Penny For Your Thoughts

wpid-wp-1406034526802.jpegHer name doesn’t matter, his name doesn’t matter but as for  his Wife…

Oh her name matters very much and I’ll tell you why.

Her name was Penny-  and she was indeed the lucky Penny, the bad Penny, the one cent people give along with their opinions so you won’t punch them in the throat when they give it.

He met the former Penny Dyen in a bookstore.

She was flipping through a book and chuckling to herself and that’s what he was taken with.

That deep rich laugh.

She looked up from her  and he looked down into her dark brown eyes.

He introduced himself and she closed the book and gave him her name and two months later he gave her his last name.

It was on their first wedding anniversary he asked if she remembered the title  of the book was that she had been enjoying so much.

The one that made made her laugh and drew him towards her.

” Oh. Yeah. Sure I remember, it was a hoot.”

He waited for her to answer because she had started to laugh again.

He couldn’t help but to smile.

” It was The Exorcist. The Devil in that book reminded me of someone I knew once.”

His mouth dropped open. ” You knew someone like…”

” Oh don’t worry Sweetheart. He wasn’t as cute as you and is totally out of my life now.”

He was never scared of Penny.

He felt like the person after they skydive for the first time, or fight off a  shark or find themselves in the eye of a tornado.  That’s what he felt like  with Penny in his life

Penny  never slept, he never saw her actually eat food and the neighborhood cats, dogs and small children all sounded someone was cutting their heads off when they saw her walk by.

But he would be the first to tell you after awhile he felt like a visitor in the world Penny came from- he never quite got a handle on the way she seemed to always know things before they happened or how she seemed to just appear for a second and was gone like a puff of smoke.

So every once and awhile He went back to his  old world where people didn’t stare into mirrors for hours at a time talking backwards at their reflections because as Penny explained that was the only way the words would come out right on the other side.

His problem started when he brought someone into the world he shared with Penny.

She was an old flame- very old and when  Penny found out how old she was Penny laughed and said, ” Sweet Baby Jesus, if you wanted a bag of moldy bones to love, we got plenty of those in the back yard. I could have dug some up for you. I’d be glad to, it’s getting crowded back there.”

Beyond that Penny didn’t seem to concern herself with His ‘Moldering Cadaver’ ( as Penny called her )

But the Moldering Cadaver cared very much about Penny.

She called Penny and Penny agreed to meet her at the Park down the street from Penny’s house.

Their conversation was actually very brief.

She wore rings on all of her fingers, her hair was cut like Penny’s and she was wearing nose bleedingly high platform shoes.

Penny looked down into Her eyes and was not surprised to see the Sanity draining from them as they spoke.

Penny was not surprised because she had that effect on people.

The part where She pulled out the gun and fired it right between Penny’s eyes.

That was new.

Poor Penny, the neighbors said with some relief.

To be shot in cold blood like that and how morbid- that old Park was actually part of an old cemetery and whoever had shot her in the head had also bashed her face in with a piece of broken tombstone.

That was a shame, people said with honesty. Penny had actually been a beautiful woman in life.

He married Her after a year.

Of course the sanity did not magically find it’s way back into Her head sadly enough.

She now  drank too much, smoked too much and wrote far too much poetry about passion and regaining one’s youth again and made Him listen to it.

He would sometimes wish during those readings that Penny was there laughing into her books about Demonic Possession or history books about the Black Death ( good times baby she would say as she wiped the tears from her eyes ) and torture.

He missed Penny, but it was probably a stretch that she would take him back- being that he married the woman who killed her.

One night, he was sitting on his front porch smoking one of the Cuban Cigars that Penny had stashed in the library upstairs.

She loved to smoke cigars and the habit had rubbed off on him.

So on that biting cold November evening He was wishing Penny was there to smoke with him when Penny walked up the steps.

Her face was beautiful again, the bullet hole was gone.

He stood up, took her into his arms and he said

” Penny, I’m so sorry. I … “

Penny took the cigar from his fingers and kissed him. Her eyes burned bright and she ran her fingers through his hair. ” You always have been a little Devil my love-“

Penny  turned him loose  turned  and opened the door to their house.

Then Penny squared her shoulders, popped the cigar into the corner of  her mouth and called Her name- actually Penny  howled Her name  like a demon escaping from Hell is probably a better way to describe it.

And  Penny said as she walked into the house-

” But as we both know, I’ve always been a bigger one.”

Tately Grund: A Cautionary Tale

wpid-wp-1414723976110.jpeg

Tately Grund  was always meant to do big things, great things, he was meant to make his mark on the world.

That’s what drove Tately Grund to do the things he did.

The very distasteful, odious things that would make the Devil blush. From what I understand he did exactly that on more then one occasion.

But I digress.

I’m here to tell you a story about  Tately Grund and how he came to make the acquaintance of one Livia Frost- Frosty to her friends- not that she had many of those.

Livia owned the one and only Funeral home in Burnside, Washington. She owned the cemetery too and most of Cross County was buried there.

What that adds up to numbers wise  is  a lot of dead bodies and they’ve been taking up residence at Leaning Birches Cemetery since 1904.

Livia lived just across the street from Leaning Birches and her old bone white house with the stain glass windows and and her front door with the dog’s head knocker didn’t exactly say ‘welcome’- .

But you’d be surprised how many people did visit Livia’s Bone White House with the stained glass windows- they didn’t go to the front door though. They walked around to the back door- down that little path lined with those white flowers that only bloomed at night and smelled faintly of cigarette smoke.

smokeflower

It wasn’t a long walk to her back door, it just felt like it if anyone were to admit to taking that walk which nobody ever  admitted to doing.

So no, I don’t know how they figured out Livia Frost had a way of getting things done and knowing things that nobody should know- to be exact she knew the kinds of things that most people took their graves.

Tately Grund took that long walk to the back of Livia’s house and pulled open the screen door and knocked.

He heard footsteps, he heard a lock turning and the door swung open and Tately Grund looked up into the eyes of Livia Frost.

Part of Tately wanted to run, part of him knew that nothing good was going to come from stepping over that threshold into Livia Frost’s kitchen.

But he did it anyway.

He followed her through her kitchen, down a hallway lit, if Tately Grund new as much as he claimed, by  gaslight fixtures. The hardwood floor under his feet were polished to a high gloss and there were pictures of the same man and the same cat and the same two dogs in different poses in frame after frame after frame.

He stopped and looked at one of the paintings of a cat and said, ” I had a cat like that once.”

” I doubt that very much Mr Grund.”

They stopped in front of a door and Livia took a key from her pocket and put it into the lock.

She led him into a sparsely furnished room.

One table, two chairs a fireplace that needed to be cleaned. The curtains were closed. It was cold in that room.

Very cold.

She motioned for him to sit.

” So how does this work?” he asked as he sat.

” You tell me what you want. And then we figure out how to make it happen.”

” And it costs…”

” Does it matter?” she asked as the light fixtures around the room blazed on and the shadows grew long around them.

It took him less then a second to answer.” No.”

” Fine Mr Grund. Talk to me.”

” Do you know Astor Brock?”

Livia rolled her eyes up and shook her head. ” Politics. ”

” Exactly. Politics Mrs Frost. Astor Brock’s wife was a suicide, and more then a couple,pf people,believe she was driven to it with a little help.”

” She wasn’t.”

“Well. What they don’t know is why. I do. That good woman-”

“For the most part she was. Actually.”

” She k Continue reading

The Clown Car

First Light
Remember when you wrote down the first thought you had this morning? Great. Now write a post about it.

 

wpid-wp-1406673630742.jpeg

 Every morning I take the same bus with the same people to the Transit Center ( they don’t call it a Park and Ride anymore ).

I like my bus driver, I like most of the people I ride with.

” Most ” being the keyword here.

One of the passengers is, as a very young commuter once pointed out,  a ‘motor mouth’.

She will ask me a question and then answer it herself.

So I let her do all the talking.

Does she do that to the other passengers?

Nope.

And in the event I can get a word edgewise I’m always wrong.

Brother.

And then there are the three jackasses on the second bus I catch.

These three guys all get on the commuter bus together- they each take a seat, put there backpacks or jackets or whatever next to them and then they lower the backs of their seats so far that it’s impossible to sit behind them.

And then they pretend to sleep- so nobody sits next to them and you can’t get to the seat behind them without climbing over  one seat to take the one they’re not using as a futon.

So this morning when my alarm went off and before I opened my eyes I saw those four doughy faces and I wondered if it was possible that today is the we get hit by a planet killer asteroid and the earth turns to dust or we get zapped by a gamma ray  and if today is not the day, what can I do to make it happen?

But I got myself up, did my morning routine went to my bus stop and did I play with my phone, stand on the corner away from the Motor Mouth like a couple of other people have taken to do after hearing her ‘talk’ to me?

Nope.

 I said my good morning and looked straight and stood a few feet away from her.

When she started with our one way conversation I stopped her mid sentence and said, ” I’m sorry. Were you talking to me?”

When the bus showed up I got on and prepared for round two on the Commuter Bus.

My little sleeping beauties were settled into their seats and I chose one, sat right behind him, pulled out my notebook ( and not the electronic ones, it’s an old school binder and weighs about five pounds ) and used his head rest as a table.

When he turned around to glare at me I said ” Oh gee, I’m sorry. Did I wake you up?”

” Can you move that?” he asked.

” No. It’s pretty heavy and I’m stuck.”

He got up, moved to the seat occupied by his jacket and as he did a woman with the big, I mean a HUGE purse sat next to him.

She proceeded to pull her phone out of her bag and and as she did I saw her elbow her seatmate a few times.

With my compliments, I thought merrily to myself.

At this point I may have said it out loud though.

At least, I hope I did.

So this morning before I opened my eyes I guess I had revenge in my heart.

And when my eyes were completely opened it sort of poured out of me like chocolate from one of those giant chocolate fountains they have had weddings and fancy parties.

It’s funny how that happens sometimes.

 

 

When This You Read Think Of Me…

Reader’s Block

What’s the longest you’ve ever gone without reading a book (since learning how to read, of course)? Which book was it that helped break the dry spell?

stg11

I have to have a book on me.

There’s one in my purse, one in my tote bag and another in the backpack I carry my laptop in.

I change them out, but for the most part  I travel with Dickens, King and M.R James.

I won’t say I prefer books to conversations, because I really do like to talk to people. But books, I love to read them. Every chance I get.

When I get my hands on a new book I’ll read it staright through. And whoa be to the rotten books because I won’t stop reading until I’m done.

If I invest that much time in a book, I feel like I have every right to tell anyone who will listen exactly how I wasted “X” amount of time on a piece of junk and how I will go to my grave and through all of eternity regretting the decision to pick up that book ever.

Or I will say, ” I can’t believe an innocent tree died for this piece of junk”.

There are times though when I will read one book for the pleasure of it, because the words are music to my eyes and I will read it slow. One chapter a night ONLY.

That book is Great Expectations by Dickens.

I love the way he uses the language, I love every single character, I love the darkness- both in the characters and the scenes- every turning point takes place in the shadows even when the characters are in full sunlight.

Lucky for me, I’ve never suffered from Reader’s Block…but then again I have had Charles Dickens in my life for a very long time.

That’s probably why.

It’s A Living Thing

Dictionary, Shmictionary

Time to confess: tell us about a time when you used a word whose meaning you didn’t actually know (or were very wrong about, in retrospect).

There’s something to be said growing up in a family where English was not the first language  on one side  and not exactly mastered ( there are no Grammar Nazis hanging in this girl’s family tree ) on the other side- what can be said is this:

If you didn’t know the meaning of a word or needed one you just asked.

No problem.

But you will always have that one person in the family who will get it wrong on purpose. Because she has mastered the perfect poker face, because she is so focused on you that she will watch you cringe, or try not to laugh or feel embarrassed for her because…

she thinks it’s funny.

And no I’m not talking about myself, I’m talking about my Mom- the slayer of syntax, the butcher of innocent words, the serial killer of complete sentences.

My Mom would have you believe she doesn’t know better, but the fact is in order for you to twist things around like that you really do have to know what you’re saying.

Of course there’s no fun in that so…

My Dad and his cousin built my dog this great dog house and he hardly used it because he was an Alaskan Malamute and we lived outside of Seattle, so the weather never got so bad he had to take shelter in it.

My cats on the other hand loved that house because it was carpeted and warm.

So it was at Thanksgiving and the family is enjoying this great meal and we’re all dressed up when my Mom looks out the kitchen window and says to my Dad and his cousin John:

” Look at those cats, they’ve taken over Sham’s dog house. I’ll bet that’s why he won’t go in it. You know what you should do Bert? You and John should build a cat house. They’d really enjoy it.”

” So would the rest of the neighborhood. ” my Grandma said.

I bit down on my fork and the evidence is my still slightly chipped front tooth. My brother slapped his forehead- hard- and my Dad and his cousin both enthusiastically   agreed a Cat House was a good idea.

” The girls could make curtains for it- ” my Mom said referring to me and my sister- she led us to believe ” and put little beds in there…”

I couldn’t stand it anymore.

” Mom! Do you know what a Cat House is?” You do right?”

My Mom shrugged. ” Of course I do. It’s where Cats live.”

” Ma! It’s where Prostitutes live…”

One of my other cousins enlightened us all ” Oh, I think they just work there,  they don’t live there.”

” Well,” my Mom went on as if she hadn’t heard us say a word. ”  I always said the best cat to have around is one that works hard- you know catching mice- so why shouldn’t they have a nice bed to sleep on and pretty curtains? “

” Mom! A Cat House is a Whore House. You know what they are right?”

” Of course I know. And I also know you weren’t listening to a word I said.”

It took me awhile to figure out what she meant. She was right. I wasn’t listening to her, I was listening at her. I knew exactly what she intended to say. So why didn’t I let it go?

So now when someone twists a word around I sort of go with it. And when I use the wrong word- it’s no sweat.

But when my Mom does it I just stand there and drop what I’m doing and watch the carnage unfold right  before my eyes.

It’s like looking at nine or ten cars right after they’ve rear ended each other on the freeway- there’s broken glass and bits of cars and Fire Engines and First Aid Cars and Police  cars all over the place- and I know I shouldn’t- but I’ll look. And then I’ll stare. I’ can’t help myself.

My Mom and her impact on language have the same effect on me.

Fish Sticks, Pirates and Me

Ready, Set, Done

10 minutes. You and your keyboard (or smartphone. Or tablet. Or pen and paper). No pauses, no edits, no looking back: it’s free-write time!

When I was little I had two goals- I wanted to write, and become a Pirate.

On most days I saw no reason I couldn’t do both.

 I was eight at the time.

wpid-wp-1412913662128.jpeg

Out of my two life goals the Pirate gig seemed to be doable and practical.

I could see myself sailing a ship, bossing around a crew of scurvy sea dogs and kicking heinie  in all of the Seven Seas and a few lakes and rivers to boot.

I didn’t care so much about finding treasure, but the idea of sneaking up on another Pirate ship in the middle of the night and stealing their flag and crew?

My little old heart would race with happiness thinking about what kind of things I could do as a Pirate.

I would go to church just so I could pray like crazy for God to please make me a Pirate.

Please God, I’d pray, I don’t want to be a stewardess or a waitress or a Mom. I want to be a pirate and sail a big black ship and have other Pirates be so scared of me and my crew that they’d all stay home and I would have the Ocean to myself.

And for some reason I had it in my head that I’d leave the Ferry Boats alone and probably fishing boats too.

Fishing boats because I used to love fish sticks and unless someone went out there and fished  I figured  I’d probably starve to death and as for the Ferry Boats? Well. Back in the day my family went to Victoria BC so I didn’t see any reason to give up on  my great family vacations  – so for sure the Ferry Boats wouldn’t have to worry about me or my wicked crew.

Nowadays there are times when I’m riding the bus home for work, or when I’m in line at the grocery store and I remember those days when anything seemed possible and I thought one day I’d be a Pirate.

And after a moment or two, I think…you know…anything is possible.

After all, I did manage to become a writer ( of sorts )

So anything is possible.

Anything at all.

Time Out

One-Way Street

Congrats! You’re the owner of a new time machine. The catch? It comes in two models, each traveling one way only: the past OR the future. Which do you choose, and why?

wpid-img_2244500153218.jpeg

If I could visit anytime, anywhere if I could leave right now I’d go into the future.

When I was a teenager I had a terrible nightmare that I woke up, covered with dust and the ground under me was solid rock and under the thin layer of gray dust it sparkled like it was covered with frost. I looked up and the sky was orange, and the sun was gigantic red and bloated. The moon was huge- it filled the sky.

The Moon hung in the East and the Sun was in the North.

I tried to scream myself awake when I realized I was in my own yard and the world was dead.

Dead and barren and airless.

And freezing cold.

Nothing was alive, not even me.

That was the future I dreamed about and to this day that image of a dead world and a dead Sun and the Moon, which was never alive was turning the wrong way.

I couldn’t tell you if  it was a million years in the future or a hundred years but to this day I wonder if that’s what the world will look like after everything is dead and gone.

So if I could time travel I’d want to go into the future. All the way to the end of time. And then I’d want to see what happens next.

Does everything start over? Or does it die and just stay dead forever?

I can’t see myself going into the past.

I know how that story goes.

But the Science Geek in me has would probably want to go to one minute before the Big Bang.

I’ve heard that it was truly a hellacious event.

Think about it.

It was quiet and dark and then all of a sudden the Universe is ripped apart and it’s guts fell out and  ta da!

Here we are.

But that minute before. Sure. I’d like to see that.

Not a minute after.

One minute before.

wpid-img_2244500153218.jpeg

I’ve worked with the dead, with loss and grief.

To me the past is a freshly dug and filled grave. I’d no more visit the past then I would take a shovel and dig up a coffin and pop it open.

But the future, all that uncharted territory, the not knowing what’s going to happen next. The surprises. The dreams that were realized ( good and bad ).  I figure sneaking a peek at the future is a lot like sneaking a peek at your Christmas presents- sure you know what you’re going to get on the BIG DAY.

But you still have to wait for the BIG DAY to get your hands on the presents.

The upshot is, I’d rather hope then go to a place where there is hope. To me the past doesn’t offer that.

The future is bursting with it.

And that’s where I’d like to go.