The Chase (fiction)

Illustration by Mark Armstrong

Illustration by Mark Armstrong

By Judy Berman

“Just put the money in the sack. Don’t make any wrong moves. I’ve got a gun.”

His voice was quiet, but the words were short and clipped. The teller was nervous and nearly passed out. She recovered and steadied herself by holding onto the counter.

“Quit stalling.”

With quick, little birdlike movements, she filled the bag with money. He grabbed the sack. She watched him turn and slowly walk to the front entrance. She ducked behind the counter and pressed the alarm.

The robber spun around wildly, fired his gun and dropped it to the floor. Everyone turned and stared at him. He panicked and bolted toward the revolving door. The streets were crowded. He paused, debating which way to go and opted for the center of the city.

His indecision cost him valuable time. Sirens were blaring and the bank guards were incredibly close. He wasn’t in the best physical shape. But his long strides helped widen the distance between them as the guards were old and short-winded.

“Halt,” one of the guards wheezed. Then, the guard leaned against the building as he stopped to catch his breath.

Still, the robber sprinted down the street, jostling people and knocking some down. One hero made a flying tackle toward him, but missed. Undaunted, the hero picked himself up and chased the robber thru a parking garage toward an underpass to another street.

Again, the hero leaped into the air. This time, he caught the thief about the waist and knocked him to the ground.

The bag hung briefly in midair. Then it plummeted to the dingy corridor and the money flew in every direction in the hallway. The pair scuffled for a few minutes until the robber connected a roundhouse to his antagonist’s glass jaw. The robber quickly got up and fled toward the lunch-time crowd on the street.

“George! Supper’s gonna get cold. Turn off that TV and come and eat.”

George winced, and hesitated too long before answering. Another piercing shriek from the ‘little woman’ penetrated the apartment’s thin walls.

Slowly, he pulled himself up from his recliner and lumbered toward the kitchen.

“George, shut off that TV.’

“Yes, my love,” he grumbled.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Judy Berman and earthrider, 2011-15. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to (Judy Berman) and (earthrider,, or earthriderdotcom) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Illustration: “George” by Mark Armstrong. I want to thank Mark for his creative illustration that perfectly captured what my story was about in just one drawing. Excellent. Please visit his blog to see more excellent illustrations. Here is a link to just one of them:

Thank You, Thank You

Best Moment Award

By Judy Berman

To be appreciated for what you love to do is to feel as if you’ve been kissed by both sides of the sun.

Recently, two fellow bloggers nominated me for separate awards: Best Moment Award and the Sunshine Award. My apologies to both for a long overdue, but heartfelt, thank you.

  • Marilyn Warner of Things I Want To Tell My Mother – said she chose my story, “Musical Memories and Love” for the Best Moment Award because she was humming the songs I included hours after. That story, which ran April 20, 2013, looked at my life thru songs that were popular over several decades. This award, unlike others, singles out only one post, a reader’s favorite “best moment.”
  • Jane H. Johann of Johannisthinking selected me for the Sunshine Award, saying “I have chosen Judy because she brings sunbeams to my thinking. Clarity always follows after I read her lines of poetry or essays.”

Now I feel like I am in the Sunshine and this is my Best Moment. I know what a slacker I’ve been, so I will leave it up to my nominees to follow thru – or not – as they see fit. No hard feelings.

Here’s the rules and my nominees for the BEST MOMENT AWARD: Nominate 8 special, specific posts for this award. These are ones that truly touched me, made me laugh, or were memorable. (I cheated. I chose nine.) Please check them out:

–          Arindam – Race of Dreams, Hopes and Needs. While he writes beautiful poetry, he also tackles concerns in his native India.

–          Mark Armstrong – His illustration of a smoking sneaker from the Boston Marathon tragedy and the question “Why?” is profound and moving.

–          Bronx Boy of Mostly Bright Ideas – His post on “Getting Over My Down Under Fantasy” made me laugh and want to shout, “No, Florida is a much scarier place to visit than Australia.”

–          Darla of She’s a Maineiac – She can make the most ordinary event laugh-out-loud. “So Here’s The Thing About Walking.”

–          Kate Shrewsday –  Love her stories on her family, and the ones on history are just riveting. This is one of my favorites that combines both: “Picknicking With Martians.”

–          Lisa Tognola of Main Street Musings – I still crack up whenever I think of this story that she wrote about a trunk show in “Revelations From My First CAbi Party.”

–          Madhu of The Urge to Wander – Her photos from around the world have opened vistas to me that I hope to see in person one day. That’s why “Beyond the Gates” is one of my favorites.

–          Sue Vincent of Daily Echo – Her photos of nature, her dog, Ani, and her views on life are always worth a read. “Late Night Coffee” was one of my favorites for those reasons.

–          Jane H. Johann of Johannisthinking – Sorry, got carried away here. If you’re counting, this is number 9, but when you read “Nadia … my little doctor,” I know you’ll agree this is a beautiful, touching post. It made me think of my grandchildren and of my late Grammy.

sunshine award - pinterest

Here’s the rules and my nominees for the SUNSHINE AWARD:

  • Include the award’s logo in a post or on your Blog.
  • Answer 10 questions about yourself.
  • Nominate 10 Bloggers.
  • Link your nominees to the post and comment on their Blogs, letting them know they have been nominated.
  • Link the person who nominated you.

Ten Questions:

  1. Favorite color: plaid (yes, don’t count on me revealing too much here)
  2. Favorite animal: dinosaur (because I don’t have to worry about cleaning up after it)
  3. Favorite number: 9 (Blame The Beatles)
  4. Favorite non-alcoholic drink: Does such a thing exist?
  5. Prefer Facebook or Twitter? Neither. Prefer face-to-face communication.
  6. My passion(s): My family, humanity, truth, justice, music and travel
  7. Prefer getting or giving presents: Giving
  8. Favorite pattern: Random
  9. Favorite days of the week: weekends
  10. Favorite flower: poppy – that’s why I love Claude Monet

10 blogs to nominate:

1. Kate Crimmins of Coffee Kat Blog. Her experiences working as a Human Resources executive and her cats are both something I love reading about.

2. Marilyn Warner of Things I Want to Tell My Mother. So much of what she writes triggers my own fond memories about my parents.

3. Island Traveler of This Man’s Journey. His photos and stories about family remind me to hold my own family closer.

4.  Timethief of One Cool Site – is a source I’ve turned to on quite a few occasions for blogging tips and have appreciated the advice.

5. Jen of Rumpydog – who cares passionately about animals, both domestic and wild. She works tirelessly to ensure legislation is passed to protect their rights.

6. Promethean Times – for its satirical look at the headlines. It bills itself as a “collection of oddities calculated to amuse, enlighten and horrify.”

7. Deb Adams – Gorgeous illustrations, delightful cartoon characters and Flash writing that will make you pause … and, go, hmmmm!

8. Shakti Ghosal – His posts on life and philosophy always make me think deeper. Very enjoyable read.

9. Cult Fit – wonderful writings on philosophy, workouts and health.

10. My So Called Life Journey – a look at life and Dr. Who and much more from an up and coming writer. (Full disclosure: my youngest daughter, Jenn)

Pardon the very long post and my procrastination. These creative bloggers all do an excellent job in entertaining, informing and amazing us with their stories, illustrations and photos.

Rude Behavior

By Judy Berman

No more “Jersey Shore”? Can it be? Are we done with rude behavior?

In the same year that we mourned the passing of Andy Griffith, many are cheering the impending death of the reality show “Jersey Shore.” MTV announced that “Jersey Shore” is in its “last season amid falling ratings.”

The contrast between the two TV shows couldn’t be starker.

Andy Griffith, who played the kindly widowed sheriff, always was ready with a gentle response to the good-natured shenanigans in small-town Mayberry.

Not so in “Jersey Shore.” Even if you never watched the show, it was impossible to escape its influence. Excerpts of the show’s cast and their escapades were the delight of entertainment news. Their public drunkenness and brawls, their visit to Italy that some feared would lead to a permanent break in U.S.-Italian relations … just more fodder for the publicity machine.

Sad to say, there’s no shortage of uncivil behavior on TV.  I can almost forgive Fox TV’s Chef Gordon Ramsay for his volatile outbursts in the kitchen. After all, we’re talking about chefs preparing food you wouldn’t serve to your dog. But Lifetime’s “Dance Moms” or … groan, TLC’s “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.” Just appalling.

We’re scraping the bottom of the gene pool here. Is this a case of art (TV) imitating life, or is it life imitating art?

That kind of behavior would have earned me a smack-down and grounding for life by my folks.

Remember when you could “agree to disagree?” When people always heard the other person out – politely – and each side benefited from a healthy exchange of views and opinions. Me, neither.

But  now, it seems whether it’s reality shows or politics, the gloves are off and it’s every man, woman – or even child – for themselves.

The reactions are frequently explosive. Fuses are short. Backlash to a differing viewpoint sometimes turn violent. There’s a flurry of punches and a barrage of ugly, bleeped-out words. The fact that it’s played as entertainment on TV only encourages more folks, who want face time on TV and in the press, to be as nasty as they want to be.

Don’t cry for “Jersey Shore” cast members. Michael “The Situation” Sorrentino already landed another gig on “Celebrity Big Brother” on a UK network, and continues to rake in the big bucks. Snooki and JWoww are in their second season of production in their spinoff show.

But we won’t be better for the experience or exposure to this boorish behavior.

As fellow WordPress blogger, illustrator Mark Armstrong, points out, “The fact that rudeness seems to be the ‘new normal’ just makes things worse.”

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Judy Berman and earthrider, 2011-15. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to (Judy Berman) and (earthrider,, or earthriderdotcom) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Video: Opening credits (theme song) of “The Andy Griffith Show”

Photo: Nicole “Snookie” Polizzi and Lisa Opie in a Virginia Beach nightclub. Photo taken Dec. 17, 2011

Photo: “The Andy Griffith Show” – Ron Howard and Andy Griffith

Link to Mark Armstrong’s WordPress blog: