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So help me, this really happened

Charles Martin
So help me, this really happened

The other night I was the guest speaker to a group of men at the University Club here in Jax.  A rather historic group.  They call themselves the P.O.E.T.S.  They’ve been meeting for more than forty years.  Fathers have passed it down to sons, and now grandsons.  They asked me to be their guest.  Prior to the dinner, my dad and I were milling around, meeting some of the regulars.  One man, a tall, handsome guy in his sixties, wings on his lapel, introduced himself and we struck up a conversation.  Turns out he’s a retired Admiral.  Flew everything, including F-18’s.  As luck would have it, he did not know my name or that I was the guest. Didn’t know me from Adam.  The conversation turned to books, his Kindle and a story he’d recently downloaded.  What people are reading is a constant curiosity to me.  I said, “Tell me about the story.”

He nodded.  “Took place up in Brunswick.  Can’t remember the title.  Something ‘Fireflies.’  One helluva story but…” He shook his head.  “The ending just really sucked.”

I bit my tongue.  “Wasn’t called ‘Chasing Fireflies’ was it?”

An enthusiastic nod.  “Yeah.  That’s it.  You heard of it?”

I nodded.  I pressed him a bit.  “What happened…with the ending.  What about it didn’t you like.”

He shook his head, sipped from his glass.  “Too many loose ends.  The bad guy needed to get what he had coming.”  Another sip of wine. “What do you do?”

“I write books.”

Another sip. “Yeah?  What kind?”


Surprised. “Really?  Like what?  Anything I might have read?”

“’Chasing Fireflies’ was my fifth book.”

The glass that was moving to his mouth, stopped. “Really?”


The remainder of the evening was a good bit of fun.  In good humor, Fireflies became known around the table as ‘the book that sucked.’  In truth, it sparked a good conversation.

I received an email from him today.  He downloaded two more of my books.

He’s forgiven.

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