Life On Cherry Street is Bittersweet!


I need to explain myself I think. One of my readers was upset and confused by my last newsletter. She, like others I imagine, had no idea what in the world I was writing about in the latest news from 44 Cherry Street. “Why did I read this? Who is this Lorraine? And why did the dog have to die??” she asked. Sorry!

Well, for people who are not longtime readers of my newsletter, 44 Cherry Street is a fictional series set in Black Mountain. The characters are entirely fictional, but the setting is real, except for the apartment building at 44 Cherry. If you want to read earlier chapters in this insane saga, please go to my website,, and click on the section called “My Book.” Why you should read it is questionable! Sorry about the dog.

44 Cherry Street

Next Chapter

Salty was in his apartment beneath Lorraine’s place and thought he heard a thud. He was reading a Robert Parker mystery, laughing at the breezy dialogue, and thought maybe he was imagining the sound. His concentration was broken, however, so he went into the kitchen to get a glass of wine, and then he settled back in his Stressless chair.

His mind turned to the imminent arrival of Irma. Irma was his Latin girlfriend, one hot tamale! She was due to arrive at his place shortly. Irma was also the name of a violent hurricane potentially heading for Black Mt. He remembered the last time the Asheville area was hit by a hurricane in 2004 or 5 and he was living in Asheville off Old Farm School Road. He had come out of the house that morning and heard a strange, loud roar coming from the bottom of the hill. He walked down a few yards and saw that the Swannanoa River was way over its banks and was rushing down steam as it crept up towards his house. He hoped this latest storm didn’t cause as much damage. He knew he was safe in his sturdy building on Cherry Street, though.

Salty laid aside the novel and picked up his phone to see if Irma had left any amorous messages, and instead saw a message from his Bromance, Biker Bob. Bob was a longtime friend who still lived up in New Jersey but would frequently go on marathon cross-country trips on his motorcycle. He would sometimes surprise Salty by showing up for one night on his bike after riding all night. Then he would leave the next day and go back to New Jersey rain or shine. “You dog turd! Coming down to see you later this week. Hoping to ride through the storm. What a rush that would be! Too bad you would never dare to do such a thing, you sissy!!”

“What a guy!” mused Salty. “Gotta love that guy. So funny!” He knew he’d better stock up on bourbon before Bob arrived. He thought about the time Bob had ridden cross country nonstop to see a band in California. He had fueled the trip with Mountain Dew and beef jerky, and had only stopped to get gas. As soon as the show was over, Bob got back on the bike and returned to New Jersey where he met with his scheduled dental patients the very same day. Luckily he had only a few fillings to do and no root canals. He did love the root canals normally. What a rush to see his patients whimper. But since he was still rumbling a little from all those hours on the bike, his hands were a bit unsteady, and he might inflict more pain than he ordinarily would.

“He’s the best,” thought Salty.

As he sipped his wine, Salty thought about other storms he had weathered. He remembered the time he had gone out with his friend Sam in Sam’s new schooner into the Sunday traffic jam, also known as the Long Island Sound. Same had just bought this expensive toy and had taken a few sailing lessons, but was confident he could handle the fifty-footer in the Sound. He had no idea, though, how many other novice sailors would be out at the same time, and he cussed like a sailor at the putzes who came dangerously close to his fore (or was it his aft?) in the rough waters.

No one had anticipated the squall that a came out of nowhere, however. There they were, caught by surprise in the sea with a bunch of drunken sailors rocking and rolling too close to his new baby. Sam tried his hardest to find a course and stay on it, but the boat was rocking side to side in a fashion that scared even Salty, who knocked Sam unconscious and grabbed the wheel, saving all aboard as well as Sam’s expensive toy. So why had Sam gotten angry when he came to? He should have been grateful. Jerk.

Just then the bell rang, and Salty opened the door for the arrival of Hurricane Irma, dressed to kill in a tight sequined dress.