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Trephining is three novels; Deadly Nightshade - Riding Pegasus - A Place in the Sky -
following schizophrenically challenged police detective Yuli Haugen. Yuli works to solve a murder among the rich and powerful, while desperately trying to maintain his identity and hang onto his sanity.  Yuli tells you the story himself, but is he losing it? Is he in touch with reality or is fantasy protecting his troubled psyche? And more importantly, Dear Reader needs to make a decision; is Yuli Haugen telling you the truth?



        excerpt from my novel Deadly Nightshade    

1st book in the trilogy - Trephining

Cynthia was warming to some arcane idea. She said, "Do you know the theory that many criminals seek death? They climb toward it all their lives, perhaps because of something in their pasts. They actually want to be caught and punished. They want to be set free from the demons in their minds. They need death, Detective Haugen."
She was preoccupied with death.
"I have heard that one but I leave the definitions to the psychologists."
"A poet I know penned these lines;
    'I have a rendezvous with Death
    which no one can deny,
    I mustn't keep the gateman waiting,
    I must be there on time.'

It is exactly about death wish."
"Your friend has a death wish?"
"Sadly, I believe that may be so." Her mouth turned down.

Who was this morbid friend? Was she going to try to convince me that Darlene Parkinson had a death wish?
She continued, "It may be what compels a criminal to remain in the bank long enough for the police to arrive. You see, subconsciously, he knows there'll be a shootout, knows he must die. He waits too long on purpose."
"Death by cop? Incredible, not in that situation," I scoffed, "he wants to get away and spend the money. Buy drugs."
"No, that's what we think he wants to do, down deep he has to face death. He doesn't know why himself but he has to do it."
"Because he's too chicken to face life?"
"Are you familiar with Shakespeare? Listen to this quote from Caesar; 'Cowards die many times before their deaths, the valiant never taste of death but once.' "
"So bank robbers are valiant now?"
"Courage takes many forms, Mr. Haugen. A definition for every mind."
"I'm just trying to solve what I think has been a terrible crime. And your best friend Darlene is dead."
"I hope you have the courage to solve it, Detective, when the time comes. If there was a crime."
"I know I do. And I know there was."
She arose to leave, "I hope you're not disappointed, I wouldn't want to see you miss getting your reward.  It's what we all seek. There comes a time of crisis in everyone's life when you need to ask of yourself at that inscribed moment when you are cut; Which is more? This stream of my own blood? Or the waters of the four oceans?"
She laughed lightly and I realized what had changed so drastically about her in the last few seconds. Her eyes had faded from the blue to a very pale green, a cloudy celadon gray-green. They were beautiful. As she left the restaurant I thought maybe, just maybe, they were telling me something after all.


                                      deadly nightshade poisons here X




*Trephining - Ancient peoples  believed that when someone acted crazy, they must have evil spirits in their head. Their cure was to simply chip a hole with an eolith (flintstone axe) in the poor soul's skull to let the maleficent spirits out.




deadly poisons woody nightshade
© R.C. Westerholm   woody nightshade



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Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind. 
Not only do words infect, egotize, narcotize, and paralyze,
but they enter into and colour the minutest cells of the brain .    
  -  Rudyard Kipling


from my novel   Acts of Empathy

recited by character Rachel . . .


And silver flows like honey, liquid in my dreams,
 and gold is washed upon the shore, and dissipates it seems,
   until reflections in your eye recast that muted light,
     of all the treasures of the earth, of all the starry night.

And all the sunbeams sending down their diamond studded swords,
  and all the poets' pens abound with fluent wishful words,
    and all the ocean waters, and all the mountains high,
       do not contain the love that shines, within your lambent eye.

      © Dahlia




from my novel in progress  Pelly and Miramar

    Miramar don't care. She's prob'ly out havin' a good time right now. Party Princess. When they find my body squished under the wheels of one of them huge trailer rigs, she'll cry then. Or will she?

The highway meandered between rolling farmlands and stands of dark trees. A scattering of cars hissed by. Lazily. Dark clouds rolled overhead, muting the countryside in a moody light.

Pelly Boyes continued mumbling to himself as he waited for a semi. A big rig would end it quickly. The last thing he wanted was to end up a vegetable and have nurses feeding him through tubes, not being able to tell them he wanted to die. One blink for yes. And Miramar giving him that sick, 'you're so stupid' look. Again. The doctors trying to repair the sack of bones that had been dragged under a ten ton truck. Pelly had to make sure big fat double tires got him right away.

He stood on the overpass above the fast lane on the far side to oncoming cars, away from the view of an approaching driver, pressed against the rail, watching for the exact right truck, ready to drop as the vehicle drove under the highway bridge. No driver could react quick enough to avoid him when he leaped. Just a blurred shape in front of the bumper. At twenty-four, it was all over for Pelly Boyes, he had nowhere left to go.

    'I told you, Pelly, not to get involved with them people. You didn't listen.'

His cash flow flew. The angle he had hoped for never appeared to him. Too many little shit deals that went sour. Scammy deals doomed from the start.

Pelly mumbled to himself, "Too many small time assholes who you can't count on. Like Midas the Fink. Damn Midas. I shoulda shot you Midas when I had that gun, tellin' the cops all that shit about me. There's no way into the loop for a guy what no education, no chance of getting wherever it was I was tryin' to be gettin' to. And Angel supposed to tell me when he's gonna 'lectrify a horse, some jockey friend you turned out."

Pelly wanted to go now. Make the exit from humanity. Couldn't pay his debts and Sal Mungo didn't tolerate late payments. A guy called Crunchy was looking for him right now. The worst of all Miramar was gone. She clinched it when she ran off yesterday with that big city dork wearing a fancy Western suit and a blue Mercedes. And pointy-toe Tony Lamas. She flashin' her green eyes at his crocodile wallet. Damn drop-dead gorgeous Miramar. Steppin' out of a forties movie. But gawd she has that Forties style. What does she like about that so much? Glenn Miller for chrissakes?

Pelly stared down at his worn shoes as the first few drops of heavy rain spattered the pavement, absorbed into the concrete.

Then the ominous dark Cadillac caught his attention. If the sky hadn't been so dark he wouldn't have been able to see into the car at all. Odd, one driver, three large men squished into the back seat.    

 from Pelly and Miramar.  ©



from the entrance to Commodore Bowling and Billiards, Granville Street, Vancouver, B.C. established in 1930, Canada's oldest bowling alley.              Painter unknown






Pelly and Miramar is a quirky story about two people destined for each other but don't understand it yet.

And things keep getting in the way, like high rollers, cops, gangsters and murder. And money, and love.

If Pelly could only get her attention on him and into reality he might have a chance ...

     '.... be careful Pelly, Miramar could just get you killed doing it.'


   Back to top


I cannot and do not live in the world of discretion, not as a writer anyway ...
                                                             discretion is unfortunately, not for novelists. - Philip Roth







from my screenplay - Nashville Dreams


 etc . . .    from Nashville Dreams - an original screenplay        ©


Synop - Songwriter Jackson McDill wants to be a country music star, and with his two new found buddies, old Elijah the banjo plucking hobo and young stuttering FDR, they head for Nashville. The trouble is, they are stone broke and have to hitchhike, ride the rails or walk, and everyone seems to be conspiring to prevent their success. A hilarious road adventure full of fun and fright that changes everyone, including the dog, Whistlestop.

reg. Writers Guild Canada  # S00-3278 




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War Poem
written by character Nathan in my novel - A Place in the Sky

The ghastly red games
the spatters of blood - like measles all over my face
the huddling together of cold human crud each in an unhuman place
The melody screams an anthem to death. A nightbird floats in the skies
in darkness the black-hog hovers above - - - on petrified wings it still flies.
Efficient deliverance of anguish and pain - the tracers point out who will die
The screech and the roar, the yells we ignore, tonight it could be you or I
The reek and the stench of hot burning flesh
the death and the torture of fear
the reach out to touch
the nothing to feel
the blood and the sweat and the tears
The calling to arms
we know who we are
we're numbers just numbers not names
and the ones who control our body and soul
play their wonderful
red games

                                                                                                                            more war poems here - - -






excerpt from my comedy stage play - Talk About Love

from Act II - scene 2         

               the conversation at the kitchen table continues - - -

SHE:       So you're saying the Elvis sightings are true?

HE:          Yep. The King has NOT left the building. Elvis is free now and doing just fine, he travels the back roads and enjoys the countryside.

SHE:       I believe you.

HE:          Eats at Diners. No pressure.

SHE:       Except too many people still recognize him?

HE:          Exactly. He was getting noticed way too much. Not in the Diners though ...  (Then with authority)  'cause them folks are close-mouthed, don't tell you nothin' ...

SHE:       Secretive are they?

HE:          But when he gassed up the Caddy, the attendants, they recognized him.

SHE:       Even with the shades?

HE:          Yep. And he hardly ever puts the top down.

SHE:        No white glitter suit?

HE:          Just jeans and a jean jacket.

SHE:       He wasn’t even humming?

HE:          Honey, nobody HUMS 'Hound Dog'.

SHE:       But he still has a Cadillac convertible?

HE:          He drives an old '59 Eldorado Bairritz.

SHE:       He does huh? Would that be a pink one??

HE:          Nope, blue.

SHE:       Are those the ones with the airplane tail fins?

HE:         Honey, ALL ‘59 Eldorados have massive tail fins with the twin rocket tail-lights.

(HE holds up two hands as if feeling the roundness of the twin rocket tail-lights, looks at her breasts and widens his hands with a grin. SHE responds with a warning look)

SHE:       So Elvis thinks a blue Caddy is incognito?

HE:         (Nodding, explaining)  And when he went in to pay for his gas, they always knew it was him, even though he’s lost a lot of weight. He was getting tired of it so he bought the monkey ...

SHE:       Bought the monkey.

HE:          Elvis found an old Italian guy who had been an organ grinder and he had this trained monkey. But with music being digital now ... he was out of work because wind-up street organs don’t play that stuff.

SHE:        Really.

HE:           Right, and Elvis made him an offer for the monkey.

SHE:         And Giuseppe sold him?

HE:           Yep. Including the military jacket with the yellow epaulets and the pill box cap.

SHE:         Such a deal!

(HE makes a furtive action, folding up his collar,  looks at her sideways over the collar. Twitches his upper lip)

SHE:         And they lived happily ever after?

HE:           Wait. It was working out fine, Elvis even trained the monkey to fill the gas tank and then go pay, so he wouldn’t even have to get out of the car ...

SHE:         Just sat there gunning the engine.

HE:            So one day, the damned monkey forgot to replace the gas cap ... and Elvis could smell gas when he cornered because it would leak out. Of course,  the little monkey only knew the tank was full when it overflowed!

SHE:         Spilled all over, huh?

HE:            So until he could get another gas cap, Elvis made the monkey sit in the rear seat and plug the gas tank opening with his long tail ...

SHE:          I see.

(SHE  is staring at him like he is nuts, shaking her head. She looks into the audience for reaction. HE is intent on his story with sincerity)

HE:           Yes ... which would have been ok, but you see the poor monkey, because he was such a furry lil’ critter, had, in effect, become a huge wick ...

SHE:         (glances into the audience) Don't keep us in suspense.

HE:            And when Elvis lit up the cigar!

SHE:         Oh my gawd!

HE:            Exactly.

SHE:          Poor monkey.

HE:            Elvis could only find the pill box cap. He’s using it for parking meter change.

SHE:          You mean Elvis wasn't blown up too?

HE:             Honey, get real, nothing can kill Elvis!

SHE:          To think ... I actually married you.

. . . . . . . . . . etc.

  © RC Westerholm





Talk About Love  -  A stage comedy in five acts

Synop - Love and war between friends and the constantly hilarious struggle between man and woman for what each desires in a relationship. The Battle of the Sexes continues through four stages of one couple's life together, HE and SHE, yet it always progresses toward accomplishment of their common goal and proves the theme, Love Conquers All. 

         information for dramaturges here -





from my motorcycle fantasy - Vital Mission

The  two Velocettes have been on my mind for years after seeing them one squall-threatened, darkening night at a deserted Canadian border crossing. One had burnished gold accents over its black and the other had writing on the front fender, Venom Thruxton. The leathered riders attended to their business with an aura of mystery as I watched their small tail-lights fade into the mottled moonscape.

And now my own game is afoot. You’ll catch a glimpse of me slashing across the pavement, a stab of sunlight and I’m gone, chasing my vanished youth if you like. But I've become a young rider, alert, aggressive, pitched forward with deliberate intent -

  from a line of William Aytoun; 'Like a tempest down the ridges, swept the hurricane of steel..'
I am a Royal Knight plunging fearlessly into the dark den of danger, reigning my black champing steed, brandishing a flashing Excalibur.
Vanquishing the chimera of languor. Saving sanity.

 go to full story here --








Children laugh with glee
voices loud as water streams
 making yellow snow


Haiku is one of the most important forms of traditional Japanese poetry.










selected lyrics from my songs ...

You know you shoulda stayed beside me when the lights went out and then it never would've ended this way...   Old men in the park, warming their bones
waiting for darkness to chase them back into their homes...
  There's a coyote yippin' in the hills
tellin' all the world about his misery
Soon he'll have no place to go
just how he feels I know
he's feelin' just like me ...
  You are in the spell of old Tangier
where nothing's new, beneath the sun,
love can flow just like a rumor here ...

Who Killed Maxie?


Old Men in the Park


A Common Thing



He was a high country cowboy
came from the end of the sky
He was an old fashioned dreamer
Life was just passing him by.
  Twenty-five policemen, poundin' at my door
Standin' in the kitchen with a smokin' forty-four ...
  Will the horses ever know a gentle hand??
Do they ever get away from fairyland?
If someone would give the carousels to me
I would let the horses all go free.
  Ridin' in a boxcar, trackin' down to Tennessee
Got myself some buddies, playin' music just like me
We ain't good lookin' but you'll know when we're in town ...

High Country Cowboy


Smokin' Gun Barrel Blues


The Carousels


Nashville Dreams

Softtail Springer, I own the big sky
chrome plated winger, I'll ride 'till I die
Dragonfire demons and deadly dark flights
I own the days, but she owns the nights.
  A knock on my door about a quarter to four
they came and then they took me away
I dared to disagree and someone told on me
They take down every thing that you say.

In a darkened doorway covered with grafitti
stands a haggard man who's aged before his time
In a dusty black case open on the sidewalk
there's a quarter, seven nickels and a dime.


Softtail Springer


Emergency Hospital


Street Musician



all original music and lyrics © by  Bob Westerholm    (SOCAN)


go and hear some of my music here - 








If I was to unfold my arms, would you be the one I had held there?

If I was to open my eyes, would your image remain in my sky?

If I was to kiss the morning air, would my lips feel the warmth of your being?

And  If I was to fall for love, would you be the one to catch me?

Therése  - in  my  novel   Acts of Empathy                  © Dahlia







the Afternoon


I am lying couchant beside her. It is as humid as it gets in East Asia after the monsoon. Close. There is little oxygen.
In the subdued light through the latticed teakwood blinds she seems to shine in her creamy skin. Keeps her silken eyes closed - but not sleeping.
The cotton sheets are cool. The ceiling fan revolves in a lazy turn, keeping the scent of sandlewood floating on the warm air ... and spice, nutmeg and cinnamon from somewhere. A tincture of stale tea remains in the porcelain cups.
Sounds from the frenetic street are muted, barely reach into this quietude, except for the sing-song of Chinese voices as they pass and the moans and rattles of a rambling old truck.
A languorous afternoon drifting through time unnoticed.
Her breathing is slow and steady. She is Chang'e, woman of the moon. She is moist and pleasant to touch. My finger traces an undulating path over her skin, mingling with enough moisture to form a droplet, adding to the tiny pool at her belly. I taste of the glistening pool. Savor the texture as nectar.
My heart beats with regular rhythm. There is no sense of urgency, no need of hurry. No need to think. The heat suppresses thought, only creating abstracted, dreamy, watery images.
The lethargy of time only allowing this
entre nous and a wandering glide toward a concupiscent conclusion.




chang'e - woman of the moon







The writers only responsibility is to his art ....William Faulkner






excerpt from my novel  Riding Pegasus

2nd book in the trilogy - TREPHINING




   That morning you wouldn't have heard a scream across the broad green lawns surrounding the asylum. The hissing rain muffled other sounds as though concealing a whispered secret. Was accompanied by a stealthy floating mist you could hardly see through. The white painted lawn chairs looked forlorn, desolate. Even the dark trees seemed hunched over, protecting themselves against the cold foggy drizzle and the gaze of the curious.

   If Marie hadn't been there to help, I might have blown everything. I might have had to stay in the asylum. Might have been better if I had. Five people would still be alive.

   That morose morning, Dr. Fredrickson was supposed to be there to sign my release papers at 10 a.m. My incarceration in the regional mental hospital for the criminally insane should have ended then. He was late. There was nothing to do but wait. Sit on the hard oak chairs and wait. A few hours longer wouldn't make much difference. It was like a dream state. Sitting there watching occasional lethargic movement from the nurses, who seemed to murmur without moving their lips. Sometimes a sibilance reached my ears but I could never identify a distinct word. The nurses became unfocused white blurs against the pale green walls. And rustling hosiery. I stared at a framed print entitled Road with Cypresses, by Vincent Van Gogh. It should have created a simple impression of light and pleasant color, something to relax the inmates. Or, if you knew nothing of the artist's life, a sense of hope. I saw it as dizzying frenetic swirls and the impression in my mind was of the bloody side of the man's head and the anguish that raged within. A violent, colored Rorschach.

   While we sat there waiting, two thoughts dominated my mind, freedom and time. I regard them as closely related.

   Freedom. I don't define it from a patriotic charismatic point of view, as in a national anthem sense, that's liberty. Freedom is different. I feel it as a selfish, lustful, personal greed. Freedom is to be alone without someone watching you, without guarding yourself, without analysis and squinting eyes. Freedom is letting your face loose. Laughing at what's funny. Frowning at what isn't. Not having to think about a decision or it's consequences. No black tricks to play, no blue subterfuge. No green games.

   Time. During my twelve-year imprisonment, (for murder, I might as well tell you right out) I hardly thought about it. To a man sliding through his forties in a nebulous haze, time was oppressive. Time was heavy, draped around me, over my shoulders as a dusty old Persian rug, rolled with a dead body inside it. And I hadn't considered it with any intellect for a long, long while.

   By eleven o'clock my thoughts about freedom and time were so acutely centered it was a psychedelic LSD trip. I could SEE a moment moving through history. Seconds were flickering scarlet laser beams which came FROM infinity and blasted right past me on their way TO infinity. A sudden blinding SOS from an obscure corner of space, or the view inside a fibre optics cable. And I could HEAR time. A speeded up recording of thunder, bump bump bump, and somehow it smelt like burnt firecrackers. Freedom was very nearly an explosion. I was the inside of the grenade.

   Fredrickson showed at 3:37:20 in the afternoon. The gray-black sky had become confused for several hours until a bright white light emerged between the clouds, almost at 3:30. If that wasn't a sign, I don't know what was.

   I finally walked away from that sullen gray building without a backward glance. If it was still there when Marie and I drove off I wouldn't have known it. Besides, I didn't want to meet Fredrickson's eyes, I knew he was watching, his face near to the misted window pane, absently touching his moustache. I knew what he was thinking too. He wanted me to turn and wave, like a child going off to the first day of school. He wanted me to smile up at him. He wanted confirmation he was right - that during the five hours thirty-seven minutes he had delayed, we had been playing the final Green Game. No way. Our minds are now inexorably linked. I wasn't even going to acknowledge him.

   Psychiatrists betray their own emotions, they're so concerned with yours that they let their own thoughts hang out like Chinese laundry on a bamboo pole. They don't even know they do it.

   I always knew what Fredrickson was thinking.

© RC Westerholm


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I  scowl

grey paste overhead

more rain   I forgot the umbrella

head bent toward the grey sidewalk   hunch shoulders   shut out the depression  try to avoid the murky puddles

water falling from the sky    free life    some never get any    look at the passing faces    blank.

not seeing through the droplets     clusters of detached strangers

only water   

 it's not that dark.

a drop on my nose    hanging there

I must look silly    is it going to drip off

little teasing bulb    clinging to individuality

humorous transparent prism

cartoon character

I smile

it's only water

look up into the sky

more cool rain on my face

fresh water

fold my collar down

set myself apart from the depression.

I'm not going to work today


I'm going to walk


I grin











© rcw






from - A Place in the Sky

 3rd book in the trilogy - TREPHINING

We listened, trying to hear a footfall beneath the mutter of the wind. Stood still, expecting something to happen. Dry tree branches rattled and fern fronds flailed at the edge of the clearing where a capricious wisp flashed through. Scattered petals from a yellow blossoming bush swirled to the ground like lemon snowflakes. I could hear a crow somewhere, its scolding voice carrying on the hot air.
We started along the narrower trail, gently pushing branches aside. There were several more homemade wind chimes, each with an individual harmonious sound.
I had just glimpsed a piece of rusted tin through the trees when I heard the movement behind me.
"Don't you motherfuckers move or you die!"
He had Zac gripped with his left arm under Zac's and his left hand behind his head, a half nelson. In the browned skin of his right hand was a long bladed commando knife, pressed hard against Zac's throat.
Zac was staring at me. And I was staring into stainless steel eyes.
"We won't do anything stupid. Are you Nathan Browne?"
He pressed the honed edge of the blade tighter into Zac's throat. His features were hard to recognize because they were colored with black and green irregular spots, jungle make-up, but even then I knew right away who he was. The man I was facing was Zac's brother. Cynthia's brother. The resemblance was striking even though Nathan appeared much older. He wore a baggy camouflage jacket.
The steel eyes shone with hostility. "Who the fuck are you? Why you lookin' for me?"
"We have a mission to find you," Zac said. He was hanging limp in Nathan's arms but twisted his head trying to look at him.
"Fuck you asshole! The mission's over." He batted Zac's hat off with the long blade. There was a dark blue tattoo on the back of his right hand, the head of a fire-breathing dragon and the word Khesanh.
I said, "We have some very good news for you. Please let him go. We mean no harm."
He only readjusted the knife. Zac's skin was white along the crease and the edge of the blade glinted where it had been often sharpened.
Zac tried to straighten his body, raised his voice, a different Zac spoke, "It is destiny which leads me to arrive here. A destiny which commands you as well. You must carry out your own mission. Time has converged upon us, now there is none left, do it! You must slice through the softness of the man you clasp. It is preordained. This IS your purpose.?"Hawaii nightfall
It had to be the other Zac talking. He began pulling against Nathan's grip.
"I'm gonna slice your fuckin' throat in another minute."
"Yes! Yes! You must. There can be no hesitation. Commit the act which sets us all free!"
Nathan was having a hard time controlling Zac. His eyes went wild and his hand tightened on the knife.
"You're dead, man!  I'll slice your head off! I done it before." Zac was trying to lurch away.
"If you do," I yelled, "you'll be killing your own brother!"
The steel eyes landed on me, darkened into a slate gray. His hand grabbed at Zac's hair and pulled his head back violently. He tried to see Zac's face without taking his eyes from mine. I raised my hands to keep them in his sight.
Zac's eyes flashed a laser green, as though I had betrayed a family secret. I had. His incredulous look was because I knew. He was breathing in huge gasps. "You must do it! Draw the sacred blade along the devil's skin. It must be done. I as Michael, command it!"
Nathan flung Zac to the ground in one movement, cutting the front of his throat slightly as he withdrew the blade and at the same time drawing an Army issue Colt .45, aimed it with a shaky hand.


© RC Westerholm


get it right now at Amazon Books


The astonishing tangle within our heads makes us what we are ....Colin Blakemore


from my novel Tango Murderoso

McGrath's heart leaped.
"Where'd he take the bags, Willie?" McGrath met his eyes in a cold stare.

Willie thought a moment. "Don' know, I waited outside."
Willie was genuinely confused with the sudden influx of knowledge and his mind couldn't process it. There was excitement there but he couldn't fathom the implications. He needed time to think.

McGrath's voice took on a hard edge and his eyes bored into Willie's. "Bullshit, Willie, he would've had you help him."
"Naw, he was secret about some things he ..."
So you mean he packed all those bags in by himself?" McGrath's voice was rising. "Incredible, that's what he paid you for."
"Fuck you, I wasn't his Joe-boy y'know. I handled other jobs for 'im."
Sure, McGrath thought, you were nothing but his strong-arm. Too stupid to be involved in anything cerebral. "What'd he say about them, the bags then?"
"Said they were a surprise for Cassandra, didn't want my help."
"Didn't you even ask him what was in the fuckin' things? I don't believe this."
"Fuck off, he said it was a surprise. Sure I aksed him but he goes, 'you'l find out later?. I never thought about it after. Forgot."
McGrath knew he was going to lose ground once Willie figured he didn't need him. He'd start lying. If he wasn't already. He had to find out where those bags were hidden. "Wait a minute, I've got a sheet of paper here to show you."
McGrath leaned into his car, Willie behind him. McGrath imagined Jose Canseco stepping out of the batter's box to swing at a pitch-out. He twisted away from the car with the baseball bat in his hands and slammed Willie in the head with it. Blood splattered. Willie reeled across the alley and went down in a daze amid garbage piles. McGrath hit him twice on the knees with vicious blows. Quickly had Willie's jacket open and the gun removed, slid it into an inner pocket of his own coat. Willie didn't make a sound, he was numb but regaining consciousness. McGrath stood over him, sweat dripping from his brow, fiery anger in his eyes.

 "Now Willie, where'd you and Condy put the fucking BAGS?"


© RC Westerholm                                                                                                            Tango Murderoso is also written as a screenplay   


Read the entire prologue chapter of Tango Murderoso here  .....               





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Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility
                                                                                                                                    .... William Wordsworth






Home is in the mind

Where Now is Home?
Where was Langvei? Was that the last hill?
Are we still in the valley of the shadow of death?
Where is Khesanh? Can we find it still?
Can we walk any longer? Is this our last breath?

Where now is home? To the north to the south?
The hooch in the jungle, the picket fence lane?
What words do I hear coming out of my mouth?
Are the sobs and the moans the sound of profane?

Tread on the button bombs or upon the death adder.
Take your cubes and your pills, what are they for?
In the combat of grunts, what does it matter
if anyone survives this paraplegic war?

Where does it end, this loathing of man?
How can we endure this continual pain?
Where can we say this turning began?
Pray to my God I'll not pass here again.

Where now is home? Where now is home?

(war poem written by Nathanial in  A Place in the Sky)


Copyright R.C. Westerholm





from my novel  Acts of Empathy

We made love on that huge bed in the innocent, muted, white morning light; in the sylph garden amid applauding flowers on motionless turquoise afternoons; on those soft lounges before a conflagration of sunsets and in the hushed scarlet of descending twilight; on the veranda watched by smiling blue stars and white porcelain moons; in the shower - one undine stooping in the cascading water and the other clutching the shower curtain until I tore it down in a deluge of watery passion; in every chair and sofa; atop the piano to a crescendo of chromatic screams; in the kitchen on the counter top amid the aroma of tangy herbs; contortively crunched into the nook; sitting on the bar flavouring ourselves with Grand Marnier liqueur. We initiated every room in the house with a delightful, instantly recoverable, erotic memory. Spent effusive days and nights intoxicated with the elixir of each other.
 It was the perfect coalescence of two wanton insatiable beings rising through the physical world into the cerebral purity of psychic sensualism.

It was the clarity of love.



 © Dahlia



     Read the entire first chapter of
Acts of Empathy here ... 


Get it right now at Amazon Books



At Glennis' poetry party -


     Another much older woman stared at me from across the room. Our eyes met and she nodded her head, moved through the crowd to stand in front of me. She had the wide turns of a Renior face, full cheeks, very attractive for her age but the tell-tale lightness around her eyes told of some face work.

     Her dulcet voice whispered,

     "Your eyes are deep, a liquid brown, as they meet with mine and told,

     Question, answer, flash as one, a secret story told.

     We share a message, eye to eye, that no one else can see,

     amid the crowd, I know at once, you are a soul like me." 






Robert sailed on. Tonight he was aboard a square-rigger. On the Indian Ocean bearing tea from Ceylon, bound for Olde England, running on a freshening breeze from the starboard quarter. Robert was captain.

The high moon, lighting the billowing canvas with an argent glow, was almost as bright as day. His alert eyes, shadowed beneath the peak of his cap, caught the sleek splashes of arcing dolphins in a luminous sea. The trade winds that pushed the hull through the hissing rush of water flickered Robert's hair at the back of his neck with a warm caress. The sensuous flirtation of a capricious breeze.

Four bells told him it was 2 A.M., halfway through the mid-watch, one of his favourite hours in the tropics.

The snapping of the British standard from a halyard, the creak and groan of wood spars and the strain of rigging were reassuring voices whispering only to him in the night. The green tea in the brimming holds occasionally wafted an Oriental scent and brought to mind Asian ports full of mysterious, turbaned Indians and busy Chinese with sing-song voices. Robert liked to stare up at the latticed tangle of rope and masts silhouetted against tendrils of moonlit cloud. And to feel the cool spray that occasionally reached his skin, tossed by a playful sea.

Mrs. Reynolds' squeaking chair interrupted Robert's reverie. She made a comment to her husband in a shielded voice, who just sat and puffed his old briar. Nodded. Robert disliked both Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds. The man was so florid and flabby and she was so slovenly they would never have survived aboard ship. But Robert wasn't really on a ship, he was only pacing through the evening until his mother came to collect him from these unlikely babysitters. He was simply imagining. The creaks and groans were just the uneven floor and the latticed rope was nothing but straggly washing hanging over the stove.

What he loathed about them was that they had so little to say except to ask him questions about his mother. And Mr. Reynolds had pipe breath and she smelled of stale sweat. When he tried to sit and read, they continued talking to him. They didn't comprehend reading, didn't even own a book or a magazine.

Robert tried tacking toward the china cabinet, increasing wind strength as he neared the east coast of Madagascar, but it wouldn't work now; he was simply walking round and round the single room of the Reynolds' apartment. Waiting. Seeing only the worn grey linoleum instead of a glistening sea. Wishing Mother would get off work early, come soon, instead of like last night when he had to fall asleep on the hard wooden chair and awoke sometime later, he didn't know how much later, with terrible pains in his side from the chair arm. His mother telling him to wake up. Thanking the Reynolds profusely and paying them before she took him off into the cold damp night.

Robert knew what these people thought. They thought he was not right. Because he either read the book or paced most of the evening. The book was Zane Grey's, Ken Ward In The Jungle. A wonderful story about a young boy whose father took him to the South American jungles to explore an unknown river, where they ran over dangerous rapids and into huge crocodiles and spotted jaguars. Robert had read it five times so far. He was hoping to put off reading the book again a little longer so he'd be able to forget how it went.

It was only a matter of time until he discovered Robert Louis Stevenson, Mark Twain and Joseph Conrad.

Robert tacked to starboard, toward the small green tiled bathroom, then immediately to port, to avoid the strong odor emanating from the running toilet. The alcove where the Reynolds slept smelled musty. He yearned for his own bed but he was too young to stay home alone. Even though his house was just up the lane.

He had stayed alone once, left most of the lights on and tramped around the house, talking gibberish in a lowered voice so he'd sound like a big man if anyone was listening outside. His mother had found him asleep behind the chesterfield.

The wind increased and Robert, as Captain, knew they'd have to prepare to 'round-the-Cape' soon. The Cape of Good Hope at the tip of Africa. They'd have to shorten down. Perhaps the impending storm would allow him to see St. Elmo's Light playing on the mast.  "Haul away lively," he muttered, slipping the words out quietly. Yet they reached even the inattentive ears of Mrs. Reynolds, who spoke to her husband about Robert as though he wasn't there.

Yes, perhaps Robert wasn't there. By choice. Perhaps these nascent hours spent lost in dark imagination or illuminated book were instilling a mental process into his future. A means of escape that would last a lifetime. Which could never be shared. An escape from a reality too bleak to be faced.

Since his Grandmother died he had hid silently within himself. Dreaming. Traveling. And grieving the gentle, understanding woman. Maybe he would get a letter from his father tomorrow, he'd had a letter last year at this time.

They'd be loading mail when the ship reached Mananjary. And cross the Tropic of Capricorn the following day. Robert sailed on, past the worn old sofa and the dish-filled sink. The whistling tea-kettle became five bells.

Perhaps he would finish the midwatch from the stern where he could observe the glinting silver foam and stars dipping themselves into the roll of the black, following sea, becoming its phosphorescent trail. Bright as fireworks to night vision eyes. He'd allow the sounds and smells and sights of the oceanic night to transport him into his private oblivion - and be embedded there for reference and escape from whatever torments his future held.

Tonight he'd try to see another blue star.

Tomorrow . . . . .







Can one write a literate memory about a favorite uncle's flatulence?

Meet the Bertrameister here






from Riding Pegasus

2nd book in the trilogy - TREPHINING

excerpt from Day 8

Cinny said, "Is Doc on the way? Did Michael call him?"
Jack Murphy turned his attention to Cinny and his look softened. "He's comin'. Why you doin' this for this guy?"
"He needs help, Jack. I'd do it for you too."
"How much is the room?" I said.
Murphy took this as a smartass remark. Growled, "I could bust the other arm for you." He folded the Popeye forearms across his chest, they expanded to resemble the legs of a Clydesdale. Most of the tattoos were blue but there were dabs of red and green as well. The word Death somehow stood clear of the circuitous designs. I had no doubt he could break arms, knew he'd done it before.
"Jack, don't, he's badly hurt ..."
Murphy looked at her, gentleness in his expression. I was involved in a triangle whether I wanted it or not.
"You said you wouldn' be back. Your stuff's in that box there."
There was a cardboard apple box near the door, filled with Cinny's personal hygiene products.
"I know what I said and it's true, but ... we needed Doc Morse, you can see that."
"Why you even mixed up with this prick?"
"Hey ... " I started to rise dizzily from the bed.
Murphy stepped forward. Cinny jumped between us.
"Look, I need some help here," I said, "you wouldn't be happy with yourself if you broke my other arm anyway, not picking on a poor little shit like me when I can't ... "
"You can't awright," he said quickly.
"Can you say, Oy yam what oy yam?" I muttered, mimicking Popeye.
"Maybe you should call Doc again?" Cinny asked, trying to defuse the situation.
Jack Murphy never took his stare off me. Never once glanced at my bleeding arm. He was built like a water buffalo. "Michael called 'im awready."
"Want to make a deal, Murph'?" I asked.
Suspicion narrowed his snake eyes. "What kinda deal would I make with you, Sport?"
"We'll have a truce, I'll get the bullet out of my arm, we wait a couple of weeks and then I kick the shit out of you."
Murphy leaped at me. Cinny screamed. I rolled off the other side of the bed, crushing my bloody arm as I did but he was flat on his face as I struck him with a left-handed shuto. My focus was gone and I hit the side of his neck and shoulder. The mattress absorbed more of the blow than he did. I fell back to the wall, waiting for his onslaught, hoping my legs would work. There was a hard knock at the door. Cinny quickly opened it and a huge black-haired man stood there with the diminutive Doc Morse cowering behind him, little black bag in hand. I knew Michael Houlihan right away. Murphy was coming at me, rubbing the side of his neck where I had got him.
Houlihan roared, "Murphy! Fuck off!" They barged into the room, slammed the door. This guy looked like a real fighter, huge, bony and cat-quick.
Popeye Forearms stopped, snarled, "You got lucky there, Sport. You got a deal, don't wait too long though or I'll come lookin'."
He raised his eyebrows and nodded his head, kept repeating the action until I did.
"Deal," I said with false bravery, "see you soon. Keep training. Eat your spinach."
Murphy glanced at Houlihan, back at me with his best rattlesnake glare and left.
Cinny said, "Thanks, Michael. Thanks a ton."
Michael said, ignoring me, "Cinny. You're stayin' outa street work for sure now. Are ya not? That is what ya told us. Can we take it as the gospel?" A tinge of Irish brogue.
"For sure."
"This lad mean somethin' to ya, does he?"
The little bald doctor made his first comment, "He's not exactly a lad."
I immediately disliked him.

© RC Westerholm







   from chapter two of my novel Acts of Empathy



      Shawna fixed a peculiar look on her face. Spoke, "Therése, you really want to enjoy Florence and Italy, right?"

"Of course. I am too. Why?"

"Are you studying it more and enjoying it less?" She held an angled smile.

"What do you mean?" We strolled through the tourists and clapping pigeons into the adjoining piazza San Giovanni.

"Come with me." Shawna took my hand and I followed her across the square, past the octagonal Baptistery of Saint John the Baptist, with its bronze Renaissance doors crafted by Lorenzo Ghiberti called 'Gate of Paradise'. She confiscated my little guidebook and handed it to a boy-child, who immediately rushed off to sell it.

"Shawna ..."

"Sit here, with me." She picked a shaded area and we sat close against the side of a cool building, looking across the space at the constant flow of people around the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and Giotto's magnificent bell tower.

"Do you notice, Therése, how the Florentine air seems to sparkle here? It's clearer. Cooler. Laden with oxygen. You could spend hours looking at that tower and never tire of it. The designer meant it that way. He didn't care if you remembered what year it was built, or what architectural style, or maybe even who he was. He wanted the world to enjoy it. Forever if possible. That's why he faced it to the sun. You detract from his dream by studying it too carefully. Let the drudging scholars and the dusty historians do that. The tower should take a lifetime to reveal itself to you, that's why you return to Firenze again and again."

I was beginning to understand.

She continued, "The Italian's don't save vintage wine for a hundred years in dank cellars, they drink it now. They don't baby their Lamborghinis, they drive them. And they don't eat spaghetti out of a can ... enjoy the moment, Therese, this IS the moment. If you know nothing of the artist, does it diminish your appreciation of the work?"

"I believe you're right, Shawna. I do. It is so beautiful the details don't matter."

She took my hand again. "Get an attitude, Miss Lambikins, believe you are the center of the universe and everything revolves around you, because it's true."

We watched a vivid life passing, like coloured planets in a bright galaxy, each with its own orbit.

"I understand what you're saying, Shawna. If I think about it, like, the true history of the world is in my own head, my own memory."

"Exactly. It doesn't exist if you don't know it."

"Yes. I see, you have to let it happen to you."

"Now you're living, Therése. The moment before you die, there won't be anything else."

She grinned at me, relaxed. "Let's sit here a while. Someone will come and sell us ice cream soon."

A pair of sightseers was looking toward the church, thumbing quickly through their guidebook, backpaging and forwarding, desperately trying to find information. They hardly ever looked up at the magical edifice before them. A tour group placidly followed a guide across the square like a kindergarten class going home after a field trip, unseeing and unhearing in their weariness, unable to revolt and run for it.

The little Italian boy shrieked after he sold the guidebook and ran off like a gazelle into a shadowed narrow stretta.

Another man was trying to photograph a panel of the Door of Paradise close up, seeing the sculpture only in terms of the angle to record it. Wondering what the picture would be like when he got back home. Tourist.

We were sitting in a particular spot that was never sunlit and the stone was cool. There was something unusual in this light of Florence, this artist's light. My outlook was changing.

Shawna said, "Can you hear that, Therése, that hum?"

I listened a moment. Detected the soft buzz of traffic in the background, on the Via Della Scala, said, "I think so, yes."

"That's not traffic, it's the hum of life, the murmur of creativity and it was here seven hundred years ago."

She folded her knees up and leaned across them. I watched her out of the corner of my eye as those brilliant blue orbs saturated themselves with the essence of existence. It was as though she was drinking from a well with her soul.

Two lovers in pure white slowly crossed the square, arms around each other's waists, looking downward in the dreaminess of lovers' thoughts. They didn't even see the tower or the people. The universe revolved around them.

After a while a man approached pushing an ice cream cart, looking expectantly at us as he neared.


Shawna winked at me and said to him, "Do you have licorice pistachio pineapple?"

His face dropped in dismay, "No. Have only la cioccolata e vanilla."

She grinned that captivating crooked grin and said, "Due cioccolata, per favore, and big ones too."

The ice cream had come directly from God.

                                                                                                                                                                                                   © Dahlia



Acts of Empathy ...

 Synopsis  -   A young widow traveling alone in Northern Italy meets a lesbian, faces death, falls in love and discovers herself.


Read the entire first chapter of Acts of Empathy here ...








           You're neither unnatural, nor abominable, nor mad;
                      you're as much a part of what people call nature as anyone else;
                                                                only you're unexplained as yet     
                                                      Radclyffe Hall  - Well of Loneliness









Let's Kill Auntie Lena    

Fifty's Long Enough


Let's kill auntie Lena, let's chop up her head,

and then uncle Harry, let's make them both dead.

Let's get a great big knife, to stick in her heart

we'll wait till she's sleeping, and cut her apart.

Let's shoot uncle Harry, when he doesn't know,

we'll dig him in the corn patch, to see if he'll grow.

I love auntie Lena, and like Harry too.

But I won't go to bed now, there's nothing to do.



Fifty's long enough to live

when your heart is broke like mine.

A lifetime's just too much to give

when you're long past forty-nine.

When the days 're gray an' the nights don't pay

an' the years keep draggin' on.

Fifty's long enough to live

an' you might as well be gone.


excerpts of song lyrics © by R.C. Westerholm           


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  from  Amazon  Publishing




 from No Tears ...



 Singer Harry is about to begin recording his first Christmas album. There are some decorations evident. In the Control Room are the Musical Director KEVIN, his Personal Assistant GIRL, and the ENGINEER. They are watching through the glass as Singer HARRY dons a head-set in his sound booth. We hear the pre-recorded orchestral intro music. The song is Mistletoe and Holly.  



          Cue for Harry's Christmas Album.

The music swells, Singer Harry appears ready.

SINGER HARRY (singing)

          Oh by gosh by golly, it's time for Mister Toe and holly, tasty ...


          Cut! (laughing) 
          Go again, a little slip there, Harry. No problem.

SINGER HARRY   (looks oddly at them)

          Sure, Kevin.

 The Engineer restarts the music.



          Oh by gosh by golly, it's time for Mister Toe and ...


          Cut!  Harry?


          What?   What's going on?

M.D. KEVIN   (trying to laugh)

          You did it again.

SINGER HARRY (puzzled, looks through glass at the others) 

          Did what again?

The Engineer glances at Kevin. P.A. Girl just shrugs, chews her gum.


          Harry, you're saying Mister TOE. 

SINGER HARRY  (after a pause, still staring) 

          Yeah, so?


          Okay, Ha ha. I get it. He's funny. Isn't he funny?

Musical Director Kevin looks to the others for confirmation that they also think Singer Harry is joking. They seem doubtful. Singer Harry is peering at them all.

P.A. GIRL  (nodding at Engineer)  

          He's funny.


          Yeah, funny.


          Harry, you're saying Mister Toe instead of Mistletoe.


          I am saying - Oh by gosh by jolly, it's time for Mister Toe and holly. 


          Now you said by gosh by JOLLY! It is mistletoe not MISTER TOE,  and golly not jolly.


          I've always sung it Mister Toe. That's the words.

M.D. KEVEN (exasperated)  

          No, they're not Harry, it is mistletoe, what you do at Christmas. Under the mistletoe, get it?


          We never had mistletoe since Mom and Neighbour Bill that time.

M.D. KEVIN  (sigh)

          Just do the words, Harry.


          Kevin, my uncle sang that song to me when I was four, and every year since. I know the song. 

P.A. GIRL  (whisper to Kevin)

          I think he thinks those ARE the words.

etc ....






from my stage play - The Ride


(Big John sighs with frustration)

BIG JOHN;           Randal, I not be sharp guy like you  You boys go out to having fun wit' girls. Not too hard life, eh? Good.
                                When I was young as like Frenchy, I hide in sewers for two years while Gestapo hunt for me.

(They all keep a respectful silence a moment)

JERRY DUNN;     Hey John, what was Frenchy's real name anyway?

BIG JOHN;           Frenchy?

JERRY DUNN;     Yeah, what was his name? Was it French?  Pierre or something?

BIG JOHN:           He was good boy, speak two language.


JERRY DUNN;     Was always sayin' merde, means shit in French.

HAGLER:              Frenchy died with liquid shit in his veins.

BIG JOHN;           (thinking)  I never know his real name.

HAGLER;              Damn, none of us even knew what his real name was.

JERRY DUNN;     It matter to you. Hagler?

CALLOWAY;        Prob'ly don't matter to nobody.

HAGLER;              Frig off, Calloway.

(Big John takes the unlit cigarette out of his mouth)                                                                                                                              

BIG JOHN;           You boys listen. You don't t'ink it matter? Somewhere in Montreal is a mother waiting for Frenchy to come back home.  Every body matter to some body, understand boys? You too.

from SCENE II ... later

(Wallace returns from Phil's)

WALLACE;            You guys. Phil ain't comin' .... He's ... (takes a deep breath) He ain't goin' nowhere.

JERRY DUNN;     What?

WALLACE;            He's just .... dead man, he's ....... bloody well straight assed dead.

JERRY DUNN;     Nooo.

CALLOWAY;         Phil? Dead?

(Hagler and Jerry simply look at each other,  having a hard time believing the news. Calloway is shaken)

WALLACE;            I ain't lyin'. He OD'd.

HAGLER;              Wait a minute, back up, Wallace.

JERRY DUNN;     Yeah, how do you know for sure?

WALLACE;            When I got to his house, an ambliance was there awready, takin' him away. His Mother cryin' ....
                                wailin' at the gate.

HAGLER;              But are you sure he was dead?

WALLACE;            Neighbours all out there watchin' .... his ol' gray Dad .... just sittin' on that raggedy old porch ....
                                Holdin' his head in his hands.

CALLOWAY;        Maybe Phil was only unconscious?

JERRY DUNN;    Yeah, maybe they were just takin' him to the hospital?

CALLOWAY;        That's what happens, ya sorta go into a coma.

JERRY DUNN;     Jeeze, I feel like poundin' Phil's face in.

HAGLER;              You shittin' us, Wallace? Don't fool around with this.

WALLACE;           No shit. The white sheet was up over his head.  He was strapped down on that stretcher.  I .... I seen his ....
                               his dead hand hangin' down.  

from SCENE III... later

CALLOWAY:        Beatin’ me up ain’t gonna bring Billy back.
(Hagler is now pacing)

HAGLER:             Shut your face, Calloway.

CALLOWAY:       Shitsakes, I didn’t stick the fuckin’ needle inta his arm, he was my friend, ya know. (Exasperation) Quit blamin’ me, Hagler!

HAGLER:            You were with him. You scored FOR him!

CALLOWAY:      How was I to know he wasn’t gonna wake up? I didn’t know what he was doin’ until it was too late.

HAGLER:            Just watched him die, didn’t you?

(Calloway retreats whenever Hagler moves close. Big John watches them closely)

CALLOWAY:      Billy was a hype like me, you just didn’t wanna see it.

HAGLER:            He was my little brother, asshole!

CALLOWAY:      (Rising voice) I didn’t kill him, Hagler. He shot every cap he scored that day, he killed himself!

(Hagler steps closer to Calloway, their voices are steadily raising and they hear nothing else but each other)

BIG JOHN:         Randal, be cooling down now.

HAGLER:            Don’t say that, Calloway, you're a fuckin’ liar!

(Hagler gives Calloway another shove)

CALLOWAY:      (Anguish) He told me yer Uncle Jack started on him right after he moved in. He couldn’t tell your Mom, thought it would send her off the deep end ...

HAGLER:            Shut up, Jimmy!

CALLOWAY:      And Billy couldn’t fight with him like you did. He just wasn’t strong enough!

HAGLER:            Jimmy, you’re lying!

CALLOWAY:      You know I’m not. Billy wanted to go out in a dream ... He did himself on PURPOSE! Ya still don’t get it, do ya Hagler! Your brother WANTED to die!

© RC Westerholm

information for dramaturges here -









The Dream

Here's my dream: I'm living in this huge old house in England and ... No, wait! I'm riding my motorcycle first. The black one. It's very dark but moonlit and I'm flickering through mottled shadows on a country road bordered by tall trees and a latticed canopy of branches. There is no colour, like an old black and white movie.

I'm speeding. Fascinated by the ground shadows and not even looking ahead to wherever it is I am going. I have no headlight. I am a shadow, without sound, without structure. I'm not even sure I can be seen. Or if I am there at all except when a fallen leaf overturns in a gust as I pass. I'm an amorphous shape. In my head I hear a squawky rasping wailing plaintive Eric Clapton guitar. Like he's playing on the other side of those forbidding black trees. Then I arrive at my house. It is still. Graveyard quiet. Very late. The lambent light is silver yet darksome and the blacks are those brown-blacks of an Ingmar Bergman movie. The house is one of those great half-timbered manors you see in old country England, Devon or Cornwall, grey slate roof and many chimney pots.

I have to put the motorbike in the garage which is not really a garage at all but a tiny room at the west side of the house, down five or six stone steps. I work it through the narrow entrance. Then I make my way into the main house toward my room. The long building angles around in an arc, so everything faces onto the broad sloping grounds, each room leads through a wide archway into the next. Everyone else is sleeping upstairs in one of the fifteen bedrooms.

My own small quarters are in the far east corner of the house. I have chosen this room. A garden room half sunk below ground level like where my bike is. It has leaded diamond-pane windows allowing me to look out onto the expansive lawns and I can stand there and see through the bottom of the shrubbery and no one knows I'm even there. It's more like a filled-in porch with rough boards washed an odd, transparent white. Rampant garden plants invade and vines struggle through wall cracks. The dimness is half-lit by a tall street lamp though there is no street outside, only drifting lawns which disappear into faraway stands of dark, funereal trees. If anyone furtively crosses the cool grass their shadow is cast upon my wall by the argent light and I can see who's out there. I fear a burglar may enter and I realize my Bowie knife is lying on a ledge right beside the door where my bike is. Accessible to anyone who may enter. The original bone-handled Bowie knife with the gleaming blade and the leather sheath that I changed from brown to black with shoe dye.

I float back to the murky room where my motorbike is. It has been moved and I am afraid when someone comes in they'll scratch the gas tank so I rearrange it, putting it close against the cold concrete wall. The door is now wide open too, leaving only the flimsy screen door to repel the crooks so I re-close it and head back to my room. I think something is odd in the nightclub-living room but my two nephews are there now and they perfidiously deny it. It is too warm in there to be silent and still as though nothing was happening and who are these manikin people? My tall nephew smiles and assures me that nothing is going on. Really. The other, without removing his hands from his pockets just shrugs with impudence. They glance conspiratorially at each other.

The stage is all in black too. I threaten the young men that I will perform a Whistling March from World War 1 and destroy the night club's reputation if they are lying to me. The whistling tune where I spurt out saliva and dribble over my chin and quick-march in leggings and spats. That ought to stop any shenanigans in my living room. The club has tiers of tables and seats receding into the sooty gloom and there is only one person at every other table. A manikin woman with slick black hair plastered to her head smiles a stilted smile at me but doesn't move. A kiss curl sticks to her forehead and pearls glow coldly around her neck. She has huge painted black eyes that shine with crescents of silver. Others clutch long black cigarette holders in their slender fingers but the smokes are unlit. Their sequins glint in nacreous light.

I make my way again through the morose gray lodge room to my own room, just realizing when I get there that I didn't collect the Bowie knife.

I have to go back. And this time one of my nephews is on stage like a master-of-ceremonies in some bleak Hamburg production of Cabaret. Wearing a gray suit and a white buttoned up collar without a tie. Surrounded by smoke and fog the colour of tarnished silver. The two of them grin with feigned innocence and tell me once more nothing is happening but when I get to the motorcycle room the bike has been moved again and I know it's to allow incoming patrons to pass. The door is open. Cool night air drifts in from across the damp lawns. I see moths clinging to the screen like errant scraps of wan cotton. The grounds are moonlit from a high moon and the trees cast Rorschach shadows. There is no one out there.

My bike has now been placed under a huge electrical box beside a rusted, chained-up lawn mower without a push handle and the seat of the bike and one handlebar are touching the bottom of the metal case so I have to move it again, jockeying it forth and back until it's right but the side stand isn't correctly extending so I have to keep trying to see if the heavy bike would fall over and I can't let go of it.

Then when I go back through the nightclub there are now a few live people there, sprinkled among the manikins. Including my friend Tom who died a few years ago. He is being a waiter and comes toward me with a silver tray and a white towel draped over his arm. He is wearing one of those short black waiter's jackets and kind of long short pants and his legs look thin but healthy, more like a young boy's legs. The short pants are beige and they are the only coloured thing in my dream. I bump right into him with my chin, hitting his nose. He drops the tray and walks away, up an aisle between tables, balefully rolling his eyes because I was so stupid to have walked right into him with my chin. Everyone is watching the stage. Anticipating. Waiting for something to begin. Yet it seems it won't until I leave. Tom turns and moves away. He is holding his fingers over his nose and then starts letting his jacket slide up and down over his shoulders as if he can't decide whether to take it off or keep it on. His wife is there and just laughs. But there is no sound to her chuckle. And it is as if she knows something I don't.

I'm rubbing my chin. The lower right side is throbbing. Right on the bone. There are a few other real people present but I don't know who they are. A flicker of silhouette is moving furtively through the chiaroscuro at the back of the room. A door opens somewhere. And I think something is about to start.

I wake ... The air is cold and moist and no one is there. I am lying on the cover and I have to tug it hard to get a piece of it over me.

I ... I can't go back to sleep now, because my mind is flashing with staccato images fitting themselves together like jiggling dominoes printed with scenes from ten different movies ... or ten different lives.

I can't go back to sleep now ... and my chin is throbbing with pain. I can't go back to sleep now ... I don't dare.

I am afraid of the act that may be on stage.

© RC Westerholm



As writers become more numerous, it is natural for readers to become more indolent .... Oliver Goldsmith








                                A meticulous girl from Vancouver

                                was cleaning her room with a Hoover,

                               she vacuumed her cunny

                                which wasn't too funny

                               'cause it took 12 men to remove her.

                                                                                                                                      © Bob Westerholm










If you're inspired a little - here's further exploration for your creative writing interests  . . .


   writing contests  -       

                         also check your local library's literature department for postings of current writing contests.

   screenwriting  -

                           Zoetrope is Francis Ford Cupola's annual contest.

   the playwriting seminars  -    

                        much information on screen or stage writing in easy to take format.

   screenwriting software  -

                    Movie Magic screenwriting software is second to none for support, and acknowledged as THE best.

   poetry  - 

                        Try writing your own poetry, even if you've never done it before.

   literature  -

                    There are thousands of literary sites on the web to keep the literati happy forever.

   writers clubs - Vancouver public library has many leads for writers  -

    and three women write about - Women  Inspiring  Women


Local writers' groups are a great place for all creative writers.

You'll get a valuable critique that friends won't give you. Join one! 

The Magic Bus  


   Terrence climbed onto the bus, hung his umbrella over his arm and withdrew his new wallet. Paid the fare. Ten thousand dollars. The driver didn't smile, he never did at Terrence, just pressed a big red button and the windows fogged as they accelerated away. Terrence glanced over the singular passengers who looked expectantly at him. Hopeful faces. He chose an empty seat beside a rugged looking Army man with a pulpy scar across his lip and thick dark hair, wearing khaki shirt and trousers.

"So you sit with me." The Soldier said in a gravelly voice. He pulled a pack of Camels from his shirt pocket and lit one by flicking his thumbnail over the red and blue head of a wooden match. Didn't offer a cigarette to Terrence. His fingers were like freshly dug poatoes.

"It'll be rough ya know, Autumn '44 ain't to country picnic, even if the war is leavin' Italy. They're still tryin' ta hang on wherever they can. Mussellini is somewhere up in them hills, Montecatini maybe, who knows? But we'll find him, don't worry, we'll find him." Smoke drifted out of his nose as though his lungs might be permanently smoldering.

"But um, wasn't Rome already liberated in the Spring of 1944?" Terrence remarked.

 "Yeah, but that kinds shit's easy. Artillery. Whole armored divisions rollin' along. Tanks. That's velvet pie. Ya could use one of them new flame throwers if ya wanted, fry the friggin' Krauts right in their burrows."

"F-fry them in their b-burrows?"

"Bunker Barbecue."

"Uhn, provided you can get close enough to use the thing?"

The Soldier twisted, stared directly at Terrence with sparking eyes, "Who said it wouldn't be dangerous? That's the whole ticket, it's why yer here ain't it? To go one on one?"

"I'm not sure yet."

"The game is diggin' 'em out one at a time, Buddy,... Ya don't ever live better than when yer so close ta dyin' .... no one will beat ya up this time thought."

"I hope not. I abhor violence."

"So ya got punched in the head and the mugger took yer wallet, that's why ya wanta face it now, ain't it? Believe me, them new flamers are the cat's ass, the Nazi's howl is like a Wagner opera." He pronounced the composer's name as WAGner.

Terrence gulped, corrected, "VAHGner."

The Soldier took a deep drag from the cigarette. The foul smoke clouded his voice, "You'll love it Buddy, there's fun if ya get off at my stop with me. Better than a table grade woman."


The virile offer was tempting. Terrence looked around, opted to move near the little blonde woman. As he sat beside her he realized she was only a young girl, soft, supple looking. She could have been sixteen, had fine yellowy hair with the light fragrance of wild rose.

"Hello," she said, her voice musical, her eyes possessing a teal-blue sheen, "are you getting off when I do?"

"I, don't know yet. I don't even know you're name?"

"Melinda, some of my friends call me Lin, but I don't like its immaturity."

"You're not very old."

"But I have experience, I can do sex like any grown woman."

Terrence gulped openly while furtively studying her body in the opaque window reflection, noticing her small breasts, the feathery down on her arms, knew she was a natural blonde. How would she look without clothing? Downy he expected. "Do you, um, have an idea?" he ventured.

She touched her skirt and it seemed to ride up higher on her thigh, "Yes, we have an opulent room, surrounded by a glass partition. A circular bed, you and I upon it, satin sheets. Candles glowing. An audience in the half-light. They watch our performance."

Terrence could sense the heat in his cheeks. "I have never considered this before, I mean doing it in front of others, especially with such a young person as yourself."

"Remember that older woman you went with that time? How she teased you afterwards?"

The scarlet humiliation still colored him, lingering in his peripheral consciousness whenever he looked at a pretty girl. "I didn't think you'd know about that."

"I am aware because it helps us. You will have no sex problems with me. I have trained in Paris, Montemartre, working out of that little cafe east from the Moulin Rouge, on the Boulevard de Clichy. And also with those butterscotch girls in Bangkok, Siam."

Terrence lowered his voice when he saw the soldier cock an ear. "As a prost ..."

She continued, "A fille de joie, Some of our audience will be some whom you are acquainted with, perhaps that petit little typist you see once in a while at your office. She will be enthralled with what you do to me, wish it was her." She gave him a winsome smile, "Terrence, will you come with me?"

Terrence's pulse rate quickened. He worried about his blood pressure again. He slipped into a daydream a moment before jerking awake. She was smiling expectantly at him with celadon eyes. "Excuse me," he uttered, "perhaps I'll be back." She gave him another glimpse of a golden thigh.


Terrence then sat beside a swarthy man with thick ruddy features and disheveled hair. Who had on a striped tweed suit and reeked of garlic. He said, trying not to inhale, "I don't think I want to chat, I need to gather my thoughts."

The man's accent was Italian, "So they are STREWN in the aisle as confetti? Is okay with me, I see life, however, as MUSIC. The notes do not FLOAT to the ground, once they are streaming through the ether there is not way to stop them. When you hear this capriccio, you cannot go back, you are already experience it. So why try to avoid this pleasure?"

Melinda, watching them from her seat repeated absently, "Pleasure?"

The Italian ignored her or did not hear. "Accept this harmony of thought as it arrives, sometime in a hush, as a Chopin chording," he emitted a portamento hum, "Other time in a clatter of emotion as in one of Tchiakovsky's violent moments." Terrence tried to turn away from his invasive odor. The aficionado led an imaginary orchestra with an invisible baton. Said with his eyes closed, "Why try to avoid such noble pursuit?"

The Soldier mumbled under his breath, "Noble schmoble."

The music man continued, "It can slide imperceptively into one's awareness, as Grieg can do with his most delicate melodies."

The Soldier jaggedly interjected, "Wagner for chrissakes, pound the shit out of it!" He dropped his cigarette, ground it out with his polished boot, lit another match with his fingernail, watched it burn until he snubbed it out with his bare fingers. Grinned at Terrence.

The Italian retrieved Terrence's attention and offered, "We two would work on this, ah, music of life. Musica vita. We write a notturno, Si? The world NEEDS nocturnes now, Chopin had but nineteen. Do you know the result of this collaborazioni? World fame. Symphonies performing YOUR music! The Aristocracy of Consonance bending to welcome you!"

Terrence thought of his little electronic keyboard, "It wouldn't be anything like my Casio."

"Which you keep in your room and play with earphones so Mama will not hear you. Ha. You must have VISION, my boy."

The headset allowed him to play it raucously without anyone hearing except himself. Terrence spoke, trying for a little proudness, "But I CAN play waltzes and rumbas on it. And Hawaiian. It keeps its own rhythms. I was trying with numbers to make music. Stephen Sondheim used mathematics in his song writing."

The composer retorted impatiently, "We depart at once for Lago de Como, in the Nort' of Italla, where concerti can be berthed in Verdi solitude."

"Italy. Enrico Fermi. I almost took a holiday there last year."

"We will create like madmen, our piano will reverberate across the emerald lake, until EVERYONE comes near, drawn magically by the lushness of our song. We write an erotica together. Pavarotti with sing it."


"We must exit soon."  He looked ahead but the bus lights only dazzled in the fog.


Terrence slid across the aisle and sat hesitantly beside a large muscular black man. "It goes like this, see? You win he first point, so it's fifteen love. You go on to four Grand Slam victories in a row, but you don't come back, see? This is the real game. The tennis world is waiting but now you're on the roster of the New York Yankees, Ruth, Mantle. But I don't think you should start with baseball, you played that once, remember?"

Terrence's mind imaged his attempt at baseball, "It was a long time ago but I suppose you already know. The ball hit my head, I had a concussion in the batter's box," he forced a half smile, "Uh, my Mother was very upset."

The black man's sharp voice continued, "This time your bat is light as a piece of straw, you see the stitching on the ball as it leaves the pitcher's fingers, like Reggie Jackson. You'll get a hunderd homers in one year in the Show, what more could you ask for?"

Terrence tried feebly for a joke, "Two hundred?"

The Sportsman evidently didn't hear, "This maybe; you go on to ice hockey. Play for a team what's never done well. You dazzle 'em, see? Gretsky stalled at ninety-two goals. So whatdya think?"

"Think? About?"

"Of you gettin' that hundredth goal. You stand there with the puck behind your own net, and POINT to the other goal! Like Ruth did and smacked a homer outa the park! You skate out and every player is trying to catch you! Every camera in the sports world is on you, Man. Wow."

"Wow." Terrence wanted to close his eyes for the dream but couldn't.

The Italian butt in, "So what is creative in this?"

The Sportsman with the light in his eyes chose not to hear, "You then go on to Formula One auto racing. What's the record for straight wins? Fangio still have it? Jim Clark?  Maybe you win every race? What else? Football? They be trying to sign you by now. Sure throw looping touchdown passes John Elway style. Whatever you want, five glorious years!" He stared meaningfully at Terrence, "Listen Man, the thing about glory is that you CAN take it with you! I'm just three stops from here, have it all, get off with me."


Terrence moved to yet another seat. A bulky dark man slumped against the wall of the bus, a black patch over one eye, dressed oddly in a loose fitting tunic of coarse leather. Scarred arms, one draped over the seat back, making Terrence nervous of his intent. A crude gold amulet hung from a thong around his neck. "You would have choice this time, Terrence, your people date the time around 205 BC, after my trek through the Alps. We were at the gates of Rome. I am Hannibal of course, I threw a spear over the wall but none of the baby Caesars inside dared accept my challenge. They were shaking with fright, taking the easy way out with jeweled daggers to their own bellies!

Hannibal paused to spit on the floor. Terrence pulled his feet under the seat. "The Senators with their stentorian orations debating who would chase me away. I only left to face Scipio Africanus at Zama."

He fixed a single eyed stare at Terrence who resisted the urge to cringe. "I read about that in history class once. Didn't the Romans destroy Carthage?"

"You could change it all for me. Perhaps go in over the wall. Sack Rome long before the Visigoths or the Huns. You would be right there at the height of Roman power, riding your elephant into the coliseum. They would send up blood sacrifices to their Gods, such as they are." He spat again, a vile green liquid, "Thumbs up to Terrence, son of Hasdrubal, Great Emperor of Rome." They sat silent a moment letting the wondrous ideas to saturate. 

Terrence said, "I was going to Rome, if I had gone on that holiday to Italy."

The Soldier coughed trying to steal attention. Hannibal was still within his illusion. "And today, chiseled into the magnificent Arch of, Terrence, on the Appian Way, forever, your very own history. Yes, it CAN be altered. My stop is coming up, Will you step off with me? It is an opportunity my friend, to be savage, what every man lusts for."


Terrence changed his seat again. Found himself near a tall man dressed in black with chased platinum hair. His face very white. A large hawk nose, had the look of a cadaver. Piercing steel gray eyes. "What is your deal," he asked in a braver tone than he intended.

"Deal? Hah. I make no deal." The words emitted like a bad taste. He raised his large head, stared down the long nose at his seat-mate. "You believe I offer a deal because I am here in black? What am I, a salesman of greed? The foul friend makes deals but he has no monopoly on wearing black." He huffed and glanced out the window although Terrence could see nothing but darkness. "I am an Angel, a seraph taking your human form, I needn't be seen only in white." He gestured with his arms as if to present himself. "I offer you turmoil and trouble," he gazed at Terrence until his eyes took on a silver glint, "but oh what battles we could fight."

"Battles." Terrence swallowed hard, realizing he was gripping his umbrella too tightly. The great figure with the long head smiled, raised his pewter eyebrows, "That surprises you?"

"I'm not sure what you are talking about, it, um, sounds dangerous."

The Angel bristled a moment with impatience before settling himself down with a shudder. "I could install you into the inner circle as, Terriel, a Warrior Angel. That IS an exalted position even if Archangels are only second up."  He adopted a superior attitude. "There are nine levels of Angels you know, and every one has a specific task, Lucifer disputed his, and is now a fallen angel. Hah, but oh what fun we have, stalking, skirmishing at every turn." He spoke slowly, as if savoring delicious words. "Oh the never ending hunt, the brilliant clashes." He broke into a wide aluminum smile. 

Terrence said, "We would be fighting the very Devil himself?" the words stuck in his throat.

"Truly a magnificent challenge. I would give you Raphael, Uriel and ah, Gabriel as cohorts. It would not be like going down in history as Ghengis Khan or my friend two seats ahead, Hannibal for instance ..."

Hannibal turned and glared at the dark Angel, "Friend? I have my own Gods, none of them yours." He spat on the floor and it steamed and sizzled. The Angel was irritated, "I beg your pardon, I believe I have the attention of my learned friend at the moment." He huffed at the Carthaginian before turning back to Terrence, "As I was saying before that heathen interruption, his is an earthly history, I offer you the chance to write it at a higher level, a History of the Seven Heavens. Written by we Angels. It WILL be discovered within five thousand years."

Terrence was intimidated under the stern glare of Hannibal and the glinting stare of the Angel. He could hear the soldier's labored breathing. Distracted himself by studying the fall of Melinda's golden hair.

"What of this challenge, boy? Is this not a good offer? A DEAL if you like? I promise you a sword of fire!"

Terrence was flustered, couldn't answer. Hannibal did, "You see? Savage, exactly what I said." The angel shifted his eyes only, said, "DO you mind?"

Melinda commented to Terrence, "I don't mind being taken with strength if that is what you like. I am familiar with the Marquis de Sade too. I am no vanilla girl."

Hannibal reasserted, "MY offer is real, not a smoky figment by an imaginary character."

The Soldier erupted into a series of strangulated coughs. The Angel was exasperated, "Did I interrupt you people?"

The African's temperature was also rising, "You people interrupted the course of history."

The Seraph began to lose his temper, "Shut up or I will vanish you."

Hannibal retorted, "Then I'll just come back as Hitler."

The Soldier rose to the challenge, "Fuckin' okay with me, Buddy,"

The Angel turned his attention back to Terrence, trying reason, "Pay them no heed, my Son, You hesitate, but one must work one's way up to Seraphim, mustn't one? Through the levels of Powers and Virtues etcetera. These are grades of Angels, you see. We can't possibly start you out as a six winged Seraph right away then, can we?" Terrence didn't reply. "Well can we?"

Terrence was shaking with indecision. He arose, moved forward in the rumbling swaying flying bus, clutching at the chrome grab handles. The Angel called after him, "Forget the sports deal, Terrence. That is a pact with the Devil, you notice he only offered you five years. I promise eternity."


Terrence stared out the window. "Um, does anyone else see those grassy green hills? The olive trees?" No one answered. "Some sort of gray stone castle there, on the horizon." He pointed into the oblivion. And above the castle Terrence saw a silver biplane arcing through a powdered sky. He heard the girl-woman's ethereal voice, "My stop is just two forward, Terrence. Come off with me,"

"Is that music?" Terrence thought he heard a rhapsodic melody. And the scent of June lilacs wafted to his nose. The rugged Army man rasped beneath his smoke, "What can she give ya but crotch pheasants?"

Melinda quickly answered, "The gratitude of women, the envy of men. Fantasies go with me, and sexual passion. "

The soldier countered with his best weapon, spoke low in a confidential tone, "It's house ta house fighting in Grosetto. Ya live to die. It's exhilaration. Let's do it, Buddy." He lit another match and held it up. The sulfur overpowered the lilac. The Sportsman offered, "The World Cup. Soccer, now there's a real sport, or if you like singular, how about the hundred meters, flash it in nine flat, put the records out of reach."

The Angel, with diamond clarity, announced, "Alright then, I'll make you a full Dominion! That is of the sixth level, responsible for Jupiter." The Angel's teeth sparkled one at a time.

The Italian composer's thick breath wafted forward, "A complete symphony. Bellisimo!"

The Angel laughed derisively, "As if YOU could match the power of Gabriel's horn?"

Hannibal jumped in, "Then let's hear it. I have two good ears."

Angel was becoming angry, "I can make statues cry, and crosses bleed."

Melinda added, "Sex is the driving force of men."

The Italian disagreed, "Not to be true, creativity is."

The Soldier had his own slant; "I hate ta spring this on you assholes, but killing each other is where it's at."

The Italian was incredulous, "You would have us believe this is our purpose?"

"Nature's way, music man, there's too many of us, can't ya work that out?"


The Angel produced a serene liquid smile at Terrence, "We'll always have room for you in the fourth Heaven, my Son."

Hannibal asked, "Have you ever ridden an elephant, Terrence? You can draw power from them."

The Sportsman asked, "Have you ever ridden a wave of popularity, Man? Sports heroes are revered everywhere, Brains are out, basketball's in!"

The sick Soldier emitted a trailing cough, looked upward, "Our purpose is to advance mankind. You can count the individuals who have done this on your fingers, Buddy. I don't know how long I can hold on for you, Terrence." He gripped his chest as though in pain.


All the riders called out simultaneously, "Come with me!"

Terrence said weekly, "I need to think." He stood at the front of the bus, looking back at the other riders, who stared forward with hopes that he would rejoin them, stay on until their particular stop, exit at their particular world. The driver watched them in his mirror, ignoring the road. The magic bus came to a stop and Terrence got off. The other riders lapsed into agitated argument. He heard snatches of their simultaneous chatter.

"There's looting too, war is fun ..."

"Get rich ..."

"It is the passion of women that men seek ..."

"We two could change the shape of the future ..."

"Music is truth, as only music can be ,,, innamorata."

"Everybody loves a Champion ..."

"Rome must fall ..."

Only the clarity of the Angel's voice seemed to emerge above the clatter, "Power is everything."


The pulsing orange glow of the bus and it's buzzing sound dissipated as it moved off up the street. It was now a misty rain but Terrence decided not to open his umbrella. He walked right into Fred Carter, his next door neighbor, who always seemed to ask a million questions. "Terrence, how are you?"

"Fine Fred, just fine." he tried walking on but Fred persisted.

"I was talking to your Mom, she said you're acting odd lately, staying in your room. Thinks your job is getting to you. Do something else, Terr', How do you stand that huge accounting office year after year? You're only a number there. What happened to that Italian holiday you were going on? Don't know why you don't get a car, your driving instructor survived, why take the bus all the time?"

Fred's reverberating speech seemed to become a murmur out of a tunnel. Terrence believed he heard something new, a conversation in a whisper of the wind. Distant drums. In a moment he answered to himself, "Yes Fred, why indeed? Why not step off into a new destination. Into a new life?

Terrence walked home, now with a confident stride, entered his front door and announced boldly, "Mother, I'm home and I'm going away to Italy to create music." His mother's disjointed voice came from the kitchen or upstairs or the basement, firm and quick and indisputable,  " No, your not."

Terrence quietly closed he door to his room. In silence looked over the equations on his chalk-board, he was so close to his mathematical string theory explanation of multi-verse that his mind forgot his intense desire to be like others and quickly filled with quantum scatterings.

Someday Terrence would make a decision about what to do. Until then, he'd ride the bus.





performed on stage by the Spin Cycle Players, Vancouver, BC.












The Dandelion Seed


The teasing young wind carries the dandelion seed,

          tantalizes it frivolously, unaware of its need,

                  a moment's touch-down, a kiss to moist soil

           then a gusting a rushing and a floundering roil

  as it sweeps the seed upward on a hot drying breath,

         swirling it skyward in a dizzying soar

scratches it across the infertile rooftops, 

                      so high so high I don't see it anymore.

That immature wind, in an impulsive instant   

      fades like a puppy pausing to sleep

        yet it has miles to go, pledges to keep.

The dandelion seed has a lingering dream

   of a crack in the sidewalk or a roadside seam

Until the puerile wind wakes and drags again at the seed,

                   tugs it so cruelly, unaware of its need

             a fortuitous wind, in a light hearted play.

That fragile young seed has found its rightful way,

       On a breeze as gentle as a mother's sigh,

its rightful place, is a place in the sky.'



written by Zac in A Place in the Sky, the third novel in the Yuli Haugan trilogy   ...   TREPHINING ©











 from my comedy stage play - Talk About Love

from ACT III - Empty Nest


HE:                 Men are more inventive.

SHE:              I don't concede that, you've screwed up the world with your inventions.

                       (They stop circling, stare at each other over the table )                                                         

HE:                Hey now ... Men have contributed to the betterment of Man.

SHE:             (Looking into audience at women)     Egg,sactly.

HE:                Why can't you admit it? We've created the greatest inventions ...

SHE:             How many would have been invented if men had to make
                      their own dinner?
HE:                Automobiles, for insta ...

SHE:             Carbon monoxide pollution. Ozone depletion.

                      (HE sighs, continues pacing)

HE:               Aircraft, to fly you to the sun on vacation ...

SHE:             F18s to reek napalm attacks and agent orange ... Would a woman ever have invented a gun?

HE:               Electric guitars. You love Eric Clapton.

SHE:            Decibels. Heavy Metal. Ozzy Osborne, Axl Rose, bite bats, kill cops, eat babies.

                     (HE thinks, leans over the table, raises an arm in defiance)

HE:              (Rising voice)     Rockets to the moon. Teflon!

                    (SHE leans across the table to face him)

SHE:           (Arm up too)     Surface to air missiles! And who gives a shit if your eggs stick to the fucking pan!



                    information for dramaturges here -

© RC Westerholm







from my novel Tango Murderoso - chapter 50 


                                                           Tango Murderoso


James McGrath materialized in a black tuxedo with satiny lapels, his hair slick and combed straight back, his features sharp and clear, eyes bright and bold. Cassandra's already lavish dress became a glimmering red satin with a plunging neckline promising warm oblivion. Her hair swept off her face and piled in tousled curls atop her head like a billowing thunder cloud.

They stood in the middle of the dance-floor. Her red lips closed but stretched in the makings of a smile. Her black eyes already dancing with excitement, like looking into a galaxy of sparks and shooting stars.

The band was even transformed and now looked to be all thin Argentines with pencil-line mustaches and greased hair and black bow ties over starched ruffled shirts. The rhythm grew louder, blurred hands pounded out an exotic lush beat full of bongos and congas and ratchety scratches and rhythmic grunts. Cowbells and ebony-wood boxes clanking and clicking. It was the deep living jungle in the heat of the tropics.

Cassandra drew McGrath into her arms and they began the dance.

Formally at first, the steps from the books, from the classes. They moved with sweeping low strides and head jerking reverses dipping and swirling like a mountain stream until they flowed into a warm, erotic liquid-honey movement of animal lust and straining desire. The moment stopped and time waited while they swept first this way, moved swiftly across the floor ending in a spin, then that way, using every inch of the inlaid wood, floating like smoke on a carefree breeze. The music swelled until it was the motivating force of their heartbeats, the rhythm of their lungs and legs, the flow of their blood. They drank the nectar of each other until they were intoxicated with elation, tongue-tied drunk with hedonistic love. They became one gliding, fluttering red and black bird deep in a lush green forest. Time waited. And waited.

It was a hypnotic dance, the Patrons sat and stared, mesmerized, and although the band moved while playing, it was as if a moment in the history of the world was being witnessed by a privileged few. The White Rose was stunned. Time waited.

The music began to fade. Slowly. Imperceptibly at first, then thinned and finally disappeared yet Cassandra and McGrath's movements only gradually slowed, languidly as though they could still hear the strains reverberating into the luxuriant green hills or out into the empty universe. The only sound became their foot sweeps. Then they were standing alone, Cassandra in an almost supine position beneath him, held by his strong arms, he above like a conquering lion.

McGrath gazed down at her. A line of water moved down his forehead, crawled along his eyebrow, dripped off and landed on her cheek. Resuming its hesitant journey, it ran into the corner of her mouth. She touched it with her tongue. They were both breathing hard, her creamy breasts swelling the red satin, one arm clinging to his neck to keep her balance. They held their position. Cassandra's face was moist, her eyelids half closed, she had had the ultimate orgasm, in her mind as well as her body.

They stared into each other's eyes until the music faded from their minds. Then they were alone, the last two in the universe. McGrath had never felt like this in his life. Was this love? Through smoke behind them, around them, the real White Rose returned like a tattered phantom through fog.

And in McGrath's mind, the struggle that had gone on in there ended savagely, decisively, the victor emerged from the ashes and arrogantly claimed the spoils. That triumphant entity considered it essential that Cassandra acquiesce to her fate and accept that it was held in the hands of James McGrath.

Still holding Cassandra tightly, he spoke, a crisp, clear voice, "I arrest you for the murder of Condy Carlyle. You have the right to remain silent. Youthe lusty tango have the right to an attorney, if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you. If you say anything it could be taken down and used against you in a court of law. Do you understand what I have just said?"

They slowly straightened. There was a pounding silence in the room, the Patrons were gazing at them, puzzled, but not saying anything, still bewitched by the display of primal needs of the dance. Unwilling or unable to transport themselves back into the present. The heat and odour of dry wood and wallpaper seemed oppressive.

"Do you understand me?" McGrath said again.

There was a moment's hesitation as though deep within Cassandra's psyche a decision was also being made, as to who among her personalities could best meet this new and most dangerous challenge.

"I have the full proof of the murder now. Conclusive evidence that you killed him, for the money."

"Do you?" Cassandra stepped away from him.


© RC Westerholm


Read the entire prologue chapter of Tango Murderoso here  ...




The only abnormality is the incapacity to love - Anais Nin






from my novel Acts of Empathy


  excerpt from Chapter 8 -                            Mare Ligure


"No way, you son of a bitch!" Shawna leaped forward and slugged him in the back of the neck. "Get off her!" Roberto swung his arm around and caught Shawna with a vicious blow on the side of her head, sending her sprawling out the door.  "You are going to fuck or swim, you bitches!" 

The boat was rocking heavily. Roberto tried to grab me but I eluded and slipped into the passageway. Shawna was getting up holding her head and we backed up the stairs into the main cabin. I still didn't believe what was happening. "We didn't come here for this, Roberto." Roberto Rico followed, grinning and holding his limp penis in his hand. "We are going to fuck. Is what you want."

"No we're not, you bastard." Fire was venting from Shawna, I swear I saw it. I was wooden-legged with terror. He pounced at her, hairy arms extended, his face distorted. "Don' call me bastard." She sidestepped and tried to kick out but he caught her again with a closed fist that glanced off her shoulder, then he had her arm, trying to grab her breast with his other hand. He was grinning. They crashed against the wall. She brought her knee up into his groin and he buckled and cried out, bent over in pain.

"Therése, help me!"

Her cry brought me out of my panic stricken freeze. Suddenly this was life or death. I tried to hit him from behind but he twisted around and shoved me hard. I fell back and wedged between the sofa and a table attached to the floor. The surging of the boat kept me off balance. Rico faced Shawna, sweat ran down his forehead. No gentleness in those black eyes now, only menace. He touched his testicles, grimacing in pain. "Tonight, you are fucking me. You understand American bitch? All Americans fuck. I sell them drugs in return for fucking."

Shawna was like a feral cat, eyeing him. A readiness in her crouch. I saw desperation and determination in her eyes at the same time. Yet no fear, only a thirteen-year-old girl-child who was never going to be raped again. She declared, "I'm never going to fuck you, you asshole."

He retorted, spitting venomously, "You are going to fuck me, then I throw you overboard American bitch." He leapt forward. She met his onslaught with a straight hand to his face, trying for his eyes. He cried out in pain yet still swept her aside with his powerful arm. Shawna landed on the sofa but bounced up. I extricated myself only to have him hit me again on the shoulder, sending me flying across the cabin and onto the floor again. Even though my head was spinning the thought was surfacing that I was going to die tonight. I struggled to my knees, the boat rolled and pitched and I slid under the table. He whacked Shawna, sprawling her over a chart table, was quickly atop her, grabbing her neck and squeezing hard. "I kill you and fuck her!" She cupped her hands and slapped hard at his ears, got a knee up against his chest and pushed him off, aided by the rocking motion of the yacht.

Shawna coughed. He reeled, shook his head but charged immediately back at her before she could regain her balance. I was up and trying to hit him from behind. He twisted and slammed me, then lunged for Shawna with me falling against his back. Again she sidestepped, this time grabbing his hair and pulling him forward using his own momentum and my push. He plunged head first into the stairwell leading down to the master stateroom. Disappeared with a clunk.

It was suddenly quiet. Only the undulating hum of the engines and the sound of lapping waves and Shawna and me gasping for breath. She rubbed her throat. The side of my head seared with pain. We held on against the tossing motion of the boat, stared at each other with wide wild eyes, waiting for Roberto to reappear, trying to calm our breathing, preparing for the worst. The churning engine wavered as the boat rocked over the water with no one steering. I could smell diesel fuel.

Shawna inched forward, peered into the dark stairwell. I looked down. Saw Roberto's bare feet, then his hairy legs and thick round buttocks. The Italian did not move.  

                                                                                                                                                                                          © Dahlia


reg. Writers Guild Canada  # S04-8228


Read the entire first chapter of Acts of Empathy here ...    







Back to top


The Trial of Dancy Whitecotton

               a stage play about the invincibility of the human spirit


A summer evening. A street outside a small corner grocery store in a slummy, poor neighbourhood. A ROBBER wearing a pantyhose stocking mask with one leg hanging down is just backing out of the store. He has a paper bag full of money and points a large black gun into the entrance.

   ROBBER         Friggin' yahoo!

He shoots upwards into the doorway. A very loud report from the gun. - Three strange figures appear nearby,(the ALIENS; Grass, Pot and Maryjane) dressed like humans but there seems to be something odd about each of them. They observe the scene with detached interest. As the Robber starts away he almost runs into them. Startled, he aims the gun threateningly but they do not react, just stare at him with curiosity.

   ROBBER         Outa th’ way freakos!

One of the aliens (POT) waves his Right hand in the air. The Robber reacts in panic and fear at what he believes is a threatening action and reflexively pulls the trigger and shoots all three. He is shocked and scared by his own action and his eyes widen as he realizes the bullets have had no effect. The aliens simply observe him.

   POT           This one displays Anger, I believe. You think, Mister Grass?

GRASS nods.

   GRASS        Yes Mister Pot, rage may be this emotion. Look at those eyes.

   MARYJANE (leans close to Robber) I sense Fear as well, below this hostility.

   POT  (as if he knows something the others don't)   

Mister Maryjane, you are correct, these must be wonderful emotions. Just what we need. You understand this human, Mister Grass? He entered the store wanting money, and now he has obtained it. A fine example to collect.

   GRASS        Precisely, Mister Pot. Shall we take him?

The Robber shoots again. Still no effect. Looks into the barrel of the weapon. Pot moves his LEFT hand in the air, points his MIDDLE finger toward Robber and instantly freezes him in place, as if he is stuck to the pavement with crazy glue. Robber struggles, wide eyed with disbelief at what is happening. He cannot move his feet or speak. He is shouting but we hear nothing.

   POT          Rage.

   GRASS (crosses arms studiously)   Yes, rage.

   MARYJANE (nods agreement)   Rage it is.

End of Scene 1


DANCY WHITECOTTON exits her workplace, just up the block from the grocery store, a sign over the door says; SWEATSHOP SPORTSWEAR, INC. Workout Wear. She is crestfallen as she leaves, digging through her purse for her apartment key while softly crying.

   DANCY (plaintively to herself)  

It's not fair. I deserve a raise. Darn you Mr. Goldfogel.

The aliens are near but she doesn't see them or Robber yet. They observe her tears. Pot peers over her shoulder into her purse.

   POT          I see her name, Dancy, Whitecotton.

   GRASS        Hmmm. Anguish, Mr. Pot?

   POT          I think, yes. That is Anguish.

   MARYJANE     Anguish it is.

   POT (waving hand in air absently)

Anguish is on our list. Let's take the Dancy Whitecotton human too.

As Dancy moves toward the corner grocery store, she gasps and retreats at the sight of Robber standing there struggling but stuck fast to the pavement. The aliens move closer.

End of Scene 2


All three are looking curiously at Dancy, who now sees them and steps back, fearful they are muggers, yet they ignore her offers of her purse.

   DANCY        You, don't want my purse? My money? You're not with him?

   POT          Au contraire. It is YOU we are taking.

Dancy backs off another step. Glances at the robber.

   DANCY (puzzled and afraid)

                Taking? To ...?

   POT          Our planet. Many millennia from here.

Pot waves a HAND indicating way off somewhere and the Robber suddenly has one leg free and tries to take a step until Pot points a finger at him and he is glued again. Dancy is perplexed.

   DANCY        Your PLANET? Oh no. Who are you, aliens or something?

   POT          Your term. Correct though. And you are Dancy Whitecotton.

   GRASS  (hurriedly explaining)

But we're not aliens at HOME. On OUR planet.

   MARYJANE     Oh no. Not at home.

   DANCY  (rolls her eyes)  Just what I needed. You look human though.

   GRASS        Yes Mister Dancy? That pleases us.

   DANCY        MISS Dancy would be correct.

       (then indicating the robber)  Who is this guy and why can't he move?

   POT          His name is Robber. I have heard the one inside the store say
                it. Robber! Robber! he yelled, addressing this human. We have
                placed him there.

   MARYJANE     We are taking him with us too.

   DANCY        Why is that?

   POT          He has exhibited the emotion called Rage.

   ALIENS (in unison) (Nod heads with a naive understanding)  It must be good.

   DANCY   (incredulously)  Oh my gawd. Rage. You all think rage is good?

   GRASS        He has Rage - He wanted money when he went into the store - 
                he now has it. Rage MUST be good.

   DANCY        That is NOT Earth logic. You haven't said WHY you want to
                take us away.

   POT          Oh. Our race is dying. A genetic malfunction. We believe you 
have something in your, emotion, which has allowed such a weak
                species as you to survive. We must have samples of humans to
                find out what it is.

   GRASS        We need to study your character evolvement.

   DANCY        So, you're, just taking me as a SAMPLE?

   POT   (raises a finger to point at her)   Correct. Ready?               

   DANCY        Oh     my     gawd.


excerpt from The Trial of Dancy Whitecotton                                            © RC Westerholm


Synopsis Just because aliens can get here to Earth to take samples of human beings
back to their own planet doesn't mean they are all that smart.

space ship



*   *   *




from my screenplay - Nashville Dreams

They pass a police car at the side of the road with two deputies. ROSCOE and OTIS notice the old pickup with FDR driving.


There he is Otis, Franklin in his Papa's truck.



Ol' Ornery Tom's gonna kill that boy, Roscoe.



I never thought he'd have the gumption to steal it. If that's what he did.


They start their car, speed after the truck with their red lights flashing. Our three are still having fun until Jackson turns to look back at the dog and sees the police car.


Whoa there, what's this?



Elijah turns, stopping his fingering of the banjo.



We ain't speedin'.






We got a police car catching' up on our rear here, FDR.



Well they d-don't have to b-be ch-chasin' after us.



Jackson and Elijah continue looking out the rear window. FDR tries to adjust the hanging rear view mirror to see but it's too loose. He turns, looks, gulps and loses control of the truck and nearly slides into the ditch beside the road.




Oh n-no.



They IS chasin' us, man.



What d'you mean, 'Oh no', FDR? Why'd they be after us?



FDR doesn't answer, keeps on driving. A siren starts.




You best pull over boy, there ain't nobody else on this road.



FDR just keeps driving faster, looks worried. He turns off the paved road onto a side lane of gravel, kicking up a spray of small stones over the police car, which drops back a bit. Whistlestop is trying to balance while howling at the siren.




Your Daddy KNOW you took his truck?



Jackson is squirming between them looking incredulously at FDR and the police car, now close to their rear bumper again.




This ain't YOUR truck, boy?



We be goin' t' the Iron and Steel Hotel.



FDR suddenly veers off the road onto a dirt path through fields. Dust is everywhere and the police car loses a little ground.




(nervous voice)

He d-didn't essactly s-s-say I c-could have it.



You STOLE this truck?






©  R.C. Westerholm 

ELIJAH singing softly beneath a railroad trestle

    Ain't no hurry to get nowhere,

    roll on, along the road

    got no worry, already there,

    roll on along the road.

written by Elijah, a character in  Nashville Dreams








written by character Zac in Deadly Nightshade -


Hero of the Sky


I am your Hero of the Sky,

the one to teach young hawks to fly

I show their wings how to use the wind

and guide them safely home again.

I am the clouds that shine with light

my heart is honest, moral, white

I know some things that can't be told

when to be meek, when to be bold.

I am your Hero of the Sky

I'll show you what it is to die

to free your heart and soar in bliss

liberate your soul with a lover's kiss

I use the rain to wash away,

the evilness that came today

I use the sun to burn the beast

that worships to a secret priest.

I have the Moon to light your way

a silver path, you cannot stray.

I own the stars where wisdom lies

We'll both be Heroes of the Skies.

I am Your Hero of the Sky

unfold your wings and learn to fly

let go the branch and leave your nest

I promise you eternal rest.



Were there secrets in this prose? What meaning? It was not Cynthia's handwriting. Perhaps that mysterious dark friend she mentions often. I placed the page back in the drawer. Now the tiny voice within me was warning, 'Be careful Yuli, something very strange is going on here.' 

Atop the desk a phone, a long gray metal box with a Celtic design carved into its lid. Inside a necklace of amber. An antique black handled knife, black blade, very ominous looking. More old books on a shelf didn't seem to be related to school. Cynthia had secrets I needed to know about. The little spice jars drew my attention.












Exercize Program

from No Tears


Bob's body parts face a dilemma ....

                   "So what's up with this?"

Brain           "Who's that?"

Thigh          "Me, Thigh. He's nearly running again today."

Brain           "Yeah, he has started on some kind of exercise thing."

Thigh          "Well, I'm still aching from yesterday. I don't like this at all."

Foot            "You think that's bad, he's had those Adidas for 6 years, and now he wants to  start
                     running on them? They're worn out for Pete's sake! My arches are falling."

Thigh          "C'mon Brain, no one wants any exercise program, what was wrong with him
                     just sitting at the computer all day?"

Heart          "That was nice and relaxing, I never had to beat over 60 bpm. I could nap
                     from lunch to dinner time. And at night with TV I could just lie there in a warm pool of blood."

Knees         "Yes, Brain, nag him about his bad knees again. I did what I could last night, ached and ached."

Thigh          "So how determined is he anyway? I think he'll quit soon."

Brain          "Sometimes I can't tell him anything, it is like his mind has a mind of it's own."

Lungs         "Hey, that is your JOB, Brain. I can hardly keep up with all this oxygen!
                    I used to be able to take every second breath off. Now I feel like some kind of
                    vacuum pump in a lead mine."

Brain          "You parts need to remember how good it was when he used to run the Sea Wall
                    every day. And do gym exercise too."

Stomach    "I liked that, he could eat cake whenever he wanted, and those donuts with pink icing."

Thigh          "It's not all about you and your lascivious pleasures, Stomach. Some of us have
                     to work for a living. But walking two miles is excessive! From his bed to the computer
                     or TV is just right. No one needs to do more than that." 

Ego             "He's doing it to look good, doesn't want to get old and ugly."

ID                "He's already old, he should face it and quit picking out grey hairs and trimming
                     his eyebrows. No girls gonna look at him. And there's a wonderful variety of canes
                     out now.  How can I make him cantankerous if he's looking good?"

Thigh          "Well if he tries this fast walk thing again tomorrow I'm getting a Charlie Horse."

Foot            "I might be able to rub up a few blisters ..... ID, couldn't you steer him into a tree or something?"

Ego              "Don't ask ID to do stuff like that. You're flirting with disaster."

ID                "I don't flirt with anybody. I'll kick a puppy if you like."

Thigh          "We need to stay on target and stop this madness of exercise."

 .... etc ....

and 148 more silly posts in  No Tears  
-   get it  at Amazon Books









Merriam-Webster online dictionary -

Roget's online thesaurus -

Dictionary of British slang -

Dictionary of American slang -

Bartlett's quotations -

The only real screenwriting software - Movie Magic Screenwriter 6       


Although these online references are great, nothing beats having the hard copy at your fingertips .... buy books.  O



some projects from which excerpts are taken -

   Novels - Acts of Empathy, Tango Murderoso, Deadly Nightshade, A Place in the Sky, 

Riding Pegasus,  Pelly and Miramar.

   Stage Plays - Talk About Love, The Ride, The Magic Bus, The Trial of Dancy Whitecotton,

Madame Merelda's.  Magyck?           

   Short Stories - Vital Mission, The Birth of Loneliness,  The Bertrameister, Roses,

The Magic Bus, The Dream, The Lie,  November  Eleventh.   

  Screen Plays - features - Tango Murderoso, Nashville Dreams, The Ride. short films - the Magic Bus, The Dream.   








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all writing © RC Westerholm    © Dahlia    © Bob Westerholm website design - Masalla Galleries Graphics - Vancouver BC