Alice of Oregonlandia

 

So, I’m working on a a sequel to a novel I just finished in December.  Which might be coming out soon, I never know these days. How’s that for vague?? I have about twenty five thousand words for Alice. No idea where it’s going. But it seems to want to go and drag me along behind it. Hurry up hurry up!  So that’s either a good sign or I’m going insane in the membrane. And then I look up and notice my country [the United States of Pre-Civil War II A’Brewin] seems to be exploding in all directions as hard and fast as possible, so I dive  back into my scribbling foray and head off, again, to the shining city on the hill Eighties of Herr Reagan, Dirty Dancing and small town politics. Oh and ghosts, because I’m supposed to be writing about scary things but can’t seem to write anything scarier than the rapid decline of Not-Canada.

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[This is from a protest against the ‘temporary’, did we get a time limit on this ‘temporary’? ban on people coming from several Middle Eastern countries. Here’s the New York Times article on that: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/28/us/refugees-detained-at-us-airports-prompting-legal-challenges-to-trumps-immigration-order.html?smid=tw-nytimes&smtyp=cur&_r=0 ]

See what I mean? And you wonder why other people are defending this who had relatives who came here or who themselves are refugees or recent immigrants or…and then you realize people can justify anything if they try hard enough and want it to be true. Which gives you a case of the cold dead shivers. And makes you want to watch Pixar movies and just wait for the end of it all. So!! Ahem.

I’ll put a bit of Alice in Oregonlandia here, because I’m a shameless huckster now of my own writing, bwha ha ha, ahem, and you can judge me on a first draft effort. Yah? 

  “Because. Mr. Blue is visiting again.”

    My stomach dropped, my skin went cold, I bit my lower lip so hard I nearly severed it. I tasted blood. “Are you shitting me? Why? He always loses when he takes on my mom. Always.” I knew he was about again, but it hadn’t yet been confirmed. That’s why I’d wanted to go to the house and see for myself. Maybe I should call off our Saturday Night Adventure.

     “Maybe he wants his slick girlhog.” Mr. Peepers actually said to me. “Maybe he’s sitting there like a patient toad for a particular slick girlhog.” Those obsidian eyes regarded me moistly. The little gross thing actually did actually love me. And, I was not going to let Mr. Blue scare me. My mom had kicked his ass to the curb, twice now. Didn’t he know to stay away?

     “Oh please, ” I replied, shooing him off my bed so I could sit. He went reluctantly, those little strange feet slapping down, slapping down. Lysette curled up into a little ball of arms and legs. “I’ve seen the horror movies, you freak. Don’t go in the house! And then they go into the house! This is real life, fruitcake. Real life. He’s afraid of girls. I’m supposed to ignore that, Peepers, old friend, ole pal?” I tried to sound tough, to sound smooth and tough and fearless. Because I did not want to go visit that burned down childhood home of mine now. At all. But pride. Pride, man, it’s a bitchkitty.

     Mr. Peepers went to our closet. Lysette and I shared everything, after all. He gave me a look from those awful black eyes of his. Sometimes they had little orange dots in them, as if his eyes were on fire. “That’s what he wants, Missie Alice. He’ll come sniffing out the holes in this house now…JUST YOU WAIT.” The traveler laughed and laughed, slapped his droopy little potbelly and then stalked off into the closet. He had a nest in that house on Clark Boulevard. Where he kept a deck of cards, some socks and other things I made myself forget as soon as he told me. I just like cards, they’re small and slick and pretty, he had admitted one night. I’d wait until mom and my dad were well and truly asleep, not fighting or anything else…and then get up out of bed or off the couch. And play Old Maid with Mr. Peepers or hear stories from the little girls. Rosiecheeks had one story she told–a version of Little Red Riding Hood, where the little girl doesn’t win. The other little girl in that house liked to talk about her doll and the doll’s tongue would come out and try to touch my face. It became a game to not let that tongue touch me. Dirt, what she called herself as she didn’t remember her name at all, would just smile and smile as her doll’s head tried to lick my cheek. It’s not much fun over here, she would complain. It’s not much fun at all. Sometimes the little boys would show themselves, if they weren’t too busy stomping from the back door to mom’s room, over and over. They thought that so funny. Especially if they could get her to wake up and check on the noise.

     But where do you go? I asked Rosiecheeks that once or twice. She didn’t know. Or she didn’t want to tell me. Or she couldn’t tell me. Then, to distract me, she’d go into her version of Little Red Riding Hood, where the little girl dies and no one comes to save her. The wolf licked her blood off the walls and Little Red Riding Hood watched this as she died. That’s where it ended. Every time. The story always started with: A bad little girl in a bright red cloak walked into the forest.

     Why didn’t that little cloaked brat save herself? I never thought to ask that. A wolf is just a big dog. Pick up a stick, fight back.

 

 

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Marching Marching Marching

So, today, January 21, 2017, women and men around the world marched. They marched against an orange little man who would be king. They marched against the rolling back of rights so already hard-won and hard-fought by our great-grandmothers, our grandmothers, our mothers. By our great-grandfathers, our grandfathers, our fathers. By people. People, rather like today, who stepped out and kept stepping, kept stepping.

There is a collective amnesia going on, as well. Why are all those women marching, some ask, with a laugh, a shrug. Women already have a bunch of rights. What rights are they losing? LOL, those dumb women, they should stop playing the victim card. They should calm down. Who knew there were so many ugly women unable to get a date on a Friday night? What about men’s rights? What about the pro-life women or the pre-born women?[Yes, I saw that written all over today and yesterday–” the rights of the pre-born women, what about those rights?” Sometimes I think I’m living in some absurd Beckett play or Orwell is playing  mad prank on us from beyond the grave…]

And so many others eye-rolling and snorting at people marching against such a perceived threat to America, to the world. A man who has said, openly, that he grabs pussies, that he kisses women whether they want it or not. That Mexicans are rapists, that Muslims should be registered, that…oh there’s a list. Others have compiled very detailed and awful lists of what this orange man has said. Who then turned around and denied saying it or had his minions say he never said such and such. That this was what he actually meant. To not pay attention to his words, as Kellyanne Conway said, but to feel what he has in his heart. Something like that, some apologetic impossibility we’re supposed to swallow, swallow, swallow.

And the racists that came out of not really hiding at all. They’ve never really hidden, come on. Come on, America. They’ve squatted in plain sight, waiting for their moment. And with Queen Cheeto, they got it. David Duke celebrating openly and gleefully. Cheeto did not denounce him openly or viciously…if he did, it came far too late. Richard Spencer being punched, an openly open about it NeoNazi. Steve Bannon. Breitbart “News”. Oh fuck, there’s a list, a list of white supremacists with access to the POTUS. We’ve been invaded by Hyrda  and people are celebrating MAGA by excluding nearly all the citizens in the USA…The White House site was suspiciously scrubbed of climate change information, LGTB rights pages, healthcare [ACA], civil rights…America First, which was the rallying cry of antisemite Nazi sympathizers right before WWII. Which Bannon, who wrote that Bane-esque speech KNEW VERY WELL. Stephen Miller helped. White males suddenly felt they had a voice again! I just…I just splutter between laughing and weeping, a sort of strangled coughing comes out.

But.

I saw a woman post a very long, obviously copied and borrowed from somewhere else, screed on how real women don’t complain or march or speak out or cause problems or rumble or notice much at all, apparently. Because we already have all the rights, we women, so why are SOME WOMEN being so silly and saying we don’t when Queen Cheeto– I will never call that thing by its name, it’s childish, but hey– hasn’t even done anything yet and hey, he had a woman run his campaign and he…oh there was this indignant little list of how great Queen Cheeto was and how inclusive he was of women and so forth.

And my reaction to that? Mm. Yeah, except all those rights you listed– to have a job, your own bank account, work outside the home, go to school, earn your own money and buy stuff like houses and land and big ticket items, vote, have a voice in elections at all…ALL CAME FROM WOMEN AND MEN MARCHING, SPEAKING OUT AND TRYING TO CHANGE THINGS. Like, oh, they are now. In Los Angeles and Chicago and Portland and Boise and Seattle and Atlanta and New York City and Paris, France and London, England and…all over the world. As someone pointed out, they haven’t seen marches and outcries and such like this since the days of Vietnam. A lot of women seem really embarrassed by this attention other women are yanking toward us as a sex. That’s fine. But we need to remember that our present-day rights are very fragile and can be yanked away and will be yanked away if we are not vigilant. We take them for granted. We don’t remember that we’ve only been voting since 1920 or so. That it was illegal in the sixties to get birth control if you were single. That sexual harassment was okay until almost 1980. That a woman couldn’t have her own bank account, in her name only, until the mid to late seventies. That spousal rape was okay until the 1990’s. Look it up. Obtaining a divorce. Being allowed to keep working after getting married. Abortion rights. The right to have a say over your own body. Barriers in sports, in education, in male-dominated fields…all shattered by women willing to speak up, out and make a fool of themselves if they had to.

These things, banking, voting, birth control, abortion, career, education, holding public office, driving,  and other things!!  were all fought bitterly over [they still are] and if we little ole gals ain’t careful, will be rescinded as neatly and surgically as possible for ‘our own good’. So that women ‘are protected’. So that we women ‘are safe’. Oh the buzzwords and comforting chains offered!

Oh and it’s okay to march if we’re pretty or in some way acceptable, of course. [Note the language cast toward the marchers– ugly bitches, cunts, loud-mouthed twats, dykes, lesbos, professional victims, whiny bloodbags, must all be on the rag, etc. etc.] Language meant to demean, cut down, shame women for wanting anything other than what we’re told we should want. Or that we, allegedly, already have. [And that we should forget how hard-fought those earlier fights had to be to even get a foothold in the door, as it were. Not a few days, but hundreds of years, if not thousands, for women to be treated as human beings. Or…as men get treated without a second thought from anyone.]

I am so glad to see such an outcry. That our great republic is not dead yet nor is decency, compassion and outrage against injustices great or small. I am glad that passion still exists to try and change a wrong. Change is painful and comes at a cost. We’ve forgotten the cost our great-grandmothers and strangers alike paid so long ago. We don’t learn from history. We have to learn the same painful lessons over and over. Those rights we take for granted and get complacent about or ignorant as to just how and why we have those rights today…can be snatched away by pussy-grabbing king wannabes, by dead-eyed zealots who want their version of a murderous, awful god to be our god, too…and they’ll do it to Make America Great Again and make us thank them, on our knees, telling them how great they are, how great they are, how great, how great.

Loyalty was demanded by Queen of the Cheetos. Loyalty. Like I and other Americans are dogs, not citizens.  Fuck you. That’s my answer. Because I live in a society that might wince at my use of a cuss word [ladies shouldn’t cuss, right?] but still appreciates a show of resistance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here in Gracias, Lempira, Honduras

 

 

Hi. Hi, Honduras.

It’s hot here. There are giant cockroaches. And geckos call for mates from my ceiling. Chickens wander by in the early morning cool, peer at me as I peer at them. Wasps buzz against the screened windows, but they seem oddly gentle, not the aggressive American wasps that like to sting and sting, then come back and sting you again. Black wasps that just mind their own beeswax. The road in front of my small pink house is rutted, rocky, a dirt road. A man parks his moto right in front of my door each night– a little three-wheeled vehicle that you can hire to take you from here to there for about ten ‘ limps ‘ as the teacher from Kansas calls Honduran money.

They have the same motos in Bangkok– called tuk-tuks.

Today I will try and buy some fruit, fresh veggies and rice. Possibly get some more dry erase markers for teaching. Practice my bad Spanish on the tolerant people who live here.

It’s quite peaceful here. There are military police everywhere, but that’s apparently common. They walk around in their camo and guns– giant machine gun-looking weapons hanging from straps over their chests. I am not used to seeing military personal walking around as if they are in a war zone.

The teachers at the school are all younger than I am. So I won’t go into that here. But I am old and well seasoned, like leftovers. And they are fresh and green, like a cup of flour not yet mixed into cookie dough.

I’ll leave it there and expand this a bit later.

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