Secret Recipe

Page 73… in a fiction series

Miranda brushed herself off and headed straight for the kitchen. There was a recipe box in the pantry under the stairs. She took it from the shelf, looked inside, and held it close to her chest. She breathed a sigh of relief, poured a tall glass of iced tea, and carried the box to the dining room.

Without waisting a minute, she emptied the box and spread the contents around on the table, a puzzle waiting to be solved. Some of the pieces were special and brought back nice memories, while others she couldn’t remember at all. She sifted through the cards and saw there was hope. Where Miranda’s lawn and landscape nightmare ended, a new world of possibilities began.

Of course, there were no recipes in the box– this adventure was not about cooking. Miranda picked up a card, turned it over, and read it out loud.

Kenneth Mann
Maple Point Amusement Park
Landscape Architect

She picked up another.

Russell Frayne
American Airlines

She recalled that he was very handsome and spoke with an accent.  She slid that card to the right, away from the others.

The next one…

Martin Sheets
Sheets Memorials and Monuments
Family owned since 1968

He handed her his card at Jack’s Steakhouse in Charlevoix. Even though Miranda didn’t actually remember him, she recalled that he lived in one of the most impressive cottages on the lake.  He was single, successful, and rumoured to be alot of fun.  She placed the card next to Captain Frayne.

There must have been 50 business cards in front of her, all from men she’d met along the way, some on jobs with Tiller, others in bars at night. They’d say things like, “Call me sometime when you’re in town,” or ”Maybe we can do lunch.”  She was enjoying a walk down memory lane.

At last, the pieces were starting to fall into place! She would arrange the cards in priority order, choose the top 30, then go on a date with each one– 30 dates in 30 days. This would provide a nice variety of men for her to meet, and when all the dates were finished, she would pick the best one to be her husband.  Everything was going to be alright.

Miranda heard the rumble of a motorcycle.  This always meant something good was about to happen.  She was still seated at the table when Drew let himself in.  He had a bag of Chinese carry out and a coconut cream pie.  He leaned over, kissed her neck, and went into the kitchen for some plates.  Miranda got goosebumps and shivered.  Was it the General Tsao’s Chicken?  Or the way his skin smelled after a long ride down Lakeshore Drive?  She wondered…

By this time the cards were arranged into two neat piles– those that made the cut, and those that did not.  There were still a few loose ends, but she was happy with her work so far.  And she was starving, happy to take a break for some dinner.

“So what are you workin’ on over here, Kitten?  Looks like a big project.”

More goosebumps.  She melted like butter when he called her that.  Why did carry out with Drew taste better than any dinner at a five star restaurant?  For all the years she spent married and trying so hard to be perfect, Miranda wondered why it was so easy to be with him.

“I’m guessing by the big ball of twine in the front yard that things didn’t go so well earlier?”  He wrapped his arms around her then stopped.  She had regained her focus. Miranda held up one finger, indicating that she needed just a moment. “Do you recognize the name, D.W. Manos?  I don’t recall ever meeting him.”

Drew picked up the card, looked at both sides, but there was only a name, a P.O. box, a Miama address.  ”Miranda, what is all this stuff? What’s going on here?”

“You can pitch all of these if you want,” she said, handing him some cards that didn’t make the cut.

Drew really liked Miranda, more than he let on.  He wasn’t sure what she was planning, but something seemed very wrong. Drew took her hands from the table, squeezed them tight in his own. “Why don’t you take a break from your project. Let’s have some dinner and you can tell me all about it.”


To be Continued…

*This story is based on some true events, however, has been fictionalized and all persons appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.


© 2012, Shoes for an Imaginary Life. All rights reserved.

Posted in Uncategorized | 13 Comments

If you don’t like it, change it

Courtesy Notice

This is a courtesy notice from the City of Petoskey, Michigan, to inform you that your grass has exceeded the maximum height of 8 inches established by City Ordinance Section 11-1996. Please comply within 7 days to avoid a $50 fine.


James R. Lipman (no relation)
Petoskey City Manager


It was late on a rainy Monday when Miranda came home from the bars. On her way in she noticed a catalog soaking wet on her porch–  Nordstrom Summer Collection, great clothes, very expensive, very depressing. She had avoided her mailbox for days, knowing that there would be many bills and only one unemployment check to cover them.

She dropped the stack of mail on the dining room table, ate two stacks of Oreo cookies, and flipped through the envelopes.  That’s when she spotted the one marked “City of Petoskey”.  She stumbled toward the stairs, fell off her shoes, and slowly climbed her way to drunken oblivion.

The next day, fighting a migraine, she slipped on dark glasses, grabbed a ruler from the kitchen drawer, and indignantly marched out to the front yard.  It was 11:00 a.m. and her neighbor, 80-year-old Eunice Balthasar, was already hard at work in her yellow kitchen apron, tending to her plants, whistling a happy tune.  Miranda’s grass was up to her knees.

“This is an outrage, man’s work!” she cried.  The sight of her tall grass and weeds took her back to the days when a lawn and landscape crew tended to the work while she sipped lemonade on the porch swing with Harry.  But those days were gone and she didn’t have 50-bucks to pay the city.  She hated asking for help.  Calling Drew to rescue her (again) was out of the question.

An hour later, sweated through her cut-off shorts and Michigan State t-shirt, the grass was mowed and Miranda felt a small sense of accomplishment in spite of it all.  She returned the old mower to the shed, picked up the Black and Decker weed eater her dad gave her for Christmas– Model ST1000, the one that  claims to make ”maintenance trimming a breeze”.   

Miranda plugged in the cord, walked toward the fence that bordered the south side of her property, and flipped the switch.   No sound.  She was, after all, an experienced trouble shooter from her days aboard the old boat.  A  simple lawn tool was not going to get the best of her.   She unplugged the unit and turned the ST1000 upside down to take a look.  She pushed on the string cartridge, heard a click, and with the velocity of a whirling dervish, the twine released itself, encasing her with an angry snap. 

Mrs. Balthasar turned away from her work to see Miranda wildly flinging her arms this way and that, only making her confinement worse. She called across the yard, “Need a hand, Miranda? I’ve threaded plenty of weed eaters in my day.   I’ll just grab my pruning sheers so we can cut you out of that mess.”

Miranda, still flailing, was fuming. Her life had taken a dreadful turn for the worse (though she couldn’t imagine why), and now she was a prisoner of her own making, a Black and Decker captive, a fool in her own front yard. 

Then she remembered a list of wise sayings that Drew had taped to his refrigerator.  There was one that said, “If you don’t like it, change it.”  And that gave Miranda an idea… 

“No thanks, Mrs. Balthasar. I won’t be needing any advice or help with weed eaters ever again.  In fact, this is the last time you will see me out here mowing, trimming, or otherwise.”  Mrs. Balthasar cocked her head, wondering if she heard right.

“From now on I will be devoting my time to something worthwhile, something I’m actually very good at.  I’m going out to find a rich husband who will pay a man to take care of my yard so I won’t have to.”

Calling Drew on that fateful day would have made all the difference.


To be Continued…

*This story is based on some true events, however, has been fictionalized and all persons appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

© 2012, Shoes for an Imaginary Life. All rights reserved.

Posted in Miranda's Imaginary Life | 21 Comments

Side effects

 Page 71… in a fiction series

Headache… agitation… nausea… vomiting…

Miranda was soaking in the tub contemplating the side effects of her new medication, her favorite recording of Brahms: Sonata for Cello and Piano # 2 in F, playing softly.

… insomnia… weight gain… drooling… acne…

Even though she didn’t think her recent bipolar episode was all that bad, her doctor thought otherwise and prescribed a new drug.

… anxiety… vertigo… suicidal thoughts… and priapism (guys only, but still).

And oh yes, under certain circumstances the drug will kill you.  Sweet.

She slid down into the water, admiring her red painted toenails through a mountain of Mr. Bubble.  While the alcohol-related nausea and vomiting had finally passed, she had mixed feelings about any medication that was almost guaranteed to make her look and feel worse–  as if drooling was going to make her feel better. 

It had been almost two weeks since Drew brought her home from Detroit– sick, severed, and broken.  He stayed a few days, encouraged her, held her hand, and brought her endless bottles of slimy green Gatorade, just as the paramedics ordered. But in spite of her feelings for him, Miranda wanted everyone to go home.  She appreciated his concern, but valued her privacy more.  In the same way, she assured her mom that she was doing much better, that she would call everyday to check in.  When alcoholics are backed into a corner or confronted with their behavior, they isolate.  That’s just the way it is.

The medication made it hard to concentrate.  Replaying the days and nights that she disappeared into Detroit’s dark underworld, Miranda was more curious than ashamed.  Her strange vision of her old drinking buddies at Tommy’s Gotcha, the men who were dressed like pirates that night, was disturbing–  Ramano, Lipman, and the man in the navy blue blazer.  Wait– didn’t he give her something?  Her memory was slow and her thoughts were staggered.  So much alcohol…  she could only imagine.

Miranda stepped out of the tub, wrapped herself in a fluffy white towel.  The face in the mirror  was so pale and thin, and her eyes were rimmed with dark circles. No wonder her mom looked so worried.  For the first time she was starting to see how her drinking was taking its toll.  She looked older than her years and feared that no amount of vanity or magic face potions could repair the damage.  Even so, it was time to go out and look for another job.

While it hurt Tiller to let her go, she understood company policy and the documents she signed the day she was hired.  The nature of her work called for exemplary behavior on the job and off.  Miranda represented Special Services and she had done it poorly. Even though she was sure her boss knew about her binge, (Tiller was omnipresent, nothing got past him), she felt his sadness when he shook her hand and patted her shoulder goodbye.  She choked back tears, knowing how much she would miss him and the work she did for the firm.  She felt very alone. 

Miranda pulled on a t-shirt, put on some red lipstick, and headed down the steps for the door.   Losing her job was a devastating consequence of her bad behavior.  But it was nothing compared to the aftermath that was yet to come.

To be continued…

*This story is based on some true events, however, has been fictionalized and all persons appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.


© 2012, Shoes for an Imaginary Life. All rights reserved.

Posted in Miranda's Imaginary Life | 16 Comments

Truth or consequences

Page 70… in a fiction series

The man standing over her had a serious expression.  The couch she was resting on felt familiar.  Miranda recognized the squeeze of a blood pressure cuff and a stethoscope pressed to her chest.  She saw an IV bag hanging  over her, but felt nothing. 

“Miranda, can you tell me what day it is?  Who is the president, Miranda, do you know?  What year is this?  Miranda , wake up!  You have to stay awake now…”

She opened her eyes again.  The light in the living room was blinding.  It was giving her a headache.  She squinted and saw her dining room, red as ever.  She was at home?  Then, another surge in her gut, face wet with sweat, and grime, and whatever else her sordid adventure had left behind.  More dry heaves.  She wondered if she was dying.  From the look of her dress, she had vomited all the way back home. 

Miranda saw her mom sitting beside her, holding her hand and looking distraught.  Three paramedics in matching shirts hovered, as they checked vital signs and called out the numbers.  And Drew, exhausted from the ordeal, was very concerned. There were still certain parts of her life she needed to keep secret, even from him.  Would the oxygen mask hide her tears?  She wondered.  Where did he find her?  If he picked her up at Castle Rouge she could never face him again.   

Worse yet, Miranda wondered how her mom found out she was gone, how much she knew, and who ratted her out.  She had always done an impeccable job concealing her alcoholism from her family.  Not  lying, exactly– just protecting. 

When her parents visited her on the boat before winter came, they looked worried, gave her some money.  Her dad said she could come home, back to the bedroom with the purple furry bedspread and Partridge Family posters on the closet doors.  She reassured them, said she was fine.  Now she would have some explaining to do.  Even so, she was comforted and grateful to see her mom there.  Miranda’s lips were dry.  She tried to speak, pulled off the oxygen mask.

“How long was I gone?”

“We can talk about that later,” said Drew in a calming voice.  “The most important thing now is to make sure you get plenty of rest, give your body a chance to recover.”  Miranda didn’t want to talk about it later.  In fact, she decided she didn’t want to talk about it at all.  “I’ll stay with you till you’re better.”    

“She’s dehydrated from all the alcohol and vomiting, ” said the paramedic in charge.  “She’ll be fine as long as you keep an eye one her, get her to drink plenty of fluids.  Any change, call us right away .”

“Alcohol poisoning can be pretty bad, sometimes even fatal,”  said the one with the stethoscope.  Evidently, Miranda collapsed when she stumbled out of Drew’s truck and he walked her toward the front door.  He acted quickly, called EMS.  She was secretly glad he drove to Detroit to find her. 

The paramedic in charge said her heart rate was back to normal, her temperature was fine, and the color had returned to her face.  Wonderful news for those who wanted her alive, a disappointment for those who would prefer otherwise.  Even though she was blanketed by a heavy drunken fog, she knew the carnage would be vast.  And as for Tiller, she couldn’t even bear to think about the damage she’d done.

How could a pretty girl in a black leather dress be so sick and so ugly?

To be continued…

*This story is based on some true events, however, has been fictionalized and all persons appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. 


© 2012, Shoes for an Imaginary Life. All rights reserved.

Posted in Miranda's Imaginary Life | 26 Comments

An orchid fades


Life is special
life is fun
see Miranda
on the run
shooting pool
in bars at night,
sees a hussy
picks a fight.

Taverns give her
drinks for free,
keep her there
and you will see
the pirates gather
circling near,
drunk Miranda
has no fear.

Lips of ruby
brush the glass
drinking whiskey
warms her fast.

Judgement drifting
shifting sands,
draw her into
pirate hands.

“Pour another round,”
says he,
“and come back to
my ship with me.”

An angry God,
a frosty glance
to honor him
she stands no chance.

When morning comes
with bleary eyes
she cries alone
her choice unwise.

The carousel goes
round and round,
her pirate world
is going down
faster than the
drink she craves,
by 5 o’clock
she finds her way
into another
place of shame,
Miranda’s here
let’s play the game.

Can such a girl
reclaim her youth?
an orchid fades,
belies the truth
and turns to face
the pages past,
but time is gone
the spell’s been cast.

Gangplank waiting
spirit bound
true forgiveness
nowhere found,
her lonely nights
in all despair
she hopes that God
is waiting there.

Now I lay me
down to sleep
if God is real
I hope he’ll keep
his eyes on me
all thru the night
where evil reigns
and dark is light.


To be continued…

*This story is based on some true events, however, has been fictionalized and all persons appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

© 2012, Shoes for an Imaginary Life. All rights reserved.

Posted in Uncategorized | 18 Comments

The cage

Page 68… in a fiction series

It wasn’t the cab, it wasn’t the alcohol, and it wasn’t Miranda’s own desire that took her to Castle Rouge that dark night. A simultaneous race toward pain and pleasure, excitement and doom, was fueled by a condition far out of her control. A bipolar mixed state was cast upon her, leaving her helpless and in despair. Miranda was too detached from her world that night to fear its outcome.

Her shiny things no longer mattered, her diamonds nor her furs. All the money she spent with abandon over the past twenty years shattered like glass at her feet, her pretty black shoes now facing the end. With her head swimming in impulsive thoughts, now reaching deeper into the dark places, Miranda took her first look around Castle Rouge.  It would be the most disturbing part of her journey.

Miranda turned toward the man seated beside her at the bar.  He wore a black vest, no shirt, and leather motorcycle gloves.  In a way he looked like Drew– or was it her troubled mind wishing he was there beside her, protecting her from what might happen.  She looked at the man for a moment, but couldn’t be sure.

A cage door slammed shut, she heard a girl scream.  Was it her own voice?  Was she imprisoned? Some sort of trouble?

A man dressed like a pirate with a shiny steel hook walk past her, his date much younger and very pretty was his wench.  Her feathered mask covered her the way her velvet bustier did not.  It was Charlie Fine, the pirate who stole her away from Harry.  But was it?  His unmistakable red wirey hair was missing, and his eyes never met her own.  Perhaps she was mistaken…

Miranda was seeing color where there was none.  She looked past the horizon, through the faces and costumes of the crowd.  A cold wind embraced her and swept her away, back to Tommy’s Gotcha, her favorite Traverse City bar.  She was shocked to find that her old friends were really pirates, too… men to be shunned, evil dancing all around them.  

Vince the cowboy was no cowboy at all.  His loyal sidekick, Lester, mumbled in the dark beside him.  Attorney Joe Ramano was carefully folding a black pirate flag, and Miranda’s nemesis, Neil Lipman, was passed out cold, a puddle of urine under his chair.  The man in the navy blue blazer wore a patch on one eye.  She saw a pile of gold doubloons– beautiful shiny coins– stacked in front of him.  He studied her, said her name, and handed her something.  Miranda felt a chill.

Another scream!  She was afraid now.  Was someone hurting her?  Was that her own voice?  She wondered, but couldn’t be sure.

Miranda knew that hallucinations and delusions sometimes accompanied a bipolar mixed state.  But she was certain she wasn’t that far gone.  Part of her knew that this decadent place called Castle Rough was wrong for her, but a perpetual euphoria told her to remain.

“There is no escaping, Miranda… stay here… join in the fun.”  The Castle whispered her name in a voice that was deep and foreboding.  A strong, stone arm reached out, pulling her close.  ”What are you drinking?  Can I get you another?  This is the right place for you, Miranda… come to the party and play with me.” 

The voice calmed the mania raging  inside her.  Prehaps he was just another pirate… or maybe Castle Rouge was calling her, eager to show her the way .  The man in the long black cloak nodded in agreement.  So Miranda stayed, her pretty dress transformed into soft black leather.  If felt good against her skin.  She had joined the costume ball.

The girl in the cage reached out and touched her, a soft hand beckoning Miranda to open the door.  Another hallucination?  A girl who needed help?  She looked for the man in the leather vest, the one who reminded her of Drew.  Without his strength and wisdom to guide her, Miranda wondered closer.  Maybe the girl locked inside was really her. 

To be continued…

*This story is based on some true events, however, has been fictionalized and all persons appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.


© 2012, Shoes for an Imaginary Life. All rights reserved.

Posted in Miranda's Imaginary Life | 16 Comments

North by Northwest

Page 67… in a fiction series

Drew Becker took a deep breath, tried Miranda’s cell phone again, trading his appetite for pizza with fear.  Judging by the number of empty bottles around the house, she would not be picking up her phone, and had no intention of being found that night.  Since the day they first met over a beer at Jack’s Steakhouse, they had become good friends.  And as far as that big dramatic kiss on the dock, Drew wasn’t faking.  He had been wanting to do that for a long time.

When Miranda bought her house in Petoskey, Drew came to see her often.  They ate their way through mountains of Oreo’s and watched Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest till they knew every line.  In the scene where the train enters the tunnel, Drew laughs hysterically, Miranda blushes.  For a guy on a motorcycle, he had a strange affect on her.

Even though Drew was nothing like Harry, with his British charm and bank accounts, she just enjoyed being with him.  Like a frisky Saint Bernard puppy, he chased her ’round and ’round, nipping at her ears till she was ready to play.  He was too big to tame and too cute to scold.  But when he visited Miranda in her dreams at night, she was always glad to see him.  

Drew Becker lived alone above an old boathouse on Lake Charleviox where he repaired boats by day, and wrote poetry by night.  In spite of the leather jacket, rough hands, and chrome pipes, he was sensative and strong–  a great catch for a girl who didn’t need lots of shiny things and diamonds to hold her interest.  Miranda hoped he would meet a nice girl someday, somebody special.

Since he didn’t have a yacht or a summer home in Maine, Drew relied on substance and grit.  He made her laugh, made her think,  made her cry.  Not on purpose, of course.  But sometimes their long talks carried her back to places she’s rather not go.  All the years of drinking had stolen away her emotions– she didn’t even know it.  Till now, her past played out in her mind like a fiction novel, not a story of her own.  Drew asked the tough questions.  By telling him the truth she was forced to be honest with herself.  

One night, curled up like a kitten against his broad chest,  those emotions found safe harbor and began to overflow.  It had been a long time since Miranda let anyone truly see her.  Though their relationship was strictly platonic,  Miranda secretly wondered if she was falling in love with him, a silly notion considering where their lives had been, and where the future would likely take them.

But now, with Miranda alone in Detroit, probably manic, possibly in danger, time was of the essence.  Drew was 300 miles away, north by northwest of the city, and had no idea where to find her.  He wrote down the number on the answering machine and dialed.  When Miranda’s mother picked up, he had no idea what he should say.

  To be continued…

*This story is based on some true events, however, has been fictionalized and all persons appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.


© 2012, Shoes for an Imaginary Life. All rights reserved.

Posted in Miranda's Imaginary Life | 12 Comments

Castle Rouge

Page 66…. in a fiction series

From the sidewalk Miranda saw fire in the distance, the flaming stacks of the Ford River Rouge plant. The plumes rose high above the Detroit River and lit up the sky like demons in flight. She watched as the silhouettes of tired workers walked to and fro, their loads of iron, limestone, and coal feeding the furnaces, their fat bellies gorging in the night. Even though the towers hadn’t been active in years, the dellusion seduced her.

The furnace throats screamed with laughter, sending their flames even higher. She stood at the entrance to Castle Rouge, a place far more daunting than her law office pals let on. The portico, of sorts, was a remnant from an ancient warehouse abandoned long ago, the door of steel painted red with no window. The building was bordered by empty row houses along a dusty road, the kind of neighborhood where if someone screamed, no one would hear.   

Like the flames on the river, Castle Rouge had a strange appeal. It fueled Miranda’s racing mind, the roaring furnace inside her. With her gaze fixed upon the flaming mirage, the man in the velvet cloak disappeared, leaving her alone on the sidewalk.  An unusual smell lingering behind him.

Miranda’s judgement smoldered in the ashes, a dog barked in the distance. On the sidewalk a man on a leash approached on all fours. He wore a rubber mask in the likeness of Bill Clinton and little else. An attractive woman with raven hair held the other end. The couple seemed at ease with their shocking appearance. The female opened the door, admonishing her pet to wait behind her. Miranda took a deep breath, a foolish chance, and followed them in..

Even before her eyes adjusted to the dark, she found her way to the bar, an instinctive behavior learned over time. She might have prayed, that might have helped, but manic people, or worse yet, people segueing into a mixed state, just don’t do that. They just don’t.

She might have called someone who cared for her, even under these shameful circumstances.  Her parents would have helped, but that was out of the question.  She had them fooled long ago.  There was Tiller, but he would have been so disappointed.  And of course there was Drew Becker, her one true friend, the only person she really trusted.  Maybe she would tell him about this place someday, but not tonight.  She left her cell phone in her hotel room on purpose.

With all sources of hope left behind– the fever of Castle Rouge, dark and ghastly, took her away.  The man in the mask drank beer from a water bowl.  Miranda asked for a double to soften the way.

To be continued…

*This story is based on some true events, however, has been fictionalized and all persons appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

© 2012, Shoes for an Imaginary Life. All rights reserved.

Posted in Miranda's Imaginary Life | 21 Comments

Drew Becker

Page 65… in a fiction series

From the sidewalk in front of Miranda’s house in Petoskey, Drew Becker stood with a large pizza and a bag of Oreo cookies wondering why the place was so dark.  Of course it was late, and maybe she was tired, but their Friday night pizza date had become something they both looked forward to. 

Miranda had just picked up six dining room chairs at a thrift store in Alanson… European antiques so beautiful, it was worth stripping them down to the bare wood and starting over.  It was supposed to rain all weekend.  He figured they’d come up with a plan tonight, and in the morning get started.

He got out his key, let himself in, and turned on the kitchen light.  He knew she was working in Detroit, but she would have called if she decided to stay through the weekend.  Drew was starving.  With a slice of pizza in one hand, he took a can of Coke from the fridge, and sat down at the table to think.  Two things stood out right away.  One, the light on her answering machine was blinking, and two, her orchids on the kitchen windowsill were almost dead.  These observations were equally disturbing. 

Drew wondered if she was drinking again.  He tried to be there for her when Harry died, but Miranda grew distant and cold, as if the two of them weren’t even friends.  It’s not like they were dating or anything, at least not in an official way.  But the Friday night pizza routine was one they both enjoyed, and their big “kiss scene” on the dock at the Charlevoix Boat Basin was one he’d never forget.

Drew took another bite, turned on the light in Miranda’s red dining room.  The room was a mess.  There were old newspapers, half-eaten Eggo waffles, laundry not folded, and a pile of unopened mail.  This was way out of character.  Something was wrong.

He wasn’t entirely comfortable being in her house alone.  While they were great friends and had alot of fun together, he had only been in her bedroom once, and that was to break the seal on a window that had been painted shut long ago.  He turned on lights as he went through the house, noting empty liquor bottles everywhere.  His long legs climbed the stairs two at a time, and when he reached the top he was shocked by what he saw. 

For all her bragging about the big closet and all her pretty things, the second floor of the bungalow looked like a crime scene.  Clothes were tossed on the floor, even her good suits for work were off the hangers and wrinkled.  Drawers were left open.  Pretty underwear was left on the dresser–Drew looked away.

He never planned on mentioning this to Miranda, and it may mean the end of their friendship, but while she was getting settled in the house, he went to use the bathroom and saw pills… a lot of prescription bottles… in the medicine cabinet.  Drew was more than a master craftsman.  He was good at computers, quickly researched the drugs, and found out what they were for.  Miranda could be in great danger. 

What he did next was overstepping the boundaries of their friendship.  He ran back downstairs, pressed play, and listened to the message.  Drew called the number.

To be continued…

*This story is based on some true events, however, has been fictionalized and all persons appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

© 2012, Shoes for an Imaginary Life. All rights reserved.

Posted in Miranda's Imaginary Life | 11 Comments


Page 64… in a fiction series

Author’s note: A bipolar manic episode is bad. A bipolar mixed state is worse. The loss of Harry Stowe, Miranda’s one true love, combined with an already unstable mood, sets the stage for a devastating condition that combines the worst symptoms of both mania and depression occurring simultaneously. Impulsiveness, poor judgement, and suicidal ideation, characterize a mixed state. Morbid thoughts, pressured speech, and substance abuse also can occur. Miranda is sick, so please don’t judge her for what happens next.

Emerson James Tiller, while always the consummate professional, hurt deeply for Miranda. He said she should take as much time as she needed, take on less responsibility, or maybe work closer to home.  But Miranda needed to get away…  away from her little house where she last heard Harry’s voice, Harry’s smile.  She wanted to be a safe distance from the office, where her coworkers wouldn’t see her crumble.

Tiller didn’t know she was an alcoholic, about the chaos and trouble that followed her everywhere when she was drunk. The last thing she wanted was to cost Special Services an important job, and at the same time, she didn’t want Tiller to see her real, damaged self. She thanked him for his kindness and asked for her next assignment. 

Miranda was given the relatively easy task of overseeing a security install at a law firm in downtown Detroit. It was Friday and she was too tired to make the long drive home.  Her hopes of being with Harry again were gone, stolen by a drunk driver on Mallard Point Drive. She wished that the knives of her imagination had been real, that she would be relieved of her suffering.

She was staying at the luxurious Atheneum hotel, a place she frequented with Harry when they were in town.  She liked the dramatic entrance, bordered by imposing Greek gods done in life-size stone relief. They fueled her dark mood.  She made the reservation not realizing that the memory would only sharpen her grief.

The lawyers in the firm were bright and flirtatious, and they always invited Miranda to join them for lunch.  One day, they were talking about a club they liked to frequent. A handsome young preppy type said, “Yeah, but Miranda wouldn’t like a place like that. She’s too conservative and shy.” 

The preppy laughed, the others joined in.  She was not in the mood for their teasing. Her navy blue suit was conservative, but it belied her true nature, especially now that she was under the influence of the most dangerous bipolar condition of all.

She started the evening with a double McCallum at the hotel bar, then another. The alcohol brought a warm familiar rush that begged for more. She passed through the entrance way, asked the doorman to hail a cab. She told the driver where to go.  When he questioned her, she told him firmly to take her there.

When Miranda arrived at her destination, the driver said, “Are you sure this is where you want to be, Miss? Maybe I’ll wait out here for just a minute, no charge, in case you change your mind.”  She dismissed his kindness, paid him, and waved him on.

She stepped out of the cab, tripped up the curb, stepped out of her shoe, and was caught by a man in a long velvet cloak. Normally, this would have troubled her.  That kind of contact with a stranger was out of her comfort zone.  But the scotch reassured her that he could be trusted. Miranda’s troubled mind, Harry’s fatal crash, and her declining sense of judgement would be her downfall. She heard the mania hissing, beckoning her to go in.

To be continued…

*This story is based on some true events, however, has been fictionalized and all persons appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

© 2012, Shoes for an Imaginary Life. All rights reserved.

Posted in Miranda's Imaginary Life | 14 Comments