Melissa Ann Howell Schier
9 min readJun 19, 2024


It was raining… not a lot but just enough to keep the pool surface from being smooth as glass. The pavement around the pool was darker, and shiny from being wet as well.
“Maybe I will not walk today” Filly thought and instead got her phone to sit on the high bar stool chair in the kitchen, and scroll through the messages. There was one text from a person she wanted to talk to.

They talked almost daily, the one walking the dog on the eastern side of the united states, and the other walking and cycling on the center point of the states, both fit, both dedicated, both in line in their thinking, with God, family, country.
Filly put the phone back down and slipped on the white ankle socks and the white Hookah walking shoes she had obtained in Knoxville Tennessee at a medical supply store run by her daughter in law’s parents. Before those shoes, she had worn the ones selected for her by her son, the trail running coach in Austin. His shoes had been her “shoe of choice” each year until they wore out from the miles put on them and then he would pick another pair.
The new shoes from Tennessee had been a gift from her daughter in law.
Filly could not remember what they had been doing the day they ended up getting the shoes. Probably they had been at a tea house or had been shopping at thrift stores or maybe they had been doing an art project together.

Her daughter in law painted tea cups with flowers and ceramic paint, and she loved preparing tea parties and she had recently taught Filly how to paint clouds. She was an artistic and lovely person and she and Filly got along so well. The shoes had felt like walking on clouds.

They were so cushioned.
For the first time in a long time, Filly experienced relief from the constant nagging Achilles pain she had grown used to. She had put an arch support and heel lift in the shoe to take the strain off the Achilles, but these days, she honestly did not feel even a twinge when she walked, even when she walked upwards of 15000 steps in a day.

The rain she saw upon awaking had been at first a reason to skip the walk, but the phone call she was now planning, was a reason to not skip the walk. She could talk and walk, easier than trying to talk in the house where people were sleeping.

She finished slipping on the socks, new from the package and very white and soft, and then the shoes, and then got the dog repellent spray and her phone and slipped out the back door of the house.

As she slipped out, she thought about the last book she had been listening to on Audio book. The story “Dark Intercept” was different from all the other ones she had been listening to on audio book, and what stuck in her mind was the part where the author was describing a house where a child had been held hostage.

The house he walked through, was described as exactly the same as the house Filly lived in and the layout was identical. Even the room that Tater slept in was the same as the room that supposedly held the kidnapped child.

The author said that the child had special powers. Filly believed that all children have innocence as their special God given “power” and this power also could exist in adults, independent of children, which they could access within themselves, as the “key” to heaven.

No one was going to kidnap anyone Filly said. Thank you God. And no one was able to force evil into the mind of a child. Thank you again God. Those fiction parts of the book, were too outlandish for Filly to agree with even as entertainment.

But the part where the military was keeping close watch and keeping society safe, was believable and Filly agreed with that part. This all flashed through her head as she slipped out the back door the same way the man in the book did, when searching for the girl.

In the book the girl and the military and the parents could communicate without voices. They could think thoughts and these thoughts would communicate effectively to those who were receptive.

Filly thought about the bible verse that she had chosen and how a few passages down from the one she had chosen randomly for that day, was a verse about a pure language. Filly felt like communication from God was that pure language as it was biblical, pure, clear and effective. Those who trusted in God could access it and were receptive to it.

Filly dialed the number and had a fun conversation. The rain kept sprinkling, and eventually made its way down the woven straw tan cowboy hat she was wearing, from the crown to the brim, where it dripped down in front of her face.

“Plop plop plop”
The cool rain felt good on her skin and she walked briskly. The conversation lasted about thirty minutes, about a third of the way through her walk. Then she hung up and put on her audio book.

She walked on, listening to her book, until she reached her home again and went into the garage, which had been left open, to allow the cool breeze and the light to filter in and disperse the heat hanging in the garage from the day before and its 97 degree sun.

The project for the morning was to finish putting things in order in the garage. The cardboard boxes she had been saving for mailing packages to family had to go. The baby items that were bulky had to be put up on high shelves out of the way so they were not taking up floor space, including the high chair, the baby bouncer, the car seats and the strollers.

The garage storage supplies had to be divided up into sections for easy access when needed, with three main categories of car maintenance, lawn and garden maintenance, and outdoor toys and beach supplies like bubbles, kits, shovels and balls.

In the center of the garage, was a bench, surrounded by various weights from eight pounds to fifty pounds, a beach towel, two fans, and best of all a portable air conditioner that kicked out some wonderful cool air while removing much of the humidity.

The garage needed to have that air conditioner because Filly had been ceremoniously kicked out of the house with all the workout equipment. She did not mind. She actually liked the privacy and freedom of the garage.

The stationary bike her son gave her was in the far corner which was part of the workout, at least thirty minutes after the walk, and the pull up and dip machine was beside it… three sets of these.

There were a variety of straps and ropes also for strategic exercises to work core muscles and injured areas with support… Lunges, leg curls, hyper extensions, and there was a big ball for pushups and squats.

The beige specked floor with its shiny coat of polyurethane was covered with a brown woven mat type rug so the weights would not chip the floor and so that Filly could be barefoot. She could play her music.

Filly loved music. Sometimes it had to be country. Recently it had to be christian. Other times it had to be her you tube playlist. She had her favorites and they motivated her. Having the area open enough to do her fitness exercises without banging into something was also motivating.

She heaved the boxes out the garage door. She swept the corners where spiders and bugs and dirt were trying to establish a home. She took used dirty garden gloves and put them in the laundry pile along with the rags she had used to wipe off all the shelving. She re-positioned the American flag and the Trump Flag.

Filly had heard some bad things in the media about Trump but she ignored them. These things were politically motivated, just like the bogus charges bring brought against Reacher in her newest audio book. And in the book, Reacher was kicking ass. Very satisfying.

Just like Reacher, Filly knew instinctively that the bogus charges would not stand up under genuine and legit scrutiny with genuine and legit judges and with Americans watching.

And just like Reacher knew the people on his team and their ability and their integrity, not always from personal interaction but from reputation and behaviors, Filly knew about Trump, and his team and their genuine interest in the well being of the country.

It was instinctive. Nothing the media said changed the instinctive awareness she had of how evil was trying to manipulate the environment and implicate the wrong person the same way that the bad people in the book "Never go back", written in 2013 had tried to manipulate the history of Jack Reacher in order to condemn him.

It did not happen then and it was not going to happen now. It did not have that power. People were not brain dead. People were not idiots. Creating a fake narrative and trying to imprison someone to achieve a political coup d' etat was laughable.
And Filly loved reading how Reacher dismantled the entire scheme, calmly, while continuing to demonstrate humor, male strength, direction, protective instincts, and even romantic interest. Those parts, she believed, were not fiction.

He was not a ghost. He was not even “fiction” Just like the man who showed up in Dark intercept, who, supposedly was confined to a wheelchair and on deaths door, was discovered to be alive and well. Instead of being wheelchair bound or dead, he was the leader of the rescue group. Special forces no less.
Filly, like the team in the “fiction” books, had to do her part to keep the mandates of fitness going, even though she was not technically in the military. Her motto was to be strong, and be ready. Just like her mom and dad before her, and their parents before them.

It was not in her imagination, that evil forces would try to find a way to come in among the masses and do damage wherever they could. In the bible they were described as wolves. To fight wolves, a person had to be as strong as a wolf, and had to have the moral conviction to go with it, and stand up decisively against evil.

Filly got the red blower in order to finish the last part of that specific job, which was to blow off the webs from the ceiling and the corners. The blower would not start.

The battery needed to be recharged. Filly got the blower steady between her knees and worked hard to disengage the dead battery so she could put a fresh battery on. The battery would not budge initially, possibly because she had set the blower down not so gently in the midst of her cleaning. Perhaps because her thin long fingers lacked the strength they needed.

Filly breathed in and she breathed out. Then she tried again and the battery came off. FINALLY. She put the dead battery on the charger and took the fresh battery and put it on the blower and then began blowing the walls and corners, the loud motorized sound echoing in the room as it effectively disintegrated the small spider webs.

It was now nine thirty am. She had been up since six thirty am. She had completed her walk, and her first chore of the day.

Time to go in the house and cook some bacon and eggs. Perhaps some toast with butter.

NO coffee. No sugar,

Maybe a diet coke. Addictions had to be broken but one addiction at a time. She had been successful with the main addition. THAT had been really hard and she understood how a person might think that whatever it was, that a person thought they needed, was actually something that caused them pain, not satisfaction.

Or maybe a person realized that what they wanted, was not good enough…and that what they had already was superior. They just had to recognize that fact. In Filly’s case, she had to recognize that water was superior to diuretics, particularly for someone who worked out. It was a process.

The rain had continued. She would not have to water the plants today for which she was grateful. But she was going to workout. And now she had plenty of space in which to do so.

The rewards of hard work, organization, discipline and a resoluteness that could not be deterred. AND… Nothing like a plate of bacon and eggs to fuel the workout first. Filly went inside and the blast of air conditioning felt good on her sweaty and rained on clothes and skin.

She washed her hands. The sink no longer sprayed water off to the side because of a leaky filter and the cold water felt good and the rose scented liquid soap on the ledge was her favorite.

She dried her hands on the red and white checked cotton towel folded in the grass woven basket on the quaint little french cutting board table and she opened the fridge and pulled out the eggs, bacon, bread and butter. Time to start cooking.



Melissa Ann Howell Schier

HoustonWorkout on YouTube, mom of five, journalist and artist and conservative who values life.