Oh, hi. I just wrote a mostly focused blog post on musicals. I should go rest on my laurels until well after Hellmas is over and done with for another hell-stained year.

I have to drive to Boise today for X. I will not bore you with this one. But a trip, nonetheless I shall be making. Over several rivers and through no woods I go. The Malheur, the Snake, the Boise, in case someone at home is about to write me a long comment about how there are no rivers in Eastern Oregon/Western Idaho and how dare I say otherwise. I imagine imaginary commenters. Because no one comments here, I have to make up scenarios in my head where people comment and get bothered enough to fling some words in my general direction. 

I am not bitter. 

Yes. Yes, I am.

Now. Boise. It’s a maze of one-way streets downtown. It’s not as bad as, say, Portland or Eugene for trying to get from point A to point 7, but it’s close. It’s getting there! The city of Boise is trying to beautify, rebuild and otherwise make it look pretty so people will go there and buy stuff and enjoy organic greens, at the cozy, spendy eateries, greens that are grown in Boise neighborhood gardens. Or something like that. Make Idaho Great Again. MIGA! 

I’d like to stay home and write. Or play Candy Crush, which after YEARS of not letting me advance, has suddenly let me advance to new levels again. I know! Candy Crush, you moan to yourself. Oh Annie! No, resist! Don’t call me Annie. Don’t. 

I should be submitting to contests, festivals and literary journals. Polishing my words into brilliant diamonds of truth and beauty! And then sending them off with all the other brilliant diamonds! All those other brilliant diamonds of others that get sent in, so that we all sit there in a shiny to-read pile! Wheeeee!

The Last Jedi is also in my seen-that list. I saw it. I wuvved it! What’s with the grumbling?? Is it all the actual women in leadership roles? Stuff doesn’t blow up enough? I bet it’s that stuff doesn’t explode enough, right? And how cute were those bird things? Cute! I now want one. Marketing works! [Porgs. Those bird things are called porgs. Now. Where can I get one?] 

Boise, that’s where this ode to vagueness began and where it shall end! Boise, city of trees. Tree City! I shall come back from my X mission and drink some tequila. I have a feeling…no, mustn’t jinx it. The gods laugh. Jinxed already, hon! Tee heee hee, goes Odin as Jesus slips a whoopee cushion under Allah’s saddle. And then everyone laughs at the long farting noise. What did you think would happen?

PS– as this pertains to the Last Jedi and my Boise trip…

There I sat, with my cup of spendy joe and my trashy fluff-bit of a novel, when I overheard the whine of an insectile voice. It rose and fell on the horrors of the Last Jedi and that this insect-voiced male would not ever!! consider it part of the real Star Wars oeuvre. I shifted about, mostly because the chair I sat in proved not that welcoming and due, also, to my almost-need to go argue merits of that film with the whine-voiced sort. I did not wish to cause a fistfight, not so close to Christmas!

There was a diss about how Luke had been ruined and some smack talk about Rey. The running time got compared to Blade Runner. The new one, the old one? Oh the questions that festered in my listening heart! Whatever else got spewed out I’ve chosen to block out, obviously.

And then…ah, eeeh, this loud and belligerent wasp– I did not actually do a casual looksee about the coffee shop/cafeteria to get a gander at this noble and loud being–went onward to extol the virtues of the Transformers movies. Not all of them were worthy of his seldom-given praise, but still, he was quite effulgent and moist-voiced on that first Transformers movie. I snickered at the hubris of others and returned to the adventures of a very privileged gal having mild adventures in Manhattan. I also patted myself on the back for minding my own beeswax and liking coffee. Well done, you, I told myself. Well done!



The Sound of Red Ryder

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from Hulu. There’s that lamp!

Oh dear. Oh dear! I had low expectations for the live musical version of A Christmas Story. I did. I went in expecting not that much. Some bland songs, some cynical dance numbers. The grown ups would shine, the kids would suck eggs.

I noticed, right away, how diverse the cast was. And since I’ve read the source material and seen the actual A Christmas Story– a million billion times because it’s one of my fave Xmas movies. And they run a marathon of it over on one of those T networks– I was like, well, okay. Good choice. It’s 2017, we’re aware and woke! However…! It was jarring as I wondered why the United Colors of Benetton  had suddenly shown up in Indiana in the late forties. And then had some internal back and forth about if entertainment should try to show what things were actually like during a time period or if painting past periods with the happy brush of now where everyone’s all equal and shit is what we need to do to all literature, all plays, all books…yeah. Do you fix racism by ignoring it? I was having those thoughts instead of actually watching that annoying child they’d chosen for Ralphie do his thang.

I squirmed and gulped and flailed through a good half an hour or so. I don’t even think I made it that long.

So, the Ralphie kid.

Oh. Granted, I’m  all WHO TURNED MY RALPHIE INTO A WHINY LITTLE AAAAARHG. There’s cuss words and since it’s nearly one of the major  sacred days of heavy drinking, chips and dip and ‘family time’, I’ll refrain from flinging profanity about like sparkly razor blades. He had the glasses, sure. They got that right. I’m blaming the writers for this one. Ralphie’s song/s. Generic is the kindest description. He had a fantasy session about, yes, the Red Ryder BB gun and saving his teacher, played by the wonderful Jane Krakowski, and someone forgot to include the RED RYDER BB GUN in this sequence. I. I just can’t.

Oooooh. Where our first intro to Sexy Teacher is that she’s OCD…my soul just flew away like a startled little sparrow. Nope! Don’t add! DON’T ADD.  Wait. Why is the teacher played so sexy? What the…??

Oh and Matthew Broderick. As the narrator. I was both annoyed by this and yet liking how he popped up and wove himself in and out of the story he was narrating about his own life. Ferris Buehler meets Christmas schlock.

Broderick  inserted into live Christmas Story like a jolly tick. 

It was like watching an ‘edgy’ experimental piece written by that woman in your writing class who wears all-black all the time, chain smokes ironically and tells everyone that her yeast infections are caused by society’s rage against feminism.

I kept expecting…something. I wondered. There’s three hours of this. Is he going to do this FOR THREE HOURS? Oh my blessed ovaries! How much are ciggies these days?? Vodka now!

The parents, played by Chris with some long Greek name, and oh Maya Rudolph, just seemed to be imitating Darren McGavin and Melinda Dillon. Who played the dad and mom in the, um, actual movie. And held their own and then some against some cute, pretty realistic little tots. I was not drawn in. I was not charmed. I did not want to see their journey toward some sort of Christmas orgasm. I noticed how abusive dad was…I noticed. Uh oh. 

So, I checked what was on the other channels. Hallmark spitting out their cookie cutter Christmas fare, yay. The Christmas Love Cottage Santa Express Plastic People Getting Happy Endings Every Time movie was on. Tempting! Lifetime, also runs Xmas fare. Oh there’s sometimes the old-timey holiday fare over on TMC and AMC. I then noticed, yes, it was Sound of Music night.

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from Wikipedia. Christopher Plummer and Julie the Goddess Andrews from the Sound of Music. No, it’s not b/w. Calm down.

Not that ghastly attempt at a live musical version with Carrie Underwood, who looks like she stepped out of a Hallmark holiday confection, but the actual movie. With Julie the Goddess Andrews. And Christopher Sexy Beast Plummer. Yes, yours truly has a serious crush on the Captain. Is it just me??? And such a beautiful movie. The backdrops of Austria. Oh wow. I’d get all scholarly and movie film critic-esque but I don’t wish this here blog post to run into overtime.

And if you’ve never seen Sound of Music, even ironically, then…you’re probably an agent of Satan. And I just can’t deal with you right now.

I showed up right as Maria shows up late for that dinner. She’s spunky! And sweet. And oh, the familiar rhythms of this film just soothe this savage beast!

However, my least fave bit of SOM approaches.

That ode to ‘you’re not old enough yet but hey it’s just around the corner’ sung by the eldest daughter and the Nazi boy. If you’re suddenly jarred and wondering why I’m watching a film with singing Nazis…ugh, you really need to get out more and watch something other than youtube odes to why Bigfoot is real.

I switch back to, yes, Christmas Sorry. They are at the lamp bit! And singing about the prize dad wins. And there’s this actually well done on-screen quick change. And then the dad continues to sing and wave a lamp-shaped trophy about. I nod over that bit of clever prop-placement and then head back to see if the horny Nazi and the horny Liesel are done dancing and singing in the rain. Again, if that flies over your head, put Sound of Music on your Netflix will probably never watch this but it’s on my list list. You can mute the musical numbers. But I suggest you don’t. Most of them are pretty spiffy. Spiffy!

I mean, that horny teenybopper scene is well done. Their song and dance in that glass-covered gazebo has a gorgeous intimacy to it. I find my attention wandering during it. I wonder if there’s any cheese left. Did someone eat all the cheese? So switching back to a Christmas Sorry seems a must. I must give it another chance. I’m being nit-picky and elitist! And also a few other things, prolly. I mustn’t let my Christmas Story movie purist ideals guide me here!

Nope! Maya slamming the oven shut and singing about how…I don’t know. Let’s go watch the Buy Women Jewelry Get Laid ads in between slices of Austrian-flavored movie pastry.

Wait, she’s watching actual television??? Yes. Yes, I am. I’m not viewing all this on some phone or one of those awkwardly large ipad thingies. I’m stuck in a bygone era. Stuck!

I’ll wrap this up by confessing Sound of Music sent me off into sleepland and I woke up near the end where the Sexy Beast Captain and his band of backup singers AKA ‘the children’, along with New Wife Nun Maria, are hiding from, yes, the Nazis. Molly the Lab snoozed as well and even the house mice seemed quiet, not rattling about and having mouse fist fights.

I live in something called the ‘country’ so that means lots of mice. And it snowed, so the mice take that as a signal they all need to move into the house. This is useless information that has nothing to do with ACSL or SOM. You can skip the rando mouse blargle and it won’t mar your otherwise pleasant reading experience. 

Oh, I did keep checking to see how ACSL was going. I saw, online, that the production ‘fixed’ that rather troubling end scene from the movie.

If you don’t know what that is, I might have to give you an actual glare and mutter WTF is wrong with you if we meet in real life. Who hasn’t seen this damn movie? Hands? Hands???

That there was some line flub that was covered beautifully. That Jane and Ana Gasteyer killed it. That Santa was played by David Alan Grier and that the dad killed the entire family with a butcher knife after the neighbor dogs stole the Christmas turkey off the table…and sang the best song of the whole three hours while doing that. Strangely, I can’t find that on youtube. Man, I love when family musicals channel some inner Sweeny Todd!

That’s it. I’ll stop there. I meant to keep this super-short and on point. Bye!

You know, not everything should be turned into a too-slick, glossy musical. Just saying. Just putting it out there…

Cinnamon Rolls Now!


Cinnamon-Roll-Christmas-Tree-14-680x675 lavender and lovage
from Lavender and Lovage.

I am having some feels. Mostly in the negative column. The sky hangs outside in a gloomy sackcloth and ashes sort of way and I hope they just end all our pain; nuke the world already. Just fucking do it. Why play with all of us like this, tRump [Rapey McPussyhands!] and company of Rapture-billies?

Haven’t we humans earned that right to go off to hell in a blaze of incredibly silly mushroom cloud glory?

Haven’t we?

Humans have hated each other since…well, it depends on if you’re a Young Earth Creationist or an Old Earth Creationist or not a creationist at all, because it’s a post-fact world!

Not everyone is equal but everyone’s opinions are equal, as long as you’re not one of them funny folks. Your opinions, as long as you’re one of the good sorts, should be treated as tenderly as tender little newborns, because that’s the First Amendment!!  [It’s not, I’m being, like, totally sarcastic, in case some of you are repulsed or nodding, yeah yeah, she’s got it!] I’ll treat you to some Second Amendment if you disagree with me. [Or the charming and lovely threat of going 2A on someone’s ass. Charming. Lovely.] FAKE NEWS is everything but what I like! Up is down! Cats are now dogs!

Let’s just call it a day, shall we? Goodbye, planet earth and all who dwell here! Is it over yet?

Oh why so gloomy, it’s almost Christmas! 

Shut up, brain worm!

Why don’t you make some cinnamon rolls? 

Oooh! Ah…all that work and they’re gone in about five seconds. 

Make two batches, you dippy broad.

How very patriarchal of you. 


Shut up, Norma Rae brain worm!

Nobody’s gonna get that reference.

Sure they will. Norma Rae is a symbol of the strength of the worker uniting against…oh. You’re right. Norma Rae and her ilk are as dead as we all will  be as soon as someone presses that button. Dead dead dead. Dead!

I didn’t ask for some commie liberal bullshit, did I? Cinnamon rolls are good. They contain forgetting powers. 


Cinnamon rolls are Jesus. They will save you! Jesus rose from the dead, cinnamon rolls rise, um, and there’s yeast. Yeah.

Are you insane? Brain worm, are you…insane? Can’t you, um, hit me with some giant idea, something that will occupy me for a couple days and maybe even turn into a novel?

Why? No one’s reading your shit or buying it. Why bother? There. I can be gloomy, too. Now go wait for the end as those rolls bake. Or you can buy them in a tube at the Canned Food Store. Ooooh, yum! Canned cinnamon rolls, tasty! You’re right. Why make them from scratch and then post pictures on social media? Buy a tube of em, and post that on social media.

Why are we having this conversation?

Because you’ve fallen between the cracks and it’s only amusing and horrible to you. Also, you’re the one typing, not me. I have no fingers. I am a worm. I’m an imaginary worm that lives in your brain. This is all you, baby. 

Is this what it feels like right before insanity wipes your sanity away?

What? Uh. Sure. Why not. Cinnamon rolls now? 

You’re a simple creature. 

Well, yeah. I’m a worm. Oh hey, why not write about current events? How the UN plot to rule the world is finally coming true…

Fuck off. I’m not one of those people. 

You could be. Wanna try it? Go on! Accept that the UN is a powerfully evil, yet horribly inept super-group poised to rule the world via depopulating the earth via vaccines and birth control and feminists. Oh and that those black helicopters. And HER EMAILS. And how the moon landing was faked by the UN to fund raise.

I’m not quite there yet. It sounds great, don’t get me wrong. Giving myself over to total nonsense sounds oh so glorious right now. To just let go  and swim in those waters! I bet my bank account would start bulging in the right direction. I could write about…oh. Stop it, you fucking worm!

Tee hee!! I’ll be here all your life! Try the veal! 

You do know what veal is?

Cute baby cows cut up into cutlets? 


Cinnamon rolls now? You’ve been watching those Great British Baking Show shows. You know you want to plunge your lady hands into sticky dough and create baked goods, create a product somebody actually wants. You also have a bit of crush on that grumpy…

Wow. You’re a mean worm.

I really am. Thanks for noticing. Now go buy some tubed rolls! Stop being such a Millennial fussbottom. You’re old now. Old. Ohhhhhh-ld. 

My hair is still wet. I was told not to go outside if my hair was wet, especially in winter. We’re the same age. Did you forget that?

Are we still talking? I thought you were done pretending some brain worm pretended to hold a conversation with you that you wrote out for others to not read. Is that even close to being correct grammatically? Asking for a friend.

Fine. Celery and tepid water it is.

Are you a gloomy little muffin still? Are you all better now?? 

I thought we were done talking, brain worm.

I have a name. 

I’d have to look through my earlier posts to find it. How about Ratface Barfwoozle?

Um, no. Why don’t you spend the afternoon reading up on the UN…and I’ll take a nap. Maybe cue something up on Netflix. I hear good things about Stranger Things. Maybe catch up on my Game of Thrones. Didn’t Jon Snow sleep with his aunt or something?? I’m tingling!

You don’t have Netflix.

No. You don’t have Netflix. I’m a brain worm. I’m a limitless being. Bye!






Losing My Flapdoodle



I wrote the following after receiving a rejection. 

Then moi conceived a magnificent plan.

Here’s my ‘brilliant’ plan!!

I’ll write some stream of consciousness, totally woke prosepoemsmear and submit that to X submission opportunity! It will be lacking in actual grammar, structure and paternal literary merits! It will have no merit. None. Not a whiff of merit. I stayed highly aware of my own wokeness the entire time I typed that below. Did North Korea just flippin’ BOMB US?? Where is the vodka? 

If I consider ‘murica right now…I’ll start eating my bad hair. I won’t bother with a mustard chaser this time.



Flapdoodle sexbugs of Ganderv55

CarLISLE gives nothing and I rot like a dream as we rut in the leaves beneath the tree of his mother. She brings us old toast and new coffee her hair on fire from daddysexjuice and we smell her burning but she pours us coffee and scolds us about jesus who is meek and mild and full of corn. mother moother you are old news and mother directs us like traffic cones into the river of my lovers who slap me with morality. i screamed could not find my way but my carLISLE advised me to take three aspirin and stuff them in my sexbug and oooooh i discovered the sands of my own breasts and i wept because i am not awake.

we went on the sidewalk found a cup and a dead idea, took both back in our backpack and put them in a cage because it’s all we know of high heels. dream on screamed moother and we dreamed on

until father gave us gum that smelled like cinnamon whores at low tide which created ghosts in our intestines that we farted out as ironic statements of purpose for ivy schools that never considered us contenders. I WORE A YELLOW FLAPDOODLE and nobody told me I WORE A YELLOW FLAPDOODLE and I wondered why no one told me because i posted the bread pictures and everyone hit the yes button and told me yes yes yes and squirted yes juice into my burning eyes. I tire to be brilliant but the diamonds turn to rodents in my kneecaps where slime shops for canned meat and mark down cancer drugs. WHY WON’T U SLAP MEE mmmooother asked as she sliced smelly lettuce for the eternal meal

and sister, my sister is dead yet sits on my right hand better than god or allah because she gives me pink gummy bears for my sexbug slit and doesn’t need them back to glue in her scrapbook where she once glued a live frog that begged her to traditional marry it and she told it no, it wasn’t fresh and that she wanted a turtle to lay eggs in her vast pulsing worldwomb. My sister puts her hair out to be sliced and my mother slices it slices and my sister marries the frog and glues herself in the scrapbook that’s how she died and yet how she lives because i can cut her shape from the pages and stick them to my eyes so she stares at me as i paddle over the rainbutt and into the dirk

but CarLISLE won’t say. Theres nothing there and I MADE HIM UP because father asked me to and we all obey we all obey

except the cat but the cat lives on some other plane thats not here at all poor cat.

77 oh 5 hump my leg like naughty poodles of elves left in the jupitor rain and all the numbers confuse me with yearning

so i dig up the cat and the cat doesnt scratch me because mooother

cut off its soul and used it for a suncatcher but the sun stays captured in my father who hangs strips of his love on the wall like narrow rewards won at turkey shoots.

run brother run

u hav no bro says car and i curl up and shud at it all but the Ganderv55 invasive me so i sigh thru the orgi and use vanilla soap and my cookie smell sells stocks so great men can shit with ease


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Molly enjoying a snooze


My Running With Scissors Book Report

It’s officially Christmas month. So here’s a book report I whipped up after marching myself through the following book like a bit of cannon fodder  facing grimly toward cannon fire. The following will be spoiler-free and will contain adult language and adult themes. I wrote this over on Goodreads. So. If I can write book reviews, dearies, you should, too. Hint– that’s about writing one for one of my bits and pieces. Hint hint hint. 

Ann Wuehler’s Reviews > Running with Scissors

Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
Running with Scissors
by Augusten Burroughs
Ann Wuehler’s review Dec 03, 2017 
did not like it

Note– this stupid site says I read it twice. No, I didn’t. Ugh! How do you fix that? Why does this stupid site need dates of what was read???? Fie upon you, bald-faced dog!

I’d heard the movie was crap, but the book was great. Nope. I felt a real antipathy to everything about this tome. I wanted to quietly euthanize everyone in this memoir or whatever it actually is. I normally don’t want to take an entire cast of characters to the vet to put them down but Augusten and company proved the exception to my euthanasia rule for fictionalized characters.

Now!! I do realize there are actual families and individuals who are ‘like this’. I do. I’ve read accounts, I’ve seen the grim, dark films, I’ve even worked in areas that overlap into areas of mental illness, physical problems, etc, etc. Been there, seen that sorta gal here. However…I just could not work up any sympathy or anything much but a determination to GET THROUGH THIS BOOK to win some bet no one made with me.

The mad poet of a mother. Oh I just wanted her to kill herself already. Just kill yourself and stop torturing the world with your shit poetry, lady. I also wondered if this mad lady poet mama figure had a trust fund. How is she paying her rent and all those doc bills? Her divorce settlement must have been gigantic. Last I checked, being a barely published poet didn’t pay the rent. Even back in the early eighties/late seventies or whenever this thing all took, allegedly, place.

The Finches. Where to start. I just can’t. I wasn’t charmed, I wasn’t repulsed, I was just– how many pages until the end so I can win that bet no one made with me? I found myself wondering how the neighbors ignored everything there…on a nice street full of nice houses. Having lived on the East Coast, nobody ignores anything, because you’re cheek and jowl; there’s a ton of people. And if you live in one of those neighborhoods where it matters what things look like…mmm. Probably a nitpicky niggling sort of notion here, but nothing about that house rang true. Yes, I know people actually do live, willfully and otherwise, in truly filthy shitholes. Hoarders exist, I know several myself. I don’t know…something about how piled on the Finch household seemed…I don’t know. Something about it didn’t quite ring those golden bells of truth, truth, truth.

Oh and the underage stuff. Ugh. I and you and that person over there know it exists, that it’s rampant. I wasn’t bothered by it so much as bored by it. Was it meant to be titillating? Was it meant to shock? Was it meant to be background noise to Augusten’s journey to BECOMING A WRITER? Fuck. [I find myself swearing. Not a good sign when trying to write a hasty, shallow book review]

I’ve read Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which has some truly stomach-turning stuff in there. But. Forgive me, it rang like a big golden bell as a whole. It was honest, frothing, savage, truly funny and actually self-revealing. Running with Scissors seemed like someone trying too hard. Ah. Mm!! Thompson’s take on Vegas was just Thompson being Thompson. Here’s what happened, with some hair-raising, funkalicious details.

Running with Scissors seems, to me, like a writer TRYING TO BE A WRITER instead of…telling the story that needs to be told. [Yes, I know it’s supposed to be a REAL LIFE ADVENTURE.] Perhaps my store of empathy for others has become sorely depleted lately. But I had actual trouble giving a poop in a bucket about the fate of any of these charmless bit players.

Speaking of poop– the scene where Dr. Finch had his daughter lift his bowel movement from the toilet bowl and carry it outside to dry on the picnic table. Does ‘jump the shark’ apply to literature, too? I actually heard Fonzie, in my muzzy-fuzzy head, revving up his bike to jump a shark on that episode of Happy Days. I heard it as I read about…yeah. You can read that yourself if you so wish and make your own hasty or long, involved, Rhodes Scholar sort of judgment.

Oh, the main character/author. I have no idea how to sort out my reaction here. So let me try! He was…yeah. He got lost in his own tale. That’s as best as I can fathom. Which was maybe the whole point? That this child grew hi-larry-lously of age in a cray cray household while being an underage sex toy to an older man that garnered nothing more than a shrug from everyone about? How New Age, baby! I find my own knee-jerk reaction to hearing or reading about abuse kicks in like a mustang on meth here. It’s a kid being molested, folks. And Natalie being sold– that is how her going to live with that man was described as–and…ugh. And then people wonder why no one talks about this or talks up or speaks out or…ugh a…cuss words.

I think it’s the willful looking away of what’s going on that made me check how many pages were left so I could tick this one off my Read That list. I know it happens, that people really are this cartoony awful. I just happen to not wish to spend any time with them more than I have to.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like December!


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The actual Malheur River, from March 2017.

Part One: In Which I Prattle A Bit

What a noisy night.

Bam! Shiver of little furry body meeting something metallic outside on a cold moonlit night! Coyotes yowling and prowling and carousing nearby! What the hell, someone was heard to mutter. It might even have been me. Window yanked open, sudden silence ensued. Whatever primal chase had been called a weird draw held its breath and went still, waiting for my intruder-like presence to withdraw. I withdrew. Returned to my not at all earned slumber.

I did promise a sliver of my November novel challenge.

I did promise that, yes? I didn’t invent that in my head just now? Hello? Is this thing on?

Part Two: In Which I Keep A Promise!

Before I descend into woe is me o woe land…here’s the unvarnished, totally rough, actual opening to Naked Farmers of the Apocalypse. Notice there’s cursing. If that offends you, eh. I am probably not the writer or friend you wish in your life if you find cursing crosses the line with you. I cuss like a motha bear, to quote, somewhat, from something my dad occasionally mutters.

The story! Always Be Selling Your Writing. ABSYW.

Candle– yes, that is her name because it leaped into my brain that Candle is the name of that girl I yanked forth from my imagination– finds a newborn baby girl alongside the banks of the Malheur River. She takes this baby to her house and her grandmother absconds with it, in a light-hearted Edwardian romp about manners, tea and the right way to steal a car to aid in your kidnapping efforts. I made myself giggle with that somewhat accurate summary of my ‘plot’. Plot! What is plot but patriarchal imperialists trying to control all women???

Okay!! Before I totally dissolve into a more bonkers version of America right now…here’s a bit from NFA!! Enjoy! Joy! Oy!

chapter one: Riverbank is kinda rank

Candle Santiago let the smell of the Malheur River soak into her nostrils. Fetid rotting carp and soft rotting cottonwood branches. She moved closer to the stank little river, sniffing back a snootful of snot. Her allergies had come back for a visit. Springtime had come to Malheur County like a sullen bride walking down an aisle covered with dog shit. Candle waited for Tiff to show up; they would smoke a joint Tiff would steal from her mom’s new boyfriend, Mike. It’s good stuff, Tiff had promised. If I let Mike touch my titties, he gives me a joint. It’s totally worth it. Considering that Mike was over forty and Tiff was way under eighteen, no, it really was not. But Candle had her own problems and Tiff seemed fine with an old pervert slapping her tiny boobs or whatever he did.

Something caught Candle’s attention. A splash. A faint little cry. Some animal caught in the act of drowning. Candle walked toward the heavy brush. There, a grungy pink bundle and yes, a tiny human hand extending from it. A baby. She bent over the filthy blanket full of a tiny child, which looked like a small wrinkled monkey. “Hey, what the hell.” A glance about but it seemed the baby had just been left there. Like that Moses baby in the Bible her grandmother loved to read. He floated down the Nile and the Pharaoh’s daughter scooped him right the bibbidy up. Except this baby didn’t look clean and cared for. It looked like shit. There was blood and goop on it. It didn’t seem hurt. Fresh born? Jesus on toast, as her dad liked to say, which made her grandmother lower her truly caterpillar-like eyebrows and mutter about Mother Mary, forgive my son. Candle picked the baby up and then nearly dropped it. It wiggled and went stiff and wiggled some more, and then sobbed. She had never held a real baby before. Her sister, Doreen, was a lesbian. Dora had told the entire family, at Christmas not two years before, that she wasn’t having no fucking kids, ever. Candle, then ten or so, had been too young to trust with Aunt Irina’s brand new baby girl. Nobody was allowed to hold the little freak, who had been born with only one arm. There was also something messed up inside and everyone had acted real sad when Kaitlyn had died in the night. Just one of those things, Esme Santiago had moaned out. Just one of those things. Candle’s mother, Cris, had not been there. She had been down in Pasadena or Thousand Oaks by then. Now and then she sent post cards to Candle. I live here now, one had said, with a picture of something pretty on the front. As Cris did not have any money, Candle assumed she lived in a shithole and took the buses to get around.

“I got it…what the fuck is that? Oh em gee, it’s a baby,” Tiff came up behind Candle, wearing her favorite pair of sweat pants, stamped with the Florida Gators and already holding out that joint, which she put behind her big ear. Tiff would have been somewhat pretty if only God hadn’t given her giant elephant ears. Tiff also had a strong stench of pot. But her mother had plants. Candle really didn’t pay attention to all that pot talk; it bored her into tears. “Whatcha doing with a baby?”

“I found it. What do we do with it? Cops? Hospital? It looks real young,” Candle let Tiff peek at the dirty, squirmy little life.

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A bovine skull I found by the Malheur River, more than likely a death caused by the incredibly harsh winter of 2016-17.