Droplets of Alcott

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June. It’s June. A few more months than it’s the glut of holidays. Thank the blessed unicorns of the third-party American voters, I never ever take my various decorations down. Score!

Thanks. I’ll be here a while. Try the chicken.

And on to a movie I’ve been wanting to see since it hit theatres in 2019. So about twenty thousand years ago, or so it seems.

Ahem.

I did not go see it. I think I went to Rise of Skywalker instead, because hey, sat through the other two. And I actually liked Last Jedi. Do I hear snarls? Is that snarls?

Little Women! Feminist remake! Unpronounceable Irish-named actress as Jo! Timothy Challawallabingbang as Laurie, the alleged six foot plus Italian stud-hunk.

Um, no. No.

Otherwise the casting was pretty spot on.

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Beth, Jo, Meg, Amy and Laurie Laurence

I LOVED Laura Dern as Marmee. This is the first time I found her to be human and lovable, instead of the stalwart lecturer of the four sisters, the saintly mother-goddess archetypal figure so often depicted in nearly every Little Women adaptation. This Marmee is far more human than superwoman. And it’s fantastic. Adds so many layers right there. The way she wipes tears from her cheeks, takes a moment to put on her Happy Marmee Face before facing her daughters…damn. We get a glimpse into just how hard her life is trying to raise her kids and make ends meet and live up to her own ideals is. That little sigh, that little moment of utter weariness. Show don’t tell moment, y’all.

Emma Watson as Meg. Eh. There’s really never been much there to play with. But Watson gives it her best. We also get glimpses of Meg’s talent as an actress, and the creative lives of these lively sisters reminds how limited and few their choices were and how limited a lot of the time women still have it. Even now. Yeah, I went there. Meg marries a good man, settles in for motherhood and caregiving, and oh…we get to see her dissatisfaction, her restlessness, her unhappiness even. This was covered a tiny bit in the actual novel, but Alcott resolved it too neatly and Meg gets to play St. Housewife the rest of her time in the Alcott universe. Through Little Men and Jo’s Boys. Don’t believe me? You have some reading to do, kiddos.

Beth is Beth. I did like this actress in the thankless role of Dying Young role. I am so glad it was not that drawn out or even given all that much screen time. You can see the potential of Beth and how she supports her sisters and lives life through her wild, free, strong protector-friend Jo.

And yes, we also get to blame German immigrants for bringing disease to the March family. That was in the novel, it’s been in all the movies, as it’s an integral part of the story as set down by Alcott.

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Amy and Aunt March discuss the realities of life.

Amy had to be my fave here. Florence Pugh gives this most unlikable sister actual layers, practicality, a lot of heart and that careless something we can call charm. Amy’s future relationship with Theodore Laurence, the hunkalicious boy next door, gets a lot of timne spent on it. In the movie, that is. Not the novel. The relationship does seem one-sided. however. Amy loves him, he tolerates her for the moment…but they do know each other, grew up a bit together and don’t ever really face any real challenges. At least, none on screen. Other than Amy’s other candidate for Rich Husband, Fred Vaughn. But he’s not given much more to be than Obstacle. We barely even see his face, let alone how all of this affects him. Amy tosses him aside like a used handkerchief. But we’re supposed to believe she had chosen love over being mercenary. Or has she???

Ah, Jo. One of my favorite literary characters. I identify with someone who wants to write. Yes, I do. I identify with someone who has such trouble fitting in and being what’s expected of a girl. Here the Jo character doesn’t really deviate from all the other Jo’s, not really. I did like how we got to see the business end of writing. The getting your stuff into print work Jo had to go through. She was always working out story ideas and composing her tales. We got to see that. We got to watch her work on a novel. It wasn’t she sat down at a desk, poof, the next scene, the novel is finished and ready to go to print. Nope!

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Jo and Teddy.

I adore that this film tackled, head on, the Jo mantra that she would never marry and yet the novel and movie ends with the requisite happy ending. Because it’s what people want and expect, not because it’s what the characters want or need to happen. Gut punch. That’s a gut punch. That a story involving women or a ‘woman’s tale’ has to end in either marriage or death.

Gut. Punch.

I had no quibbles, much, with Professor Bhaer. Except…HE’S GERMAN, POOR AND NOT HANDSOME AND OLDER THAN JO BY A LOT OF YEARS. Ugh. In the film, he was young, French and should maybe have swapped with the Timothy Challawalla kid. I felt a real hollowness over this alleged romance between him and fierce independent Jo. It seemed to arise out of nowhere and suddenly, she was madly in love so they could have AN ACTUAL DASH TO THE RAILWAY STATION scene. I. Just. Ugh.

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Louis Garrel as Professor Bhaer. Um…? Yeah.

Suddenly we’re in romantic movies land and it just rang so goddamn false. I DIDN’T BELIEVE THE CHARACTER SET UP OVER THE COURSE OF THIS LONG ASS MOVIE would suddenly turn into Meg Ryan galloping after Tom Hanks or some other screen couple we wait two hours for to do just that. Not Jo March, no sir! Christopher Columbus! But…then again, we are set up that the publisher guy told Jo her stories involving women had to have it end with a wedding or the death of the woman. She could not go off to a life of happy spinsterhood, no no no!

Now, the neighbor guy who was in love with Jo from their first meeting to marrying some other sister cause…mm.

I, too, always asked why Jo didn’t marry Laurie. Or Teddy, as she called him. Teddy, in the book, made the other boys call him Laurie, after beating the shit out of them. As they were teasing him anyway. He’s also presented as some sort of ‘other’ due to his hot Italian blood. Alcott’s wording. As if those of Italian descent are fire-blooded hotheads with almost no morality. Oh, you thought stereotyping of other cultures was a new thing??? Bwha ha ha ha.

We get to see a very torn up Jo, lonely and confused, reconsider her choices here. Openly saying she’d give another answer to that proposal. It was hinted at in the book but here we get to hear it.

Aunt March is played, with lots of fun and vinegar, by Meryl Streep. Teddy’s grandpa is played by Chris Cooper, one of my fave actors. Both are a hooty hoot.

I was taken out of this otherwise stellar film every time Timothy Wallawallbang bang popped into frame. He looks twelve years old to me. He’s heroin skinny with the frame of a stork. I just. I just can’t overcome my suspension of disbelief barriers to swallow him as the over six foot tall, built like a brick shithouse, Theodore Laurence. Who is also supposed to be astoundingly handsome. Rather the perfect foil to Jo March, who is often described as her hair being her only real beauty.

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Christian Bale and Timothy Chalamet compare/contrast time

Teddy and Jo. They share actual bonds. Friendship, confidences, trust, companionship. They spark each other. We are led to believe this is bad; that actual passion, conflict and being hot-tempered are the worst things, like, ever.

Alcott makes it clear that because the two often fight, this is a bad thing. We are led, by Alcott, to think that Meg and John Brook have the idyllic- more or less—married relationship. All cooing doves, no screeching falcons. That a marriage should be polite barely affectionate people…or a marriage of that time. Okay. Okay!

This film breaks the linear fashion of the story up. That’s good. I didn’t expect it to work, I expected to be highly annoyed. I was not. It worked. It often paralleled a moment from the past with one in the here and now to one of the sisters. We got to watch a jigsaw puzzle being filled in rather than being spoonfed a homespun tale of sisters finding their way through life.

I was jarred a bit by all the legs and underwear shown. That’s fine for modern audiences but…not at that time. Even at home in private with no neighbor watching. Marmee had her skirt hiked up, baking, as Meg was brought home by Jo and Laurie from a winter dance due to a twisted ankle. Marmee, no. No.

And to end this rambling screed on Amy. I adored her speech about how marriage was an economic everything to women, not so much for men. As men held all the power, the land, even the children were theirs. Men held the pursestrings mostly and women were very limited as to what careers they could pursue without having to endure society calling them all sorts of names and shunning them accordingly. Amy declares she can’t be a great artist, so she will be an ornament to society. Laurie is horrified by this but she icily reminds him that she really has very few choices here beyond marry a wealthy man or live in poverty with a poor man or…work at some job she hates for very little money to retain her respectability. Aunt March, in an earlier scene, lays it out quite baldly. She never had to marry because she had oodles of money. She urges the sisters to marry wealthy men because that’s one of the only ways a woman can move up in the world. It’s also a means to take care of the entire family. As the Marches have no sons…well.

And of course…if you know this story at all…who does Amy end up marrying?

I could ramble on for days and days over the nuances of Little Women, feminism, the various cinematic takes on Alcott’s most famous work and the absolute puzzlement that the casting folks can’t cast a decent Theodore Laurence already. Though…Christian Bale was okay, in the Winona Ryder version. Which is such a beautiful film, if you have not seen it.

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Laura Dern as Marmee.

Over and out, fellow babies. I need to croon over my growing squash plants and squee over the opening of the bachelor buttons.

Oh! Jaws, the kitty, jumped off the fence and must have come down on it funky. I was freaking out thinking she’d broken her leg but after some rest and TLC, she was fine. Today I caught her tormenting a baby mouse, which is now resting and recovering a bit before I find a place to release it or…let it live with me a few days. I’m sorry, the little frightened squeaking! I put it in a giant glass container and will give it some water and…Yes, it’s ‘just a mouse’. But I like to think the March sisters would approve.

Banana Poetry

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My mini garden, in April. 

Hello! 

So here’s a poem based on the pic of a banana hangin’ on a hook. This is what formed in my brain. Not even kidding. 

JESSICA IN THE GARDEN

Catnip and thyme, basil and lavender.
Her left hand tugs at the leaves,
caresses the stems.
She will smell like spaghetti sauce
and old lady purses
when she wanders by.
She eats a banana while standing on one leg,
her eyes on the cat chasing the dog
through the new mown grass.
They put bananas on hooks,
some sly wit tells the child.
Maybe that’s where bananas go,
Jessica replies
before arranging the rocks she painted
into odd and various piles.

 

 

Projects and Porridge

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Jaws chillin’. 

I just needed an alliterative title. No porridge was harmed in this post. 

I am sort of working on projects. Some of which I will foist on here now and then. Mostly a screenplay I need to be reading over, then plunging back into. A novel to be published that needs a cover. A couple other novels started, in various stages of waiting for me to churn out some pages within their frames.

The Remarkable Women of Brokenheart Lane will be the next novel out. Three elderly sisters taking on cannibal biker gangs in what’s left of Fallon, Nevada after a world-wide conflict that didn’t go so well for anyone. It’s kind of Mad Max meets Doomsday meets that French movie with the three sisters. The Triplets of Belleville. And it’s funny. I think so. I had earlier versions that were grim, realistic, gritty and…it didn’t match the story in my head. This latest one does. A lighter-hearted absurd tale of an apocalypse narrowed down to small Nevada town. It started off as a tale about three sisters making plans to travel to see the grave of a childhood pet by a bridge.

And morphed into cannibals, end of the world, and scavenging.

I really like my characters. This one was easy to write. I wanted to write it. I had fun with seeing where it went. It’s a sort of dark faerytale. And such tales tend to be very dark indeed. At least the original versions do.

The screenplay.

It’s based on a short story of mine, from Oregon Gothic. About necrophilia. I am working with a woman from the Czech Republic who is a director and producer. She’s fantastic!! She truly is. She did a previous short film based on a brief play of mine, Traces of Memory and had to halt production on King Leer, due to the lead actress becoming seriously ill. So,Lucie Gukkertova plans on filming this next year. It’s called Prince Charming for now. I’m trying to remember everything I sort of learned from my one screenwriting class…yeah.

A new novel started. Based on a one act that no one ever wants to produce. Oh Savage Bliss of the Pirate’s Wench is where the characters contact the author and they work up a better story but…mm. Bored yet? Sure, it’s an old idea, done many time by better writers, sure, but hey, they can’t all be Sarte or Pirandello. So hey, what if this is actually a novel?

What?? Yeah!

And here’s where my mind took this off into a weird landscape of God, the devil, angels, demons and writers. Oh dear, already did a novel on that sorta thing except different. Am I doomed to explore whatever’s left of my faith? Dang a lang a dang!

The kitten is doing well. She now likes to go outside. She’s growing! Her belly is healed up, she’s a happy little thing. I did find a severed rabbit leg…on the picnic table. Blurgh.

I am writing some– just not in my usual gushy fashion. I do have projects lined up for spring. January was a good month writing-wise. New decade starting off sorta okay. 

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Dark Honey

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The Shasta Cola bubbles a bit, not like Coke does, but good enough. I add a splash of Dark Honey Seagram’s whiskey to it. I used to drink like the proverbial fiend. Oh yes, I did.

I don’t care but I do, if people read the novel I plan to post here in its gaudy, raw entirety. I’m trying to give myself future projects and such to keep myself going a bit longer. A reason to give a damn about enduring a few more days. I am drifting and it’s better if I am busy. Isn’t that true for everyone? If you’re busy, you don’t notice things. How trite and how true at the same time, as most observations are.

The taste in the Navel Academy Cup, brought from Annapolis, MD, is rather sweet. Low-rent cola and booze I found on sale around Christmas. Every now and then you want an adult beverage. I do, anyway. I used to go to bars to get one or several.

Dive bars, even. Scary dirty dive bars full of scary dirty people who turned out to just be tired folks wondering if they had enough for another drink. Laughing with friends or playing pool with a buddy or doing the same things you do in bright lit bars full of artisan beers and huckleberry hard cider by the pint. I haven’t been out for ages. Yes, I was once one to just go to a bar by myself. Usually on a karaoke night. I used to sing.

I used to sing.

Reminds me I haven’t been on a stage since last August. I miss performing. Reminds me further of all the truly abysmal choices I made that brought me here. To a tiny room and a stray cat. And a bottle of whiskey. I have that, at least. That’s something!

But that’s bitterness. Or honesty. I can’t tell which anymore. The two seem to blend so seamlessly anymore.

Just make it through the day. That’s all I have to do.

Yes, it’s always bad in my head. Some days far worse, of course, than other days. Just finish the Owyhee novel. Goal for this spring. Work on screenplay. Goal for this spring. Make it through each day. Goal for this day.

Cheers.

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Owyhee Days

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Not my pic. Actual sign for Jordan Valley, Oregon

Happy Groundhog Day. I have plans to post chapters of my novel, Owyhee Days, every so often.  

OWYHEE DAYS

chapter one: Arrival Fumes
Jordan Valley, Oregon, remains a tiny splat on Highway 95. If you head over toward Silver City or Murphy, you find yourself in Idaho. If you want to stop in Jordan Valley, get some gas and a burger, you’re in Oregon. Flower Sheffield floated into Jack’s Gas-n-Go, with twenty five cents in her cup holder and a determination that she had absolutely done the right thing. Her gas gauge had been on red about twenty miles ago. All she owned in the entire world rested in boxes and garbage bags. She had stuffed everything she could into her small Toyota Camry. Everything else had been set on the curb outside the apartment building in North Hollywood, California. Including the very dead Dagwood but he had requested if he died that he be thrown out like trash. It had been his literal last wish. Trash for the trash, baby! That’s all we are. Trash for the trash. Flower was not one to mess with someone’s actual last wishes. It was bad karma or bad for the environment.

That she had skipped out on her share of the rent also twisted her guts a bit. But. After receiving that summons for court over that turned over to collections Discover account, with threats they’d garnish everything and yank her license and generally narrow down her choices to suicide or robbing a bank, well. Early morning, and the traffic was non-existent here in the hometown city center. The Jackrabbit Diner had three pickups pulled up before it and she could see people enjoying pancakes and eggs and sausages through the big dusty windows. She had not been back here for years. Winter. They had winter here. She had not lived in a place with four seasons for a while. Twenty years. Had she really been in Los Angeles for twenty damn years? Left Jordan Valley at thirty, with nothing and returned to Jordan Valley so far in the red it had rendered her a fugitive from the law. Maybe. Did the law care about some no-bit can’t pay her bills, can’t afford a lawyer fifty year old nobody? Probably more than they cared about a lawless president or a rich white guy operating a child sex ring. Which was just depressing. She’d go to prison before someone operating a child sex ring because they had a yacht and she didn’t. Did not seem at all fair. Life isn’t about fair, she thought with absolute reality and gloomy good cheer.

A knock on her window, an earnest kid with white-topped pimples across his forehead and chin peering in at her. She rolled down the window. “Yeah? Hi. What?” That fresh air stench, glorious. Dust and air. Dust air. It hit her lungs, so used to Los Angeles fumes, road rage stink and the burned ash of dead and dying dreams.

The boy, just on the cusp of that passing over into actual being a grown man territory, peered at her from blinky soft blue eyes. He wore a jacket against the September morning cold and yes, a nametag sewn on his uniform. Ethan. “You have to pull up to the pumps, ma’am.”

“Oh. I have twenty five cents. How much gas can I get? I need a job. Is that diner hiring?” Flower got out, stretched, her bladder full. The boy had stepped back, the gas station without a customer except some weirdo with Cali plates. She smelled. Who had money for a hotel room? She sure did not. Sleeping in car the only option. Her food had dwindled to a four year old granola bar, a plastic bottle of water she had filled at the last gas station that had taken her very last ten bucks and some questionable apples. It had seemed wise to buy a cheap bag of apples before attempting to flee California for the wilds of Oregon. She had two left. She had probably gained ten pounds on this new radical apples and old granola bars diet, with her luck and all. She realized that she had been spacing off, that the teenager had said something. “I’m sorry. What now? I can leave but I doubt my car will get far. No gas.”

“Ugh…ugh, you can check with Lindsey in there. I gotta,” he gestured like a game show host toward a giant man truck, four by four, with an extended cab and a black and white cow dog darting about in the bed. Shiny, yet dusty silver color. A meaty, substantial looking rancher powered the window down.

“I got things to do!” Big loud imperious voice of a range god, demanding he be served by the peasants. Oh I need some real food, a trailer house and five kids by six different daddies. I am so behind! Flower bit at her lips rather than bray all that out. Ethan hurried over to perform odd sexual acts with the gas nozzle and the truck’s gas tank opening. She walked into the small mini mart, where a twitchy woman with badly streaked mouse brown hair sorted postcards onto the holder. Big weird chunky blond streaks, with some of the streaks being brassy-greenish. Had she done this at home with peroxide? Had some enemy done it and convinced this woman it looked great? Giant bulgy eyes, like a pug’s. Almost the same color, a black-brown. A flat blue uniform, with Jack’s Gas-n-Go, on the front and a name tag. Lindsey. Everyone here was conveniently labeled. After a trip to the facilities, in which she scared herself with her own reflection, she yanked up her can-do spirit to face whatever happened next.

“Help you?” A nice voice. Flower had not expected that. Also someone who had done years of serving the public. That air of neutral waiting. No matter what was thrown at her, this Lindsey would be polite just to keep her shitty job.

“Yeah, actually. I was wondering if the diner next door is hiring. Or this place.”

“This place, no. All the shifts are covered. The Jackrabbit, now, they might need a dishwasher. The other one up and quit, but she did try to kill Ellis.” Lindsey sighed, placed more of those neat, tidy, shiny postcards. A good long look at Flower, then more post card shuffling. “You look familiar.”

“I should. My mom was the town whore. Steelie Bevins, then she married Mustang Sheffield, then he beat her so she went to jail for pulling his own shotgun on him…”

“Oh sure! Oh my goodness,” Lindsey took a second look at Flower. A real Jordan Valley native would not be fazed a bit about a local murder attempt, after all. “Opal or Mary, wasn’t it?”

“Opal. I go by Flower. It’s less embarrassing,” Flower said. Lindsey suddenly got a whole lot friendlier. Home town girl and all. “Dish washer. I can do that. Thanks. I’ll go see what’s what.”

“I can do that. I doubt he or Sandy, that’s his wife, would give you the time of day. They’re fighting over something. We all think he’s cheating again. Why not, he cheated with that Leslie. Sure, Flower Bevins.”

“Sheffield. He did adopt me. I never got around to changing it back. Thanks. I can wait outside by my car.” Her ex-stepdad had somehow found her PO box, sent her a demand she send him money for supporting her or he’d tell the cops she had helped her mother try and kill him. She had sent back a long letter about her day at Venice Beach watching weight lifters and drag queens and fat ladies enjoying the Pacific. That had been Dagwood’s idea. Return malice with merriment! Had Dagwood been found yet? She had wrapped him in garbage bags against the cockroaches and local stray dogs.

“Ethan will be in. He can watch the store. Hey, I gotta go to the diner. This is Flower, she used to live here. I’ll be right back.”

Ethan and Flower observed Lindsey trot over to the diner. Ethan cleared his throat, began fussing at the counter. Flower drooled at the offerings of beef jerky and candy bars, at the wall of cold beverages from water to beer. “Nice place,” she said. “Clean.”

“Yeah, “ Ethan nodded, not having yet mastered the polite indifferent niceness service people had toward the annoying public. He clearly wished her gone. Talking to a gross old lady, not his pipe of meth.

“So what are your future plans?” Flower asked and Ethan jerked as if she had stuck a cattle prod up a tender passage in his skinny, pimpled body. Not a basketball player, this one. Maybe a back up quarter back? Chess club! Did Jordan Valley have a chess club? Maybe Future Farmers of America? Did he schlep a pig to the Malheur County Fair? Maybe a nice calf that one of the local stockyards would buy to slaughter with happy efficiency. Maybe had a pony or horse. “Hey, are you in FFA?”

“Uh,” the poor child kept his soft blue eyes down, his face as red as one of her probably rotted apples. “No.”

“Oh. Okay. That still big around here? Kids take livestock to the fair or help plow fields, I was never sure what future farmers did. I guess you learn to cuss the government and dig out ditches.” She stood by the door, noting a pickup had pulled up. Battered, black and full of boxes. “Hey, I can stand outside while you see to that guy out there. I don’t want to get you or that other lady in trouble. I am from here, well, a long time ago, but still grew up here.”

“Shit,” the boy muttered, then flushed even more, those pimples standing out like pushpins on a map. “I guess. She should be back in a sec. Just outside. I guess.”

Flower observed Ethan do his job, wondering why Oregon still would not let people pump their own. Was it some sort of macho thing? Lindsey hurried out of the diner, smiling. Good? Bad? “He had a customer,” Flower said with unnecessary words. Lindsey could clearly see there was a guy in black truck, a Dodge, needing gas.

“That’s Rick Comber. Probably on his way to Boise. Again. Lawyer stuff,” Lindsey got back behind her counter, sighing with how busy she was, happy that she was busy and useful. Her long, almost pretty face had life in it. “Ellis can’t pay much. And it’s just a few shifts now and then. You can go talk to him. Sandy ain’t there. Jenny is and she’s a workhorse so just take her as she is. She can’t help how she is, is all. Toots is cooking her chili so you let her get to it. Best chili in the state. Even beats the batch at the Rome cafe.”

“No, really?” Flower asked with real astonishment. The Rome cafe had a reputation for the best food ever. It still must have that reputation. Good. Things had not changed that much, if at all. “Thanks. I appreciate it. Is my Aunt Tits…I mean, Barb Bevins still here? I have a number for her but my phone is dead. Is she still around?”

“Oh. Oh, honey,” Lindsey actually said, biting at her thin bird lips. She turned, took a pack of Pall Mall Golds from the rack of cigarettes, smokeless chew and pipe tobacco. The man from the black truck accepted them from her, as she rang him up. “Hey, Rick. Headed somewhere fun?”

“Fuck, no,” said Rick, with his small beer belly and his oversize nose. He looked like a rooster. With bright red hair and what had to be false teeth. Square, even and too white. Smokers had yellow teeth. “Hey,” he nodded at Flower, who nodded back. “Boise. Damn woman is gonna bleed me dry. I might find me a boyfriend after all this.” He laughed, Lindsey laughed, Flower smiled politely. Great, back to the land of gay bashing and steer tipping, she thought sourly. But. If she stayed here, she’d have to blend in with the locals or she’d find herself run out of Jordan Valley. With someone waving a shotgun full of bird shot at her. Unfair stereotyping. Jordan Valley might be a progressive liberal haven for new ideas and fluid sexuality. Give people a chance, Dagwood had told her. Let them disappoint you in all ways before you write them off. Great, how long until the Dagwood dumpster of life advice burned away completely? A while, her mind replied, before giving her a brief flash of opening her mail. Why, mind, why? Ah, Rick, still complaining. Pay attention! “Now she wants me to sell my toy tractor collection and split the difference. Can you fucking imagine that bullshit? I had some of them since I was a kid! My grandpa gave me three of em. I hate that fucking woman. I hate her. You were right. Never marry a Caldwell Kelso. They’re all nuts.”

“I’m sorry, Rick. He’s my cousin,” Lindsey let drop to Flower, who had tried to back off during this clearly not meant for her ears diatribe. “This is Flower Bev…no, Flower Sheffield, sorry. Sorry! She used to be from here. Back now. Steelie Bevin’s kid.” Lindsey seemed younger than Flower, yet Flower had regressed to being the town whore’s kid. Rick nodded, even shook her hand, his hand rough and powerful, his thumb’s nail completely black. Men who worked with their hands seemed to always have a black thumbnail. Always. It was one of the Ten Commandments.

“Ah, sure, a Bevins,” he said very politely. Very politely as if Flower would explode like an M-80 in a toilet bowl otherwise. “You take care, Linds. Welcome back,” and he nodded at Flower, without really looking at her. It was amazing that men thought she was after their junk or wanted anything from them but directions, or their take on medieval weaponry. Geez.

“Seems nice,” Flower offered and Lindsey rolled her eyes, as hard as possible without popping one out.

“He’s an asshole but he’s family. Yeah, just go talk to Ellis. He’s waiting for you over there. Oh, your aunt. I wouldn’t bother her.”

“Why not?” Not that Flower wanted to contact her aunt, who had all the familial loyalty of a rattlesnake but she needed a place to crash for a bit until she could make enough to buy a house. And a swimming pool and a pony! “Is she sick?”

“No. No,” Lindsey said but two women walked in, their Mercedes bearing Ohio plates. Ohio. Flower slipped out as the two wrinkled their surgically enhanced noses in her general direction. Yes, she did need a shower. Another man walked in, tall, with a Santa Claus belly but skinny legs. A John Deere baseball cap, a vest. A beard that almost touched his chest, a panoply of blond, brown and red. Gold, chestnut and copper, if she was being fanciful. A face so plain it had to be a crime in these photogenic social media times. A filter would fix that, so no worries there. “We still don’t have that dog food.” Lindsey’s tone announced that a serial killer puppy-kicking coastal elite had just walked in and was about to cause some real trouble. Stop it, Flower told herself. Stop it right now. These are nice people and you’re a jackass.

“Did I ask for that dog food?” The man returned rather snarkily and Lindsey sniffed. That small town sniff of ‘gosh, fuck you’. “I just need some milk. Is that okay?”

Now everyone watched this drama. Lindsey’s face turned colors. She nodded, put her eyes on sorting this or that at the counter. The two women whispered back and forth, in stylish jackets over jeans and hiking boots. Where were these two city broads headed? The man went to the milk and cheese section, clearly expecting all hell to break loose, clearly expecting a fight to end all fights. Lindsey’s ex? Another cousin? Town pariah? That’s my job, she thought. Hadn’t she lived outside social norms most of her life? Wow, is that true? Yes, it is. I really need some friends to share all this with. Yes, you do. What about Dana? Ugh!

“You two headed for Silver City?” Flower dropped and the two women actually jumped a bit, their hands gripping at their purses. “Nice drive up there.”

“No, we’re not. We’re headed for Portland. Taking the scenic route,” said the blonde one when the brunette tucked her lips inward, nearly making them disappear. “It’s pretty here.” She added lamely. “Real pretty. You expect Oregon to be green. Lots of rocks.”

“Yeah, everyone expects Oregon to be green,” Flower said when Lindsey and the man did not jump in to this fascinating exchange. “I lived in Portland for a bit. When the state took me from my whore mom. She was an actual whore. Took money and everything. She was local town color, so to speak. Ohio? Never been there. It’s one of those states you hear about but don’t really think about. Sort of like Vermont.” Had she not watched Dagwood start up conversations with strangers to get material for his many screenplays? All with the same theme of man’s inhumanity to man. I just have to hit the jackpot once. I just have to hit that sweet spot once, just once. It seemed fitting he had killed himself and given orders to be thrown away like garbage. Except that had not been inhumane. Or was it? “I might go to Ohio. I really like that old show WKRP.”

Two sets of raised eyebrows. Lindsey had her hand pressed to her lips. The man had turned to watch Flower, his face relaxing a bit. He had several moles that did not help his looks at all. “That’s nice.” The blond said, trying not to make eye contact.

“Just the coffee and the gas.” The brunette finally said. Neither had worked the coffee pots yet. “Rhona. Don’t.”

“They’re trying to visit with us,” the blonde, Rhona, said, and oh, it was on! Flower had not lived with Dagwood for nothing. “Town whore? There really isn’t a town here, honey.” Friendly enough tone. Maybe a teacher? A teacher of young tots who called them all ‘honey’ or ‘dear’.

“Flower. Opal, actually, but I decided that old lady name was not for me. She was called Steelie, my mom. Cause she never got tired, you know.” Flower sent a wink to everyone there. The man turned back to picking out milk. But his lips had twitched. “Jordan Valley isn’t big geographically but it’s real big on heart. We got more character here than an Oscar winning slice of life on a small town girl growing up poor. Ever seen that one? It’s nice.”

Now Rhona smiled. “I have seen that one. I’m so glad it won.”

“Rhona!”

“Oh come on, Selma. I’m Rhona, that’s Selma. We’re on our way to this rally in Portland. We wanna make a change, you know? Wanna get involved.”

“Well, sure.” Flower had no idea what rallies would be in Portland or why anyone wanted to try and change anything. Things never changed. They just got layers over the top a bit and then old habits and the way things had always been done broke right back through. Sort of like you could never get all the gunk from under the veggie drawers in the fridge. Life was like the gunk in a fridge, you just threw bleach at it once in a while and hoped for the best. If you even bothered that much. “Should be a good drive up that way. It’s so pretty over there. At least it used to be. Is it still pretty up past the Dalles?”

Lindsey nodded, ringing up the two coffees and now two power bars. “Oh sure. You can cut across, go through Burns, across the middle if you want. But the freeway is probably safer. It’s Dahlls. The Dahlls.”

“Stick to the freeway,” the man chimed in, with his gallon of milk chosen and a dozen eggs as well. These people casually buying food made her head swim a bit. “You won’t get lost. It’s not pronounced like the town in Texas.”

“Oh sure. Thanks. We’re meeting some friends outside Beaverton? Beaverville?” The two shrugged off the correct Oregon pronunciations like tourist pros. Water off a city duck’s back.

“Beaverton. That’s right there.” Lindsey handed back their credit card and the receipt, which Selma tucked away. Jack’s Gas-n-Go cashier had grown considerably frosty. A lot of people in Eastern Oregon hated Portland, however. Damn place full of liberal pansies had been the opinion twenty years ago. More than likely that opinion had strengthened.

“Good. Glad to meet all of you,” Rhona said, her black eyes twinkling. Black eyes against that fake blond hair. But well done fake blond hair. Fox News anchor fake blond hair. “Good coffee!” She had sipped from her disposable cup as Selma marched out of there, clearly wishing her friend or girlfriend or sister or stranger she had found alongside the road at the most bottom part of the nearest mineshaft.

The eggs and milk rang up. Lindsey shaking her head. “Bused in agitators. Globalist money pays for that.”

“They’re two girls looking to hold up signs,” the man said. “You said you’d get more of that dog food in. Dog loves it. They don’t carry it at Matt’s. I guess I can try Amazon.”

“You do that. I have no control over what’s ordered here. And those two were probably paid to go up there and cause trouble.”

“Let’s ask them that. They’re still here. Want me to ask?” The man took his eggs and milk, his change. Flower had yet to make it over to the diner but really, this was better than anything else at the moment. “Now who are you? Your mom was the town whore. My grandpa fucked a dead woman. On the front lawn. I guess I win.” And out he went, as Flower gaped at an actual mythical Wyler. Had to be. Lindsey made a sound between a snort and a gasp.

“I’m sorry. He’s awful. Stan Wyler. Yeah.” Lindsey rubbed at her face, her fingernails innocent of polish. “What a morning.”

Flower took that as her cue to go see Elf about a job. Elf? Oh dear, what was the job giver’s name again? Elbow? Enright? She stepped into the Jackrabbit and it smelled like bacon. Her stomach clanged that she should get some bacon, eat it, so stomach would be happy. A square sort of woman poured coffee into cups, wearing dark brown slacks and a yellow tunic with a rabbit sewn on the back. A smiling happy rabbit. Jackrabbit Diner above that smiling rabbit. A gigantic woman slung hash way back in the kitchen. A man with a perfectly round face and male pattern baldness hurried over to her, with a menu. The waitress nodded, continued to pour coffee, listening to whatever tale the customers sang in her weary ears. “Just one?”

A high voice. Tense about something. Blue eyes but everyone about these parts was German or Dutch or Irish. The Basque ones, well. “Did…did Lindsey tell you I needed a job? I’m Flower Sheffield. Dishwasher? A few shifts?”

“Oh. Oh! Right. Come on back.” He, with a sigh, put the menus down, led her back to the kitchen area where that giant woman stirred a giant cauldron. A Valkyrie witch? “This is Toots.”

“Hi,” Flower said but the man, Elf? led her even further back, to the pantry stocked full of flour and sugar and mustard. Gallon tins of green beans, corn, sausage gravy…they didn’t make their own? “I can work whenever. And you can pay me under the table.” Maybe she had overshot her hand. But he turned to her, his eyes lighting up.

“I’m Ellis Hauter, owner. Well, the bank owns it, I just sorta rent it. Damn banks,” he smiled, winked, she winked back, friendly as could be. “I’d prefer to pay you under the table. Min wage. That okay?”

“You bet. Do I start today?”

“We’re slow right now. Come back in two days, at about six. You’ll be cleaning, too, not just dishes. You know how to run the machine?” He led her to the industrial washer with the long lever and the big red button. Trays that slid through it. “You just load the tray, slide it here, close the door, push the button. Takes about ninety seconds. You might have to hand scrub the big pots. Just keep up when it’s busy. Toots, we having corn bread with that?”

Toots flipped a steak over. “Yep. This the new Leslie?”

“Maybe. I didn’t get your name.”

“Flower. Flower Sheffield. I used to live here. Toots and Elf. Sorry. Ellis. Lindsey over there told me your name but it got stuck in my head as Elf. Sorry.” She smiled, the two smiled back after a bit.

“Oh sure, a Bevins. Your mom married Mustang, oh sure, sure,” Toots said suddenly, her face doughy but oddly attractive. Rather like Liz Taylor gone to seed. Or maybe Sharon Stone gone to seed a bit. Something oddly German and Midwestern gone to seed. Toots also had the appearance of someone able to tear a grown man in half. A rope of golden-ivory hair wrapped about her head underneath a hair net. “Steelie’s kid. Oh sure.” A grim little mocking smile. Ellis shook his balding head. “Your mom was so pretty.”

“She sure was,” Flower said but she was used to being told that. And used to being told, sometimes to her face, how pretty she was not. That no longer stung even a little. No, she was no beauty. Her mother’s life had not been made easier by her pretty face and curvy easily given body. Beauty was not a blessing, she had learned. Not at all. “Are you making corn bread? Corn bread and chili, it’s like a law.”

“I sure am. Should I add jalapenos or not?”

“Not. Just plain. Everything’s hot or spicy these days,” Flower answered and Toots regarded her from her gray-green eyes that saw everything, stored it for gossip later. “I like plain corn bread. With syrup.”

“Okay!” Ellis ushered Flower out of there, and toward the door. “Two days, show up at six. You can meet Sandy then, my wife. I’ll just throw you in the deep end. There’s a list of chores and you keep the tables cleared.”

“Okay. Thank you,” Flower looked around at the diner, which seemed like ever other diner she had ever entered or left. Specials. The smell of meat. A tired looking waitress. Locals slurping joe. “Should I fill anything out? My phone doesn’t have any minutes. Is there a pay phone? I need to call my aunt. I’m staying with her.” Oh the lies, the lies. Her aunt had no idea she was even back in the state.

“Who’s your aunt?”

“Barb Bevins. She still lives here, right?”

Ellis blew out air, then leaned toward her a bit as the waitress eyeballed them. “You don’t want mixed up with that. Maurice and his brother, that’s just a mess.”

Maurice? Had he just said Maurice? Her aunt was shacked up with two brothers? Should she be delighted or horrified her seventy year some old aunt had two boyfriends at the same time? Or maybe it was entirely innocent. Maybe she had adopted two brothers? “Adopted them? She’s not exactly motherly. Susan won’t approve.”

“No no, she and Maurice have been, um, together since last year.”

“It ain’t right or Christian,” Toots added for no reason at all. What a petty little god. To still be keeping revenge tabs on the sex life of a seventy some year old woman. Shouldn’t a god be happy the old girl was still getting some?

“Oh. I haven’t talked to her for longer than I thought. I still need to call her.”

“Give her your phone, doofus,” said an old lady slurping up pancakes. “Men,” and she shook her blue-tinted head, her red lipstick smeared on her shiny teeth. Ellis flushed, then handed over his cell, a big square fake Apple iphone looking number. But so was hers. He showed her the pattern to unlock it. A zee.

“I have her number in my car. I’ll be right back. Thank you. Thank you, miss,” Flower sent to the old lady, who nodded back, pleased at being called a miss.

Had she really just gotten herself a crappy no-account job? Yes, she had! Life was good! She dialed the number. She had two numbers. One for Aunt Tits and one for Dana McCreary. She and Dana had sent emails back and forth for years. They were, to quote Dana, still friends. Flower tried not to notice the many messages waiting to be tackled. Most seemed official, from US Bank. Goodness. Her aunt’s number rang. Then her aunt answered. “Susan! You can’t fool me with this new number! You ain’t getting my daisy ring.” Click! Aunt Tits sounded in fine form. And had that been a chicken in the background? Aunt Tits hated animals.

Try again? Yes. Or she’d be sleeping in her car. “Aunt Tits? It’s Flower! Don’t hang up! It’s Flower.”

“Flower. Flower? Oh. Oh!” Aunt Tits coughed, then shouted at someone else not Flower. “Get that thing out of here. Bleed it in the damn lawn!” The reply told Aunt Tits that it had to be bled into that bowl with the sage burning or else it didn’t count. “Fuck,” Aunt Tits muttered, then spoke again to Flower. “What do you want?”

“I’m visiting. Can I sleep on the couch?”

“Visiting? Call first. Did Susan send you? No! No, get that dog out of here.” Click. Aunt Tits gone, the line dead. She had no gas. How could she get to wherever Tits was? And then get back to the diner? She took the phone back to Ellis, promised she’d be there in two days ready to work for peanuts, then walked back to the mini mart. Lindsey rang up two cowboys who were buying lunch stuff. Bologna, a package of cheese slices, Fritos, Hershey bars and a six pack of Coke. A loaf of white bread. They ambled out, speaking of taking on South Mountain and that herd of bitches. You think we’ll see that buck again? I doubt it, he’s long gone. Two men at peace with the world, who could make their own sandwiches. “Did you get it?”

“Yep. Thanks. How much does the motel there charge?”

“Sixty or so a night, I think. You can try Hetty’s. Bed and breakfast place but it’s more like seventy. Nice place and she’s great.”

Sixty bucks. Seventy bucks. She could try her credit card. There was negative fourteen thousand on it. What did a hundred more or so matter? Ha ha. Tee hee. “Oh. Okay.”

Lindsey looked up from fixing the gum and mints. “You need a place to stay?”

“I need a place to stay. My aunt fell through.” Flower had long ago given up any pride. She’d sleep on a couch here, accept a box of canned spaghetti sauce and extra salty canned green beans there. Pitiful and always in need of intervention from the Red Cross, was her life’s motto.

“Well, sure. She’s mixed up with Satanists. I got a barn. And a goat. But. There’s room in my barn. I got a cot. It’s not far, you can walk to work. It’s private. I just have the one bedroom.”

A job and a place to stay? Was she dreaming? No, sometimes God relented and let a person have some crumbs. That’s what this was. The same God who kept tabs on old lady bed hoppings could also show a bit of mercy. “Really? I can live with anyone. I can pay rent once I start getting paid.”

“Seventy five a month? I mean, it’s just a cot, the barn is cold, you’d be out there with Ethel. That’s my goat. Agnes died. I just have Ethel left. But you can use the bathroom in the house, use the kitchen.” Lindsey patted at her short hair, as if nervous. “I’d like someone else there. My ex husband is a stalker.”

Oh. Oh what now?

“He’s not violent. He just shows up now and then, looks in the window, tears up some flowers. It’s nothing,” Lindsey seemed oddly proud she had a stalker ex. Mostly, such assclowns were scary and murderous. “He’d never bother you. But I’d feel better if you were there.”

“Oh. Sure. I guess. Can I go there now? Where is it?”

“It’s just down Monroe. At the very end, the little white house with the barn. The other house is deserted. Oh, take my key. The other house key is beneath the toad. The cot’s already in the barn. You’re not a liberal, are you?”

Flower did not even hesitate. “Not really anything. Politics are boring. I don’t pay attention to that stuff.”

Correct answer. Lindsey relaxed with a visible slump. Lindsey took her ring of keys out of her pocket, took one off, handed it over to Flower. “It sticks a bit. Just jiggle it. Oh. I don’t have a mattress for that. I can get one from Jimmy. My brother. He might have one. Don’t mind the goat.”

“I won’t. I can use blankets for a mattress or whatever.”

“Cool. I’ll be off at four.”

Flower hoped her car had a bit left to get her to her new digs.

***

The car managed to get her to Lindsey’s house. A small square box of a box, rather ugly, with a chinmey. The barn looked made of tin foil. A driveway covered with large gravel, the lawn patchy. A fenced in area where a goat gazed at her from cat-slit eyes. A large white goat chewing laterally. “Hello, goat.” Flower went to the barn, which was just a rather flimsy-seeming metal shell held up by metal poles. Double doors. Yes, a space for the goat, with a bag of Goat Pellets leaning against the wall. A shovel, a rake, a snow shovel. A bag of salt. The water trough well filled, the food dish also held bits of carrot and what had to be cabbage or lettuce. A child’s ball. Did the goat play with it? The goat pushed through the plastic strips hanging down that covered the opening someone had cut for the goat to go to and fro. It walked to the fence, a metal fence, and eyed her. “I’m your new roommate. Hi. I’m Flower. And you are?”

The goat let out a string of what had to be goat curses, then butted the fence, then wandered back outside.

“Great. We’re gonna have so much fun,” Flower saw the frame of the cot, an Army cot perhaps. It leaned against the wall, by the bales of straw and the one bale of hay. Lindsey took care of her odd pet or maybe she intended to eat the goat. People did eat goats. How could you kill one? It would judge you so even after death. The cot had a bad leg but otherwise, a cot. Narrow and squeaky. She set up her bed, began bringing in her clothes, her two pairs of shoes. At least she could walk to work.

The house proved still and rather off-putting. Unnaturally tidy for a woman who lived alone. A wood-burning stove. A small couch, a kitchen table in the tiny kitchen. A framed print of an impossibly flowery meadow with a broken down Conestoga in the dead center. White curtains with a red trim. A small television set, with a cable box. No computer? A bookshelf with titles by Fox News hosts and conservative shouters. The War on Jesus. Enemies of the State. Nutty Nuts and the Lying Liars Who Lie. Liberalism, the Same Old Insanity. Other titles that made Flower’s eyes hurt. She dared peek into the bathroom. A shower. A washer and dryer in the very back room, with stacks of storage boxes for company. Christmas, one was labeled. How sad. That Lindsey would take out her Christmas decorations, put them up, then take them down. Did no one else show up to enjoy them? Or maybe Lindsey just went through the motions. Maybe she put up Christmas stuff when it was near Christmas because not to meant a break in the entire social order of Jordan Valley and America itself.

Flower decided a shower would help this sense that she dreamed this entire morning. It’s a lazy cop out, Dagwood had scoffed. If you have to use a dream to explain something, it’s just a cop out. Dreams don’t explain shit. It’s just the jumble your brain has left at the end of the day. Like leftovers. Flower used her own remaining shampoo and the Dollar Store body wash she had packed into the little bag of her personals. Tooth paste, body wash, cheap shampoo, a comb. What else did a woman on the lam need? Was she on the lam? For real. Yes, she was. The cops might not care about some deadbeat who could no longer make payments, after having trouble finding a job that was more than fourteen hours a week. Trying to work three jobs had proved almost impossible and getting fired from two of them had proved the final nail in her coffin. Fired due to budget cuts but still. You can’t make a five hundred dollar payment if you only make about three hundred or so a month, which had to cover rent, food, gas. Gas to get to work. The bus pass, sure. But that meant not being able to take other jobs since trying to get to them on buses proved impossible. It meant getting up at three in the morning to catch early buses as the buses never seemed to run on time. To get to some four hour shift at the halfway house.

Out to the barn she went, shivering a bit with her wet hair. Food. She could pilfer scraps from plates at the diner. Maybe work out a deal with Elf. It would help her save if she could just take scraps from customer plates. A lawyer needed to be paid the full amount before he or she would even start a bankruptcy process. That Pasadena lawyer had wanted almost two thousand. You don’t have anything, a Chapter Seven. Paid up front lawyer fees. Who had an extra two thou when one was flat dead fucking broke? What kinda system…? “I’m gonna need a coat.” She did not have a heavy winter coat and it got cold here. With snow. A month or so from now, there’d probably be snow. Thrift store. Was there one here? Probably not. Dana might be able to give her a lift to Ontario. A few shifts at the Happy Rabbit and she could just fill her tank with the good good gas, then motor there herself. Maybe head to Homedale or even Nampa. There might be a Savers or a giant Salvation Army in Nampa by now.

Write up a list of what had to be done. Oh wait, if she got nicked for the Dagwood thing, she’d need another lawyer or maybe the other lawyer could work some justice for the little people magic. For a hefty fee she’d have to work three years while living on an egg a day to pay for it. And she needed to put minutes on her phone. “It’s all going to be wonderful.” Her voice bounced off the metal walls. Mice scurried in and out of the hay. A hawk cried and screeched. Something died soon after that.

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This is my pic. From up around Succor Creek, Idaho/Oregon border area.
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My pic. The Succor Creek Recreation Area. Idaho-Oregon

Shivering

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Hey, can I chew on that electrical cord? Can I?? Can I??

Happy December. I wrote the following ‘a while back’ when I lived in Maryland. Pre- 9/11. The kitten has been up since two thirty. So, too, have I. 

 

SHIVERING

Shivering, I am always cold
or always hot,
sometimes mildly comfortable for a few hours.
I like how socks look on my feet.
As if my feet were small, delicate and fashionable.
However, they are wide, callused and stubby,
but they get me around.
Which is what feet are supposed to do.
Poor feet, I am always losing my socks.
Sometimes they don’t match, sometimes they have holes,
sometimes they’re new socks.
Will I be old someday, still looking for a matching pair
of foot coverings?
Wandering about in some room that no longer exists,
looking underneath imaginary chairs for my socks?
Calling out, as if they will answer.
I’m cold.
Come do your job.
I’m shivering.
Naughty socks, to hide that way
from an old insane lady.

Micro

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A sunset in Eastern Oregon

A few micro fiction attempts of mine. 

 

SUGAR AND FIRE

Is there is anything as sugar-sweet as first love? Maybe an actual slice of carrot cake with cream cheese frosting comes close. I, at fifty-four, had finally succumbed. Oh, the resistance to the universe itself! My avoidance of others, my shyness a shadowy wall others seldom wished to try and climb. She takes my hand. We watch the world burn together. The delight in her eyes beneath the sorrow we both manufacture. Our honey laughter as we nod solemnly. The delight we succumb to as we sink to the oily dirt to couple like snakes in a famous garden. We drown in sugar and fire.

 

VENEER

Lulu opened the box marked Veneer. The curled up skeleton of her father’s cat. The claw marks on the thick cardboard. But Veneer had not been a young strong cat when put into the cardboard tomb. “I killed my cat for your mother,” Kaleb said. Lulu folded the leaves back into place, traced the old duct tape remnants. “She asked me to prove if I loved her. What can I do, I asked. What can I do? Your mother held Veneer in her arms. She held him out to me, my trusting little Veneer. Always such a small cat. Kill him for my sake. I want to be your goddess. I command you to kill him. For my sake. So I did, Lu. I did. A box, some duct tape. Quiet then the stink. Then just quiet.”
“Love is bigger than cats,” Lulu replied. “My new stepfather doesn’t get that.”

 

DRUNKEN BEES

Bloom hated her name. She had a tattoo of the devil on her arm to remind her she was not some flower or houseplant. Be nice, her nice mother counseled without an ounce of pity. One day, as stories often start, Bloom noticed a tree. A little plum tree with white-petaled glories full of drunken bees having orgies and feasts. Her fingers ran along the back of a bee, but it melted away to the next blossom’s well. I wish to be the bee, not the flower, Bloom decided. She cut off her princess long hair, she wandered the world looking for herself. Time passed with enjoyment, with sorrow; she tasted almond candies in Marseille, she slapped a bear in Canada. I am Bloom blooming, she often said, then got it written on the back of her latest lover. On her deathbed, she held out her hand. Bring me a plum tree full of drunken bees. I want to start this all over again. Her fingers ran over the air. I wrote my name in the skin of this world. I wrote my name.

Death Rattle Cat Rant

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Death Rattle, Nampa, Idaho Oct 4-6, 2019

October. Halloween. We’re approaching my favorite holiday. My pumpkins were eaten alive by bugs. It’s cold here.

And I will be mingling with other humans this weekend. Dread is my main emotion, frankly. I have pretty much turned into cat lady practically sealed inside a dwelling with her stacks of TV Guides from the 80’s. Remember those???

You could read, ahead, what was gonna be on TV! Do the crossword puzzle. I don’t know, it’s been a while. Remember magazines? Ah! The only reason I actually go to a doctor is to sit and read Sunset or Reader’s Digest. What are they wearing in Aspen for the 2002 Fall season? Laughter really is the best medicine. So why am I here when I can cure whatever’s wrong with my heart rate by just laughing at it?? I’d save myself getting weighed, then having to wait for whatever pills big Pharma…Anyhoo!

Oh, cat lady attempted joke. Then distracted by TV Guide nostalgia. Then dad jokes about magazines in general. I am so woke. 

Dread in dealing with others.

I will have to do small talk, maybe. If I talk to anyone. I might not. But I am manning a booth. [Womanning?] I’m selling, I’m a salesperson for a few hours this Caturday.

I don’t have a cat, I should not make cat jokes.

I haven’t even seen any cats about, we used to have them all over. There used to be cats that lived with us. I remember a cat of ours that got trapped by the hammock. That was one mad cat once we got it cut out of the strings.

Another cat from way back adopted my mother at a sale barn where she was buying pigs. It brought my mother her kittens. People were glaring at her cause this calico kitty was VERY LOUD AND INSISTENT that my mother was its goddess and reason for being. Alice lived with us for many a year, the best mouser ever. She lived outside. I don’t remember if she got spayed, she probably did. Our animals did not go about having loads of babies when I was little or when I got older.

Spay and neuter. I worked in animal shelters. SPAY AND NEUTER YOUR GODDAMN PETS. PSA over.

Well, as this post will get maybe just me ticking it as a ‘like’, thank you for reading.

I think I am actually ready for this coming event hawking my wares to the truly indifferent public. I looked up how to get there—it’s just a street over from where I was last year, so that’s good and nice and good. Same exit and everything. Score! My anxiety level will creep high and higher yet as the week winds down. But it will be over by next Monday and then the anticipation and dread of the Mountain Home reading.

I will be in Nampa, Idaho this weekend!!! Road trip! 

I will be shilling my books and some art, and then reading a flash fiction piece on Sunday about a naughty computer program called the Fish Whisperer. Naughty in the PG sense, not X. Sorry.

The Death Rattle Writer’s Festival starts this Friday, runs through Sunday. Okay. Bye!

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from Flickr. Downtown Nampa, Idaho. This is where I will be. Looks like a movie set, almost. Almost. 

 

 

Death Rattle Writer’s Festival

I will be attending the Death Rattle Writer’s Festival in Nampa, Idaho, this first weekend in October. I will be reading a flash fiction piece and manning a booth. I am attempting to SELL STUFF and this time, plan to offer some painted objects as well as my books. I plan to get the bank app on my phone as no one carries cash anymore. Except, um, me. And some business cards! I tell ya, I’m almost a competent adult this time around. 

So plan on my writing about that experience and how it goes.

If you happen to be in Western Idaho and wish to attend:

https://www.deathrattlewritersfest.org/

Nampa is next door to Boise, by the way. Idaho is right next to Oregon. [Some might not automatically know where Idaho is. I get fuzzy on the what states are what back east and geography in general. I am so very American.] 

Some pics of my wares and of course, my two novels are available for e-readers and your real life bookshelves. Cheers, all! And thanks for reading, as always. 

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Salt clay ornaments.
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Close up of salt clay star ornament. 
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It was windy when I was trying to take ‘artistic’ shots of a few of these. 
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I tried to keep them simple, elegant and sparkly. 
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Some painted rocks.