Brother Love 10 — A Cut

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Rug with Crow Dan Antion
Dan Antion got a kick out of finding “Jinx” in this antique rug. It reminded me of the recent July Fourth holiday.

Welcome to the crossroads.

To my friends to the north, I hope you had a lovely Canada Day.  To those in the USA, I hope you enjoyed the Fourth of July and celebrated our precious freedom.  

I appreciate you coming back after my little break last weekend.  

Thanks to Dan Antion of No Facilities for letting me use more of his great photos.

The things that drive today’s installment are:  Magnolia Leaves from Priscilla Bettis, Earthly Bonds from G. P. Cox, and Spaghetti from Jan Twissel

If you need to review a past chapter, click over to A Pause for links.

From last time in Chapter 9 — A Hallelujah

Girl white dress road trees timothy-eberly unsplash
Timothy Eberly, Unsplash

Tammy turned to Brother Love, who apparently had not noticed her come onto the stage.  The child gasped and stretched her hand toward Brother Love.  Suddenly a dark red stain seeped across the bodice of her pure white dress.

Her hand went to the rapidly spreading stain.  Tammy sank to her knees.


Without further ado, let’s get to the crossroads.

Brother Love

10 — A Cut

Magnolia Leaves, Earthly Bonds, Spaghetti

Three Crows by Dan Antion
Three Crows by Dan Antion

Wind through the magnolia leaves made a ghostly sound outside.  Insects of all sorts flew around inside the top of the tent.  A trio of crows had managed to get inside.  Unnoticed by the humans below, they sat on the topmost trusses, feasting on the bugs.

The crows weren’t interested in the magpie, and Jinx paid them no mind as he roosted on the lowest of the tent’s trusses, closest to the action on the ground.

Jinx gazed curiously at Tammy as her white dress gradually covered with red.  He remembered the song he had learned.  That was right before the first time he saw Tammy.  He knew the song had been about the girl.

The magpie looked at Birdie.  He wanted to sing that song to her again, but she didn’t like the hymn.  So, he chirped out the song while he watched the drama unfold from the safety of the high tent trusses.

Are you washed in the blood?  In the soul cleansing blood of the lamb,” Jinx sang.

1952 Screen Stars magazine, Ava Gardner
1952 Screen Stars magazine, Ava Gardner

The woman with glittering balls dangling from her ears started screaming.

“My baby!  My baby!  Somebody, help my baby!” she wailed.

She dropped her fan.  She put one hand to her head and flailed the other like a hurt wing as she staggered.  Then she flopped down on the floor.

Ever intrigued by the odd behavior of humans, Jinx leaned as far forward as he could.  He slipped, but he unfurled his wings and dug his claws into the beam.

“I meant to do that,” he whistled.

He glanced up at the three crows.  They hadn’t noticed.

All the people stopped looking at Tammy and turned to see what the woman was doing.

The bird recognized that group of men who wanted Sinnerman to do something earlier.  They hurried to the woman.

Birdie sprang up from her seat and darted onto the stage.  As Birdie ran, the shiny box she wore on a chain around her neck fell to the floor.

She reached Tammy before anyone else.  She knelt beside the child.  Doug was there a second later.

The magpie’s eyes were glued to the locket as it reflected the stage lights.  He knew the metal box was special to Birdie.  She never let him play with it. 

Birdies Locket n Name Paper
Composite image by Teagan

He also remembered the little paper that was covered with strange human scratching.  Birdie folded that paper and put it inside the shiny box when she was getting dressed earlier that evening.  (Chapter 7 — A Lament)

The paper had a peculiar odor.  The humans didn’t seem to smell it.  However, to the magpie, there was something familiar about the scent.  He just couldn’t say what.

The bird swooped down to grab the locket.  He didn’t want the crows or any of the humans to get it.  Jinx was quick and there was a lot happening, so nobody seemed to notice him.  After he got the shiny box, he darted behind the podium, near Birdie.



Vintage Medical Books by Dan Antion
Vintage Medical Books by Dan Antion


Momma hadn’t cared one way or the other, and I’d had all I could stand of the gossips and bullies.  So, I had dropped out of high school years before that day.

Most of the teachers weren’t any better than the students.  However, the first aid teacher wasn’t as bad.  I liked her class.  It was just basic stuff, but I remembered you were supposed to put pressure on a wound to slow the bleeding.

Tammy’s eyes weren’t simply closed.  Rather, they were shut tight.  I thought that must mean she was in terrible pain.

“But where is the wound?” I murmured aloud, frantic to do something about the bleeding.

Doug said something in response, but I didn’t hear his words.  He gently lifted Tammy’s head enough to feel behind it.

I didn’t think that was a likely place for the wound.  Then I remembered what he told me about the fight that sent him to prison.  Of course, Doug would look there.  The other man’s head got cut.  He hadn’t died because of the fight.  He died because he was a free bleeder.  Doug had “come to Jesus,” plus he had been a model prisoner.  His sentence was commuted.

Preacher inside a church, back turned
Photo by Dan Antion

“Have mercy, Jesus!  Earthly bonds can’t hold the child here,” an old lady keened from the front row.  “She’ll be safe in the arms of Jesus.”

Amid gasps of horror, Brother Love’s eyebrows climbed toward his hairline.  He looked at the blood-soaked front of Tammy’s white dress quizzically.

“It ain’t the child what needs healing,” Brother Love stated calmly.

Murmurs of confusion and astonishment rose from the congregation.

I found his words just as confusing as everyone else.  However, I was so focused on the little girl that I didn’t take time to process the bizarre statement.

With a sudden thought, my head whipped around toward Doug.  When his eyes met mine, it was as if he already knew what I was thinking.

“The man you killed,” I started.  “I mean the man who died, the free bleeder.  He was Tammy’s father, wasn’t he?”

“I’m not exactly sure,” Doug replied quietly, as his fingers searched the back of Tammy’s head.  “When I went to prison, he didn’t have a daughter,” he explained with a slight hesitation.  “I had been seeing a woman, and he was her ex-boyfriend.  The fight was about her.  But she wouldn’t have anything to do with me after I went to jail.  I didn’t know there was a child for years, but Tammy’s age is right…” he finished uncertainly.

We only spoke for a couple of seconds.  Our attention never wavered from the child.

Most of the blood was on Tammy’s chest, but I didn’t see any tear in her white dress.  Cautiously, my hands checked the wet area.  However, part of my mind was stuck on what Doug had not said.

“Do mean that you think you might―” I started to ask the question.

Something squished under my fingers.  I drew back, disturbed.  I touched the spot again with one finger.  I felt the same squish, and a lot more blood seeped onto the girl’s dress.

Collage featuring hymnal by Dan Antion. Tomfoolery by Teagan
Collage featuring hymnal by Dan Antion. Tomfoolery by Teagan

“Hello!  I am Chef Boyarrrrdee,” Jinx whistled and said with in an Italian accent.

Startled, I turned my head.  The magpie was sitting on a shelf inside the podium.  He had my locket.  I hadn’t even noticed it was no longer hanging from my neck.

Jinx saw me looking and started scratching a frayed white hankie to cover the necklace.  It was one of the big handkerchiefs like Doug always carried.

Not thinking about my blood covered hands, I lifted one to push back my hair.  That’s when I smelled it ― spaghetti sauce.

I put my red coated fingers to my nose.  It wasn’t blood covering the girl’s dress.  Rather it was some sort of tomatoey liquid.

Tammy’s eyes popped open and she looked right at me.  Her gaze was at once fearful and conspiratorial.

Whaa―?” I began.

The child’s hand went to her cardboard fan.  However, my knee was on it.  When she pulled the fan out from under my knee, the edge of the paper cut her finger.

“Ow!” Tammy sat up and exclaimed.

That was real blood.

Tammy shrieked.  She stared in horror at her bleeding finger. 

Every eye returned to the child.  Except mine.  I saw Ruth Leiber slinking toward the choir exit.

Red Spots by Dan Antion
Red Spots by Dan Antion

I stretched up onto my knees, as far as I could and still hold Tammy.  I was afraid to let go of her.  If there had been some trick going on before, the blood coming from her hand was real.  I was afraid she would panic and run.  That would be disastrous for a hemophiliac.

Fortune smiled on me and I spotted Sargent Lamar Poole.  He must have started toward the podium when pandemonium broke out, because he was almost there.

I yelled his name.  With my free hand I pointed toward Ruth Leiber.

“Over there, Sargent!  Stop Ava Gardner!” was all I could think of saying that would get my meaning across quickly enough.

Sargent Poole looked at me like he was sure I had lost my mind.  Then he looked to the other side of the stage and saw Ruth.  Comprehension dawned on Poole’s face.  He inconspicuously maneuvered through the crowd.  By the time Ruth reached the exit, so did the policeman.

In her distress, Tammy’s fingernails dug painfully into my hand.  Ruth Leiber and Sargent Poole immediately left my thoughts.

As I looked down at Tammy, she deliberately raised her bleeding hand.  With bulging eyes, she regarded her real blood.

Doug seemed to be saying something to me.  His mouth opened and sluggishly changed position, as if he had taffy stuck in his teeth.  He made a loud but dull warble of incomprehensible sound.

Paweł Czerwiński at Unsplash
Paweł Czerwiński at Unsplash

Tammy’s eyes darted from Doug to me, to her bleeding hand.  Her hand jerked as she pointed to Doug.  The blood was flung out in a stream.

Then the blood slowed as it passed through the air of that hot August night.

It hung there.  A stream of red droplets was suspended in… nothing.

Jinx mimicked the sound of a telephone ringing one time.

My ears started to ring with the very same sound.  However, it went on and on, an endless ring.

The end.


Real World Notes — Chef Boyardee

Chef Boyardee in his first commercial — that was broadcast in 1953.  Chef Boyardee wasn’t exactly a fictional character for the brand. He was a real chef named Ettore “Hector” Boiardi, an Italian immigrant.  This first commercial features Mr. Boiardi as Chef Boy-Ar-Dee, commonly known now as Chef Boyardee.


Now for the obligatory shameless self-promotion…

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This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Copyright ©  2019 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved. 

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.


95 thoughts on “Brother Love 10 — A Cut

  1. I’m not normally a fan of blood, but when “the blood slowed as it passed through the air of that hot August night… hung there… the stream of red droplets suspended in… nothing…” I found myself watching in fascination. Jinx is still my favorite.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, another great episode, Teagan. I love the use of the photos throughout. Now to wait patiently for the next installment! OMG

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on No Facilities and commented:
    In case you missed it, Teagan moved her latest serial story along to a very interesting point on Saturday. You don’t want to miss this chapter. Go on now, get yourself down to Parliament, Mississippi and get under that big gospel tent.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Another captivating episode. From the three crows to start us off to finger cut at the ending. Can’t wait to find out what Brother Love meant when he said “it ain’t the child what needs healing”. I’d also love to find out what’s on that paper in Birdie’s locket. Tammy has to survive. Waiting to see Ruth get what’s coming.

    I don’t recall Chef Boyardee in boxes. I do remember Kraft variety of the same. We had it all the time growing up.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This was a lot to take in. Now the hymn is stuck in my head. 🙂 I love the way you are layering this story, Teagan. Or, should I say unlayering it. 🙂 Great job and I’m SO intrigued by everyone’s roles in this plot. I’m still in love with Jinx. He is one smart bird! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Staci. Thanks for spending part of your holiday weekend here.
      Ha-ha — somebody mentioned ketchup in a comment last time, so I couldn’t use that. Then I went looking back at my list of reader’s things, and there was “spaghetti!” It was cool to find the old commercial to go with it. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Teagan, loved this chapter, knowing that Ruth’s nefarious plans have gone awry. Even though you’ve left us hanging again, I’m starting to see the light at the end of the story. I think. Or will there be another twist?

    Chef Boyardee reminded me of mom and dad’s willingness to eat his canned ravioli. They loved it, even though they were both good cooks. It must have fit into their budget or something because I never saw the value or taste in it. Blech.

    Have a great week, Teagan! If you’re still looking for words to finish this story, black licorice popped into my head. Maybe because I almost bought some yesterday…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Mary J. Thanks so much for reading and spending part of your holiday weekend here. That’s funny about the Chef Boyardee meals. My dad had to have pinto beans, mashed potatoes, and cornbread on the table every night… After I got away from home, I must have been over 35 before I could stand the thought of eating (let alone cooking) a bean. Thankfully I finally got over that! LOL.
      I really appreciate your feedback here. I’m not sure if I’m tying up loose ends or unraveling the story. (Ha. There’s a hint in that remark.) Happy Caturday to the furry kids. Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. LOL. I never liked anything about Chef Boyardee until now! I want a Jinx of my own. Brother Love seems to know what’s going on, but he ain’t talking. Not yet anyway. So glad Birdie spied Ruth trying to sneak out. She should be locked up for buying Tammy that beautiful dress and then ruining it with tomato sauce! :+)

    Seems like a lot of this mystery is on that little piece of paper covered with “strange human scratching”. This story is getting ‘gooder and gooder’! Really looking forward to the next episode.

    This is so much fun Teagan. I follow some of your readers. There are others I don’t follow but see their comments regularly on the blogs I do follow. So it’s like reading this story with a bunch of friends and getting the benefit of their insight after each chapter.

    Hope your weekend is pleasant and relaxing.
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ginger thanks so much for reading. Your comments always make me smile.
      I couldn’t agree more about the other comments. I think I have the most wonderful group of commenters in the world. ^^’ All of you are what keeps me blogging — and what just keeps me going.
      I’m happy that Jinx has a friend in you too. Hugs on magpie wings!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. The plot (not to mention the sauce) thickens and I hope justice and mercy will prevail. I love Jinx, especially, “I meant to do that.” Every now and then, one of our animals will do something clumsy and I do think they’d rather no one saw that, I like Brother Love’s calm assessment. He knows, but he seems to prefer to guide others to the answer. This is a great episode, Teagan. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You slayed me about the sauce, Dan. LOL.
      The pic you made of the 3 crows inspired that remark from Jinx. So I’m particularly happy you liked that part. Thanks so much for all the photos, and for spending part of your holiday weekend here. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Dan, the pictures are so good that they are the only reason some people visit — and I’m totally fine with that! 😀
          Thunder rumbles beyond a gray cloud here. We might even get a drop of rain, if all of it doesn’t evaporate before it reaches the ground. (That really does happen. It’s the freakiest looking sight…) Enjoy the holiday weekend.

          Liked by 1 person

  9. What an ad for the Chef!! haha, I wasn’t expecting that.
    It was sweet of you to include me in within an original work between you and Dan! Thank you. Too bad I can’t be so prolific with language to produce more expressions for your story.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s great to see you, GP. Haha… Well, somebody mentioned ketchup in a comment last time, so I couldn’t use that. Then I went looking back at my list of reader’s things, and there was “spaghetti!” It was cool to find the old commercial to go with it. Have a wonderful holiday weekend. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Joanne! Thanks so much — yes I had a lovely day. Last Saturday my old friend in the next town drove us up into the mountains to a charming old town, and we saw the abandoned railroad trestle. Then they gave me a lot of delicious peaches from their own trees. I love to put the frozen slices in the bottom of a glass of prosecco…
      Anyhow, huge thanks for reading and commenting. Do you get the feeling this story might be unraveling, rather than wrapping up? (Okay that was a hint.) Hugs on the wing.


  10. Good read! I’m glad the sergeant caught Ruth, but oh boy, Tammy’s in a pickle.

    It’s after midnight, and a storm is blowing in. The thunder echoing off the mountains and the gusts blowing through the stiff-leafed magnolias are so loud I couldn’t go back to sleep, so I got up and browsed the internet. Imagine my surprise when I saw my name and the magnolia leaves in your post! Life is funny that way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Priscilla. I’m glad to see you, but sorry about the disturbed sleep. I’m never a good sleeper, but the past couple of weeks, I’ve had even more trouble than usual.
      I hope you didn’t have any damage from the storm.
      Have a peaceful weekend. Hugs on the wing!


  11. It seems to be a bloody mess that needs washing as opposed to being washed in the blood. A little bit crazy, but great episode. Blood and Spaghetti Sauce would be a good name for a rock group.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Tim. Thanks for visiting.
      I always hated that particular hymn. I remember one choir director who would have it sung repeatedly during endless prompts for people to come to the alter… Somehow it seemed fitting to let Jinx learn it. LOL. Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

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