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Mary Had A Little Lamb: Chapter Five

Updated on March 15, 2017

A Random Observation

One thing about rain that is nice for me: it gives me the ability to totally zone in on my writing with no distractions. There is no way I’m going outside this morning, again, after feeding the animals. It is that miserable.

But at least it isn’t a blizzard!

I was watching a 20/20 episode, or maybe it was some other show . . . anyway, it was about this young, single mother, age twenty-one, who just disappeared one night. Her body was found six days later but at the time of her disappearance there was no clue. It was a bit spooky, but it was also a bit ordinary. People go missing daily in this country. It’s a big country, and it’s not hard at all to snatch up a child, or a woman, take them somewhere remote, and do the deed.

That’s just the reality of life here in the U.S., and it is the basis for my dark stories. Evil is out there and you have to be careful.

So, with that out of the way, let’s get back to the story of the murdered children.

Around any corner can lurk......
Around any corner can lurk...... | Source

It Ends

And just like that, the killings stopped!

“It doesn’t make sense,” Dawn mentioned as we were wolfing down a heart-attack-in-a-bun at McDonalds. “Serial killers increase their frequency of killings. They all have in the past. But this guy, four killings, one after another, and now two weeks and nothing?” She took a bite of her Big Mac and grimaced. “It doesn’t make sense.”

For sure, it didn’t make sense. This guy was not playing according to the rule book.

We were scheduled to sit on Anthony Bitron at one that afternoon for a four-hour shift. The Department had been tailing Bitron for two weeks, and during that time the guy had been a veritable Boy Scout. Was Bitron our guy? Did he know he was being followed and so decided to wait on his next victim? Or was the perp someone else, maybe someone currently sitting in jail for some lesser offense? I didn’t know whether to be grateful that the killing had stopped, or frustrated/pissed because, with no activity from the killer, we were really spinning our wheels.

We had sent out an alert to neighboring states on the off-chance our guy had moved out of town, but so far we had heard nothing from Idaho, Oregon, or California.

Just like that the killings had stopped, and it didn’t make a damned bit of sense.

Olympia was on edge. The Mayor was under increasing pressure, as was the Police Chief, and since shit flows downhill, Dawn and I were feeling the heat. Two nights earlier a guy was out walking his dog, ten o’clock at night, and some neighbor thought he was the killer and shot him. The hotline was still taking in hundreds of tips each day, and ninety-nine percent of them were panic-inspired.

I threw half my burger into the sack and dumped it in the trash. My appetite was AWOL.

“Let’s go see what Bitron is up to,” I told Dawn.

Evil exists in idyllic settings
Evil exists in idyllic settings | Source

When Perfect Is Imperfect

Anthony Bitron fit the profile, single-white male, a professional, immaculate, he had called in a tip two weeks earlier and I immediately got bad vibes upon meeting him. We had nothing else to go on with Bitron other than my bad vibes, but a cop learns to trust those vibes and I wasn’t ready to give up on Bitron just yet.

Bitron had been tailed by Olympia’s finest for two weeks and he hadn’t even jaywalked yet.

Dawn parked our department-issued Crown Vic at the curb along Eighth Avenue, a block from Bitron’s house, with an unobstructed view of his home. We settled in for our shift on a damned-near perfect Olympia afternoon, mid-seventies, slight breeze, puffy white above, kids playing in the park, and the obligatory chirping birds to cap off the Norman Rockwell setting.

“It’s too perfect,” Dawn said to no one in particular.

Three hours into our shift Bitron came out and began washing his car. He yelled out to a neighbor, shot the shit with her for a few minutes. He turned on a radio and listened to some Classic Rock, Credence down on the bayou, and when another woman walked by with dog on leash, Bitron stooped down to pet that dog, giving it what appeared to be a treat, laughing the laugh of a good neighbor, absolutely nothing suspicious about him at all.

And then our radio came alive.

“O’Dowd, Robie, come in!”the radio squawked. It was the Chief of Police.

“We’re here, Boss,” Dawn said.

“We’ve got another body. Looks like Houdini again, but this one is fresh. Two teenagers out walking saw a red van pull to the side of the road out on South Bay Road, dump a body, and drive off. We’re processing the scene now. Get your asses over there now.”

Dawn started the car, hit the gas, and we left Bitron to his impeccable life.

None of it made sense! A new body, but not staged in the middle of the night like the others, just dumped in broad daylight?

None of it made sense!

By the side of the road, a little girl.....
By the side of the road, a little girl..... | Source

Out on South Bay Road

One arm was at an impossible angle, turned in a direction arms are not supposed to go. She wore a yellow shirt, and on that shirt was a picture of a young girl, watering plants, and the words “Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary.” There were rope burns on her delicate neck and long, wild red hair tried desperately to cover her partially-nude body.

“How’s the rest of that nursery rhyme go?” Doc Meyster, the M.E., asked.

“Something about cockle shells in a garden and pretty maids all in a row,” Dawn answered.

“Some think it was an allegory about Mary, Queen of Scots, and it’s about torture,” I added, looking down on someone’s daughter, once a vessel of life and laughter.

We already knew who the child was. Her panicked mother had called 9-11 three hours earlier to report her daughter, Rose Marie Swayze, age five, missing from her upstairs bedroom where she was taking a nap, her mother downstairs cooking in the kitchen. Cops went to the home, questioned the mother, agreed it was suspicious, obtained a picture of Rose Marie, and a BOLO was issued a half-hour before the body was dumped.

Pretty maids all in a row!

“I guess we can stop watching Bitron,” Dawn said.

“When will we know for sure it’s Houdini, Doc?” I asked Meyster.

“We already do,” came a voice from behind us. I turned and saw the Chief of Police.

“He called ten minutes ago, identified himself as Houdini, and took credit for the murder. He also had a message for Detectives O’Dowd and Robie. His exact words: do you believe in magic, in a young girl’s heart? End of quote!”

“The Lovin’ Spoonful?” Dawn asked to no one in particular.

“How the music can free her whenever it starts,” I added, looking once more at Rose Marie Swayze. “Someone cover her up, please. Direct sunlight isn’t good for her fair skin.”

The Broth Thickens

Well, we really have a sticky wicket now, don’t we?

What do you think is going on? Anyone? Bueller? Ferris Bueller?

I guess we can forget about Bitron.

Or can we?

I’ll be back next week with another chapter in this increasingly confusing story of depravity. Thanks for joining me.

2017 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      For sure, Sha! Striker should be able to simplify matters pretty quickly. No need for cops and a court of law when Striker's in the area.

      Good luck with that exterior work, and Happy Easter!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      So many possibilities, Lawrence, and you've raised some great ones. I guess we'll all have to wait and see, but thanks for the great ideas. This is a book, and work, in progress, so anything is possible at this point.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 8 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      Read this a couple of days ago, but we had a storm going through at the time, so the 'old' internet wasn't working too well, decided I'd come back and check if you got my note, glad I did as I enjoyed the story even the second time.

      I'm wondering if it's a 'copycat' as a few things aren't quite the same, could it be a change in 'M.O' or simply a copycat?

      Guess I'll have to wait and see :-)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 8 months ago from Central Florida

      Too friggin' awesome, Bill! This is one helluva cliffhanger. However, I'm excited to know that this will be a novel. I'm your biggest fan, you know.

      Haven't finished Shadows Over a Hangman's Noose yet. I've got lots going on at the home front. Having some exterior work done on my house. Maybe this weekend....

      I'm excited! Can't wait to see Dawn, Bill and Striker in action!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, Dawn and Bill have now met all the players. It's time for the supreme reckoning, but it won't come until the book comes out this fall. :) I can give you this hint: Striker is involved!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 8 months ago from Central Florida

      Not sure about Bitron, but I feel the clue is in the lyrics to "Do You Believe in Magic?". I just printed them out and am trying to figure it out. The third stanza jumps out at me:

      "If you believe in magic, come along with me

      We'll dance until morning 'til there's just you and me

      And maybe, if the music is right

      I'll meet you tomorrow, sort of late at night

      And we'll go dancing, baby, then you'll see

      How the magic's in the music and the music's in me"

      Just you and me. I'll meet you tomorrow just you and me. I think Houdini is challenging or threatening that the three of them are about to come face to face. Or have they already?.....

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Debangee, thanks so much! I find great inspiration in the rain. Luckily I live in the perfect part of the country for inspiration. LOL

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Very true, Shannon! It's a scary world we live in.

    • profile image

      shanmarie 8 months ago

      That is a terrifying thought, for sure, and most predators appear to be harmless to the casual eye.

    • Debangee Mandal profile image

      DEBANGEE MANDAL 8 months ago from India

      Truly rain is a wonderful nature's gift. It creates an excellent ambience for writing. It really reminds me of my old school days when I used to wait for rainy days to find an excuse for not going to school. Anyway jokes apart, I really loved this part of Mary Had A Little Lamb. Another very talented masterpiece of yours..outstanding piece.. thank you for writing.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Shannon, I believe yes, the Zodiac taunted with notes. I read somewhere that the FBI said there are thousands of serial killers currently in the U.S....if so I find that terrifying.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Zulma and no, I have not changed it...guess I'd better go take care of that.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 8 months ago from United Kingdom

      Hey Bill. Have you changed your email address? I only ask because I got a weird email, supposedly from you, but the address was different. It just said 'hi' and had a link address. If you haven't changed your address, then I'm afraid, my friend, you have been hacked.

      I don't like being the bearer of bad news, but I thought I should let you know in case you weren't aware. Hope you have a good rest of the day.

    • shanmarie profile image

      shanmarie 8 months ago

      For some reason this chapter makes me think of the Zodiac killer. Didn't he taunt the police with notes about his killings? Houdini seems to also be the nursery rhyme killer or something like that. Wouldn't it be nice if profiling and detective work went as smoothly as it does in the fictional television dramas?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I appreciate that, Debangee...thank you!

    • Debangee Mandal profile image

      DEBANGEE MANDAL 8 months ago from India

      Well continued..beautiful way of presentation...I'll wait for the next.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 8 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks, John! Unlike you, rain is an instance signal to write for me. I've reached an age when I absolutely refuse to do chores in the rain. LOL It's called "getting old."

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 9 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Great job, Bill. The mystery deepens. You left me wanting more. It is raining h today, I hope that gives me an excuse to stay home and write..but unfortunately I doubt that will happen. Cheers.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Venkatachari M. It will all become clear soon.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 9 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      I missed this episode. So, first came here to read it and then go to the next episode.

      It's getting suspensive. Unable to reach clues or any conclusion.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Michael my friend, we have a major twist for all brains...coming soon. Thank you and blessings always, dear friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      And more you have....today...thank you Rasma!

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 9 months ago from Riga, Latvia

      And the beat goes on.... Looking forward to more.

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 9 months ago

      Interesting game of Mr. Bitron if not his secret doppleganger. My friend you might come out even by an unforeseen twist for my small Slovak brain.

      Peace and blessing.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 9 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

      I'm not ruling Bitron out a little bit.

      This 'cat and mouse' style adds to the suspense you are building.

      Looking forward to Chapter 6. Have a peaceful night. Love, Maria

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Glad to hear you're hooked, Bill. At least this is a healthy addiction. :) Thanks my friend and Happy Spring to you!

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 9 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. I'm totally hooked on this mystery. Great job. Can't wait to see what happens next. Have a great week.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Zulma, that is fantastic. Good for your daughter. I'm not sure I'd go into the ring with an experienced kickboxing champion, so she gets all of my admiration for doing that.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 9 months ago from United Kingdom

      I had a very good weekend, Bill. My daughter did the charity boxing match this Saturday. The organizers paired her off with an experienced kickboxing champion. They gave my girl the option of requesting another opponent but she refused. She said she had given her all during training and wasn't going to wimp out now. My girl didn't win but she didn't quit either. She went the whole 3 rounds despite getting some pretty hard hits to the head. Best of all, she met and surpassed her sponsorship goal.

      Yes, it was a good weekend, indeed.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I did, Zulma. It was finally sunny yesterday and I was able to get outside and work in the garden and get some chores done that had been bugging me for weeks. How about you?

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 9 months ago from United Kingdom

      Bill, you are such a tease. Did you have a good weekend?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...you just might be correct on both points, Zulma...just might be!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh, hell, Ann, thank you so much for the compliment, but Monday macularly sharp? What am I supposed to do with that? LOL

      Wishing you a Metamorphic Monday!

      bill

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 9 months ago from United Kingdom

      I don't buy it. When a serial killer develops a modus operandi that works, they tend not to veer from it. I think this latest killing is a red herring. The phone call to police? It's not unheard of for twisted individuals to claim credit for a murder for attention.

      I'm not letting Bitron off the hook just yet.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 9 months ago from SW England

      I've got goosebumps. It's chilling. One minute we think it's clear, the next minute you add another tack! Great writing, bill; the kind of writing that rolls off the keyboard, a free and natural commentary of life.

      Make this Monday macularly sharp, just like you've done here!

      Ann

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh, I'm pretty sure where this is going, Jo. I usually know the ending when I begin....so start guessing. :)

    • jo miller profile image

      Jo Miller 9 months ago from Tennessee

      When I read mysteries, I'm always looking for clues that will help me figure it all out. But if you don't know yet?????

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I am doing well, Efficient, thank you, and welcome back to HP. Thanks so much for following along. I'll try to keep you guessing.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Nithya, we are getting close to finding out...I think. lol Thanks for reading along.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 9 months ago from Dubai

      If it was not Bitron, then I wonder who that person is, no clue at least for me. Waiting for the next, wonder how things are going to unfold.

    • Efficient Admin profile image

      Efficient Admin 9 months ago from Charlotte, NC

      Bill, you got me hooked. I started reading this story at Chapter 4 (without reading 1-3 because I have been away from Hubpages) and I am already hooked on it. Looking forward to Chapter 6. Hope you are doing well. Oh yeah that's right, you got out of corporate America, so I know you are doing great! :-) :-) :-)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Dora, thank you! I do think stories like this serve a purpose other than just entertainment. We all do have to be more aware and vigilante in today's world.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 9 months ago from The Caribbean

      So scary and so real! Stories like yours keeps these dangers in our awareness and remind us to be continually be alert. Thanks for a good read with a good purpose!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...Chris, you have every right to wonder that about this Bill. Too funny....we shall see! Thanks for being here and Happy Friday to you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks so much, Flourish! Have a great weekend!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 9 months ago from USA

      Fabulous! I look forward to next week!

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 9 months ago from Missoula, Montana at least until March 2018

      Pretty maids all in a row.....hmmmm. That trail could lead somewhere. Nicely done, Bill.

      I keep wondering if Bill has painted himself into a corner with this story. If so, it is going to be awesome as he finds his way out.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Genna! If this were a book I would take more time with smokescreens, but I suspect I need to get to it sooner rather than later...time for some sort of revelation.....or.....

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Trust me, Pop, this guy is going to die hard.

      Thanks as always!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, maybe we haven't met him yet....but then, maybe we have....stay tuned....I have the feeling the killer will appear shortly...or not. LOL Thanks for your kin words, my friend.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 9 months ago from Southern Illinois

      This is a thriller, and I haven't a clue. When you described The Norman Rockwell setting, it made it vividly clear. I love your writing! Who could be the killer?

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 9 months ago

      I with Paula!

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 9 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      "Three hours into our shift Bitron came out and began washing his car." This reminded me little of Ted Bundy when he washed his car. He taunted detectives, knowing they were watching him destroy evidence, yet were unable to do anything about it. A brief respite in the murders, and yet another takes place. Is it the same MO? Another changeup designed to confuse our duo? "Mary, Mary, quite contrary.." and "Pretty little maids all in a row." Yup. I just love your smokescreens, Bill. They are sooo darn clever! Super writing.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks, Missy! I respect anyone brave enough to tour my mind. :) Have a great Wednesday, my friend.

    • Missy Smith profile image

      Missy Smith 9 months ago from Florida

      This is getting very good, and so suspenseful. You have all your readers scratching their heads now. I always anticipate the next installment. You are really brilliant at placing plenty of questions in our mind on who may be the killer and why they are killing these innocent children. I'll be back! :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Sis, Bev and I were watching television last night, and I basically said the same thing while watching a cop show...no way could I work homicide. I would be a basket case within an hour of seeing my first body.

      I will make that solemn vow to you, Sis! This bastard is going down hard and ugly!

      Enjoy the comedy! :)

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 9 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Can you even imagine being a homicide investigator? I confess, I could not~~no way~~not even for 5 minutes. The percentage of stress, frustration & ultimate burn-out has to be sky-high.

      Knowing how sensitive and compassionate you are, creating these mysteries, falls into the Miraculous Talent zone....

      That you create these master pieces on-the-fly, is mind-blowing, Bill.

      I find I need to make sure I'm as "prepared" as possible to approach each chapter. Afterwards I try to find a comedy to watch!.....Your dark tales are better than 20 minutes of aerobics.

      I'll ask just one favor, bro.....whoever this scum bag is, please make something grotesque, painful and deadly happen to the bastard. Thanks!......Peace, Paula

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Great compliment, MizB...twisted mind...I can live with that for sure. LOL Do you believe in magic? John Sebastian certainly did. :)

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 9 months ago

      Man, you have a twisted mind. I love it! My friend Bill, you definitely have my attention because I can't imagine where you are going. Did I say "I love it!"?

      P.S. I remember the Lovin' Spoonful and that song. Darn, yes, I'm old enough to remember it.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      There are so many ways this could turn, RoadMonkey.....I'm not sure where I'm going yet, but it will be an interesting trip.

      Thanks so much for always being here.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Shyron, I will never forget 1961 and the kidnapping and murder of a nine-year old girl in my hometown...taken from her bedroom in a residential neighborhood..a complete mystery, body never found. These things feeds my imagination and muse.

      Blessings always

      bill

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 9 months ago

      If the detective has bad vibes about Bitron, I bet he's tied up in there somewhere. Some funny twists here. Was the girl wearing that t shirt when she was taken or was it put on her later? And Houdini made a phone call! That's something different. Is it really him? Or someone cashing in or did Bitron enlist someone else, especially as the poor child' body was just dumped, not left in some impossible situation.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 9 months ago from Texas

      Bill, a mother's worst nightmare is to have a child taken from her. I know it is a nightmare for a father also, but more so for a mother.

      This story in particular reminds me of the little girl in Aurora, Illinois because it was so horrendous and close to my brother-in-law's house, Feb. 25, 1983 two men kicked in the door to the home took the nine year Jeanine and both men sexually assaulted and murdered the little girl. They have been on death row since then and the mother has to relive the horrible ordeal when their lawyers try to get them out of prison.

      Other than that this is an interesting mystery.

      Blessings my friend

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Aww, thank you so much, Manatita! One would hope to improve with time, so your affirmation is welcomed for sure.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 9 months ago from london

      Brilliant! Just brilliant! I really like the way you're building it up also. A superb piece of writing, I must say. This offering has gone beyond the Billy series. Gripping and excellently crafted beauty, in your suspense thriller masterpiece. Carry on!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Contract killing? LOL Now that would indeed be an interesting twist.

      The wait is over, my friend, and I thank you for your patience and support...as the rain continues to pound down upon us.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 9 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Well now I know why great writers tend to hail from rainy climates. 89 here yesterday.

      Of course this is not Houdini it is like a contract killing. I won't ruin the rest for your readers ;-)

      I just love this stuff and you are a king here. OK I admit it, I was sitting at my keyboard at 6:30 waiting.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, I'm so grateful you survived the storm and all is well. Thank you for reading....go find yourself some Spoonful! :)

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 9 months ago from New York, New York

      Now, I need to listen to The Lovin' Spoonful! But seriously, great continuation and wish what we had yesterday was just a rain and now icy and snow. But at the sun is shining and the kids went back to school for a full day. Happy Wednesday now, Bill!! :)