met the owner, but he still thought I lived upstairs. All of a sudden he came to the apartment and caught my son and I there and wondered what was going on and where was “P”?

Well things started to fall apart fast. We all told him what we knew and the owner started to think I was in collusion with “P” and I said no I didn’t know what he was doing. He told us he was part owner. The owner said no he wasn’t. Well then it all started to come out. All the deals he made. The money he was hiding and using. I was scared to death. This guy was a big fancy DC lawyer.

We all went to the police and filed a report. The only thing the police really cared about was could my son say he molested him. They had several complaints. My son said no. They couldn’t change his mind. They lost interest, but the owner filed a suit against him because he lost almost $100,000. Ours were attached but of no significance to the police.

As the owner worked through all the bills and stuff he found out that he hadn’t paid anything in months and the utilities were about to turn off. I suddenly had a electric bill to pay, the cable went off. I couldn’t afford that huge apartment and he wasn’t honoring anything about we had all paid rent to “P”. He brought someone in and he lived with us for a bit to manage the place, but I had to find a place to go because the rent he wanted and the fact I would have to share the apartment with this other man was not cool for me. He threw the kids in the basement out.

I started packing my belongings and found “P” took nothing with him that didn’t fit in his gym bag. That was why he was getting rid of papers. I found a letter from his wife who he owed money to for the kids he demanded so no one would know he was gay and he did something the federal government wanted him for as well. So he ran.

That is how we ended up with my mom and dad. My son had 2 years of high school to go through still.

Eventually he was caught and I went to the sentencing for closure. He looked nothing like the man I knew. I got nothing back and filed for bankruptcy. I won’t go into all the things he actually did to others there and on the job.

Have I learned anything? Yes and no. I am still too far trusting, but just a little more cautious.

THE END

Tessa

The Con Man and Me… (non-fiction) – Part 2


Now I agreed, but the ex was a little iffy about it. I said look, I have no room for him. It is the same house and I have access to that apartment so I can check on him when he wasn’t with me. So he finally agreed. The only thing I didn’t tell him was that “P” was gay. It didn’t bother me or my son, but my ex is a different story.

“P” started to give my son more and more items. He was buying him all kinds of things I couldn’t even begin to get him. During the summer my son turned 16. He said my present was the best he ever got. I got him a cell phone and now he would leave the house since he was always afraid he would miss a call.

“P” was still buying him all kinds of things and he did lots for all the tenants and seemed like the kindest, giving man you could ever know. I thought he was great and even my son was beginning to think of him as the father he didn’t think he had. My son and his father just weren’t getting along and that included the live-in girlfriend. Plus “P” was giving him everything under the sun.

Fall was approaching and I had trouble enrolling him in school since he demanded to live with me and I didn’t have custody. He told his father that he wasn’t coming back to live with him and if he tried to force  him he would run away and go to court and say he wanted to live with his mom. I wasn’t worried about it anymore since things were going so well where we were and I hardly had to provide food or anything so it wasn’t a burden for me anymore. He finally agreed and signed the papers allowing him to attend school there with me.

We were all settled in and then “P” said that one of the guys that shared his apartment was leaving and he had an extra room. It would be less expensive for me and I would be in the same apartment and we all got along well. That was the final step I thought to happiness. Boy was I mistaken.

He told me if I wanted to make my rent even less expensive he would offer me the same deal as the other guy in the connecting apartment. It was a good deal and so I got the money together and gave it to him and my rent was paid for so many years and he even put it on the receipt. Clueless, told you I was naive, he told me that he was subletting my apartment and I would make the monthly payments and he would pay me back. Turns out he was not the owner of the property. Some of you may see where this is all going.

In the meantime he told the owner that a couple apartments were empty and he was renovating them. Instead he rented them out and kept the money. Now he had all this money and he always was able to look generous, but he was using other people’s money.

Now I have paid him for the downstairs room, the original apartment and he always had an excuse as to why he couldn’t pay me back that month. I was busy running up my credit cards to an astounding amount. He was supposed to buy all the food and cook it. Well he did with all of our money.

Then my son started telling me that when they went to the store he bought an item and took the receipt and snuck back in and got another item of the same kind and returned it with the receipt of the first item. Therefore getting the item for free. I didn’t like my son exposed to that.

The “P” started telling me my son was drinking and lying and sneaking in and out and this didn’t sound like my son, but I let it slide.

“P” and I both had birthdays in the fall close together. He gave me all these wonderful gifts and I was actually happy for one of the rare instances I wasn’t depressed.

When Christmas came up, I actually had a ball shopping for “P”. We got a tree and all new ornaments. It was a wonderful Christmas and I was again very happy. My son was thrilled with everything he got.

Next thing I knew he started to renting out the basement to homeless people and taking advantage of them. He provided them with meals so we cooked larger amounts. I turned my head to all of this. I didn’t know what to do.

He started staying away. I had to now buy all the food for all of us and the renters downstairs and cook it. I didn’t have the money to provide the kind of meals he was always making.

He was a nurse and changed jobs alot. He did private duty for children who couldn’t do for themselves.

April he started cleaning all his paperwork out. I didn’t think anything of it. I was cleaning mine as well. About a week later he says to me I have a new job and I start tonight. He went out, came home and told me he had had an accident and the guy wouldn’t report it if he paid him several hundred dollars in cash and could I please lend it to him. So I gave him what I had and he left for work.

Stay tuned for part 3

Tessa

The Con Man and Me… (non-fiction) – Part 1


Now this is either going to be a very long story or one I have to break up in pieces.  This was a stressful situation even at the beginning. I hate admitting I was fooled by a con man, but I am naive and shit happens.

During our separation my ex-husband and I had to stay in the same house. We couldn’t afford two places. We couldn’t afford lawyers and went to a do-it-yourself company that takes your filled out questionnaires and then types up all the legal papers and tells you what to do. All you pay is the typing fee and the court’s fees. My ex demanded custody of our son who was 12. Our 2 girls were adults by then.

I didn’t think that was unreasonable because I thought a son should be with his father and I couldn’t afford to support even myself which scared the living daylights out of me. He even said he wouldn’t demand child support. Good on that because I didn’t make much and he made over twice what I did.

I found out later when he nastily told me that if I had said no then he was going to court and tell them I was crazy (my Bipolar Disorder was bad at the time) and demand custody of his son.

This came from someone with violent rages. However I was the only one who had been to a Psychiatrist and on medication. He told me I embarrassed him.

I had visitation rights of course and I had him every other weekend and most of the summer. He has to move far away so we had to meet halfway between us. By this time my oldest daughter and I had found a duplex to rent together and so we only spent about 2 months after the divorce living all together in one house. We finally had to make the break. We only had 2 bedrooms so my son had to sleep on the couch.

After a few years my daughter wanted to live there with her boyfriend and I had to move out. I had no idea how this was going to work because I still made very little and had no one to share with anymore. I went to work at a job I recently had returned to and at lunchtime someone stopped by and asked if I had found anywhere yet. I said no not yet and someone listening to our conversation said he knew of a place near by work. He gave me the contact information and I called and was told to come over. I took my daughter with me.

Now it was the attic apartment in this huge old Victorian house. There were 8 or so apartments in there. There were actually 2 in the attic. The apartment had one bedroom and was very tiny, but the rent for this town is outrageous so I was surprised how low it was. Still more than I really could afford, but I wasn’t going to find better and I was working 2 jobs, had been since we moved into the duplex on our own. The bad thing was that it was 3 floors up. As I said the house was huge.

My daughter and I discussed it and I ended up putting in a deposit. We set the time of the move with the guy because he said he wanted to be there when I moved in.

The day arrived and my daughter, her boyfriend and a couple of his friends with a mover’s truck and experience loaded me up and we headed over at the appointed time.  The landlord wasn’t there and we were blocking a single lane street so we just started moving things in. Good thing these guys were movers because getting it up all the stairs that wound around each floor and the smaller ones leading to the two top apartments would have been impossible for the average person without experience. The landlord was fussing about not being there, but he was the one that set the time and we also had to get the truck back.

Now I had a small apartment with boxes stuffed everywhere. So was the furniture. I moved things around, but it was tight. The landlord gave me some shelves in a closet to put some of the extra boxes of stuff I didn’t need. And then he re-arranged my furniture and the place looked bigger. Turned out he was gay and that was one of his specialties. Worked well for me.

I had told him about my son and that he would be staying occasionally and I was afraid that would be a problem with a one bedroom apartment, but he said it didn’t matter to him.

We started seeing each other every day. He encouraged my son when he visited and gave him money for doing side jobs. By the time summer came we were all close and did a lot like a family would except he and I weren’t sexually active since I was the wrong sex. People thought we were a family around town. He said since it was so tight upstairs that he had an extra room in his apartment my son could stay in. Things seemed ok and it was the same building just 2 floors down. So I agreed.

I am going to stop this here because this is getting long. Watch for Part 2.

Tessa