The Big Dog and the Little Cat


May I let you in on a little secret? I’m planning a children’s book series. I’d love to know what stories you, your kids, or grandchildren enjoy.

May I let you in on another little secret? Our cats are instigating the whole thing.

So when my friend, Staci Troilo, a talented author and editor, said she was looking for writers to guest on her blog, Lady Girl said “Daddy, I have something to say. You need to get on Staci’s schedule!”

Today, I’m thrilled and honored that Staci features my post — and Lady’s words — on her website. You can find it here at

Thank you, Staci.

And thanks for the push, Lady… I mean Lady Girl… I mean Jay… I mean…

This is Lady's "time to feed me" look, not her "you must write that blog post, Daddy" look.

This is Lady’s “time to feed me” look, not her “you must write that blog post, Daddy” look.

A (Very) Short Play – Part III


Read the entire story here.

Scene: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Domestic Terminal, Sky Train Airport Station

Wikimedia Commons: ATL Skytrain Main Station.JPG

Patricia and Mark are waiting for the Sky Train to arrive in the station to take them to the Car Rental Center. Patricia is checking her telephone for messages. Mark is people watching. Patricia completes her message and puts her phone in her purse.


Patricia: Well… that’s a relief!

Mark: Crisis?

Patricia: Sam had some lab work done. My mom just told me the doctor’s office called and gave the all clear. He hadn’t been feeling well and it lasted long enough to see the doctor. Nothing serious, but it’s a relief anyway.

Mark: Yeah, that’s always a relief. I couldn’t stand traveling when one of the kids was sick. (chuckling) I remember when our oldest came home from school with head lice. That was not a good day.

Patricia: We’ve had to check for lice a couple of times. Not the worst thing that could go wrong, really. Just one more thing to think about.

Mark: You’ve got a lot on your mind today.

Patricia: I wasn’t even worried about Sam, actually. I thought he was fine, but it was precautionary. I’m fine. Seriously. Everything was fine today… until…

Patricia’s voice trails off and the only sounds heard are the buzz of other people’s conversations and the sounds of the train station.

Mark: Until you started thinking about the presentation?

Patricia: No. I’m fine with the presentation.

Mark (interrupting): That’s not what you said at the gate.

Patricia: Oh, Mark, I’ve got a bunch of things on my mind. I’m getting just a little tired of playing the game.

Mark: You really are all over the place today.

Patricia (audibly sighs): Oh my God… I’m not. I mean, I probably sound like I am. (Another pause. It’s obvious Patricia is thinking about what to say, so Mark just waits for her to come up with the words.) Have you had one of those ‘life slaps you in the face’ moments lately? Everything changes. You can’t think straight…

Mark (laughing): Are you kidding? I’m married! With three teenagers! Pretty much every day… (no longer laughing) oh, hey… Patricia, I didn’t mean to bring up…

Patricia: Being married? I’m over it. It’s been six months already. Almost two years since I kicked him out. I hardly ever even think of him any more. Except when I think about Sam needing a dad. But Sammy needs a real dad. Not some jerk who picks at him… constantly! But that’s not… Rob is the last person on my mind today.

Mark: Who is on your mind? Or what is? You’re just not you today.

Male voice over loudspeaker inside station: Train is arriving. Please stand clear of the doors.

Mark: Saved by the train!

Patricia: I’m not so sure that saved me from anything. Just delays the interrogation for a few minutes.

Mark (chuckling): That’s right. I’ll be able to set up the bright lights and stir up the passengers.

As Mark is speaking, the train arrives and the train and platform doors open. Arriving passengers move past Patricia and Mark and the other people waiting to board. The exchange of passengers is complete and Patricia and Mark stand near the doors, looking back at the place where they just stood. The train and platform doors begin to close simultaneously.

Female voice over loudspeaker inside train: Doors closing. Please stand clear of the doors. Doors closing. Please stand clear of the doors.

Suddenly, from the left, Steve is seen running full speed toward the departing Sky Train. He is milliseconds too late, as the doors are secured and the train begins to move. Patricia and Mark are both startled.

Patricia: Oh my God! What is he doing here?

Mark: Is that… Steve Parker?

Patricia: How do you know Steve?

Female voice over loudspeaker inside train: Welcome aboard the A. T. L. Sky Train…… (voice trails off as scene fades)

– End, Part III –

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons: ATL Skytrain Main Station.JPG (full attribution: DeKalb at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons)

A (Very) Short Play – Part II(A)


(An addendum to last month’s installment)

Scene: Same location. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Concourse A, Caribou Coffee, across from Gate A3

The scene begins after the lights have dimmed on the previous scene. After a pause of about ten seconds, the scene resumes at the same location. Mark and Patricia are no longer visible to the audience. We hear the general din of people moving about the concourse and the sounds of the airport.

There are four people in line at Caribou. The woman at the front of the line is speaking to the barista and preparing to pay for her order. Gate 3 is now nearly empty, with two female Delta employees at the counter and one man sitting in the waiting area, small notebook computer on his lap, typing intently. Several people walk from right to left across the scene. They appear to be headed toward another gate.

Suddenly, from the right, Stephen enters in a full sprint toward Gate 3. As he approaches the Gate, his pace slows considerably as he sees that the flight arriving at Gate 3 has obviously arrived and the passengers have departed. He is out of breath; it is evident that he has been running for some time. He heaves his shoulders, takes a deep breath, exhales, bends forward, and puts his hands on his thighs, just above the knees. He pauses, stands upright, and approaches the two employees at the Gate 3 counter.

– End, Part II(A) –

A (Very) Short Play – Part II


Scene: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Concourse A, Caribou Coffee, across from Gate A3

Delta Flight 879 has recently arrived at Gate A3 and there’s still a bustle of arriving passengers around the gate. Across from the gate, the Caribou Coffee barista hands Patricia the cup of coffee she ordered. It appears that she is looking for someone. She glances around the terminal as she walks to the other side of the store-front concession, where she doctors up the coffee with cream and sugar. And Splenda.

Patricia gets lost in thought as she stirs the cup of coffee.

Mark, a conservatively dressed man in his early 50s, graying brown hair and blue eyes, wearing dark blue dress pants and sport coat, dress casual shoes, and open collar light blue dress shirt, approaches from Patricia’s right. She is completely unaware of his presence. Mark senses it and is careful not to startle her.

Mark: Madam, your chauffeur has arrived.

Patricia (with a jerk and with surprise): Oh, hi Mark! I was looking for you. (Then with a wry smile and a giggle) I guess I got too engrossed in my coffee.

Mark: Yeah, I noticed! Our flight was delayed for a few minutes at take off. No idea why. I thought I’d be waiting for you when your flight arrived.

Patricia: No problem. We just taxied in a few minutes ago.

Mark: Hectic day? You look… preoccupied.

Patricia: No, I was just… it’s nothing. Everything is good. I guess I’m just not looking forward to this presentation tomorrow.

Mark: Aw, you’ll be all right. Phelps is a hard ass on the phone…

Patricia: But he melts in the presence of a pretty lady, right?

Mark: By the end of the day, he’ll be a teddy bear. Hell, by the time we break for lunch, he’ll be yours.

Patricia (with that now familiar wry smile): Oh my God! You’re pretty confident. Is it my marketing savvy or my drop-dead good looks?

Mark (smiling): You know me well enough to know my answer. You are savvy. You know your client and you know their business. I’ve read your proposal. They are going to make a ton of money because of this campaign.

Patricia (wry smile and dripping with sarcasm): So it’s not just my sweet, smiling face?

Mark: I’m not falling for it! You know you’re pretty. But that’s not what makes this work. Look, why do you downplay your talent? You’ve learned so frickin’ much about social media in the last three years. You stay on the cutting edge of the latest trends. You know what works for every industry. That’s what makes you special. Seems like the last six months or so, you’re cutting yourself down all the time. ‘It can’t be because I know what I’m talking about. They just want a piece of ass.’ Patricia, you’re talented. You’re going to blow that promotion if you keep selling yourself short. It doesn’t come across to the client. But Anderson notices it.

Patricia (staring down at her cup of coffee): I’m sorry. I know you’re right.

Mark: Hey, are you sure you’re okay?

Patricia: I am. That’s the strange thing. I actually am.

Mark: Is everything okay at home?

There’s an uneasy silence. Finally…

Patricia (looking directly at Mark for the first time): You know… it is. Everything is okay. Surprisingly.

Mark (unsure how to interpret her answer): Okay. I’ll take your word for it.

Patricia: No. I’m serious. It is.

Mark (emphatically): You know I usually don’t pry.

Patricia (almost interrupting): I know you don’t. And I appreciate that. But I know you’re concerned. Professionally. I’m… it’s… no… everything really is okay.

Mark: We need to get out of here. We still have a long drive ahead of us.

Patricia: Buy you a cup of coffee?

Mark: Sure. Thanks. Big one.

Patricia: Mark, you say Anderson notices. Did she tell you that?

Mark slowly nods in agreement.

Patricia steps back over to the register and talks to the barista. Mark reaches into his breast pocket, takes out his cell phone, and checks his messages.

– End, Part II –

A (Very) Short Play – Part I


Scene: O’Hare International Airport, Terminal 2, near TSA security checkpoint.

Amid the typical hustle and bustle of airline passengers headed for their gates or arriving from their destinations and headed out the door into the bright sunshine, TSA workers and Chicago’s finest patrolling the corridors, airline workers on lunch break, and maintenance personnel emptying trash cans, stands a man named Steve. He appears to be waiting for someone. He alternately looks at his phone, scans the TSA security line, and the Delta check-in area, wanders toward the windows that look out onto the street where departing travelers are dropped off by loved ones or taxi and limousine drivers. He casually wanders about the waiting area for a minute or two.

Suddenly, Steve spies an attractive redhead arriving by car outside and he walks hurriedly out of direct line of sight, not wanting to be seen by the woman, but also not wanting to attract unwanted attention from the TSA or the policewoman to his left.

Out on the street, a woman arrives. Her name is Patricia. She is — as always — impeccably dressed. She walks assuredly through the doorway into the terminal. It’s evident she’s played this game before. She is a frequent flyer; it’s evident in her walk and her demeanor.

As Patricia walks toward the security checkpoint, Steve approaches Patricia from behind.

Steve: Did you need any assistance with your carry-on, Madam?

Patricia (recognizing the voice, but surprised by the polite intrusion, turns, with a surprised but controlled expression on her face): What are you doing here?

Steve (smiling and reaching for Patricia’s carry-on bag): Just proving that I’ll do what it takes. I promised you we could make this work. I just thought this would be a simple way to demonstrate.

Patricia: I don’t have much time.

Steve: I know. It doesn’t matter. I just wanted to see your pretty face. (Pausing and then adding abruptly) And make a point.

Patricia (with a sideways glance and a broad smile): You’ve done that! What are you doing here?

Steve just smiles back at her.

Patricia: You didn’t have to do this. My God, what if you would have missed me?

Steve (smiling, almost giggling): It was worth the risk. (Then seriously) You’re worth it.

Now it’s Patricia’s turn to simply return a smile.

Steve: I’ve checked the departure board. Flight is on time. You leave in 25 minutes.

Patricia: Thank you.

Steve: Now, before you get into that line and schmooze the handsome guy over there in the Delta Priority Check-in line, I ask the young lady’s permission to accompany me in this direction. (He motions toward the stairway.)

Patricia: I only have 20 minutes.

Steve: I only want five. It’ll take you five minutes, max, to get through security, and it wouldn’t take you ten minutes to get to the gate if you crawled there on your hands and knees. That leaves you five, maybe ten minutes before your flight leaves. You’ll be one of the last to board. Just the way you like it.

Patricia: You do pay attention to detail, don’t you?

Steve: You know it. Now come on! I’ve only got four and a half minutes left.

Patricia: Okay. Lead on.

Steve takes Patricia by the hand and leads her toward the stairway. The two walk about 20 feet, between a pillar and the windows. The view of most of the travelers and others present is obstructed from this position.

Steve wheels 180 degrees to face Patricia. He moves very close to her face and asks in a whispered voice…

Steve: Do you know any nice restaurants near the airport?

Patricia is surprised by the odd question. It prompts a smile.

Patricia: Around O’Hare?

Steve (still whispering, moving closer to Patricia): … or perhaps you can tell me if there’s a nice airport in northwestern Indiana…

Patricia has heard enough. She wraps both arms around Steve’s neck. Steve has Patricia’s carry-on over his left shoulder. He pulls Patricia as close as he can with his right arm. The couple share a tender kiss.

… it lingers for a long while. The couple unlock their lips and each share a satisfying sigh. A smile slowly spreads across each of their faces.

Patricia: Well, this is quite the bon voyage.

Steve: I told you. You’re worth it.

Patricia: That is a really stupid line.

Steve: Hey, gimme a break. I worked hard planning the rest of this. That’s the best I’ve got right now.

Patricia grabs him by the neck and pulls him close for another kiss. There is more passion in this kiss. When their lips separate, there is less smile and more intensity in their gaze at each other.

Patricia: Thanks for carrying my bag.

Steve: Thanks for the kiss. My five minutes is up.

Patricia: Walk me to security?

Steve: With pleasure.

Patricia and Steve embrace one last time. Then Patricia fixes the hair in front of her face. Not that it needs it, perhaps just a perfunctory exercise to make sure she looks professional. The pair separate, maintain a professional distance, and walk toward the TSA checkpoint.

– End, Part I –

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