Fiction – Short Stories by Kathy Bacon

Kathy Bacon

Kathy’s balcony overlooks Parque Ciudades Hermanas [Zaragoza and the Malecon]. Much like in the old movie Rear Window, she enjoys watching the many activities of the park. And creating her own dialogue. Kathy has an active imagination, a positive attitude and believes she has found her happy place in Mazatlan. I thought in these turbulent and whacky times you may enjoy her fictional short stories. So far, there are no buried bodies. Kathy’s non-fiction column Shop Talk is proving to be very popular with readers – you may wish to see what’s in store for you. [SM, June, 2024].

Birthday In The Park

On a sunny and breezy Saturday evening, the Ramirez family arrived at Parque Ciudades Hermanas, ready to celebrate little Luis’s 3rd birthday. The park was buzzing with activity: kids playing, families picnicking, and the air filled with the sounds of laughter and cheerful chatter.

Luis, dressed in his favorite superhero shirt and a bright red cap, was bursting with excitement. He clutched a small toy car in one hand as he took in the sight of the colorful balloons tied to the picnic table and the big banner that read, “Happy 3rd Birthday!” Friends and family began to arrive, bringing wrapped gifts and warm smiles. Luis’s friends came, each one as eager as he was. The parents spread out picnic blankets and a large table and set up a delicious spread of sandwiches, fruit, chips, and juice boxes.

The playground quickly became the center of attention. Luis and his friends dashed to each other jumping and hugging each other. His dad, Carlos, organized a fun game of soccer, and the kids ran around, their laughter filling the air.

Before the party could begin, Luis’s parents led him to a cozy nook of the park, gently illuminated by a single streetlight. They placed him on an old wooden crate, carefully arranging a circle of plush toy monkeys around his feet. A large, helium-filled balloon shaped like the number 3 bobbed cheerfully next to him. Luis clutched another stuffed monkey in his arms while a cluster of blue and red balloons floated behind him, creating a vibrant and festive backdrop.

As Mom and Dad snapped photos with their phones, capturing each precious moment, Luis beamed with delight, striking adorable poses. The air was filled with laughter and the occasional flash of a camera. The scene was heartwarming, a snapshot of pure childhood joy. I couldn’t help but wonder if Luis would remember this day when he grew older, the day he turned three and felt like the star of his own little world.

Once the impromptu photo session concluded, it was time to dive into the real birthday festivities. The air buzzed with excitement and anticipation, signaling that the party was just beginning. It was time for cake. Luis’s mom, Maria, brought out a cake with a little monkey on it with three candles flickering on top. Everyone gathered around as he took a big bite out of the side of the cake. It seemed just fine with everyone, maybe it is customary to do that here in Mexico. Then, Maria lit the candles. Luis’s eyes grew wide with excitement as he watched the flames dance. “Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Luis, happy birthday to you!” sang the crowd. He took a deep breath and, with a little help from his mom, blew out the candles. Cheers and applause erupted around him.

Slices of cake were handed out, and the kids sat on the picnic blankets, happily munching away. Luiss face was soon covered in white frosting, and he giggled as he wiped it off with his sleeve. The adults enjoyed the warm weather, chatting and laughing as they watched the children play.

As the party began to wind down, Luis hugged his friends goodbye, thanking them for the wonderful presents. With the sun beginning to set, the Ramirez family packed up their things. Luis, tired but happy, was carried to the car by his dad. He rested his head on Carlos’s shoulder, his eyelids drooping with sleep.

“Did you have a good birthday, buddy?” Carlos asked softly.

“The best ever,” Luis murmured with a sleepy smile.

As they drove home, Luis dozed off, dreaming of monkeys driving race cars, playgrounds, and the happiest day at the park. The Ramirez family knew it had been a perfect day, filled with joy, laughter, and cherished memories.

The Observer

Welcome to my world, where stories unfold in the heart Parque Ciudades Hermanas. As an observer, I don’t hear the conversations, but I witness their actions, and that’s where the magic happens. The beauty of this perspective is that it allows me to weave narratives from the silent ballet of human interaction. Join me as I share these tales, crafted from the scenes I witness in the park.

As an old woman sat on a cement curb spot inside Parque Ciudades Hermanas, her eyes crinkled with contentment. The park, a familiar haven, felt like an old friend, its changes and constancies intertwined with her own life’s journey.

She watched children chasing each other, their laughter a sweet symphony that echoed the distant past when her own children played with similar abandon. “Time flies,” she thought, her heart warming at the sight of young mothers pushing strollers, their faces aglow with the tender exhaustion of new parenthood. “Just yesterday, that was me.”

The vibrant colors of the park—plants and life in full bloom brought a smile to her face. She remembered the community efforts to beautify the park, her own contributions of time and effort now bearing fruit in the cheerful landscape. “This park is full of life,” she mused, pride mingling with gratitude for her neighbors who loved visiting there too.

As a couple strolled by hand in hand, she felt a pang of loss, remembering her late husband. They had walked these paths countless times, sharing dreams and quiet moments. Yet, rather than sorrow, a gentle peace enveloped her. Their love was part of the park now, living on in every corner they had cherished together.

The distant sounds of street pulmonias, the occasional bark of a dog—all these familiar sounds created a comforting background to her thoughts. The park was alive, a microcosm of the city itself, bustling yet serene, ever-changing yet steadfast. Life goes on,” she reflected, and so do we.”

The park was a tapestry of stories, woven together by its inhabitants. Watching the goings-on, she felt a profound connection to her community, a sense of belonging that transcended the years. This is home,” she thought, content in the knowledge that, in this beloved park, her presence made an enjoyable evening of people watching.

As I watched her slowly rise from the cement curb and make her way home, her steps deliberate and measured, I couldn’t help but imagine the richness of her experience. She likely savored every moment, finding joy in the simple act of sitting and observing the vibrant life around her. The childrens laughter, the blooming flowers, the distant music—each a brushstroke in the living canvas of the park, offering her a feast of memories and reflections. She had witnessed the world in all its beautiful chaos, and perhaps, as she walked away, she carried with her a sense of contentment, knowing she was a cherished part of this ever-evolving story.

Sweet Music to My Ears

He strums, and she listens. They talk, they laugh. They eat, and he plays his guitar again. She seems to be a devoted listener. I imagine she loves him, and he loves her. As he plays, she gently pushes his hair to the side and strokes his cheek. She lays down, face up, continuing to listen to him play. He leans down and kisses her. She sits up and returns the kiss. The whole time he strums his guitar. I want to imagine he is singing her a love song.

They are happy. They are smiling and tender with each other. From what I can see, they adore each other. Oh, to be young and in love. I remember those days—do you? That’s what I see in them. Their eyes meet, and they sing together, indulging in the food they brought.

They exist in their own little world. Am I the only one witnessing this intimate moment? Observing their love does my heart good. Its as if they are the only ones in the park. This is their love story, at least a part of it, unfolding right before my eyes.

As the evening progresses and their food is eaten, they sit together for a while, the guitar resting on the blanket, their arms wrapped around each other. They seem to be friends as well as lovers. We all know that friendship is a key ingredient in any relationship, and I believe they have that. He has wooed her with his music, and she has touched him with her tenderness. Witnessing this is music to my ears.

The True Cat Lady

A “cat lady” is a term often used to describe a woman who has a strong affinity for cats, typically owning multiple cats and devoting a significant amount of time, care, and attention to them. While the term can sometimes be used affectionately, it also has a history of being used in a more pejorative or stereotypical manner, suggesting a woman who is socially isolated or eccentric.

It is important to note that the term “cat lady” can be seen in a positive light, celebrating a person’s love for animals and dedication to their pets. However, like many stereotypes, it can also carry negative connotations if used in a derogatory manner. In recent years, there has been a movement to reclaim and embrace the term in a positive and empowering way.

Well, let me tell you about the time I encountered the ultimate “cat lady.” As a devoted cat lover myself, I’m still awestruck by the whole experience. I mean, I adore my one precious furball, but if circumstances allowed, I’d have a whole feline family.

This unforgettable sighting happened one bright morning. My husband was on the deck, staring out at the park across the street from our condo. Our park is like a live-action movie with parents, kids, dogs—there’s always something happening. It’s our little slice of entertainment heaven.

So, there I was, sipping my morning coffee, when my husband suddenly says, “You have to come see this. You won’t believe it.” Intrigued, I put down my mug and joined him.

And there, in the middle of the park, was a scene straight out of a cat lover’s dream. Picture this: a woman with 3 cats, but then came a veritable feline army. They were everywhere—lounging on benches, climbing trees, playing with each other. It was like the cat version of a rock concert, and she was their superstar. Well, maybe I am exaggerating a little!

She moved with grace, and the cats followed her every step. She’d bend down to pet one, and three more would come running. It was as if she had some magical cat-attracting power. This wasn’t your typical cat lady with a couple of pets. No, this was the Cat Queen, commanding her furry kingdom. I half-expected her to pull out a wand and start conjuring up catnip from thin air. Amidst her regal command, she maintained a humble touch, even stooping to pick up the poop one of her loyal subjects had graciously deposited on the park grounds.

As I stood there, utterly amazed, I realized I was witnessing something truly special. It was a one-in-a-million sight that I doubt I’ll ever see again. That park, which was already a place of daily wonders, had just delivered the ultimate surprise. And for a cat lover like me, it was nothing short of magical.

It was like a picture you see in a storybook—a happy tale about a “cat lady” who had seven cats that strolled alongside her through the park. You could imagine how they all snuggled up together in her bed at night, how she adored them, and how they loved her right back. The scene was so heartwarming that I could have written an entire fairy tale on the spot.

Watching this enchanting spectacle made me ponder my own beloved cat. My little furball is more of an independent spirit, preferring solitary naps in sunbeams and playfully batting at imaginary foes. The idea of my cat joining me for a leisurely walk in the park, sans leash, was almost laughable. My cat would probably dash up the nearest tree or dive into the bushes at the first sign of a squirrel.

But there, before my eyes, was a woman who had somehow achieved the impossible. It was a lovely sight, a whimsical moment that reminded me of the extraordinary bond between humans and their pets.

As the “cat lady” and her entourage disappeared into the distance, the park seemed a little brighter, a little more magical. I returned to my coffee, grinning from ear to ear, with a newfound appreciation for the unexpected joys life brings—especially those involving cats.

In the end, I didn’t need my cat to parade around the park with me. I realized that the magic lies in the uniqueness of our bond, whether we’re sharing quiet moments at home or dreaming of fantastical adventures. And maybe, just maybe, my cat and I would create our own special story, one lazy nap at a time.

Evening in the Park

Imagine stepping into a world where every morning begins with the ritual of donning a crisp uniform, meticulously adjusted to meet the school’s stringent standards. This was my reality at Catholic school, where rules dictated that our skirts grazed the knees and every outfit was polished to perfection. As a spirited child, I bristled against these regulations, yearning for the freedom to express myself through my own wardrobe choices.

The nuns, with their watchful eyes and stern admonishments, enforced these sartorial guidelines with unwavering dedication. Yet, amidst their disapproving glances, we found small rebellions – rolling up our skirts ever so slightly, testing the boundaries of conformity. These minor infractions were our quiet protests, tiny victories in our quest for individuality within the structured confines of uniformity.

It wasn’t until later, well past my school years, that I grasped the profound lessons hidden within those uniforms. They were more than just garments; they were equalizers, stripping away external markers of status or fashion. In that sea of uniformity, we learned to see beyond appearances, to recognize each other for who we truly were beneath the standardized attire.

Those formative years shaped my perception of people, teaching me that true character transcends outward appearances. The journey from resentment to appreciation mirrored a deeper understanding – that the essence of a person, their kindness, integrity, and compassion, far outweighs the fabric they wear.

So, what does my time in that uniformed world have to do with the broader narrative? It’s a testament to the unexpected wisdom gained in unlikely places, a reminder that sometimes the most profound lessons come from the most structured environments.

As I lounged on my deck, my gaze wandered across the street to the park, where a vibrant scene was unfolding before my eyes. A troupe of about ten children, clad in their school uniforms, stood out against the green backdrop. Their teacher, wielding a camera like a seasoned photographer, scouted the park for the ideal setting to capture their youthful exuberance.

Parents, stationed close by, observed with a mix of amusement and pride, occasionally calling out gentle reminders to their offspring to stand still or fix their collars. The children, bubbling with anticipation, found it hard to contain their boundless energy. Sensing their restlessness, the teacher decided to channel their enthusiasm constructively.

With a nod and a smile, she gave a few of them permission to break free momentarily. Like unleashed whirlwinds, they darted back and forth across the grass, their laughter mingling with the rustling of leaves in the gentle breeze. Each child’s unique personality shone through in their playful antics, adding an extra layer of charm to the already picturesque scene.

As I watched this delightful spectacle unfold, I couldn’t help but be captivated by the innocence and joy that radiated from the group. It was a snapshot of childhood in motion, a fleeting moment frozen in time amidst the everyday hustle and bustle.

Meanwhile, the photographer wrestled with her camera, frantically trying to fix a stubborn flash issue. The children, lined up on the curb like eager acrobats on a high wire, displayed remarkable patience despite their visible excitement. They were on the edge of their seats, practically buzzing with anticipation for the long-awaited photograph.

In a stroke of genius, the teacher decided to harness their boundless energy, granting them permission to dart and dash within the park’s boundaries, ensuring they remained engaged and animated until the critical moment arrived.

After what seemed like an eternity of adjustments, the photographer finally gave the signal that all was set. In a whirlwind of coordinated chaos, children and parents alike scrambled into their designated spots, each expression a mix of anticipation and determination. It was a scene that epitomized organized chaos—a snapshot of collective effort and youthful exuberance captured in one perfect shot.

The children, looking surprisingly sharp in their uniforms, seemed utterly unfazed by their matching attire. Instead, they exuded a contagious blend of joy, cheerfulness, and boundless energy that painted the park with vibrant hues. Even the parents, standing on the sidelines with a mixture of pride and patience, couldn’t help but smile at the sheer exuberance of their offspring.

As the photographer finally seized the moment, capturing those wide, infectious smiles, a collective sense of satisfaction filled the air. Instantly, the parents’ phones and cameras were out, each click and flash adding to the kaleidoscope of memories being preserved from every conceivable angle.

In that fleeting instant, happiness reverberated through the scene, transcending the simple act of taking a photograph to encapsulate a moment of pure, unadulterated joy—a testament to the beauty of shared experiences and the timeless essence of childhood laughter echoing through the park.

Once the formal photos wrapped up, the adults congregated, exchanging stories and catching up while the children scattered to explore another corner of the park, their responsibilities fulfilled with boundless energy. Observing this lively tableau, I couldn’t discern if it was a Catholic school—uniforms were a standard across all schools here. The whole affair appeared seamless and serene, a sharp departure from my own school days six decades ago, where every detail seemed fraught with complexity and rigidity.

Quiet. Rainy. Park.

As I sit on my deck in Mazatlán, raindrops splatter against the railings, creating a rhythmic symphony. The park, usually bustling with life, lies eerily empty. It’s a surreal sight, one I’ve never experienced before, having arrived here only in January 2024, well outside the rainy season.

This downpour has brought an unexpected stillness, a stark contrast to the vibrant scenes I usually witness. Each evening, I’ve become accustomed to the lively dance of people and nature, weaving these observations into captivating stories just for you. But with the park deserted, what tales will I spin now?

Perhaps the rain itself will inspire a new kind of narrative. I can imagine the adventures of the park’s usual visitors, now taking refuge in hidden corners or cozy cafes, each with their own unique story. Or maybe, the empty park will reveal secrets long hidden beneath its usual hustle and bustle, waiting for a keen observer like me to uncover.

Looks like I’ll need to adjust my routine to stay ahead of the rains. From June to October, Mazatlán’s skies open up, delivering most of the annual rainfall in dramatic afternoon and evening showers. This shift in weather calls for a shift in my schedule, too.

Imagine the scene before the rains arrive: the park buzzes with life, birds flocking in droves to feast on the bugs and worms surfacing from the damp earth. It’s a feast for the senses and a goldmine for storytelling. The vibrant activity in the park becomes a dynamic prelude to the daily deluge.

Instead of evening observations, my mornings will now be filled with the frenetic energy of nature preparing for the inevitable downpour. There’s a certain thrill in this new routine, a race against the clock to capture the park’s life before its washed clean by the rain. Every morning will bring a fresh canvas, with creatures and characters ready to be woven into new tales

Though the rain may have changed the scenery, it certainly hasn’t dampened my spirit. In fact, it opens up a new world of possibilities, where even a quiet, rainy evening can spark incredible stories for your entertainment. So, stay tuned—this weather might just lead to the most intriguing tales yet.