Spotted Horse

Here’s a short story I never had any luck placing. I’m gonna share it here. I should probably try a hundred more times, rewrite it several thousand more times and so forth, so on and yeah, yeah. Mm.

The pic is an old-timey postcard of main street Payette, Idaho. Hint, the story to follow is ALSO set in Payette, Idaho.



   Ginger poured me a stiff one. Long Island Iced Tea but she adds a pinch or so of belladonna, some morning glory seeds, a bit of nutmeg, some datura. I fly a bit, but just enough not to get sloppy, sentimental or too murderous. I’m a goddess, after all. A long-forgotten, exiled goddess but still. She placed this in front of me, her bare arms muscled as a pugilist’s. Nobody messes much with Ginger when she’s at the helm of the Spotted Horse. This ghost can throw a fully grown rhino through a wall when she wants. They don’t make em like Ginger anymore, it’s true. Those hardy pioneer type women were far and few between, despite the myths and romantic hoopla.

     “How many boys has he found?” Ginger kept her back to me as she washed bar glasses, her reddish hair in a tight bun at the base of her head. Our eyes went to the badly done Appaloosa water color, created by Tom Smith himself when very drunk. Spot, the horse, had still been alive, as had Tom, a half-Shoshone and half-Shanty Irish human misfit. Ole Spot had won the Vale Suicide Race three times. It was the fourth time that killed both him and Tom. Stuck a hoof down a gopher hole, went ass over teacup, as they say in places that are not Idaho. Or Oregon.

     Tom, busted up and broken for good, crawled over to his beloved horse, slit the throat to end the suffering. He also lay there by his dead horse for a long time as everyone thought him just grieving, not dying as well. Nobody much cared Tom lay there dying all that time people were enjoying the rodeo.

     That’s how things are and people don’t change. People have not improved in my thousands of years of life. Not one fucking bit.

     “Can’t say and he won’t admit to how many boys there are,” I slurped down my drink, mostly because it annoyed Ginger. Her face twitched but she did not tell me to stop making noises that drove her into near fits.

     The bar had maybe four or five of our kind there. A slow night but it was Thursday. Velma and her sister, Sadie, enjoyed a basket of onion rings and raw liver strips. Ghouls did like their liver. Both lived locally and foraged where they could. That we had a small colony of ghouls here in Payette, Idaho escaped most, as they had learned to hide in plain sight or just plain hide. They were nearly the perfect monster, without any horns or fangs or long claws–just that unnatural strength, the lust for flesh in all ways and the ability to look like little old ladies enjoying a night out. They kept to themselves. Introverts with the social graces of a malcontent most times.

     Barry and Craig played pool but they always did. They’d waft in from their wandering, drink beer, play pool, go away for years sometimes, return as if they’d just been here yesterday. They’d fought the Nez Perce back in the day. Barry kept claiming a squaw with glowing eyes cursed him and Craig. Could have been a Nez Perce woman or a Shoshone or a Paiute. The curse would end when the sun burned out. Meantime, the two would wander the backways of Western Idaho and Eastern Oregon, never find any peace or rest. Except when they stopped at places like the Spotted Horse or met up with others that were not living yet still seemed stuck here.

      Just a mean, awful curse and nothing I could do about it. I could rip out guts and twist a head off, but reverse a curse like that, no. If some Idaho witch, enraged and crushed by the US army’s rampage over her own people back in the day, had managed to pull off such a malison, it was not my place to end it. 

     Mr. Harvey sat at the very end of the bar, fingering his lucky pennies. His shy gaze flitted to me, before he blushed, went back to fingering his copper rounds. Back in the 1920’s, he had casually killed his mother while she bathed herself after a long day looking after her adult son, who lived with her while working at a local bank.

     To celebrate his freedom from his awful mama, he had tried to fry himself a steak.

     All while he took a nap, exhausted after butchering his dam out like a fall pig. The steak caught fire, the house caught fire, Mr. David Harvey never woke up but he did form into a shy, sad ghost who appeared now and then at the Spotted Horse for a beer and a hopeful wish that someone would be nice to him.

     The woman who walked into the bar just now had to be human.

     Her hair had been cut short, but an expensive short that framed her triangle face in sun-streaked pale brown spikes. She carried a big, expensive Prada bag and had the air of a douche bag trying to pretend it did not squirt vinegar up your hoo ha.

     “I’m looking for a woman called Pearl? I’m a travel writer. Road trips. Unusual, out of the way places, places off the grid, off the map. I write books. I can pay,” her voice said far too loudly.

     Heads turned a bit.

     My head turned toward her a bit.

     Her eyes went to the badly done watercolor of Spot the horse, framed with sticks tied together to form a square. Ginger sighed visibly. What had she done to deserve some weird random human who managed to find this place? Humans seldom bothered the remnants, the flotsam of curses, murders and forgetfulness.

     People had once offered me goat’s blood and child hearts for spring planting luck. Nowadays I just called myself Pearl and got spiffy on belladonna when bored with how long eternity really is.

     “I’m Pearl,” I said, when no one said anything and the woman seated herself a seat down from me. Her tanned face lit up, her very blue eyes scanned me in a professional manner. She was doing her job. She meant to have a great night tickling stories out of the dusty locals. She probably had a nice hotel room rented in Boise. She probably thought there was nowhere around to get good sushi. I hated her, I knew her. My amusement with her lasted ten seconds, replaced with resigned boredom. “Whatcha want, hon?”

     Her face twitched at being addressed as if three instead of thirty or whatever age she pretended to be. Careful or she’d have to visit a surgeon to refresh that face or perhaps she embraced aging as a hip activity to add to her resume.

     “Drink?” Ginger placed her two hands on the counter, that rough hewn face thrust forward.

     “A beer, whatever’s on tap is fine.” The blue eyes went to the Keystone, Black Hen and Poison Toad, before returning to Ginger. “Black Hen?”

     This particular beer was not really a beer, more a tonic with a sour ale smell. It also contained poisons, bits of marrow from my own special hens and dirt Tom brought back under his fingernails. I made it once a year, the Spotted Horse offered it until they ran out.

I’d given it to one human who had managed to stumble through the front door. He had both exploded and melted. Ginger still complained about the mess.

     “No,” I said at once, as Ginger blew out air in real relief. “Get her a Bud. That local stuff is just for locals. Why are you looking for me, hon?”

     Why play games? Let’s get this over with and the woman sent screaming out into the night or perhaps turned into just another missing person that would fade from memory sooner than later. 

     “Ah, yes, thanks! A Bud.  Hi, Pearl, I’m Jen Reece, from Dives and Diners. I write for them. Travel books, a travel blog, we have a podcast…never mind. I mostly do out of the way places, dive bars, biker bars, places like the Spotted Horse. I was dared to find this place. I was up there in Miner’s Hole, in Stanley? That’s a rough place, but great people, really interesting sort of folks. A lot of guns. The bartender did some quick draw for me out in the parking lot. She shot a tree. Said she was ready for Jesus to come back and bears. That was her joke. I guess. She said it was but she seemed serious. Anyway! I was told this story by someone who wants to get into the Citadel. I had to look that up. I want to ask why you’d want to live in a walled compound. What are you so afraid of? Might make a trip back up there, a return to Miner’s Hole!”

     She took a breath.

     I tried to remember even a sentence of what she had just babbled at me.

     “That Bud looks cold, gonna be yummy. Anyway– James, no last name, that sort of person.  He told me a story about this mysterious dive bar said to be somewhere near Payette, Idaho. Full of monsters and ghosts and werewolves and vampires. I had to check it out, you know? The Spotted Horse, he called it.”

     Jen accepted the glass of Budweiser, with the thick white froth. Ginger went back to washing bar glasses, just so she could hear what nonsense was about to spew forth.

     Our lives tended to be routine and stale as old crackers.

     Except tonight we were expecting ole Tom to ride through, with whatever boy he had managed to find. He used to kill young orphan boys to spare them his childhood miseries. A philanthropic mass murderer. Tom had a good heart in him, despite his solutions to a real problem being a bit kerflooey. Judgment had been reached that he find the lost boys, bring them to the meeting place for lost souls over by Hells Canyon. He’d been riding the night for almost sixty years now.

     “Here? About this Spotted Horse? Our little place?” Mr. Harvey dared ask and we all just looked at him. He went back to his pennies, submissive as a beat dog.

     “Ain’t the Miner’s Hole that Aryan Nations bar or somethin’? You gotta flash em one of those funny fist bumps to get in the door? You should be careful. They’re crazy.” Ginger kept her face neutral. “You gonna order any food? We got a great burger.”

     “Um. I could, sure. A cheeseburger, medium, with fries.” Jen Reece fished her wallet out of her fancy bag, produced a crisp twenty. Ginger grunted, began a tab, told Horace to cook a burger but Horace had already heard. “I did find a lot of…Idaho nationals.” Her eyes darted about but no one seemed disgruntled or ready to shoot her so she relaxed a bit, her perfume floral and light.

     “Of course you did, they breed like rabbits,” I replied, slurping more enhanced Long Island Iced Tea. “Why are you looking for me?”

     “Look. I run down stories about bars and places. That’s my job. I write up what I find. I try to make the place seem okay to visit. Not the bar in Stanley, obviously, can’t recommend tourists go there. And it’s set way back, on a dirt road and you can’t get there in winter but I can still include it.” Jen turned toward me fully, palms up on the bar counter, friendly as a puppy, slippery as a newly skinned carcass. “Hey, Pearl, I just heard that there’s this bar in Payette, Idaho that serves ghosts and witches, and that a goddess drinks there on occasion. That it’s a bar everyone’s heard of but no one can find on a map or by GPS.” She smiled, let her gaze mark the few inhabitants. “I heard about the ghost of this rodeo rider who shows up now and then looking for his horse? Is it that horse? An Appaloosa? Is that right?”

     She gave off just the right vibes. Friendly but respectful. Honest yet hiding shit.

     “You from California?” I leaned toward her, my long earrings swinging and swaying.

     Jen wet her lips, took a gulp of beer. The sound of her burger frying seemed far too loud.

     “I’m from a lot of places but yes, California. That the horse? Of the rodeo ghost?”

     “Sure is,” Ginger said, taking the second and last gin and bitters to Mr. Harvey. “Painted by Tom Smith himself. Spot. Won three Suicide races, lost the fourth one by breaking a leg and dying from Tom cutting his throat.”

     “Good grief, really? They don’t still run that, do they?”

     “Of course they still run it. It’s the best part of the Vale Rodeo. That’s over on the Oregon side of things,” I answered as the two ghouls whispered back and forth, upset to have a human so near, knowing they’d have to restrain in these wicked modern times. People that went missing got missed far faster than olden days, after all. This Jen Reece seemed like she had people who might bother to look for her. The ghouls knew how to pick their victims. Jen Reece would not end up with her liver shared by the two sisters. Or maybe she would.

     It might become an interesting night.

     “Oh. Sure. So, if anyone has a ghost story they wish to tell me, I’ll pay. I’ll credit your name or not, if you don’t want that known. Here,” she fished out a slick book with shiny covers, flashing it before us like a prize won from a carnival booth. “I’m doing an Old West ghost tales and myths, told by everyday…um, people. I got plans to go to Baker City, to Unity, to La Grande and Pendleton and Burns. Just all over this area, collect some stories, put together a book, feature local places in the best light, of course.”

     I flipped through Blood on the Walls and Sawdust on the Floors, a Journey Through the Dive Bars of Nevada. Glossy pictures, clean prose, people’s first hand accounts. A travel book you’d find in an airport convenience store while you were getting some gum and possibly a travel pillow. Ginger leafed through it, as well, nodding at some of the pictures of Real Americans posing by scuffed pool tables or by jukeboxes that still played Sons of the Pioneers.

     “You see? It’s flattering yet honest. Good for business.”

     Ginger raised her black, black eyes and Jen about bolted. “We’re okay that way but sure, we got stories. Every place has stories.”

      The bartender, who had tossed her own two small daughters over the cliffs into the Snake River one windy night, went to collect the baskets from the two ghoul sisters.

     “I didn’t mean to insult,” Jen put her book back in her bag, her cheeks a bit red.

     “You didn’t. We’re just used to our own here. So, you want the rodeo story or the goddess one?”

     “Both and more, if possible. I might not use them all but I’ll still pay,” she offered me a huckster’s smile.

     We all heard the distinct whinny of a horse.

     Ginger went still. Mr. Harvey beamed at being here at the right place and the exact right time. Velma and Sadie hunkered down. Barry and Craig continued to knock balls around. They had no forgiveness coming for them and no mercy. The rules seemed arbitrary and strange but this wasn’t my district, if you know what I mean. Rules about death and salvation are different in different areas. There isn’t a nice cohesive plan in place that fits one and all. I might be a goddess yet, but I had no hand in the making of this world and no say in the rules that applied or not to a particular place or time. I was pretty low down in the food chain, to be utterly fucking honest.

     “Is that a horse?” Jen had to ask.

     “It’s ole Tom,” Ginger took the basket of medium burger with a slice of American cheese and fries to Jen, who salted the fries, checked out the limp lettuce, purple onion slice and pale green pickles that made up the veggies offered. No tomato but Ginger

hated them for some reason. No tomatoes were ever allowed near food on her nights to work the Spotted Horse. She set out ketchup and mustard squeeze bottles.

     This bar full of ghosts and ghouls and goddess, oh my, looked modern enough to casual eyes. Eating the burger might give you a few bad nights but that could be blamed on bar food or anything else but it wasn’t fit for humans to consume. God knows what Horace used for the meat patties, for instance.

     The metal door banged open. We all saw the white horse with the brown spots all over its rump standing by the dead locust tree, nosing at the dead cheat grass. A child sat atop

the beast, clutching the pommel. Wooly head, dark skin, small in size, some long ago orphan that met a bad fate one day. Now found, amen.

     Tom Smith stalked to the door, his boots loud on the wooden floor. He had a face for radio and a skinny runty body more suited for reality than Hollywood. Black eyes that had never needed glasses but he had died at thirty-eight.

     “Whiskey,” he told Ginger before turning to Jen Reece, who had her phone out, ready to snap pictures. I noticed her eyeing the little wonder machine but the camera part would work just fine, except she’d see nothing but a black rectangle if she tried to share them with anyone.

     “What are you doing here? You’re human.” He sniffed the air, opened his mouth wide to get her full scent as she tried not to choke on her mouthful of burger.

     “I’m a writer,” Jen told Tom Smith, who looked at me.

     I nodded, shrugged. What else could I do?

     “I got one. He wants potato soup. You got any of that? I don’t know what they have further on down the line.” Tom laughed, slapped his leg, his glee like hearing rocks against a metal plow blade. “Just crying and wanting some potato soup as I dug him up. I remember how hot it was that day. Nevada. Been a long trip.”


     Tom turned on our guest and only human. Those black eyes all but spun. “I dug him up, honey. I buried him proper back in the day. Broke his neck clean, buried him. Now I got to dig them all up and bring em home, so to speak. It ain’t like home at all, the angel told me. It’s something else unknown, like a star or love. Aint’ nobody knows what love is. What are you doing here?”

     Jen reached in her bag, brought out a notebook. Just a three-ring binder. She found a pen, opened up that notebook, began writing. Old-fashioned as hell itself. Tom sat right by her, practically in her lap so he could read what she scribbled. Jen tried to pretend she was not bothered by some strange man practically trying to get her pregnant but she was. Her cheeks turned bright red, her eyes rolled to me, to Ginger for help in that way women ask other women to assist them against whatever man is bothering them.

     “I’m just, uh, taking down some stories. You yanking my chain or what, mister?” She closed her notebook but left it where she could grab it. “I don’t mind. It makes for a funny blurb. I write travel books and I have a blog and a podcast. About road trips I take. I love your horse.”

     “Tom,” Ginger indicated he should leave the human alone. Tom grinned with his yellow teeth on display. But he did sit between me and Jen, waiting for his whiskey and Jen relaxed a teeny bit, now that he wasn’t almost draped across her lap.

     The child he had dug up wandered into the Spotted Horse, rubbing at his dark eyes with dirty fists. “They have that soup, mister? I’m awful hungry.”

     I saw Jen turn pale now as she stared at the child, which had a real transparent look to him. She got a picture of the child, the snick made extra loud in the near silence. Of course I made sure the pic would be blank when she tried to show it to others. It’s how I made sure the Spotted Horse stayed hidden.

     My little tricks.

     “I got potato soup here,” Horace said and dipped out a bowlful, which Ginger set on a table near the ghouls. “Maybe some milk?”

     “I’d sure appreciate that,” said the polite little ghost child.

     “What is going on here?” I heard Jen whisper. Tom turned to her, never one to honor space or that folks often just did not want to talk to him.

     “Death. Life. Soup,” he answered, laughing so hard the dust flew up.

     Horace took the child a glass of milk. He glanced at me to see which way the wind would blow tonight.

     “Death,” I whispered and Tom laughed harder but I nearly always chose death. It was just more fun for everyone.

     The already damned don’t care about new crimes and sins.

     “Give me a reason to mop the floor,” Ginger flexed her fingers.

     “Fresh liver,” said Velma, smacking her lips. Sadie drooled.

     “The last one was last year,” Craig opined as Barry racked the balls for another game. But they both nodded, promising to join in.

     Jen Reece, California-born, writer for slick travel crap, slid off her stool. She rightly read the room. Her eyes hit that door, before returning to me. Her smile had the sincerity of a lioness toward a newborn gazelle. “I guess I can come back. I have a long drive to Burns ahead of me. I got a reservation. I didn’t even think this place existed, it was a snipe hunt or something, you know? Okay!”

     She tried to reach the door before shit hit the fan. The child ate soup and drank milk, watching all this with bright, curious eyes. He had been dead, in the ground, waiting to go somewhere else. He had no dog in this hunt, if you will and being a child, no conscience at all.

     Tom got there before her.

     Jen stopped before she crashed into him. The Spotted Horse had no back door. Her hand fumbled into her Prada bag, the color of overly ripe lemons. She held out a large copper cross studded with turquoise. Real turquoise that almost hurt the eye being so blue and gorgeous. Tom stepped to the side as she waved it at him, as if he were some sort of movie vampire. She waved it at me, but I had not left my seat. She waved it at Craig and Barry, at Velma and Sadie and Ginger and Mr. Harvey, who never participated in the killing orgies. Not once, not even one time. She waved it toward Horace, who sometimes took some raw skin to chew on but otherwise remained aloof.

     I think we all turned into stunned statues. Not a single time had someone waved a too-large decorative cross at us, hissing under her breath the Lord’s Prayer. A sort of Catholic meets Protestant moment. It shocked as well impressed us all, in a way. Anyone crazy enough to flash a useless bit of jewelry at us, while expecting us to melt or whatever, had our undivided admiration for a hot second. As well as our blessings toward whatever life they wished yet to live.

     Jen got to the door, got it open, her eyes bouncing around the room, that cross held out in her shaking hand. Out she got but Spot got her. We all heard Tom Smith’s beloved horse get a good kick in before Jen got into whatever vehicle she had brought here. The thud of hooves against metal, the scream of that engine, the scratch of tires against the gravel of the driveway.

     Tom dared open that door wide, so we could all see Spot still kicking and fussing, still hear the screech of the engine as Jen escaped.

     He calmed his beloved, the horse puffing and blowing as it rested the long roman-nosed face over Tom’s shoulder.

     “I hope she comes back,” Ginger said, and pulled out Jen’s wallet from under the counter. We all started laughing; we had fun, ate food, spoke of the old days and carried on until morning. The ghosts faded, Tom took his found child to the meeting spot and I walked home. I fed my rabbits and collected eggs from my black hens before I lay down to sleep. I might venture over to Burns to see if Jen would be there but that was a mighty long walk to further torment some Californian. Might be better to let the Oregonians have a go at her, and hear the exaggerated stories later on from the inhabitants at the Wall of Whiskey, yet another place like my beloved Spotted Horse. You could find it out near Riley, Oregon if you knew where to look. I’d have to go alone, but sometimes you have to when you want to know the rest of a tale. You have to go seek it out, sometimes on foot, and return home much later than you wanted.

Hell-o, Halloween

Halloween display, Meridian, Idaho, 2019. Can’t find who to credit this with.

Welp, had to drive to work yesterday in fog so dense I nearly drove off the road, twice. Fun.

It finally rained here in Oregon East. An actual rain. We plunged into near winter temps! It might snow in the valleys! Nah, not yet but winter wants to pounce.

I want to enjoy Halloween and all its orange, black and sparkly glory, but the American midterm elections throw a giant moist pall over everything. Moister than moist. Dripping wet with racism, sexism, fascism and all the other crappy isms imaginable and then some. Who is taking all these polls? It does not seem to reflect anything but what is expected– that the Gross Old Perverts sweep everything and Biden gets made to look like a doddering, shitting himself in public, gibbering fool. Um? And yet so many people registering to vote and yet…mmm.

I just want this all over so I can start breathing again and plan accordingly. Do I still live in a ‘free’ country or do I have to practice my salutes, wave a flag with savage frantic grins plastered across my frozen face? Shout randomly, in public, about eagles and freedom and no more open borders? We don’t have open borders, what the fuck is that noise?

Idaho, by the way, is almost an Ida-don’t go there, stay away, avoid avoid avoid. We do have scary states here in ‘murica and that is becoming one of the scariest.

The Aryan Nations that used to be a joke, who used to live under rocks and only appear if you whispered something overtly racist near an open sewer…have now virtually taken over that state. It’s sad and tragic and awful. Aryan Nations meets QAnon nonsense, has weird disgustingly awful sex, produces a mutant baby and here we are!

And my state, by the way, has a trumpian Gross Old Pervert running for guvvie. I just. No. No!

I do have scary movies lined up, as the midterms causes eye twitches, drooling, screaming when a leaf drops from a tree too near me. It’s tense here, y’all. Tense. Golly, vote for sane people or batshit trumpfucks? I mean no offense to actual bats, who just wish to live their bat lives in peace.

I have had a few acceptances roll my way, but mostly, lately, it’s been rejection city. Sigh.

Need to sacrifice something to Satan, I guess. Maybe he’ll accept an IOU? Will hand over the flies stuck to the fly strip. They’re already dead and am just gonna toss that strip otherwise. Why be wasteful? Satan? Hello?

It’s Happy Month

Artwork for the Abominable Dr. Phibes movie.

Oh, my fellow babies and compatriots for this thing called life– it’s the happiest month of the year. For me. Cause. Halloween.

Pumpkins. Pumpkin patches.

Ghosts and goblins and ghouls, oh my.

Creaky vampire movies with capes and crosses.

American Werewolf in London time!

The weather cooling the frack down.

The Halloween baking competition with its black garlic cupcakes and four-layer oozing lime basil cake with Italian buttercream something or other. Make entire scary scenes from cake, pumpkins, rice crispy treats and sugar work!

Oh yes, oh please, amen.

I have pumpkins about ready to be plucked. I have gourds. I want to make bread.

I feel energized and ready to watch scary movies with all the lights off.

I have the original Night of the Living Dead tucked away. There’s a compulsion within to find the DVD and WATCH IT the old-fashioned way. On my television through a DVD player. No streaming. No computer involved. Old-fashioned out the disc in, push play when prompted. With a big cup of ho-cho in hand.

Of course, it’s still rather hot here in the day. The nights have cooled off a bit. I now need at least a blanket. Kitters has even taken to napping a bit on me so it must be getting cold outside or she misses me as I’ve been working. I call my cat Kitters, though her official name is Jaws. As she showed up with a broken jaw a couple Halloween’s ago.

So. I hope TCM shows horror movies I’d like to watch. I hope hope hope they show the Abominable Dr. Phibes, with Vincent Price. Where he speaks only through a record. It’s so acid-trippy, weird and satisfying. I’m so glad no one has ever tried to remake this one. Why would you? It’s perfection. From that first scene with the bats to the bitter, bitter end. Dang. And there’s sequels, which I hear, are not as good but still. I will also probably watch the silent Swedish made up documentary on witches, because it’s just so good. Haxan or something like that. 1923 or hereabouts. It’s on Youtube. As are a lot of silent horror movies. Like M or the Cabinet of Dr. Caligaleri. [Spelling?]

Halloween month. It’s the happiest month of the year for me. From baking to horror movies I’ve seen a gazillion times already to new horror films I might discover. I do like discovering some offbeat, nobody’s heard of it, frightfest. Like the Blood on Satan’s Claw [Satanic children, 70’s] Or even something like Only Lovers Left Alive, with Tom Hiddleston as a mopey vampire. It’s a gorgeous film, by Jim Jarmusch, and also boasts a sparkly performance by Tilda Swinton. It’s as slow as frozen molasses and it’s not so much a horror movie as a test of your patience but hey, it might hit a sweet spot or two.

Hey, speaking of Halloween and spooky stuff and scary things…I have two recent novels out that deal with zombies and cannibal bikers. Yay!

Aftermath: Boise, Idaho— where Hannah kills herself to escape death by zombie horde only to wake up in a world run by sentient zombies.

There’s also The Remarkable Women of Brokenheart Lane, where three elderly sisters hiding out in a small Nevada town after a catastrophic world war nuclear event, become embroiled with the decimated cannibal biker gang that’s limped into Fallon.

There’s also Oregon Gothic. The opening tale, Bailey, is about what a real vampire is like and the costs of thwarting that vampire’s will. There’s also the necrophilia-smeared love story of Prince Charming Finds His Sleeping Beauty, which will be in an anthology coming out this year.

Halloween month. Pure joy filling my soul right now. Just pure happy wonderful joy.

Road Trip

My one sunflower. It regally lives among the ever-spreading squash plants.

September. It’s almost over. The weather here is finally cooling a bit. I’ve rescued the same toads from the dog pool many mornings now. The big one that squeaks at me if I handle it too much, the smaller ones that pretended they were frogs, so I’d leave them alone. That was when the water levels were much higher. I dug a giant hole to put the rubber tub into, and it has this valve that keeps turning so all the water leaks out. Why would you put such a valve into a tub designed to hold water? Oh sure, to drain it but still. It’s entirely too easy to brush against it and turn it the wrong way. I blame liberals for this. Is that how that works?

Snark, sarcasm and hissing gently from the shadows. That’s me!

Job? I don’t know. Nobody cares so let’s move on.

Road trip. I am going to go to Mountain Home, Id-eee-ho, for a literary event. I know!! It’s for the Whistle Pig Literary Magazine launch, held this year at the Mountain Home library. I even got myself a hotel room so I wouldn’t have that long drive back, in the dark, with the extra bright lights in my eyes. I probably need to go see the eye doctor about that…yikes.

Or just deal with it because, hey, who has insurance?

Rimshot! I’ll be here all week, try the chicken.

My story for the Whistle Pig is called Lovesmoke. I based it off a short play I wrote ages ago, about a nearly mute man who’s in love with his brother’s girlfriend. She just wants to get married, have a normal life as her boyfriend is about to lose everything due to bad cattle prices and the bottom falling out of that market. The brother in love goes about collecting rocks and such to sell at the various festivals in and around the Western states. If you’ve ever been to small town festivals, with booths– that’s the type of person Salinas is.

In my prose version, I set it in Weiser, Idaho, with the about to lose everything brother having already run off and the other brother crossing the Rubicon, so to speak, by declaring his love for Lily. It’s bittersweet and it seemed to write itself, once I found that balance between manipulative monster versus clumsy overtures of affection toward another. I sort of blended the two extremes of puppet master and hopelessly bad at romance tropes, so to speak. That happy medium? Eh.

I did play with having them end up together but it just didn’t gel, it just didn’t flow, it just didn’t…yeah.

Rewrote a short story in the last couple days, turned it from vague woman-empowered claptrap to murderous psycho monster baby claptrap. Wheee!!!! I also realized my lead character is the least of my three in that story. I need to, ahem, punch her up a bit. Or not. I also need to look at the ending. It might be awful or okay, depends on mood, weather, snack consumption and coffee levels. The title also needs changing. Willa and the Mist to perhaps Baby Lamb or The Graveyard Baby or something equally provocative. Two On A Meat Hook? I’d have to add a meat hook. Dang it!

I’ve been reworking short stories that keep getting rejected. It keeps me busy and out of prison, so that’s good.

That’s it.

Oh, for those panting to know– I have pumpkins. I also have three giant gourds growing away. I’m so excited! I researched and it said to wait for first frost to collect them. We are nowhere near a first frost. I’m also watching the pumpkins closely, looking for that all-over orange color. Still a bit green underneath. Small sugar pumpkins, for pies but still so gorgeous. I do love the color orange.

Halloween is close. I have a happy feeling somewhere close by. And then the drudge and stress of the ‘holidays’. All those damn turkeys to bake. God damn it. I’m already sick and tired of turkey. I just want to buy a bunch of frozen dinners, call it good from here until next January. Want a fancy meal? Here ya go– Hungry Man Salisbury steak!

Oh my, I should adjust accordingly, eh? Holiday season hasn’t even officially started yet. Not until Hallmark starts constant Christmas movie rotation BEFORE HALLOWEEN USUALLY. Notice that?? I noticed that last year. Syrupy cookie cutter movies that bring numbness and a sort of Zen blankness if you watch too many in a row. Lifetime, also, has a host of these things.

And the Halloween Baking contest is back. Happiness is oozing icing the color of infected flesh dripping down over a rotted pumpkin face chocolate cake. Or pies with top crusts that look like tortured human faces. Happiness and bliss.

Remarkable Women

Good mornin’! It’s chilly here in East Oregon. Wind’s blowin’. I am considering a run to town but I’d have to take a shower, find my town clothes, put on real shoes. Ugh! But we are out of lettuce.


Hey, Remarkable Women of Brokenheart Lane, my dystopian cannibal biker versus elderly sisters in what’s left of Fallon, Nevada novel, can be read for FREE ON KINDLE at the moment.

Basically– three elderly sisters, Lily, Violet and Laura, are squatting in Lily’s house in Fallon, Nevada. They’ve made the house look abandoned as there are human monsters roaming about in what’s left of the world and they’re just trying to survive another day, another day after that. The Werewolves, a cannibal biker gang that’s tangled with the Glitterbugs, yet another cannibal biker gang, limp into Fallon and possibly their Waterloo. It’s Laura, the silent sister who discovers her voice and then some, who pushes the other two into a possible showdown with the actual forces of the universe itself or maybe she’s gone completely crazy, cooped up in a moldering house living on boiled pee and deformed mice or whatever Violet can scrounge from the surrounding area. But the actual threat might very well arrive in the form of church ladies on bicycles– the legendary Snitty Ratballs. This apocalyptic threat has managed to make it over the booby-trapped Rockies, intent on law and ordering the remnants of the Old West. Who will survive??! Why is there a lion? Will the sisters join the Werewolves? Will Gut Bucket ever make it to Utah? Can Amy Octopus ever be believed?


If you do read it, hey, leave a review.

Ain’t too proud to beg for reviews at this stage of my utterly barffling life. I added an ‘r’ to ‘baffling’. I think I’ll let it stand.

Things I’ve Noticed

The Gilded Age, HBO. Bertha and George, Carrie Coons and Morgan Spector.

March. Warming up. Raised bed for squash almost done. Cat doing great. Now that you’re all caught up–

I happened upon Minx, over on HBO.

It’s about a fictional women’s soft porn mag started in the 70’s by a radical feminist and a hardcore porn mag producer. Whacky hijinks ensue! Yep, it goes about how you think it does.

Penises everywhere. Shrill, naive, unpleasant female lead named, seriously, this is her name– Joyce Prigger. I do mean unbearable. Holy shit. Fun, easy-going male lead, named Doug Renatti, who sees ‘something’ in the Matriarchy Rising mag layout of Our Heroine. She pitches her over the top feminist scream to several mag producers in SoCal at this fair. She of course gets nowhere because no one will give her a chance! She’s an editor shopping around her liberated woman ideals and no one will throw her wads of cash and accolades, wah.

I lost any and all sympathy for her about five minutes in. I’ve seen this shit so many times. The unpleasant, uptight female lead, the lead male totally likable and smart, the rest of the cast pretty adorable, sweet, intelligent at times and…ugh. Okay. It’s rom-com time. At least, that’s the take I take away here.

Our Heroine is fresh outta Vassar, working on selling subscriptions for other magazines and generally so stupid about how the world works it’s goddamn painful to watch. She doesn’t know how that to get financed, you have to get big donors with money? She went to fucking Vassar. She didn’t rub up against the children of politicians and even presidents? For fuckety fuck’s sake.

She can’t sit through picking a male model for their debut issue without losing her shit. Joyce is embarrassed and squrimy, tee hee. The college girl hasn’t seen many dicks! Tee hee. She’s not only a shrieking harpy, she’s a prude! Oh goody!

It’s not funny or charming or astonishing. It’s just dumb. She’s a dumb character, a stereotype, a Men’s Rights example of what they think a feminist is. There is no nuance to her. At least not in the episode and a half I made it through before switching over to Youtube animal rescue videos to clear my head of the ‘Why the fuck are they still writing this type of female character? And during the so-called women’s liberation height??? Fuck fuck fuck fuck!’

And then, yeah, I rewrote this series in my head. Because, writer.

What if.

What if Our heroine, renamed Linda Lewis, or some other normal name that doesn’t hint a thing, was cool. I mean, with it, on top of her life, ambitious, calculating, willing to take chances. And a force of nature or someone you’d want to hang out with, hear their views. She’s got a sense of humor! She wants to change the world and she’s not asking for permission to do it. Linda can be unsure of herself at times but mostly, she works out what needs to be worked out. She approaches the pornmag producer guy, pitches him her magazine idea and he suggests the nude male centerfold every month. As Linda is mostly okay with her sexuality, she agrees to this, but says she wants to be in charge of the whole enchilada, even the tasteful nudie stuff. They begin a tentative partnership and learn a lot along the way.

I’m so tired of the naive, awful female lead and the cool, with it male lead that makes the female lead look both childish and boringly stupid. See the Ugly Truth, with Gerard Butler and Katherine Heigel. The Proposal, with Sandra Bullock– which, despite her charm and Ryan Reynold’s scowling with his usual charm throughout it–presented a horrible female boss stereotype straight from a Hallmark Christmas collection of Bad Lady Bosses that just need a Good Man to Show Them Some Good Lovin’. Sweet Home Alabama, where Reese Witherspoon went home to shit all over her home town and her parents, yet wound up with her ex-hubbie after…ugh.

So yeah, done with Minx. Boring and irritating, not my cup of anything.

I’m also struggling with Our Flag Means Death. I want to like it more. I just fail at that. I do like Blackbeard. It helps that he’s played by Taika Waititi. I wish this series had centered more around Blackbeard facing the end of his time as the most bad-ass pirate ever. The Stede Bonnet character just repels me so utterly. A guy with a lot of money getting to do whatever he wants. Where in American politics and private blah dee blah have we ever, ever seen this crud?

I need a third to end this TV review rant.

Gilded Age! Now, it’s trashy, but it’s fun, gorgeous trash. I get tired of Marian, the female blond lead who’s so bland she blends into the scenery no matter what she’s wearing. Please, Jesus– let her be ravished by a pack of rabid sailors after that bland and boring lawyer guy sells her to a brothel after her aunt refuses to accept him into High Society. Wheeee!!!!!

And then she’s seen no more when she leaves with the sailors as their new captain. Work it out, writers!

As that would leave far more screen time to the Russels. Not the kids, yuck. Ick. Boring!

No no, Bertha and George Russel are fabulous, arrogant monsters you just love to love. She’s a social-climbing soft-voiced goddess and he’s a fiery, black-bearded robber baron you hope never escapes to run amuck in these here present times. Together they plan to dominate Old Money Manhattan and make it beg for mercy it ever slighted them in the least. Bwhahahahahaha! Yes, please!!

I also love the Peggy Scott character. Upper class black woman, with ambitions to be a writer. Her mom is played by Audra McDonald, of Broadway. The Broadway Audra! If you can’t tell, I love Audra McDonald. But, the show explores the middle class and even upper class POC post-Civil War strata that developed and lead to such things as Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

I also find it annoying and eye-rolling when the blond Marian doesn’t seem to notice all the rampant racism all around her. Okay, sure. Ahem. But. We do get a scene with her bringing second-hand shoes to gift Peggy with during an unannounced visit to Peggy’s parent’s home. Dorothy Scott, Peggy’s mom, rightfully embarrasses Marian with how Marian expected the Scott family to be near destitute and grateful for a white lady savior. Ouch.

It’s not Downton Abbey. It’s a colorful, somewhat empty, imitation but it’s enjoyable. Watching the New Money sorts clash with the Old Money sorts, great fun. Watching the Russels plow ahead like a team of shiny Clydesdales, also great fun. The two aunts of Marian, played by Christine Baranski and Cynthia Nixon, make up for a lot. They remind me of L.M. Montgomery characters, for some reason. I half expected Anne Shirley to pop in for a cup of tea and a saucer of neighborhood gossip.

And there’s servants but nothing so far that grabs the attention or begs for more air time. There’s no Thomas, for instance, slinking about, causing trouble while managing to remain a near tragic figure we have to love. But, maybe in later seasons, the servants will be fleshed out, given actual characters, become part of the stories around them, rather than just set decorations whenever Mrs. Russel stalks by in a red silk dress.

Thomas from Downtown Abbey. Sorry if I lost some of you there.

I wanted to do a fluffy blog post, what with all the horrors here in America and over there in Ukraine. And other places, and other places after that. Oh dear.

Right next door, Ammon Bundy is staging a protest over the state of Idaho stepping in to remove a baby that was being horrifically neglected, as in that baby could have died if something had not been done. This extremist, who’s running for govvie of the state, claims it’s a medical kidnapping and has called for protests and even possible violence if the child isn’t returned to the parents who were abusing it. As these parents seem to be related to Bundy’s campaign manager…it’s a frigging mess in Idaho, in other words, right now.

This bunch of political theatre stunt-makers even shut down a major hospital there in Boise for a bit. The present lieutenant govvie, Janice McGeachin or something like that, attended a white pride rally in the most open and defiant of ways. She’s an elected official. She also wants to be govvie. And she’s batshit insane and a religious nutball. Wheee!! I’m two hours from all this and it sucks. It sucks!

So yeah, I’m watching trashy historical dramas and submitting my writing now and then to the here and there. Spring is around the corner. 2022 already seems a bust. 2023, baby, you gotta give us all some hope, m’kay? Great!

Meridian, Nampa and Boise are close together.

Update– Just saw, in the Idaho Statesman, where the child in question was returned to the parents, more than likely because of Bundy’s threats and bullying. It really can be an awful world at times. I doubt those parents have seen the light. And terrorism wins in Idaho.

March madness

Spring attempts a coup in my neck of the wilderness. Ukraine yet holds off Russian invaders. Gas prices continue to be used as a political hot button. Even considering adopting renewable energy sources to ween an entire country off fossil fuels brings on mass parades of screamy ‘patriots’ waving bald eagles and drinking oil milkshakes ‘to own the libs’.

I seem to be yet on a winning streak, writing-wise. A tiny one, but still. Cherry of Her Lips just got an acceptance for an anthology put out by Black Hare Press, on the theme of War. Lilith’s Arm got a nod for an anthology, too. Debuting this month will be Blood and Bread, in Toilet Zone 3, the Royal Flush. Seffi and Des will be in Musings of the Muses, a short story collection about the Greek Gods.

There’s also the flood of rejections. Don’t even worry about that, fellow babies.

Don’t know who wrote this. Seems apt and succinct, however.

I just saw an Idaho law that proposes going after librarians if they check out ‘obscene’ materials to kids. HB666. Idaho ledge. I have to think that numbering is a jest, a joke, an attempt at humor but no. And I have to ask…who gets to decide what’s ‘obscene’?

Rep. Skaug: “I would rather my six year old grandson start smoking cigarettes tomorrow” rather than view obscene materials in a library, he said.

What? Huh? Are Idaho librarians letting kids check out The Story of O or somethin’? Is Story of O obscene or artistic? Does it have ‘artistic merit’? Holy fuck, this really is the worst timeline, as wags have opined.

Are we bringing back smoking for kids in Idaho so they can have something to look forward to after working all day instead of going to school? Is that the goal here? Did Skaug give the game away??

Oh? That 666 thingie passed? Of course it did. America, the land of oppression, don’t say gay and targeting librarians, teachers, trans people and women’s reproductive organs, cause freedom eagles Jesus.

What does ‘mandate freedom’ actually mean? For? WTF seems inadequate here.

But hey, at least we still have ‘freedom’ convoys getting lost and mixed up on the DC Beltway to show them scary libs in Congress a thing or two! If you don’t know what this is, consider yourself a truly blessed and happy person. Remember the Canadian trucker fiasco there in Ottawa? Yeah, a breakaway group decided they would DRIVE ACROSS COUNTRY from California to DC, to protest…things that don’t exist or were never taken seriously, in America. Like mask mandates. Except the American tantrum league began to claim it wasn’t about mask mandates but about. Um. Not becoming robots of the state or something. And why didn’t they just drive into DC, shut down the Beltway, like they promised? Nancy Pelosi set traps and they were not falling for that! Um. Yeah, okay or the Beltway is about the most confusing snarl of roads ever invented by a sadistic pack of civil engineers.

Having lived in Maryland, and having avoided going anywhere near DC because frankly it made me cry to even think of trying to navigate that and get home again, I awaited to hear how the control the Beltway narrative would go. As I knew, deep in my black dead cold heart, it would go badly or not happen at all.

It went as expected. Stalling out, people got lost, people refused to try it at all…yep. No locals to help out, you tantrum-throwing darlings? There has to be locals sympathetic to ‘freedom from tyranny masks trying to turn us into robot sheeple’ sorts there in Maryland. The Old Line State would harbor reb-flag wavin’ collections galore. Some of them with trust funds. Nobody got in touch with the Maryland branch of trucker freedom fighters for eagles and Jesus?

I think this cross-country trek, sucking up gas as much as possible, imaginary joust against imaginary tyranny is America to a T right now. Just my humble opinion. That loud-mouthed, reactionary, emotional punching at made up villains while wasting time, resources, people and ideas. What if these truckers/assorted drivers of other vehicles had driven across country to protest…oh, low wages, vastly expensive bloated health care costs, human rights violations happening on American soil, student loan shackling so many people from having any sort of a future, education being dismantled by religious zealots and those eager to keep Americans stupid and…yeah.

Real stuff, in other words. Real stuff that would matter not only to the trucker bunch waving Trump and QAnon flags but to all Americans. I guess that’s commie shit?

Before I depress myself into a serious bout of eating everything in the house while watching Gilmore Girls for the 666th time, signing off on this storm-laden Tuesday. I will plant some actual seeds today, try to work outside and start a short story about a hidden garden. I will hope Ukraine holds on and Russia runs out of war steam.

An image taken from CPAC, conservative political action conference. Says it all, oh yes indeedy.

A Cheerful Holiday Note

from great big canvas

It’s the holiday season. I posted a mournful scream a few days ago. Now I’ll balance that with something a bit more cheery.

We are expecting snow here along the floors of the Eastern Oregon/Western Idaho valleys. A covering of white over the mud. Yes, please! Even if I have to drive in it for work, it doesn’t seem right if the end of the year doesn’t have that blanket of snow or snow falling or some sort of snowy snow happening or already happened. If that makes sense. I have a bit of Fireball whiskey in my coffee. A droplet, really.

My cat goes in and out, restless as a mini tiger. What a joy she is. I am so very glad I decided to keep her. I am grateful for this loving little beast who seems to utterly adore me. She went from slowly dying homeless refugee to cosseted spoiled lovebug. Stop and help an animal if you see one in trouble or distress.

I have stories placed here and there. That’s a nice feeling. That my work is ‘getting out there’. That slowly, so slowly, but surely, I am making some inroads writing-wise. There’s City Full of Rain, Gladys, Pig Bait, Elbow and Bean, Seffi and Des, Blood and Bread, Witch of the Highway, the Fish Whisperer, Everything You Need, Jimmy’s Jar Collection, Let There Be No Memories…I am forgetting one or two or several, but what a list for 2021. Submit, submit! is my battle cry for 2022.

I also put a novel out– The Remarkable Women of Brokenheart Lane, which is 99 cents over on Amazon through tomorrow, btw. Ahem, hint. I loved writing this. I love those three sisters I created– Lily, Violet and Laura. I adore the bikers that took shape in my head and oh yes, on the page. From Gut Bucket and Rosecheese to Amy Octopus and poor doomed Bluebird. I think the version that made it to final edits is the version closest to the one originally in my head. Sort of lighthearted doomsday fairy tale fare. Whee, indeed. I did have a very heavy, dense, savage version, but I think this go-around works so much better as a story and as a reading experience.

I do have a novel from last year I’ll blip about as well. Aftermath: Boise, Idaho. Yeah, it’s zombies but they’re sentient ones. Most of them are, anyway. It’s also 99 cents over on Amazon through tomorrow!! Ahem, ahem. This is Hannah’s tale. She kills herself rather than succumb to the zombies about to break down the door of the place she’s trapped in. But she wakes up in an office setting, with zombies for bosses, in some parallel existence, where she’s at a loss and disadvantage. However, being scrappy, pragmatic and mostly realistic, Hannah navigates somewhat successfully until she doesn’t. Her alter ego, the Hannah of the world she now finds herself in, seems to be some sort of spy for the resistance. There’s always a resistance. She messes up by killing her for-show boyfriend/one of the leaders of the resistance and it all snowballs from there, until Hannah finds herself fleeing the scene of many crimes, heading off into the Idaho wilds to take her chances.

Again, another novel I had such fun writing. I enjoyed making up slang and inventing this NWO as run by conservative zombies in pearls and business attire. I also toyed with explaining why Hannah fell through the time cracks, so to speak, but…it got clunky and stopped the story colder than a bowl of congealed brains. I also fiddled with several endings but decided on the one now as it seemed fair to Hannah and true to her character of a tough person just trying to survive the unimaginable.

Okay, I’ll keep this short. Happy holidays, however you celebrate or don’t. Don’t let what’s happening in the world or on your doorstep rob you of any joy or hope. Not just yet. New year comin’. Gird the loins, sharpen the knives, battles are comin’, woot woot.

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
― Shel Silverstein

Bird and Tree

Storm clouds and corn fields. Nothing to do with anything written below. You’re welcome.

The bird and tree seasons doth approacheth. Football games and over-cooked deformed poultry corpses coming right up! I am skipping all that this year. The holidays to me mean constant work, piles of dishes to wash and endurance of relatives far beyond my capacities right now. I remember my mother and grandmothers and aunts all engaged in grim baking feats. In stirring pots of this or that with exhausted gray faces out of a Dickens novel on the Victorian poor. How I was expected to do the dishes but my brother was not. Hello, reality.

Oh sure, where’s my turkey/Christmas spirit? Hanging from a hook in some abbatoir, waiting to be skinned and cut into usable chunks for Facebook memes about the ‘woke’ left. That gleeful desperate maniacal fury-joy pouring into my carcass like a flood of rancid lumpy creamed corn.

I’ve noticed, maybe a few on here and elsewhere as well, that my liking of the end of the year holidays is, oh, a bit low. I used to love Christmas! It’s fun, bright, pretty and fun! You get presents! The lovely tree! And then family members left the earthly plane, the talk around me turned to conspiracy theories and hey, you’re not Stephen King yet, and conspiracy theories based off other conspiracy theories. I started to wonder who these strangers around me were pretending to be relatives. Had I just not noticed how…mmm. Had I just been ignoring some stuff and things? Well, yeah. It’s what ya do with kin. Until you can’t.

I already brushed against my aunt and her coterie of crazies. She’s the one that hosts the annual Christmas Eve bash that my grandmother used to host. It was and is a family gathering with food. You open presents. You get through awkward conversations with people you see once or twice a year. You drink, you hear the gossip, you drink and eat. There’s usually a family fistfight, either verbally or actually. A lot of beer and whiskey, smoldering something or other. It’s just chemistry. Friction plus gasoline, a word or two that unholy match…boom.

Now, Christmas Day, my family went over to my other grandparent’s house in Idaho, had a more formal sit down fancy-ier dinner and played games, with the football game on in the background. This was usually a gathering of both sets of grandparents, who liked each other very much. They enjoyed each other immensely. We usually had turkey. One year we had roast beef. It was pretty much the same menu, with the no-bake cheesecake, the marshmallow-covered sweet potatoes, the gravy. My mother made the best turkey gravy out of powdered Cream of Chicken soup. It was magic gravy, so good. And one set of grandparents, on my dad’s side, were Republicans, the other set were Democrats. [Southern ones…ahem]. Yet the talk remained light. And the women had to do all the work. I remember that, too. Cooking and then cleanup. My dad’s dad loved Christmas. He decorated when my grandmother’s arthritis got too much for her and he took care of her until he could not. And I truly miss him and the rest of my grandparents this time of year.

And my mother.

It seems they left a vacuum behind when they left this earth. And it got filled with garbage, debris, pools of urine and maliciousness. I need to stay away from the present-day pale imitations of by-gone ways and enjoy the last dregs of the year as best I can. I don’t wish to hate anyone. It’s as simple as that but I think it’s a bit late already. A lot late.

But anyway…! I meant to write something lighthearted and sweet, some little blurb and then push a book or story or even poem of mine. Instead I delved down into the family goop and splattered a bit on the public wall.

I hope whatever holidays you celebrate this time of year are lovely. That’s the best I can do right now without breaking down into sobs and bingeing Gilmore Girls, again, for the umpteenth gazillionth time.

I guess three ghosts are about to visit me so should make sure I have a nice haircut and an urchin at the ready to buy an organic, gently killed goose for a local saint. Yay!


Oh October, you beautiful orange beast. A big round ball of pumpkin-y goodness! A bowl full of candy corn and candy cigarettes. That time’o year when the leave turn yellow and the cows munch desperately at the corn stalks as they try not to lean against the electric fence. Whoop whoop.

I am now working a graveyard shift, at a place I used to work in the way back when time machine. A group home. It’s what it is. I hate it already. I cried the entire weekend  I had to start work. Why am I not father along, why am I not doing better, why am I not better at being me, better at everything by now??? I wrote to a friend of mine, she’s also crying about going to work, while working on finding some other way to pay her bills. What she’s doing now causes her untold stress.

Life sucks, then you die. That has never been a more apt or true saying. Perhaps the only true saying. Depressed yet?

I also, if you go back through these hit or miss posts, trim weed for my aunt every year. Until this year. I flat out quit. I wrote a desperately long scream about that, did not post it. Why bore the shit and crap and hell out of my patient sometimes readers? Why??? To sum up, my aunt and her new-ish boyfriend are deep down the alt right rabbit hole. It was like sitting in at a Klan meeting. Right down to the n word being tossed out. As in there are good Negroes and then there are ahem ahem. It’s 2021 still, yes? Not 1951? 1851?

Not even kidding was this person. This was tossed out with the reasonable tones of someone who meant it, was not trying to be satirical. The person tossing that out, by the by, is the reason I up and walked out of that shed.

I had headphones on, the day was frigidly cold, so the portable heaters blasted away, adding their level of noise. In walks, let’s call him Klarence, who brings donuts or some sort of breakfast type breads. Like he does every damn time he shows up to trim. So, it’s my aunt, her boyfriend, some ex-cop [who’s a total shitshow loudmouth braggart sort you might find in a Smoky and the Bandit movie. Old reference but Google is right there, kids.] and me cutting the devil’s lettuce this Arctic morning.

Klarence stops right in front of my table, says something. I can’t hear him. I’m fighting with my phone to pick up anything FM wise, as my aunt does not have the internet. That’s right, no internet. I’m trying to tell myself all that static will be fine, at least it drowns out the We Love Joe Arpaio Hour.  At least I don’t have to listen to how we need donnie chump back to save us from Joe Biden’s Commie Agenda. Fuck me running, some of their conversational threads about turned me into an actual serial killer. I just grab the nearest chainsaw, and there’s one right behind my trimming table, and go all Letherface on living beings who bought into everything Fox News was selling, is selling still.

I can’t hear Klarence. I say, rather loudly, yes, I saw you, hello, hi. Something like that. As he insists on greeting everyone when he comes in…so fucking annoying. I thought I was the only one who bristled at this. But no, it’s not just me. I really honestly don’t get upset or mad if someone doesn’t say hi to me or good morning. But I have no manners and I was brought up by parakeets.

So here’s the gooey good part.

Klarence EXPLODES.

I WAS JUST GONNA FUCKING TELL YOU THERE WAS DONUTS and some other stuff that probably had ‘bitch’ and ‘cunt’ included in it. I mean, he blew several gaskets. I don’t know what those are but he blew several. The other two guys had to rush in and save poor Klarence from the loud-voiced meanie. Again, not kidding or making that up to sell my books or make you go read some of my short tales available on the web even now as I write this.

I decided, logically and coolly, that remaining there as my aunt sat there like a lump, not saying a word, to go home. Enough of this stressful experience that I dreaded so each time I went up there to trim weed. My first day there was a surreal theatre of cruelty play as if written by Samuel Beckett, except ole Sam didn’t have talent and could only vomit back up what he’d heard that day from a Q drop. That’s where the someone/s pretending to be Q released some fecal-infused blurb about the Clintons, mostly, and their love of draining children of fluids at pizza parlors.

That first day, people there shared how they all kept guns on them at all times because the Civil War was almost here. My aunt was the loudest voice in that one. My aunt.

Back to Klarence. I told my aunt I couldn’t trim anymore. I told Klarence to enjoy his donuts and mind you, he’s still ranting and vibrating visibly with the urge to smack me. All because I spoke a bit too loudly, over the heaters and my headphones. And hurt his feelings. I can’ even with these people is, I believe, an expression that’s probs out of date by now. My aunt is asking if I’m all right…not telling Klarence to stop acting like a murderous tree frog on meth.

I left my purse in the shed. I had to go back and get it. The ex-cop was in the middle of a thoughtful diatribe on what a bitch I am. I pop back in, ask him pointblank if he just called me a bitch. I then tell him thanks, I love being a bitch. Out I swan, into the sunrise, as it’s before noon and go home. My aunt also tried to say that they all like me, just not when I’m…yeah.

She has not called or come over to see if I’m okay. She sided with Klarence so quickly it should have gone into a record book but it’s expected. It would have been my fault, after all, if poor poor Klarence had smacked me for hurting his feelings with my loud vocal range-ification. I’ve experienced this one before, after all. When my brother tried to choke me. It was my fault, according to mom and dad. I deserved it.


Okay, enough common as dirt family confessions.

It’s nearly Halloween, darlings. My favorite time of year. I love skulls and spiders, pumpkins and witches, vampires, ghouls and zombies, oh my. The season is changing, winter is around the corner with its snow and smell of cinnamon and sage. It’s harvest time, the mice move into the house and you’re not surrounded by ominous corn fields full of cult-minded children with butcher knives at the ready.

I am skipping the stressful, awful end of year holidays this year because I have to work. That’s my excuse. I have to work, sorry, can’t sit there and suffer through Fox News shitvomitings from y’all. As I’m the only not-Foxie on either side. In a deeply red part of Oregon, with a lot of my relatives from batshit blood-red Id-ee-hell. I don’t want to sit there and silently hate every single fucking one of them this year or ever. I have to call quits to all those family helldays. Sorry, holidays. My mouth wants to flap. I don’t have any backup and I don’t truly wish to hate any of them. I’m almost there already. Sigh of sighs.

The toad is croaking away. There’s a big collection of storms comin’ in. The cat says hi.