Thursday, September 29, 2011

Little Black Books

It was that look; you know the one. It says "My life was perfect only a few minutes ago and now it's ruined, up in smoke, I'm eternally damned and you!, YOU are the cause! and you wanna know why??? Dooya??? Well GUESS!!!"

I never could guess. It's a man thing I suppose; we're too logical, too simple...we don't have that all seeing third eye to notice what the hell we stepped in just before we tracked it all over the carpet of "her" life.

Marie and I were just barely discussing playing house when I asked her if she'd like to go on a long motorcycle trip. That cinched it for her pretty much; we were now officially boy and girlfriend and would solidify cohabitation plans upon our return. I just thought it'd be a fun ride, I hadn't meant it to be a statement of love everlasting. But, "whatever works" I thought as I scooted toward the Rockies, oblivious to what her reaction had actually foreshadowed.

It was in Billings when I noticed that my front tire was near treadless and should be replaced. We were camping, but at KOAs as I was happy to rough it as long as I had a shower to wake up to. We checked in and unloaded so Marie could set up camp while I spent a few hours with tire mechanics elsewhere. It actually took less than an hour as luck would have it, and I raced home to mama for smokes, sex and salmon; not necessarily in that order.

As I pulled up it was hard not to notice the tent was still lying lifeless, tossed into a pile along with the sleeping bags and other outdoorsy type gear. The only container opened was my personal pack, and that stood against the picnic table right next to where my new true love sullenly watched me drop my kickstand and lean back in wonder.

She'd been crying it seemed, and as I'd been married once before I knew how this worked. It could be nothing; just a mood swing or unforeseen cramps. It could be she'd just noticed she'd left her favorite hair tie at home. Only God knows why women cry sometimes, and He wasn't dropping any hints at that moment.

I jest now, but at the time I was truly worried. "What's wrong?" I had to ask. She whipped a small book at me as if it were a Frisbee, hitting me square on in my leather covered breadbasket.

It was my phonebook that now lay open in my lap as she angrily turned away and huffed something unintelligible but surely vulgar.

By all appearances it would be seen as a "little black book", save its medium brown color. And I have to admit it surprised me a bit as I didn't remember packing the thing. It was hardly useful as I was gallivanting across country, and if I'd lost it I would have spent a lengthy time replacing what was in it.

Before I could speak, my tripmate had turned back into my face with combination pleady/angry eyes and muttered, "I really wasn't looking for anything, I was just unpacking and it fell out of your bag and I was just gonna set it aside but I couldn't help myself because a page blew open and I saw what was in it and then I got mad and......"

It was the longest sentence I'd ever heard. The woman had a set of lungs on her. The gist was that she'd dropped the book while unpacking and an open page had "forced" her eyes to read a few lines. Her curiosity, and then hackles raised, she paged through the entire book while she sat waiting for my return; and with each turning a new hash mark was made beneath my new name...Mister Mud.

"Which one am I" she asked with a lip quiver for dramatic punctuation. "How can you be such an asshole" she added, so as to leave no doubt that the rest of the trip would be a wild ride indeed.

I just sat there with my mouth hanging open, my eyes darting between her twisted but still amazingly beautiful face, and the pages of my property. I stutter smiled a few times as my feeble man brain saw the light of truth momentarily, but then shook it off as it wasn't possible anyone could actually think that!

"Tell me exactly what it is you think you know" I said finally, leaning forward on my handlebars with a heavy sigh. "Show me what you believe."

She stood and stepped to me, snatching the little brown hardback notepad from my hands. With a healthy harumph she opened the cover and pointed to the first page...the "A" page so to speak.

"Anita" she said coldly. I had to defer to the facts; it was my ex-wife’s name and number. But as I'd explained on more than one occasion, we were still in contact as she needed me to pull her silly ass from various fires here and there.

"Fine" she said with an imagined stomp, steeling herself for yet more accusation. And then she began to rifle through the pages, whipping off name after name....well, sort of names.

"Darlene-Beyond Words...#461-30**" she said smugly, her eyes lighting my jacket ablaze. "She must be really something!"

"Andrea-Creative", "Susan-Aplus", "Barb-Fourstar" and on and on she went, pages flying right to left, her finger tracing, nay underlining every word spoken in what seemed like smoking blood, her head cocking for a braying smirk after every other descriptive phrase.

"I can only imagine what "Lipservice" does for you" she cackled as she continued through the M-N-O-Ps and beyond.

My head hurt. I wanted to fall off the bike in screaming laughter, but as I said, I'd been married before so I knew that would be a fatal course of action. And so I endured...endured the name calling, the nasty glances the haughty, self-righteous gotcha tone, and...the look.

I can't describe what happened to her face as I explained that this was my voiceover talent agency phonebook, the female names, my contacts. I won't go on about how she groveled after I told her I would never treat another human being with such disrespect that I'd label them by sexual scorecard in even a supposedly private notebook. I won't tell you how she rectified the idea that she was ready and willing to move in with me, but in the next breath could see this little book as Jack the Ripper’s appointment register.

But when she stopped apologizing and began to proselytize that she'd known all along that I wasn't like that, that she didn't know what had gotten into her, I had to tell her that I'd left something at the mechanics building and that I'd be back soon. It took me an hour’s ride to laugh it off, and a month before I stopped wondering what I'd gotten myself into.

My dad had a saying he used quite often, particularly when he found himself trying to prove something didn't exist, which was near every day in our house.

He'd say, "Sometimes ya just can't win fer losin'".

It's a ridiculous phrase, a kind of a word gumbo. But I know exactly what he meant.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Damn Straight

Lucifer shuffled into God’s office and took a seat in the cushy leather chair facing the owner’s desk. The Almighty was busy finishing up some paperwork, so Luc peered west through the floor to ceiling windows, admiring the naked female that was running here and there seemingly without purpose.

“Who’s the chick?” he asked.

God looked up from His notes, pulled His glasses down to the tip of His nose and looked outdoors. He smiled. “Oh that’s Eve” he replied, “I made her to keep Adam company; not that you need to know” he added as he set two sheets of paper before him, both facing his subject.

“OK” Luc said “I screwed up, I shouldn’t have fought you, I get it. So what’s the punishment then, let’s get it over with.”

“You have choices to make my child. Read each contract and agree to that which suits you best.”

The devil picked up the first page and browsed through it, mouthing the words as he went. “Exile…own universe… far, far from here… uh huh, uh huh.” He set that paper back on the desk. “You know” he said” you have very feminine script. Now that’s not a bad thing, I’m just sayin…”

God looked downward and shook his head. “You can never quit can you” He said. “Read the other please.”

Lucifer grinned, then shrugged. He was hoping to get at least a smile out of the Father, but there wasn’t much humor in heaven, so he couldn’t be too disappointed in the audience response. That didn’t make him unfunny of course, just out of place. He reached for the second page and read aloud.

“I, Lucifer, Fallen Angel and scourge of heaven, shall reign over the fires of damnation for a period not to exceed infinity.” He stopped for a moment and grinned again. Heaven wasn’t humorless after all. “Nice touch that” he said, and then settled back into the chair to finish in silence.

“Ok” he finally said, “by the looks of it, were I to accept this punishment I will forever be your foil, like an open wound you can never heal. Why would you do this to yourself much less to me. I do love you ya know, I just got a little big for my britches there for a minute.”

“Can’t tell you that, sorry. It’s a personal thing. Call it part of a plan, yin yang, a teeter totter.”

“Teeter totter?”

“Oh you know what I mean, that’s the best metaphor I can come up with at the moment. So you’ve read them both. Choose.”

Lucifer didn’t like either option really. All his friends were in Heaven, boring lot that they were. And God was always mucking about creating something, like that Eve chick. Man was she a hottie! If he left, he’d lose access to being the first to see all the new stuff. Suddenly his eyes caught another piece of paper, mostly because God was slowly sliding it away from its position on the desk and whistling.

“Wait a minute! What’s THAT! Another offer?”

God stopped moving the piece. “Well, it was” He said, “until you called my most perfect creation a chick. Do you have any idea how disrespectful that is? And I saw the way you leered at her with lust in your heart. Disgusting!”

“Oh Come on! Don’t be so touchy, for your’s sake! I apologize. She’s a beautiful piece of work she is. Just like chickens. I was just comparing her to another of your most fab creations! And it was just an innocent glance! There, better? Now, let me see that other choice.”

“Not a chance Blackbeard, you gave up that possibility by your snotty demeanor and lack of moral underpinning.”

Lucifer stood and quickly turned toward the window, waving his finger toward the orchard beyond the meadow. “Why is… is that girl picking an apple?”

God jumped up from his desk and ran to the glass. Meanwhile, Lucifer grabbed the last paper from the table and started to speed read its contents. God, knew what had happened immediately, well, even before that really. And He was not amused.

Lucifer cried out. “You’d have forgiven me? We could have started over? I could have stayed? And you were gonna chuck this choice just because I called your beloved Eve a chick? Man! That’s just not fair!”

“I don’t have to be fair. I’m God” God said as he retook his seat and held out a fountain pen. Just sign one of these and move on Luc.”

“That’s just crap” Lucifer said, “You’re the only guy I know that gets to be all loving and all vengeful in the same breath! That’s Absurd!”

“It’s not absurd” the Almighty answered, “it’s a mystery.”

“Mystery my ass! It’s a conundrum!

“Oh alright, it’s an enigma then.”

“You call this an enigma? Bull! It’s an impossibility is what it is!”

“And that’s why you have to go my child. You just can’t accept that some things are based entirely on faith. Choose, or I shall have to choose for you.”

I choose that one” Luc said, pointing at the third paper he’d now dropped on the floor. “I choose starting over. I choose forgiveness. I choose love.”

God’s face was saddened, but His mouth firmly created the words “not that one”, as he pushed the other two options toward his once favorite angel.

Lucifer wiped his tears, nodded, and said softly, “can you give me a minute alone? I just want to think. Really, just a couple minutes.”

“Surely” said God, “take a stroll around the garden one last time. You have 15 minutes. I’d give you longer but I have a canyon I need to gouge out.”

Lucifer shrugged and exited the room. The moment he shut the door, he began to hum and walked toward the huge apple tree deep within God’s orchard.

He knew the chick was close by; he’d been glancing at her all through his conversation with the boss.

“Hey honey” he shouted as he closed in on the tree and maiden, “come here a sec, I’ve got a gift for you.”

Eve flounced toward the lovely angel, tilting her pretty head and smiling a great big smile. “A gift? For me?”

The devil reached into the apple tree and yanked the biggest, juiciest apple he could from a lower limb, shined it up upon his feathers and offered it to the lass.

“What’s this” the girl asked as she grasped the huge fruit.

“It’s a Pop Tart” Luc said. “You could eat it just like that, but I’d warm it up first and share it with your boy toy. Pop tarts are best shared ya know.”

“Well gosh” Eve whispered in awe, “I didn’t know we had Pop Tarts in the garden! All I knew is that we’re not supposed to eat the apples off the tree of knowledge or whatever, so I avoid fruit altogether. Adam says that’s why my teeth are kinda falling apart!”

“Yea well, whatever dear” Lucifer said. “Now make sure you eat it all up or the Father will think you don’t appreciate Him!”

“You bet Mister angel” Eve said, “I’m gonna go find a toaster right now!” And off she ran for the Heavenly kitchens.

A half hour later God stepped into the St. Michael Bar and Grill, ordered a Smith and Currans and took a seat next to Lucifer who was sipping on a whiskey in a dark corner of the room.

“I was so miffed that you never came back, I might have dug that canyon a little deep” He said. He kicked at the suitcases that Luc had placed near the table. “I see you’re packed. Which contract son, not that I can’t guess after your latest hijinx.”

“You’re gonna regret this ya know. I’m gonna make life very difficult for your new little toys,” Lucifer said as he signed his eternity in Hell into being. “Some people can deal with rejection. I aint one o-those people!”

“So mode it be” God answered as He took the contract and slipped it into His letter jacket pocket.

“What the hell does that mean, so mode it be?”

“I don’t know” God said, “it comes up in a movie in a few thousand years. I thought it sounded kinda cool so I co-opted it in advance.”

“Well, I suppose it’s yours like everything else is” Luc said as he stood and shook the Father’s hand. “We’ll see you around I guess. I’ll send you a calling card now and then, like a disgraced Pope of something, just so you know I’m still in fine spirits.”

“I’ll never forget you Lucifer” God said with a tear in His eye.

“Damn straight” said Luc, and he turned and took the downward spiral of the stairway to heaven, never to be angelic again.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Bee Mine

Born yesterday, already old and demi-wise, Bumbly hovered above the wide black strip of earth, admiring it's sparkling surface and double yellow stripes. It was the shrine of the Worldwide Bee, it had to be; the shrine was said to circle the planet bringing the color of the Bee to every corner of the earth, not that any bee had ever lived long enough to find out for sure. Perhaps, Bumbly was just the bee to make myth reality; perhaps the world was smaller than it looked and if he'd just fly east he'd be back to this very spot in no time with amazing tales to tell.

Bumbly lifted his little bee head and tried to imagine the distance to the horizon. It was hard to count the blades of grass considering he had a hundred images to choose from. (The multi-faceted eye thing made life more difficult at times, though it sure was fascinating seeing the queen in a hundred different birthday suits at a time...hubba hubba.)

"Well gosh", Bumbly said at last, humming a little tune to go with the words; "If I'm going to be this hive's Beegellan, I'd better get moving, I need to be back before sextime or the queen will have my stinger."

And with that, Bumbly Bee began his voya...


A bee stung me a few days ago; or should I say, I was party to a mutual stinging, biker style. I'm not sure his name was Bumbly of course, but I do know he lost his stinger cuz I pulled a black fishhook out of my shoulder and I think it had "If found, please eulogize Bumbly!" written on it.

I don't like dem bugz and day don't likes me. I now have a lovely embossed map of Antarctica on my right breast, with little blue lines pointing to the early spring crevasses and a great big lump signifying the very spot Jacques Cousteau took his last leak on the South Pole.

If only Bumbly would have asked I could have told him; if you're gonna circumnavigate the earth to prove the existence of the Worldwide Bee, you have to fly West. If he'd had his pollen together I'd have hit him square in the eyes rather than his big, Bumbly ass, saving me the dribble of poison and a week's worth of scratching like a dog with fleas. Thank God elephants don't have black and yellow stripes, I don't think I would have made it through that meeting.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Green Green Grapes of Home

Upon quitting one of my audio jobs, the owner and his staff became a little hostile. Deciding that I was an ungrateful wretch to follow my retiring boss to new digs, they tried to make my life hell. The truth is, they were really angry at him and not me, but as he'd offered to bring me along they assumed he needed me, and so I became a target of their angst as well. In their zeal, they sent a few letters to the CFO of the new corporation threatening lawsuits if I were to divulge any proprietary information.

They'd given me far too much credit, I was a tiny fish in a huge pond. Beyond that, because of my autistic nature, any proprietary information I might have gleaned from working with them went in one ear and out the other; what the hell did I care how many Buicks were sold in 1982 in Somalia, and why would they think I'd be running off to tell the Oldsmobile people all about that secret?

All they accomplished was to red flag me to the new corporate heads before I'd even taken the position, something that I spent 3 years living down, walking on eggshells as best I could. So......I was a bit pissed.

I went to the local florist and bought a dozen long stem roses in a box. On the way home I handed them out one by one to any woman that came within my sight. I just wanted the box and didn't want to explain what for and I always like making purdy gurls smile.

I filled it to the gills with nice, juicy green grapes and wrote a little poem as follows:

On a lunch hour dark and dreary there I pondered weak and weary
legalese describing my own vassalage so dour
I surmised that I did little to deserve this wrath and spittle
I can but assume these misplaced grapes of wrath are sour.

Addressed to the "creative vice president" who had now poked me in the eye, I plastered my name clearly on the box and sent it fed ex. It cost a ton, 6 pounds of grapes are heavy and I'd had to reinforce the box.

The recipient called in a crack team of creative directors to decide whether to call the bomb squad or not. As I heard it from a friendly mole, no one would get within 20 feet of the box; but no one would admit they were frightened either. That was worth the cost right there though I have to admit, it had never occurred to me that people would think me capable of sending explosives to an office building. Sometimes a good laugh takes a little hissy fit to get started, and I'm just twisted enough to think that was funny.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Holding Cell

Stop saying that you’re nearly dead
Don’t say you’ve given in
Stop hammering me with endless reams of 
“Oh, what could have been.”
Don’t ask me to recount 
the many lovely times we’ve seen,
as if those times are long since past
and now our slate’s wiped clean

Stop weeping that you want to die
Don’t speak of lying down
I understand frustration
but remove the thorny crown
There’s only so much I can take
before I walk away
I’ve got no one to share this weight
I can not even pray

My mother gave her soul to me
my father did as well
my brother kept his soul inside
a sedentary hell
I’ve seen a life of misery
wrap blades around my heart
There’s only so much blood I’ll spill
before I’ll break apart

You know I’m not your savior
and you’ve seen I’m not your stone
To have you live your life again
I’d give up all we own
but to help you I must know that you are 
in this game first hand;
not a sieve through which my words pour
like a thousand grains of sand.

Stop saying you don’t want to die
but death is coming soon
Don’t say you can’t recover
as I can’t bring you the moon
What life is left, let’s live it
or we’ll fritter it away
and I’ve already spent more
than my heart knows I can pay

Stop saying that you’re nearly dead


Thursday, September 1, 2011

U is for Umbilical

Prompt: Ululate, udder, undulate, ukulele, ulcer, uranium, Uranus, unicorn, Ulysses, uncle, uno, unicycle, unisex. Ursula, umbrella, uppity, umbilical, umbra, utterly, unique, umbrage, Underoos, Underdog, underarm, undone

I have a friend named Ursula. She has a great big brain.
You’d think that fact a blessing but instead it is her bane.
She has imagination far beyond us mortal folk.
She has so many cool ideas her neural paths can choke!

While at her uncle’s house one day (an uppity old coot)
She said “you have to see this!” In her hand was eye of newt!
“Why Ursula, that’s quite unique” I said without a hitch.
She smiled. “My pal Ulysses taught me how to be a witch!”

I thought “I must be dreaming, or unwittingly drank booze!
This girl just couldn’t cast a spell, she still wears Underoos!”
She saw what I was thinking, in a bubble o’er my head.
“You believe me or I’ll send you to Uranus pal” she said!

So I bought it stock and barrel, she’s a witch and that’s for sure!
(Now I keep my inner thoughts more closely guarded and obscure)
So I said “how ‘bout you show me what a witch can really do?”
She replied “Hold on, I’ll take us to my Manse du Cordon Bleu!”

I closed my eyes as counseled and I felt a little breeze;
Then Ukulele music nearly dropped me to my knees!
My ulcer started whining until soothed by English Horn;
She said “Ok we’re here now”…  from atop a unicorn!

“Can I…” she stopped me right away, “No unicorn for you!”
She said “get on that unicycle lying there askew!”
I had to ask the clown if he’d relinquish his one wheel.
He said “You never cross a witch, of course Monsieur Surreal!”

So on we went, down Umbra lane, a dark and gloomy road.
Some wolves began to ululate, they seemed in chatty mode.
But soon we came to Unoville, and Manse du Cordon Bleu,
and there began a little show she called “The Witch Review!”

She lined up toads for kissing, each a prince enthralled by hex.
I said “You know their genders?” “She said “Toads are unisex!”
And soon the evil witch’s spells were undone by a smack.
Then Ursula said “Oh my dear, it’s time to take you back!”

She whipped out an umbrella and began to conjugate.
She chanted all her subsets, we began to undulate!
As if we’d touched uranium we both began to glow!
She had me frightened utterly, (though that’s the status quo)

We flew at speeds approaching sound, my underarms were chafed
I shouted “Even Underdog might not think this is safe!”
But soon we’re on the good old ground, inside her uncle’s barn
She said “I have some chores to do, some udder pulling; Darn!”

I left her to her milking cows and ran myself back home
I hoped she’d not take umbrage at this winding, rhymey tome
But you see I had to write it down before I could forget
It’s like a text umbilical; we’re tied by this vignette!