I finished Alice of Oregonlandia. It veered off into wild tundra and took off for the hills and I let it. No one rides for free! Oh, that mouse from the other day, I saw it. In my bed. It was bopping along against the headboard, I had the covers peeled back for some reason. Tiny, gray-brown, surprised. Then it darted back under the bed. Yes, I stripped the entire bed down and lifted up the mattress, the whole enchilada but that mouse refused to let itself be found. It didn’t even have the courtesy to remain in the area, probably. Mice are so rude!
Finished. Kind of drifty. Wondering what to jump into next. If anything. That depressed o what now sensation.
Do I jump into that one novel I started years ago? Or work on some play? Or rewrite my resume with so many lies no one can fact check them all within my or their lifetime? Choices, choices!
A bit from my just finished bit of words, because yours truly is clumsily trying to sell her writing to an indifferent public. Oh, as the story, bwha ha ha, centers around a spooky old house, well…picture of spooky old house to whet your whistles. Enjoy!!
Alice in Oregonlandia excerpt:
“All right, chickies. End of the line. Here’s where I leave you. Ah. One more thing. Payment.” The devil reached for that glove box. Beneath a pile of rustling state maps, she drew out a long, thin-bladed serrated knife, with a shiny plain handle. Aaron stared at it, I sat back, my arm about Gussie and Lysette woke up to find our driver had become a knife-wielding maniac. “I need a hand. From one of you. I don’t care whose hand it is. I really don’t. But I need a hand. I get hungry on these cross-country treks. I get real hungry and cookies don’t fill me up like they used to.” She smiled at all of us, touched that knife tip to her lower lip. “Let me help you, chickies. The boy needs his hands.” She winked at Aaron, who looked away. “This pretty girl here, why, it would just be a shame to maim her. She’s a beauty queen! Look at that pretty face! She’s gonna break hearts! And you, Alice, how you gonna fight that evil widdle Bong Bong if you’re missing a hand? How you gonna get anything done, Alice, if you’re missing a hand? Already so ugly and outside of everything, and now…MISSING A HAND? Imagine how they’ll talk about you at school, baby! One-handed bloody orca dykebitch, I imagine. Stayfree lost her hand, guess now she really can’t get a man. Fat, ugly and now one-handed?? Oooh, honey, they’re gonna murder you for sure. ” The devil shook her head, her pony tail flopping about, her perfume engulfing me. My mind refused to settle on this brand new awfulness. It was not real. We were not sitting in an old Caddie, at the house I used to live in, when I’d still had a mother. The devil, or something that claimed it was the devil, was not waving a knife at us.
“We are not giving you…” I tried so bravely to say. The devil grabbed Lysette and Lysette screamed, wiggled, tried to get free. That knife blade pressed against her right wrist, the devil had my sister’s left arm in her long powerful fingers. “No. Stop. No!”
“You let me go!” Lysette screeched as that knife sliced her, as the devil watched me with her machine gun eyes. Aaron huddled against that door and then he tried to help but the devil used her foot and kicked him lightly back toward the door. My brother gasped and panted, rubbed at his chest. “Alice!” My pretty favored sister. The sister everyone said would grow up to be beautiful and then they would look at me. Look at me. And wonder what had happened to me. Oh she’s such a beautiful girl. No one had ever said that about me. Not one time. Not one time. No one had ever found me nice or lovable. They loved Lysette on sight, they hated me the longer they knew me.
My sister called my name. My little brother turned to me. They were little kids yet. They were little kids. I’m not brave or good. The devil knew it. “Some all powerful thing you are.” I said, Gussie barking, thinking this was some game. Was it not all a game? A name for a game! “Hurting kids. What kind of devil are you?”
The devil let Lysette go, who shot over to Aaron, practically sat on his lap, her face wet, rubbing at her lightly cut right wrist, glaring at me. At me. “Oh honey, what does that matter? Now. Why don’t you let me saw off that little girl’s hand and we can part ways? You don’t want to lose your hand, honey. You don’t want to feel this knife, it’s probably not that sharp by now, trying to cut through your living bone. I’ll make sure she doesn’t bleed to death, either. I promise. And the devil keeps her word.” She winked at me, she let her voice go low and soft and seductive as some poisoned lullaby. “You hate them both, Alice. This should be an easy choice. They all love her more than they love you. Because she’s pretty. You could save a thousand puppies from a house fire and they’d still love her more. You know it. I know it. Make this world a little more fair for you, honey! Let me take her hand. Or that boy’s little boy hand. Come on, Alice. Why do you hesitate, baby? You got Bong Bong to take on. She’s in there, waiting. She can save your daddy. Send her little balls to his room. You already owe her, don’t ya. You already owe her a few favors. You think anything in this world comes for FREE, ALICE?”
I must have made a sound or burst into tears, my head swirled and swirled and swirled. Those balls of light had healed Lysette and Patti. They had yanked glass from my back. I still had little sore spots. No. No, they were not Bong Bong’s little balls of light. No. I remembered them from the house we were parked in front of right now. Those soft free-floating Christmas ornaments that glowed and never hurt anyone. No. “I didn’t know. You’re lying.” I wiped at my hot face. Gussie licked me frantically. Aaron and Lysette had gone silent. They huddled together. Waiting for their sister to save them.
“I see. I’m either lying to you or you’re trying, once again, to get something for free. Just choose that little pretty sister of yours. What are you crying about, Alice? Your mama is right now sneaking into the hospital to see your dad. It’s a goddamn feel-good movie of the week tonight! Well, not for you three.” She laughed and laughed. The air had grown colder and colder. There was now a smell of rot in that car. Like some little animal lay dead beneath the back seat. Or a gut-punched cat. A dead cat someone stepped in on a dark night. I saw ghosts peeking at us from that old house, peering around the burned parts. I saw that Susan’s house didn’t have lights on. I saw an owl flap across the sky without a concern in the world. And then Lysette held out her arm, looking at me with such pity. Such pity! Aaron looked at his legs, snuffling. Lysette held out the arm the devil had already sliced like a bit of cheese. “Look at that. Beautiful inside and out, unlike her shit of a sister. Lookee here. Wonder Woman done showed up.”
I sat there frozen. I am no hero.