birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Outlaw Love

I've been a stickler for the small rules. I'm a good girl. My mother called me her trouble free child. To a point. My homework was meticulously tracked and turned in, I was always at the bus stop on time, and a substantial act of rebellion was reading one more pre bedtime chapter than I was allowed, and I usually felt plagued by guilt when I pushed that far. I never drank alcohol before the then legal age of eighteen unless it was handed to me at some family occasion with my father's smile and blessing. I was nineteen when I first took a hint off a joint, doing late night laundry with my college roommate who was also a good girl but a little wiser in the ways of the world. There was some gum slipped into a pocket at a corner store once. I had no rule breaking skills and I was busted and reprimanded and sent home and anguished for years over my malfeasance, and scared straight. More than forty years later, revisiting what was once the home town, I strolled past that corner, thinking to go in and offer recompense, but the store was long gone, as was my memory of my offense in any mind but my own. I saved all my outlaw behavior for love. I was sweet sixteen and never been kissed, but when that barrier fell under the mistletoe at a Christmas dance, I knew I had entered a country where no rules applied. Well, that's the story I told for some decades, a story of love anarchy, of romantic rebellion of living outside the law. It was a land of pleasure but not a country of content. And because I hadn't really ever been expecting to visit, I was compelled to run wild and explore every corner of this strange territory. I stole love and told lies and kept secrets and put on my bandit mask and took to the high seas of sex. Broken hearts were my treasure hoard, stashed away on a remote island, and I wasn't giving anyone the map. I was a love pirate, a romance rustler, I broke the rules and broke hearts. And after a while, I wanted a new sheriff to come to town, one who would round me up and lock me up and keep the town safe from me, and me safe from myself. Because the lawless life grows tiring and once in awhile you want to come to land or ride off the range and settle in somewhere warm and dry where there's 3 squares a day, a dog curled at your feet and something nice growing in the corner. Sometimes you trade outlaw love for happiness. For a sure thing.

Magic Potion

Available at a Bookstore Near You