Friday, December 18, 2009

When the mayor was informed of the spiking levels of petty theft, he cried. Legislation is hard to come by in Toddler Town.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Melora had never been a bright girl. Her daddy could never quite square with the fact that he had been, to some degree, responsible for bringing into the world this plodding, dizzy creature who was more like a puppy who never grew into its feet. On some occasions it caused him so much consternation that he would simply take her by her shoulders and shake her. Her mother didn’t much concern herself with the antics of either except to occasionally emerge from her soap opera stupor, set down her glass of wine, and call from the den,

“Hank, I swear, you keep doin that and someday you’re gonna knock her screws loose.” This went on for years.

The day everything changed was remarkable only in its complete mediocrity. The sky had been overcast and temperatures were mild, the paper had arrived with no exceptional news, the cat was napping in its customary spot behind the loveseat. That day, however, in the midst of a particularly fervent shaking, the soft tinkle of metal on linoleum interrupted a familiar scene. Both Melora and Hank froze and began to scan the ground. Melora, with eyes still faintly spinning in their sockets, bent down and swept a few indistinguishable somethings into her opened palm. When she returned to standing her expression was that of a toddler directly after a fall. Mouth crumpling at the corners, bewildered, she displayed the two tiny screws lying in her outstretched palm.

“Well I’ll be damned Melora, I knocked your screws loose,” Hank gingerly brushed the screws into his own hand to turn over and inspect.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

She sat down heavily, so close that I could smell the stale perfume on her pantsuit. On her lap she held a battered boy scout tin full of pictures, and between nicotine stained nails dangled the one I’d come for.

“This here, this is your motha.”

Partially hidden behind coffee stains was a picture of a mother and infant, the mother with a thick, full beard that fell just on top of the baby’s rounded belly. I wondered if I thought hard enough if I would remember what that felt like, the tickle against my skin.

“One of the best sideshow workers we evah had, God bless her,” she coughed violently, dislodging ancient phlegm into her hand. “You look just like her, if you cover up from here down,” that same hand pressed down under my nose, presumably where a beard would be, if I had one.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The farmers had woken up at dawn to reap the harvest, finally ripened after a long season of waiting. The trees, for their part, patiently held their wriggling fruit until some gloved hand cared to lighten their burdens. Baby season had begun. The workers sorted through the pink and plump offerings. The ones deemed acceptable were handed to a line of waiting men to be wrapped up and shipped out to couples who had been anticipating their arrival since the beginning of the season. Some, however, were not to have such a fate. It was one worker’s unhappy job to dispose of the crops that were not satisfactory. The man, face obscured by his hat brim and hands covered in thick, black gloves, moved robotically, perfunctorily, casting aside those who would not be welcomed into any home.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

When the body floated into town it only had a sixteen-count packet of Crayola crayons and a couple of wet wipes in its pocket. The wet wipes, it was noted, were especially wet-- circumstances being what they were.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

In my mind, I saw the entire hallway on fire. People would run out of their rooms, knocking into each other in blind panic. But the door at the end of the hallway was locked. They would run up to me and they would yell,

“Do you have the keys? Do you have them?”

And I would smile at them and shrug. There’s nothing I can do. I don’t have the key. But I did have the key; it was in my pocket. That’s what made it a game, they didn’t know, and I did, and the hallway was on fire, and the door was locked. So I would watch them pile up at the door, stepping on each other, brute and bovine, but they still couldn’t open the door. I would begin to walk toward the door.

“Do you have the keys? Please, oh god, please!” they would yell.

I would calmly regard the crowd. I would clear my throat, step over the bodies that had been pushed to the floor, and make my way to the door. The only door. And I would take out my key, and unlock it. And they would call me a hero.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

“My sister knew a guy who had one of those mattresses once. He relaxed so much that he just died. His parents found him in the morning, like, ‘get up for school, honey’, you know, but he was dead,” she took a long, knowing sip of her coffee.

“Shut up. That’s not even possible.”

“No dude, my sister, like, knows people that went to his funeral. He just got so relaxed that his heart stopped beating or something. It’s happens, to like, one out of a hundred people or something.”


“I’m just saying. Think about it before you buy one.”

“Yeah, I’ll keep it in mind.”

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Then it hit me. That awful, sinking feeling- like someone had pulled the bathtub plug in my heart and the last of the water had just been sucked down the drain. And the next thought,

“Oh god. Now what?”

Saturday, September 12, 2009

An unnecessary reflection on Family Feud.

This is for you, Richard Dawson
He shmoozed his way down the line of squawking Italian women, planting kisses on each of them. I bet his lips tasted like cigarettes. Did Dawson ever worry about picking up diseases? Did he ever cringe before puckering up to a plump, sweaty housewife? His particular brand of sarcasm and droll English accent sent them to shivering in their pumps. Their husbands, mustachioed men in pastel shirts, always looked vaguely uncomfortable at the sight of their wives so obviously enraptured with the enigmatic game show host, while wrestling with their own sense of being accent-less and inferior. Despite all of that, you’ve got to hand it to him in the romance department. Richard stopped kissing his female contestants during the mid-70s in an act of commitment to his wife. That’s character.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The man with the mustache was launching an invasion into everyone within grabbing distance’s personal space. He grabbed knees, slapped backsides, and pinched cheeks until he’d successfully made the entire room uncomfortable. People were posturing like folding chairs- curling up into themselves, flattening against walls, trying to escape further molestation. One woman, a loud, vehement feminist, turned and announced that she preferred her tush unfondled. The man laughed like she’d told the best joke he’d heard in weeks and attempted another swat, at which she scuttled from the room, stabbing each tile with stilettos and cursing under her breath.

“I’m sure you’ll find this dish to your liking. It’s one of our most unusual and highly requested- for the more cultured diner,” the sides of his mouth twitched with pride, tiny beads of sweat ran to meet each other and dived in enthusiastic rivulets.

“I’m sure we will. Thank you very much.”

The silver top of the dish was lifted, the shine of condensation mirroring the shine of his bloated red face. On the tray, nestled snuggly in a bed of garnish, another face stared back at the eager diners blankly.

“Would you like any dipping sauce? Perhaps more wine?”

“No, thank you.”

“Very well. Enjoy.”

The couple shared a mildly amused glance. As if they had never eaten human before. As if they were just some poor, common Joe and Jane Anybody.

He began to cut enthusiastically, carving off an ear. “Did someone make their order to Van Gogh?” he chuckled, his crisp white cuffs turning scarlet.

“Oh, you,” she smiled, taking the ear from him and taking a dainty bite before leaning forward for a kiss. When she pulled away, both of their lips shone juicy and red in the candlelight.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Everyone had seen it grow legs and walk off. Some pronounced it a miracle. Some took pictures (but would later find all of their film overexposed). Some cried. Some went straight home and stayed in bed for weeks, the covers pulled over their heads and the blinds firmly shut, much to the chagrin of their spouses and children. Everyone agreed that it was a waste of a pot roast.

Friday, August 7, 2009

He pushed his icy, mittened hand into hers.

“I can’t even feel my hand, it’s so cold!” She joggled their clasped hands in awe.

“Shut up, this is your fault.” Her flowered sneakers were dragging now, he was propelling both of them forward through the slush.

“Hey…hey John? I need to blow my nose.”

“I told you, shut up!”

He dragged her forward a few more steps before glancing back. She'd begun batting at her streaming red nose with her free hand, not doing much of anything but leaving a shiny trail of evidence on her sweater sleeve.

“Jesus, just, here, just… use this,” he stopped and wriggled a hand from his mitten, handing it back and beginning to pull her forward again in a fluid motion.

Bumping along behind, she blew her nose noisily. “Here you go,” she sniffled, passing the mitten back.

“I don’t want that back! You keep that! You’re really dumb sometimes, you know that?”

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


I have been a neglectful blog parent and will get back to this shortly.

Monday, July 27, 2009

“That diet’s, ah, not workin’ out so well, is it?” heckled the toaster.

“Oh, shut up and cook my bagel.”

“You know, maybe you could just skimp a little on the cream cheese this time,” the refrigerator offered timidly. The coffee pot just laughed.

“I don’t think I asked for any of your opinions, thank you.”

The Tupperware decided to pipe up, “They have a point, you know. If you lost a few pounds you could go out more, meet a nice guy, maybe settle down. I’ve seen you watching those Lifetime movies. You cry like a baby. It’s unhealthy, and frankly a little pathetic. We’ve all been quiet for a long time now, but we really felt it was time to say something.”

“I don’t even use you!”

The George Foreman grill scuttled out of its drawer, “Knock out the fat! Make something lean, healthy, and delicious! It’s easy! Straight from the King of the Grill!” and, with one last disdainful look before disappearing back into the cupboard, “And for God’s sake, man up!”

The lazy Susan slowly revolved around, groaning on its axis, to say ponderously, “I thought I was laziest one. Guess I was wrong.” With a slow yawn it began to turn back, knocking cans of long-expired tomatoes to the floor, who could only manage a wheezy chuckle through the rust.

Friday, July 24, 2009

It's just my face.

As I've gotten older I've started to develop this fixation on looking happy enough at appropriate times. I completely blame this on all of the different teachers I've had throughout my life who have called me out on looking unhappy. It's happened to me a lot, with several different people. I've been called out of class by a math teacher, called up to the desk by a health teacher, asked if I was okay by a psychology teacher, talked with by a drama teacher, and on and on and on. And every time it's happened I have to try to explain that I'm really not unhappy, it's just how my face looks. My sad, sad face.
It was particularly bad at work. I would always worry that the customers would think I looked upset or unfriendly so I would become unnaturally peppy and enthusiastic about getting whatever it was they wanted. Probably in trying to compensate for my natural down-beat expression I ended up looking completely off my rocker.
"You want a sample? Sure thing!!" etc.
Birthdays and holidays are even worse.  
I love figuring out the best present to give to other people. However, any kind of gift-receiving gives me terrible anxiety. Even if I like it, I feel like I can't look or act enthusiastic enough. I end up trying to look doubly as excited as I am, which, in the end, probably just makes it look like I'm faking it completely. Birthdays are especially bad for creating this kind of situation. I dread the let's-sit-in-a-circle-and-watch-your-face-while-you-open-things ritual.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mr. Brown woke up incensed. Forty years later he died.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mr. and Mrs. Normal stood on their front steps, arms linked, breathing in the cool air of the glorious new day.

“It’s gonna be a great day, honey bunch,” Mrs. Normal remarked, kissing Mr. Normal on his freshly shaven cheek.

“It sure is, muffin, it sure is.” He pulled her closer in an affectionate squeeze.

At that moment the paper boy rode past, his basket filled to the brim with today’s news, and hit Mr. Normal squarely in the face with the latest edition of Normaltown Gazette.

“Ho ho, that’s quite the arm you’ve got there, son!” Mr. Normal chuckled, staunching the flow of blood beginning to trickle down from his handsome nose.

“Golly, I’m sorry mister! Really, I am!” Neither rain nor snow nor bloody noses could distract young Tom from his duty, however, and with a cheerful ring of his bell he was off down the street, where just a few blocks later the friendly but impaired milk man’s truck would prove more effective at stopping his progress.

“Swell kid. Someday we’ll have a whole passel of tots just like him,” mused Mr. Normal, pressing his free hand over his wife’s rounded belly. “How would you like to go take a stroll around the park, whatdya say?”

“You read my mind!”

Mrs. and Mr. Normal, hands clasped, stepped in sync through their immaculate green yard and onto the well-tended sidewalk. It was a beautiful afternoon, the autumn colors of the trees made a brilliant canopy that watched over the town square, occasionally dropping leaves that danced in the breeze and scuttled across the road. Along the way the couple saluted their neighbors and friends with politely tipped heads and hearty smiles.

The park was alive with activity. Mr. Normal bent down to pet a sociable little dog.

“What do you think, sweetie?” He tilted his head up and turned his attention back to his lovely wife.

“How about that one over there?” She gestured lightly at an unattended toddler securely strapped in his stroller.

“Oh you, you’re always the best at spotting them,” he said, already beginning to walk in the direction of the unsupervised infant, Mrs. Normal close at his side.

With hands firmly grasping both the stroller and one another’s sweaty palms, they began to casually stroll back to their charming home.

Monday, July 20, 2009

He was the kind of kid whose nose was always running. His clothes were spotted and wrinkled and you got the impression that whoever was at home didn’t really care one way or the other. His ears could break your heart- they were perfect awkward satellites, standing at odds with uncombed shocks of blonde hair, so pale that you could count the tiny violet veins. Despite all outward appearances, he wasn’t lacking any kind of self-confidence. Teachers were always sending home notes admonishing his womanizing ways- chasing the girls on the playground, sneaking kisses behind the swings.

“I’ve destroyed Santa!” she wailed, visibly distraught. The red paint she had intended as a cheerful glow for the porcelain Santa’s face now looked more like he was a sweaty lush.

“No, no, he’s fine. Maybe just tone it down with some white?” He was beyond repair, it was pretty apparent, but I was already reaching for the brush, trying to hold off the inevitable emotional breakdown about to ensue.

“Just forget it! Everything’s ruined! I’ve ruined it!” Fat tears plopped onto her sweater, leaving sad blotches on Rudolph’s woolen face.

I’ve never known what to do in these kinds of situations. Do I hug her? Do I pretend I don’t notice she’s crying? Awkward shoulder pat’s good.

“Look at all these we’ve done though, it’s just one. Come on, don’t worry about it.”

She turned to look, utterly woe-begotten, at the pile of elves rendered dragqueens with too-rosy lips, misshapen reindeer, and angels with droopy eyes that had begun to run down their cheeks, then began to cry harder.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Who taught our generation...

...that apathy is the way to go? I hate hearing people cut themselves down. I think idealism is beautiful. It makes me happy when people get genuinely excited about something.
And that's all I've got to say about that.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Dust shimmered in the wan beams of light shining through the ceiling beams, which had become gapped like crooked teeth. The windowsill had a single line through the grime where a wandering finger had wiped it clean. That tell-tale line was the only indication that anyone had been in the basement for years, and who would want to? The cement floor was blotched with stains, dark and irregular, and there were plenty of dark spaces for any passing ghostie or ghoulie or long-legged beastie to take up residence. An occasional group of kids would find their way into the house to tell horror stories by flashlight, and when they were sufficiently close to wetting their pants there would be the inevitable olympic dash back up the wooden stairs, shoving and shrieking, all of them secretly hoping that they weren't the slowest, already making the unspoken decision to sacrifice heavy-set Jimmy, huffing behind, if it came down to it.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Ed poured a little white mountain of table salt into his palm, and was brandishing it like it was a new discovery or a prize he’d won.
“Taste it. Go ahead, try it. S’nothing like it.”
I couldn’t help but wonder how long it’d been since he’d last washed that hand, and where it had been in the meantime. Little tracks of dirt had worked their way into the calloused cracks and under the too-long nails. A careful dab, and,
“Yeah. Good stuff. Salty.”
“No, no. Really taste it. It’s potassium salt, it’s different. I’m telling you, man.”
He was something like 1/20th Native American, but he played it up for all it was worth. He made dream catchers in his spare time, for God’s sake. He whittled little creatures out of the stunted trees in his backyard and used the splinters to pick his teeth. He was as passionate about Jesus as he was about alcohol, which in the end would probably buy him a ticket to meet the guy a little faster.
As of late, his new hobby was arguing. He was good at it, too; he had no trouble getting offended before you even said anything. It made even the most casual conversation akin to taking a stroll through a field of landmines.
“So what’ve you been doing with yourself lately? Got a job?”
It was readily apparent that this, like everything else, was a touchy subject.
“I package lightbulbs. Now, you may not have a real appeciation for how important a job that is, most people don’t, but trust me-- someday you will. Lightbulb burns out, what are you gonna do, light some pansy-ass candles? Nah, man. You need yourself a new lightbulb. I’m the man that wrapped that shit up. Think about that.”
“What if I had a flashlight?” Suicide. This was as good as suicide.
“Flashlight? A fuckin’ flashlight? This guy, I’m telling you. A flashlight. Jesus H. Christ. Am I talking to a wall here? Am I getting anywhere? I don’t think I am.” Spit was beginning to fly at this point, he was grabbing at his collar, loosening it, barely able to contain his indignation.
“Don’t take it personally, I’m just saying think there are more important careers. Doctors, firemen, you know. You get what I’m saying? I’m not trying to offend. I’m just saying.”
“Alright smart guy, you so smart, you tell me something now. How’s a doctor gonna operate in the dark? Huh? I tell you what, he’s gonna be stabbing all around just looking for the patient, kill the fuckin’ guy. You can’t operate in the dark, come on!”
“Yeah, okay. You win.”
“You’re damn right I do.”
He looked skyward, longsuffering. Breaking the silence of Ed’s martyrdom, the screen door slammed open, leaving a fresh black scuff on the wall. Enter Ed’s crazy girlfriend. She was a posterchild for trailer trash with her leathery, sunken face and crispy blonde hair. A cigarette stained with her day-glo pink lipstick dangled precariously from her mouth.
“Ed, you know this ain’t no party house. You can tell your little friend it’s time to go home.”
“I know baby. Go on man, get outta here.”
The walk home was all dirt roads and farmland. Everything was a uniform shade of brown that rolled into flat fields and continued on for miles. The only thing that cut through the tedium was the occasional sweet acrid smell of roadkill. There were little ramshackle houses and farms along the way, but never any sign of inhabitants. It was strange, then, that somebody had stopped not too far ahead.
The stranger had planted his feet on the side of a yard and was watching a riding lawnmower roam in a looping circuit, the owner’s head having fallen onto the steering wheel at just the right angle to keep the mower going in lazy donuts around the yard. His lifeless puppet body and the steadfast mower were being dutifully pursued by dogs, their yapping through the perpetual game of catch coupled with the hum of the motor were the only sounds besides occasional birdcalls for miles. The stranger shook his head, shot a thin stream of brown saliva onto the road, and took one last look at the bizarre procession before continuing on.
“Hey! Hey wait!” I ran to catch up, stirring up tiny dust storms.
He turned around.
“Is that guy okay?”
“Naw. He’s dead. Died on the lawnmower.” Obviously scornful at my lack of perception.
“Should we do something? I mean, should I go tell whoever’s inside or call the police or something?”
“Ain’t gonna make him any more alive, is it? I gotta get going, now. ”

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Quick note!

I write most of these on a word document before I copy/paste them here, and somehow in the transition the fonts have gone completely wild.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The thing about Alice was that she was singularly talented in hindsight. Life, for Alice, was a trial. She would wax poetic about that thing that happened last year, and how much better things had been that one time that wasn’t now, despite the fact that she had been miserable about them then too. It seemed that for Alice the absolute zenith of her life had occurred at birth, and everything that followed had been a bitter disappointment. I don’t mean to imply that Alice hadn’t been dealt a fairly rough hand, she had, the woman looked like an angry bassett hound and had limbs so doughy, paper white, and deeply lined with varicose veins that they likened a road map. In short, she wasn’t attractive, far from it, and she deeply resented the universe and the powers that be for it. They had done this to her, and she would exact retribution by being powerfully unpleasant.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

There's nothing quite as bleak as this. A table full of middle-aged men with pockmarked noses, cheeks rosy with drinks, and too-loud laughs. They've forgotten their inside voices and their tact. They're swapping dirty jokes and inwardly remembering how long it's been since their wives last let them touch them. Tables nearby glance at them, embarrassed, talking in hushed tones and shaking their heads. Tomorrow they'll go back to their desks with headaches and bloated bellies but tonight they feel like kings, like comedians, reckless and foolhardy and everything they used to be but somehow lost along the way.
He’d poured a little white mountain of table salt into his palm, and was brandishing it like it was a new discovery or a prize he’d won.
“Taste it. Go ahead, try it. S’nothing like it.”
I couldn’t help but wonder how long it’d been since he’d last washed that hand, and where it had been in the meantime. Little tracks of dirt had worked their way into the calloused cracks and under the too-long nails. A careful dab, and,
“Yeah. Good stuff. Salty.”
“No, no. Really taste it. It’s potassium salt, it’s different. I’m telling you, man.”
He was something like 1/20th Native American, but he played it up for all it was worth. He made dream catchers in his spare time, for God’s sake. He whittled little creatures out of the stunted trees in his backyard and used the splinters to pick his teeth. He was as passionate about Jesus as he was about alcohol, which in the end would probably buy him a ticket to meet the guy a little faster.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


I want to make you laugh, I want to surprise you, I want to make you angry, I want to make you think. I know I have the words, but it's hard to pin them down.

I'm trying to figure out what it is I want to say, and how I want to say it. I'm constantly battling with my own self-consciousness and the voice in my head shouting, "DEAR GOD, THAT'S PRETENTIOUS". I am a little white girl from the suburbs. I feel unqualified to tackle any great subjects, and anything I took from my own life would feel too twee and insignificant to subject anyone to, but I'm going to try to make an effort to write something every day, no matter how self-indulgent or uninspired or just simply bad it may be. So this blog is my experiment. Anyone who cares to follow it, and I don't flatter myself that that would be many people, bear with me and excuse a little clumsiness.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Run! Don't walk! From the following:

I've been reading excerpts of people's writing that they post on various message boards (I don't sleep at night. This is the kind of thing I do.) and I've picked up on three very clear warning signs of really, really bad writing.

1. Including the word "mother" anywhere within the first paragraph. Particularly if said mother seems to be dead or inexplicably missing. I've never heard anyone refer to their mom in casual conversation as mother, and if they did I get the feeling it would usually not be followed by an onslaught of cryptic allusions.
Examples: "Mother always said..." or "Mother would have loved the..." followed by anything. Anything at all. The more absurd the better.

2. Mentioning the narrator's eye color. This is usually used in conjunction with very colorful similes, and makes its way into the first sentence.
Examples: "As I sipped the milkshake, my piercing amber eyes glimmered like a tiger in the black of night."

3. Excessive adverb love, especially after dialogue.
"Does this look like a morgue?" Brenda challenged sassily
"Why do you think we gave you goody bags?" He cheerfully bubbled
"You should know by now I'm allergic!" she spat

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The alarm continued its unrelenting bleat as she groped for the switch. Last week’s laundry, this week’s laundry, and tomorrow’s clothes, which had been fraternizing on the floor beneath her bed, tripped her as she stumbled her way towards the door. It didn’t matter, no one saw it. The mirror in the bathroom revealed that her hair had staged a coup overnight, and the makeup she’d been too lazy to remove had also artfully rearranged itself. Maybe that was glamorous. Maybe she looked like Courtney Love’s sad deranged cousin. Whatever.

Monday, June 29, 2009

He planted his feet on the side of the yard and watched the riding lawnmower continue its looping circuit, Jim’s head having fallen onto the steering wheel at just the right angle to keep the mower going in lazy donuts around the yard. Jim’s lifeless puppet body and the steadfast mower were being dutifully pursued by his dogs, their yapping through the perpetual game of catch coupled with the hum of the motor were the only sounds besides occasional birdcalls for miles. Gary shook his head, shot a thin stream of brown saliva onto the road, and took one last look at the bizarre procession before continuing on.


There was an awkward moment as they performed the you’re-blocking-my-way dance. After the necessary adjustments she lumbered off, leaving a scent faintly evocative of urine. As he watched her walk away, her impressive girth shifting one way and the other, his lower lip began to tremble. She was all he had, and God knows that wasn’t much. He was not generally given to excessive displays of emotion, but at that moment he began to feel all of the years of emotional stoicism crumbling away. With a girlish cry, he buried his face into the soft dog tummy, and cried. Cried like an infant with his square shoulders rounded forward and shaking with sobs. The dog, mildly interested, lifted its nose to snuffle wetly against his suit, leaving an abstract dark blot of pity as evidence.