As Lanie strolled along the tree lined pathways that meandered through the urban park, she often imagined living in one of the apartments overlooking the venue. One with a balcony where a wide array of plants in multi-colored pots competed for their place in the sun.

Of course she knew there were times when the goings on in the park might distract from her peace. The solstices, when virgins were offered up in exchange for safe passage between the seasons, would be particularly messy. Better, perhaps, to stay in her current dwelling, where the only inconvenience might be the occasional burglary.

Before I Had a Blog

Before I had a blog I used to just compose weird stuff on Facebook. This piece of silliness showed up in my Facebook memories yesterday. I think perhaps I wrote it the day after Studly Doright had knee replacement surgery. He was being a complete arse, and I was dreaming of greener pastures.

Pretending for grownups part 3: Wine Tasting

I tasted the third wine offering, swished, and spat (spit?) into a bucket and made some noises along the lines of “lovely notes of asparagus and wheat with a charmingly simple nose dusted with peaches and pork rinds,” when a tall handsome stranger caught my eye.

Danged eye, why can’t you stay in the socket where you belong?

He handed it to me in one graceful move. “I couldn’t help but notice you have an incredible set of buds.”

I blushed, until I realized he was talking about my taste buds.

“Which is your favorite wine so far?” He asked.

I pointed boldly to the red, a heady merlot.

“I like a woman who knows what she likes,” he said with a wink.

“Well, I like you.” I smile.

“I like that you know that you like me,” he said.

“I thought you might.”

He sipped the wine. I sipped mine. We sipped. And sipped. And sipped some more, Closing the deal was never my forte, nor his it seemed.

“Are you married?” He finally asked.

“I was. My husband died in an unfortunate knee replacement incident.”

“I happen to have two excellent knees.”

And in that moment I knew he was the one for me.

Peace, people.

The Case of the Missing Mary

I opened up the Christmas closet on Wednesday and started my annual decorating routine. The tree is up and looking all spiffy with baubles old and new adorning its branches. Best of all, the Nativity scene is perfect this year with all the figurines present and accounted for—unlike a certain year in which a major player went missing. A year I chronicled in the heartwarming tale of The Case of the Missing Mary.

So grab that bottle of whiskey from your desk drawer, pour yourself a stiff drink, sit back, and relax.

Peace on Earth, People!

The Case of the Missing Mary

The Case of the Missing Mary

By Leslie Noyes

(Note: This first appeared several years ago, back in the good old days when Trump’s candidacy was merely a bad joke. It’s one of my personal favorites. Hope it makes you grin.)

I leaned back in my wooden chair and aimed a dart at the picture of Donald Trump I’d taped to the door of my cramped office. Bullseye, baby. Before I could launch another projectile at the human embodiment of evil there was a tentative rap at the door.

Quickly I stashed the darts, downed a shot of Glenlivet and hid the bottle under my vintage oak desk.

“Come in,” I intoned with as much gravity as I could muster. I was new at this detective gig and badly needed a client. Throwing darts at Trump, no matter how satisfying, wasn’t paying the bills.

The man who walked through my door was a sight for hungry eyes. Tall, dark, and handsome, and apparently built like Thor if the bulges in his well-tailored suit were to be trusted.

“Excuse me,” he said. “I’m looking for Mr. Noyes, the private investigator…”

“It’s Ms. Noyes,” I smiled. “My receptionist just stepped out for a bit.” Little did he know my receptionist, Glenlivet, was hiding under the desk. I nudged the bottle with my foot for reassurance.

“Oh!” He was clearly flustered, so I rushed to reassure him. Rising from my chair I stepped closer, hoping to encourage him to stay.

“Don’t let my gender color your expectations,” I said. “I’m fully qualified to handle discreet investigations.”

I held my breath as I watched him wrestle with his thoughts. Finally he extended a hand, and I exhaled.

“My name is Joseph. Joseph Carpenter, and my wife has gone missing.”

I motioned for Joseph to have a seat and took my place on the other side of the desk. Pulling out a pen and notepad I asked Joseph for details.

“She was right beside me. We were watching over our newborn son and I turned away for just a second to greet a man, a foreigner of some distinction, who’d brought a baby gift. When I looked back, Mary was gone.”

Joseph’s rugged face collapsed in tears. It took all of my strength to maintain a professional distance. My maternal instincts were urging me to comfort this man, but he didn’t need a nursemaid, he needed a detective. And by God, that’s just what he’d get.

“Do you have a recent picture of your wife, sir?”

“No, we weren’t into pictures. But she was just a little thing. Maybe five feet two. Brown eyes. Dark brown hair. Olive skin. She was, is, beautiful. She has the most beatific smile.”

I tried my hand at sketching a picture of Mary.

“No, her nose is a bit larger,” Joseph said. “Yes, like that. And her lips fuller.”

Finally we had a sketch that Joseph approved.

“Joseph, did you notice any strange characters hanging around, let’s see, the manger on the night of your wife’s disappearance?”

“Well,” he began, “Besides the foreigner there were a couple of other visiting dignitaries. They looked fairly trustworthy; although, come to think of it I have no idea why they dropped by.”

“Ok, that’s a starting place. Anyone or anything else?”

Joseph snapped his fingers. “There was a shepherd there ranting about some star he followed. Could it be…?”

“I couldn’t say right now, Joseph, but I promise to do everything in my power to find your Mary.” I stood and indicated we were through.

“By the way, how’s the baby?” I asked offhandedly. “I know newborns can be a handful. Is it possible Mary just took off?”

Joseph’s temper flared. I could see I’d hit a nerve. “Absolutely not! You have no idea what Mary has gone through to have this child, why….”

I held up one hand. “I had to ask Mr. Carpenter. I believe you.”

I told him I’d need a retainer and I’d bill my services at a hundred dollars per hour. Then I assured him I’d get on the case immediately.

“Money’s no problem. One of those foreign dignitaries brought gold. For a baby!” He shook his head in amazement.

As he paused at the door, Joseph Carpenter turned, his face half in shadow.

“Ms. Noyes. Have you done anything like this before?”

“Yes,” I answered honestly. “Every December.”

Almost every year one piece of my nativity goes missing. One year it was the lamb. I found it nestled next to the Christmas snow globe. Another year it was a wise man, the one carrying myrrh. He didn’t turn up until I was putting decorations away. Apparently the myrrh king had been napping in a Target bag. This year it’s Mary. One can’t very well have a nativity scene without the mother of Jesus. I’ll keep looking. Until I find her I have a cut out Mary from a Christmas card to stand in for her:

The scale isn’t that bad, right?

Peace on Earth, people!

A House with no Doors


Drawn by the sound of non-rhythmic counting we approached a house. At least it appeared 

to be a house–four sides, a peaked roof, an old stone porch. Even so the roughly cubed structure 

was devoid of doors, and on further investigation presented no windows. 


intoned a disembodied voice. What manner of edifice, we wondered, looked like a family 

dwelling, yet gave no opportunity for entry or exit? 


After circling the structure three full times, I banged my fist against the place where the front door 

logically should be situated, just up the three stone steps, centered on the building’s apparent 

Anterior surface. “Puzzling,” my partner ventured, his antennae twitching, when no response 

resulted from my knocking. Suddenly, the house lifted and came crashing brutally down on him. 


I scampered away across the sand as quickly as my six legs could carry me, thinking, “What madness?!”

 Author’s note: This tale came to me at 2 a.m. I’m not sure what it means, but it insisted on being written.

A Bit of Dystopia 

I’ve been immersed lately in the near future America depicted in Octavia E. Butler’s Parable series. After practically inhaling the first of the novels, Parable of the Talents, I immediately downloaded the second book, Parable of the Sower.

The books’ heroine is a strong, intelligent, teenaged girl named Lauren Oya Olamina. In the year 2024 Lauren turns fifteen. She lives a relatively protected life in a walled community outside of Los Angeles.

Life outside the wall is chaotic. Society as Lauren’s parents knew it has broken down. While communities like the one in which Lauren lives are not uncommon, they aren’t the norm. Even though her family has to conserve resources and take turns keeping watch at night, she’s one of the lucky ones. 

But one day that all changes. First her father goes missing, then fire-loving druggies burn her sheltered neighborhood, scattering Lauren’s family. There are no safety nets. The police and fire departments cannot be counted on for aid. Lauren is on her own.

This tale could have merely chronicled Lauren’s journey to safety, but in addition to being a vagabond teenager she has started a religion, Earthseed, and she builds her congregation from her fellow refugees as she founds the community they name Acorn.

I’m still reading the second book, and the situation seems dire. Once again Lauren is on the run, but there’s much more at stake at this point. The newly elected president of the United States ran on a theme of “Make America Great Again.” He’s instituted American Christianity as the national religion, and his supporters are capable of unthinkable atrocities in their quest to wipe out any belief systems other than theirs. It’s a chilling look at what might be in store for our future. 

Lauren is a fascinating heroine. Her single-minded drive to complete her grand mission is inspiring, but also frustrating. I want her to be safe, but safety is not her goal. 

If you’re into dystopian fiction give Ms. Butler’s books a try. Just let me know what you think.

Peace, people.

The Handmaid’s Tale: Not a Review

I’m rereading Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. This post-apocalyptic novel is absolutely chilling in light of all this abhorrent trump administration holds dear. 

I swear the first time I read the book many years ago I didn’t get all the ramifications. Now, they’re hitting me right between the eyes. If you’ve never read it, I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Peace and vigilance, people.

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