Take Backs

Up on Bullycreek Road, Westfall, Oregon

Carrot dangles.

Oh we’re going with your bit of writing! We LOVES IT, PRECIOUS. Here’s some promises and possible money paid TO YOU for YOUR WRITING.

Excitement! My writing in a short film. And hey, can use the money, frankly. Cause I’m poor and money is a distant dream most of the time.

And then? Radio silence. Silence. Seven days of waiting for them to get back to me. Waiting.

Still waiting as I go about my soul-crushing, car-destroying temp job. Yeah, I had another bad tire yesterday. Fuck. Knock it off, car gods. Enough. Leave me alone. Go bother someone in a Mercedes or one of those Land Rover tanks.

And then, ah, message from film makers!!! Squee!!!

Wait, what? What now? You’re…going with someone else.

Hey, you’re still a good writer, but we’re totally going with someone else and hey, forgot to mention we were still in the ‘still looking at shit’ stage of our process.

Okay, I’m fine with rejection. Sort of. It stings. Mm. Who really enjoys being told their work is not acceptable or not right for blah dee blurgh or just not a good fit or…?

Are there actually people who love getting such messages or form letters or pat croonings about how they should keep writing? Followed by links to give money to the very thing that just rejected you often times or launch party for all the writers but you that are in whatever.

Are you kidding or high, editors? Don’t do this. I think there are entire wings of the internet dedicated to bashing just this.

What I’m having a problem with here, OTHER THAN THE REJECTION, is that this team made it seem this was a done deal. Not that it was in the initial stages and other works were being considered yet. It felt…dishonest. If that makes sense.

If you’re gonna dangle a carrot, make it a vague carrot, my lovelies.

Just a simple: Hey, we liked your X, are considering it, along with other pieces, for our project. We’ll let you know.

[And then never contact me again, if you go another way. Hey hey!]

To sum up this bitch session—DO NOT DANGLE THE CARROT if you wanna go another way or might go another way or there’s the possibility of going another way.

Just don’t.

It just ruined my entire night. I felt like crap after an already crappy day.

I admit that freely here. That’s life, sure. But…yanking the rug out like that just seemed careless and cruel. Writers already labor often times with little or no reward for their life long efforts.

Just…don’t dangle carrots promising a job or a bit piece that earns you a little cash or might give you a bit of a boost. Don’t dangle that carrot then offer the carrot elsewhere if there’s the possibility that it’s not a done deal. Thanks. That’s all. 

Just don’t. It’s just salt thrown on often open festering wounds.

Damn. I am gloomy this morn.

Oh, so next post I will talk about MY NEW NOVEL.

Aftermath: Boise, Idaho.


To Post or Not to Post

yakima river.jpg
The Yakima River. Not sure who took this or what year this is. Washington State.

Hi again. Double post. Sorrynotsorry whatever. 

I always hesitate about posting some long rambling ranty rant that goes in every direction at once. Most of the time I don’t post those. Thank me with chocolate. I’ll also take your spare change or that coupon that’s stuck to your garbage can for two for one cans of creamed corn at the Piggly-Wiggly. That would mean a road trip for me, but I will accept out of date Piggly-Wiggly coupons because I didn’t post some unreadable screed on postmodern-retro tropes in feminist Marxist socialist anarchist subgenres of indie films that start with the letter J. 

However, sometimes I need to clear the writing pipes. 

As I’ve been uncharacteristically not writing at all lately, any sort of attempting to write seems a triumph. An actual triumph over my lackluster, nearly dead and gone to hell already spirit. 

So yeah, posting the occasional heavy-handed scream against the evils of the universe is gonna happen. Along with updates on my cat and my garden and the state of my sludge-slapped brain. What else, I ask ya, is a blog fer??? 

I am also trying to force myself to just write something, anything. To get back into practice. It’s very hard to concentrate. I have projects I need to get done that in years past I’d have whipped out,  many times over. I was oddly very productive once upon a time. It’s galling now. 

So yeah. Trying not to care how unpopular and unseen my writing is. I expected so much more by the time I hit this age and I can’t seem to slap myself into working toward fixing that at all right now. Just want to sleep. 

Just wanna sleep. 


afterward: thank you as always for reading my stuff. I appreciate it. 






Zooey, played by Jane Levy. Mitch, Peter Gallagher. Zooey’s Extraordinary Playlist, NBC

I thought I was prepared for the finale of Zooey’s Extraordinary Playlist, the singing show. Where the manic pixie girl watches/hears people singing songs while dancing; usually about their inner thoughts. If you don’t know this show, it’s fine. This is not a review of it nor do you need to have an intimate knowledge of the minutia associated with this series.

The gut-wrenching heart of this show is Zooey’s dad dying. He has PSP, he’s non-verbal, he’s sliding slowly toward the grave. Or not so slowly, as the disease seems determined to ravish him, as diseases do. Odd choice for a generally happy idea show. To have the dad be robbed of movement and voice, and have this so darkly reflect in the lives of the characters. And how honest this show was about, well mostly, about what it’s like to have someone you love dying day by day by day. How fucking hard that is.

Where you clean up after them. Where you find yourself giving shots. Doing meds. Changing bedding right after an accident. Where you check tubes to make sure they’re not blocked. Where you hope the biggest hopes ever at the slightest uptick of progress. Maybe death won’t have to be faced so soon.

So, the finale of Zooey.

I sat there, watching. I thought it would be cutesy or they’d try something lighthearted or not so goddamn real.

That’s what this episode, despite all the singing and dancing and frothy who will Zooey choose man collection…got so right. How unreal, floaty, numbing and confusing death is when it arrives. Even when expected. Even when death sits on our couch to wait with us. It’s still a wrenching shock, a cry against something so ghastly unfair. It’s not welcome, it’s not that welcome friend at all.

I wept. I don’t mean the sniffing and tears of an ordinary sad or even that episode where something lovely happens, that longed for couple gets together or whatever. I mean weeping. Wrenched from me. This was like looking down at my mother, in the ICU, hooked to machines. How it wasn’t her anymore. It wasn’t her. That meat and bone and skin was not my mother. Where she was, she was not present in that round cool place in the heart of Boise, Idaho.

And knowing she had been gone a while before that fateful last day of hers. That I had missed her going. That I had spent more than a year of my life trying to keep her alive. That the cancer eating her up won. Won such a decisive victory. That I was the one who decided when the machines got turned off. That I had to make such a decision at all. 

And my anger, my confusion, my utter blood-soaked pain. I heard no music. I didn’t get a sign she was ‘okay now’. I didn’t get the last words that told me…she knew her horrible daughter had done her best. I didn’t get to tell her.

So many things.

One thing the Zooey finale got wrong was how neat and tidy death seems. That the transition from life to death is such a tidy affair. It was hinted, by the caretaker to the dad, that death is messy, awful, terrible. An actual truth. They’d done the episode picking out plots and coffins. This family seems made of money so there’s nothing about the sheer cost of death itself.

Just a few thoughts on a show I’ve enjoyed thoroughly. It broke into my inner little sanctum, and I relieved those moments waiting to hear my mother had died. How that still seems as fresh as a bouquet of funeral daisies.  

No Bleach

IMG_20200413_133609 (2).jpg

Yesterday, it was theorized that people try ingesting cleaning products to cure the virus having its way with America. Not to mention the other parts of the planet…Okay!


It’s poisonous. It will cure the virus because you will be dead. But that’s rather extreme, dontcha think?

And sunlight? It also won’t do much more than give you a sunburn. Sorry.

So I saw all that flurry yesterday caused by these batshitteries and…

This is where we are now as a country? Debunking loony pronouncements by the POTUS that will actually kill people if followed? Yes, indeedy. That’s where we are. Been there for a while.

At Thursday’s White House coronavirus taskforce briefing, the US president discussed new government research on how the virus reacts to different temperatures, climates and surfaces.
“And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute,” Trump said. “One minute! And is there a way we can do something, by an injection inside or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it’d be interesting to check that. So, that you’re going to have to use medical doctors with, but it sounds interesting to me.”


I couldn’t even begin to write something approaching the levels of WTF here. Fiction has to slink off and lick its wounds after trying to compete with the actuality of hey, inject or drink bleach, whaddya got to lose?

Sipping coffee, considering where to plant the rosemary, rejoicing that my bachelor button’s are sprouting, happy I got some cheap manure and generally in a spring frame of mind. Instead of, oh, writing. I did get off three submissions yesterday. I plan to write today, even if it’s just a paragraph. Bad habits lately, not writing lately, wonder why that is…mmm.

No, I can’t blame the VIRUS for my utter disinterest in writing. I get into cycles where I write a lot, then just don’t, then write a lot, then eh…that’s all this is. I also need to dust off a project, give myself a deadline, then go from there. Oooh!

I have a stack of novels I need to work on, for instance. I need to rework short stories, spruce them up, trim, throw out and start over, etc! Poetry needs to be written!

Jaws the cat is doing splendidly. She is now twice as big as she was, with a gorgeous shiny coat overlain with ginger tones. A sort of tabby with auburn patches. I don’t know my cat coats. She’s sort of striped with orange patches here and there. Short-hair. The dogs are bored! The fields around the house use drip irrigation as well as being organic so dogs not welcome at all. Normally I would take them out in the afternoon, for a jaunt down the bank and into the fields so they can hunt rodents.

To sum up this hodgepodge—DO NOT DRINK OR INGEST OR SHOOT UP BLEACH INTO YOUR BODY. No!! Bad!! Sunshine is not a miracle cure, either. Sorry. I am not in a writerly frame of mind but will overcome that by opening files, staring at words, perhaps doing more than that. The cat is well, the dogs want to get out and run.

I don’t know who came up with this but I laughed, then I burst into tears. 


America seems to have lost what little mind she had. This is common rhetoric lately. The Red Scare, y’all. 
This one won’t die. That the virus is bio-engineered. Ugh. 

Owyhee Days

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.  


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.”


“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

The Joker Hustles

Constance Wu. J. Lopez, Lili Reinhart, Cardi B, Keke Palmer. 

It’s a wee bit cloudy. I’m jonesing for some sesame pork, looking for potato starch at the boxstore of the damned AKA Wal-Mart. It’s a nope on the potato starch, but hey corn starch will do. I walk by the Red Box, slow. Joker is out. I’ve heard it’s great. I’ve heard it’s not great.

Please note that I tried another grocery store before venturing near the Great Box of Death.

I get the spray bottle and cheaply cheap corn starch. I decide, yes, I will rent some flicks. I got some small royalties in. I have to wait for the slow boomers poking at the screen to get done. I do mean poking. Muttering, snorting, poking at the touchscreen like something out of, well, a movie.

I rent two. Hustlers, with Jennifer Lopez. And yes, Joker, with Joaquim Phoenix. Actual physical have to take the movies home and then return them old-fashioned rentals, even! How quaint!

So. Hustlers. I have no idea what the story is. Something about sex workers? I remember, vaguely, Lopez was fantastic in it, a ‘real’ surprise. Um. She can actually act when given a decent script, y’all. Out of Sight, hello.

Hustlers, with Constance Wu as well in it, is the tale of strippers hustling Wall Street guys from about the 2000’s until the hustling hustlers got caught. Based on a true story. We get that these women are friends, they look out for each other, that they are trying to pay bills, take care of their kids and families, have lives. This is done subtly, just part of the conversations as they get ready for work in the dressing room or on breaks. At the heart of this film is the friendship that develops between Ramona and Destiny. And the question—how real is it? As Ramona knows all the tricks, is a slick, very good hustler who knows how to read the men around her to empty their wallets. Is she just using Destiny or is there an actual connection there?

Lopez plays a seasoned, been there, done that pro who takes the newcomer, Wu, under her fur-covered wing. And Lopez struts her stuff and then some. She gathers a gang as the fortune’s of the strip club decline, due to the recession that hits, and the four decide to hustle Wall Streeters without having to do much more than smile and drink. I don’t want to give away the plot more than that. There’s betrayals and trust broken and a truly quiet heart-breaking moment near the end. Well done. Well done, Hustlers!



What can I say that has not been hashed out until the cows dance home covered with greasepaint?

I could not stop watching Phoenix. More to catch moments when he was just being, not ACTING. The story, eh. White guy gets ignored; already nuts, gets more nuts, sad, bang bang, Batman villain.

I should write movie plots for a living. 

So a stray thought after the movie ended. What if Batman is a figment of Arthur’s imagination? What if there’s no Gotham superhero? What if Arthur made up an arch nemesis to make himself seem more important? As he spends the entire film doing what now? Oh yeah, imagining how important and loved he is. 

Kind of like the Buffy episode where she thinks she’s in a mental hospital just imagining she’s the slayer. [Normal Again, Season Six]

Buffy chooses her reality, we’re left a bit…oh crap, what if she’s actually just some insane young woman with these dark delusions? Then season seven happens and you sort of long for season six. For season six to reassure you most of season seven is just a fever dream from season two. If anyone gets that, they are true Buffy fanatics.

I kept waiting for the Joker to give me more, I guess, is my take on this. Yes, Phoenix delivers his usual stellar totally immersed in it performance. He’s ACTING. He starts at eleven and goes to twelve. He never let us forget that he’s ACTING DAMN IT.

Not. One. Time.

This is his There Will Be Blood on steroids role. He channeled his inner Daniel Day Lewish, and are we not entertained? Oh my gosh, imagine Russell Crowe in this. Or Tom Hanks! TOM HANKS AS THE JOKER. Oh my lordy, Hollyweird– MAKE THAT HAPPEN.

Back to Phoenix, who is this generations De Niro. Bwha ha ha ha. It snowed, I’m a bit giddy. There’s chocolate in the house. Okay!

It’s uncomfortably repellent to watch his character. Yet it’s reassuringly ‘this is every crazy guy since Travis Bickle’ at times as well.

De Niro appears in this as a talk show host—which is why I kept flashing to Taxi Driver?

I also had another THOUGHT. What if this is the director’s ode, subconscious or not, to Taxi Driver? I am so damn original it slays me. Get it, Buffy fans?

A lone, socially awkward man with delusions about life, women and fame, turns into a criminal/hero uneasy mixture while committing murders.

The lone wolf vigiliante gunman the peasants can rally around trope/archetype/American masturbation go-to. 

The Joker torches off actual protests in a city run by rich fat cats, Bruce Wayne’s dad being the fattest cat of them all. Where the poor might actually start eating the rich at a moment’s notice. Gee.

Those opposing what the rich are doing are painted as thuggish criminals with clown masks on. Um. Gulp. The scenes with the throngs of what looks like men seem lifted straight out of a medieval painting about hell. Fire, leering demons with strange fixed faces, violence, chaos, destruction of property. Might as well call the clown-masked protesters Antifa and rake in the cash. Have narration provided by Handtitty or Fucker Carlsfart.

A Bosch? Not sure. 
The planned protests in Joker turn violent…

This film seems more about comforting those in charge, than upsetting any actual apple carts. It offers nothing new or insightful.

Do we sympathize with this repellent character or root for the repellent other side on all this? What are we supposed to do here?

All while setting up how a white savior in a bat suit will return Gotham to Law and Order and get those Family Values back into hearth and home.

Protestors, schmo-testors! Let them eat cake. They’re all nuts who just want to burn everything down. The Jews are probably behind all that…Sorry. I’m crossing my streams. Yes, that is a Ghostbusters call out. Yes, it is. 

Sure, this film reads almost like right wing propaganda. Almost. Strangely, there’s three Wall Street guys, employees of Wayne Enterprises, who set off the clown stuff. With people shrugging, going, eh, who cares, they deserved it. Rather like the sentiments in Hustlers. I somehow picked out two Fuck Wall Street movies. Except. Wall Street wins in both movies. The hustlers face consequences, Arthur Fleck faces consequences, Wall Street hustlers and murders without a care in the world. Yeah. I need some cake.

note--The sesame pork turned out really good. So proud of myself there. And of course after spring-like warm weather, last night it snowed. Teach me to rent movies I have to old-fashion return to the nearest Red Box. 


Emo Joker! 


Daisy Ridley as Rey. Adam Driver as Kylo Ren

Welp. I attended the latest [last?] Star Wars event. I’m not a die-hard fan so enjoyed it. There ya go. My review. I thought the ending seemed rushed, but overall, enjoyed it. You don’t go to a Star Wars movie for…deep savage film making meant to tear the spine out of your soul, after all.

I don’t, anyway.

I go for ‘things blow up’, light saber fights with that wonderful hummy/buzzy sound and scruffy space pirate-cowboys fighting slick Nazi-Empire shits. With a soapy soap opera sort of sheen to it all.

Do the current three movies match the real Star Wars movies? No. That zeitgeist done come and gone, y’all. And that’s okay.

Do I wish they’d left the Star Wars saga at Eps IV, V and VI? Hell to the yeah.

We won’t bring up the Three that just make people weep, yank their hair out and scream why o why to an uncaring Hollywood set of Rascal Gods.

There didn’t seem to be the overall feeling of competent, smart, capable women this time around in the Rise of Skywalker. Rey, to me, is a fairly flat, static character. She had nowhere to go. She started at point A, ended at point B.2 or so. A blip. There’s nothing tearing her apart; not really. The stakes…seem tiny here for Rey. 

Kylo Ren, of course, had much more to work with. I thought Adam Driver made every scene better he was in. I also thought Daisy Ridley did what she could with Rey.

Finn. Poor Finn. He spent the entire film yelling Rey’s name, then…spoiler spoiler. You can go watch this yourself to see what happens to Finn. And then I heard the actress playing Rose—a character I really liked from TLJ, got written out or nearly cut out. Why?? I’m not going to go look up why. Politics, fan boy whimperings, who knows.

Back to Rey. Why why why did the writers do that to her? Was this planned from the get go or just thought of ten seconds before slapping people in front of green screens? It would have had so much more impact to have her be an actual nobody, a cast off orphan, a thrown away child who grew to find her worth and way in the world. That’s a goddamn hero’s journey, fucktwits. There’s, like, an arch and everything.

Some out of the blue, out of left field WTF curve ball…eh, no.

It didn’t work. Sure, it’s a space soap opera but you have to, still, set things up.

Poor Rey has a straight trajectory here. Her suffering is very little. She learns very little if anything at all. She’s good. She’s dullishly good. We know she’s good because that’s the point hammered home for three fucking movies. Ugh a bug. I was kinda hoping she and Kylo were gonna switch sides…She’d fuck up in a giant crucial battle, let everyone down and just implode. Kylo Ren would start distancing himself from the order, plagued by doubts and what he’s done. Switcheroo!

Drama based on human actions, not deux ex machina plot devices that not even beginning screen writers would trot out with a straight face.

Again, I don’t think this is Ridley’s fault. She got handed the usual girl hero part…Hollywood and story writers of all stripes tend to make them unbearably dull, earnest, joyless and…Gamora-esque.

There are exceptions—Wonder Woman got to be flawed, funny, strong yet tender; Xena had her goofy moments and an actual journey, um…Elizabeth Bennett.

Adam Driver as the grandson of Darth Vader.

But Rey, oh dear. There’s no spark written in.

Carrie Fisher had that in spades, so Princess Leia benefited from Fisher’s sheer, forgive me, force of character. She didn’t fade into the background against Ford and Hamill. There was something sexy and warm and faceted about Leia. She was also smart, capable and a powerhouse. Again, that was probably just Fisher being Fisher. I wanted that swagger, that don’t know if Rey will choose good or evil, that flair of a living person with many layers. I got…a plodding central character surrounded by colorful sidekicks.

Just some quick thoughts. I did enjoy the trilogy and am glad I saw them on the big screen. I enjoyed the nostalgia. Of which Star Wars has by the oodle-load.


Idris Elba as…I don’t care, I have to see a movie with that in it. Come on!

I don’t know why I’m invoking my very tame Lutheran Jesus here but it sounded funny in my head.

I survived Christmas with the notion I will skip it next year or at least skip the spend time with other people part. People make me feel bad. Lesson learned. My arc is rather flat and static, too, Rey.

1977. And so it begins…

Death Rattle Cat Rant

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!

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



Late night

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Stacks of straw made from the wheat stalks. The Malheur Butte. 

Okay. It’s close to midnight. And something evil…no. No, I won’t go into Thriller. But I did open a can of worms. They are wriggling about on two different fronts. I made a comment. I checked who was following me on Twitter and discovered a flat earther/young earther idiot of idiotic proportions. Damn.


And with those lurking about lookin’ for trouble right here in River City!

Now!! I made the mistake, I admit it, of commenting about feminism with someone who called themselves an equalist because the ‘f’ word is so toxic…which was the subject of the youtube video, by the way. Not. Even. Kidding.

So the first interaction with the guy who made the comment went fine. It was polite and measured, we both had fun. I kept myself polite and respectful. Which if you know me is sort of a miracle on the order of loaves and fishes.

Am I being snarky and sarcastic? Uh huh. Was I actually polite? Yes, I was.

So another jumps in…a foaming at the mouth sort typing angrily away about how his daughter isn’t going to pee alongside men because of them equality laws.

Just checked. He left a new comment. I’ll ignore it for now. Cause I’m mature and grown up! 

Yeah, I did that tilt the head, what the hell? expression, face palm, huh? what are you talking about? reaction…before delving into all that.

Which I should have IGNORED SUPER HARD. Or posted pictures of Janet Mock and directed that guy to watch Pose.

He then tried to pretend I was the crazy, hysterical one…as happens in such ‘conversations’.  Men are logical and LOL types, women are hysterical ranters. [That’s the polite term/s. Uh huh.]

After I posted two links to myths about transgender folks, including the bathroom stuff. And linked the hysteria now over LGTBQ gaining rights to the Civil Rights fight to gain rights and even to women trying to get the right to vote. The same fears get trotted out over and over, you notice, you hear/read the same stuff…okay, whatever. Yeah, I’m the crazy loony feminazi, m’kay. He’s the cool-headed, trying to save the kids stalwart!

Talk about a meet-cute!

I, of course, am ‘projecting’ onto this…person. This ranting, hysterical, triggered by a word that has been turned into something worse than ‘cunt’ and almost as bad as the N word.

I get that. I get that ‘feminism’ is a demonized set of syllables. You have to scrape up words that mean the same thing as feminism rather than just use that word. Or you get told you hate men, that you’re for the rape of children in bathrooms and that you hate men and…yeah. I could turn this into a whole novel-length bit.

I will refrain as hard as possible from continuing that rabbit hole of whatever that is. I’ve seen that conversation repeated so many times. It’s so tiresome. I get tired of trying to placate and soothe. Fuck.

Of course. I can play with that poor trout and see how long he can continue that thread.

Now, the science denier chick. That was a head-scratcher as well. Suddenly, on the Twitter feed, between rants about Trumpie the KKKruel KKKlown and vague quotes about writing and animal rescue vids, there appeared…this wild, has to be parody, account touting what got Galileo in trouble for calling out. The earth is the center of it all cause God made the earth for us and…yeah, um, no. With some weird quote from a 60’s book. Which, yes, linked God with creating the planet. Ugh.

I can find it later, splice it in or not.

Mistake, I admit– I commented what the hell was this, was this a parody account. No, she responded and then threw out some science words, mashing them together to “prove” the existence of magic! Holy catnip, Batwoman!

I just went to town on that poor schmuck. I doubt she’ll interact with me again. I did refrain from throwing in swear words. I’m an adult, for fuck’s sake! I’ll ignore her, because I’d rather watch the rescue of a moose calf. It had a hoof caught, at the edge of a lake. In big boulders. These guys got it freed and back to solid ground.

I might just cut down my Twitter to Animal Rescue and Cute Animals Doing Cute Things.

So, basically, the Dodo, Hope for Paws and anything with manta rays. Or manatees. Or moose calves. I’ll keep the writerly stuff and the art stuff. But writers and artists notice when shit goes off the rails, then writes or paints things…damn it.

And yet another shooting, in Odessa, Texas. On the evening before Texas loosens its already loose gun laws…Not even kidding. People seem a lot angrier about all this lately. Anger gets shit done, as Mr. Nancy said on American Gods. Maybe America is finally losing her temper.

Well, I did promise to just promote my writing and arty art all September. Not dissolve into some political rabbit warren [cause it seems every rabbit is digging holes lately and they all live together in some endless fucked up underground Matrix-like hellscape…!] that swerves into ‘why feminists want all men dead and children assaulted in bathrooms’ and ‘Noah’s Ark is, like, totally real cause here’s some super-serious science words thrown out so we now have the same evidence which should make you believe in whatever I can twist out next, m’kay…’

Late night. It’s hot. Hello, September.



Rejection’s Poster Gal

Three dogs, one river. Miz Bridge, Jake in the middle and Molly the Chocolate Lab. Owyhee River.

Hello, various readers and passers stopping by on a snowy evening. Some Bob Frost to start us all on the road to hilarity and good cheer.

I’ve lost count of the rejections this week but it’s a LOT. I either need to write up a new batch of stories, poems and plays or keep sending out the same old crappola. Hoping this time. That time. This time over here.

That it will be different.

Except right now, truth is so much goddamn stranger than any fiction I could fart out or compose while munching French pastry and sipping Italian wine. While seated outside at a sunny cafe in Athens, Greece. I’d write longhand, of course. Using my own blood as ink.

Cause I’m a writer, dangnabbit! That’s a word you hear in old timey cowboy movies as they were not allowed to say ‘god damn it’.

Yes, the American political and all other scenes are just rife with WTF, then topped with Is That An Actual Tweet? followed by Don’t Read the Comments Section, ended with I Am So Done With Social Media, I’m Off To Raise Sunflowers To Help Third World Scarf Herders. Then the cycle starts all over again. With variations.

It’s the downward spiral. It’s the we’re imploding and prolly gonna take the entire world with us. It’s…it’s fucking hot right now.

So my thoughts are roughly—it’s hot. I should write something. About. Something. It’s hot.

Being poor, air conditioning is one of those unheard of, rich people inventions that exist in movies. Sort of kidding. I have a tiny fan. It helps. I go outside, throw water on my squash. I dig out weeds. I hear the hawks raising their kids down the road. Noisy bastards. Shut up, hawks! The corn hides the ditch bank road so the dogs have to listen real hard instead of watching to see who drives to and fro on what they obviously consider their bit of territory. Any engine gets them still and holding their breath. It’s rather creepy-cute.

What to write about. My hot take on politics? Nah, that’s just solid cuss words at this point. Eve Carlin, from hell, shouts out, hey, throw in some other words there. Feminist issues that affect us all? Golly, I’m either too much or too little here or…eh?

Oh!! Sidetrack. Here we go.

Saw the Spy Who Dumped Me. We have free Epix, whatever. So, the plot, eh. Some international whatever, been done a gazillion billion times. However, what’s fresh, you ask? Or haven’t asked at all though you’ve made it this far?

The relationship between the two best friends. Played by Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon. It rang every true bell. How they support each other, are there for each other, their acceptance of each other’s faults yet the irritation over those faults…it’s all there. I especially found my bell rang over Kate’s character being called ‘too much’ by a lot of people, including the secret spy/boyfriend of Mila’s character. And Mila’s character siding with Kate’s character, then telling her she’s not too much. Ah!! I almost teared up.

As someone who’s been repeatedly called ‘too much’, which I ALWAYS took as—

there’s something very very wrong with me; nobody likes me unless I act quiet and not myself. I am a monster!—

That moment reminded me of what great friends I have.

I could write about my own experiences with people trying to whittle me down to acceptable size.

And never show that writing to anyone because it would be like ripping my face off and gluing a salted strip of razor blades in its place.

How I have the self-esteem of a dead rock and yes, have let other people define me because 99% of those people tell me I’m ‘too much’…!

And when I try to not be a monster, I find that I am silent and limp as moldy lettuce stuck to the gunk under the veggie drawer in the fridge. And that I am angry. Then I explode and people walk about me as if on the most delicate eggshells and…yeah, pattern.

Pattern! Yep. Pattern detected.

So I’ll stick to making up monsters or writing about sexual encounters between dinosaurs and women. Is that still a thing?? What about man’s inhumanity to man?

Oooh! I smell a Nobel outta that one!

I’ll call it Man Being Mean to Men. It will feature no women characters whatsoever. It will just be two white straight guys on a beach arguing over who’s the bigger victim of post-post modern society as the world literally burns. I will use a thesaurus a lot. I will describe their inner penis. A lot.

I suspect if I actually did write something like that, it would probably actually sell.

I’m not bitter.


I am. I am so bitter I’m a walking moldy lemon at this point. Okay.

Rejections fast and furious this week. I’ll not buck up at all. I’ll stew in my own sweat until autumn shows up and it’s STILL FUCKING HOT GOD DAMN IT FUCK FUCK FUCK. But hey, the nights are cooler. I should move to the Artic. Except it’s on fire where they’re not drilling gleefully for oil. Where else is cold?

Minnesota? Maine? Montana? It would have to be within walking distance. How much can I stuff in a backpack? I’ll have to dig up my jars of pennies I buried for a rainy day. Some jars only have one or two pennies in them but hey, that first step, amirite? Amen! A cave, some berries.

I can be the Unibomber without all the baggage.

Holy moley, what a scattershot post. But I felt it important to not write yet another political scream that is only heard by some wide-eyed mice in a deserted choir room.

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I managed to capture an actual bumblebee sampling my lemon balm plant. Isn’t it gorgeous???