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Two Incendiary Firefighting Memoirs

Two Incendiary Firefighting Memoirs

Dennis Smith’s Report from Engine Co. 82 and Lizbeth Hartz’ Angel Hero, Murder in Hawai’i, A True Story are both memoirs about firefighters. One big difference is the setting: Smith’s in New York City, Hartz’s on a military base in Hawai’i.

How accurate is Angel Hero? Every detail is true except for names, dates, and places—a necessary camouflage to protect the innocent from the murderer. After he died in 2015, the subtitle was changed from “Inspired by a True Story” to “Murder in Hawai’i, A True Story.”

The specifics: Two civilian firefighter best friends, Vic Lazzarini and Jaku Cardoza, work with dispatcher Lizbeth Hartz on Whaler Air Force Base in the early ‘80s. Told from Liz’s point of view, this true crime, true love memoir will take you on an unforgettable journey of terror and betrayal, courage and redemption.

The song Angel Hero also accompanies the book.

 

Glowing reviews of Angel Hero abound:

Kirkus Review: “The author displays a wide array of skills … taut, fast-paced … she’s adept at evoking the atmosphere and day-to-day feel of both contemporary Hawaii and the sometimes high-pressure world of a dispatch operator (the workplace drama elements of the book are well-handled throughout.)

Grady Harp, Amazon Vine Reviewer: “This is a true crime story – the dispatcher of the tale is the author and she relates factual experiences. Lizbeth shares that … what we are reading here is the polished version of an incident while mired in intrigue and with names changed of a terrifying psychological reality… One aspect … that is a bit startling is the degree of sophistication with which the story is related. Perhaps her depth of background aids her depiction of the atmosphere of emergency measures dispatchers encounter, but she is equally skilled in writing solid romance … painting characters both wholesome and exciting as well as loathsome and frightening.”

Iwilei Fuel Tank Fire

Excerpt from the book:

“It’s like Vic’s got exceptional peripheral vision,” Tom said. “He might be focused on a C-5’s hot brakes, but he’s also keenly aware what each of the guys are up to and who might be in jeopardy. Ever hear about him saving Bob’s life during the fire at the fuel tank farm?”

I hadn’t. I remembered that inferno, though. Remembered thinking, oh my god when I’d seen the billowing black smoke blot out the blue sky as I drove to Fort Craig one afternoon in August 1981, a month before I transferred to Whaler. As the entire fleet of Whaler fire trucks raced, sirens blaring, to the huge fuel tank fire, I dispatched an Army fire truck to stand by at their station.

Back then, Vic manned the turret, a powerful nozzle, on the roof of the enormous P-2 fire truck. At 13 feet wide and 33 feet long, with a 2,300-gallon water tank and 200-gallon foam tank, the P-2 was the Air Force’s most formidable airfield firefighting weapon. From his high post, Vic could shoot a foam/water mixture at 1,000 gallons per minute for a distance of 175-200 feet for two minutes before the foam ran out.

When I asked Deputy Chief Bob Henderson about the incident, he said, “In those days, everybody carried radios. But we chiefs were not practiced on working a unified command.”

“Meaning you didn’t broadcast what was happening like you do now?”

“Exactly,” Bob said. “After Vic laid a blanket of foam on top of the burning fuel in the huge tank, I didn’t think to radio in that another fireman and I were walking along a pipeline at the bottom of the tank, looking for a valve to check if it was turned off.”

The two men had walked into an area where the foam blanket had deteriorated. Suddenly, the fire flashed, cutting them off from exiting the same way they came in. The smoke quickly rolled over them and they couldn’t see a way out.

Vic, instantly alert to what had happened, turned the turret and laid foam over the place where the two men were cut off from egress. He reopened the area so they could run out before fire singed them, filled their lungs with black smoke, or worse.

“If Vic had not been hyper aware, we would have been dead,” Bob said. “So much was going on and everybody else was focusing on the tank tops, worried the fire would leap to the other tanks and the entire tank farm would ignite.”

Valiant Vic, I thought, not daring to say it to his face. Afraid of chasing him away, I didn’t tell him how much I admired him for his prowess on the fire scene. But even if I had, he probably would have said, “Just doing my job.”

***

Click on the pictures below to view the books and mp3 song on Amazon:

  1. My memoir in paperback: “Angel Hero, Murder in Hawaii, A True Story”
  2. Anthology of short mystery stories (includes one of mine): “Dark Paradise, Mysteries in the Land of Aloha”
  3. My memoir as a Kindle e-book: “Angel Hero, Murder in Hawaii, A True Story”
  4. My mp3 song: “Angel Hero” (Single – Song that accompanies the book. For a snippet of the song, check out my book trailer at http://www.kwillbooks.com/lizbeth-hartz/)


Get your e-book signed by Lizbeth Hartz

Lizbeth’s We Are The World Blogpost #WATWB

Lizbeth’s We Are The World Blogpost #WATWB

Last week, one tweet (from our former POTUS) and one news story (about a couple of heroes, one canine and one human) especially strummed my heartstrings. For me, they personified love and humanity (and dogity.)

Obama’s Tweet

A tweet by Obama, posted after the violence in Charlottesville, quoted Mandela and was the most-liked tweet ever. It attracted more than 3.3 million likes and 1.3 million retweets as of August 17th.

I’ll include an excerpt. You can read the whole thing at http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/08/16/543882516/obama-s-tweet-after-charlottesville-is-the-most-liked-tweet-ever.

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion …,” Barack Obama tweeted on August 16, quoting words from South African President Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom. The tweet was accompanied by a photo of himself, jacket slung over his shoulder, smiling at four young children of different races gathered at a windowsill.

As they say in Hawai’i, Obama gave me “chicken skin.” Mandela (what a great name for a great man, yes?) gave me something even better. He gave me hope that someday the blazing light of love might dissolve the pitch blackness of hate.

Patriot the Husky

Here’s the link to an uplifting story published on August 11th:

http://www.sunnyskyz.com/good-news/2337/Formerly-Abused-Husky-Now-Helps-Children-Who-Have-Been-Abused

Patriot the Husky, a victim of abuse as a puppy, now helps kids who’ve also been victims of abuse. This cycle of events was only made possible by Kevin Marlin, 47, the man who rescued Patriot and taught him to trust again, thus enabling the dog to return the favor by helping hurting children. Patriot helps them through the trauma of having to testify in court. What a heartwarming story of receiving help and giving help back, of suffering abuse and, with the help of emotional support, surviving and sometimes even thriving in spite of it.

 Patriot the dog.  Photos credited to Kevin Marlin

When Kevin Marlin, who’d been involved with pet therapy for 10 years, adopted Patriot, he was 4 months old with severe mouth injuries caused by metal wire wrapped tightly around his snout.

 Kevin Marlin and Patriot

Marlin and Patriot currently work with Orange County’s PANDA Program — PAWS Assist the Needs of the District Attorney. Patriot is one of 13 therapy dogs helping young victims feel more secure when telling their stories.

“One young girl, just beginning the process of a trial, was visibly uncomfortable until Patriot came over and nudged her with his nose,” Marlin said. “The girl grabbed hold of him and cried. They made a strong connection and the girl was able to move on with her story.”

Surprise! A New Format (Podcast or Radio play)

Surprise! A New Format (Podcast or Radio play)

Thanks to the suggestion of my friend Gail Baugniet, former President of Sisters in Crime Honolulu, I recently signed up for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Aloha from Hawai’i to all my insecure writer sisters (and misters) friends out there.

In this post, I’ll do my best to answer the September 6 question: Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? For example, by trying a new genre you didn’t think you’d be comfortable in??

Well, I suppose it’s not actually a new genre, but for sure it’s a new format. In a recent online Creative Nonfiction Writing Boot Camp class taught by the excellent teacher Rhonda Miller, she challenged us to write in a different format than we’d written in before.

I’ve been published in many different formats: my memoir (Angel Hero, Murder in Hawai’i, A True Story), a mystery short story (Palm It Off On Murder), the lyrics for my song Angel Hero, and over 150 non-fiction magazine articles.

But this was different. This was a whole new thing and I had no idea what to include or how to begin. My inner critic (IC) screamed, “You want to WHAT? You know NOTHING about writing a podcast! Everyone will laugh at you and point fingers! You will flounder like a fish on dry land. Who do you think you are?”

I whimpered and cowered until finally I didn’t. I wish I could remember the tricks I’ve learned and apply them when I’m in the depths of doubt. Oh if only I could remember to immediately tell that icy IC “Thanks for sharing, I’ll  need you when I edit this piece, until then, hibernate,” or repeat the 7-word mantra my friend Marianne taught me, “Everything is always working out for me.”

Somehow, I finally shut IC up and started playing with a podcast/radio drama format. Since I’ve been trying my hand at writing a screenplay adaptation of my book for many moons now, I took a scene from that and tried to re-sculpt it into a podcast or radio drama.

Did I succeed? I’m trying to make it so it will stand alone and make the listener want to hear more. I feel insecure about it because it’s my first shot at a new format. Won’t you tell me if it works for you?

I’ll check out your posts tomorrow, my fellow IWSG bloggers. But right now the Hawaiian trade winds are howling outside my window and I’m grateful they’re only trade winds and not a hurricane. Praying for your safety and wishing you sweet dreams.

***********************

Photo of Firemen Trying to Save Big Old Wooden House on Fire

This scene takes place in the dispatch office of Whaler Air Force Fire Department on Oahu. Liz and Irene are dispatchers and friends. Vic and Jaku are firefighter buddies.

LIZ: I’m sorry I’m late for shift change, Irene. I’ll make it up to you.

IRENE: It’s okay, Liz. It’s quiet, no airfield emergencies, no … what’s wrong? Your eyes are all bloodshot …

LIZ SNIFFLES, says: Last night I had a bad dream, the same dream I had after I broke up with Billy. A man attacked me …

IRENE: Little mouse you broke up with big bad Billy?

LIZ: I was so disturbed by his anger, something went through me like a force, like I never felt before. I didn’t hit Billy, but I let him have it.

IRENE:  Good for you.

LIZ: Yeah, but he blew up at me and … split.

Liz SNIFFLES again.

IRENE: There, there. I always thought you could do better than that angry bum.

LIZ GIGGLES, says shyly: To tell the truth, something Vic said motivated me.

IRENE: Oh? What did Adonis say?

LIZ: Pussyfooting around ain’t no good way to live.

Irene LAUGHS: Vic’s your personal counselor now?

LIZ: We’re pals. He’s got my back.

IRENE: Pals, huh? How unromantic. Any chance you two …

LIZ: I wish. But he’s taken, and I’m hurting …

IRENE: Billy might come back if he just left a few nights ago.

LIZ: No, it’s been two months now. Mum’s the word, okay?

IRENE:  Two months! Why didn’t you tell me?

LIZ: I should have. You’re my best …

IRENE: Pal?

Liz LAUGHS.

IRENE: Things’ll get better, you’ll see.

LIZ: I’m okay. Time for you to head out.

Liz BLOWS her nose.

A KNOCK is heard at the door.

IRENE: If you want to keep it secret, wipe your eyes. Here’s some eye drops. Want some makeup?

LIZ: Sure. Thanks.

IRENE: That’s better. I’ll get the door.

Door CREAKS open.

LIZ: What’s happening, Vic?

VIC: Your eyes are red, Liz … is it Billy again?

Liz SNIFFLES: It’s just … oh, hi, Jaku.

JAKU: Hey doll face. Ever tell you about the time in ‘Nam when a fire broke out in the galley? I was first on scene … Bombs falling all around, I put ‘em out with my trusty fire hose … whoosh, whoosh!

Vic and Liz LAUGH.

VIC: Take a break, Snake?

JAKU: Why you calling this fine lady a snake?

VIC: ‘Cause she’s a yogurt teacher.

JAKU: Yogurt?

LIZ: He means yoga.

JAKU: So?

VIC:  All that yogurt makes her slither like she’s got no bones.

Liz LAUGHS.

JAKU: Snaky Lizzy .. give me your hand …

LIZ: Ooh, la la. Getting my hand kissed by Jaku. You’re like a knight in armor…

JAKU: I’ll be your knight any old night.

LIZ: I’ll take that break, Vic.

 

Only Love, Part 1

Only Love, Part 1

Wouldn’t it be fabulous if you could rewrite a heartbreaking event in your life so it would turn out the way you wanted it to happen?

This short story is based on true events described in my true crime romance memoir, “Angel Hero, Murder in Hawai’i, A True Story,” but fictionalized to have a happier ending. The episode at the beginning with the clairvoyant palmist actually happened. The episode at the end could have happened if the hero hadn’t…well, I shouldn’t give the ending away. For a tantalizing taste of the book, go to https://authorlizbethhartz/chapter1  and download the first chapter for free.

I titled this short story “Only Love.” It’s too long for one blog post, so I’ll share it in five consecutive posts.

*****

Only Love

Tacked to a peeling front door in Chinatown, a purple-lettered sign announces Aurora, Clairvoyant Palmist. Longing for a little magic, I enter the candle-lit shop. A kind-faced, white-haired woman in a billowing purple muumuu floats to a wooden spool table. I sit across from her, the woodsy scent of sandalwood incense wafting over me.

Clairvoyant, huh? Sure. But she makes a believer out of me the moment she touches my right hand. Her touch zaps me like an electric current, waking up intense grief I didn’t know was buried inside. Stunned, I feel pain tearing through me. My heart throbs painfully and I sob so convulsively I hiccup for air. Oh my god. I’m having a nervous breakdown.

“Ah, I see you’re sensitive, Goldilocks. It’s just past life sorrow, dear.” She runs a purple fingernail lightly across my palm, stares at me with luminescent blue-green eyes. “See the cross connecting your life line and your heart line? That’s a psychic cross.”

I sniffle, nod. “My mother called me her little witch Lizzy.”

She studies my right hand. “Was your father present when you were a child, Liz?”

“When he wasn’t flying B-52s for the Air Force, or working long hours.”

Aurora points to a dimple where my second finger meets my palm. “See this? The lack of a mount tells me you lacked a supportive male role model growing up.”

I start crying again. I just can’t help it. “You got that right. I never knew when Dad would explode in anger. I walked on pins and needles around him, and woke up sweating from nightmares about men chasing me, screaming.”

The woman says softly, “You still carry heartbreak in your aura from longing for, but lacking, a man’s love.” She tells me I carried the heartache into this life from a prior lifetime. “You loved a married man. He asked you to be his mistress, as was the custom of the times.”

She went on about how the thought of unsanctified sex had terrified me. How I escaped by becoming a nun, and made spiritual gains through prayer and meditation.  “Hence your psychic ability now. But you hurt yourself withdrawing like that.” Aurora frowns. “Such a retreat is a kind of suicide. God wants you to say yes to life, not hide from it.”

But how do I say yes? 

As if she could read my mind, Aurora said, “If you can break out of your shell, and learn to speak up for yourself, you’ll experience an exalted spiritual relationship with a man in this lifetime.”

Really? You suppose assertiveness training would help?”

She smiles, her blue-green eyes reflecting the flickering candlelight. “But be careful not to fall for angry men like your dad, lest you perpetuate the heartache that has plagued you so long.”

Only Love, Part 2

Only Love, Part 2

“What is love” was the most searched phrase in Google in 2012. Psychologists say you need to marry Philautia, or self-esteem, with Pragma, a mature love that practices goodwill, in order to prevent erotic Eros from burning itself out. In Liz’s experience in this story (and in my memoir Angel Hero, Murder in Hawai’i, A True Story), that’s about right.

Part 2 of the “Only Love” short story continues below.

**********************

Two years after the reading by the clairvoyant palmist, when I turn 31, I long for a Prince Charming who is fun to be with, kind, and courageous. Like in the movies. Like in romance novels. I escape into daydreams about a soulmate I can grow roots with.  Someone who will really hear me.

Not like my boyfriend Billy. The fire between this bronze Hawaiian surfer and me ignites like dry wood on hot coals, throws a smoke screen over the ways we are wrong for each other—his hatred of the Caucasian conquerors, my fear of abandonment and speaking up.

Living together in his roach-infested, crumbling beach bungalow on the dry west side of Oahu splashes cold water on my romantic notions. Intimidated by his hot temper, my difficulty in speaking up increases. We talk less and argue more. He escapes to the welcoming arms of the wild waves he rides like a sea creature. I am landlocked and alone. Hope for a happily ever after with Billy dissolves like smoke in the trade winds. My mantra becomes, “At least he’s faithful.” More than anything, I want to engage, relate, love and be loved.

The gap widens. Afraid of abandonment, I cling. Magical thinking: he’ll turn into Mr. Right.

I take what solace I can from my Army fire department job where I shoot the breeze with my crusty old veteran dispatching partners and the firemen who stop by the alarm room to “talk story” with single blonde dispatcher me. Later that same year, on a cool October day, I change jobs, transfer away from the smoky, antiquated fire alarm room. By comparison, Whaler Air Force Base’s high-tech, pristine fire station where dispatchers work solo and the boss is supportive feels like home.

In my new job, after the 8 to 5ers drive home, I work evening shifts solo. With the bosses away, the men and I enjoy crackling conversations about love and life. For a while, in this exciting, fast-paced world, I forget about what is not waiting for me at home.

On slow shifts, at twilight, I gaze through a picture window past the huge red airfield trucks at golden pink sunsets. Sometimes, after midnight, I turn off the overheads, turn on my Walkman, and sway to lyrics from the song Both Sides Now: “the dizzy, dancing way you feel when every fairy tale comes real, I’ve looked at love that way.” But the only dizziness I experience stems from occasional bouts with vertigo, an unhappy legacy from a childhood ear infection.

I don’t know how to fix Billy and me, but I hang on, hoping for better days to come. Hoping for a miracle.

Two years later, my budding friendship with fireman coworker Vic Lazzarini blossoms. It’s partly that he really listens. Partly that we are friends for years before becoming confidants, bonding like hydrogen with oxygen. Mostly that we talk, joke, share, care. I grow closer to Vic than to Billy.

Vic, droll, kind, generous. When I make dispatching mistakes, he teases me. Vic listens, hears me, amuses me with his jokes, thinks I’m funny. In my imagination, I’m a red-breasted Robin and he’s the golden sunrise inspiring me to sing. Vic, happy, self-assured. Outspoken, not like me.

I want to be outspoken too, so I practice on Billy. Every day for a week, I tell Billy I want to talk about us. And every day, he says he’s too busy. Today, he looks up from the football game he is watching on TV, says, “Can’t you see I’m busy?”

“How about after the game?” I ask.

“If I told you once, I told you a dozen times. I’m not your typical blabbering haole boy. And I’m not in the mood,” he says, turning his gaze back to the TV screen.

My heart aches. I think of the Carole King lyric, “I need relating, not solitude,” and blurt out, “Well, I’m not in the mood to live with you any more if you won’t talk to me.”

He is used to a quiet mouse, not this outspoken haole. He tells me not to bang the door on the way out.

My stomach ties itself in knots. I cry and cry, pack my bags, stay at my good friend Emily’s apartment until I can find my own place. I tell no one that Billy and I are history.

 

Only Love, Part 3

Only Love, Part 3

This third installment of my short story, “Only Love” is partly truth (taken from my memoir Angel Hero, Murder in Hawai’i, A True Story) and partly fiction.

***

I don’t mention my breakup with Billy. I figure Vic the blue-eyed Adonis considers me safe because I’ve got a boyfriend. The grapevine has it that Vic runs from women who chase him, so I don’t chase. I can’t risk losing his friendship, which that has come to mean more to me than the air I breathe. Instead, I fantasize about this Prince Charming I’ve found after too many frogs, and scheme, and daydream.

I take a chance, casually mention to Vic, “There’s a movie I want to see, and Billy’s on Kauai working a construction job, and I don’t want to go alone.” Vic offers to go with me.

On a full-moon Saturday night, Vic and I double date with another fireman and his girlfriend. We meet at Vic’s “styling pad,” drink the Merlot he serves us in frosty glasses, listen to boss sounds on his old Victrola, Chuck Mangione, George Benson. Sitting beside Vic in the cold movie theater, I tremble with nervousness. He drives me home in his red Chevy pickup truck, shakes my hand, and says he had a good time.

“Me, too,” I say, although his nearness and my attraction to him had me shaking like a palm frond in a brisk trade wind the entire time.

He waves, drives away. I walk into my home alone, think, he didn’t try to kiss me, and cry, my eyes stinging. I try to convince myself I’m not his type, sniff, blow my nose. I tell myself we’re still bosom buddies, and that’s what really matters. But I don’t believe it.

***

During lunch with the firemen in the community room, I learn that Vic’s living with a pretty hairdresser. I tell myself Vic doesn’t know Billy and I are history, so why wouldn’t he be with someone else? Vic and I laugh, talk, swap stories about our significant others; my angry Billy, his manipulative Molly. Afraid Vic would shy away from me like a spooked horse if he knew I was single now, I am careful not to mention Billy’s absence.

Vic strides into the cold alarm room. His energy warms me. The instrument panels blink red, blue, green, yellow. I blink away tears. “Billy again?” Vic’s normally buoyant voice sounds flat.

I sniffle, nod, swivel in my red secretarial chair to face Vic, tell him about a fight Billy and I had, don’t mention it happened before Billy split. “Billy yells, ‘Damn haoles ripped off my people!’ I say, ‘I feel your pain.’ He screams, ‘No way can you understand!’ I shut up.”

“Why not tell Billy how that makes you feel?” Vic pulls a straight-back chair close to me. “Pussyfooting around ain’t no good way to live.” He points at his broad chest. “Take me now. I got no problem speaking my mind. Take Molly. I poured a can of oil on the hood of her car.”

“Really?” I tremble. I fear angry men. But I trust Vic, and force my lips to speak the question sitting on the tip of my mind, “What horrible thing did she do to deserve such harsh treatment?”

Vic raises an eyebrow. “Borrowed a hundred bucks, said she’ll give it back on payday. Payday rolls around. I say, ‘Where’s the green?’ She says, ‘You make more money than me. What’s a hundred bucks?’ I say, ‘Enough to cover what I’ll do to your car if you don’t pay me back.’ She laughs. ‘You’ll get over it.’”

“Wow. I wonder why Molly thought you’d roll over if she worked you like that.”

He frowns. “She pissed me off.”

“She ought to apologize, promise not to break a promise again.” I think, I would never do something like that to a man I loved.

He nods. “Yep, that’s what she ought to do. That’s what you’d do. Am I right, Liz? Apologize if you did wrong?”

I nod, flattered. “Still, I’m surprised at you, that you’d do such a thing.”

“Yeah?” He rubs his chin, looks embarrassed.

I am surprised, delighted. Vic listens to me!

Vic pauses, thinks about it, purses his lips, says, “You’re right. It was beneath me to do that. And not fair to Molly. But she lied, tried to take advantage of me.”

“That was wrong of her.”

Happiness rises in me like fizzy champagne. Vic hears me! Billy didn’t hear me. Oh, it feels so good to be heard. Maybe my dream will come true.

But Vic’s with Molly.

Only Love, Part 4

Only Love, Part 4

Liz and Vic are still talking about Vic’s conflict with Molly. Liz longs to speak her truth, but that old devil fear squelches her voice (just like he squelched her voice in my true crime romance memoir, Angel Hero, Murder in Hawai’i, A True Story.)

***

“Getting even doesn’t sound like you, Vic. It sounds more like something Billy would do.”

“Oh?” Vic raises an eyebrow. “Like, how?”

Awareness hits me like a punch to the heart, shoves me off my friendship boulder. I slide down the slippery rock face into the quicksand of longing to go deeper with Vic. Oh god, I’m in deep kimchee.

I scramble for something to say: “Billy yells when he thinks someone disrespects him. When it’s the boss, Billy gets fired. Then he’s broke, and I lend him money until the next job. He tries to pay me back, but…you got upset about a hundred bucks? Try two grand.”

I don’t realize I’m talking loudly until Vic says softly, “You all riled up?” He looks at me funny.

I nod, ashamed to have enabled Billy for so long. “Last month, he got fired again. I spent hours writing his resume.”

“Good of you to help your old man.” Vic rubs his chin. “But…do you really want to keep on like this?”

“No,” pops out of me. Be cool, I think. “He sold his car last month or I could’ve tried the oil thing. Would’ve gotten his attention. Gotten me killed, too.”

Vic laughs. “You’re right about the oil thing being immature. I’ll apologize to Molly, clean up her car.”

“Is it hard to clean oil off metal?”

“Nah.” Vic shrugs. “Just takes dish soap and elbow grease. I’ll try to get my cash back before I…” he pauses.

“Before you clean up her car?”

He shakes his head, looks at me for a long moment, says, “Before I cut her loose.”

I stare at him, stunned. Huh? Really? Did I hear you right? I offer up a silent prayer, Oh Lord, let him cut.

Only Love, Part 5

Only Love, Part 5

Here’s the final episode of my short story, “Only Love.” My tête-à-tête with Vic doesn’t match what we actually said as told in my true crime romance memoir, “Murder in Hawai’i, A True Story.” Instead, it’s what we would have said if my fondest dreams had come true.

*****

Hesitantly, Vic adds, “Uh…if you ever need it…” he pats his shoulder, “…my shoulder is…well, it’s strong enough for you to lean on.”

“Thanks.” I swallow hard, long to lean, fantasize about marrying him.

He stands. “But now I’ve got to put it to the wheel, so…” He starts a slow mosey toward the door, “…catch you later.”

I think don’t go, squelch it, can’t squelch the “wait” that slips through my lips.

He turns around, raises an eyebrow, stares at me with those deep blue eyes.

I am speechless. I look at him standing tall and strong, tanned laugh lines surrounding his bright blue eyes, and want him to stay more than I’ve ever wanted anything. Be careful, a voice inside me cautions, you’ll scare him away. A second voice counters, Quit pussyfooting around. Speak up! I tremble, sweat, vacillate, plead, God, let me be a tiger, not a kitten. I stammer, “It’s just….” I pause, “I…I…forgot to tell you…” Oh no! What can I say I forgot?

He cocks his head. His voice low, he says slowly, “You forgot…?”

My mouth opens, closes. My heart pounds loudly. Defenseless, I stare at him, love him, feel my face burn, force myself to speak, “Please…listen…I’ve got a secret…you’re the one…I want to tell…you…”

One long stride takes him close enough to touch me and he does, his big hand electric against my hot cheek. “Tell me,” he says softly. “I’ll listen. That’s what you want, isn’t it? Someone who listens?”

I nod, touch his large hand with my small one. “I love that you hear me” flows out of me. Hello, voice of the tiger! Tears mist my eyes. “It feels so good to be heard.”

He cradles my face between his warm, wide hands, tilts my chin up, asks, “You free tomorrow night, around six?”

My heart threatens to bounce out of my chest. I nod, whisper, “Yes. But … but six thirty would be better.”

A smile punches dimples in his cheeks and chin. “I like a woman speaks her mind. I’ll pick you up at 6:30 then.”

“Cool,” I croak. Can this really be happening?

“Dates are like love.” He winks. “Better the second time around.”

Did he really say that? I am floating. He adds, “I was leaving, wasn’t I?”

I think I nod. He resumes his cool dude strut to the door. “Look, I’m a styling dude!”

“Yes you are.” I am exhilarated that he performs for me. I watch and wave as he moseys through the door, out of the room, across the open bay garage to his rapid-response red pickup truck.

That afternoon, I tell Billy I need some time away. That night, I sleep over at a girlfriend’s house, stare at the crescent moon above the pounding surf, drift into sleep after midnight. I dream Vic gives me back my life, carries me over the threshold, loves me more than I can imagine. I wake up remembering Aurora’s shining aquamarine eyes and feeling the warmth of her hand on mine.

THE END

Dr. Christopher T. Gregory, Chiropractor Extraordinaire, is Back!

Dr. Christopher T. Gregory, Chiropractor Extraordinaire, is Back!

Recently, I was delighted to discover that Dr. Christopher Gregory, the only chiropractor I have gone to for the past 27 years except for a few adjustments from his brother Charles, is back in practice at his Piikoi office after recovering from a long illness. Now adjusting on Tues, Thurs and Saturday afternoons, Dr. Chris’s adjustments are better than ever. A few weeks ago, he fixed my low back in one adjustment. Only for severe conditions does it take him more than two or three adjustments. I consider him, “The Doc Who Always Gets It Right.”

Not only is he a spot-on adjuster, he has a personable and kind bedside manner. I relax the moment he says, “Lie face down on the table” because I know, when I get up, I’ll be in a lot better shape than when I lay down. He works his magic by putting these funny little half shoes on with which he leg measures, then he makes marks with a soft pencil on my back to indicate the location and direction of the spots he will press to adjust me (please excuse me if I don’t have the correct name for the technical details.) He is definitely not a snap and crack sort of chiropractor. He definitely is a chiropractor who will fix your issue with the minimum number of adjustments rather than one who tries to keep you coming back many times.

Dr. Chris uses the powerful D.N.F.T. technique to good effect (check out this article about him in Midweek at

http://archives.midweek.com/content/columns/doctorinthehouse_article/aligning_nerve_energy_flow/

I am so grateful he’s recovered and can adjust again. Lucky for his patients Dr. Chris is BACK! If his office phone is too busy, he told me I could email his secretary at gibsonp002@hawaii.rr.com to schedule an adjustment.

Honoring our Heroes on Memorial Day

Honoring our Heroes on Memorial Day

The National Memorial Day Concert is an American tradition honoring the military service of our men and women in uniform, their families, and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Did you watch the 90-minute concert live on Sunday, May 28th, 8:00 p.m. ET?

If you missed it, it’s not too late to watch the video at http://www.pbs.org/national-memorial-day-concert/watch-2017-show-live/  The show is well worth watching, with songs and stories and film clips that will bring tears to your eyes and touch your heart.

You’ll hear such stellar performers as Russell Watson singing “You Raise Me Up,” Renee Fleming singing “The Wind Beneath My Wings,” Vanessa Williams singing “Let There Be Peace On Earth,” and Christopher Jackson singing “America the Beautiful.” John Ondrasik, better known as Five for Fighting, sings “All For One,” Scotty McCreery sings “The Dash.” Auli’i Cravalho (“Moana”) also sings beautifully.

Hosted by Joe Mantegna and Laurence Fishburne, this year’s impressive lineup also includes General Colin Powell, Gary Sinise, John Ortiz, and the National Symphony Orchestra.

Some takeaways from the speakers:  Soldiers fight for what they believe in. The wounds of war are painful and disabling, and our soldiers and their families have sacrificed so much. To a disabled person, even just a smile or holding the door for them means a great deal. The stories I heard of courage and family support brought tears to my eyes. Seriously wounded folks who prayed every day. One speaker who’d had 70 surgeries from war injuries said, “With faith and my family, I’m pushing hard. We don’t see the disabilities any more, we see the possibilities.” Music and neuro-therapy combined hold great promise for healing.

To all of you who have so proudly served our country, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You lift me up. You are the wind beneath my wings. Because of you, I safely rest. God is nigh.

Because, as one speaker eloquently put it, sharing helps all of us heal, I want to share a song I’ve written to honor a hero. So I am posting the Angel Hero song – lyrics by me, music by talented Honolulu musician John Valentine (uncle of Bruno Mars), demo by Azalea Studios in Nashville. I want to add it to your Memorial Day musical mix because the song reflects the theme of Memorial Day so well – to honor and remember the freedom-loving heroes who “bravely fought the devil in his den.” Who died protecting us. As is stated in John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Although the lyrics were originally written to honor a (firefighter) hero who lost his life protecting others, they apply equally to our deep-hearted soldier heroes.

If you’d like to take a listen to Angel Hero, here’s a link to the song at CD Baby:  https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/lizbethhartz

Or listen to a clip of the song at the Kwill Books website, which plays on the Angel Hero book trailer at:

http://www.kwillbooks.com/lizbeth-hartz/

 

ANGEL HERO

FREEDOM LOVER, YOU LEFT THIS LIFE A HERO

YOU BRAVELY FOUGHT THE DEVIL IN HIS DEN

I HONOR YOU, I’M HURTING TOO,

MY HOPE DIED WITH YOU TIL YOU ROSE AGAIN

AT DAWN I SOMETIMES FEEL YOUR SPIRIT KISS

YOUR ANGEL TOUCH TURNS SORROW INTO BLISS

CHORUS

ANGEL HERO, ABOVE THE SAPPHIRE SKY

YOUR TRUE LOVE GIVES ME THE WINGS TO FLY

THROUGH THE DARKEST NIGHT INTO YOUR ARMS AGAIN

STILL MY KNIGHT IN ARMOR, NOW WITH ANGEL WINGS

SHINE YOUR HIGHER LOVE ON ME AND HEAR ME SING

ANGEL HERO, ANGEL HERO, KISSING YOU IN MY DREAMS

IT’S WRITTEN THAT NO MAN HAS GREATER LOVE

THAN HE WHO LAYS HIS LIFE DOWN FOR A FRIEND

I THANK THE LORD YOUR SPIRIT SOARED

YOUR FINAL THOUGHT WAS WANTING JUST TO GIVE

YOU CONQUERED NIGHT TO SHINE IN DAWN’S GOLDEN BLUSH

YOU HEAL ME WITH YOUR AWESOME HOLY TOUCH

REPEAT CHORUS

MISSING YOU, MISSING YOU,

NO ONE CAN TAKE YOUR PLACE

WANTING YOU, WANTING YOU,

DREAMING WE STILL EMBRACE

ANGEL HERO, ANGEL HERO

YOUR LOVE STILL LIGHTS MY WAY

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