Friday, November 9, 2018

The Water

She is waiting for me.  I am too nervous to go up to her; speak to her.  She is still as a stone at the edge of the water.  The sunlight and breeze wistfully comb her hair; playfully tug at her tee shirt.  She looks fragile; beautiful.  I bet she laughs behind a coy hand unless with her friends.  Then she hee-haws maybe even snorts.

She grew up here just like me.  I've seen her all my life, recognize her shadow as the sun plays hide and seek with the moon on long summer days.  I know that giggle; innocent yet mischievous as she and her friends plan their futures ~ so far away... the weekend.  I have fewer friends than she.  My friends.  Her friends.  we don't meld, never touch and rarely speak except through tight smiles, batted eyelashes and glances around but never directly on each other.

But here at the lake, the water, things can be different; more neutral.  There is no territory.  The waves are indifferent to our social caste, tickling our feet and slapping our knees.  The water washes all the stickiness of stigmas away- clean.  I love it.  I breathe deeply when I swim here, gulping at the equality and freedom; kicking away criticism and dirty looks for being different or considered less.  And then the waters turned dark.

The kind of dark that never ends and always needs feeding.   The kind of dark that makes you whisper and pray it never finds you.   She wasn't afraid of that dark like me.  I heard her giggling in it, running in it - to it.  Many nights I watcher her dash down the street toward the lake.  I listened to her shoes slap away the warnings of the street as it begged her to go back, go inside and be safe.  Sometimes she even stopped at my drive and I knew she was looking for me.  I would duck behind my drapes and hug my pillow.  I would wish her to be gone into the night, into the dark water.

Others began to disappear into that void but never her.  Fear scurried across our town and scratched at each door.  Curfews were set and sidewalks rolled up as if the adults could somehow shield us.  Protect.  But they could not.  The bodies of the skeptical, rebellious and (not-so) invincible were found at the edge of the lake; bloated and marred by curious slashes, bruised necks, bulging eyes that saw it all while mouths stuffed wilt and leaves prevented ever speaking of the horrors and pain.  The town thought the water was bad but it wasn't.  Not really.  Now I know it was trying to clean away the fear, the murder, the death.  Each day it tried to wash out the blood and tears it's little white caps desperately crashing into screams of those who went.  Who disappeared.

And she just kept going each night down there to the water; stopping at my house while I hid and she waited.  I began to hear her calling my name, coming closer to my window.  I hugged my pillow more tightly, letting it smother me in fear and common sense "don't go don't go don't go" the wind pushed through the screen and I would scream into my protective down warrior "I know I won't."  My tears promised I wouldn't but then one night, she tapped on the glass.  Her little manicured nails clicked out a beckoning.  My eyes darted to the window and couldn't look away.

She smiled.  Waved.

I did too.  There was nothing to be afraid of  She said.  Rumors.  It was fun to sneak out  Better not to get caught.  exciting.  And I believed her.  I wanted to go.  I needed to know what it was like to be her friend even if under the cover of night where no once would see; no one would tell that our groups converged and didn't care.

"It doesn't matter" she said. "C'mon.  It'll be fine.  Fun."

I pretended to ignore her.  She drifted off.  And I waited until my parents thought they'd watched over me long enough.  They fell asleep.  I went.  More cautiously than she.  I tread lightly, avoiding the light and made my way to the dark water.  There she was but with another.  They splashed and hollered. I remember thinking that it DID look like fun.  But the night wind blew me a kiss smelling of warm metal and struggle.  When the silence came, it brought truth and death.  I crouched and shamefully watched. Now she was the only one splashing.  The lake smacked at her, pleading with her to stop. The waves tugged at the body trying in vain to pull it from her, wash it away and wash it clean but she just laughed and splashed back like it was a game of tug of war.  The knife she raised caught the moonlight and as she struck, I gasped giving away my presence.  Handing her my life.

She stopped and waited for me; still as a stone.

"Don't hide.  I know you're there.  Did you piss yourself? C'mere.  she panted and sat down on the shore.

I stood and did what she asked; as she had asked all of them.  I looked blankly at the body floating in the water.  The lake nudging me, warning me.  She poked it with her knife carelessly; stirring, almost writing in the bloody water mixture.  She confessed and giggled.  She sighed wistfully.  I sat there numbly and mindlessly pulled at the mud while my brain screamed behind my eyes.  every nerve was burning.  Tears ran down my cheeks as she politely whispered my fate to me.

I will always be grateful to the water for giving me the small log.  It softly brushed my fingertips and I understood.  It wanted me to end this.

I swung and heard her nose break.  She gasped, shocked and covered her face dropping the blade.  I swung again and her body fell back.  The waves clapped softly for my heroism.  I heard her groan and straddled her quickly.  The moon peeked from behind the clouds and seemed relieved.  IT shown brighter so I could see where the lake wanted to hide her.  Bury her.  It pulled at her and like a tiny boat, she went out beyond me.  The lake would end this and I did as it whispered.  I laid down in it and allowed it  wash me and calm my shaking body.

In the morning, only one body was found.  The last victim.  The adults mourned and asked why.  They begged God to keep us safe and to end this horror.

But I knew better and at night I went to the water's edge and thanked it.  I laid with it and let it tell me the stories and promises of the ending.  Which it did; until just a few nights ago.  It began calling to me. telling me of its hunger and reminding me of the role I played in a very dirty story, one that could be washed away if I just brought down a child....


Friday, October 19, 2018

Pearly White

Gather my little darlings and let me whisper to you a story, a warning if you will that began as every parent's nightmare ending in indescribable anger and ultimate fear.  Hold your smirks and giggles, reserve your eye rolling and "Oh brother"s until you know all...

She was a beautiful queen who naturally had a beautiful son.  They were adored in the kingdom by all; except the king.  He was a narcissist, an arrogant soul; wanting all things for himself, whether it was love or gold.   But the queen and the prince were kind and caring for those less fortunate creating a loving name for themselves across the land.  They fed the hungry, gave to the poor all of which infuriated the pompous, greedy lord.  And so on the day that the darling prince with the beautiful smile and warm heart wandered off to play in the wood instead of studying his lessons, this wretched king sent his henchman in to destroy the baby royal.  

The boy did not join them for tea.  Nor did he return to sup.  Night fell as did his mother's heart.  She begged for help to search for him. Many in her kingdom scoured the forest but to no avail.  After several mornings void of the joyful child's giggling, along came a note demanding money for the valuable prince.  The queen begged her husband to pay, stating that nothing was worth more than their angelic son's toothy grin. The king nodded, feigned concern and fatherly fear, even declared he would give his last coin but he did nothing.  He lied when he said he sent his best men to search near and far.  He put back all the money and gold he ostentatiously displayed for payment.  Nothing more was heard.  After a fortnight,  the crumpled body of the lost was found.  He was beaten and bloody; his beautiful smile ruined as all his teeth had been harshly yanked.  The queen fell into an inconsolable despair.  She wandered restlessly day and night, calling out to her angel child.  She would stop at cottages, asking if they had seen her son, the prince.  One day, she found a small girl sitting by the water's edge.  She wept softly to herself.  The queen approached and sat next to her.  

"Why tears little one?" 

"My mouth is broken." she looked up through teary eyes and held out a tiny white pearl; her baby tooth.  A small ember glowed inside the Royal's chest as she reached out and touched it.  

"May I have it?" she queried. 

The baby girl began to close her fist, hesitant to give up something of her own, a part of her, but the queen quickly reached in her purse and pulled out a coin.  

"Here.  For your trouble." she eagerly rushed quivering at the thought holding the gleaming treasure. 

The child glanced at the shiny gold and rejoiced.  She snatched  it up and curtsied to her queen thanking her.  Her majesty plopped it victoriously it in her pocket and hurried back to the castle where she put the ivory gem in a small velvet purse.  There was peace in her heart but it was not so easily satisfied.  She needed more of them ~ all of them.  So began her travels far and wide~ checking with any and all children for loose, lost teeth for which she would gladly pay to restore the smile of her son, bringing him back. 

Her husband saw the gold she was taking away and grew furious.  He plotted to kill her thinking only of the riches he would preserve. One night, when he could take no more, he demanded she be poisoned; telling the staff to bring it in her drink after her favorite meal had been laid before her.  But the servants had seen enough of his cruelty and known too much deceit, choosing instead to give  their horrendous lord the deadly drink.  He discovered all too late he had been fooled.  As he lie dying in his bed with his loving wife soothing him and unaware of all that had taken place around her, he confessed;  begging forgiveness and leaving her ears ringing from the life of lies and murder.  In a blind rage, she pulled all of his teeth and left him; bleeding and alone, retreating to her private chamber where she fell into madness.  She spent the remainder of her days sauntering the land, visiting children and collecting their teeth, dispelling her fortune and searching in vain for her son.  Even after her body gave out, she did not cease.  She continued on... searching... dubbed the tooth fairy.  But this has taken its toll on the once generous and loving queen.

Her soul is restless and her need so great, a despair so immense that her spirit has begun to search not just for the lost and loose.  She has begun to peer jealously inside those innocent, dozing mouths where even more teeth hide ~ and if only she could have them, take them, she might have her greatest treasure restored;  her son's twinkle.  She bitterly questions why these children should be allowed to laugh and grin; to enjoy what her baby could not.  Her anger has changed her and changed what those ivory jewels mean.  She no longer believes she should pay for what is cast aside and taken for granted~ she thinks she is owed for her suffering and that of her lost boy.  She hates you; your pearly barking and polished beaming and she will find you and it is now you who owe ~ for her loss, for her dead son's gaping and bloody mouth and her cheated sad life.

Sleep tight my little darlings.

Happy Halloween.  This is for my daughter who gave me the idea.  "Write it.  I know you can."  I hope my little girl gets a squeal of laughter and a shiver from this and you as well.  Thanks for coming over.  I hope we can do it again soon.


Sunday, June 3, 2018

Warriors and Heroes

The day was rushed.  We are getting ready for my baby's graduation (and subsequent celebratory festival) and I am super busy making lists of lists of lists.  There is the important stuff, the hot topics, the Uber important and then there's brushing the toilet, spraying Febreeze, hoping it lasts, and praying for sunshine.

The toddlers (my three fuzzikids) were giddy and bothersome doing what they do best; interpreting Mommy's mood and nibble at it.  I needed to get chores done.  I needed to make calls.  I needed... needed... needed.

Now I know it sounds like I was panicking but I was not.  I was simply suiting up for the American Ninja Warrior- Mom edition.  I had to dodge the growing laundry pile, try to make it down the deadly dog steps (this is an obstacle where my guffaw of a dog, Mulligan, shoves his nose into my back or up my butt and encourages me to trip, stumble or fall down the stairs while bubbling out dirty words ~ it's his favorite game.  I am not a fan and not just because I suck at it. THAT would make me a bitter loser) and conquer the dishwasher drop (THIS obstacle is where the dishwasher lid comes open and all fuzzikids feel compelled to attempt to get inside and feast like it's Golden Corral on Surf n Turf night~ again, not a fan but I am a WARRIOR dammit) and the coup de gras, the trash bag toss.  Oh I was in rare form and was feeling the burn of determination and success.  I was gonna hit that button (the garage door button) get outside and GO OUT ~ 

What's that saying about best laid plans?

Well, I had it until the trash bag hit the can in the garage.  It cracked the side and popped open, dumping papers and coffee filters and yucky, dirty trash at my feet.  (insert dramatic sigh and eye roll if you feel so inclined.  I did.) But I stepped down and angrily plucked the now empty bag and hit my knees.  Oh I was gonna pray alright.  Pray I could get this junk done and just move on.  I wanted to GO OUT.  

I don't know where it came from, the bent dog food lid, or should I call it the evil shiv of pain and slicing?  Because that is what it did.  It sliced me.  Deep.  It bit me so fast that all I could do was hiss and then hold my breath while my brain tried to catch up screaming in my ears "WHAT HAPPENED? I FELT SOMETHING ~ CUT! ARE WE CUT?" but my body was in warrior mode so it kept picking up trash and papers.  It ignored the growing change in color of those papers from white to red. In fact, it shouted at my brain to move faster!   So I did.  Ignoring now that it looked like I was trying to pick up liquid with my hands and put it in the bag.  Then the smell hit me, copper.  I began to see speckles dancing around laughing at me.  I felt a little ... confused.  

"Get inside Stupid YOU'RE BLEEDING!" I got up (the trash was picked up so my body allowed it.) and stepped inside.  How do I stop the bleeding?   Paper towels of course but not just ANY ... no... Viva.  I grabbed a little sheet and wrapped my finger.  It instantly turned red.  Ooops better get another... and another... and another.. huh... a little worse than I thought.  I applied pressure. Then a little more and some more until my pulse could be felt in my teeth and heard next door.  I put my hand on top of my head.  Raise it right?  You betcha.  I walked around and wiggled my fingers so it looked like a deranged Halloween party hat.  More towels please.  Yes, just give me the roll.  

I made my way upstairs to where the band aids are.  No issue there. (another towel or four please ~ hand on head- wiggle fingers.) I think it might be a good idea to rinse off.  This is untrue.  The minute water hits my finger, a flap of skin swishes to the side.  I see a flash of white.  Bone? oops. More towels please.  Direct pressure.  Hand on head. I pace around my bathroom and wonder if I will get in trouble if Cheech...

"What are you doing?"

(insert that "uh-oh" theme song.  It's appropriate)

"Nothing"

"Yeah?" 

The phrase in our house: If I'm asking, I already know.  For a brief moment I wonder how but considering the fact that I have two rolls of Viva around my finger that are as red as bricks... 

"I... think I cut myself."

"I think so too. Let me see"

"NO!"  I pinch harder, put it on my head and close my eyes.  If I can't see him... he can't see me... right? Didn't we all try that  when we were uhhhh FOUR???? (sigh ~ go ahead. I'm a wussy)

"Let's go get stitches."
 

"NOOOOOO. No No No... Uh-uh. Nope."

"Why are you being like this?" 

"They won't numb me. Just sew it like it was a sweater!" I hiss tears welling up.

"Honey, I bet they will.  They'll use..."

"A NEEDLE! DOUBLE NO. I'D RATHER EAT HOT GLASS!" (for those of you who don't know already, I have a phobia of needles, bees... sharp pointy things.... and being chased but we can revisit that)


"You're being silly.  Give it. Now let me see...."

And childishly I do.  My own loving warrior, bandages me.  He never asks again and helps me.  My finger is throbbing and I am in so much pain I want to cry but I don't because I don't want to go get stitches.  He never questions or scolds me.  He goes downstairs and we make dinner.  I really just watch as this hero of heroes makes a king's feast for a cowardly jester.   

He gives me Tylenol and kisses my head.  He smiles softly and tells me the house looks great... aside from some stray blood splatter.  I warn him that the police will question him if I disappear.  Luminal will not be his friend.  He makes me dessert.  I ask him why it tastes like bitter almonds and he takes a bite of mine and says ~ always together.

He gets ready for work and I am sad because I want to simply sit and worship my hero.  I want to fall asleep in his safe, first-aid ready arms.

"Have a good day Hon." I say as he heads out the door.

"Will do.  Could you put paper towels on the grocery list?  We're very low on Viva."

Warriors til the end.

Hello there.  It seems weird that we are here together again.  I said I would try and I will... again and again missing my friend and mentor all the while.  I can't tell you the number of times I started and threw out my work.  I am still a little shaky but I always feel better sharing family stories; good and bad.  Thanks for visiting.  I have another on the way in a week or so (gotta get through graduation first) but it will be a fiction piece.  It's been too long since I've done what I love, write.  

Thank you for visiting.  You're good company.
See you soon. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

I See Red

I don't know that I remember my first so much as my last.  Things had escalated at that point; from simple sexual assault, a warning beating or the threat to kill, to the shredding and violence that got me caught.  I was out of control and seeing red.  Well, that and I was a stupid kid.  But I had plenty of time to think growing up in juvie and I certainly came out with a better understanding of what not to do this time.

My last.  I still think of her; the fear in her eyes and the bubbles of pleading that dripped from her wet lips as I choked her.  I really thought she was dead and so in my young mind, a coverlet of rotten leaves would surely be enough to hide my sin.  Her sin.  But as the newspapers spewed, she crawled to through the woods, to the road and then ten miles up hill in the snow with no shoes... yada yada yaDAH.  She went twenty yards on level ground. Okay, she was naked but it wasn't like my new graduating class.  My new students are left with very little; to identify. They are mere shells of who they are when they go into the woods with me; physically, mentally and spiritually.  Maybe they help me.  Yeah at some level.  They quiet the salty gears that scream under my scalp and demand I do this.  Funny, I always liked girls;  soft and gentle.  Tender and loving.  But then the rage of the machine became too strong so in order to fight back, I needed minions and warriors; willing or not to get past the awful shades of crimson that flooded my mind.

Having been out for two years, I thought I was good to go but then there was a familiar, rusty squeak as the gears sensed my availability to feed it once more.  I had a job, friends, even started flirting with a lovely lady I met at a bookstore.  We were both in the self help section.  Since her death and disappearance, I honor her by hunting there.  In different cities of course.  I am fortunate that my job takes me all over. I hunt only when needed.  When my sweating and stammering are too pronounced.  When I notice the looks from others as I walk by arguing with the powers that be; often bargaining like a child.  "Just leave me ALONE! You can't tell me what to do...." but it can.  The machine is strong.

I was enjoying Chi-town. My home city; waltzing down the main drag and sucking down a slice as the wind slapped at me; welcoming me home. I felt good. Confident.  I almost made it beyond the store but the machine ground my feet to a halt and left me there at the door; as a command, you see.  It was time.  I had no choice so I went in.

I love the smell of paper and ink ~ the way it fills your mouth with pleasure and words unspoken.  The sound of books being opened for the first time, their spines cracking under the unassuming oppressor; their pages, their skin, bent and pulled, caressed or etched with worthless tattoos of notes and pointless observations.  I begin in the comedy section and look around.  No little dumplings in need of a pretend bestie; someone who makes them laugh when they are alone (again and again).  Onto the Sci-fi.  These are not my type because I think they are crazy.  They live in some far off Neverland where aliens and robots play off of ancient myths and devour our society and species.  They need lives.

Always pass by the true crime.  They are suspicious lonely bitches who love Lifetime movies and hate the thought of giving any part of themselves in a relationship.  They take pictures all the time and ask questions like they were Poirot or Madame Christie herself.  I don't need that shit.  No thank you, let's move on. A woman here stops and stares at me.  She is in the middle of the aisle, wearing a stupid hat.  Who wears hats?  Really!  I look at what she's reading~ a book about that lady who killed all her babies in Philly.  Munchausen Syndrome?  Maybe.  She nods and offers a small pretty smile.  It looks familiar to me.  I reach out an gently touch her to get her to do what I want ... move.  I return her grin and quietly whisper into her hair "Spoiler alert... everyone dies at the end." She laughs and covers her mouth because we both know it was in poor taste. I keep going.  Not that one.  Not today. She looks after me, disappointed I think that we will not be engaging.

Ahhhhh the psych section. A little self help anyone?  I love it here.  All the uncertainties and reservations wander around like lost hopeful puppies. And there she is.  My next student.  A lovely little red head.  I pick something near her and  make sure it isn't about menopause or baby blues.  I look at her nervously and when she looks up I know to sheepishly back up with apologies for invading her space.  I see her author and the book and realize she is a young woman needing or wanting to build a more rewarding relationship.  I smile at her choice and tell her I've read it.  I have read the jacket cover before when I was hunting in Wisconsin I think.  She tucks it away and so begins our game.  I must start again by apologizing for reading over her shoulder.  It builds her confidence and gives her power to forgive me, a stranger. She volleys back by looking at my book.  "How to make friends."  She looks at me and says I should have no trouble.  I look smart and polite. I dig my shoe into the carpet as an "aw shucks Ma'am" we grin at each other again.

She doesn't know what she's done.  I look away as if embarrassed and we continue to lob insecurities at each other.  This turns into a coffee and laughter at our fears of relationships and frailties.  We exchange numbers and text worthless emojis while making another time to meet because she is on her way to an appointment.  I'm sure her therapist will happily scrawl that progress was made today...venturing out of her shell to be rewarded with a kind friend and possible relationship by showing her vulnerabilities and demonstrating the human need to be ... loved... liked whatever... she IS needed.  And the machine shifts into second gear to remind me.  I feel a hunger and a burning know what is to come.  I am so excited that I bump into someone I head out the door.  I need to see if Red is driving her own car, Uber or a public system.  Public.  YES.  I feel a pat on my chest.  

"Everyone dies at the end." she giggles and adjusts her frumpy hat.  A true Inspector Clouseau.

I brush passed her to get the bus number and begin my game of cat and mouse.  Weirdo.

I spend about two weeks watching Red.  I know her gym routine (why would you go to a spin class and pretend to ride a bike?) and her work schedule.  I know she has a been working long hours to fill a void but she says it will get her up the ladder.  She meets her posse on Tuesdays not the normal ladies' night Thursdays because that turns the bars into meat markets and who knows just what kind of loser or deviant you could run into... am I right?  I know.. Ohhh  I know.  So we exchange and exchange and the machine is getting warmer and I begin to sweat.  I sound like Mel Tillis as I hear myself stammer through sentences with her about an imaginary home life and ex girlfriend or the job where I am a victim of a ruthless self-absorbed prick of a boss who doesn't understand... I don't know ... I just talk and she reaches out to me and befriends me and when we meet for coffees, she touches my hand and looks at me ... Done.  She trusts me.  I can ask her for anything; money, sex but all I want is to take her on a picnic.  It's laughable. A picnic sounds so lovely and sweet doesn't it?  You picutre a little blankie with wine and cheeses and dogs in a park and sunshine.  

I tell her there is a pretty little place I know of and would she join me.  She jumps at the suggestion and this makes me smile.  The machine knows it's almost time.  We set plans and I begin to prepare my kit.  I will need the drugs for the wine and cheese spread in case she doesn't drink.  I need the tarp and the bags of course and my  knives.  I look over the jars... do I keep anything ? Nah trophies are dangerous.  Maybe I'll just eat some of her hair or her fingernails like the others.  We text back and forth about how excited we are.  This is the only truth I have told.

I tell her where to meet me and arrive early to scope the scene.  It is fairly empty; this spot I've chosen.  I've used it before when I was young.  Before I got stupid and nabbed by the cops.  I sit on the bench closest to the trail I want to take.  I've been walking through here for the last few days making sure things are where and what I want them to be.  Not too desolate to rouse her fears but intimate so she feels we can be alone.  
I wait.  As I sit and play the endgame in my mind I am jarred by conversation that is coming from outside my head.  It's not the machine's happy prattling and expectation but another voice... I look up and see a frumpy hat.

"Wow small world.  I've seen you around here a lot these few days" she says and sits down.  I take a breath to ask her what the fuck she thinks she's doing but the machine stops me. "I read that book.." she plays with the buttons on her coat.  "You were right."

I check my watch and give her an impatient half smile.  "Do I know you?" I ask.  That should embarrass her.  Mortify her into running away and hiding. She cocks her head a little wounded but continues on.  

"Yeah.  You do." she playfully slaps me with the back of her hand and drudges on with words I don't care about.  I want to shut her up.  The machine is running at full speed and I feel myself sweating.  It's so hot in these clothes.  I stutter that I am supposed to meet someone.  She asks when.  I look at my watch again and say now.  She looks around and tells me no one is here so she will keep me company until they arrive.  GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY ! I can't believe this stupid bitch.  She is like gum on the bottom of my shoe.  The machine slows a bit and tells me it's fine.  Take her instead. I decide that is a wonderful idea. I regain myself and become more charming.  I offer her my arm and ask if she'd be so kind as to keep a silly romantic who's been jilted company.  She beams and says of course.  This may not be so bad.  We stroll off into the woods.  She eats bread and drinks from her water bottle.  This isn't working for me or the machine.  I make a cheese and cracker and pour wine.  She refuses.  I'm getting really pissed.  I scooch closer and touch her hand.  She doesn't pull away.  I reach for her cheek and brush her hair back.  There is a bald spot and a scar.  I focus on it too long.  She becomes sensitive and pulls her hair back to cover it, changing topics.  I am not listening.  I am thinking of how to feed the machine.  I say "Uh-huh" and "mmm " thoughtfully and listen for footsteps.  No  one is coming.

And that is when I feel a heat and spray of warm. I gasp and feel a harsh push and pull. It smells like blood.  I look and see that it is.  It is MY blood.  This crazy bitch has taken the bread knife I was going to use to get her clothes off and cut her with to stab me.  I am wild eyed and shocked.  I grab my chest but she is slicing and slashing at me.  Fast. She is really fast.  I fall over and begin to kick and scramble away from her.  She grabs my shirt and pulls me back.  I am surprised at her strength.  Every time she touches me she cuts.  I can't stop the blood.  It is ruining my picnic blanket. I am reaching for the wine bottle to crack her head open.  I am begging her to stop.  I tell her she's crazy and she is hurting me.  Her voice is a childish, whine as she hisses at me "Do you know me? DO YOU REMEMBER ME?"

She rolls me and puts her knees to my chest.  It feels like my blood and life are racing out of me with each beat of my weakening heart.  She stuffs napkins in my mouth and I am choking. My eyes are bulging.  My head is throbbing. She cups my face in her hands and pulls back her hair.  A wig.  The scar is bigger than I first saw and I understand.  I am looking at the one who got away; the one who has waited and plotted better than I have.  I am too weak to fight her. There is no sound, only muffled noises through thick cotton. I no longer feel pain.  I glance around one last time and stare at my shredded clothes, pieces of me she has hacked away... I see Red.


And hello friends.  I am trying to get back here sooner and yes, this is my first re-introduction into the fear factory.  I have a couple more ideas floating around so be sure visit again and share with me your thoughts and opinions.  It helps me become a better writer.  Besides, I enjoy your company.  Hope your days are good and your laughter long.  Until next time...
 

Friday, September 22, 2017

War is Hell

As many of you know and remember, my husband LOVES to farm.  With two large fenced in gardens, we have a ton of food to eat; from squashes, beets, Italian dandelion greens, collards, kale, beans, peas, tomatoes, not to mention herbs. We don't need to shop for veggies from mid spring to late fall, but in our land of plenty lurks an evil.  One so devastating and vile that it haunts our dreams and threatens the very roots of a simple happiness; a whistle pig, a ground hog.  His name sends shivers through our bones beyond what Harry Potter and his gang of trusty albeit new wizards experienced with the V-word. 

My husband is a kind man, a sharing man.  He has let some of our rogue veggie seeds flourish to satisfy the hungry beast. Offerings you could call them.  Eat these and leave the rest...  He wouldn't even mind if he lost SOME of his bounty to a greater good and reasonable link within the food chain.  But that is not what happens.  Oh no.  This furry angel of vegetable death terrorizes our fresh haven, ravaging and voraciously destroying whatever he can get his little selfish claws into.  And trust me.  I've had to witness the aftermath; butternut squash senselessly gutted (or is it gourded?) or worse, digs and bite marks rendering once voluptuous ripe organic rewards useless to anything other than bugs and ants and well, Winston if he can hoist his grumpy Russian ass up on the hay bales to gnaw a bit.  Not to mention the pumpkins and watermelons he stole from us; both  summer and autumnal treats ripped from our grasp after much nurturing and care.  We've watched him scale the fence with Mission-Impossible talent to hog beans  (I believe they have pouchy cheeks like other rodents soooo that's a LOT of hoggin!) and peppers but the tomatoes?  He must just sit back on his haunches and eat until he wishes he wore pants so he could unbuckle them; the scratching himself part he has down, trust me.  After such a binge he usually ends up lying on the ramp to the barn where it is warm and giving us a gratis shot of his over bloat.  Thanksgiving is every day for the thief.

Well, Cheech has battled long and hard every year from fox pee to HIS pee, magical nuts (poison ones not his own...although we have two beautiful kids soooo...magical IS applicable) even Halloween motion sensitive decorations that light up, speak and move.  Let me confess this:  At midnight when I get home from work and let the three stooges out for last hurrah and one of those bastard toys starts whispering in the dark woods to "Heeeeelp meeeeee PLEAAAAAASE heeeeeeelp meeeee ... " I am ready to ninja chop mah bad-ass self some whistle pig, twigs, leaves throw some acorns and rush squealing back to the house some ancient prayer to rid myself of the demons haunting my barn... oh wait... yeah just decorations.  All in good fun.  No I didn't pee my pants but yes I carried a bible for trip.  Amen ... and also with you.

But he has had it and I don't blame him. We manage to rescue one little melon that hid itself and grew up more like a two inch high rectangle than an adorable sphere ~ geometry is forgiving as are we; rectangle, sphere, rhombus... doesn't matter and hey the Japanese teach their watermelons to grow like squares for easier stacking in the stores... just saying we loved Melon head as he came to be known.  We brought him into the house and set up the plan.  Having lost his entire clan (I think that's what you call a group of melons like a pod of whales or a gaggle of geese.. yeah a clan of melons.... let's run with it shall we?) he agrees to make the ultimate sacrifice. Cheech purchases a trap; a whistle pig trap.  And Melon Head is going to Scooby doo it, lure him in and we will at last be rid of this wretched menace that plagues our homestead.  Our goodbyes are brief and heartfelt.  The trap is tucked into the underbrush that SHOULD have been my sunflower bed buuuut all the new sprouts were mysteriously and gluttonously plucked, nibbled and destroyed by aforementioned varmint.  Oh yeah, I was on board to get him and get him gooooood.  My brilliant vegetable protector covers it with hay and sprinkles Melon Head around and puts some in the trap.  Not all of it because if there is more than one... we must slay them all.  Melon Head would want complete vengeance.  We're doing it for him remember.  

and we wait. 

Then one night on my way home from work, I get a call.  It is my son. I am hoping to hear the terrified squawls of  one outwitted whistle pig.

"Mah ~ I let the dogs out for last hurrah."

"Awesome.  Thanks Boo"

"No Mah~ Listen.  Winston ran away.  I was watching Mulligan in the woods and Birdie went back in but during last head count.. he was missing.  I've been searching for half an hour.  He's gone Mah."

There is real fear and sadness at the thought that our grumpy Russian may have defected.  Nah.  He can't see, barely hears and has four teeth.  He's not leaving the sanctuary that gives him soft food, cool blankets and a new stuffed duck to shred or hump every three months.  I tell my son to check the compost bins in the back.. .he LOVES to eat trash ~ stinky trash is apparently his favorite.  I step on the gas to aid in the search.

I get home and welcome the other two who are huffing and panting to tell me that "The tiny dog is gone!  He made tee-tee and then disappeared into the night....I'll eat his treats and sleep with his stuff.. can I have this duck?" I step out and brave the dark thickets behind our gardens, ignoring the spooky warnings from animitronic zombies and seizure causing lights.  I head into the woods listening for his little jingle or a sneeze which would be most likely and make my way to where I KNOW he is.

in the effing trap.

And he is. Sitting there. belching and gorging on Melon Head.

SERIOUSLY?

He makes no sound as I open the damn thing and has the brass ones to snag a tidbit for the stroll back to the house.  

My son picks him up and hugs him as if he has returned from the Bermuda Triangle.

Three more times we attempt to catch the bastard.  Three times I must set our homemade POW free.

WAR 

IS

HELL


Hello there and welcome back.  It's nice to see you.  I thought we could all use a little laugh after having a new hectic school year start and summer begin to drift off and the weather fiascos that seem to be ravaging the world at the moment.  Hope you are all safe and sound.  Let's do this again soon, shall we?  I enjoy sitting here with you... even if only for a little bit.


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Save their own

"I want to give it to you ."  Her smile was sheepish, too shy for all we had shared over three years and endless talks.

"For keeps?" I turned it over in my hands as if it were a rare jewel.  To me, it was nothing less. "Trish, this is special.  I'm not special," but I was holding on to it with white knuckles cherishing the texture of its cover and all the tender, wonderful thoughts and drawings I knew it held secret.  Secret for me.

"Stop it you reject.  You are to me." she leaned in and kissed my cheek.  I loved the warmth of her mouth and the honesty of her friendship. I wiped it off like it was dirt.  She punched me and called me a douche.

We laughed, sitting in comfortable silence as the sun yawned behind the clouds making my safest and favorite time of day...night. She was right.  I WAS a reject.  I had been labeled quickly when mom moved here.  Other choice descriptions/nicknames were: Stupid, Retard, Wackadoo, Weird... the list goes on because people never tire of hurting.

No one liked me; but no one ever tried.  I was a little different, maybe slow to understand some things but I was honest; unlike Mr. D who liked watch little girls in dresses on the swings at recess, or Mrs Hawthorne who pinched Dr. Mickels butt when she thought no one was looking (right in front of the book store~) that 's where I hang out. Printed words hurt much less than the ones thrown from bad mouths.

I had a respectable but reasonable "pass" being friends with Trisha.  Everyone loved her.  She was beautiful, talented and smart.  Her dad died in a hunting accident a year before I moved in to town.  He was with his best friend who took her in and guarded her like the sheriff.  Well, that makes sense because he WAS the sheriff.  He always gave me stink eye but she could back him down with a look.  She was my guardian angel. My only friend.  We met every day at the river.  We talked.  We sat in silence.  We read poetry or drew or played hangman.  I suck at that game because I am a lousy speller.

"Can I open it?" trying to hide the excitement.

"Of course you goof."

I flipped the pages catching bits and pieces of diary entries and poems; flashes of sketches and homework assignments. It was a piece of her.  I treasured it instantly.

We sat for a while; conjuring up a story about a beautiful princess who had teeth so bucked she could eat an apple through a picket fence and a fear of sunlight.  Being of royalty, sheltered from everything because of her looks and her father's fear of the cruel world, she burned easily and was often mistaken for a vampire or a ghost.

In ignorance; sparked by whisperings from a shallow jealous little man in town who constantly spoke of her evil powers and malicious intent, the town rejected her and threatened to revolt; killing the royal family.  However, there was a wise, kind priest who gave her a test; holding a mirror to show her reflection which she passed and saved the family, the monarchy and the world. The only price to pay was that she love him and stay with him forever.

What else do fifteen  year olds do?  We were out of Madlibs.

"I don't like that ending" I said softly.  It's not happy.  In my simple world; stories you made up should end happily.

"You don't always like what you hear." she said stiffly and pulled away a little.

"But she was a princess and should be able to do what she wants to be happy."

"You ARE a reject sometimes.  Sometimes, you get stuck.  You have to do things.  You hate them.  You may hate the people who make you do them... but you're stuck."

"You're the reject.  Mean story." I nudged her shoulder to show no hard feelings. I heard her sigh and saw the shadow of a smile cross her mouth.

As always, we said goodnight.  We hugged and promised to go straight home.  I always cautioned her:

"Beware the free candy van..."

"In search of a puppy? I'm all in..."  she would add over her shoulder.

"If they get you, scream so the angels can hear ~ they will always save their own... or at least me.
I would save you Trish."

She laughed.  You? Nooo I'd have to save you.

The night swallowed us.  I was almost home when the lights came on.  I heard the slow crunch of gravel as the car cruised lazily behind me.  Nothing new.  I rolled my eyes to no one and prepared for battle.

"Not home?  On a school night?"

"On my way Deputy Scott." I picked up my pace.

"Where ya been Boy?"  He never bothered with my name.  "Who would spend time with a loser like you?"

"don't reckon anyone, Sir" I said never looking up.  He would pummel me again.

He reached over and snatched the book.  "With you GIRRRRRLfriend Trisha?"  he purred like a second grader.  and they called ME dimwitted? I snatched it and held it behind my back.

"Dear Diary! Today I met with the girl of my dreams" this was of course accompanied by the clutching of his chest, cocking his foot behind him and batting his eyelashes to the moon.

I was relieved to understand he thought it was my book and not Trisha's.  I stood there and took the verbal abuse; the lewd insinuations and questions about what we'd been doing.  I knew he really liked her and I could hear in his voice that he was hoping what he'd said was true and he would shame me into confessing.

I gave him nothing.  I saved the kingdom.  He shoved me to the ground and called me a fagot pervert and told me to get home or I'd be in BIG trouble. 

I got up and walked quickly until he shouted for me to run which I did; just for safety's sake.

He turned around and sped off to my relief. 

I got home and began to unveil the secrets of my friend. I read all night.  The tears streamed down my face like the river that rushed by us when we were together pretending everything was all right.

The morning brought noise.  Loud noise.  My mother yelling and stomping; a man cursing and screaming my name.

I was ripped from my bed and dragged down the stairs.  I was thrown into the back of the sheriff's car and driven with lights and sirens going full tilt to the station where my mother met us and pawed at me.
I was dumped into a barren room and left to sit with her.  She said nothing.  someone brought a cup of coffee and set it harshly on the table spilling some.  They chucked a napkin down and left us.

"Honey. do you know where Trisha is?"

I sat and stared at the spilled coffee not answering.

"Honey? Sheriff says she didn't come home last night."

I looked up puzzled.  I left her by the river.  Like always.  She walked home.

"You didn't see anyone give her a ride or follow her?"  my mother sounded hopeful.  "Did she text you when she got home?"

I shook my head.

The door flew open and the Sheriff rolled in; a big man.  A mean man who disliked me.

"Well Boy?"

"Am I in trouble? I didn't do anything."

"Not the way I see it.  Yes you are in trouble. Where is she and why did you hurt her."

"I would never hurt Trisha"

"You loved her."

"She was my friend."

"She rejected you."

"She made me laugh"

"You dumped her body"

"She was my only friend. She would protect me and I would protect her.  You should have done the same."

He wiped his face and sat in front of me.  He smelled like panic and bitter coffee. "Just tell me what you've done. I can't help you if you won't tell me where she is and what you've done."  His voice hitched just a bit. 

My mother stroked my hand and encouraged me to do the same.  "Hon, if it was an accident, we need to understand. sometimes people do things by accident and get scared and ..."

I turned and looked at her.  Even my own mother thought I was a monster.

There was rushing outside my dungeon.  The river. A body.  A girl.  Naked and ruined.

Trisha.

The two adults left me.  I heard hushed mumbles outside the door.  I heard my mom crying.  I hung my head and said nothing.  Not through the charges being read to me or the finger printing.  I didn't speak in the cell or to the lawyers that came nor the doctors.  I sat quietly when we went to the courthouse and I was pelted with cruel words, death threats and a rotted tomato from Mrs. Hawthorne.  Mr D went on the news and said he knew I wasn't right.  I should be locked up and the key thrown away or just bury me in a hole like he was sure I'd done to Trisha.  Dr Mickels said I was a loner of a kid with problems.  He'd never even been my doctor.  He was a baby-doctor in the next town over.  But they hated my guts.  They pointed their fingers and cursed my name.  They condemned my mother for birthing such a wretched excuse for a human being.

I said nothing.  I didn't have to. At last, when the judge smacked her hammer and asked if I had a statement I'd like to make I stood.  My knees were knocking.  I was so sweaty that my shirt smelled like three weeks of gym class.

" May I speak to you?"
"You may speak to this court"
"You."
"With your lawyer."
"No thank you."
"I will record it."
"I'd like that."
I was ushered in to her chambers with confused whispers and hisses of objection dragging under my feet.

"What do you want to say young man?

"I have nothing to say." I almost whimpered.

She whirled on me her mouth hanging open like a prize bass.  "Do NOT waste this court's TIME!" she bellowed.  She stuck a finger close to me and repeated "WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY?"

"I have nothing.  But Trisha does." and I quietly slid the book across the big desk.  Why are their desks so large?  do they use different size paper and pencils when we aren't around ... like the giant crayons?  Or those pencils you need a knife to sharpen?

She sat and began to leaf through it.  Half-heartedly at first but then she sat straighter in her chair.  She smoothed the pages as she read.  She pulled her glasses off and beckoned me to sit in a nice chair and then poured me a glass of water.  She smiled gently.  It was the first smile I'd seen in months. 

"I need to bring the sheriff in.  and your mom.  and the lawyers."

"But not him."

"No Dylan.  Not him."

"Will he get in trouble?"

"Oh my yes."

"Will they hate him like they hated me?  Treat him like that? With rocks and threats?"

"I don't know."

"Will they say sorry to me?"

She hung her head sadly.  Shamefully. "I don't know that either.  but I will. I will right now say I am sorry Dylan.  I was wrong. Will you testify against the Deputy?"

I looked around nervously.  People were coming in and glancing at what she showed them.  There was a lot of silence.  Or maybe is was sorrow and guilt. I nodded slowly because I knew it was going to be all right.

Trisha was right.  Angels save their own.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Surprise Mommie

So I thought maybe it would be best to restart our adventures with a little update.

I have a new puppy.  His name is Mulligan and he is a wrecking ball wrapped in fur; a rat terrier-lab mix soooo let's think about what he looks like: a tiny giraffe with a huge head.  It bobbles and he runs like that special kid in gym class with the one leg that juts out (for more speed and power?) He is a guffaw.  But I love him. He makes me laugh and the Seniors hate his guts. He towers over them at a whopping 30 pounds versus their combined weight of 25. It is official.  I run a circus.  I love it...most of the time.

His favorite hobbies are: biting Birdie's toes until she bites his face and he plays victim; whining and crying to Mommie, laying innocently on his side near Winston until Winston falls asleep, then :"swimming~ sidestroke" over; every so silently to punch Winston in the face.  He steals socks; EVERYONE'S socks.  He believes that there is another dog we keep locked up in the fireplace as well as in the bathroom (the one with the mirrored wall) that he needs to bark at and scold.  He has not grasped the concept of sliding doors ~ smacks into them regularly.  He cannot appreciate that everything is not fair game for chewing, eating, licking or smacking with his tennis ball sized feet or oversized mouth.

  We got Mulli to put a little spring in the step of my seniors.  The only high stepping going on is Birdie who lets him know hourly with "stink eye", hissing, or cage-match worthy wrestling moves that SHE and ONLY SHE rules the roost.

Winston... He sits and mopes with his four teeth and white face.  He shouts at Mulli and snarls and spits with all the ferocity of the wolf the TV commercials say he is a descendant of ... buuuuut.. mmmm.... nope.  He still looks like a naked, little angry Russian.  I imagine him just yelling "MORE WODKA COMMRADE!" and glaring at everyone from the bushes as he poops.

Work has been a little less than fun so I thought I would take the toddlers and head up to the lake.  We are planning some parties and will need to get some chores done. Peace, quiet... I couldn't wait, so after work I tossed them all in ~ it's a nice thing being the leader of the vampires and working until midnight because  when I do head to the lake...no traffic.  We got here, had breakfast and took naps.  All was right in everyone's world.  I went across the way to chat with my neighbors as it was cocktail hour. I love my neighbors.  I looked at my watch and said "ooo better go.." because one thing the baby has taught me; it's that he has a SET schedule.  Potties are at 6am, 9am, 5pm and 9pm.  I came home at 4:53pm.

SURPRISE Mommie! 

Mulligan apparently made a change to the schedule without notice.  Lovely rug brownie. Fabulous.  He is cowering and wagging his tale "sorry" so I point my finger and shake my head.  Everyone heads for jail.  This is not a good sign.  So now it is a "bad" scavenger hunt.

SURPRISE Mommie!

Birdie got upstairs and pulled all the laundry out of the basket, rolled in it and chewed up my propers.  Really?  I loved those panties.  You witch.

I sigh and clean it up... heyyyyy it's damp

SURPRISE Mommie! Winston decided that he wanted the laundry basket for himself; so he signed his name on it.  Oh and on the sofa. Oh and on the bathroom door Oh and on Mulli's cage...Really Pal? You weigh less than fifteen pounds. Where is it coming from?

I am now grumbling and glaring.  I stomp down the steps and hit the kitchen

SURPRISE Mommie!  The three stooges have broken in to the pantry and helped themselves to kibble, a piece of chocolate, my favorite flavored coffee and some cocoa mix.

I spin around like I'm ready to battle the devil himself and find three little amigos standing there wagging and wiggling, hoping I will be SUPER happy with the decorative modifications they efficiently made during my absence; one with sticks from the wood pile hanging from his face and the breath of one delICIOUS flavored coffee ~ hints of hazelnut and mocha I believeanother with toilet tissue stuck to her chin and the third with dropping eyes food wrappers tucked under his chin like a mafioso sitting down to Sunday lasagna.

THAT IS IT! I hiss and point to jail.  Everyone slinks in and gives me the last hopeful wag as I slam the doors and say mean things they don't understand about gypsies and selling and countries that EAT dogs....

I go into the pub and click on the television.  I just want to sit and relax; watch a bad movie and ... I jump up like I've been bit in the arse.

There are teeny fragments of kindling from the woodpile all over the couch.

SURPRISE Mommie!

i will love them ... later.

Thanks for coming over.  I hope to see you again soon.  It feels nice to be here with you.