A short rant before we begin. I was born in 1988, therefore, I’m quite fond of the number 88. Today, I learned that number is apparently a nazi thing? Fml, are you serious?! Screw that, it’s mine!
Time for another tale of terror from the time we rented the spliced together hoard house outside town. If you haven’t read Rain Showers, I suggest you go there first. You can’t appreciate the horror of this atmosphere without it. This will take place during our second month, before we lost water, but after we lost the dryer. You also need to remember Amy is Hubby’s sister and had a Xanax problem.
* I want to include a reminder. This story is almost a decade old, and Amy has not had a drug abuse problem in several years. We get along famously these days and I’m happy to consider her a sister. She has no memory of these events, but she’s a great sport about laughing at them. *
One day, I will get around to how Amy dumped Rob, but that drama can wait. Today, we’re going to talk about after they separated, when Amy’s electricity was cut off. Whether she forgot to pay the bill or used the money for drugs is irrelevant. The important part is that no one would take her in. We were the only family still speaking to her at that time, and we genuinely needed help making the house livable.
With great hesitation, we said she could stay the week if she helped out. To be fair, she did help a bit. As these things tend to, it started off well. She had food stamps and filled the house with groceries. Was it food we ate? Eh, not really, but we thought, well, at least she’s feeding herself. That will save some money.
Wrong! Let me tell you now, most of the groceries spoiled. Hubby worked during the day, I worked from home answering a phone. Every day, when I drove into town for whatever errands, Amy tagged along. Every day, without fail, she asked, “Can we stop at Fast Food? I haven’t eaten today.”
Of course, she only works the months around Christmas so she didn’t have money. She never volunteered the information, instead waiting until it was time to pay. I wouldn’t offer on principle, meaning we had to play out the same long, awkward silence until she asked for money. The worse part was how she counted the wasted groceries as “paying us back.”
Anyway, the point is, she offered us drugs to help cope with the pain. Our favorite pill has always been Adderall, but it’s extremely difficult for us to acquire. They were a rare treat. Imagine our glee when Amy announced, “You like those? I have a whole bottle. My friend has a prescription, but she hates them.”
“Amy, if you have a purse full of Adderall I need you to get it right now.” I said with the eyes of a starving wolf.
We tried to keep our hopes in check, it was Amy after all. Even as she removed the large bottle from her purse I thought it was too good to be true. Then she opened it, placing it on the table before us, and we stared at a mountain of pure white powder. That’s when I called bullshit.
“No, it really is, I swear! She just takes it out of the capsules so she can rip people off, but this is real stuff!” Amy insisted, spreading generous lines of the drug.
Hubby and I were dubious but had to admit it was a common practice. “You’ve done some already?” I asked.
“Yea, it’s fine, watch.” Amy snorted the first line, and when she didn’t have a seizure, we tried it.
It was Adderall! Can you believe it? We sure as hell couldn’t! I know, I know, ‘but what about your title’ right? Hold your britches, I’m getting there.
We had two extremely productive days thanks to the miracle powder. Everything went so well, we didn’t even mind Amy’s Xanax fits like when she asked the same question thirty times or talked through new episodes of Doctor Who. Everything was aces until we left her home alone for twenty minutes.
Hubby and I drove to the gas station and back, no big deal… or so we thought. Upon our return, we decided it was time for a pick-me-up. I retrieved our powder from its hiding place – it’s relevant to know it was hidden well on one of our many bookshelves. It wasn’t left out in a place for anyone to happen upon. I poured a nice healthy pile, and as I began to separate it into lines, I realized huh, why does it look so funny.
“Hey, come look at this… is. Is this salt?!” I asked Hubby in the opposite of an indoor voice.
(This is one of those times I’m going to reduce the cursing by 90%. It was so bad.)
“Because it is fraking salt! That bitch!” Hubby stormed off to find Amy while a monkey named Jonesy ruthlessly clawed my back for that Adderall.
I spent more hours than I want to admit separating the tiny specs with a flashlight and tweezers. I fully understood how pathetic it was, but I had to try. The worst part was, she didn’t have to do it. We weren’t being greedy, trust me she was like a blood-hound. Every time we pulled it out – no matter where we hid – she was there. She wouldn’t ask for it, no. She talked about how tired she was until Hubby offered.
That was fine. It was a huge bottle, and she didn’t get anything in return she wasn’t already getting. I didn’t understand why she felt the need to ruin the entire bottle to cover the fact she used more. My rage was also divided by the fact she thought salt was something to use for that purpose. I didn’t trust myself to speak when Hubby brought her to the kitchen.
I bit my tongue long as I could, but then she started talking. “I just came to see what happened, is there really salt in the Adderall?”
I glared at her, hoping to induce an aneurysm.
“Because Phoebe and that guy came over while you were gone. They just walked in the back door… and they were standing over there by that shelf when I walked in… they left after I told them you weren’t here.” After an incredibly long silence she continued, “So… I mean. I don’t know them, but could they like…”
Let’s entertain her story while we’re here. The notion of Phoebe and her boyfriend coming was ludicrous. She only walked over if they were fighting. When she did walk over, it was via the rock path to the front door, not the mud hole to the back. They didn’t know the drugs existed nor that I decided to hide something on that shelf for the first time ever.
“Do you understand what I would have done to you if I snorted salt?” There it went. The dam broke and all bets were off.
“I really didn’t…” Amy started.
“Please don’t. I’m begging you. If you’re going to do the deny, deny, deny thing, save it for later. Just get away from me for now, I don’t have it in me to pretend to believe you.” I couldn’t look at her, instead I looked at my tiny white specs and begged Jonsey to let me think.
Amy walked away but didn’t stop talking. She continued professing her innocence as she walked to the living room. My memory gets a little fuzzy here, but somehow I came to stand in the doorway, throat sore, staring at her, Hubby standing next to me.
“How about we go for a drive? It’s not like she can do more damage. I’ll help you sort what’s left when we get back.” He offered.
I suppose I agreed because we were no more than a few minutes away when I realized I left my purse behind. “Shit, we have to go back. I have cash in there.” I said angrily.
“Where did you leave it?” He asked.
“In our bedroom, under my nightstand.” I admitted, knowing what he would think.
“Okay, well it’s not like you left it in the open. She won’t go looking for it, she probably assumes you have it with you.” He tried to be reassuring.
“No, I already don’t like this. We gotta go back.” Money aside, I still had (have) only-child syndrome. I couldn’t accept she wouldn’t want to steal my prized possessions.
We turned around, gone for less than ten minutes when we returned. I almost let myself hope when she was sitting on the couch, exactly as we left her, but I knew I couldn’t breath easy until I saw the cash. I went straight to the purse and opened my wallet. It was empty. Can you guess who Amy blamed? Yes! It was Phoebe again! Wouldn’t you know we just missed those rascals!
I was done folks. I washed my hands of it. “You know what Amy? Forty bucks is a small price to pay to get rid of you. You’re going home first thing in the morning, best of luck with your electricity.” I walked away before I said anything truly harsh.
Hubby talked to her for a few minutes, but I had a monkey to feed. We resumed powder picking and saved more than expected, but it was a pittance of the whole.
The next morning I was gifted with Amy’s reasoning for destroying our white gold. She returned our money and a hefty pile of Adderall powder after waking. Apparently she wasn’t happy just doing the drugs, she wanted to sell some when she realized how much people like it. She was too ashamed to ask for it and thought salt would be the best way to hide her actions. She included, “I don’t remember any of it, but this was in my bag so I guess that’s what happened.” To help maintain a distance from true blame.
We took our possessions back and reassured her she was forgiven. “No hard feelings” as it were. Unfortunately she misunderstood forgiveness as “you can keep staying here”, but we were over our limit. You can only have so many angry, mentally disturbed people living under one roof before someone dies. Hell, we were already stretching that number before she came.
So yea, we dropped her off at her apartment. It was really dark in there, she didn’t have windows, but no one else would agree to take her. I really do feel terrible about how bad she sounds in this, but we all pull an Amy at some point in our lives. Whether you were drunk, high, or just plain nuts, you have at least one story where you star as the asshole. We all do, and we should all be the terrific sports about it she is.
Thanks for reading! I wanted to translate a non-horror classic next, but I seem unable to help myself. I want to have a variety of genres to select from, but I keep getting distracted, I’m sorry. The Yellow Wallpaper is coming soon because I’ve always wanted to read it but never had time. I’m going to try to take a few days off in order to clean a guest room out, but we’ll see how it goes.
Stay safe out there. Sometimes, they really are out to get you.
Poetry Disclaimer: The below poetry is horrible. Do not read it if you are serious about poetry. It is for amusement purposes only. For full poetry details see Sex, Drugs, & Robbery.
“Everyday Take Away”
28 hour days, Time trickles, slowly fading away. Lost, confused, in a daze, Spinning, twirling, in a haze.
Eyes are the windows to the soul, But mine is no longer whole. Rotten, decayed, black as night, Broken, defeated, screaming in fright.
Love is a useless word, Spoken but never heard. No give and all take, A world engulfed in hate. Whatever was meant to be, Is long lost to eternity.
I am excited to say I can now call myself a CreepyPasta author! They posted Deadlands on Wednesday, and I found it by accident yesterday. That’s not a complaint, it’s a happy surprise. It was surreal to see my story on the site I’ve visited almost daily for several years. After this post I would like to complete the next story I’m working on. If I can get a few noticed, maybe Bestie’s husband will take pity on me and help with my domain sooner. In the meantime, it’s back to business.
I had a lot of trouble deciding what to write about next in regards to my personal adversities. There’s still so many to choose from, like wetting my pants in Mom’s office at 12, or puking all over Bestie when I smelled tuna. Then the puke thing reminded me of getting puked on myself, and I thought, yea, that’ll do. It’s funny for two reasons because it coincides with my worst ‘mistaken for a boy’ experiences.
For this story we return to 6th grade, but first, I need to introduce Pumba (named for her amazing personality, not appearance. She’s actual super pretty). She came to our school in 5th grade, but because I was being raised to follow in our culture’s ignorant footsteps, we hated each other that first year. Now, she is the only friend I still have from high-school besides Thelma.
Was I confused to walk into the first day of 5th grade to see my first black kid? Sure I was, but I didn’t care. I didn’t speak to kids who weren’t Bestie, and I assumed she would be no different. I only wanted to sit quietly until class began, but she talked to me first. Before I relay our first interaction, let me remind you I had a the first of two boy’s bowl haircuts, boy clothes, and purple flower flip-flops. Mom told me I would regret he haircut, but I wouldn’t listen. As always, I would have to learn the hard way… except twice this time.
“Hi, why are you wearing girl’s shoes?” Pumba asked, curious.
I remained silent at first, but decided “because I’m a girl” was a safe enough answer. Fool.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I thought you were a boy.” Pumba replied. She spoke softly, she wasn’t trying to be heard by others… but she was.
As surrounding children stopped their own activities to laugh, a mixture of anger and humiliation radiated through me. It wasn’t the first time I was mistaken for a boy, but it was the worst (up to that point).
My little brain grasped for any comeback to turn the tide and settled on, “Why are you going to this school? Black kids go to the public schools!”
“I’m not black, I’m Indian.” She replied, completely unfazed by my ignorance.
I ran to class, too frightened to say “I thought they were all dead.” Clearly they weren’t, and I couldn’t afford to be wrong again. Later, Dad tried explaining the difference between India and the Indians I knew of, but it would be years before I understood countries beyond our own existed. The important thing is, Pumba and I were forced to spend several hours alone at the end of 5th grade and we became close friends as a result.
That’s why, in 6th grade, when our school rented a greyhound bus to shuttle us to a museum over two hours away, we sat next to each other. Two other friends, Maggie and Meg, sat behind us and we settled in for a long ride. Unfortunately, about thirty minutes into the drive, Pumba began to feel sick. We weren’t concerned, she never said it was a nauseas sick – if she had, I would have moved.
As it was, I turned in my seat to talk with Meg and Maggie while she rested quietly, head leaned against the window. I had all but forgotten her when I felt the light tap on my shoulder. I turned to see her sitting erect, eyes wide, one hand covering her mouth, the other pointing to the rear of the bus.
For 11yr old me, it was an almost comical sight. “Ha, what’s wrong, are you…” that’s how far I got before noticing there was something seeping between the fingers of the hand covering her mouth. Then time slowed as I saw she was actively vomiting.
I understood her request too late. As I fell backwards in desperate attempt to get out of her way, the dam broke. Violent jets of vomit threw her hand aside, spraying me as I lay fallen in the center aisle. Large brown chunks covered my torso and legs as I scrambled to roll clear of the chaos. When it was over, teachers rushed to Pumba’s aide, ignoring my primal screams and gags completely.
I ran into the small, smelly restroom to clean myself up. It was no easy task, but I managed to wipe my arms and legs clean. My shirt however, was ruined. I removed the… chunky bits, but the stains and stench remained.
When I came out, a chaperone approached me. “Well, it looks like you got most of it off… I’m sure you can get a t-shirt at the gift shop.” She smiled, lifting her hand as if she were going to pat me on the back, but dropped it awkwardly as she remembered my soiled status. I stared at her blankly until she returned to her seat.
I reluctantly returned to my own upon accepting no better option was available. Thankfully Pumba didn’t get sick again, but I couldn’t help be a little salty over her cleaner shirt. She had a line down the front, but minor drippings compared to the full drenching I received. I stared at my feet until arrival, finding it easier to ignore the looks of disgust as the stench overpowered any fragrance sprayed to combat it.
In my youthful naïveté, I believed they would take us to the gift shop first. You know, so we could buy those promised t-shirts? No. Gift shops were for the end of the tour. It took our first guide’s insistence for a teacher to compromise by going to the gift shop for us. Pumba didn’t bring money, but Teacher bought her a blue museum shirt I would have been pleased with.
With my $20, she purchased a hot pink nightmare with a picture of our state on the front, and list of state facts on the back. It was a size too big and as she handed it to me she said, “I had to cover the tax for you, but I thought you might like to have at least one pink shirt.” I think she expected a thank you, but I was frozen in a state of disbelief.
Instead of reaching for it I asked, “Can I take it back? I hate it so much.”
Obviously she said no. As we walked away to change, I heard the tour guide ask, “Why would you get the boy pink?” I quickened my pace before I could hear any more.
I was forced to change into the shirt, but as I followed Pumba into the girl’s restroom an employee stopped us. “Wait! You can’t go in there! That’s the women’s!”
A teacher had to intervene before I was allowed to enter. For once, other children were the least of my worries. They were terrible, but practically neutralized under public scrutiny. No, the big problem from that point became that special breed of adult who thinks they’re the most charmingly witty souls to ever walk the earth. Every employee who spoke to us and most passing patrons noticed me.
The most popular line was “Hey, it takes a real man to wear pink.” which was almost bearable if not for the playful punches to the arm.
A close second, especially once we made it to the outdoor trails and exhibits, was “I could spot y’all a mile away thanks to this young feller!”
“Well starch my knickers! Never seen a fella love pink s’much!”
“Don’t feel bad, Boy. I had a nephew who was backwards, but he did ok later in life.”
“What’s wrong, Champ? Get dressed in the dark this morning? Looks like you grabbed your sisters shirt don’t it?”
“Scuse me, son. I was just reading your shirt there… sure is pretty.”
When the long day came to an end I was too angry to tell my parents, but I didn’t have to. Apparently my teacher asked Mom to be reimbursed for her tax money. I knew she found out about the shirt by the look on her face. When saw me wearing the monstrosity she yelled, “Is that why she’s wearing that hideous thing?!”
I got really smug. Mom was having an episode and I knew exactly what that teacher was in for. Mom was ushered into a classroom where we could no longer hear what was said, but I knew victory was at hand. The one thing she got really serious about with school was money. Dad wasn’t there to balance her fury, and by time she was done they reimbursed the $20, gave me a school shirt to wear home, and made the teacher keep the pink nightmare.
It was far from a total win. I still didn’t get to buy stuff I actually wanted from the gift shop and my original shirt was in a trashcan, but it ended better than I expected. If anything, finally accepting I couldn’t pull off that haircut no matter how I wore it was the true victory.
For the record, Pumba went on to be our graduating class’ success story. She got fancy enough to have a view of Bryant Park in New York for a time. These days she is settled down and happily married with two beautiful, little poodle dogs. Not literal poodles, but they have that look. The point is, we’re all super proud.
Thank you for reading! Life is going to be busy for a while as we have to travel home for a family gathering tomorrow, and next week I have to clean out a junk closet so Hubby can fix the ceiling. Apparently we had a roof leak that is beginning to grow mold, so. Fun. Aside from finishing my scary story, I hope to start my next classic soon. I’m not sure which to choose yet, but if anyone has suggestions I’m completely open to them. Eventually I would like to do Dracula, but I’m not quite ready to tackle a full length book yet. I think I need to get my domain up and organized before I take on a project that large.
Stay safe out there! Sometimes they really are out to get you.
Poetry Disclaimer: The below poetry is horrible. Do not read it if you are serious about poetry. It is for amusement purposes only. This was written by me as a crazed, suicidal teenager. PLEASE DO NOT HATE ME FOR IT. I have nothing but respect for ALL religions and one like this is rare, but my OCD will go insane if I skip one. For full poetry details see Sex, Drugs, & Robbery.
Why is this so ridiculous? Life is so utterly meticulous. “Oh God, why me?” Why say “oh God”? God is nothing but a myth of a fraud.
People ask forgiveness in prayer, Hoping life will be fair. Life is a curse not fit living, Thinking God is a gift that keeps giving.
God is a bedtime story, To drown the screams in your head roaring.
The human soul, a myth or a role? A story untold, waiting to unfold?
There is no salvation, No hope of revelation. Live each day, hoping not to suffer, Lay low, and hope you recover.
No one cares, There’s no one else, There is no God, save yourself.
Cow-tipping is the reason I can’t believe in cool stuff like ghosts and magic. I’ve known hundreds of people who have sworn to cow-tipping, each with their own detailed accounts. Growing up, I eventually needed my own cow-tipping story to better blend in with the Normies. Do you realize how pathetic that sentence is? The worst part is, it was all for nothing! It’s impossible!
I was peer pressured into lying about pushing a cow over. That may be the worst thing I’ve said on this blog, but put all these aspects out of your mind for a moment. Yes, I’ll tell you some of the more ridiculous claims in a minute, but first I want to point out the psychological aspect of this phenomenon. An entire culture wholeheartedly believed in this myth to the extent countless people swore before their gods and on mother’s graves that yes, they have tipped a cow.
That’s insane on its own, but think about it. Sure, some simply made up a story, but it’s not hard to find a cow pasture around here. There has to be a vast amount of people who tried. Tried and failed apparently, but none called bullshit! Believing they couldn’t manage a task several tiny girls claimed to successfully complete, they returned to school with tales of victory. I could understand a few, but all of them? No. I don’t understand how they all reached the same conclusion to lie.
Imagine you have tried and failed to complete a simple task. You’re so embarrassed, you decide to lie. That makes sense so far, I get it, I’ve had to do it many times. Which is how I know you try to discuss it as little as possible. You don’t bring it up in conversation, you wait to be asked. Even then you answer in few words and little detail until the questions stop. So why do all the cow-tippers feel the need to discuss their ventures at length? Is it because they rely on drinking as a reason to be forget details? Are they copying a story told by family and therefor trusting in its accuracy? Maybe it’s both.
It’s frustrating because I know there is a profound, ground-breaking psychological gemstone waiting to shine in this hillbilly-honored tradition, but I’ve fried too many brain cells to see it clearly. Since properly expressing the beautiful flaws of this diamond are beyond my capabilities, I’ll settle for sharing some of the more… eccentric stories I’ve heard. If you put them all together it’s technically a less elegant way of saying the same thing anyway.
Let’s start with Beth, the cliche popular girl, Sophomore year. Able to drive now, the stories began in earnest. Once they started it was hard to escape. Beth was the record holding tipper with a whopping four cows. At once. Apparently she knocked them over like dominos. The other kids admired it so much, they copied her technique but let her keep the record. Most said they could only get 2-3, usually adding “I don’t know how you got four!” Or similar praise for good measure.
Football players usually tackle the cow, which seemed par for their type, but a pair of brothers came up with something… unique. They claimed they tipped the cow onto a trailer, tied it down (because a tipped cow is calm?), and moved it to block their driveway. Their parents were “super pissed, but it was worth it.” Seriously, is the cow dead? Why don’t they stand up? It can’t be a universally missed plot hole.
It just now occurred to me – since we live in a world of camera phones – are the cow-tipping lies dead? Don’t people generally disregard stories without pics these days? I hope so, I feel a bad for the cows. They have to be like “What the hell is this two-legger doing? Is it broken?”
If you failed to provide a tipping experience, you could expect insults such as:
“… so weak she can’t even tip a cow.”
“… so stupid she tried to tip a cow over and pushed herself.”
“… so stupid the cow tipped her over.”
“… so stupid she got the cow drunk.”
They really are endless, none particularly clever. What story did I go with when I finally couldn’t take it anymore? Well, that’s the worst part. I have an uncle who considers lying his one true purpose in life. Unfortunately, I didn’t understand that yet and was forced to give a story on the spot as the above insults were hurled at me from all directions. In my desperation, I repeated his story verbatim.
“I got into Granddad’s moonshine last summer… it’s kinda fuzzy, but when I woke up, I was half naked in the pasture, and curled up to one of his cows… so I must of tipped it. I think she liked it too, because that cow sure followed me everywhere I went after that.” I proudly announced to the entire class.
You see the problem, right? I thought it was a great idea because it was short, gave me a valid excuse for any details I lacked, and I knew for a fact it was hilarious because Uncle got people laughing so hard they couldn’t breathe. What I didn’t understand, was how strongly the joke implied sexual relations with the cow. I was met with stunned silence and various “are you gonna marry it?” jokes. Eventually I told enough people I said it on purpose to screw with the preppy assholes. It helped for the most part, but was still mentioned sporadically.
For Halloween that year, Beth dressed as a cow with a “eat more chicken” sign around her neck, but halfway through the day she traded it to one of the guys. They took turns wearing it to ask if I wanted to “take them to pasture for a roll in the hay.” It’s another one of those things I can laugh at now. At the time, I genuinely was pleased with my ability to pretend it was on purpose. That strategy failed more often than it worked.
Thank you for listening to my short rant, I haven’t written one in a while and it’s nice to get these things out sometimes. Also, while we’re here, I would like to let you know my next translated classic will be The Call of Cthulhu because I thought I remembered it being shorter. I didn’t realize how long it is until I was already in chapter two, but it’s going well and I’m excited about it. I thought about posting it in parts, but my OCD was highly offended by the notion.
Be safe out there. Sometimes they really are out to get you.
Poetry Disclaimer: The below poetry is horrible. Do not read it if you are serious about poetry. It is for amusement purposes only. For full poetry details see Sex, Drugs, & Robbery.
20,000 times a day I think of you. I think of us together, Wishing you thought of me too.
When we were together, Nothing seemed better. We had so much fun, I never believed it could be done.
20,000 times a day I see your face. The way you looked into my eyes, I would have followed you anyplace.
We were so happy for so long, Nothing could go wrong. We were together everyday, Never running out of things to say.
20,000 times a day I hear your voice, Your care and concern, You were my only choice.
When you started making up lies, I couldn’t change your mind. You started acting strange, Slipping further from my range.
20,000 times a day I smell your scent, The cologne you always wore. Our destiny writ.
You were suddenly busy at night, I knew something wasn’t right. You had someone new, But I didn’t want it to be true.
20,000 times a day I dream of you. Your always with me, I wish you felt it too.
No matter what I tried, Or how hard I cried, You won’t come back, What do I lack?
20,000 times a day I feel your touch, Hands embraced, bodies entwined. I never thought I could love so much.
Why did you do this? Why all the hit and miss? Why did your feelings pass? Why are you such an ass?
I’m so sad Halloween is over, but I’m more sad we found another kitten. It’s a girl this time, nothing but bones and desperate for attention. On and on it goes. Until one day I finally catch the person doing it. Then you’ll all wonder why I disappeared without saying a word. It’ll be because I’m in jail for murder.
I have been working on my blog layout. I feel like I have too many posts to continue with one menu option. I wanted to let you all know I am aware of this and taking steps to improve. That being said, I’m bombing with the theme options. Ideally, I would like to have four categories:
Classics Translated (Re-written may give the wrong impression)
I know I have few items belonging to the latter categories, but I’m planning for the long term. My main focus will remain on my original theme, but I want to continue developing our cult. What started as a joke is growing into something beautiful, and I would like to see where it takes us. I don’t intend to write horror or classics regularly, but I have a passion for both and would like to post them when the mood strikes. Again, I can never thank you all enough for your tremendous support.
Today, I would like to properly begin explaining my time living is Rose-yard, a very dangerous subdivision in the middle of my hometown. If you’ve read earlier posts, you may have seen a few references to the “dangerous duplex” already. I briefly mentioned a desperate move after my parents smelled weed in my room, but the details were rushed as they weren’t the focus of our topic. I lived there 2-3 months before Crook and I bought his sister’s house. A surprising amount of drama happened in that short time, but to do it justice let me start by telling you a little about the home first.
In case any aren’t familiar with Duplexes, they’re basically one house divided into individual apartments. The one we’re focused on is somewhat well-known where I’m from due to the man who lived there before me. We will get to him in a moment, let’s start with Mickey. He was my coworker at the restaurant, and I considered him a close friend until he robbed me on multiple occasions. As you see on the map, he lived in the left side.
Mickey was an Irish boy with the frizzy, bright orange hair of a true ginger. He kept it braided in a single ponytail which ran down the length of his back, and only wore tight black jeans with plain colored shirts. If he was awake, he wasn’t sober. He was on a cocktail of cocaine, meth, more pills than I can name, and drank heavily on top of it all. I truly don’t know how he survived. His girlfriend (Mona) looked exactly like him; people thought they were twins, but she fed me free donuts so I was fond of her.
On the right side, where I would eventually live, was Booker. Fair warning, his story is tragic. He was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, but where I’m from they say that for anyone who behaves… well, dangerously insane. The problem with Booker wasn’t solely his mental illness. Don’t get me wrong, he had it rough, but his problems were exacerbated by the copious amounts of meth he injected.
Even more difficult was his financial situation. Meth can be an expensive drug when you need large quantities on a daily basis. Booker, ever the entrepreneur, began cooking his own. For all his quirks, he must have been good at it because he sold a lot and never blew up the house. A small bar opened off the highway next to Rose-yard and it became his office.
As time passed, Booker grew comfortable with his habits. People largely ignored him, considering him a harmless nuisance. One night, he set his sights on a girl at the same time as another local tough guy; only this one was well liked. As the competition grew heated, threats were made, and both men agreed to take it outside. The two exited the bar followed by a crowd eager to watch a fight.
As Booker instead walked to his truck, he was ridiculed. People taunted him for cowardice. No one knows if the insults changed his mind, or if his original intention was always to retrieve a gun. Regardless, he returned to shoot the other man in the head, killing him instantly.
Booker fled the scene, returning home. Police arrived quickly and found him in the attic, attempting to destroy his meth lab. After the arrest, they proceeded to make several large holes in each wall of the apartment. To answer the question of my regular readers, yes. They say the bar and home are haunted now. I can’t confirm the house is haunted based on my time there, but I absolutely could believe it’s cursed.
Skipping ahead to my move-in, we will jump to the part where I ask Mickey to please inform the landlord, “If he lets me move in today, he doesn’t have to fix the holes. And that I’ll pay all cash.” I don’t know how things are done in the real world, but in my messed up corner it’s called “getting shit done.” I was given the green light within the hour and ready to face my next obstacle.
When I go into my crazy place – that mental snap where the world goes fuzzy and my autopilot is stuck on self destruct mode – my brain doesn’t actively think or plan. Instead it understands the Now. The present moment in which we currently live. Nothing exists before and nothing will come after. You do what you must to stay alive in the Now. No more, sometimes less.
New home secured I understood my possessions needed to be relocated. After receiving my keys, I stared politely as Landlord explained there would be no rental contracts; I live there as long as I pay and will leave when I can’t. Pleased he appeared to understand how I live, I paid him to speed his departure. I then emptied my car to maximize space for moving. Preparing to make my first drive, a paranoid sensation washed over me.
I didn’t mind the holes in the wall. I already knew what posters would hang where. What I did mind – and should have expected – was the broken glass in the back door. The shattered pane was the bottom corner next to the doorknob, clearly done to facilitate a break-in. Unable to leave with such a security risk, I repaired it the way I was taught to fix everything – with duct tape. After a few layers on both sides and surprisingly less cuts than expected, it was acceptable.
I made several trips – loading my car to capacity each – all with my mind utterly blank. It wasn’t until I was making the last trip for the day that I realized furniture would never fit into my car. The hour grew late and I wished to avoid confrontation over my coming and going while Dad tried to sleep. I resolved to return with my bed and leave the rest until morning. I didn’t understand my dilemma until I stood staring at the bed, ready to remove the sheets. Unwilling to ask for assistance, I packed my pillows, filled the car once more, and went home to sleep on Booker’s leftover smelly couch.
In the interest of staying honest, I’m going to admit I carried my plan through without hesitation or guilt. We need to take a short recess so I can explain Chris. We shared a study hall the previous year and he drove a large truck. I developed a crush on him as we talked more and more in the classroom, bonding over our shared outcast status. He was probably the sweetest, most innocent guy I’ve ever known, but we weren’t suited for each other. He was a hopeless romantic who dreamed of moving to Tennessee and having five children. Obviously that did not appeal to me on any level. Okay, back to the story.
Last round of unpacking completed, I decided to text Chris. I initiated a ‘just wanted to chat’ conversation that quickly evolved into bragging about my new home. With some carefully phrased questions I learned he was also newly single and feeling the burn of rejection. I lured him into my web with little effort. “You know, if you’re really bored you could come hang out here. First I just have a few more trips to make before I’m finished moving… it’s really hard when you only have a small car…”
“Hey! I have a big truck! What if I came with you? We could finish in half the time!” Chris suggested, all own his own.
“Aw, you would do that? I hadn’t even thought of that! You’re my hero!” I said in my best distressed damsel voice.
Chris arrived within the hour. Not only did we finish in two trips, he stayed with me to assist in cleaning. The house was more disgusting than you imagine. “I don’t mind at all. Dad owns a septic business. It’s going to be mine one day so I’m use to this kind of stuff. As long as I have soap to wash my hands after, I’m fine.” He happily assured me as he scrubbed the disgustingly brown toilet bowl.
Making a mental note to find soap before he realized I didn’t have any, I continued unpacking. As the hour grew late, my brain realized I did not want to spend another horrifying night alone in that place. When you live in a neighborhood like that, in a house where only a thin wall separates you from people who never stop partying til sunrise, everything goes bump in the night.
“Wow, I didn’t realize how late it got. The day really flew by once you were here… too bad you can’t stay the night. I don’t want you to leave now, haha.” My heart hammered as I waited for his response.
“Seriously? You’d let me stay? All night?!” His innocence was adorable.
“Of course. I love having you around.” I genuinely did like and appreciate him. I’m not a complete monster. Yes, I initiated all this so he would help me move, but I liked him a lot. I was normally too shy to be so brazen, but needing him gave me courage.
When he agreed to stay I assumed we would sleep together. Men tend to have expectations in these kinds of situations, and in his case, I was okay with that. I knew he was a virgin, but still expected him to try. We shared a bed and talked a little before falling asleep, but he was too shy to make a move. I think it made me like him even more. We were officially dating before the next day ended, but that is when things turned sour.
As I returned to work and he to school, I learned what true clinginess was. He texted me every second we were apart. The only time he wasn’t texting was when he went into class, but even then I would receive, “I’m out of math now, I miss you so much.” He would talk for the five minute break, then say, “The bell for science rang, I’ll talk to you in 50 minutes.”
At first I thought it was cute, even enjoyed it. No one had ever paid me so much (positive) attention. I assumed things would normalize once we had time to settle into the relationship, but they didn’t. After two weeks things were getting worse instead of better. I didn’t know how to tell him, “I really like you, but I’m losing my mind. I can’t watch tv, play a game, or read a book because there’s never a time you aren’t talking. I can’t keep staying awake all night because the only free time I have is when you sleep.” I was too shy and it sounded cruel. When he mentioned the Tennessee and kids dream, I broke up with him as gently as possible. He took it surprisingly well, but I never saw him again. Now that Chris is out of the way, let’s talk about what being in Rose-yard alone was like.
I was completely alone until Crook moved in later. I only owned one tv which meant there wasn’t one in my bedroom. Sleeping without one proved terrifying and impossible. As I laid in the pitch black darkness on my third night, I heard doors opening all around me. Reminding myself it was on Mickey’s side was useless. I imagined burglars pulling duct tape off the back door and creeping into my room. I stared into the dark opening of the hallway, seeing human shapes there; waiting for me to fall asleep. I quickly resigned myself to sleeping on the couch full time.
Early the next morning, I woke to someone violently banging on my front door. I’m not proud of my behavior, but when I’m rudely pulled from a sound sleep I react poorly. I had no more control over my actions than an alcoholic in withdrawal. All fear of the dangerous neighborhood forgotten, I ripped my door open in a rage. I was face to face with a short, plump, blonde woman; fist raised, ready to begin the next round. I’m not going to type all the curses I threw at her, but if you want a truly accurate account, insert “fuck” after each word I say. I apologize, but I’m a tiny, weak woman. Cursing is my human way of intimidation. I can’t fluff my hair out like cats, but I can curse like a sailor.
“What the hell is your problem?” My voice was low and cruel. I wanted my face to exude pure hatred, and I think it did. The woman hesitated, unsure how to respond.
“I… I’m sorry if I woke you, but I need to talk to Mickey. Right now.” She looked past me as if expecting to see him.
“Yea, you did wake me! It’s 7:00 in the morning and a psycho is trying to beat down my door for someone who doesn’t live here! That is Mickey’s side.” I pointed to the other door as I prepared to slam my own.
“I know, but he won’t answer. I wanted to ask if you could try to wake him. Can you call him or knock on his wall or… something?” She asked me this as if it were the most reasonable thing in the world, but didn’t understand she wasn’t speaking to me. She was speaking to the demon who possesses my body when I’m unable to Adult.
“Hell no you didn’t just tell me that! You know?! What is wrong with you? Do you seriously expect to beat down someone’s door first thing in the morning and have that person help you?” Again, I prepared to slam the door, but she caught my attention once more.
“Wait, please! I’m Tyler’s mom!” She put her hand against the door and spoke faster. “That’s Tyler’s truck parked in your back yard, and I heard Mickey has been selling parts off it. If he gives me the keys and the money he made, I won’t call the police.” The woman misunderstood the situation greatly. The satisfied expression on her face told me she thought I cared if Mickey got into trouble.
I continued speaking with her because I wanted to enjoy seeing that smug expression vanish when she learned the truth. “Lady, I couldn’t care less what happens to Mickey or that truck. The only thing I cared about was sleep, but since you ruined any chance of that let me tell you a little something about Tyler. Do you even understand why that truck is back there? It’s because the girl who lived here before Booker was his girlfriend. When she broke up with him, your little psycho beat the shit out of her. Then when she wouldn’t forgive him, he decided to drive that truck into her kitchen. The house is so high up he went under the house instead of into it. Now the truck is totaled. If you want to call the cops go for it, but if I have to open this door again, it’s going to be with a gun.” I successfully slammed the door on that final note. I didn’t own a gun, but thought it sounded intimidating.
Through the peephole I could see her making a call. She yelled “Okay then, I’m calling them right now.” through the door, but I don’t know if she really did. No police came, but they rarely did in that neighborhood.
When I woke to more knocking at 4am the next morning, I feared it would be routine. This time, two extremely large men stood outside, knocking on both doors. They looked angry and I didn’t open it, but I watched them through the peephole. I tried to call Mickey, knowing he was awake by the sounds coming through my wall, but he wouldn’t answer. Unfortunately I would grow use to the sounds of their tantric sex parties, but my only concern at that moment was to rid myself of the angry men on our porch.
As I typed a message to Mickey, Mona text me first. It read “Stay inside and don’t call the cops no matter what.” That was never a good sign, but I didn’t understand why they thought I would call the police. I wasn’t suicidal (that they knew of), but it became clear when Mickey finally went outside. Since I was awake anyway, I indulged the curiosity, staying at the peephole to watch.
“Look who decided to open up! Where you been at white boy?” the taller one said as they closed in on a Mickey.
“I’ve been right here…” Mickey was more difficult to hear. He spoke softly unlike his friends. Whatever he said, the men clearly weren’t pleased.
“You think you get to ignore us? You think you something special? Like you can just take whatever you want we ain’t coming for yo ass?” The shorter man with gold teeth began poking Mickey in the chest, pushing him back against the house. They stood so close, their noses almost touched.
I could see Mickey, staring at the ground, lips moving, but couldn’t hear his response. When he finished talking he began digging through his pockets. He held out wads of crumpled bills which were promptly snatched from his clutches. Even without physically seeing how much it was, I knew it had to be very little. They were clearly tips from work, meaning the majority were dollar bills.
“What is this shit? I know this ain’t all you have! Where the rest? Up your damn nose prolly. Whatcha think D? Think we can take our shit right out of his nose?” I covered my mouth to stifle my scream. Very quickly, the one with gold teeth grabbed Mickey’s braid, yanking his head back to bounce off the wall.
“It’s all I have. I can get…” is all he had a chance to say. The man called D cut Mickey’s words short with a punch to the stomach. My eyes darted to the door, expecting to see friends rush to his aid, but no one came.
As Mickey tried to regain his breath, the short one threw him to the ground. Both began kicking him all over while D informed him, “This your last warning bitch. Everyday you don’t pay, this is gonna be worse! You hear me?”
Mickey, curled into fetal position, could only shake his head in agreement. The men spit on him before leaving, then his friends came to help. One eye already swollen shut, he walked inside with them. A few minutes later, he returned, gently knocking on my door. Checking to make sure he was alone, I let him in, eager to hear the explanation.
“I just wanted to make sure you were ok…” He stood by the front windows, watching the road.
Only wanting his story, not small talk, I set his mind at ease. “Don’t worry I didn’t call the cops, no ones coming.”
Relief washed over him and he took a seat. “I was suppose to pay them today, but I ran into a few problems. If you ever see those guys again, just make sure your doors are locked and stay inside, you understand?” He said these things casually, as if he weren’t just beaten up on our porch.
“Yea, I mean that kind of goes without saying. But why do you owe them money? Is that their cocaine?” I was surprised further by how calmly he prepared the line he was now snorting from my coffee table.
“Yea, but it’s really good stuff. Here, I thought it’s the least I could do after the crazy bitch from yesterday, and now you had to wake up even earlier because of this shit.” He arranged a smaller line and offered me a rolled up bill with which to snort it.
Being young and upset about missed sleep, I took it gratefully. I couldn’t help but laugh at the $100 bill I was snorting it with. I don’t know how much money he owed those guys, but I can’t help feeling they may have been slightly kinder had he paid with it instead of tip money.
I did indeed see the men once more. Of course it was at a rare time I was genuinely home alone. Mickey and Mona were at work, and my music was playing loudly enough to be heard from outside. It was roughly 5:00pm when the loud bangs sounded at the door. Looking through the peephole I saw them with the same angry expressions and knew Mickey never paid them.
I dialed 911 but hesitated over the call button. If I went through with it, not only would police never arrive in time, but those men would know I was the only person who could have called. I desperately wanted to stay off their radar. I kept watch, deciding if they attempted to enter – I would run out the back door and down the street. Instead, I tried to call Mickey and Mona but neither answered.
The one with gold teeth pounded against my door while D worked on the other. Finally, D kicked Mickey’s door hard enough to break it open. “There we go. Time to make our money back! Stay on that door.” D indicated mine. “If someone come out, take their phone.”
That’s all I needed to hear. I value my phone more than life. I moved the couch against the door, terrified he would decide to simply kick it open anyway. Then I continued stacking everything I could lift onto the couch. I almost threw up when I remembered how easy it would be for them to open the back door. You guys know those paracord bracelets? I use to have one until I used it to tie one end around the door knob and the other to the fridge.
As I did these things, I text Mickey and Mona several warnings and updates, but after finishing the back door I saw the men were gone. Mickey’s door remained wide open, but the men were nowhere in sight. I was too afraid to open the door, but I looked out each window several times and couldn’t find them.
Mickey eventually returned my call. He apologized and thanked me profusely for not calling the police. Apparently he had a large drug cache hidden inside and was desperate to check on it. Thankfully he didn’t want to tell me where, but even if he had I still wasn’t willing to open my door. This incident scared Mona badly enough to borrow money from her father. She paid the drug debt under the condition they agreed not to do business together anymore. Everyone seemed fine with her terms.
A few days after this incident, I left for work in a rush, forgetting to lock my door. Desperate not to lose more time, I called Mickey. He said he would lock the door, but after hanging up I realized I also forgot my cigarettes.
Turning around, I made it home in time to see Mickey exiting my apartment. I only had to wonder why he felt the need to go inside for a few seconds before he saw me and shoved his hands into his pockets. I was still too naive to accept a close friend would blatantly steal from me, but even if I had, I would have been too afraid to confront him.
Had I realized in that moment he stole the amulet I wore to every tennis match I ever played – I would have blacked out and burned the house down with both of us inside, but I didn’t. Instead, I chastised myself for being a paranoid asshole. Sadly it would take loaning him $250 on top of later discovering my amulet was gone before I learned I wasn’t just paranoid that time. He actively stole from me every chance he had, only to deny it later.
Now you should all have a decent idea of what it was like to live there. Next time we discuss Rose-yard I’ll be able to get straight to the good stuff. I’m not sure when that will be, but we’ll get to it eventually. I would like to stop here so I have time to tell you about one more idea I want to implement.
Last month, I mentioned the horrible poems I wrote in high school. I have several notebooks filled with the cheesiest emo girl stuff you’ve ever seen. In the OCD interest of having all my work in one place, I wanted to find a way to post them here without losing all my followers. I think I have found a way to do that. Obviously I can’t post them on their own, but I could write one at the bottom of every normal post.
I feel like that will complete my goal without fear of new readers seeing them first and never clicking on stuff again. I freely admit I know nothing about poetry; not how to write it or how to judge it. With the exception of Poe’s The Raven and Blake’s The Poison Tree, I don’t even like poetry. Mine were simply the byproduct of a sad, depressed teenager who desperately wanted the pain to stop. No more. I strongly recommend you only read the poems at the end if you want a laugh. If you’re cruising for good poems, this is not where you want to be.
That being said, thank you all once again, LGFN forever! Remember, be safe out there. Sometimes they really are out to get you.
You are so predictable, But god, you just seemed so sensible. Why shouldn’t I love you? Why can’t I trust you? Why not settle down? Why not take a chance? Why shouldn’t we hold hands? You promised you were right, You promised I was wrong.
I wanted to stop running, But now the pain keeps coming. Now the thought of you makes me sick. Why was it you I had to pick? Why did you have to be my one shot? Why was it me you forgot? Why did you give me hope? Why did you take it away, For a reason you’ll never say?
It’s not fair, it’s not right. Why is it you I have to fight? You were suppose to be different, You were suppose to show me how, But you were wrong, and I’m alone now.
I knew I shouldn’t love you, I knew not to trust you. I knew not to settle down, I knew it was wrong to take a chance. I knew not to hold your hands!
Why didn’t I keep running? This pain wouldn’t be coming, But I did and it is. Now I’m alone, forever and always, On my own, for the rest of my days.
I bet you thought I forgot about the cult, but I haven’t! I’ve been putting a lot of thought into it now that we have a few members. I think I’ve come up with something we can all be happy with, but if you disagree, please let me know. I think our final name should be LGFN, let me explain why.
We are all weirdos. This cult is about uniting the outcasts under one metaphorical roof. Seriously, I love you all but I could never live in a group on a farm or some craziness. Think of Weirdos as Hogwarts. We belong to four different houses, but we are all wizards, Harry.
We each possess unique traits but share core ethics and commonality. Whether you’re a Loser with the loyalty of a Hufflepuff, a Geeky gamer with the courage of a Gryffindor, a Freak with the wiles of a Slytherin, a Nerd with the intelligence of a Ravenclaw, or a mixture of each, we are all magic!
Personally I’m 3 parts Geek 2 parts Nerd, but that’s what makes this cult special. We don’t conform to one ideal. We strive to share and celebrate our differences. We admire strange and unusual. We can disagree without fighting because it’s fascinating to learn how other people live and think. Share your weirdness with the world, who cares what the muggles think!
We are still accepting new members. Also, to be clear – I will never live on a farm, but if any of you possess the financial means and have the urge – I support you. Unless you start doing suicide pacts and kool-aid parties. If you start messing around with that kind of crazy, I’m out.
Thank you all for joining this first official meeting of (member name approval pending) LGFN. Be safe out there. Sometimes they really are out to get you.
Of course I peed my pants, everyone my age pees their pants; it’s the coolest! You ain’t cool unless you pee your pants.
After enjoying the Fear Street trilogy and writing half a scary story, I realized I should go back to basics. I lured you all here under the pretense of crazy and comedy, not horror. Plus, I eat ketchup on steak without shame now because I know I’m not alone. Let’s see what else we can dig up, shall we? Today, I want to share another ridiculous embarrassment that only happened because of my stubbornness.
Reminder: I know some of you tend to feel guilty for laughing at these, but don’t. I’m 33 now and I’ve been laughing at them for years. Yes, it sucked at the time, but you know what? I’d do it all again. It gave me stories that make people laugh, and they honestly are funny. If we saw it on tv, we would all laugh. But most importantly: this kinda stuff happens to teens every day. There are people living their own versions of this who have no clue it won’t matter in a few years. In the thick of it, you can’t fathom a day when your life isn’t ruined. If even one person going through that reads these and it actually helps them get through it - yea, bring it on. I’ll do these all day, I got a million more, just hold tight.
Before I begin, I’ve always had a sort of dream I would like other opinions on. I love classic stories. Poe, Lovecraft, Shakespeare, and so many more, but I hate the old timey speech. What if, someone were to rewrite those classics in modern language? I don’t mean a reboot where some schmuck tries to modernize the story and ruin it, those people should be shot. I want to rewrite them exactly as they are, merely translated to our language. Has anyone else done this? I would love to try it, but no one else has ever shown interest to the notion. Anyway, on to the show.
Let’s talk about a Senior field trip to a museum. A few things to keep in mind:
Only the history class and teacher (Mr. Moore) went.
It was the last class of the day. We each drove ourselves to the museum.
I was dating the high-school sweetheart. He isn’t in this story, but he is relevant as to how I found myself in the following situation.
I was already working at the restaurant from my Queen of the Walk series.
The day of the field trip was hell. I woke to my alarm with a desperate need to pee, almost painful. I emptied my bladder and dressed for school as usual, but as I applied make-up the urge to pee returned with vengeance. I knew something was wrong immediately. I have a boss ass bladder. I trained it to only need attention 2-3 times a day in my plight to avoid public restrooms. Sitting to do my business, I felt a burning sensation as a trickle of urine exited my body.
Terrified, I feared the worst. Was it an STD? Had to be, right? I shudder to think of my reaction had Google not been there to save me. Even back then WebMD identified it as cancer, but admitted an Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) was also a likely culprit. Knowledge is power. I learned it was a common issue which normally resolved itself in a matter of days.
Unfortunately, it listed “frequent intercourse” as the common cause. Normally, I would say “that’s the reason I didn’t tell my parents,” but I’ve never lied to you guys and won’t start now. I wouldn’t have told them regardless the problem or cause. I tried to psych myself up, mentally defeat the UTI, but clearly science doesn’t give a damn about my mental resilience. Telling myself ‘it just feels like you have to pee, but you don’t’ didn’t make it true.
If you’ve never experienced one first hand, I’m not sure how to describe the intensity. Have you ever had a lot to drink before going to bed? Has it woken you in the middle of the night because your bladder was about to explode? If you’re like me, maybe you’re too lazy to get up. Maybe you ignore it successfully and fall asleep, but what did it feel like next time you woke up? Add an extreme burning sensation as if someone heated your urine to the boiling point and you have a decent idea.
After each class – and a few times during – I was forced to use public restrooms. As if I could afford to lose more pieces of my soul. The longer I held it, the more I had and hotter it burned. To make matters worse, I was expected at work after school. Perhaps my years of (almost always) successfully hiding my period made me cocky, but I thought I could pull it off. At least I can say I gave it the old college try.
I kept my problem secret from everyone, including Thelma. Any bathroom related issues in high-school were basically social suicide, and I was already dead in the water far as that went. Needless to say, my mood was poor; but as we drove to the museum, I felt good about making it through the school day. The hard part was over and I believed the rest would be downhill. It’s amazing how stupid we are as children. The urge to pee was prominent when I got in the car, but I was too lazy and sick of the school’s disgusting toilets to go back. I should have gone to the bathroom upon arrival, but again, Past Me was a stubborn dumbass.
As we gathered at the entrance, I saw we had been duped. I love museums and was pleasantly surprised to learn we had one…. but I would describe that place as ‘a large house filled with town history.’ I decided it’s only going to take a few minutes to walk through this place. I can wait until work, it’s just down the street.
I held my bladder as Mr. Moore gave the usual field trip speech, “Be respectful, and don’t touch anything.” He waited until after we were inside and he was blocking the exit to add, “Since we all drove ourselves, this is not technically a field trip. You can go straight home when you leave, but I would like you all to look around first.” He was extremely passionate about history, but his love for our town’s history bordered on unhealthy obsession.
Yes, our town has a lot of interesting parts to it, but I lost all respect for the man after our lessons about slavery. For any fellow John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight fans, you may have seen S07E20, US History about Southern private schools’ archaic history lessons. That was Mr. Moore. He told us things I fear to repeat and he believed them, but the scary part was how many students eagerly adopted his conviction. Alas, I’ll save those for another day. I’ve been working hard to avoid tangents and don’t want to backslide now.
Thelma and I walked through fairly quickly. I did see a few interesting things I would normally have enjoyed, but it was hard to focus when it felt like my bladder was coordinating an armed rebellion against me. As we made it to the final display on the second floor, a new level of urgency struck. I knew beyond any shadow of doubt I could not hold it any longer. All fear of public restrooms vanished as I raced to locate a toilet.
Suddenly, the museum didn’t seem small anymore. After a complete run-through, I failed to find restrooms. I imagined fleeing to my car, preferring to wet my pants privately, but then I saw it. Tucked into a small hallway a beautiful, skirted stick woman’s open arms and expressionless face beckoned me. I ran into her loving embrace and plowed straight through it, into an actual woman who was trying to exit. She cursed and I apologized without stopping.
Somehow, I was lucky enough for the bathroom to be otherwise empty. Had the woman I bumped into been a few seconds slower, this story may have progressed much worse. So desperate was my situation, I couldn’t yet breathe easy. As I ran the last few steps into the closest stall, I began… leaking. I clinched with all my strength, not a drop should have been able to squeeze through. My thoughts as I stood in the stall, next to a clean, functional toilet with piss slowly running down my legs, are impossible to translate.
I’ve never performed well under pressure, not physically. My brain will offer solutions, but even the best ideas are useless if you don’t possess the capacity to execute said solution. I knew I needed to undo my pants and get my ass over that toilet, but my fingers didn’t work. I wasn’t wearing traditional button up jeans, I wore capris pants with a tie-string. I was often pantsed (you know, when they yank your pants down) at school and always utilized every tool at my disposal to prevent such actions. In my haste, I pulled the wrong string, creating a tight knot I couldn’t undo even if I weren’t actively peeing my pants.
I was further distressed to discover it was not the short trickle I’d experienced when returning to the bathroom every hour; it was the full stream of a drunk girl on her second bottle of wine. Adrenaline surged through me as I pulled at my pants and wiggled my hips. I was rewarded with slow yet steady progress. I watched the urine puddle grow and spread into neighboring stalls with despair. I expected someone (most likely a classmate) to walk in any moment, but they didn’t.
No more than 60 seconds could have passed between the time I entered the stall and finished soaking the floor, yet I feel like I experienced hours worth of thoughts. I’m not sure why I didn’t sit on the toilet with my pants up. It’s not that I didn’t think about it, I considered it almost immediately. I even realized it would make a huge difference in the clean up if someone entered.
Each time I imagined the door opening, my stomach lurched and I thought I would puke. When the stream finally ran dry, I let go of my pants in favor of toilet paper. I ignored my pants as they finally fell to the floor, instead concentrating on dropping as much TP as possible. I know “life-threatening situation” sounds dramatic for a pants wetting, but I was 17, a Senior, and finally at a point where boys didn’t spit on me everyday. The prospect of everyone learning I wet my pants on a field trip (while Billy Madison was insanely popular) felt that way in the moment.
I wanted to clean my mess. I struggle for a word stronger than shame; the emotion I felt was so much deeper. My legs and pants were soaked. The puddle spread through my stall, two others, and the open floor. My mind raced for a solution, but there was so little time. I would be lying if I said the grossness didn’t play a part in my decision, but I truly feared I would be discovered any second. I wore a thin, long sleeve shirt over a skimpy tank top. The kind I would normally never wear in public but technically covered the important bits.
I had no choice. I secured my pants once more, removed my shirt, and tied it around my waist. With my head down, I speed walked out the door. I made it to my car without seeing anyone, but wasn’t out of the woods yet. I didn’t know if anyone saw me exit the bathroom which led to hours of paranoid daydreams and a fresh surge of panic with each new text. I also needed new pants if I didn’t want to explain why I was ditching work last minute.
My trunk was basically a suitcase and I hoped to get lucky. I was willing to wear pajamas if it was all I had. I lucked out with slightly stained but acceptable jeans and threw the wet pants into the dumpster at work. I used the horrible bathroom every 20 minutes, terrified of a repeat occurrence, but survived the shift.
That night, I called Thelma. I wanted to think of a way to ask “So, anybody happen to notice pee all over the bathroom floor at the museum?” But Thelma beat me to it.
“Dude! I forgot to tell you! The funniest shit happened after you left the museum! Some lady’s 3 year old pissed all over the bathroom floor.” Thelma paused, laughing hysterically. My heart lifted, but I was too afraid to hope.
I held my breath until I could wait no longer. “No way, you’re screwing with me right? What happened?” I forced a laugh, trying to hide my anxiety.
After a few deep breaths she was able to continue. I feel bad about this now, but admit I was extremely proud and laughed with Thelma when it happened. #Honesty. So, here’s what happened:
The manager walked into the bathroom minutes after I left but never saw me. What she did see, was a mother kneeling in front of her small child.
Manager promptly exited the bathroom, intent to confront Mother. “Excuse me! Ma’am? You cannot do that! You’re going to have to clean that up!”
Mother, taking a few steps back, is confused at first. “I’m… sorry? Um, I think you have the wrong person.” Thelma mistook the lady’s genuine confusion for ‘complete guilt’ and mistook my resulting laughter as genuine instead of guilt.
“No ma’am, I saw you come out of here. I understand children have accidents, but you need to be the one to clean it up.” Manager lowered her tone, aware she was attracting attention.
“Lady, we didn’t go in there, we just stopped so I could fix her backpack.” Mother now had the child’s hand, backing away from the crazy woman.
“Look, I’m sorry I spoke loudly, I was just… surprised. It’s really not a big deal. I’ll get you a mop, there’s one right down the hall.” Manager changed tactics, but to no avail.
Mother looked to the crowd around her with a facial expression begging doyou people see this?! But found no support. As Manager walked away, she called after her, “I don’t know if someone has crapped or puked – because we didn’t go in there – but I’m not mopping up someone else’s mess in someone else’s house. Maybe you should hire a janitor if you aren’t capable of cleaning your restrooms.” With that, she scooped up her child and left.
Manager walked to the front windows, watching her until she was out of sight. With a sad, slow shake of her head, she addressed the crowd. “I walked in there right as they came out. And she knows that, but she wants to stand there lying to my face rather than admit her daughter peed all over the floor.”
All agreed with her regarding the sad state the world had become. Anyway, the UTI cleared up within a few days, but the first was unquestionably the worst.
A bonus tidbit you may find amusing: a few years later, Thelma got an UTI and peed all over a dressing room floor at an outlet mall. The only difference is she got caught. She told an employee she couldn’t clean it up, apologized, and never returned.
I just realized this the third story involving a bathroom incident and I’m not even halfway through them. Oh well, this is probably enough for today. Thank you for your indulgence, and I sincerely hope you laughed.
I still haven’t been able to get a photo of Heathcliff, but he received pets this morning! He ran to me for breakfast and rubbed between my legs like a pro so I went with it. In lieu of his photo, I will pay the cat tax another way.
Remember, stay safe out there. Sometimes, they really are out to get you.
I hope this final installment of the JustNoMil duology finds you well. The week is flying by, so with your permission I would like to dive right in today. We’re going to start with the first Valentines Crook and I were able to spend together. We were two years into the relationship, but he was on a rig for the first one. The second year, he returned from a two week hitch February 13th. Normally I don’t buy into Valentine’s Day unless it precedes the word ‘massacre,’ but we were excited for this one.
Upon arriving, Crook was unable to keep his special plans secret any longer. The fact he planned anything while at work was impressive. “I was trying to surprise you, but it’s harder keeping the secret now that I’m home. I made reservations at Haunted Hotel.” His voice was filled with pride. Securing a reservation anywhere on Valentines was difficult, but he succeeded with one of the best.
If you read Calling All Ghosts, yes. That’s the place. He knew I’m not big on romance, but wanted to show the effort. Hoping (correctly) a spooky theme would make the holiday more enjoyable, he called in a favor to reserve the best haunt-themed food in town.
As if her spidey-sense detected our happiness, Effie called intent to ruin it. “Hey Sweetie, I just wanted to make sure you got home safe.” Her sobs sounded more genuine than usual. I suppose practice makes perfect.
“Yea, I’m fine. What’s wrong? Are you okay?” Crook shifted into worriedson mode seamlessly.
I assumed she was trying to force him to feed her animals, but that was only a secondary reason for calling. “Oh… I’m fine… you don’t want to hear me cry about my pitiful life. I’m just so depressed about Valentines Day. I’d rather kill myself than spend another one alone…”
You could tell she was desperate by how quickly she brought out the big guns. With Crook’s blindness to the manipulation tactics I memorized in a month, Effie successfully invited herself to our dinner in under 5 minutes. Was I so angry I nearly blacked out? Obviously. Did I make a scene? No. I knew he would get defensive if I tried to explain what Effie was doing. Instead, I took deep breaths. Reminding myself, you hate this crap anyway. It’s only for dinner, just a couple hours. The rest of the day is ours. We’re going to watch anime, smoke weed, and eat Chinese takeout because that’s what gives life meaning.
That mantra got me through the night and next morning. At noon, my happy place was burned to the ground when Effie arrived, unannounced. I stared at her through the window, willing her to disappear, but eventually I was forced to open the door. I motioned for her to have a seat, explaining Crook was still catching up on his sleep.
Effie was having none of that. She walked straight down the hallway, into our bedroom, and shrieked “Wake up Sweetie! Mommy is heeeeeeeere!”
I remained on the living room floor, struggling to breath as a panic attack consumed me. I became deaf to all but my own thoughts. She went in our room. There’s someone in our room, what’s wrong with you? Get in there and killit!She’s going to sit on your bed! Move!
Faintly, distant noises began filtering through the static. I heard sounds that were either dresser drawers or blunt force trauma. Realizing the moans of pain were coming from myself, I assumed it was the former.
Eventually, I see them exit the bedroom, arm-in-arm. Crook disheveled and confused; Effie grinning ear to ear, still talking. “I’m so excited we’re spending the day together. This is the best Valentines ever!”
I physically bit my tongue, terrified to speak. I could already feel the angry tears forming. I knew if I tried to talk, only unintelligible squalls would emerge. The one thing preventing a full meltdown was my invisibility. Effie was only interested in feeding her delusion, and I didn’t fit into her script. I tuned her out, pouring all my focus into tv for the next several hours.
We were 20 minutes away from leaving for dinner when another knock sounded at the door. I opened it to be greeted by a dozen red roses; Crook’s last surprise. Before I could react, Effie pushed past me, squealing like Miss Piggy, and took my flowers.
Smelling the roses, she met my gaze. I’m not sure what emotion she mistook fury for, but I still get angry thinking about how she said “Oh Crook, you shouldn’t have! But it’s not fair to buy me all these beautiful roses!” Looking at me as if I were a homeless person begging for spare change, she gave me the card and one rose. “Here, don’t feel left out.”
(This always bothered me, think about it. Since she handed me the card… she knew, right? Deep down on a subconscious level she can never admit to… she had to know, right? I think she knew.)
I looked to Crook, (still naive enough to think he might correct her) but he stared at his feet, tail tucked between his legs. I threw the card (open for all to read) on the table next to Effie, and finished preparing for dinner.
Seated at the only 3-top in the restaurant, Effie ordered for all of us. When I told the waiter to change my order, she glared at me as if slapped. I held my tongue as she requested a vase for her roses, but I finally understood why she insisted on bringing them. It wasn’t enough to claim them, she needed other people to see; they made it feel real. When I didn’t react to her prompts clearly fishing for a compliment, she became sullen.
From that point forward, she complained about the food and service nonstop. The only complaint I had toward dinner was Effie’s company, but I digress. It was the longest dinner of my life, and we still weren’t free of her. Having refused to drive herself “to a date” we were stuck with her until she sobered enough to drive herself home. After the first pot of coffee, I thought she was faking. It wasn’t the first time she tried to spend the night, but it was thankfully the last.
Thus ended the worst Valentines of my life. For the next and last story regarding Effie, I will discuss her arm/shoulder surgery. Do you know what’s worse than a paranoid, codependent hypochondriac? A hypochondriac who actually has something wrong. I don’t have kids, I’ve never cared for one under 7 in my life, but I would take on five toddlers before going near Effie again.
At this stage, we were years into our relationship, and I was savvy to all Effie’s tricks. When we learned she was genuinely in need, I had no problem visiting her in the hospital or caring for her animals. When she was able to finish recovery at home, I was a fantastic sport. I even walked her to the bathroom a few times (it’s not like I had to go in with her).
What I did have issues with, was how she treated us while we were helping. Each day we did our usual chores, and before leaving we asked, “Is there anything else you need? You’re sure? Because we’re about to go home.”
Every single day she said, “No, I’m fine thanks.” Without fail, 10 minutes after being home, she called Crook, begging him to return.
If I had to guess, I think she preferred him to visit without me (I sure did) knowing he would be easier to manipulate. Let me be clear, after the first week, she was fully functional for everything except lifting or certain movements with her arm. We knew she would use us as long as possible, but even if she didn’t have a walker, there was absolutely no reason she could not walk unattended.
With that understood, here’s what happened three weeks into her recovery. As with every other day, we performed our morning chores, asked if she needed anything else, and went home. We only had time to sit down with a fresh bowl before the phone rang.
“Can’t we just ignore her this once? Just until we finish smoking?” I begged.
“I’m sorry, I just need to make sure she hasn’t hurt herself. I’m not going back today, I’m sick of it too.” Crook answered the phone. It was one thing to lie to me, I could understand that, but it was infuriating when he lied to himself. Let me break their conversation down the easy way as we near our conclusion.
Effie: Hey Baby, can you bring Mama something to eat? I finally have an appetite and I’m craving my favorite pizza place.
Crook: But… they’re right across the street. The doctor said you should be trying to get out now. It might be good for you to go.
Effie: I don’t care what that quack said! He can’t feel my pain! I’ll never make it!
Crook: Okay, fine. If you aren’t ready to drive, just have it delivered.
Effie: Ugh, I can’t get out of my chair to make it to the door! Why are you arguing with me? I’m starving!
Crook: Fine! When did they say it would be ready?
Effie: I haven’t ordered it. Tell them to make sure all these very picky details are correct or you’ll send it back. I absolutely can’t eat it if it’s not right.
Crook: I’ll never get all that straight. Could you at least call the order in? Then I’ll just pick it up and bring it to you.
Effie: No, they don’t like me, they always do it wrong on purpose. See if they’ll get it right for you.
Crook: Fine, I’ll be there soon to get the money, then I’ll go grab your food.
Effie: You can’t even buy your mother one meal while I’m starving to death?!
Crook: Yea, sorry.
People, my blood boiled. I could almost see the bubbles under my skin as the heat simmered throughout my body. I stared at Crook in disbelief, speechless, wondering if his balls would ever drop.
When Crook delivered her food, it was indeed wrong. He insisted she asked forolives, Effie insists she said no olives. I don’t know who was correct, I didn’t hear it firsthand, but I have two equally plausible theories.
Crook subconsciously got it wrong on purpose, sick of Effie’s shit.
Effie didn’t have anything else to complain about, and olives were the first thing she thought to use.
As an adult possibly speaking to impressionable teens, I won’t say what I would have done to the food, but if you’re familiar with the movie Waiting, you have a pretty good idea. The important thing is, these stories are home where they belong. There’s still the matter of my notebooks, but as far as online publications go, I think these were the only ones. Now I can spend the week fully submerged in all the glorious horror of Halloween. I think I’ll go listen to some CreepyPastas while I decide what to write next. Maybe I should start taking requests.
Oh yea, can’t forget the sign-off. You all be safe out there. Sometimes, they really are out to get you.
Cat Update: #12 has shown me his dingleberries, he is now Heathcliff. He no longer hides under the truck when we go outside but will not receive our pets. There is territory trouble with Percy and Lily, but we’re making daily progress.
If anyone is a fan of the subreddit JustNoMil, this one goes out to you. For those unfamiliar, MIL is mother-in-law, and Reddit has a fantastic community where people discuss their personal experiences. I highly recommend it, they have some gems. Bestie, who has relatable in-laws, introduced me to it knowing Crook’s mother was prime writing material. I posted a four part story about her six years ago, but can’t get into my old account. I want to bring them home to the rest of my crazy.
My only-child syndrome has clearly evolved to a new level. I now see my stories as living things, each in need of my loving protection. Maybe it’s more god-complex or OCD, but either way this needs to be done. They were fairly short, but typed in the subreddit’s speak. Written correctly, they’re too long for one post, but I think I can get it done in two. Back then, I was apparently too embarrassed to admit certain details. That and other deviations will be corrected in this improved telling of my MIL series.
Crook’s mother reminds me of a ginger Aunt Effie from Mama’s Family, so that’s what we’ll call her. We had a traditional meeting, Crook introduced us after our third date. She was kind, seemed normal, asked the usual questions. Was she a little chatty from the wine? Sure she was, but it was Friday night; nothing to raise red flags. By night’s end, I believed we would have a fairly decent relationship. Let’s call it the foolishness of youth.
Effie owned a large, beautiful house (I dreamed of one day inheriting), 5 dogs, and 6 cats. Roughly five minutes from her home, she owned a barn with 4 horses. Like so many others, she too habitually mixed wine with Xanax. As we learned with Amy, that can be a dangerous combo.
The short time Crook still lived with Effie, I gave no thought to him caring for her animals. It made sense; she was older, single, and Crook was being a good son. The first red flag didn’t wave until we moved in together. We transported all our possessions into one home over the course of one very long, hard day. When we finally stopped, we spread a blanket on the floor, plugged in a tv, and laid back, exhausted. Within 10 minutes, Effie called.
“Hey Sweetie, you fed the horses today, right?”
“No, I told you I wouldn’t be able today… remember? We’ve been moving stuff all day, we literally just sat down for the first time.”
“You did not tell me! It’s already dark out, they must be starving! You gotta get over there!” Effie shrieked loudly enough for me to hear perfectly. I was not pleased but remained silent.
“Yes. I did. You’re only five minutes away. You could feed them and be home in less than 30 minutes. I’m over 30 minutes away, and I’d have to get gas. I’m sorry, but do you think you could please handle it?”
“Oh I really don’t feel good, not tonight. I’ll end up hurting myself trying to lift those heavy feed bags…” Effie whined.
It was a long, painful conversation to hear, but at the end, Crook lost. For what it’s worth, he didn’t ride horses, didn’t much care for them at all, but knew they wouldn’t eat if he didn’t acquiesce. Effie rode them a few times, but otherwise simply enjoyed the status of ownership. After returning home, Crook showed me texts he sent, informing her to make future arrangements for the horses. As it were, he could no longer make the drive on a routine basis. He did not receive a reply.
I’m sure most of you have guessed, but she called the next evening with the same question, “Have you fed the horses yet?” Each day they had the same argument with the same result.
I stopped being a good sport after the first day but stayed silent, too timid to rock the boat. That all changed when Effie upped the ante. She grew bold in her demands, adding the cats and dogs to her list.
“Are you serious? It’s bad enough I have to waste time and gas to care for the horses you have nothing to do with but won’t sell; now you want me to come to your house – while your there – so I can clean the litter, feed, and water 11 animals?!” Crook paced, furious. “Well, it’s too bad. I’ve already fed the horses, and I’m not getting back out tonight.”
It was a lie, he hadn’t fed the horses, but she would never know. Each day he still deluded himself into thinking it the last. Never once did he consider feeding them early, as if doing so could further encourage her behavior.
“I’m sorry I didn’t call sooner, but my back started hurting. I can’t handle the animals tonight, I need your help.” Effie cried, complaining of new aches and pains with each excuse Crook gave. She had two litter boxes, neither of which had been cleaned since we moved.
For almost three weeks, this new pattern continued. It evolved into Crook going straight to her house after work, making him 2-3 hours late getting home each night. We began fighting, both our limits stretched to the breaking point. Finally, he agreed to put his foot down. He didn’t have the balls to say a forceful “No!” but compromised by felling Effie we would be out of town for a week.
“I’m sorry, but we’re going to be over two hours away. If you can’t take care of your animals, maybe you should think about finding new homes for them.” Crook spoke kindly, but it didn’t matter.
Effie responded with shock and rage. The tears were instant, her cries deafening. “I can pay your gas. You could just wake up a little earlier and…”
“No! Do you hear yourself, do you know how crazy that sounds?!” He came close to losing his temper but reigned it in. “Please Mom, can you please take care of your animals for a week? I can’t handle this anymore, I need a break.”
We all needed a break. Effie pulled every emotional manipulation in the book, but Crook held strong. After an hour of being called an “ungrateful son whose abandoning his single mother and fur siblings to rot” she finally ended the call with, “Fine, I’m going to call you everyday to let you know everything is done… so if you haven’t heard from me by 6pm, something’s wrong.” She likes to hang up before you can respond. It’s her last line of defense; making poorly veiled insinuations something terrible is about to befall her and it’s your fault.
After no contact all week, she called us the morning we were due to return. “I’m alive, even though you clearly don’t care. I could have been dead and you wouldn’t know since you didn’t check on me once! My back is killing me now, I can’t move anymore. Feeding the horses and bending over that litter is just too much, I need your help. I haven’t eaten anything since breakfast yesterday because I can’t get out of my chair except to crawl to the bathroom.” She poured the guilt trips out like they were rehearsed, nary a breath taken.
Her act won her a visit from both of us. I don’t remember why, maybe we had to go somewhere before. Not only did we have to order, pay for, and deliver her food, the house reeked of litter left untouched for a week. I refused to participate in the chores on sheer principle. I almost ignored her when she called for me, but forced my feet to move anyway.
Seriously though, 6 cats, 2 litter boxes, 1 week, the smell. I know my fellow cat servants will all need a moment to shake it off, don’t worry, take your time. We’ll wait… * happy thoughts * … Okay, you good? Great.
She skipped the pleasantries and got straight to business, a trait I normally admire when it isn’t in lieu of delusional rants. “Can you believe he did that to me? Of all the ungrateful! I mean, the one time I need him. You have no idea how much I sacrificed for him! For him to just… Icould have died!”
I resisted the urge to point out she was always in need. It was made easier by the fact she didn’t give me an opportunity to speak. She ranted for two hours while Crook tended her animals and cleaned. When he finally finished it was close to 8:00 and my happy place didn’t provide enough protection to stay any longer. Only severe Southern Hospitality Code of Ethics training held my feet in place and mouth closed as Effie tried to prevent us from leaving.
“Oh Honey, please don’t go. I’m afraid of being here alone in this big, old house. What if something happens and I can’t get to a phone? Please, why don’t y’all stay the night?” She cooed like a witch with a poisoned apple.
After another brazen display of emotional manipulation, Crook agreed. With a sad look and ‘what can you do’ shrug, he said “Just tonight.”
I can’t even. “That’s fine if you want to stay.” I smiled wide, careful to keep my voice non-threatening. “But we have animals and things to do at our house too. I’m going home, let me know if you want me to pick you up tomorrow.” I was already walking to the door, desperate to put distance between myself and Effie.
Fearing (correctly) Crook wouldn’t stay if I didn’t, she threw her Hail Mary. “You two should just move here! It makes so much sense! It’s a big house, plenty of room for my future grandkids, and think of all the money you’d save!”
Nothing raises my hackles faster than the threat of extra roommates. It was too much for my rookie, adult brain to handle. “There’s no way that’s happening. If you need any tips on how to handle your household, all you have to do is ask, but I can’t stay here any later. Crook are you coming or staying?”
That was the moment she started hating me, but it was worth it. Crook came home, and the confrontation won us a week of no contact. It seems a week was her max tolerance for accumulating litter.
Now we’re jumping ahead to the first time I went to work with Crook. If there are new readers today, I quit my job to travel with him because I was too codependent to be home alone for a week. Yes, I acknowledge the crazy, but this isn’t the post for dissecting my inability to cope with separation anxiety.
In the time we are skipping, Effie proved herself capable of caring for her animals when forced. For 6+ months, Crook’s drill site was only an hour away, but 12 hour shifts on top of the drive left little room for sleeping or eating. When all was said and done, he cared for the animals his week off, and Effie fended for herself when he worked. Did they try to con me into carrying the torch while he worked? You bet. Did I ever agree? No. Principles and all that.
Keeping in mind Crook still cared for her animals half the time, he proposed Effie care for our two cats while we were away. I had doubts. “I’m not sure if I’m comfortable with the idea of their litter not being cleaned for a week. She’ll say she did, but she still won’t scoop her own… no way she’s going to clean ours. Plus Gambit throws a fit if we’re even a few hours late, he’ll lose his mind if it’s a week!” I was baffled he couldn’t understand the certainty I felt.
“She really is getting better. It’s only one box for two cats, just let me talk to her. I promise, if I’m not 100% certain she’ll do it, we can call your parents.” Considering that a victory, I secretly sent my parents a few preemptive texts preparing them for the situation.
Unwilling to trust his “certain” faith in Effie, I listened to their conversation. It started worse than I expected. “Hey Ma, you got a sec? I wanted to talk to you about going to Nice City next week. We would need to leave Saturday and wouldn’t be back until Monday night, but…”
“Oh! That sounds lovely, but who would we get to take care of the horses?” Effie began listing prospects.
“No, wait! Mom, no, not you, us. I need you to feed our cats while we’re gone. You would only need to come once a day, Sunday-Sunday.” Crook explained carefully.
“I know that… I was just teasing. Gosh, you live pretty far to make that drive everyday… What do I get?” She giggled, playfully.
Crook clamped a hand over my mouth as I tried to scream into the phone. “I know it’s far, I have to do it all the time. Remember? I was hoping we could make it an even trade, you know? I do all your animals when we’re home, you do ours when we’re away.”
The silence was thick with tension, but it was my turn to prevent Crook from speaking hastily. By that time, I mastered the art to her manipulations. At first, her silence was genuine. I could hear her brain whirling, deciding what to wish for as she weighed the deed with our need, but she long ago settled that matter. Now the silence was her power. She imagined us sweating, eagerly awaiting her answer. As seconds ticked by she saw us turning worried, anxious, desperate. What else might we freely offer in that moment?
Well, I wasn’t a rookie anymore. We remained silent until finally, after I had to restrain Crook twice more, she sighed deeply, ensuring it was audible to us. “I mean. I guess. You seem determined to hold anything you do for me over my head, so fine. After I struggle my way through all your daily chores at the barn, I’ll drive all the way to your house.” She added a few sniffles for good measure.
“Thank you, I really appreciate it! Please don’t forget the litter, it’s super important, Mom. K-thanks-bye!“ I was genuinely proud of Crook. I didn’t believe Effie would do litter, but I honestly thought she would handle the food and water. We added a second litter box to help delay the inevitable, but Crook would do no more. He was certain she would really do it this time.
Noon Saturday, we settled into our hotel, pleased with the pictures from our scenic drive. While unpacking, we see Effie has text us the same message. “I’m not feeling well today, I’m going to the ER. If you don’t hear from me in a few hours, something bad happened.”
Checking the time, we see the text was sent over two hours ago. Do you see the genius in this? We had to play her game. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t know if she fed our cats. She was very much willing to bail if it suited her dramatic scene.
Crook called, but got voicemail. It wouldn’t be as dramatic if she answered. She wanted him assuming the worst. He tried a text, “How are you feeling?”
Receiving no immediate response, we find a place for lunch. Assuming she would call when satisfied with suspense level, we had a lovely day shopping followed by a nice dinner. Upon returning to our hotel that evening, we had not heard from her. I feared for our cats’ well-being more than hers. The likelihood of that day being the one she wasn’t crying wolf was too minuscule for even my bad luck.
Crook begins to legitimately worry for Effie which angers me further. Her charade was terrible for many reasons, but making your son believe you might be dead was plain cruel. I did my best to reassure him but had to contact my parents. I should have called sooner, but all I could do was not waste more time.
They were understandably annoyed at the late hour, otherwise agreed without fuss. After arriving at our house, they confirmed food bowls were empty. In attempt to comfort Crook, I hypothesized Effie may have fed the cats but wanted us to wonder. Learning she truly had concocted this charade to avoid the task rather than mere attention seeking angered me most. Thankfully, my parents volunteered to assume the weekly duties, ensuring the remaining days went smoothly.
Once I knew our cats were safe and comfortable, my rage faded quickly. I realized we were truly free. For one entire week, I would have no work, cleaning, responsibilities, or contact with Effie to dread. I was so happy, I shot off one last text. “Just wanted to let you know you’re off the hook. My parents took care of the cats and will continue to do so the rest of the week.” I thought it would give me great pleasure to ignore anything she may later reply.
She didn’t wait 10 minutes before calling. I answered, putting it on speaker for Crook to hear his healthy mother. “How dare you be worried about cats when I’m dying! Neither of you care about me at all! I’m pulling onto your street right now, but I guess I’ll turn around. Thanks for making me waste a trip for nothing!”
Taking advantage of her need to inhale, I interjected “How are you driving? I thought you were in the hospital… you know, dying?”
She hung up and we had no further contact until returning home the following Sunday. Against my wishes, Crook answered. Once again she felt bad and needed help with the animals. Also against my wishes, he agreed to go when she turned on the water works.
Do you think she cleaned her own litter boxes while we were away? If you do, you’re wrong. Her cats were finally fed up, they mutinied. Piss and shit were everywhere. The walls, floors, shoes, beds, you name it – covered! Crook cleaned it all. None of the animals had food or water. I’m grateful to my parents. Had our cats been in such a position, I would probably still be in jail.
Alright! It feels good to have those condensed into one. I’ll get the final section out soon. Hopefully in time to resume my struggle in trying to get another Halloween story out before my excuse to write scary stuff is gone for a year. Thank you all, and remember, be careful out there. Sometimes, they really are out to get you.
A few things before I begin. Regarding my unintentional cat rescue situation, it happened. We’re back at 12. Friday, as I paced, writing, robe securely caped, I looked outside to see an orange cat eating on our porch. I racked my brain for the name of this cat, baffled I couldn’t remember. When I was finally able to face reality, I tried to approach, but no luck. This morning, it was hungry enough to accept food, but I didn’t get a glimpse of gender. Looks like a new game is afoot. Death to all who abandon their pets.
Regarding my name, I have realized ‘Dubbed’ is a poor alias, which led me to the thought, hey, pen name! Long story short, I wanted it to be fun, and what’s more fun for a writer than Page Turner? I know what you’re thinking, why not Paige? Right? It’s because Paige is a common first name, and Turner is a common last name. There’s probably a ton of them, and it makes me wonder how often people don’t believe it the first time they meet. I bet it’s annoying, plus Page is shorter and I’m lazy.
Lastly, as of late, I’ve drifted away from acknowledging my own toxic traits. Instead, other people have been the focal points of my stories, and tonight is no different. To make things squaresies, I’m going to admit something I’m deeply ashamed of but can’t stop. Deep breath. The way I embody the hillbilly cliche is… I eat my steaks rare… with ketchup. When you finish cringing, we can begin.
We’re talking about Giddy Up western store again. More precisely, my final few months employed there. We didn’t have time to discuss the credit system in our last chat, but any employee or ‘playmate’ could take anything without paying. Instead, we wrote a ticket, signed it, and put it in a basket with dozens more. It got out of hand fast, but there was nothing Don could do.
I’m sure you remember Don; older guy, ran his wife’s dead sister’s store into the ground? You see, Donnie boy thought he was being clever. Not only was it cheaper to pay his playmates in merchandise, he thought “they’re paying monthly” sounded believable. Unfortunately, he didn’t consider how it would look when his “charge accounts” became a stack totaling thousands but never actually received payments.
Even worse, he didn’t realize actual employees would want to utilize the same benefits. It’s Psychology 101, of course people want what others have. Our merchandise was marked up 1.65, it added together quickly. Remember, Jane and Sara are our managers, Liz and Phoebe (from Rain Showers) are other workers like myself. That should be all you need beforehand, now let’s get into how this mess played out.
We set the scene on a warm Monday morning when Don introduces his newest pet, Cindy. This one was truly a piece of work. She wore skirts with no underwear, and we saw her noonie often. Why one would feel a need to brag about deep throating skills, I’ll never understand, but I hear ecstasy is a heck of a drug to do regularly. Personally I’ve only tried it a handful of times, but much as I appreciate a good high, it just isn’t my thing. If you can use it responsibly, props.
Normally, his new girls waited a few weeks before taking free clothes, but Cindy was clearly special. “Hey Gurlz! What’s up!” Cindy arrived her second day, late and stoned on a pharmaceutical cocktail.
“Tell me this bitch ain’t come in here wearing pajamas.” Sara muttered.
Exasperated, I glanced up. “Yea, that’s exactly what it is.” I turned away, refusing to acknowledge it further.
“I can’t take another day of this.” Sara began texting Don. I didn’t get my hopes up, knowing even her voice would be ignored in favor of a playmate.
We sat quietly until Don’s reply. “You kidding me?” She cursed under her breath, glaring at the message.
“What?” I was afraid to know.
She turned to Cindy, “Mista Don said go pick an outfit. Shouldn’t be wearing pajamas to work. Act like you got some sense.” Sara shook her head. Adding, “Ugh, white people! Oh… no offense.”
“Nah, that’s fair.” I shrugged.
Cindy clapped gleefully, “Really? Yay! Thank you, I didn’t have any clean clothes this morning.” When she finished playing Fashion Montage, she was decked out in $389.99 (before tax) worth of merchandise.
“It was ballsy to include the ostrich boots.” Liz grumbled, angry Cindy was wearing the boots she wanted but couldn’t afford. “I mean, it’s bull! She’s been here two days! Does Don know she got boots?!”
“I text him when she was trying them on. He said start her a ticket.” Sara answered exasperatedly without looking up from the calculator.
“I don’t see why you all don’t just start a ticket. You guys hide all this stuff in the back until you can afford it, why? Take it home today, pay later. Not like he can tell you no. What’s he gonna do? Admit they are paying him, just not with cash?” I was being sarcastic. I didn’t even look up from whatever phone game held my attention back then.
“…Why don’t we do that, Sara?” Liz asked.
“… Because I hadn’t considered it. I mean… I am going to pay. I ain’t gonna be like all them. But it would be nice to get those new jeans before Friday… I’ll do it if y’all do.” Sara said
“Oh I already know what I’m getting.” Liz agreed. “What are you getting? You gotta find something too.”
“Ew, I don’t want none of this redneck junk.” I replied, enduring the slaps I knew were coming. My distaste for country-life still baffled them, but they enjoyed teasing me about it.
“Hey! If y’all are doing that, I got stuff I need for my sister’s birthday.” Jane shared my preference for Hot Topic, but came from the same hillbilly breed as the rest of us.
“See, even Jane is, you have to find something.” Liz pressed.
“Fine, fine. Actually, if we’re serious, Hubby could really use some new Red Wings…” Go big or go home, as they say.
“This store won’t make it another year the way he going. That new girl just showed up in pajamas on her second day. What happened? She’s going home in over $400 worth of clothes and a day’s pay! I’m serious.” Sara was already filling in her ticket.
Mob mentality is a strange thing. Before I knew it we each had our own tickets, though mine substantially lower. Try as I might, nothing appealed to me. When Don arrived, Sara and Jane casually asked if they too could “charge a few items.”
Don agreed after a slight hesitation, but weeks passed before he understood how far it went. At that point it was too late to complain. He couldn’t figure out how to tell some to pay up when so many with longer, higher debts never made payments. It was then he realized the store, and subsequently his entire lifestyle, could very well be coming to a tragic end.
“We have got to figure out a way to make more money.” He complained on a day when he and I were co-existing peacefully.
“Everything in your store only appeals to one demographic, why don’t you try buying some Pacsun and Hot Topic? Set it up in the clearance room, there’s plenty of space back there. Me and Jane could run it.” Again, it was sarcasm. I pitched the idea every few months since beginning work there, but never was it taken seriously.
“I don’t know, hell. Maybe it’s not such a bad idea.” Don pondered.
“Really? Because I can bring some magazines for you to look at tomorrow…” Jane pounced like a cheetah. I silently cheered her on, stunned.
Hell, don’t we have a bunch of that stuff laying around? We got stacks of dealership magazines somewhere. More of it’s coming in the mail every day, we ought to.” Don grumbled, nodding his head in the general direction he wished us to search.
For once no one complained. We went about the task enthusiastically and were rewarded for our efforts. Whose familiar with BUDK? They sell all kinds of weapons. Swords, knives, blow darts, you name it. Full disclosure right away, I didn’t buy arsenals of battle ready weapons as you will immediately realize when I share the costs. The knives are real, but the swords would take great effort to cut.
“Ooo! Now this is what we need! I’ve never heard of the place, but look at all these weapons! Tasers, mace, samurai swords, they’re… they’re beautiful!” I threw the magazines on the table, saving them for later, and continued my search.
I hadn’t realized Don picked them up until he asked, “Y’all think we should get some mace and tasers? Lots of women might wanna carry one in there purse, look, there are pink ones!” Don held the magazine to Jane.
“Yea, I know I would.” Jane took the magazine, flipping through as Don and others watched over her shoulder. All seemed interested.
I stood back, afraid to break whatever magic spell was creating this miracle. They can’t be serious, I’m not that lucky. Even when Jane took the necessary information to contact the company, I expected nothing. The next day, when they asked my help choosing items for our first order, I threw myself into the task with vigor.
“This is just torture, look at all this stuff I can’t afford! I’ll go broke trying to buy everything we order.” I complained to the girls. Only Sara, Jane, and Phoebe were present. Don and his playmate were on their daily breakfast run.
“You looking at the wrong price. That’s what they want us to charge regular people, we pay the dealer price, look.” Sara pointed to a smaller number. Each item listed a recommended sale price in large, bold print, but underneath, much smaller, were our dealer prices.
“That can’t be. It says $16 for this $80 Ichigo’s Zangetsu… what’s the catch?” My brain couldn’t comprehend such a thing.
“How you think we suppose to make money? They dealer prices.” Sara rolled her eyes and I decided not to push my luck.
An hour later, our order was ready. We started small with mace, tasers, pocket knives, and Zangetsu. The wait seemed forever, but the ship time was only a few days. I was disappointed with its smaller size, but reminding myself of its low cost, a new addiction was born. Upon receiving my $60 at closing, I returned $20 to Don and took my new prize home.
The tasers sold well, and Don asked us to make a new order. Before I knew it, I added an Alien Vs. Predator battle axe with detachable knife for less than $20. I was highly impressed, but when it came time to pay, I couldn’t stop thinking about my measly $175 ticket piled amongst others who owed 10x my current total.
“We have rent due, can I charge this one?” I asked Don afterbeing paid.
He waved me off, knowing he couldn’t say no. Our fancy hunting knives sold like hotcakes, but the more money we made, the more dates Don arranged. None of us complained, we long ago accepted Giddy Up’s fate. The other girls charged boots and Cruel Girl jeans while I expanded my weapons collection.
For our next order, we found truck nuts in all colors and sizes. The ones that lit up were returned by angry customers who were pulled over for their flashing lights, otherwise they sold better than anything in the store. I found a lovely Kit Rae dagger; I’ve never seen the show, but again, pretty and cheap.
Around this time, Don angered Cindy by not having cash when she wanted it. For revenge, she shared their texts with us the next morning. Phoebe, Jane, Sara and I gathered to see the words in print as she read aloud. For your convenience, I will add punctuation and correct spelling, but know the real text was enough to give a Grammar Nazi an aneurysm. These are people who couldn’t distinguish between or/are, won’t/want basics.
Don: Can we meet tonight? I’m having a hard time with the store and family right now. It feels like everything is falling apart, I really need someone to talk to.
Cindy: Poor baby, usual place?
Don: Yea, thanks darlin’. I’m already here, I didn’t know where else to go.
Cindy: Okay, I’m with Baby Daddy, be there in an hour.
Don: Oh. Okay. Well, please hurry, I need somebody so bad right now.
Cindy: Do you have an extra $100 with you? We’re low on diapers and formula, I can tell Rick I’m going to the store or something.
Don: I didn’t bring money, I can’t get more cash without Kay seeing the bank statements. You know I’ll take care of you tomorrow, someone always pays cash. Maybe we can sneak those Montana Silversmith earrings ;).
Cindy:You don’t have ANY money?!
Don: I will tomorrow, you know I’ll make it up to you. We don’t have to do nothing, I just need someone to talk to. All this stuff going on makes me wish I was dead…
Cindy: I’m sorry, the baby has a fever. Rick wants me to stay while he goes shopping. Wanna hang out tomorrow? I can say you need me to work late.
Don: Wow, I see how it is. I actually thought you cared about me, but I guess you only care about my money. Maybe I should just kill myself.
Cindy: Don’t be like that, I got a sick baby. See you tomorrow.
Don: You’re nothing but a liar and con-artist! Just like all the others! Don’t even bother coming in tomorrow.
Cindy: Are you firing me for not coming to see you after hours when I have a sick baby?
We think that’s when Don understood the great power texts hold. He never responded to that message. The next morning, Cindy arrived early for the first time. “Anyway, I just thought you ladies would be interested. I’m afraid I may be coming down with a cold, does anyone mind if I take a sick day?” It was rhetorical, she was already gathering her possessions, knowing she would never return. She blackmailed Don with those texts for a long time, at least as long as the store was open. I doubt he could afford it after.
Don didn’t come to work that week, citing flu as the reason, but we knew better. None of us were brave enough to say anything directly, but the tension when he came around was at a new high. We all grew bolder with our charge tickets in the following weeks. Mine, still drastically lower, never topped $1,000, but some of the other girls came close to $5,000. I bought nunchucks, and tried to learn how to use them via YouTube. Several bruises later they were for display only. I bought a chain whip for no reason other than wanting to say I owned one. Same goes for the crossbow which was cheap and broke a few years ago.
Liz bought a blowgun first, but I got one on the next order, unable to tolerate someone owning a weapon I didn’t. Along with several styles of throwing knives, I found a nifty thing I can only think to call a pocket throwing star. Last but not least, I’m sad report I can’t find my weird chakram. I searched all over Google before I found a picture, but I believe it was labeled as a Soul Calibur rip-off. All of which is moot to me, I just thought it looked neat and it’s genuinely sharp. I have the scar to prove it. Remember the cousin I talked about in Breakfast of Champions? He stabbed me with it on accident. Well… technically it was on purpose, but not with malice… more like a test.
After officially beginning work for Hubby’s aunt (Slushy), I happily resigned. The store was open a few more months before it closed down, but the drama was far from over. Next time we discuss this time period, I’ll tell you about convincing Sara to hire a different cousin who just moved back into town. I was completely unaware she developed a drug addiction, I honestly do feel poorly about what it put the girls through.
Honorable mentions include Urahara’s Benihime, Naruto kunai, Kill Bill samurai swords, and a taser made to look like a Nokia brick-phone. My nephew, who I haven’t had a chance to tell you about, has inherited most of these. He’s 19 now and currently living in another state, but I’ve asked him to send pictures. I figure we have a 20/80 chance he’ll remember, but if he does, I’ll add them later. He is Hubby’s oldest sister’s son, and was 7 when we met. He is my mini-me, my prodigy, and I love the little stinker to hell and back, but holy cow did he have a shit childhood. That’s going to be a longer story I don’t want to write sober, but absolutely worth telling.
I know my last few posts were on the longer side so I wanted to keep this simple. Plus I ran out of internet again and waiting on Hubby’s hotspot makes publishing difficult. I haven’t decided the next topic yet, but I hope to have at least one more Halloween theme before the holiday is over. I appreciate all of you who take the time to indulge my Blogger fantasies, and remember, stay safe out there. Sometimes, they really are out to get you.
Hubby and I lived in our first apartment for 18 hellish months. By that time, I had a work bestie, Phoebe. I suggest imagining her as Phoebe from Friends, but if she drank heavily and popped pills. She was my age but dating a 45 year old creeper. It wasn’t a fling, last I heard they were still together. Phoebe stayed with Mike through several beatings and trips to rehab, but that all came later. At the time we’re discussing, they were 6 months into their relationship and living together.
Mike owned a double-wide 45 minutes outside of town. There was one gas station 15 minutes away, otherwise they were alone with a few scattered neighbors. His home sat between his grandmother’s and aunt’s, but Aunt (Dee) moved in with the granny when her husband died. He committed suicide five years prior after being fired, and his affairs were made public knowledge. He drove to a secluded area to shoot himself, but Dee never went into their house again. I can’t blame her there, but personally I wouldn’t have left my diary behind for anyone to find.
During a particularly bad rant to Phoebe, she told me about Dee’s situation. Apparently the 4 bed, 3 bath house needed cosmetic repairs, and was available for rent to anyone capable. Due to the work required, rent (water included) was only $300. Life in the country is cheaper in general, but to give you an idea of living costs in my hometown, the rent for our tiny crap-hole was considered cheap at $550.
Hubby and I were ecstatic, it was exactly the kind of work he does. We followed Phoebe and Mike there that evening. The money saved on rent would be more than enough to justify the extra gas cost. “Is… Is that a house or a trailer?” I asked Hubby as we pulled into the driveway.
“That would be a trailer with extra rooms built on each end.” He explained, slightly unsure. After a full walk around, he corrected, “It’s actually two trailers with two additions, none of which match.”
“They don’t expect you to do anything on the outside. There’s no leaks; structure, electrical, and plumbing are solid, but the rooms need to be cleaned and painted. They had pets inside, so they want to rip out the carpet and install linoleum, but that’s the worst of it” Mike reassured as he struggled to open the front door. If his assessment had been accurate, everything would have worked out fine.
“Are the utilities already on?” I asked, too entranced at the prospect of living far from Rob and Amy to be suspicious.
“No not yet, but she already started the process, they should be on by the end of the week.” Mike answered and lead us through the house.
The stench of carpet repeatedly soaked in urine and left to dry assaulted our senses upon entry. The woman was clearly a hoarder, it quickly became apparent why the extensions were done haphazardly. They built where they could when they needed more space. The living room, kitchen, one bedroom, and bath were free of clutter stacks, but the remaining rooms were so full you couldn’t enter. Look, I know this has more red flags than a date who casually mentions living with his mother, but that’s why I wrote Breakfast of Champions first. If you haven’t read it, you can’t follow the thought process through this decision.
Sure, the place looked and smelled bad, but at the time, I was working from home and Hubby did these kinds of repairs for a living. We figured we could be cozy in a week and clean the spare rooms at our leisure. The living room and kitchen alone were bigger than our entire apartment. Honestly, we already had our eyes on a few things. There were all sorts of buried treasures, including a loaded gun hidden in a curio cabinet, but that’s for another day.
We moved the following weekend when utilities were restored. The house was so filthy we asked friends and family for help, but we only got Amy. My parents came, but stressed me out so badly we let them leave. Amy was excited to come, she was fighting with Rob and packed for the weekend. It was better than no help at all, we were grateful.
After checking each appliance and faucet, we learned the fridge was broken, the kitchen had the only functioning sink, the washer didn’t spin, most outlets didn’t work, nor did the guest shower, and a dead rat floated in the toilet. Every second I suffered from Amy’s Xanax delusions were justified when she reached in, grabbed the rat’s tail, and dropped it into a trash bag. “Huh, that was gross.” She shrugged it off as if she were discussing inconvenient weather.
Mike delivered a new fridge, otherwise nothing else was repaired for the 6 months we stayed there. Hubby wears 4-5 outfits daily, we can’t go long without washing clothes. Desperate, I tried to clean them without spin cycle assistance. I rung out each item before throwing it into the dryer, but the best way to describe the resulting pain in my hands is wet-burn. Plus, drying heavily soaked clothing broke the dryer inside two weeks.
We learn fast, it didn’t take long to understand our landlady had no intentions of making the home livable. We delivered our first rent payment in person, believing we would make fast introductions, hand them money, and retreat. Standard procedure. Not for these ladies. Dee and her mother were lonely, chatty women. They insisted we come in to “set a spell.” Thats hillbilly for “we want you to sit and listen to us talk a few hours.”
Scared and nervous we entered the witch’s lair, and again, were immediately assaulted by the pungent oder of urine, but fresh this time. Imagine you’re in a movie theater wearing flip-flops. You know what it feels and sounds like walking on those floors? That’s exactly what their carpet was like. Yes, I said carpet. Let that sink in a moment. If I was going to be trapped anyway, I wanted the conversation to be beneficial. I gave her a list of our major issues, most importantly the plumbing.
“I think we need to address these items before we begin cosmetics. The house isn’t livable.” I wanted to be polite, we wanted this to work.
“Oh my, I don’t know what could have happened, everything worked perfectly when I lived there.” Dee reviewed my list. “But there’s no reason to wait, my son is a plumber and I’m sure he can find a washer real quick.”
It was hard to resist pointing out the last time she entered the home was seven years go, but I managed. “That sounds great, but we can’t wash clothes until then. If he can get it quickly, it shouldn’t hurt to wait. We (Hubby) go through clothes too fast to dirty more with house work. My parents live outside the opposite end of town, it’s almost an hour from here. That’s too far to take clothes every other day.” I made a conscious effort to maintain a smile.
“Ah, I see! Well that’s no problem at all. You can was clothes here while we wait on the new one.” Dee beamed proudly.
I would have worn each pair of underwear for a week before I did laundry in that house. They would smell worse leaving than going. As it is, we burned the clothes we wore inside this first day. I’m not joking. I would like to take a moment to apologize for the sins we committed against the environment, but I was raised in a place that doesn’t believe in science. I didn’t know better, I am truly sorry. They were old clothes anyway, so when the smell clung to us we threw them in the burn pile.
By Sunday afternoon, we filled five 42 gallon trash bags but had no clue what to do with them. We hadn’t made a dent in our closet, where we were surprised to find clothes piled floor to ceiling. No hangers or baskets, nothing folded, just clothes thrown in until it was full. “But wait! Can’t you donate the clothes to charity?” You ask. That was also my initial response. Unfortunately, it was soon apparent we found the rat queen’s nest.
The smell was our first warning sign, but tolerable by our new, lowered standards. Armed with rubber gloves and face masks, we initiated contact with the pile. Rat feces fell from each item we picked up. Some things were chewed and matted together, some were stiff as a board. When the first live rat fled from the pile, we changed tactics. Newly armed with shovels and rakes, we scooped clothes into heavy duty trash bags. Hopefully you now understand why I would be averse to have them in my car, especially for multiple trips. Burning them honestly seemed like our only choice.
When Amy left Monday, we considered our living spaces almost as good as it would get. We obviously couldn’t waste money fixing the house, but we ripped out the carpets for our health and sanity. Once the living room and bedroom were clear, we saw there were very few places not permanently piss-stained. The thought of walking on it everyday was unsettling to say the least. Are you familiar with the felt paper used underneath shingles?
Far from glamorous, but we had tons of the stuff and it put something clean under our feet. After the first two months, we adjusted to our new routines. We learned to brush our teeth in the kitchen, took five minute showers, and never left the safety of our living areas. It was around this time, the complaints about plumbing got serious. We accepted we would never have faucets or the other bathrooms functioning, but Hubby found a leak under our good bathroom. That scared us. If it stopped working, we were beyond screwed. I do not ‘pop squats’ no ma’am.
Every day for weeks I sent messages to Dee and Phoebe, “We have a leak, I’m really worried about it.” I understood they weren’t capable of concern for our general well-being, so I decided to appeal to their needs adding, “I’m mainly concerned because of your water bill. I’ve seen leaks cost several hundred to the water company alone.” That one always earned me a response, but not one I wanted.
“Oh goodness me! My son is a plumber, I can ask him to fix it. Can you maybe just fill up a couple buckets to flush and wash with, then you can cut the water off?” Dee suggested this as if it weren’t the same son who was supposed to provide a new washer. I was skeptical.
We tried it for a few days, but the shutoff valve was ridiculously hard to access, and when days turned to weeks we were beyond our limits with Dee. Each time I spoke to her she behaved as if it were the first time. At the end of the first week she let slip, “My son is a plumber, I can call him to come fix it!”
“You said that last week, have you still not called anyone?!” My calm facade fell momentarily, but I struggled to regain it in her awkward silence.
Finally, she said “I did. I did… but he was busy, maybe he forgot. I’ll call again right now.” It was the first time she ended a conversation voluntarily.
As I’m sure you can all guess, this continued until they received a $400 water bill. Dee called crying, sucking snot back every few words. “What… what happened?!” I thought… but you said you could keep the water off. You… you said… you didn’t mind!”
I never cared for her poor me act to begin with and now she pushed me far past caring about etiquette. “Never once did I say we didn’t mind, I said it was doable for a few days! That was over two weeks ago!”
“I… I’ll call my son… he’s… a plumber.” Dee hung up, but she didn’t call her son, she called Mike.
A few minutes later, Mike knocked on our door, a sheepish Phoebe standing behind him. I knew what was coming. “Ah, let me guess, you heard about the water.”
“Yea, look. We really need to work something out. You have to see it’s unfair to tell her about a major leak and decide to turn the water back on when she can’t get it done the next day.” Mike tried to hand me the water bill, but too many things pushed my rage past the limit of control. I’ll leave out my curses, they’re unbecoming.
He was use to commanding fear and respect from Phoebe and the two old biddies he cared for, he forgot you can’t treat other people that way. I was already in defense mode before he tried to bow up in my front door to push that cray on me. I ignored his outstretched hand completely, and looked past him to Phoebe. “Do I need to show him the texts and calls from the last several weeks or do you want to explain it to him? Because the way we’ve been living it’s not going to be pretty if I have to relive a play-by-play.”
Phoebe tugged his shirt sleeve, “She really has. Non-stop. I told you.”
The look on Mike’s face said it all. Dee called him crying her pity story, he wanted her to leave him alone, so he believed her hogwash without an ounce of thought. Caveman then decided he would bully his way through like he did with everything else. It was only a few weeks until the water was shut off completely. Dee claimed she couldn’t afford a plumber or water bills. She invited us to use her facilities, but if you’ve been paying attention, you know that wasn’t a valid option. Instead we drove to mooch water from family.
Life wasn’t too terrible. It was genuinely better than dealing with Rob and Amy until Hubby had a wreck. We were less than a week into living without water when a car came into his lane. I’m thankful he wasn’t seriously injured, but our only car was totaled. I don’t want to go on a tangent about the wreck, but it took almost 3 months to receive our insurance money, and we were too young for a rental. Once a week, my parents drove us for groceries, otherwise we were stranded. It was kind of fun at first. Hubby couldn’t take jobs, and winter was an incredibly slow time of year for a porch building company. I took a few short phone calls a day, but the rest of our time was spent popping Adderall, smoking weed, and watching tv.
We could cook and brush our teeth with store bought water, that was never a problem when we had so many larger challenges to face. Washing clothes had us stumped, but we worked out a routine of washing at Phoebe’s every Friday while they bar hopped. We grew to look forward to those nights. We were able to have a real shower and toilet. Some of you may be wondering why we didn’t visit regularly, but we just aren’t those people. Maybe if it were only Phoebe, but we hated Mike and I have a super weird thing about potty etiquette.
The first two days without water, we became desperate enough to use each toilet regardless of flush capabilities. Unfortunately, that put us over the max waste limit one can tolerate in their home, and we were forced to find alternatives. Hubby peed outside freely, but to my great despair, I too was forced to pop the squats. Alas, this did nothing to help with pooping. How campers and hunters use bushes I’ll never understand, but Hubby tried walking into the woods on Day 3. He returned covered in poison ivy and red-bug bites. So, what do do?
Well, it turns out, if you take a 40qt pot, and hook a few Walmart bag handles over the pot handles, you’re off to a good start. No matter what, don’t forget to hook those handles. Learn from our mistake, you don’t want to clean your own. Then you need four 4×4 cut offs taller than your pot, 6 inches is ideal. This requires a flat, even surface, and it helps if your willing to put a few screws in the floor. We were. Again, not something you want to learn the hard way. Once you have your base, you need to two more (preferably decking size) boards to lay across the top. Now you have a redneck toilet. It doesn’t flush, and you have to change the bag after each use, but it kept us pooping indoors.
The sad part is, once that’s resolved you have to figure out what to do with the bags. Obviously we couldn’t burn them as we had other trash, no one picked up garbage this far out of town, we were baffled. Then we noticed the shed in our backyard. We were use to ignoring it after our first look, when we moved in we saw it was full of garbage and smelled of mold. “You think that would work?” I asked Hubby as we shared a knowing glance.
“I think it’ll have to, let’s check it out.” He carefully approached the shed with a shovel, using the spade to swing the broken door ajar. It couldn’t latch, but it closed far enough to get the job done. The shed appeared to be Dee’s first hoarding victim. We honestly believed if (big if) anyone ever discovered our shame, it would be years away with no reason to suspect it wasn’t Dee herself. Hoarders save all sorts of weird stuff after-all.
Pooping quickly became the worst part of each day, but when the shed could hold no more, we were forced to hike into the woods. We found a deep gully to throw our bags into, but ignoring the fact we had to add a lengthy walk to our waste disposal routine, it felt deeply wrong. It’s the one routine I couldn’t adjust to. As the weeks progressed, with no end in sight, we sank deeper into depression. While we only had to suffer the poo routine in the morning, other challenges faced us through each day.
We may have showered every Friday, but we couldn’t go more than a day without feeling gross. Bird baths with store water were a waste of time and resources, but it’s what we did most often. The first time it rained was on Day 5. “It’s raining hard enough to shower outside, do you want to try?” Hubby suggested, already collecting soap and shampoo.
“Yea, I think I do.” I was excited at the idea. I enjoyed playing in the rain, and this gave me a valid reason.
We don’t have snow here, our winters rarely have truly cold days, but apparently standing in the rain will make all the difference. As soon as we stepped into the open, rain hit us hard and cold, it felt like someone knocked the air out of me. Hubby was able to last almost five minutes for a complete scrub down, but I only managed to wash my hair. We felt better than we had in days regardless. We showered every time it rained for the entire 8 weeks.
The first time rent was due after losing water, I refused to pay. Dee was furious, but I wouldn’t budge. “No! We’ve been living without water for over three weeks, and no, we are not comfortable using yours. Even if we were that wouldn’t make this ok.” I was no longer trying to be polite. Those days were long gone.
“But I need rent money to pay for the water. You can’t have water until you pay rent!” She demanded as if she cut the water off as leverage.
“If I thought there was any truth to that at all, I would pay it just because that’s how desperate we are, but I know full well that’s not where the money will go. You had our money and several weeks before the first water bill, but you did nothing.” I was shaking with fury.
When Dee resorted to calling us con-artists and refused to discuss water further, I hung up mid rant. A few minutes later she realized I was no longer on the phone and tried to call back. I ignored the calls, well out of patience for the day. The biggest surprise of all came the following day. With no forewarning, a man resembling a dirty, redneck Santa knocked on our door.
He introduced himself as Dee’s son-in-law, and was not a plumber but explained, “She won’t leave me alone about it. I done told her over and over this place needs to be tore down, but she just don’t wanna hear it. I came by today just to shut her up. You all need to get outta here ASAP, she ain’t got no money, and if she did she’d just spend it on stupid shit from the tv.”
I thanked the man for his honesty and blocked Dee’s numbers. We already planned to run for it when the insurance money came, but I decided there was no point to suffer through any further contact with her. There was no fear of her coming in person, she wouldn’t even pull into the driveway. After having her blocked several days, she sent Mike in her stead.
Lucky for him, he arrived with a vastly different attitude. He apologized profusely, told us to continue ignoring Dee, and reminded us we could use their facilities anytime. It was all very amicable in their regard, but I’m sure he used a different act when reporting back to Dee. I didn’t care in the least as long as we had no contact with her. When the insurance money finally came through, we bought an Avenger and moved to a nice 2 bed 2 bath apartment in town. It was a wonderful, glorious home.
A few weeks after the move, Phoebe informed me Dee hired a lawyer and intended to sue us. She and Mike were present during the lawyer’s visit, and the conversation was phenomenal.
“Not only did they refuse to pay rent, they stole from me! I want all my rent money, my stuff, and then something for all the emotional distress they put me through. They lived there for 6 months!” Dee ranted at the lawyer.
“Well we can probably get the rent money, but pending what they did with the stolen items… what all did they take? Do you have a copy of your renters contract?” The lawyer asked, pausing to look up from his notes.
“We didn’t do no contract, but they robbed me blind! I’ll have to make you a list, we gotta get in there and look, but my beautiful glass cabinet is gone!”
“You didn’t have any contract? That’s going to make recovering rent very difficult if not impossible. What other big items were taken? Did any of you see them take it? What’s our proof?” The lawyer put his notes away, already suspicious of his “easy paycheck” Dee described over the phone.
“I told you, I gotta get in there and see, I don’t know what else yet! Of course they didn’t take it when we was looking! They ain’t gonna admit to it, they saying they never took nothing! Liars! Liars and thieves!”
With a deep sigh, the lawyer asked, “Well why wouldn’t they pay rent? Did they give a reason? They just didn’t have it, or what?”
“They said they wasn’t gonna pay till I fixed the water, but that’s bullshit! They wasn’t supposed to be using it!” Now fully exasperated, the lawyer asked, “Wait. Are you saying that house doesn’t have water?!”
“Course it did. They had water till they ran up a $400 bill and got it turned off.” Dee snapped.
Mike, tired of the conversation, sped things over the finish line. “Look, they paid rent on time every month until the water was cut off. Aunt Dee did the water in her own name, it was suppose to be included in the rent.”
Dee looked at Mike with black hatred, but the lawyer spoke first. “I think I’ve heard enough. Ma’am , if they decide sue you, give me a call. Otherwise you need to thank your lucky stars and leave those folks alone.
And that friends, was how Dee left our lives for good. You have to be very careful when house shopping. Whether it’s to rent or own, always do your homework. I’m glad I finally got to write this one. We didn’t have time to cover all the good stories from living there, but the water incident was easily the most difficult. Next up, I’ve decided to make my 50th post the Halloween Special! I hope to post it in the next few days, until then stay safe and suspicious. Remember, the paranoid ones survive horror movies longest.