Moments Matter

Fiction Friday #3: Danny Boy – Redemption

Lovely Design by Kelly DeBie.

Lovely Design by Kelly DeBie.

Editor’s Note: This is the third in a fictional series entitled “Danny Boy.” To catch up with the entire series, you can read these in chronological order:

Fiction Friday #1: Danny Boy – Promises Broken
Fiction Friday #2: Danny Boy – Moving Up the Ranks

Please enjoy the story of mafia son Danny and boss Jimmy Dougan in “Danny Boy – Redemption.”

The white lights hung in the dark room with the cold metal chairs facing one another. Smoke swirling and burnt coffee enveloping every sense. The file folder slid across the table causing Danny’s legs to shake uncontrollably.

He stared at the folder. Taking a deep drag from his cigarette, he could feel his lungs burn. Maybe he’d die soon, he thought. He hoped.

Detective Frank Edwards flipped the chair backwards and rolled up his sleeves. Danny, running his hands through his light brown hair slowly licked his lips.

The habit of slicking his hair back and simultaneously licking his lips was something he picked up from Jimmy Dougan. He remembers noticing the nervous tic when he was eight and walked in on an unforgettable scene.

The black town car had not been there to pick him up in front of school as usual, so he took it upon himself to venture to his father’s Irish pub “Dougan’s.” Every turn and corner was a surprise – an adventure. There was no black tinted glass or bodyguard surrounding him. He thought this must be what regular kids feel like…free. Passing by his favorite bakery, he devoured a potato donut.

As night fell, he could no longer postpone coming face to face with his father. He feared the repercussions of disobeying one of the most powerful and feared men in Las Vegas. Jimmy would never permit his only son to be alone, vulnerable. He finally made his way to the back door of the pub and knocked timidly.

When no one answered, Danny noticed the door cracked. He slowly stepped into the dimly lit hallway. His tennis shoes stuck to the beer-covered floors. The echoing sounds of a man screaming hysterically caused him to stumble backwards towards the back door like a giant tidal wave.

Fear and death hung in the stifled air. He suddenly felt a hand grab his arm tightly.

Flailing, with his school bag dragging on the ground, the light blinded his eyes. Forced to the ground, he felt a knee pushing down on the side of his head. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed Richie’s white patent leather shoe.

He could hear the loud, booming voice of his father. Danny called for him, but Richie smothered his mouth. The smell of Richy’s wet, meaty tobacco-saturated hand made Danny gag. It was then that Danny realized Richie was just as cold and evil as his father. The terrifying screams and cries of the man grew louder. As his head lay on the side of the floor, he could see his father at a distance sitting behind a big brown desk. He began to run his fingers through his hair while licking his lips.

He heard a click, a large “POW” and then it was quiet, still. His eyes growing large, he could not see the body that was just shot. But Danny knew he had just witnessed his first mob killing at the age of eight.

Richie then whispered something in Danny’s ear about keeping his mouth shut, or else. Danny nodded his head frantically and then wondered if he was next in line.

He never spoke of the murder with anyone – until now.

Dazing at the file folder, Danny realized he was about to confess to more than just murder. He knew there would be an immediate “hit” out for him by his own father once released – with or without protective custody and a new identity. He had made this happen. His subconscious, self-imposed will to destroy the Dougan Mafia was coming to fruition.

Inevitably, his father would know it was no mistake that he “forgot” to wear gloves when offing his old friend Millie. He left more fingerprints on her decapitated head than the American Flag. He no longer wanted to be the killing lion, but the loving lamb – even if it caused his own death.

Yet, in actuality, Danny the loving, adventurous boy had died long ago. As the folder opened, he closed his eyes and began to tell his story. He had not wanted revenge, though. He wanted something more…redemption.

Writing Prompt: March, “in like a lion, out like a lamb” – for our writing: to be deflated, belittled or humbled after the failure of a daring or boastful act.

I’m putting a couple restrictions on this one though to sharpen your lion’s writing claws before we submit to our kinder, gentler lamblike selves: 1,000 words max and no dialogue, all description. *Show* not tell: how your character has softened, deflated from the beginning of his/her intro in even one post? to now.

Last but not least, please do check out my other fellow Fiction Friday Friends. Some participated in the prompt – while others wrote something else inspirational – so be sure to check them out! I’d also like to welcome the newest members to Fellow Fiction Friends: Tom at and Elyssa from
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It Was Autism

imagesThe pounding grew louder at the public restroom door. The clawing and banging sounded like a large animal. My two daughters looked alarmed.

I opened the door slowly. Outside, I found a mother restraining and holding her teenage daughter.

“I am sorry,” she said. “She’s autistic.”

I did not pretend to understand. “Please don’t apologize,” I said.

It was autism.

The large boy was guided towards the bounce house. Clapping the palms of his hands together, he was happy and excited. At the age of 15, he spoke only in gestures and smiles.

It was austim.

My neighbor approached me with sadness in her voice on the sidewalk.

“Did I tell you?” she asked.

“No, I said. What’s going on?” I asked. “He has autism,” she answered.

My heart sunk for her son and family. I hugged her.

Autism struck again.

My boss began to nervously rub his frowning forehead. Sighing, he explained how his youngest son was autistic – both mute and deaf.


I stared at the children behind the wire fence. The special needs school was adjacent to my public elementary school with only a fence separating the two schools. The severe special needs children shook the fence and spoke in slurs. My classmates would taunt, “Retard!”

At the tender age of seven, I felt a deep sense of sadness for these children through the fence. It was a form of autism again.

April has been marked as Autism Awareness Month. My initial thoughts of autism were that I am blessed to have two healthy children. No autism in sight.

But then I thought again.

Autism affects everyone. You know someone. 

Last year, our family participated in a local autism fundraiser. My two young daughters had never heard of this disorder. Now was my chance to help them to be informed and love these children and families. It was a beautiful day of awareness and education.

So, let’s beat this thing called Autism.

Autism is a devastating neurological and biological disorder that typically affects children between the ages 18 months to five years of age. Autism currently affects 1 in every 88 children today. It is estimated there are over 1 million people in the United States alone with autism. Autism affects each individual differently and at different levels of severity. Some people with autism are severely affected, cannot speak, require constant one-on-one care, and are never able to live independently. While others who have less severe symptoms, can communicate, and eventually acquire the necessary skills to live on their own.

Let’s be informed. Let’s listen.

Here are some resources:

Worlds Worst Moms – My blogging friend Tammy’s son Newt was diagnosed with high-functioning autism. Tammy shares her no-nonsense insights and experiences as the parent of an autistic child.

Autism Speaks

Talk About Curing Autism (TACA)

How has Autism affected your life? What are the lessons you have learned?

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The Pink Pill Overdose: A Lifesaving Lesson

I stood on my tippy toes reaching towards the back of the cabinet while standing on our kitchen chair. I spotted the bottle with the pink pills. I easily popped the cap off the non-safety proofed bottle and dumped most of the pills in the front pockets of my little hand-made cotton dress.

The "new" St. Joseph Asprin bottles with the safety caps. In the mid-1970s, these were not as available as they are now.

The “new” St. Joseph Asprin bottles with the safety caps. In the mid-1970s, these were not as available as they are now.

Throughout the day of playing on my commune farm, I chewed and sucked on the pills. They were so tasty – just like candy.

By dinnertime, my stomach began to ache. Sitting at the table, staring at my plate of food, I could not even think of eating.

“What’s wrong, honey?” my mom asked. “Uh…” I said staring down. Reaching into my pocket I placed the few remaining pink-colored aspirins on the table.

My parents gasped.

My mother retrieved the St. Joseph aspirin bottle and rushed me to the hospital. At the tender age of five, I had overdosed.

In retrospect, the incident could have turned out to be much worse. I could have died.

Why do I even bring up this whole story of my overdosing incident as a child? Well, this week is National Poison Prevention Week.

More than one million children are accidentally poisoned each year, according to Dr. Shari Platt, head of the pediatric emergency department at New York Presbyterian Hospital*.

Sealed Medicine Box: We store this box in the top of our master bedroom closet.

Sealed Medicine Box: We store this box in the top of our master bedroom closet.

And, even with the introduction of childproof caps and safety warnings on medications and other products, “the number of accidental drug poisonings among young children surged 22 percent from 2001 to 2008, according to a new study in The Journal of Pediatrics.”

As a parent, I have done my best to be prudent (without going overboard) about storing potentially poisonous household items out of reach, including the installation of safety locks, gates, etc.

Be the Parent
So, we can’t rely on safety caps to parent our kids. That’s our job. We need to continue to be diligent in creating the safest environments possible; to talk about the importance of safety; and the consequences.

As a child, I knew taking those pills was wrong. But I could never grasp the horrific consequences. I’ve now had these conversations with my two daughters ages four and eight.

I’ve also taken this week to re-check around my house for possible safety issues. I did find a few violations that I corrected such as my nail polish remover under the sink with a broken safety lock.

Here are a few poison prevention tips to keep in mind:

  • Try to avoid taking medications in the presence of children, as they often try to imitate adults*
  • Do not rely 100 percent on child resistant caps. They are child resistant…not childproof.*
  • Keep all medications in their original child-resistant containers. These labels contain poison control contact information and emergency care instructions in case of accidental ingestion.*
  • Avoid putting medications in open trash containers in the kitchen or bathroom because many adult medications can be deadly to small children and pets.*
  • Vitamins, particularly those containing iron, can be poisonous if taken in large doses. Children are especially susceptible to adverse effects from vitamin overdosing.*

Keep the Poison Control Number Handy
What should you do if you suspect someone has been poisoned? Right away call the toll-free Poison Help line 1-800-222-1222, which connects you to your local poison center.

Every poisoning is different. Treatment advice will depend on the type and amount of poison involved. The child’s age, weight, and medical history will affect treatment, too.

I keep the toll-free phone number 1-800-222-1222 on my refrigerator just in case. I also let my babysitter know the location of the number just in case.

For more tips, here are a few useful Web sites:


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Origin of the word Inspirational


Middle English (in the sense ‘divine guidance’): via Old French from late Latin inspiratio(n-), from the verb inspirare

“I want to learn how to speak Italian.

For years, I’d wished I could speak Italian – a language I find more beautiful than roses.” 

– Elizabeth Gilbert, Author of Eat, Pray, Love

imagesAs I am deep in the reading of Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, I looked up the Italian version of the word inspiration, which is ispirazione.

It does sound so romantic in Italian…

Inspiration. We all need it. We crave it.

We not only seek inspiration, but to be able to inspire a fellow human being is a gift in itself. Why do I speak of inspiration this day? Well, my fellow blogger Susanne Nelson has nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. <Blush>

I am honored, Susanne. Thank you.

With the award, though, comes a few requirements…

1) Display the award logo on your blog. 
Link back to the person who nominated you; 2) State 7 things about yourself; 3) Nominate 15 bloggers for this award and link to them
. Then notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements.20130308-164810

7 Things About Me

  1. I eat chocolate straight out of the box
  2. I can’t stand water spots on my bathroom mirror
  3. I wear socks to bed even when it’s hot
  4. Coloring and building blocks with my two daughters is relaxing
  5. At the age of 42, I still sit on my mom’s lap
  6. I cry in church nearly every Sunday
  7. The love of my life and best friend is my husband who I met more than 20 years ago as a cook at a pizza restaurant

Most Inspiring Blogs
Before I list my most inspiring blogs, I’d like to note that each inspire me for different reasons. Many times they touch my heart and soul. Others make me laugh until I pee my pants. While others offer intellectual insight and perspective. These writers are artists in every sense of the word. They inspire me to embrace my human flaws – my inner and outer beauty. They are gifts of inspiration in their own unique way. I am so very thankful.

I know the requirements stated 15, but I really narrowed down my list to those that truly inspire me…in Italian: la tua la mia ispirazione = you are my inspiration.

  1. Renne Shuls-Jacobson
  2. Molly Field
  3. Jenny Hansen
  4. Grown and Flown
  5. Kelly DeBie
  6. Brene Brown 
  7. Lillian Connelly
  8. World’s Worst Moms
  9. August Mclaughlin
  10. Karen Baking in a Tornado


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Fiction Friday #2: Danny Boy – Moving Up the Ranks

Lovely design by Kelly Debie.

Lovely design by Kelly Debie.

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of fictional posts that details the inner struggles of Danny, the son of Irish Mobster Jimmy Dougan. The posts are in chronological order, so here’s the first post entitled Danny Boy – Promises Broken. Without further ado, enjoy the chilling tale of “Danny Boy – Moving Up the Ranks…”

“Millie, come over here and sit on my lap,” he beckoned, wrapping his arms around her waist. The bells and whistles of the casino were in full swing. Millie rolled her eyes, disinterested while sitting on the stranger’s lap. Chomping her gum, she began to daydream about being on stage. The shimmery, fitted costume, her high kicks, spins and turns wooing the crowd to a standing ovation.

Her dreams of coming to Vegas were a far cry from the days of living in a sleepy little town in Iowa. Driving west in a 1957 Buick Skylark Convertible at age 20 with the wind in her curly red hair, her dreams of being a Rockette dancer were closer than ever.

“They are going to love me,” she said aloud. Her obnoxious scotch-breathing customer asked, “Whad ya’ say, doll?” Before she could answer, “he” walked through the gold turn-style door flanked by a posse of stiff suits.

It was Jimmy Dougan, head of the Las Vegas Irish Mafia. Standing behind him with hands crossed and gold rings glimmering was his son Danny. He was Beautiful Danny to her.

He wasn’t the Danny who was part of a group known as organized killers. His big blue Irish eyes melted her with love and comfort. Even though she despised his family’s “work,” she basked in the dinners, fine jewelry and clothes. Danny had promised to quit once she gets her big break as a Rockette. For now, she was working the casino floor of the Flamingo as an overfriendly cigar girl.

“I’ve got big plans for us, Mil,” Danny promised. “We’ll move to New York where we can be happy.”

She slid off the faceless customer’s lap, gliding across the room in the direction of the mafia men. Casino dealers and pit bosses made little eye contact with the crew as they worked their way through the Flamingo.

People on The Vegas Strip knew exactly who the Dougan Mob was since they took over the north side nearly 15 years ago. This slow take over of the north side was a bloody war between the long-standing Italian Sambino Mob who had control over a majority of the Strip since the 1930s.

Jimmy was now grooming his son to take the reigns with plans to control the remaining part of the Strip. “This is business, Danny,” said Jimmy. “And in business you need to eliminate the competition and dirty rats.”

Currently, Jimmy and his crew were standing in the direct line of fire at the Flamingo, which was owned and operated by the head of the Sambino Family. The fierce battle between the Dougan and Sambino Crews drew fear from coast to coast. Known for their covert “hits,” to business-as-usual buyoffs, to “rats” infiltrating various street crews.

Danny knew this was the life he was destined for since childhood. For years, he resisted joining the Dougan Mob’s rank and file. He begged his father to allow him a chance to try a “normal” life and attend college in New York. “I could live with family, pop. I would make you proud,” he pleaded.

Jimmy would hear nothing of it.

Milly didn’t dare go near Danny in public, but their eyes met for an instant when he strutted behind his father in the Flamingo. She thought of the family secret Danny had shared about his mother “Viv.”

Danny’s mother was a drunken mess for the last 18 years. She had checked out long ago. As the wife of Jimmy Dougan, he was not only humiliated by her as the town lush, he was also growing considerably impatient as she threatened to go to the cops during her drunken rages.

As Danny’s 18th birthday approached, Jimmy summoned him to his first job. “This is a special family job, Danny Boy. You are on you’re way to becoming a man,” he explained. “Richie will pick you up.”

The unmarked black town car arrived. No words were spoken as Danny sat nervously in the backseat tapping his well manicured fingers on the side of the tinted windows.

Arriving in the middle of the dessert, Richie called Danny to the trunk of the car. That’s when Danny knew there was no turning back. As the trunk swung open, he saw the eyes of his dead mother. Gagging, he bent over holding his hands on his stomach.

Richie threw him the white bed sheet. “Wrap the bitch,” demanded Richie. He knew this was not a choice. He swallowed the vomit deep in his throat. Tears filled his glassy blue eyes – the same dead, frozen blue eyes that now stared at him.

The job of burying his mother was a day that forever altered Danny’s life. He suppressed any thoughts and dreams of New York and Milly. Days after burying his mother, Danny had told not a soul about that first job – except to Milly. Sweet Milly.

She was his last confidant, his last true friend.

During the months following his mother’s death, Danny embraced his life of crime and control. He had kept his distance from Milly. His father warned him, “Stay away from her, Danny. She’s trouble. I know this from experience,” he warned.

Milly was feeling Danny’s cold isolation, and tried to reach out, but he was too far into the grips of organized crime. The Sambino Family heard rumors of her relationship with Danny, and offered the chance of being a Rockette in exchange for her cooperation in setting him up for a hit. “Promise me you won’t kill him, though. He is actually a nice person,” she said innocently to Mr. Sambino. “Of course, dear. Maybe just some broken legs and cracked skull,” he quipped.

Milly had planned to call Danny so they could meet in their usual spot.

Meanwhile, word on the street was the Sambino Family’s opening of a new hotel casino, the “Caesar’s Palace.” That night in the Flamingo, Jimmy and his crew had strategically planned the visit to collect on a bet, while spreading rumors and threats among the crowd about the new casino. Jimmy was a master of fear, manipulation and intimidation, while also being charming. With the grand opening just days away, the Dougan Mob had a few tricks up their sleeves to “welcome” the new business to the Strip.

With champagne popping on the front steps of the new Caesar’s Palace Casino and Hotel, the boss of the Sambino Mob toasted the assembled crowd on the sidewalk. Suddenly, a black town car sped by and tossed something on the steps. Horrific shrills and screams spread through the scattering crowd.

It was the head of Milly, the cigar girl from Iowa and aspiring Rockette. Danny had now made his way to the ranks of “underboss.”


Writing Prompt: The Ides of March – that fateful day when Caesar was assassinated by coup by a team of Roman senators on the steps of the Curia in Pompey ( Our character is betrayed, hardcore, by a friend. The relationship is forever altered, “killing” a little piece inside, of our protagonist, yet empowering her/him despite the damage.

Please be sure to stop by my fellow femme fatales – some are participating and others are taking a break from this week’s prompt challenge. Either way, please do check them out!

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