Chain Linked: Stories

My first book is now available for pre-sale on Amazon!

Chain Linked: Stories will be released on June 19, 2018 from Post Hill Press and Simon & Schuster.

Check out links below!

https://www.amazon.com/Michelle-Blair-Wilker/e/B076DGRQF9

http://www.simonandschuster.com/authors/Michelle-Blair-Wilker/130331590d

http://posthillpress.com/book/chain-linked

Screen Shot 2017-10-12 at 5.28.27 PM

 

The Reluctant Spectator- The Good Luck Bar

ImageThe “Good Luck “ sign was illuminated and bright. It looked like a beacon to Emily. She starred up mesmerized by the neon’s bright primary hues . The writing was messy and causal, like it had been painted in quick brush strokes.

“All right, here goes nothing,” she mumbled and walked towards the front door.

She pulled hard on the large brass doorknob, which was shaped into the head of a dragon with his mouth wide open ready to bite you in two. The inside wasn’t terribly crowded, Emily spotted a few groups of friends scattered and sipping cocktails. The bar was decked out in oriental parlor chic with red silk patterned wallpaper and matching Chinese lanterns. The decor gave an overall smoky vibe, which was surprisingly relaxing, but also seedy.

Emily scanned the room searching for Kevin. Her first thought was that maybe he didn’t come and that she was here all by herself like a dummy, but upon a second glance she saw him standing at the end of the bar in a group of five or six. She was relieved, but also annoyed because if he didn’t show she could have gone home and enjoyed the glory and notion that at least she had tried.

The Reluctant Spectator-Hawaiian Shirts

ImageRichard and Heather were now blowing kisses at the dogs. Emily groaned and glanced up. They were dressed alike. Both of them were wearing Hawaiian shirts. They didn’t quite have the same pattern, but it was pretty close. Baseball caps topped their heads and the only thing that didn’t really match were their sunglasses and the fact that Richard was smoking a cigar.

“Nerds.” Emily muttered to herself.

They began to chat about the dogs. Something about how Howie had hip dysplasia and how the other two won’t eat their dog food on a regular basis. It seemed like a very serious discussion because they had it for a good ten minutes. Heather began to fiddle with the radio pushing all the buttons trying to settle on a station. The different music selections played for a second before she pushed the button again waiting for the perfect ditty to appear. A song from the musical “Oklahoma” played and she sat back in her seat satisfied with the outcome. Emily could hear her softly singing the words as Richard tapped the steering wheel. Wow, this was her exciting thirty-fifth birthday. Show tunes with the Hawaiian Bobsey twins. This was not helping her mood in the slightest.

She stared out the window. Families on picnics, couples on bicycles built for two, lobster shacks, and quaint rustic general stores passed her by. Maybe she would spot an ice cream truck? She could sure go for a torpedo pop. Who cares if she was an old lady?

The Reluctant Spectator-Zellie

IMG_0185Florida was so depressing, it made Emily think of senior citizens. A place where grandparents came to wait for death to arrive. It was cluttered with strip malls, Olive Gardens, & early bird specials. When she was younger they used to take a trip every spring break to visit Zellie and her grandfather Elliott. She actually enjoyed it back then, loving to play shuffleboard at the clubhouse and swimming in one of the many retirement community pools. Zellie would ride a gigantic purple trike with a large wire basket. They would take turns riding in the back as Zellie peddled them around the parking lot. She hummed and giggled as she rode in giant circles. Her white curls frozen in the wind, freshly sprayed and tight from a day at the beauty parlor.

Zellie cooked elaborate meals. There was always four kinds of cereal, pink ruby red grapefruits sprinkled with granulated sugar and topped with a maraschino cherry, pastries, cottage cheese, eggs, and bagels. Her finest custom china and floral teacups lined the table. They were all so delicate and unique, each one with its own motif.

 But it wasn’t like that anymore. Elliot had past away and six months ago Zellie moved from assisted living to Rustling Pines Nursing home. She was still feisty and sharper then most twenty- three year olds, but she was frail and in need of full time care. Emily made various trips to visit them while they deteriorated. To help them shop at the market, to move them out of the condo at Tilford K, and to take them to Legal Seafood when Elliot couldn’t remember if they were in Boston or in Florida. It was sad and depressing, but Zellie was always Zellie no matter what.

The Reluctant Spectator

thumbnail

Emily was pretty disgusted with herself. She scowled, grunted, and tried to mop up with her t-shirt, but it was no use. She was a God Damn mess. She laid flat on the grass with her arms and legs splayed out wide. It almost looked like she was about to do snow angels on the perfectly manicured lawn. Emily gazed at the cobalt sky and tried to concentrate on the puffy clouds. Her rib cage heaved up and down as she attempted to regain control of her breath. Enough. Why was she so upset? It’s not like turning thirty-five was a surprise. It comes right after thirty-four and right before thirty- six. She took three more long breaths, this time counting to fifteen. She wiped away the tears with her sleeve and stood up on the scratchy green grass. She tried to control her messy long hair, but the bike ride had made it unmanageable. A bit dizzy she whirled and then marched up to the back door opening it with a creak. She was careful to not be too noisy, but the rickety old door wouldn’t cooperate.

The Reluctant Spectator

It was just after sunset and the sky was a pinky orange sliver. The warm Santa Ana’s blew a hot breeze at the palm trees which swayed energetically. The pink balloons on the mailbox tried to  break free from their tethered prison. Emily could still hear the chatter from the party and the clinking of silverware even as she got closer to her car. The neighborhood had a relaxed calmness despite the parties muffled chaos.  It was nice to hear it from afar. Emily reached her Volvo, which was dusty and covered with leaves from the strong winds. She wiped her hands along the hood clearing out a spot to lean up against. She turned to face the house to watch the bustling party in the large Bay window. It was dark now, so the lights from inside illuminated the guests going about their regular party business. The need to cry had dissipated and she could appreciate it with more clarity from this safe distance, from atop her trusty Volvo.