TV Marathon Dystopia

A couple of days ago I wrote about being addicted to sappy, family-friendly Hallmark Channel movies. On Saturday, though, I realized there was a Walking Dead marathon on AMC in preparation for the mid-season finale scheduled for Sunday night. So without hesitation I changed channels, and now my brain is having a heyday as evidenced by last night’s dream:

A beautiful young television reporter is caught on a live mic saying she hates Christmas–immediately following a segment on ways to spread holiday cheer. Her public reacts negatively, and in order to boost the show’s ratings the station manager sends her and her handsome producer to North Dakota where they’ll shoot a week of programs from a little town that bills itself, “The Christmas Capital of the U.S.”

Unfortunately, the duo arrives in North Dakota to find that the zombie apocalypse is in full swing. No one in the rest of the country knew about it because, well, it was North Dakota after all. Undaunted, although a bit confused, the couple gamely make their way to “The Christmas Capital of the U.S.” where they take refuge in an old hotel with a handful of other survivors. 

They film their segments about Christmas while gamely shooting zombies and subsisting on canned foods they’ve scavenged from abandoned homes. The beautiful young reporter learns to love Christmas and falls in love with her handsome producer. Unfortunately, they’re both attacked by zombies and become walking dead themselves. 

Now that’s a dream one could sink their teeth into. Am I right? 

The Case of the Missing Dignity

It was 4:59 on a wintery Monday afternoon. The light bulb in the dollar store lamp on my vintage desk began to flicker, so I toggled it off and wheeled my antique chair over to the main light switch for more illumination. Normally I’d be packing up to leave the office for the day, but I still had a stack of case files to ponder. 

After I’d solved a fairly high profile case involving a missing mom last Christmas,, my caseload had skyrocketed, and now I found myself in the enviable position of being able to turn down cases. 

I stuck my tongue out at the dart hole riddled photo of Donald Trump that I’d taped onto the back of the office door before backpedaling to my desk, deftly grabbing a bottle of Glenlivet and a fairly clean glass from the bottom drawer to toast the five o’clock hour. 

Sighing, I opened the manila folder on top of a hefty stack.

“Boring,” I muttered as I read the first case.

“Mundane,” I grumbled upon reviewing the second.

“Gag!” I choked, reading the third, tossing it in the trash can just as a timid knock sounded at my door. 

“I’m closed!” I called out. “Office hours are nine to five. Come back in the morning.”

“Okay,” sniffed the disembodied voice, followed by what sounded most assuredly like a whimper.

“Damn,” I thought. “Wait. Hold on. Let me unlock the door.”

With a wistful look at the bottle of scotch, I drained the glass and shoved it and the bottle back into the drawer, promising to visit with them later. I might’ve whispered a word of endearment, but they’ll never tell.

I stood and smoothed my navy dress, stepped into my heels, and crossed to the door expecting to find an elderly woman in need of advice about her late husband’s will. Instead, a highly recognizable giant of a man stood across the threshold, his tear-stained cheeks incongruous on his jowly face.

“Governor Christie?!” 

“Shhh!” He motioned. “I’ve heard Mr. Noyes handles difficult cases discreetly. No one can know I’m here.”

“Of course!” I reassured him. “But, I’m the private investigator. It’s Ms. Noyes.”

His eyes went wide and he began to back away, but I took the bull by the hand and hauled his fat ass into my office.

“You’d better get in here and tell me what’s got YOU so upset. After all, your side won and now we’re all screwed. I need to hear your story, dude.”

A look of resignation on his face, the governor of New Jersey took a look around my modest office and snorted, “What a dump!”

“Hey!” I snapped. “I’ll have you know everything in here is an antique.”

“If by ‘antique’ you mean ‘yard sale reject,’ I guess you’ve got a point.”

I wasn’t going to be distracted by the governor’s insults, though, so I pulled a battered side chair up to my desk, indicating he should take a seat. To his credit he settled his backside onto the moth-eaten upholstery and gave me a pleading look.

“Look, I wouldn’t be here unless I had no other choice. I need help, but you’ve got to promise to keep my name out of the papers.”

“Deal,” I nodded, settling my myself behind my desk. “But if I agree to take your case it’s $200 up front and I bill at $150 an hour. You pay any travel expenses.”

“Sure,” he said. “Sounds reasonable. Will you take a check?”

“Absolutely not,” I snorted. “You don’t have the best record when it comes to paying your debts. And then there’s the whole Bridgegate debacle. Let’s stick to cash, shall we?”

Slyly, he chuckled. “Fair enough.”

I steepled my fingers underneath my chin, hoping to exude an air of intelligent curiosity, while internally I was chomping at the bit. 

“So what can I do for you, Governor?”

Again he looked like he could burst into tears. “I’ve misplaced something. It’s imperative that I locate it with as little fanfare as possible. But at the same time my constituents need to know I have it.”

“Okay….” I said, beckoning him to continue.

“Listen,” he began. “You know I ran in the Republican primaries to be my party’s nominee for president.”

“Yes. I’m aware.”

“Honestly, I felt like I was the best candidate. I smiled and waved. I did my research. I knew stuff. Important stuff.”


“Then this Trump character, a freaking reality tv star, won the nomination. It was humiliating.”

“For all of us,” I murmured.

“But he promised me some awesome perks if I’d help get him elected. Maybe I’d head up his transition team, get the juicy chief of staff post. All I had to do was sell my soul for a few pieces of silver, stand behind him at rallies, be his surrogate on talk shows.”

“Oh crap, Governor,” I moaned. “I can’t get your soul back. You know as well as I do that deals made with the devil are unbreakable.”

“I was pretty sure you’d say that,”he sighed. “But do you think you could help me find my dignity? I’m fairly sure I had it before I dropped out of the race.”

“Governor, pay me my retainer, and I won’t rest until  your dignity is back in your hands.” 

A smile lit up his face giving the Governor a boyish appearance. 

“Honest?” he said. “You promise?”

“Absolutely. Just give me 24 hours. I know exactly where to begin looking.”

Governor Christie forked over $200, shook my hand, and left my office looking ten years younger than he had upon entering. There was a spring in his step that shook the wooden floor as he practically skipped down the hallway. 

As soon as he left the building I locked the office door and dialed the number of a well-placed friend in the medical community. He answered on the third ring.

“Bill,” I said. “It’s Leslie.”

“Long time, no talk,” boomed the big, friendly voice. “What’s up?”

“Could you put me in touch with the president-elect’s proctologist? I need his help retrieving something for a client.”

Follow up: My intuition was dead on. Thanks to my contact,  Trump’s people scheduled an appointment with his proctologist. Subsequently, Christie’s dignity was recovered. Apparently it was way, waaaaay up Trump’s ass, along with that of other prominent Republicans. The proctologist assured me that’s where they’d remain until said politicians came looking. 

The Case of the Missing Mary

The Case of the Missing Mary

By Leslie Noyes

(Note: This first appeared on my blog two years ago, back in the good old days when Trump’s candidacy was merely a bad joke. Guess I should’ve thrown more darts.) 

I leaned back in my wooden chair and tossed 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 sharp 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 the 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 sadly.

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?

Hallmark Channel

I have become addicted to the sappy Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel. Somebody please help me.

I’m not kidding. Even as I type I’m watching A Heavenly Christmas starring Kristin Davis (Sex and the City) and Eric McCormack (Will and Grace). Some of the films are good, like this one. Some are predictable. Others are pretty awful. But they all have one thing in common–they’re all about the good things about Christmas. You know: peace, love, and hope.

Now, don’t tell anyone, but I’m even hooked on the advertisements on the Hallmark Channel. Maybe I’m getting in touch with my softer side.

Peace, people.

Thirty-three Words

My friend Jan Wilberg at inspired me to be inspired by a prompt on the Trifecta Writing Challenge:

Here’s my take on it:

The text I read told the whole tale: Last night was wonderful. Let’s do it again. But it wasn’t written by me or to me, so I torched his favorite motorcycle. And laughed.

Nanny’s Recipes

Many years ago my mother’s mother, Nanny Grace, gave me a book filled with her favorite recipes as a Christmas gift. It was then, and remains to this day, my favorite gift of all time. And even though I’m no cook, I have actually considered using her recipes on many occasions. Fortunately I always come to my senses and let someone else do the cooking. 

A couple of weeks ago one of my cousins asked if I still had my recipe book, and if so, could I share it with her. And of course I thought, why not share it with everyone? So here are a few of the recipes my Nanny wrote out for me. Enjoy.

Cheese Puffs:

No Cook Chocolate Candy:

Rye Bread Capers:

Rye bread capers continued below:

Mexican Cornbread:

Mexican Cornbread, continued.

Eagle Brand Fruit Cake:

White Fruit Cake:

White Fruit Cake, continued below:

Cinnamon Pound Cake:

Cinnamon Pound Cake continued below:

Millionaire Pie–I’ve actually made this as evidenced by the condition of the card, and it is so good.

Millionaire Pie, continued below:

Lemon Chess Bars

Lemon Chess Pie

Rice Dressing:

Rice Dressing, continued below:

Broccoli Dish:

Potato and Cheese Casserole:

Potato and Cheese Casserole, continued:

Jalapeño Corn Casserole:

Jalapeño Corn Casserole, continued:

Cheese and Egg Soufflé:

Cheese and Egg Soufflé, continued:

What I love most about these recipes is having examples of my Nanny’s handwriting and a glimpse into her life. She was a beautiful woman. And she could cook!

That’s Nanny with my mom behind her and my Aunt Nedra beside her.

Let me know if you try any of the recipes, or if you need clarification. Nanny would be so proud.

Peace, people!