The Pulse in her Pants

This sounds like a brilliant title for an erotic novel, not the story of a near death experience. As it turned out, it was a little of both.

Layce was in the kitchen wearing nothing but her apron. Okay, okay, she also had pants and a shirt on. She was rummaging around in the cupboard. “Do we have any cough drops? I think I’m coming down with a sore throat.”

“Yes, they’re on the top shelf,” I said, pointing because I can’t see or reach the top shelf in our kitchen without a step stool which we don’t have so I just point when I need something up there. She located the cough drops and popped one in.

Emma came racing through the front door. “I ran all the way home from school.”

“Are you in training?” I asked, pouring myself a cup of coffee.

“No, I just get bored walking. It’s slow and slow things are boring. Think of sloths. I’ve been watching them on Youtube. Hold on,” she said, and disappeared into her room.

“Is this going somewhere?” I asked.

“Yes, I think we’re going to get a lesson in sloths,” Layce said, the cough drop clicking against her teeth.

“Maybe I should pull up the Webster’s definition of sloth so I can add to the discussion and lead it around to the fact that having a messy room is a prime example of slothing.”

“I don’t think that’s a word.”

“It should be. Slothing as pertains to the rooms of certain teenage humans who will do just about anything not to clean their rooms. That would be my definition.”

“Yes, it would.”

Emma returned with her Kindle. “You’ve got to see this video about the flying sloth. Hold on while I find it.”

I usually try to sneak out of the room at this point so as not to be barraged by thirteen-year-old humor that I do not understand. It was a fortuitous thing that I didn’t.

“I have a pulse in my pants,” Emma said.

My head whipped around. Had our little girl just had a sexual awakening and experienced her first quivering of adolescent lust?

There was a gasping noise. Layce had swallowed her cough drop and was making death rattles in her throat. She did the universal signal for choking – clawing at her own throat. Emma, who has been trained in CPR and the Heimlich, was right on it. She gave her mother a good whack on the back. The cough drop became a projectile missile aimed right at me. I ducked and narrowly avoided losing an eye.

When Layce could speak again, she asked the question on both our minds. “A pulse in your pants?”

“Yeah, you know like the one in your neck only it’s in your leg.”

“You mean your femoral artery?” I asked.

“Yeah, when I ran home I could feel it pulsing. It was really neat.”

“Oh,” Layce said.

“It was a good thing you saved your mom because it would have haunted you for the rest of your life knowing that last thing you said to her was ‘Have you ever had a pulse in your pants?’” I said.

I looked over at Layce just in time to see her pluck the cough drop off the back of the sofa and blow on it.

I gasped. “You are not going to put that back in your mouth, are you?”

“Look! Layce said, pointing to Emma’s Kindle. “Is that sloth really flying?”

I looked.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When I turned back to Layce the cough drop was gone and she was smiling slyly. “Is that a pulse in your pants or are you just glad to see me?” she asked with a wink.

“You guys are so gross,” Emma said, slamming her bedroom door behind her.

 

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MTAK final cover_edited-2

 

The Massage

I hurt my back and went to the chiropractor—Dr. Snap-Crackle-Pop.    He asked questions and then had me lay on the table face down.

“So what exactly is wrong back there?” I said.

“You twisted your sacrum.”

“My what?”

“Sacrum.  Your tailbone.  The ligaments have been stretched and that’s why it hurts,” he said.  Snap-crackle-pop.

I groaned and gasped.

“Better?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I said, thinking maybe by tomorrow and after four Aleve it would feel better.

Then he suggested massage therapy.

“Your insurance covers it and I think it will help.”

“More than the snap-crackle-pop?”   I asked.

“In addition to your adjustment,” he corrected me.

He introduced me to his massage therapist.  Her name was Kidole, which I learned later meant “fingers” in Swahili.  She was soft spoken and had a laid back New Age style.

I entered the candle-lit room.  There was soft music playing and it smelled like sandalwood.  She told me to take my clothes off.

“I’m married,” I said.

“That’s nice.  You can leave your panties on but not your bra.”

“How about my socks?”

“If that makes you feel more comfortable.”

“Lay under the sheet and take deep breaths, letting your body relax.” She left the room.

I decided to live large and removed my socks.  I got under the sheet and took deep breaths.

She knocked and came in which was a good thing as I was on the verge of hyperventilating from all the deep breathing.

“Now, relax like a limp doll.”  She started by rubbing my feet with oil.  I instantly regretted not checking to see if I had any sock fuzzies between my toes.  Were my heels in good shape or were they all dry and sand paper like?

“Are you relaxed?”

“Oh, sure.”

Now she was kneading my calves and running her forearm along my hamstrings.

Oh, God, I had shaved my legs the night before but by now I had five o’clock shadow.  How was I supposed to relax with all these hygiene issues floating around my head?

Then she went for my sacrum.   “I call this body work rather than massage.  I’m going to do pressure points.”

“Okay,” I said.

She pressed on my sacrum hard and I thought for sure I was going to fart.  At least there was the sandalwood incense.

“You’re really tight back here.”

“Sorry,” I said.  I couldn’t tell her I was flexing my butt muscles because I was afraid I was going to fart.  Fortunately it passed. She rubbed and pressed and gradually I felt better and now that she’d seen me at my worst – sock fuzzies, five o’clock shadow and potential flatulence – I was all right with this massage thing.

When it was over she said, “I think you should come back in two weeks and we’ll do more work.”

I nodded and made a mental note to shave in the morning, put lotion on my feet, and take a Gas-X before I came, then maybe I would relax and enjoy my next treatment.  As I left I recalled people saying having a massage is wonderful.  Did I miss something?

When I got home, Layce sniffed the air around me.  “You smell like perfume.   Why are you smiling?  Your T-shirt is on wrong side out and where are your socks?  I could have sworn you were wearing socks when you left the house.  Have you been cheating on me?”

“No!  I just got some body work done by a massage therapist.”

“Was there a happy ending involved?” Layce asked.

“No!” I said a little too loudly.  “She just gave me a massage.”

Layce sniffed me up and down.  “Really?  With body oils?  And you took off your clothes?  And you took off your socks?!”

Layce knew that taking off the socks could only mean one thing.  I never take my socks off, unless…

“You’re not going back,” Layce said.

“But my insurance covers it,” I whined.  “And the chiropractor ordered it.”

“I don’t care if God himself ordered it, you are not going back to her.  She’s nothing but a whore,” Layce said.

“Don’t be ridiculous.  She’s a licensed therapist.”

“You’re never going back,” Layce said and meant it.  “Nobody massages your buttocks but me.”

“I was thinking of you the whole time.”  I pulled her into my arms and kneaded her lower back.  “I learned things.  Want me to show you?”

“Only if you take your socks off.”

I didn’t remind her that I wasn’t wearing any.

More Than a Kiss

A new romantic comedy

by Saxon Bennett & Layce Gardner

Available now in ebook and print at Amazon!

 “An awesomely beautiful, funny, quirky, riot of a book!” ~SB

MTAK final cover_edited-2

The Angry Ball

I am a self-confessed worry wart.  I can’t help myself.  Sometimes it turns me into an angry ball that puts the hood up on my hoodie and stares out at the word with distaste and disdain.  This was first brought to my attention (I mean I knew I was a worry wart I just didn’t realized other people knew it too) while watching the movie Identity Theft.  Melissa McCarthy’s character has just stolen Jason Bateman’s identity.  He goes to get gas and his credit card is denied.

Layce looked over at me.  I’d put my hood up and I was scowling.  I had the dog blanket wadded up in my fists.  Darla Sue stared at me intently.  She wanted her blanket back.

“What’s wrong?” Layce asked.

I was so focused on the injustice committed by one human being upon another I didn’t hear her.  “Huh?”

“You look sort of tense.”

“Why do you say that?”

Darla Sue’s blanket had been squeezed into the size of softball and would probably never be the same.

“You’ve got your hood up and you look like an angry ball.”

“I can’t stand when people do this kind of stuff.  Do you know how hard it’s going to be to fix his credit, to convince people that he is not the bad guy?  Look he’s getting arrested for a crime he didn’t commit.  Identity theft is one of my greatest fears.  I worry about it daily.”

Emma came out of her room.  “Are you watching Cube?”

“No, why?” Layce asked.

“Because she looked like that when we watched it and she kept muttering something about the evils of government and how they manipulate people and how she hates the Man.”

“The government does all these creepy things that we can’t even fathom and there’s nothing the average citizens can do about it.  It’s one of my biggest fears that I’ll get snatched unjustly and carried off to some undisclosed location and I’ll never see you guys again.”

angry ball

“I think we’ll stick to comedies from now on.  Do you have any fears or anger issues with those?” Layce inquired.

“No, I’m okay if I’m laughing.  It’s hard to laugh and worry.”

Layce put another movie into the DVR.  It was Neil Simon’s Out-of-Towners.  About twenty minutes into the movie, I looked over and Layce was strangling the sofa pillow.  “Are you okay?” I asked.

“I can’t stand it,” she said.  “Things keep getting worse and worse.  Jack Lemmon lost his wallet and his shoes and they’re stuck in Central Park and they’re going to die!”  Tears actually filled her eyes.

I snapped off the TV.

“Let’s read,” I said.

“Good idea,” she said.

***

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Sixteen Candles (oops I mean 52)

Part one:

I threw another twenty-four pack of birthday candles in the shopping cart.  I did the math because I hadn’t done it the first time which was why I needed another pack of candles.

“I thought you already bought birthday candles,” Layce said as she picked up the ingredients for my birthday cake—red velvet.

“I did,” I said as I studied the picture of the cake on the box.  Who knew it would took fifty years to find the love of my life – Layce, not the cake  - and then to fall madly in love with red velvet cake—something I have never even heard of until I moved south.

“So why do we need more?  We already have two boxes of candles.  I saw them in the drawer,” Layce said.

I didn’t say anything.

“Did Emma use them for an art project?  I told her they were for your cake,” Layce said.  She glanced over at me.  I didn’t meet her eye. “Is there something you’re not telling me?”

I sighed.  “It’s like the hot dog bun thing.  The wieners come in packs of ten but the buns come in packs of eight which means you have to buy two packs of buns in order for everyone to have for with their wiener. Birthday candles come in packs of twenty-four.”

“I don’t understand.  What do wieners and buns have to do with candles?”

I could see I was going to have to spell it out for her.  “The birthday candles come in twenty-four packs.  I have two packs of birthday candles and in order to make 52 how many packs of candles will I need?”  It sounded like one of Emma’s math word problems.

“Oh, I see,” Layce said, as comprehension crossed her face.

Part Two:

“Ouch!” Emma said, sticking her forefinger in her mouth.  “Why didn’t you just buy two of those number candles?”

“Because,” I said, as I torched up the lighter we use to light gas grill, “It’s my birthday and I have earned every one of those candles and I want a f***ing inferno to celebrate them.”

“Maybe next year we could do the number candles,” Layce suggested.  She was using the other grill lighter.

“We’ll never get them all lit in time,” Emma said, trying to light another match.  “They’re already dripping wax on this side of the cake.

cake

“Oh, yea of little faith,” I said, as I got the last candle going.

“Well, make a wish and blow quick,” Layce said.

I made a wish.  I wanted to be rich and famous and have big tits and blond hair.  Not really.  I wished that everyday be filled with love and happiness.  Then I blew.  I put them all out in one enormous breath.

“Damn, I still got it,” I said, strutting around the kitchen.

“Yes, you do,” Layce said, waving the cloud of smoke away from her face.

There was a terrible shrieking noise.  The smoke alarm kicked into gear.

“Wow, that’s never happened before,” I said.

“You never had 52 candles before either,” Layce said.

 

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When to Say When

We stopped to get a soda and a snack at a convenience store.  This is always a delight because we don’t do soda or junk food at the house—only on road trips.  Layce is the financial person in our group meaning she does the debit machine.  I only use cash because I am terrified of foreign debit machines—foreign meaning ones I haven’t used before.  And Emma doesn’t have a debit card yet.

The clerk asked if we wanted a bag.

“No, thanks, we’re fine,” Layce said.

I sighed and stuck my hands in my pockets.  How much longer was I going to keep silent?  Something was going to snap.

Layce glanced over at me.  I looked away.  This was going to take courage.

We gathered up our purchases and got in the car.  I had a crisis in confidence but I had to speak my mind.  “We have to have a talk,” I said.  I took a deep breath.  “I just can’t take it anymore.”  Now I had Emma’s attention.  She leaned in from the back seat.

“What’s wrong?” Layce asked.  She looked over at Emma who stared back.

I studied them.  I felt sad, but it had to be done.  I shook my head.  “My needs aren’t being met and I can’t keep living like this.”

“Are you leaving us?” Emma said.  She looked a little panicked.

“No!  Of course not.  But things have got to change.”

“What have I done?” Layce asked.  Her hands gripped the steering wheel.  She hadn’t started the car yet.  I didn’t want her driving while we were having a crisis.

“We need the bag.  The clerk always asks if you want a bag and you always say no.  You’re all cavalier like we don’t need a bag, we’re big, strong people who don’t need bags.  Well, we need the bag.  We have all these wrappers and empty soda bottles and nowhere to put them because you are always being all nah, we don’t need no stinkin’ bag.  Bags are for pussies.” I paused for dramatic effect.  “We need the bag.”

They stared at me.  Christ-on-bike, it wasn’t like I was asking for the Second Coming.  I just wanted a bag to put the trash in.  “I just can’t handle having unrestrained trash in the car.  It that too much to ask?  I need containment.”

“Okay,” they said in tandem.  Emma leapt out of the car.

“Where are you going?” I yelled.

“To get a bag,” she said.

“You scared me,” Layce said.  “I thought it was something really big.”

“It is big.”

“Well, of course, it’s big.  I mean unrestrained trash is a serious global concern and I’m glad you brought it to our attention as a family.”

Emma got back in the car.  “I got two.  One for now and a back-up bag in case of emergency like the store is out of bags or something.”

“Good thinking.”  I opened my dark chocolate Milky Way and put the wrapper in the bag.  I sighed happily.  It was good thing to know when to say when—to air your grievances and give solace to your soul.

“We can go now,” I said, beatifically.  I leaned back and smiled the smile of the victorious.  It was the little things.  They did care and I loved them for it.  With a family like this I could conquer my world.

Heart's Desire Cover_edited-2

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Saxon Bennett and Layce Gardner

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Squeezing Lemons

“I don’t want to look at any more cows. I mean it,” I whined and looked out the window morosely.
“Just chill,” Layce said.
“Don’t drive so fast. You might miss a turn off,” I said. I eyed the horizon looking for a green sign to tell us we can turn around and go home.
“We’re six miles into this. We’re going to Coweta.”
Layce and I had finished our bike ride on the Centennial Trail in Muskogee. We got in the car intent on heading home and somehow we missed the turn off and now we’re headed I don’t know where.
“Where’s Coweta?” I asked.
“It’s Co/wee/ta. Not Co/we/ta.”
“I’m a non-native speaker. I’m allowed to mispronounce names of towns in the middle of all these cows.”
“I’ve said it three times now,” Layce said.
“Whatever.”
We got onto a turn pike. “Oh, my God, we don’t have the Pike pass. Do you have a quarter?”
“Yes,” Layce said calmly.
“What would we do if we didn’t have a quarter?” I asked.
“We’d have to make a run for it.”
“But they have cameras. We’d get a ticket. Are you sure there isn’t a turn off somewhere around here?” I asked. I was getting a bad feeling about this Coweta thing.
Layce gave me a handful of coins. “Why don’t you look through this change and see if there’s any quarters minted before 1967. You can sell them on eBay because they contain real silver.”
I recalled a story about how Layce threw a jar of change out in the backyard and told Emma if she found it all she could keep it. Layce hadn’t counted what was in the so every time Emma brought the money to her Layce would claim there was more. I was getting that same vibe.
We passed the Big Red Barn antique store that also sold soup and sandwiches. “Let’s go look at stuff and get something to eat,” Layce said.
“Okay. Do you know where we are?”
“Of course, we’re near Wagner and Proctor and Tulsa.”
“For sure?” I studied her face for any signs of recalcitrance. I didn’t see any.
We sit down to lunch and have fabulous potato soup and a chicken salad sandwich. I feel at one with the Universe.
“See, this is a make lemonade moment,” Layce said.
“I feel more like I was the squeezed lemon.” My eyes go wide. “Oh, my God, I’m tainted. I touched all those coins and I didn’t wash my hands before I ate.”
“I left the car window open and it rained on them. I’d consider that clean. No one has touched them in a while. I think you’ll be all right.”
“You left the car window open? Do you know how much damage that can do to the interior mechanics of a car door?”
Layce dug in her pocket and came out with a bunch of change. She tossed the coins into the center of the dining room floor. “You go find it, it’s yours,” she said.
I scrambled. This was another make lemonade moment.

Mystically Caving

Last weekend Layce, Emma and I went on another one of our excellent family adventures. We went to Harrison, Arkansas to see the Mystic Caves—a series of caves containing stalagmites and stalactites.
I reviewed all pertinent information about the caves on their website. I realized as I looked at ticket prices that Emma is now 13 so she’s an adult and has to pay full price. There was however a printable three dollar off coupon. This would offset the increase. I ran upstairs to my office to print the coupon.
Layce stared at me as I entered the room. My office is part of the master suite which takes up the entire second floor—it’s an open floor plan and the bathroom is part of the flow.
“You can’t be up here,” Layce said.
“But I need to run off the coupon. It’ll just take a minute.”
“I don’t have a minute. You need to leave, right now.”
“But we have to pay full price for Emma. This will offset the additional expenditure.”
“Go.”
I left but the poop window had closed. I would find this out later.
The cave tour was guided. We trundled down several flights of stairs and saw these amazing rock formations. There were stalactites and mites and ripples and pearls. Emma and I were fascinated. I glanced over at Layce who was intently studying the ceiling.
Then the Orphans of Africa Choir were asked to sing. The orphans were on the tour as well. There was one little girl who kept trying to climb back out of the cave but was always brought back around. I began to wonder if she knew something I didn’t. The singing started and the cave acoustics were astounding. Layce was still staring at the ceiling.
The song came to a high pitched crescendo. A piece of rock fell from the ceiling and clattered to the floor of the cave.
The guy standing next to me said, “What are the chances of a Ugandan Choir singing the OU Boomer Sooner fight song.”
The guide asked if there were any questions. I felt that the guide had been very informative, right down to explaining how difficult it is to change the light bulbs. And I thought the impromptu singing was an additional bonus—I had after all paid full price for Emma’s ticket. I glanced over to see Layce raise her hand.
“Yes?” the guide inquired.
“So what exactly is holding the ceiling up? You said that this cave was made out of a giant sink hole so what’s preventing it exactly from doing it again while we’re standing here. I mean can’t things like sound vibrations trigger the sinking thing?”
Everyone, including the orphans, stared up at the ceiling. There weren’t any beams or steel rods or anything and we were seventy feet underground and there were, according to the brochure, one hundred steps from cave bottom to the exit door. The little rogue orphan girl took one look up and ran up the stairs at full speed. This set off a chain reaction and everybody ran for the exit like it was the running of the bulls.
“What was holding the ceiling up?” I asked the guide once we were safely above ground.
“The cave holds the cave up,” he said blithely. “We have a wonderful gift shop.”
Caving was hard work and we were hungry. We went to the Townsender Café. The food was good and we beat the evening meal rush. There was going to be an Elvis impersonator at the little theater next door which is why the Townsender was packed by the time we finished eating.
Per any excellent adventure I adhere to the rule that one should never pass up a restroom. Emma came with me. I opened the door to the women’s restroom and a voice screeched, “I’m in here!”
“Okay, sorry about that, “I said, hurriedly shutting the door. I turned to Emma who looked alarmed.
“That was the town crazy lady,” Emma said.
“How do you know that?”
“I saw her at her table. She kept looking through her water glass at everybody like it was a crystal ball and she was casting spells.”
I added, “And she doesn’t lock bathroom doors. I suppose she thought I was wearing my infra red goggles and should have sensed her body heat so I knew she was in there.”
The crazy lady glared at us as she exited. I took my turn and left Emma, telling her to lock the door. She rolled her eyes.
I found Layce at the front door talking to Mr. Townsender. He was telling her about how later on the café would open the back deck for drinks and live music after Elvis had left the building. We should stay he said. Between the earring and the madras shirt I had a pretty good suspicion he was PLU (People like Us) and he thought the same of us.
Layce sighed. “We can’t stay.”
I figured she was going to tell him we had Emma and she was underage. I wasn’t expecting what she did say.
“See, we’re introverts. We don’t drink and I haven’t pooped yet today. So I think we’ll just mosey on home now.”
Mr. Townsender cleared his throat. He seemed at a loss.
I saved him. “The food was great. It’s a real nice town.”
“Yes, well, you all have a nice evening,” he said, giving Layce a look that might have said and “I hope you poop soon.” He moved across the room and his brown afro caught a breeze from the open door and his hair fanned out on the sides.
“He kind of looks like an irate cobra when his hair does that,” I said.
“I was thinking he could give the standard poodles a run for their money in the Westminister Dog Show,” Layce replied.
Emma joined us. “Don’t look now, but the Crazy Lady has us under surveillance.” I furtively glanced over and saw a giant eye looking at me through a water glass.
“I think it’s time we hit the road,” I said. “These little towns are nice but they have their issues.”
“We live in a little town,” Emma said.
“Yes, but we understand our issues and your mother’s poop portal only works on home soil. So we best get going.”
“You better not write a blog about this,” Layce said.
“I won’t,” I said, crossing my fingers.