Friday, December 18, 2009
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
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
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
Saturday, September 12, 2009
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
“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
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
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 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
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
Friday, July 17, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
Sunday, July 12, 2009
“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'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
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
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.