Friday, October 31, 2008

Things you can do when you quit your job #9

Carve jack-o-lanterns with your mom and dad. Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Nancy runs the bookmobile

Here's a little fiction for 3WW inspired by a book I found today on the free table at the library. (Apologies to Enid Johnson.) The words are corpse, damage and knife.

Nancy runs the bookmobile.

Drive, Nancy, drive.

Nancy feels a little woozy from her date with Fred last night. Fred makes very strong highballs.

Bad, Fred, bad.

Nancy is distracted. Did she sleep with Fred or not? Nancy is so distracted that she fails to notice the pedestrian in the walkway.

Oh, no, Nancy!

The bookmobile goes thump.

Nancy stops the bookmobile quickly. A copy of "Curious George Visits a Police Station" tumbles to the floor.

Nancy gets out and checks the bookmobile for damage. The library doesn't know that Nancy forgot to pay her insurance bill.

Nancy sees that the pedestrian is now a corpse. Do you know what corpse means? Nancy does.

Nancy is relieved that she is on a rural road and no one has seen her hit the pedestrian with the bookmobile.

Nancy grabs the corpse by its feet, drags it into the bookmobile and closes the door.

Nancy drives. She is lucky she knows this area. She knows where to find good places to hide things. What do you think Nancy will hide today?

Nancy turns the bookmobile down a gravel road. She stops in a place that has many trees and lots of soft, loose soil.

Nancy opens the bookmobile door and drags the corpse into the woods. She forgot her purse. Nancy returns to the bookmobile for her purse and opens it. She finds the big hunting knife she keeps in her purse for protection.

Nancy uses the knife to dig a shallow grave.

Dig, Nancy, dig!

Nancy goes through the corpse's pockets before dragging him into the shallow grave. The credit cards are useless to her but she pockets the thirty-nine bucks and some-odd change the corpse had in his pockets. Nancy thinks it's too bad she killed the pedestrian because he is better looking than Fred.

Nancy kicks some dirt and leaves over the corpse and returns to the bookmobile. The library will wonder where the bookmobile has gone!

Drive, Nancy, drive.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Words I Made Up While Doing Schoolwork in a Hurry #12

Someone give me a definition for "digigal."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Anywhere else

Here's a little fiction for 3WW. The words are ache, difference, suffer.

She glanced at the wall clock again and took another sip of watered-down coffee that tasted partially like the Styrofoam cup in which it languished. Fifty minutes left. The better part of an hour. Longer than her favorite TV show, sans commercial breaks. Longer than a decent nap. Longer than she’d be able to stay awake if she kept listening to the suited man at the front of the room drone about Initiatives in Customer Service.

He was enjoying this too much. She nodded and smiled like she was engaged in his presentation, but the difference between her and him was that she hadn’t morphed into some inhuman corporate devil beast. She just worked here.

Over her shoulder, the double doors remained firmly closed, blocking any sound from escaping the room. Would anyone passing know she was trapped in here? The man at the front of the room giddily displayed a pie chart. She thought about pie and ached for a banana cream. She couldn’t make up her mind whether she’d throw it or eat it. What was in banana cream, anyway? Maybe she could pick one up on the way home. Maybe she'd bump into this guy at the grocery store. What would he have in his cart? Antihistamines, probably. Root beer schnapps.

If she’d known this morning that she’d have to suffer through another mandatory cheerfest, she would have spiked her coffee. Or called in sick. Or ran away to Mexico.


Mexico sounded great.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


This month my mom was on her weekly raw milk foray when this happened: A kid ran into the milk house and yelled for everyone to get out, the silo was falling down.

Everyone ran out, and the silo fell down.

If it had tipped over onto the barn... well, it didn’t. It crumbled apart and fell in the other direction, leaving a $30,000 pile of silage, old cement and sparking power lines. Leaving a bunch of health nuts standing around rethinking the whole raw milk idea.

Weird that it happens during the one hour in a week when people stop by to pick up the milk. Weird that it happened at all. And another weird: My mom showed me the place in her Eckhart Tolle book where she’d stopped reading just before she went to get the milk.

All structures are unstable, it read.


That night my mom went to the funeral of a friend who’d been a year younger. She’d had cancer but recovered; it was a viral something or other in the end.

Friends in school and elsewhere have reported difficulties recently. Dealing with death, illness, money, home sales, moving. While working on a graduate degree. It’s the usual human stuff but it seems compounded of late; lots of people dealing with lots of things.


Silos. Bridges. Towers. The economy. The stock market. The workplace. Families. The human body.

Everything is off-kilter, and it’s seemed that way for a while now.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Things you can do when you quit your job #8

Watch turkeys walk through the yard. Sorry, hunters.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Here's another installment for Three Word Wednesday. Today's words are delicate, night and jaded.

The day was lived for the time when she could finally settle into the wide armchair that faced the couch. Every night she stared across the room at those flowered cushions that sagged like old boobs, sipping the drink, listening to ice tinkling in the glass while the Flesh Lump was kept alive by the methodical piss of an oxygen tank.

The amber-colored photograph on the wall showed a different woman, one who had married a soldier filled with promises and big dreams that didn’t include becoming a Flesh Lump. The woman in the picture hadn’t known she’d get pregnant three times or that the third would be lost to a back-alley doctor because she couldn’t bear the thought of another. Nor did the woman know later in life she’d lose the first child to cancer and the second to meth and the third child might have still been. But after the loss of the second, her life had fallen into jaded numbness and she knew the third was better off as it was.

She pushed herself out of the armchair long enough to check on the Flesh Lump, then stopped by the gaping door of the spare room on her way back to the living room. A silvery shadow cut the darkness. She pushed the door a little wider and hallway light fell across the extra oxygen tank.

The valve twisted too easily and the delicate whisper of oxygen escaping followed her into the living room, where she settled into the sagging boob couch and dug through her purse, pulled out a new pack of cigarettes and a lighter. She tore off the crackling cellophane, pinched a filter in her mouth, lit the smoke. Waited.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hey, look at this!

It's under three bucks a gallon.

Books to write

Someone please give me a one-sentence synopsis for "The Gramps of Wrath."

Friday, October 10, 2008

Six random things

Last month I was tagged by my friend over at Greg's Plate to tell you six random things about me and then tag some other bloggers. Well, better late than "Screw you! I'm not doing it!" So here goes.

1. I've never lived in a purple house, but my grandmother had a purple kitchen and her house was surrounded by lilacs.

2. Once when I was a kid and my family and I were vacationing on a lake I noticed a group of boys chasing a snake down the beach. I thought they were trying to catch the snake, so being the helpful little girl I was, I ran ahead of them, grabbed the snake and said "Here!" which caused the boys to scream and run in the other direction. A scene which has repeated itself since in one form or another.

3. I've been to Paris, Cairo, and Samarkand. (Why yes, I do think I'm something special.)

4. I spent last Friday night watching "Gidget" with my parents. (Proving once again that cool is ephemeral.)

5. I once modeled for a snowmobile suit catalog. (I rest my case.)

6. My first car was a truck. The paint peeled off in patches and it started rusting where the paint used to be. So I had a blue, silver and rust-colored truck. Then pieces of it started falling off -- one of the back panels, part of the floorboard. When it rained my feet got wet. I'm driving a truck again but it's in much better condition.

Let's see... I'll tag Nita, Candace, Constance,
Christina, Teri, and Jakob.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Who cares about the economy...

...when you've got one of these! Only 700 billion grams of fat.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


My arm's been twisted to try Three Word Wednesday courtesy of Thom G. The words are: effortless, thrash, vindictive. Since I didn't get to it last week, I'll use those words, too: deliberate, intervene, nourish. Here we go.

The crumbling farmhouse stood at the end of the driveway where she parked the minivan, and the old guy standing on the gravel flicked a wave toward a garden in his front yard. That's where the owl had taken refuge.

A barred owl, cousin to the kind loggers out west said they liked to eat for dinner. A vindictive beak, built for shredding. A satellite-shaped face surrounding dark eyes. One quiet wing dragging.

She opened the back of the minivan, pulled out a ragged gray bath towel, left the door open. The owl hopped up on a stump, snapped its beak.

The old guy watched with his hands on his hips, shaking his head like it was foolish to intervene. But instead he was recalling the time when he was ten and his brother was twelve and they'd found a nest of what turned out to be falcons. They spent weeks caring for them in the barn, taking turns feeding them nourishing pieces of rabbit.

Her deliberate approach telegraphed an impending struggle -- a thrashing mass of human limbs, terrycloth, feathers, dirt, possibly blood -- but the action was almost effortless. She wrapped the towel around the bird as if it had just stepped out of the shower, waiting to be dried off. More snapping. She held the warm package to her chest, carried it to the minivan, dropped it in a cardboard box.

It looked up at her with a moon face before she folded the top, enveloping the owl in a temporary cocoon.