One – I wrote 5,000 words yesterday; I am still riding the high. There is a effervescence of spirit that comes from writing. Words arrive in a pell-mell rush which my brain regurgitates onto a screen. (Hopefully in a shape that vaguely resembles what I see and hear behind my eyes.) This is the honeymoon period after the storm of words and before the tempest that is self-doubt and editing—the halcyon days of loving your creation.*
Two – Yesterday I sent my heroine on an adventure. There was a horse, of course. And plastic fruit and a tragedy for the hydrangeas—though now I am thinking petunias might be a funnier flower.
Three – I brought frenemies together and then forced them to climb deadwood to safety—only to fall like tumbling blocks—spelling out embarrassment and trouble in their awkward landing.
Four – I have yet to release the monkey—but I am cackling in anticipation.
Five – Today I rest while Officer Dettweiler removes the thorns—one prick at a time.
Six – And I haven’t decided who is getting the spring-loaded trap the heroine left for her anonymous hero. Perhaps the busybody Mrs. Bridewell is going to get her just desserts at the Fudge Festival after all?
Seven – I have no regrets, except that this pace can only be maintained for so long. Sooner or later, something is going to explode—most likely the laundry room.**
Asterisk Bedazzled Footnotes:
*At least, I think this is caused by the writing. It could be the lack of sleep and caffeine talking, now that I think of it.
I have deliberately avoided making political commentary prior to now because this has been such a heated election. Honestly, I am surprised that the candidates have not yet spontaneously combusted.* Plus, as I have mentioned in a previous post, I can’t stomach the conflict and demagoguery that goes along with political rhetoric.**
I have just come back from doing my civic duty and I’ll admit to having mixed feelings this time around. In the last two elections, I was a vocally avid supporter of the democratic candidate–not just because his particular brand of politics aligned with my own world views, but I could buy into the hype hope of a breath of change ruffling the skirts of stodgy politics that would never have considered an African American in prior elections.
I have come to a conclusion about politics that just cries out for a half-baked analogy.
Politics is like pie!
Hear me out. If you like PIE–Politics In Extreme–this has been the election for you. This year’s dessert cart comes with two potentially delicious choices:
Hot Meat Pie– If you like candid-to-the-point-of slanderous representation, have I got a pie for you! This pie appeals to the carnivorous amongst us–offering meat-loving appetites a 100% sausage fest of sexism.*** This pasty isn’t afraid to call a spade a spade–or a spic a rapist. (Warning to any Muslims–this pie is made of pork. You’ll want to avoid it or it might deport you.) This pie comes with an extra flaky crust–so flaky it blows off in a slight breeze. But don’t worry, we’ve slathered on a nice, fatty layer of extra-white gravy and a side of pre-digested opinions so your bile doesn’t have to work overtime. This pie comes served to you by Russian wait staff who will offer free refills of WikiLeaks Tea for when you get parched.
Now before you think I plan to sell you on just one over-filled pastry, I’ve got another slice for you.
Strawberry Surprise Pie–This pie comes with a beautifully latticed crust–you can’t untangle where one strip of dough lies over another. That tart might have been processed by so many financial fingers that you could feasibly be licking the hand of every banker in America–and possibly a few abroad. This pie might be a tad tough to chew. We’ve been offered it before you see in 2008, but back then, all anyone could talk about was the ultra-rich chocolate cream served with a nice dollop of whipped Hope & Change and everybody just HAD to have a taste of that!
These strawberries might be a little out of season–but that doesn’t mean they aren’t ripe. Possibly over ripe. But we won’t know until we get a look under the crust. I’ve been eyeing the spinning dessert wheel behind glass and it looks delicious and I love berry pies…but I sometimes find strawberry pie has a nasty secret. I worry that, even as I take a bite of this electoral delicacy, I won’t be able to swallow the sugary, nuclear-red filling that doesn’t quite hide the bitter aftertaste of politics-as-usual rhubarb buried inside. What else can you expect but a mix of bittersweet coming from the first election of a pie that a pant-suited Betty Crocker might have baked? This lukewarm wedge is dished up by a private male server along with a tall glass of diet denial which you can drink later to wash away any lingering regrets.
Let’s be honest here. After a year of having this election shoved down our throats—it doesn’t matter how much you like a good piece of pastry. I think we can all agree—no matter which pie you voted for–both of these were half-baked to begin with and the bottom is starting to get soggy.
*It would explain a certain red-faced polemicist exploding on Twitter though.
**I also can’t spell it…Rehtoric…Recthoric…Rhett-or-Rick. (Dammit.)
***Careful, this pie is a tad assault-y.
*Warning, graphic and disgusting content follows.*
You are ruining everything! I was supposed to be having fun, staying up late, writing a novel for NaNoWriMo. Instead, I’m seeing how fast I can go through a mega pack of toilet paper and finding out exactly how dehydrated one has to get before you have nothing left to give.
I hope you are happy.*
Sure! You let me have a Halloween party, but then you show up and knock me on my ass!
For days I was too tired to even whine. Did you read that? TOO TIRED TO WHINE!*
I threw away CUPCAKES because of you. I, who may or may not have eaten cake which had been left out for days in my past, threw away perfectly good—well, let’s be honest, my kid ate all the candy pumpkins off the top and it looked like tiny orange homicides occurred in the remaining frosting—cupcakes. They were tossed–much like cookies.*
I have only managed to eat the Jello brains leftover from the party and chicken soup. Four days of chicken soup. Bkwawk. I suspect I have started to cluck.*
My son has run amok in my absence. I actually had to chase him once when he escaped the house. You of course followed me and made my life hell.
You can imagine that phone call to the police department:
Dispatcher: “9.1.1, what is your emergency?”
Me: “My son has eaten a truckload of candy and is running amok. He’s dressed as Robin Hood and breaking into people’s homes. I’m in danger of shit running down my leg any second. I’m dressed as Dolores Umbrage—you’ll find me squatting in the nearest bushes.”
No thanks to you, I found him before they had to be involved…and I was arrested for indecency and polluting a public place.
The house is a mess. My son is officially out of clean clothes. And the basement…I don’t even want to describe what he has done to the basement. Suffice it to say, there will be Lysol in the old house tonight.
I’m sorry. But we have to break up. And let me be frank. It isn’t me—it’s you! I just can’t put up with your shit anymore.*
Asterisks Not So Bedazzled:
*A graphic representation of how frequently I have been interrupted while writing this post. You can only imagine why.
And because I suspect you think I’m making this up…here’s photographic proof.
Laughing as leaves fall, making spirals in their descent,
Through elegies of air.
So still he moves,
Leaning into a soundless void.
Planets in their orbits spin
And yet no shift in his equilibrium shows
That he is out of synch with a world
Built for words.
Images from a recent walk with my son, I was inspired by the drape of his blue blanket to wax poetic. Happy Halloween everybody. Nanowrimo begins tomorrow. Do not expect great things from me until December.
It is my one day off this week—a Monday filled with unfettered freedoms. At least, it will be just as soon as the window guy finishes up giving an estimate of the possibility of installing one more escape route for my child to threaten my sanity with.*
I should write.
But first I will rake some leaves. And then there is the pile of socks to sort and fold along with approximately 1 billion pair of underwear that, for some reason, are all inside out when they come out of the dryer.
I want to be a writer…but I need to return the clothes that didn’t fit and pick up the prescription at the store. Plus—as always—groceries.
I should WRITE!
Instead, I have managed to fill seven tiny plastic bags with assorted non-edible goodies for Halloween treats for my son to take to class—a class of children who really couldn’t care less if they get stickers and pencils instead of sugary products to rot their teeth. I will try to feel virtuous and not imagine the rubber duckies winding up in a landfill instead.
If I write, will it be of the grandiose imaginings that drift through my mind? Will I finally dig up the series this blog’s title is based upon? Will I manage to untangle the Gordian knot of plot threads that are choking the life out of the beastly thing? History suggests: NO! I won’t.**
Maybe I will write today, but the clock is winding down. Time is a super-stellar suck of obligations, an enemy to creativity. It whisks away the should-have’s and could-have’s and leaves me with unfolded laundry and indecision.
I ShOuLDWrITe, dAMmIT!
But will I?***
Asterisk Bedazzled Footnotes:
*So, how does everyone feel about egress windows? Thoughts? Opinions? Dire predictions of home invasion or child escapism?
**My friend suggested a numbered list of reasons why I don’t write. I hate the click-bait ploy of lists, so I opted for this rambling mess instead.
1st Place goes to Kiri at The Dust Season for the “A Happily-Ever-After Story Involving Break-Ins and Police Action”. It takes a village to raise a child, but those villages often wait to show themselves. At just the right moment…
She was sent one Green Study Coffee Mug, a postcard from Minneapolis and $100 donation was made to the American Red Cross on her behalf.
“A Happily-Ever-After Story Involving Break-Ins and Police Action”
My son is an escape artist. He revels in finding ways around the protective prison cocoon of his home life. This would be fine, if my son were normal. But he isn’t and this story isn’t. So, before everyone gets up in arms about my use of the word ‘normal’ in relation to my son, let me get one thing straight: something beyond ordinary happened—and that’s okay.
Fall is here. The farmer’s market is overflowing with knobby, thick-skinned vegetables. The pumpkins are a little lopsided and I am drawn to long, creamy-skinned butternut squash.* When I pass mounds of earthy cabbage, I am haunted by my father.
I have a distinct memory from childhood of my father, out in the front yard, kneeling in the grass and chopping cabbage with the savage ferocity of a Mongol Horde bent on conquest. Why does this memory stick, you may wonder? He would buy cabbage in bulk, you see. A head of cabbage probably cost something like 60 cents back in the day—but if you bought a bushel, you’d get ‘em for a steal.
If you buy even a half-bushel, like my father did, that’s still a lot of cabbage. That means a lot of coleslaw or–gag–sauerkraut.** Nearly every weekend, my father was outside wearing plaid shorts, a white undershirt, black socks and work boots that he left unlaced, crouched over a butcher’s block cutting board committing cruciferous homicide. He would do this for a good hour or more. He did this with sufficient repetitive monotony that it has become one long reel of boring dad-moments, with only a minor variation on a theme if the bushel contained an elusive red cabbage–which made for an extra-bloody looking pile when he got done.
We have no pictures of my father hunkered in all his glory, but it is burned forever in vivid Kodachrome on the part of my brain where random, goofy memories are stored.
So now, whenever I visit the farmer’s market to check out the goods, I linger for a moment before the veiny, green-white disembodied heads…and remember.
Asterisk Bedazzled Footnotes:
*And before you go all phallic on me, I like to chop them into cubes and broil them until they cry for mercy. Try to make a sexual innuendo outta that!
**I survived several winters’ discontent of consuming sloppy, homemade sauerkraut by vomiting dramatically whenever forced to eat it.
—Join this week’s episode of Phlegm Patrol*….already in progress–
Officer RB: “Adam Ten, Officer Bacter, on route. What’s the situation?”
Dispatch: “Victim is down…multiple unknown hostiles. Proceed with caution.”
Officer AV: “Going in code zero…what’s the eta on the bus?”
Dispatch: “Five minutes out…coroner is on standby.”
Officer RB: “Code eleven, dispatch. Adam Ten pulling up to the residence. Lights are off…let’s see if any body’s home.”**
Join our intrepid officers, Ria Bacter and Andy Viril, as they broach the unknown, potentially lethal abode nestled in a residential neighborhood where the worst that happens on a typical day is a dog taking a dump on your lawn. Today is not your typical day. As the car brakes to a halt, the duo leap into action…
“A.V…you go round the rear. I know how you like to make an entrance.” Ria says tossing her partner a brightly marked can along with her trademark wicked grin.
“Funny, Ria. Remind me to sign you up for sensitivity training when we get back.” Officer AV snaps, but he snatches the aerosol can mid-air without breaking his stride. Slamming the trunk from which he has pulled the blazing orange gear, he tosses his partner the familiar hazmat suit standard for the op.
“Keep your eye on the prize and gear up.” In seconds, he’s zipped and loaded for recon. Officer AV yanks on his headgear before stalking to the back of the yellow, suburban death trap. He muffles a curse as he nearly trips on the hose snaking through the long grass.
It’s been a while since anyone came out to mow this mess. Not good.
Masks in place, the officers approach with caution.
From the back entrance, Officer AV can’t see shit. It’s an older model home with a door meant to withstand nosy neighbors—solid steel and no fancy cut-work glass spy holes. The curtains block his view through the small kitchen window—other than to note the piles of dishes glimpsed through the sliver of light spearing the darkness inside.
A quick test of the knob reveals the door is shut tight. Out of habit, Andy sprays the surface of both the storm and the outer door handles before heading back to the front to confer with Ria. But she’s not there. He scans the yard then spots his partner hauling ass back from the car.
“I can see someone layed out inside. It appears as though a wrecking crew went through.” Ria waves a crowbar at her partner. “Looks like we’re gonna have to invite ourselves to the party.”
In seconds, the officers are through.
“Geezus Christmas.” AV can’t swallow the reflexive curse entirely. “What the hell happened here?”
Tissues adorn every surface. In the dim light, their advanced recon goggles’ infrared settings pick up the myriad human sputum samples flecking the walls and surfaces around them.
“Don’t touch a fucking thing.” Ria barks, unconcerned about anybody’s sensibilities—least of all the corpse on the couch. “I don’t want to face the paperwork if this spreads.”
Then the body buried under a mound of Kleenex and a moth-eaten afghan moans.
“Effing hell. She’s alive.” AV holds his breath—even though the standard issue mask is tested out at a level-five contagion. Flesh eating bacteria won’t get through this thing, but still…
Reaching for his adapted weapon, AV brings it to bear on the woman whose eyes open to slits, offering a watery grimace before hacking up half a lung—a wet, sucking sound that will haunt him for the rest of his life.
“Hold still ma’am.” Ria has her baton out and punches a button to bring up a swab. Like the pro she is, she’s in and out of the woman’s sphere of contagion in seconds.
“Just…kill me now.”
The woman reaches weakly toward them. Her plea is interrupted by a shudder wracking her frame. Choking paroxysms smother any further pleas for a merciful end.
Ria holds out the monitor to AV—the blinking readout suggests last rite measures.
AV grimaces, upping the anti-viral setting to maximum.
“Sorry, ma’am.” He’d have sounded more sincere, but fear clenches down hard on sympathy in the face of the petri dish that once was a human being. “But this is for the good of the nation.”
There’s nothing left to say. Ria makes quick work bagging and dragging patient zero.
As his partner backs out of the front door, AV fires and the charge disperses with an aerosol hiss of death. Every surface that had been contaminated by the mutant virus is now coated in a dripping goo—a potent substance which dissolves germs—as well as eating its way through any pesky surface that might get in the way of a thorough decontamination. In seconds, the couch is a skeleton of its former foamy self. The rest of the house will soon follow.
Outside, Ria has deposited the woman out in the standard containment unit. The body bag for the living didn’t look much different—except for the mounded air intake sucking in O2–sounding like the bastard child of Count Dracula and Darth Vader having an asthma attack.
“Think she’ll make it, Andy?” Ria Bacter asks with a cold indifference to the answer. She flags the ambulance as it rounds the corner. They know the drill.
“If they can administer the ‘chicken soup’ in time. Maybe.” Officer AV is not confident enough to make assumptions past that. “And that’s Officer Virile to you, Bacter.”
“I think you mean viral.” Ria snarks at him. She holsters the can of government-issued Lysol with a quick flick of her wrist. She’s been practicing, AV is impressed.
“That’s not what the ladies say.” AV offers his own sly grin. “Feel free to ask around.”
“Ohh, someone thinks his bad self is too hot to touch.” Ria saunters to where hazmat has set up the decon tent. She shoots him a sardonic look. “Rumor has it, you are passed from woman to woman like a common cold. You should come with a surgeon’s general warning: ‘Do not exceed recommended dosage.’ Better watch it, Viral. Or they’ll bag your ass as soon as look at it.”
AV watches as the woman Ria tagged is hauled into the back of the contamination wagon—it shoots screaming down the block interrupting his snappy comeback. Entering the tent, he calls to her as he peels off his own suit.
“As long as they’ve got my ass in their sites, they might as well get a good, long look at it.” He’s peeling to the skin when his partner whistles behind him. He whirls to catch her eyeing his physical attributes.
“Woo Whee. I guess they better of ought to, then. Some ills are worth dying for.” Ria flutters a hand as though wracked with heart palpitations, then, snatching up a nearby black bag, she whips the decon pack at his head, just missing hitting him in the teeth as he grins back at her.
“It’s all in a days’ work for the phlegm squad, Bacter.” He shouts, before hauling himself into the air vents blasting a Lysol-dense germ retardant. “Some days, a good end is all you can hope for.”***
Asterisk Bedazzled Footnotes:
*I considered calling the show ‘Hazmat Cops’ but then got distracted writing lyrics to the show: