humor

The Incest Cliche

As someone born and raised in the Deep South, I feel compelled to explain the incest cliche. First thing you need to know: in small towns, almost everyone is related through marriage. It’s not uncommon to date someone and meet their family, only to learn you share a few cousins. As long as there’s no blood relation, it’s forgiven. If you’ve seen Lone Star State of Mind, you know it’s also possible for your partner’s parent to marry your own. Then it becomes a matter of who had dibs on the relationship first. Like all rules, there are a few exceptions, but common sense stuff. Don’t get nitpicky, we’re talking about incest.

Full disclosure, I could never tolerate watching this show, but it demonstrates the cliche perfectly.

Now, with the main explanation out of the way, we can move on to actual incest. I’m not trying to tell you it doesn’t happen, but it’s rare. I know a few siblings who were known to… experiment, but they were never romantically involved. They grew to have normal lives by the basic social standards; married with children, etc. I knew one or two cousins rumored to do the same, but I’ve never seen blood relatives marry and start a family as most cliches lead you to believe. I feel I lived in the thick of it long enough to know at least one family if it were actually a thing.

You got it? That’s how it happens. Unless you’re me. If you’re me, you find a new way to power the cliche. Before I dive in, let me start by clearly stating: I have never committed incest in any form. But I really made it look like I did.

For those who may not remember, Bestie returned to stay with Nana during summers and holidays. I visited often enough to be adopted into the family. She had two (blood) cousins living there due to their own crappy parents cliche. The boy, I can’t help feel he’d want to be called Goku, and his younger sister became my cousins too. Likewise, their grandmother became Nana.

Goku and I grew up together from an early age. We slept next to each other after playing gameboys late into the night. We came to have more in common than Bestie and myself. He will have his own story one day, but for now you need to understand, from ages 8-20 we were together for everything. For Grey’s Anatomy fans, he was my Person, we regularly fished each other out of hell. He was so much more than family, though I struggle to find a worthy word. That being said, you can see how… awkward, things could be for someone he or I dated. We decided, “hey, what if we said we were cousins?”

Yea, that fixed the problem. We were teenagers in a tiny town. Have you noticed people rarely question how you’re related? It took less than a year for our relation to be common knowledge. After 5+ years, you could identify one by describing them as the other’s cousin.

When Crook and I separated, I went deep into my Dark Place. I was forced to move into my parents house, and hated working at the western store. Goku was my rock, along with a close friend I haven’t told you about yet, let’s call her Tiny. Difficult events in Tiny’s life resulted in her mother kicking her out. She was the sweetest girl who ever lived, even Mom loved her enough to let her stay with us. We shared my car and a mattress on the floor while she worked things out.

I was genuinely happy for them when she and Goku began dating, but I was also desperate not to be alone. Goku’s best friend was the trashiest little shit you ever saw. I can sum him up perfectly with one statement. He has a giant “FTW” tattoo across his neck. It stands for “fuck the world” and he was proud to tell any who asked. Could he say “for the win” just once when Dad asked? Hell no, trashy.

I’m ashamed to say I was desperate enough to date the idiot for a few weeks. I kept my mind away from sobriety to endure his presence, somehow it was better than being alone. When I ran out of excuses not to screw him, he dumped me. I can’t say I was disappointed, but that’s what triggered the incident. When the four-some turned into a three-some, it made Tiny the third-wheel. I didn’t see it until it was too late. Tiny’s habit of drinking away her depression until she passed out gave Goku and I a lot of quality time together.

At some point, Goku and I had a late night talk that lead to startling revelations. I’m not going to attempt writing out gushy romantic dialogue, ever. Instead I’m going to tell you it was one of the few times life copied tv exactly. We were best friends and loved each other all along, you get the point. But what were we suppose to do about Tiny? He was dating one of my only three friends, I never thought I could be in that situation. I lived by the chicks before dicks code, but Goku was hardly some dick. All night I played conversations in my mind, deciding the best way to explain this cluster-fuck to Tiny. I wasted my time, I panicked and blew it anyway. That too, played out exactly the same as tv. Being so preoccupied with her, I completely missed the problem of what it would mean to a town who believed us genuine cousins. I wouldn’t realize that until the next day when a coworker saw Goku walking into the store.

The owner was a horrible man. I’ll tell you about Mr. Hooker Lover later, including the time he was caught with a hooker and dildo in his office. I’m sorry I can’t control my thoughts well enough to write stories in a linear time-line, but I have no way to control it. Be glad you aren’t in here with me, it’s like being inside a tornado the way random crap hits me. Anyway, I knew how it would play out if I didn’t explain Goku perfectly. I ran to tell him, “get out” politely as possible, and asked the coworker to take a smoke break with me. If you have something complicated to explain, there’s no better atmosphere.

Only after explaining the circumstances of our meeting and terms under which we began the ‘cousin’ rumor, did I tell her “and now we’re trying to date. How do I explain this to people without being a cliche?”

When she stopped laughing, she was matter-of-fact. “You tell them exactly how you told me. And pray they listen.”

“But it’s a long story, that’s gonna suck.”

She stood to leave, shaking her head. “Yea… tell you what, I’ll tell everyone inside for you. Save you the trouble.” I heard her laughter resume as she walked inside. I smoked one more.

Inside, I was welcomed with a fresh wave of laughter. The other girls had a few initial jokes, but all in fair play, it was funny after all. The owner almost ruined me. That bastard told every customer, vendor, random person who stopped by, “hey, did, did you know she’s dating her cousin?” He laughed hysterically each time like he was performing a play.

If I didn’t stop to tell the whole story, he let them go on believing it. The looks I got from that were worse than any ‘what the hell is wrong with you’ look. He told it in such a serious way, people wouldn’t believe me unless one of the girls confirmed my story. I hope Karma has done her duty over the years. He ran the store into the ground almost 10 years ago, but I’m not sure what’s happened since.

Goku and I went through three weeks of hellish incest jokes before we decided we were better off as family. Every place we went, we saw those disgusted looks. We couldn’t unring the bell, the damage was done. The sad fact is, most people prefer the rumor. They don’t want to hear the reasonable explanation. Reasonable explanations are no fun to talk about at the dinner table. Screw ‘em all. Goku was a wild guy, he wasn’t ready to settle anyway. He had a hard childhood, and life beat him down time and time again. One day I will write about all the wonderful parts of him, but it’s hard. He died a few years ago, and I can’t tear down the wall blocking that part of my memory yet.

Let’s leave it there. I wasn’t trying to get into anything heavy. I genuinely believe some people may find the truth behind the cliche interesting. Hey! That would make a great tv show! I call dibs on the idea for an anthology series explaining the origins of life’s cliches.

I just realized I wrote all this stuff about incest, but didn’t make a Lannister joke. Sorry about that, but once I saw this beauty, everything else sounded lame AF.

humor

Doppelgängers

Humor me for a short rant. We started our weekend early, and I got tipsy last night. It seems Drunk Me did some writing again… well, sort of.

I hate when people call me racist for thinking Dinzel Washington and Samuel L. Jackson are doppelgängers. That’s bullshit! I think tons of white people look alike too! Plus doppelgänger is a super fun word, and I think it makes a great title.

Clearly I can tell the difference with this hair, otherwise, how do people not see it?
Natalie Portman and Kiera Knightly, doppelgängers!
Pamela Cruz and Selma Hayek, doppelgängers!
Max Greenfield and Dan Levy, doppelgängers!
Robert De Niro and Jon Voight, doppelgängers!
Michelle Trachtenberg and Amanda Bynes… were doppelgängers, but Bynes aged poorly. It was hard to find an old picture.
Tina Fey and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, doppelgängers!
Adele and Amy Schumer, doppelgängers!
Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman, doppelgängers!
Richard Harris, Michael Gannon, and Ian McKellen, doppelgängers!
Pamela Anderson, Suzanne Somers, Michelle Pfeiffer, doppelgängers!

I can do this all damn day, people. The list is endless, these were just a few examples. Frankly I’m sick of learning to spell all these names. Most of the time, I guess race wrong anyway. So, suck it! Color don’t mean shit! I think it’s ridiculous people waste so much time obsessing over the color of someone’s skin, that’s ludicrous! If anything, you’re racist for assuming I’m racist just because I happen to be Caucasian.

I live in my own world. If a person is not a regular visitor, they’re invisible. White, black, brown, yellow, purple, blue, or green, it doesn’t matter. I have far too much hate in my life to waste it on something as trivial as color! And people say I’m crazy?! Except orange. If you’re Trump orange, I’m probably going to make fun of you a little. Not wish you harm, that would be insane. Just enough to make sure you think twice before spraying a tan on your body again.

They say we all have a doppelgänger out there somewhere. If so, I offer my sincere condolences to whoever mine is. That being said, I feel like we should join forces. Think of the possibilities! How amazing would it be if she were a social creature? I could send her into the world while I run operations from base camp. There’s no limit! I’m not sure how well I would tolerate prolonged exposure to a social creature… in my space… maybe I should think it through some more. Either way, it’s worth considering.

That’s all, thanks for humoring me. Please have a safe weekend, it’s dangerous out there.

humor · mental health

Road Rage

Road rage will get you killed. I admit, I had it bad. The kind that makes people not want to ride with you. I’m not proud, but this is one of those ‘please learn from my mistakes’ things. I know so many people killed in car wrecks, I myself have metal in my body because of a wreck. Let’s go over the key points to why it’s a dangerous emotion you should do away with immediately.

1. People are flipping insane. You never know when one is going to lose their shit. And for every smartass thinking ‘what can they do in the middle of traffic?’ it’s time to wake up, Buttercup. Crazy people don’t care about witnesses, they’re crazy. By time they snap out of it they could be in jail for murdering you, but they didn’t realize there would be consequences because they’re crazy. It doesn’t make you any less dead. Here, I’ll give you examples of how I learned the hard way, please, enjoy my pain.

Let’s start with summer after Junior year. On the way to work, I had to pass through a large intersection. I drove through a green light, but saw a truck running the red to my right. I slammed on breaks and skidded to a halt, the beat-up truck missed me by inches. I had a habit of responding to fear with anger, still do, but I’m working on it. As the truck passed, I flipped it off and gave a good, 3 second honk. Pretty standard procedure, she was clearly in the wrong. I drove away and continued singing whatever emo shit I was undoubtedly playing when I saw the truck cut a u-turn. It raced to catch up and rode my bumper. I never saw inside, but it was obviously a truck full of gangsters, and you know they had guns. We don’t really see people when we’re driving. We see obstacles that exist solely to thwart our attempts at traveling.

Looking in the rear-view, all I could see were three shadowy outlines. This was happening as we entered the downtown area. The four-lane was coming to an end and the next red light offered nowhere to hide. I was jammed in with other cars; accepting the inevitable, I made sure doors were locked, and daydreamed worse case scenarios. Securely trapped until the light turned green, a woman who looked like Momma Klump emerged. My assumption about gangsters was a tad hasty. She was wearing one of those moo-moos, and her head was covered in curlers.

This is accurate except for the missing curlers. Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, hilarious movie.

I was afraid my window would break if she leaned on it, but she only jabbed it with her finger while cursing me. No one else got out, but her volume increased significantly when I began to laugh. She didn’t understand my relief of not being gunned down in the street. I drove away when the light turned green, wondering if I could get away with running over her foot. At the time, I was stupid enough to think she would regret following me to work. Luckily, she didn’t, but I am disappointed in Past Me for being too dumb to understand there are many, many terrible things she could have done with the knowledge. Alright, let’s jump ahead to after we moved out of that crap town.

The bigger the city you live in, the more likely you are to cross paths with crazy. The turn for a house we rented was off a skinny two-lane. My actual road was a cul-de-sac, but it was long, you couldn’t tell until the end. I hated that two-lane, it was only 45mph without a single place that allows passing. Normally, I didn’t waste a lunch hour trying to drive home, but if I did, I was in a hurry. Once, I drove down the long two-lane and saw a truck pulling up to a stop sign on my right. It never attempted to slow down, it just ran the stop sign and shot onto the road. I was going 51, if you want to say that’s too fast in a 45, whatever, but there was no stopping. I was driving a tiny Dodge Avenger, the truck was a large Dodge Ram, I would have died if I hit it. Reflex and luck saved me. I couldn’t see around the curve, but I swerved into the left lane and passed without wrecking.

I want to point out, I didn’t flip it off or honk. I couldn’t if I wanted, both hands were glued to the wheel. The truck filled my rear-view mirror. When it followed me into the turn for my road, I knew it wasn’t coincidence. I had no clue who was inside, I passed my driveway and kept going. That’s how I learned I lived on a cul-de-sac. The truck pulled across the exit to block my path, but it wasn’t big enough. I squeezed between its hood and the curb, seeing one small woman inside. I decided I didn’t have time to play this game. I drove out of the circle, pulled over behind my drive-way, and got out. The truck stopped dramatically close to my bumper, and the tiny woman came out screaming. She smelled like a distillery. She slurred so bad, I couldn’t make out most of the words.

When she finally paused for a breath I let out all the anger built up from running and watching the clock. “Are you done? I could see you run your stop sign clear as day. How early you start drinking?! It’s like 11:30 and you reek! Do you understand I would have died if I hit your dumbass in that huge truck?!” I did my best to make the Look.

“You ain’t see shit, you the bitch speeding!” She wobbled like a bobble-head.

“Oh bite me I was going 51. Fuck off, if you pull this shit again I’m calling the police.” I turned to walk away, wishing I had a something to use for a mic-drop.

“I wish you would, bitch! I’m friends with all the cops!” I could hear her feet dragging as she followed me.

“Yes, I’m sure you do think that. And I’m sure the ones your thinking of super appreciate you driving plastered under their protection and harassing people. Bravo, next time, try a cup of coffee before you drive.” I locked myself in, pulled my camera out, and showed her it was recording. She tripped getting back into her truck, but I never saw her again. I want to point out how lucky I was; I stopped because I saw a small woman alone, but only later did it occur to me she could have easily shot me if she had a gun. I could have done a million different things to resolve it, but road rage clouds your judgment.

Hubby has far worse road rage, and the inability to learn from mistakes. Yes, it’s a deadly combination and why there’s metal in my body. Seriously guys, please learn. If I ever speak of the car wreck it won’t be anytime soon, but there’s plenty more where that came from.

Not long after leaving our hometown, we were out learning the roads, trying to find a route to work I could drive without having a panic attack. I don’t know what these guys did to start a war, probably nothing significant. If a car pulls out in front of Hubby, he behaves like they spat on him. Had we lived in the age of dueling, he would have died before 20. Anyway, these guys did something he considered offensive which meant revenge had to be swift and painful.

Hubby sped to pass them, grabbed an empty Sprite bottle, and threw it out the window. It hit them on the driver’s side. That seemed to piss those guys off a lot. They sped up to pass us, which was scary in itself. In the middle of heavy traffic we’re all bobbing and weaving to do these ridiculous stunts. They one upped Hubby by throwing a full Sonic drink. Sticky coke splashed all over our windshield. There really aren’t words in our language to properly express my anger. I’m not sure which hurt more, the anger at Hubby for starting it, or the anger at Hubby for being too stupid to understand I was angry with him, not the idiots in the other car. FYI – coke is horrible to clean off, but after it cooks in the summer heat and turns into syrup, it’s torture.

A few weeks after that incident, the sharp pains of anger still burned in my chest, but I was hiding it better. Make no waves, suffer no tsunamis, it’s a great life motto, I wish I remembered where I got it. We were on the main highway when a mini van cut us off. It was a bit of a dick move, but worse happens all the time. Hubby zoomed up next to it, flipping the guy off while screaming “fuck you” out my window.

Guys. Inside the mini van, an old man who looked like a serial killer was gripping his wheel so tight I could see the veins in his hand. He was medium built, had wild gray hair, but clean shaven, and had the stern face one associates with dads who force kids to choose the belt they’ll be spanked with. If I had mastered the Darth Vader strangle hold, Hubby would not be alive today. Be sure of that. I made him turn off the highway at the next light.

“Fine, if it’ll make you happy, I’ll circle through that neighborhood.”

“If that guy follows us I’m letting him kill you while I escape.” I warned. Sure enough, serial killer followed us. “Surprise, surprise asshole!” I was terrified, I used angry sarcasm to show it.

“I really don’t want to hear it.” Hubby grumbled.

Hubby drove through the neighborhood, serial killer on our ass. He turned at random, and of course, it was a dead end. Not a cul-de-sac with the turn-around loop, a dead end. The mini-van pulled across the road to block us in, driver side directly across from us. He glared at us with a ‘wish you were dead’ look I couldn’t help envying.

“Shit, what do we do? Should I get out?” Hubby asked.

“I’m tempted to let him kill you, but if you open that door I’ll kill you myself. He probably wants you to get out.”

Hubby is useless in a crisis. He can get you into one faster than teenagers on acid, but once it starts, he’s only capable of making it worse. You have to remove him from the equation immediately or his panic will hinder you every step of the way. “Just sit still and be ready. If he gets out, run him down, I’ll say I was driving and panicked.” I wasn’t sure if I was telling truth, but hoped it wouldn’t matter.

I turned on my phone’s flash and took several pictures. I hoped if I had pictures, he would leave; criminals tend to be camera shy. If he got out of his van, I planned to scream he was live on Facebook. After a minute of constant flashing, he drove away. I’m not sure if he even blinked while we sat there, but when he was out of sight I made Hubby drive the opposite way. Did this teach him a lesson? Hell no. I won’t speak of him often, but when I do, never, ever make the mistake of thinking he learned anything.

2. You aren’t saving time. Most rage stems from being in a hurry to get where you’re going. Have you ever done the math on how much faster you arrive when speeding VS driving the speed limit? For daily commutes you’re talking an average five minutes or less, totally not worth the hassle.

Here, let’s put this one in perspective. When we first started driving, Thelma and I had vastly different reactions. I believed I was an invincible race-car driver, and Thelma believed she would die if she drove over 40. I once made her cry hitting 80 on the bridge. It boiled down to me not having patience; driving is boring, I’d rather get it over with. In this one instance, Thelma had the right idea. Thankfully, she’ll never read this to know about it, alcohol erased it from her memory years ago.

To prove how much time her driving wasted, I proposed we race from school to her house. I planned to arrive long before her, but I only won by two minutes. I sped, bobbed and weaved, cut people off, but she caught up at every red light. When I turned off the highway I finally pulled ahead, but a two minute lead didn’t grant much bragging privilege. Unless you have serious distance to travel on open roads, there’s no argument for taking the risk. Plus paying tickets are expensive and dealing with insurance sucks.

3. It makes you look like a proper ass. Sure it feels justified in the moment, but have you ever seen someone else with road rage? Have you seen their beet-red faces lined with bulging, purple veins? Spraying the windshield with spit, making excessive hand gestures as if their words aren’t sufficiently expressing their displeasure? They look kinda foolish don’t they? Are you ready for a shock? It looks the same when you do it. I know, it’s hard to accept, but dig deep, you know it to be true.

See, here’s a good one. Don’t be this guy. Do Future You a favor, count to 10 or something.

No one plans to have a wreck, they happen when you least expect. They can change your life forever in an instant. A trip to the gas station can kill a loved one. Most people need a close call for this kind of life change, but it’s not necessary. Life doesn’t give you a sign in the sky saying, “good job, if you had cut that guy off, you would be dead right now” it shouldn’t have to. Yet if someone suffers through a terrible wreck and 6 month recovery, they start driving differently. You don’t need to suffer to learn, just learn. If it isn’t important enough to use your hazard lights, it isn’t important enough to risk driving erratically.

Look, I’m not exempt from this. I feel terrible about what I did to the poor man on the bicycle. I mean, to be fair he shouldn’t have been riding it there in the middle of 5:00 traffic. We were on a two-lane road out in the country, nowhere near civilization. There’s no bike lanes in places like this! And this guy is riding his bicycle in the right lane knowing full-well myself and a line of 10 cars were stuck behind him. A chance to pass finally presented itself, but when I got next to him (ok yes, I was too close to him) I held the horn down. His entire body, bike and all went straight up, and over. If the cars would not have already been behind me, also passing, he would have been ran over. Sure I wanted to punch the guy in the face for being a jerk, but I damn sure didn’t want him dead or crippled. Did everyone laugh like it was a big joke? Yes. But he wasn’t injured so it’s ok.

I know this isn’t the kind of stuff I usually write, but this crap is important. It’s not just you. The road rage between you and one other vehicle can kill kids in the car behind you. The car neither of you realize is there because you’re behaving like idiots. I don’t care how angry you are, no one wants to be that asshole. Karma is a crafty bitch, do not give her a reason to cut you.

Ok, thanks everyone.

Oh, one last order of business. I sincerely hope my imaginary groupies are enjoying their new lives, perhaps the break has absolved me from any… unsavory presumptions. I think it has. Alright, good day.

humor · mental health

MVP

Like Google, my life would have been so different with this.

Has anyone seen the talking buttons people are using to train dogs? I saw some people on YouTube use them with their cats! I must have them! I’m a little concerned this may be what pushes their critical thinking skills over the tipping point in evolution, and ultimately results in their becoming the master race… but I don’t know. Now that I say it out loud, I kinda want some even more. This has nothing to do with my topic, I just really, really want to feel like my cats are talking to me.

I’ve been thinking about Past Me again. It’s getting to be a dangerous hobby, but I thought it be nice to check masochism off my bucket-list. I wonder if there’s a world record for most diagnosed mental illnesses. If so, I have to be close… though, this does loop us back to the psychologist problem. Crazy how that keeps popping up. At least I know I’ll get hypochondriac off the bat, that’s a given.

We binged Superman and Lois (so freaking good) all week, and the season finale did the cliche motivational ‘determination conquers all’ speeches. The universal commonality shared by all genres, the ultimate mind-fuck for a dumbass raised by tv. “Remember, no matter how hopeless the situation, you can win with enough determination.” If anyone out there is twisted as I am and enjoy others’ embarrassments to lessen their own, then do I have a treat for you.

Omfg guys, there’s an awesome word for it! I’m dying right now!

It took a while to accept determination would not guarantee victory under any circumstance. Sure, they weren’t all preceded by speeches of the motivational variety, but they include me opening my fat mouth when I shouldn’t because tv taught me the underdog always wins. I wish I could have heard how backwards that sounds when I was 9. The first two times weren’t far apart, both happened in 4th grade. To complete the picture in your head, make sure you picture the unkempt girl with mismatched clothes and a boy’s bowl haircut.

Our school had a different “activity” each day of the week. In PE, we played flag football, but keep in mind, there are only 15-20 kids in the class. It goes without saying I was picked last in everything, my team always lost. One day, probably after watching Little Giants, the score was tied, and only a few minutes remained. The other team had the ball, but if we could get it back, I might be on the winning team once. Maybe I could be promoted to second to last… or third… no, don’t get cocky. One step at a time.

“Who cares? I’m hungry, let’s just get this over with.” Team Captain said in the huddle. After setting my hopes on such a vivid daydream, I found this to be disappointing.

We’ll lose for sure… unless… (insert fantasy of the most rousing locker room speech in history). “Wait! All…” Oh crap, I’m really saying it! “…we have to do is get their flag one more time, then we could really win!. We can do this! If we work together, I know we ca ca can ca.” Their faces were not encouraging, but realizing the other team could also hear me allowed my anxiety to overcome the fantasy induced auto-pilot. Once my stutter kicked in, my eye-twitch started, and the resulting laughter was enough to effectively clamp my mouth shut.

“Nobody cares! Whatever team you’re on is the team that loses.” Team Captain taunted.

My lesson learned, I kept my mouth shut and head down. That’s what I wish I could say, but it wouldn’t be worth talking about if I were that intelligent. No, I showed my ass and made it worse.

Dont panic, this happens sometimes. All you have to do is get that flag. Then they’ll see. “Oh yea?! Well, ju just you wa wait.” I shrieked over a new burst of laughter.

When I said that, I said it with full knowledge the other team’s quarterback was the fastest kid in class. So fast, our Freshman year, he would be a starting player on the high-school football team. I’m told it’s a big deal, I don’t actually know how to play football, but I know you have to hit whoever has the ball.

You won’t be surprised to hear Mr. QB decided to run the ball himself. I was the only kid to chase him. His teammates opened a path for me, and sat back to enjoy the show. If he had ran fast, straight for the touchdown, I would have given up when the gap grew too large. As it was, he ran just the right speed to keep the distance tantalizing enough for me to believe I had a chance. Not that I understood that, I believed I was extremely fast and about to give him the surprise of his life. My fingertips grazed a flag, and he dodged just out of reach. I chased him across the gym floor, believing one last push would get me the victory I craved. I wanted to see the look on all their faces when I held that flag up high. As he approached the finish line, I desperately lunged forward with both feet, flying through through the air, and across the finish line behind him. Everyone was already laughing before I face-planted, but my fall gave way to a fresh roar with increased volume.

The next incident was a few months later, in daycare during handball. We played in the cafeteria when it rained, and a since it doesn’t require much skill or muscle mass to hit a ball made from tape with your hand, I wasn’t terrible. I felt more confident in daycare, I was far from last picked. There was only one group of older kids, and if I stayed out of their way, they didn’t bother me. Normally, I gloated silently as I dreamed of the day I would be the oldest, and therefore, a Captain, but something must have gotten into me that day. Instead of keeping my head down and taking no chances, I tried to participate in the game. The longer I played without making a mistake, the more I dropped my guard. The game was almost over when I blew it.

One of the younger kids on our team struck out. The pitcher taunted him, “Wanna try again? You’ll never hit it, so I don’t mind watching you try for a while.” He won a round of laughter.

My smartass-reflex triggered. “Be careful, the way you swing you’re liable to slap yourself in the face.”

If given a choice, I would have been too chicken to say it. But once it was out there, well, everyone laughed. At my joke, not just at me. It was intoxicating. Never-mind it was at another’s expense, my primitive mind could only handle so many revelations at once, and a big kid was laughing at my joke. The point is, I was drunk on their laughter, and wanted more. Oh! That might have been the first definitive sign of my predisposition for addiction! Anyway, the kid wouldn’t try again and it was our third out. As we switched sides I couldn’t help myself, “alright, let’s hurry up and get three quick ones so we don’t lose because of Loser over there.”

It was the last inning, all I had to do was lay low while we maintained a one-run lead. But I didn’t. No, when we had 2 outs with kids on first and second, the batter hit a line drive straight to me. Did I catch the stupid piece of balled-up tape and win the game? Ha! No. Did I pick the ball up, and throw it to the third baseman for the final, game-winning out? Nope. I stared into space as the ball bounced off my chest and fell to the floor. I picked it up, and saw kids running everywhere. I had no clue where to throw it. I watched every kid run around the bases while three different teammates screamed for the ball. We lost. Because of me. Karma justly served.

“If you don’t know what to do, throw the ball to the pitcher, dumbass.” is permanently seared into my memory. The 6th grader screaming at me was extremely fat, I couldn’t look away from her flapping jowls as she shook her head with each word.

I was already so upset with myself, I didn’t have time to stop my mouth from saying, “Does it feel funny to talk with those jiggling all the time?” (I genuinely wanted to know, I wasn’t trying to insult her.) My hand also turned traitor, clearly pointing to her triple chin to eliminate any confusion toward my meaning. My mistake was immediately apparent, but I also felt my second laughter high. Granted, that one was shorter lived. It stopped when the girl tried to attack, but teachers intervened before she could catch me. I suffered the usual old taunts anew for a few weeks until she felt satisfied with her vengeance, but it was worth it. It made most forget my handball blunder.

I’m not sure if it falls exactly into this category, but it reminded me of an incident from the only year I played league softball. If you read the 14 Year Old Virgin, you may remember the softball fields where everyone went to socialize. I was 11, and the bleachers were packed, we were the oldest group playing.

Somehow, I made it to first base. That had never happened before. My routine for the two innings Coach was legally required to let me play was hit the ball, and run as fast as I can to first. As I walked back to the base, I looked at Coach to learn the ball was caught, and returned to the dugout. This time, no one caught it, I had to stay on first while the next person batted. I couldn’t watch what happened to the ball or I ran diagonally. I focused every ounce of my attention on making it to second, forcing the distracting fantasy of scoring out of my mind. One step at a time.

The familiar crack of ball on bat sounded like a starting gun and I was off. I never ran faster, my feet slapped the bag at full speed, with a satisfying feel. As per routine, I looked to Coach on my walk back to base, but this time a girl stood in my way. She was coming at me. I didn’t have time to look around, I tried to ask, “what are you…” but she lunged at me! I dodged backwards, stealing a glance at Coach, wondering why someone wasn’t stopping this crazy chick, but they were laughing! I was furious. Here we were trying to play a serious game, but they were going to let this happen?! Unbelievable!

I dodged backwards 3-4 times before I tripped over my feet and she tagged me. “Fine!” She got me, good for her, maybe we can get on with the game now.

I tried to get back on base, but the referee guy started screaming, “You’re out!” all dramatic like with the handle signals and everything. I couldn’t believe he was going along with this charade too.

I tried to explain to the man, “my foot touched the base way before she had the ball in her hand.” I was beginning to worry they might think she had the ball sooner than she did. That was the farthest I had ever gotten, I wouldn’t be cheated out of it.

But I guess technically I was out. Coach had to come explain, “first base is a special exception. You can run past first, go back, and be safe, but any other time, you have to stop on the base. You got that?” He was giving me the Look and the Tone. I’m sure you know the Tone, it’s universal when used with the Look. The ‘am I talking slow enough?’, or ‘got it, dumbass?” Tone. The laughter was deafening. Thankfully there was no YouTube, but the number of home videos out there is terrifying. I should look into changing my name, maybe in a Covid world I could do it without leaving my house.

Softball successfully turned me off sports until Sophomore year. To my dismay, I sucked at sciences. We had a very easy school, I was on honor roll for 7-12 without ever taking home a single book. I’m actually really proud of the scams I worked out, but it will have to be its own story one day. It gets to be a long list if you go into every different tactic, which the god complex side of me kinda wants to do… sorry. Anyway, moving on.

Sophomore year I was forced to take Anatomy & Physiology. It was extremely disappointing to learn that’s what A&P stood for all those years. The class came along with the first teacher to ever be too strict to cheat. Try as I may, I couldn’t find a way around her system. The only kids getting any breaks were the few on her tennis team. Thelma and another friend of ours I’ll have to introduce later also joined, but to everyone’s surprise, I was good at it. Believe me, no one was more shocked than this bitch right here. Something about tennis just clicked for me.

Tennis became a huge part of my life, but all that matters right now is my first tournament. We were down a player, and the #2 singles spot was mine. I’m going to continue to shock you for another moment. I won my first match. I won it by so much, the other girl cried! Coach came to the fence, “I’m so proud of you!”

“I know! Can you believe it?! She’s full on blubbering!” I was literally bouncing with excitement.

“Well… yea I guess I am kinda proud you made her cry,” Coach chuckled, “but I’m more proud of how considerate you were to call a break and take her some water so she can calm down a little.”

“Oh! Yea, that’s why I did it! Good looking out.” I winked.

“Why.. why else would you?”

“Well, it certainly wasn’t to get a closer look. Alright, has it been long enough?”

I finished my first match 6-0, 6-2. We had an hour break before the next match began. During that time I lived up to my snobby bitch reputation admirably. “I was worried last night, but if those are the kind of players I have to beat, I’m going home with a trophy!”

You probably already know that isn’t how tournaments work, but please do keep in mind I was a sheltered fool from a tiny private school. Hell, by the worlds standards, a poor private school. I still struggle to tell the difference between wealthy, rich, and the 1%. If you live in a home that didn’t come with wheels, to me, you’re rich. The end.

The school my next opponent was from had a professional tennis player for a coach and they began learning tennis in elementary. Well, that’s what they claimed. My theory is steroids. That chick hit like-a-man! Her serve looked like an MLB pitch! I stood completely still as the first ball wizzed by. I never moved a muscle. It took a full 10 seconds to register what happened. I finally switched sides and backed up when I saw her make ready for the next serve. The same thing happened. A green blur passed by, my arm twitched as if it were going to swing, but chickened out. I switched sides and stood far behind the court. The girl threw the ball high for another ace, then barely tapped it over the net. I couldn’t run fast enough. She had me 0-3 (in school, they did 1-4 to keep score, it’s easier for people who don’t know the real way) in the first game.

I looked at games around me to copy where others stood to receive their serve. I finally returned the ball. She smashed a volley at me, (my specialty, if you hit your opponent, it’s your point) I only had time to hold the racket up. When the ball hit, I heard the strangest popping sound. The ball didn’t work like it should have, it lost all momentum, barely managing to bounce off the net and roll to her side. I scored one point. First of 3 I would receive throughout the match. The strange popping sound was my string breaking. We had to stop while my racket was re-strung, I cannot stress enough, this tiny, tiny girl, was a beast.

I should have seen enough to understand it was beyond my capabilities to beat her. It was my first year playing, I made it much farther than anyone else. That in itself was enough to be proud of. But no. The break gave me long enough to think about all those underdog victories. I sat amongst my peers and Coach ranting, “I can come back from this! She’ll underestimate me now and I can use that! I want it more than she does, that’s what really counts. People come back from worse all the time. I’m going to make her work for every single point and she’s gonna cry just like the last one!” What the hell is wrong with me?

The first game, I was pumped. It was my turn to serve, it was my weakest point, but I didn’t care how pathetic my lobs looked after her all-star aces; I was going to win. How many times have I seen someone save the world with sheer determination? I knew I had the exact feeling Naruto and Sasuke had when they freed Kakashi from Zabuza’s water prison, I had to beat her. They were totally the same thing.

And if you don’t know Naruto references, this is how things end for Zabuza (the one with all the dog bites).

I had a fleeting moment of, ‘holy shit it’s really happeningwhen I scored an amazing point on my first serve. I returned the ball 3-4 times before she hit it out-of-bounds. Then it was over, she pulverized me quickly and efficiently with only one further out-of-bounds error. When I lost the first match 0-6, we took the customary 10 minute break before she finished me off.

During the break I sat quietly, hoping all forgot the long, conceited speech I made 20 minutes earlier. Fooled you again! No, I totally made it worse. “Well it’s just so hard to focus when she has an entire crowd cheering her name and I’m the bad guy wrestler getting booed off stage.”

I said it as an excuse for my poor performance. I couldn’t think of anything else, and it spilled out of me before I could apply any filters. It wasn’t taken that way. It was taken more as, “wah wah, poor me, boo hoo, no one is cheering for me, I want cheerleaders.”

For the duration of the second match, Coach stood alone and cheered my name through all six games. She never stopped, not even when the two girls willing to stand with her abandoned ship. I found it touching, on one level it meant a lot to me. She is a very special person and I hope the years have been kind to her. On another level, it was incredibly awkward, I was getting creamed the whole time. I kept thinking her voice is going to be hoarse, she needs to chill. But that would be an incredibly rude, ungrateful thing to say. I was also upset about how awkward the thank you would be. I assumed that kind of thing surely required a thank you, but how painful would it be to say? ‘Thanks for cheering me on while I got my ass handed to me!’

You know what, I’m not saying I ever would do it, but the super villains that want to destroy the universe and all existence… I mean, I understand why. I accept it would be wrong to do so because it would involve making life-changing decisions for others, but I see their point. It’s important to honor basic moral principles, otherwise one tends to implore emotionally flawed decision making skills. But in a hypothetical scenario where everyone else was cool with it, I wouldn’t argue.

humor · mental health

No Weenie Houdini

Once upon a time, there lived a prestigious family named Green. The family gained fortune buying failing businesses and making them profitable. After placing a trusted manager, it was time for the next one. Papa Green and Momma Green dedicated their lives to building a solid foundation on which Baby Green could continue their legacy.

The years passed, and Baby Green turned into Junior Green. When Momma Green suffered a brain aneurysm, she left her Green men behind. Each handled the loss differently, but Junior turned to drugs as a coping mechanism. When Papa Green reached retirement, he gave Junior the keys to the kingdom. Whether due to love blindness, old-fashioned ignorance, or pure lack of options, Papa Green was clueless about Junior’s addiction.

One by one, with heavy hearts, the Green advisors resigned. Close friends distanced theirselves as Junior shat on the family’s reputation. Junior, desperate to hide his failures, tried to replace the advisors with friends. Drugs were not the worst hinderance to their abilities, (certainly didn’t help) as none had experience or training in the positions to begin with.

For the first few years of Junior’s reign, he was able to keep the illusion of success by selling assets. Papa passed away never knowing Junior dismantled his legacy piece by piece. With the influx of life insurance money, Junior buried himself in drugs and prostitutes. It wasn’t until he sold the last asset that his advisers suggested they may be in trouble.

“But if we don’t have nothing else to sell, how are we going to buy stuff?” One advisor asked as he looked around the kitchen table. Like himself, the other advisors were still nursing headaches from the night before.

“Oh… I don’t know, I’ve never thought about it. What should we do?” Junior replied, wiping fresh powder from his nose and rubbing it on his gums.

“Well, I guess we could do like your pop and buy a business. Isn’t that how he got all his money?” The advisor suggested, digging cocaine boogers from his nose.

“Yea it is, but how much does something like that cost? Do we even have enough to do that?” Junior looked hopefully to the accountant.

“Uhh. Probably. I mean, I can go check and find out. Maybe a cheap one, nothing fancy.” The pant-less accountant picked up his Irish coffee, and stumbled away from the table.

** Ok, so I may take some liberties with dialogue, but it is important going into this knowing Junior’s drug use and actions are indeed, fact. Guys, never ever do acid without a sober babysitter. Just don’t. **

Meanwhile…

On the other side of town, 7 year old Past Me was listening to Dad explain why Uncle has to sell his store. Uncle owned the store 10 years, but Dad only became his partner a few years prior. Business was failing, and this was the only option left. The only buyer interested, Junior, had a questionable reputation, but there simply wasn’t anyone else. My family, descended from professional snake-oil salesmen, took great care in the contract details. The key points being:

  • Dad would receive a very generous severance pay if fired.
  • If Junior attempted to sell the business, he must give Uncle first chance to purchase it.

With the safety measures securely in place, Uncle temporarily retired to a life of collecting antiques. Though he didn’t know it yet, he was collecting inventory for his future business. Inventory that allowed him to collect boxes of original slave documents and various old writings. Documents that sold for thousands, yet he couldn’t give a few pages to a niece who loves collecting antique books. Sure, I have two pages, but I had to pay for them. I can’t even read them, they’re cursive, but I enjoy looking at them. It’s fun to think about what path they followed in order to land in my possession.

Back to Green…

Mr. Green, unable to afford anything else, let his newly hired legal advisors thumb through the contract. Upon signing, he chose a manager at random, and left for happy hour. Wanting to celebrate his first successful business deal, Junior thought acid would make a great gift for guests attending his open house party. A way to let them know he appreciated their efforts, he didn’t want to be one of those guys who turned into an asshole once he became successful. That’s the state of mind Junior was in when he took his first hit of acid.

I think that’s why, when a giant, deadly snake tried to bite his female companion, he acted instinctively, without reserve. He was their leader, they were in his home, depending on his protection. Without hesitation or concern for his own safety, Junior retrieved his machete. With a single swing, he removed the head from the snake.

Guys, I screwed up and googled ‘headless snake’. Trust me, take this nice safe picture and use your imagination for the rest. You do not want to see what I’ve seen.

** People who aren’t from here question why a machete was on hand. Don’t. We all have machetes, I can literally reach one from where I sit now. **

Blood erupted from the snakes limp, spasming body as its head rolled away into darkness. Guests screamed in confusion. Junior tried to calm them, “Don’t worry! It’s fine now, there was a snake, but I’ve killed it. See, it’s dead.” but he wasn’t sure if he could be heard over their panicked cries.

He tried to hold the snake’s dead body aloft for all to see, but as he tried to lift it higher, he felt a strange tug at his waist. As he experimented with the odd tugging sensation, he began to feel a painful throb in his lower abdomen. “Did the snake bite me, you think? Something’s starting to hurt awful bad down there. It’s burning.” Junior stared down at the headless snake, perplexed.

“Oh shit man! We gotta get you to the hospital! Who can drive?” A random man stumbled toward Junior, but kept a safe distance. No one wanted to get any closer to the… dead snake.

“Where’s the head? Can they reattach it?” Junior’s soon-to-be ex asked.

“Pshh, no way, that shit’s gone forever.” A man next to her stated as he took a long drag from his bong.

“Let’s call an ambulance.” Someone suggested.

“No way! Cops will come!” Another replied. A chorus of agreement followed his statement.

“Shit, come on, I’ll drive him. Maybe the bastard will make someone else manage that damn store.” The randomly chosen manager stepped forward to grab one of Junior’s arms. “Well, someone help me get his ass in the car, least you could fucking do. I know ain’t none of you sorry bastards gonna come with me.”

Another chorus of agreements followed as a few men stepped forward to help move Junior.

“Do you think it was poisonous? Don’t they gotta see the head to know?” Junior asked the men helping him to the car, still not understanding he cut the head off his penis, not a snake.

“Uhh… nah man, they can tell with just the body… it’s cool.” One told him as they loaded him in the car.

“Do you think we should put his seatbelt on?” The manager asked.

“You gonna reach across him?” The first asked in return.

“Hey, Junior, put on your seatbelt we’re leaving.” The manager said as he got into the driver’s seat.

Before noon the next day, Junior’s new name was ‘No Weenie Houdini’. The “How’d you make it disappear?” jokes were endless. When people hit rock bottom, they react in one of two ways. They either wake up, and take steps to get their life back or they double down on the drugs and plow forward. Junior chose to double down and plow forward.

I’ll FF through Junior spending the year trying to stay afloat by pilfering into our store’s profits. His lackey began keeping cash sales, and it didn’t take long for Junior to become desperate enough to sell. Uncle bought his store back at severely reduced cost with funds to spare. He reopened as an antique shop, and has thrived ever since. Thankfully, my family would never again have business dealings with Junior.

Junior was unable to find anyone willing to do business with himself or associates. There was no one in town who didn’t know he was No Weenie Houdini. All he could do was go out with a bang. Maybe psychologists can speculate why a man with Junior’s history would choose to do acid again, but I won’t try.

Surely enough, late into the night, that darn snake came back for revenge. Junior, so overcome with rage at the snake’s audacity, hacked away at the creature with the fury of a madman. He made sure there was nothing left, its body was smashed beyond recognition. The snake was gone for good.

The trip to the hospital was remarkably similar. The entire appendage was removed this time. Though he was a rare visitor, he made an occasional appearance in the real world. He was twice dubbed No Weenie Houdini, and secured a permanent exhibit in the gossip mill museum. “When’s the next encore?” being one of the most popular one-liners.

I wish I had one of the actual posters, but people made fake Weenie Houdini announcements and posted them around town.

Junior adjusted to life on disability and goodwill. He now spends his days wandering around town, trying to warn people about the conspiracies happening all around us. If you ask nicely, he’ll make you a tin foil hat, but never let him see your cell phone or he’ll know you’re with them. No one knows who them are, but trust me, you don’t want to be with them.

During my time working at a western store, I saw him often. He took special interest to make sure I knew how much danger I was in. “You gotta think girl, always think. See with your eyes! Not what their eyes.” He’d always stand way too close when warning me.

“Alright, I’ll remember that.” I said exasperated.

“I’m not kidding girl, they’re watching you. I can prove it to you! What blood type are you?” His sprayed spit with each word.

“O positive.” I guessed, naming the first type I thought of.

“Nah, they’re lying to ya. You go get checked. You’ll see. They lying. You got the rare blood.” He whisper-spat.

“Cool, I’ll do that.” I said, taking another step back.

“They had to do it girl, they had to. Twas the only way. You’d be dead like the rest if they hadn’t smuggled you away with yer nurse-maid. They’ll be calling you home soon now that you’re of age. I hope you’ll remember me when they do.” He said with a wink and nudge.

“Aw, did you watch Anastasia again, Junior?” I tried to ask without making a face, but probably failed.

“SHH, shush! Are you crazy?! Keep your voice down!” He yelled loudly. “You cannot let them know you know they know! If they know you know they know you know, they’ll come for you!”

I guess he frightened himself. He dropped the items he planned to purchase and ran from the store as he said the last bit. Go figure.

By time my turn to deal with him came back around, he was preoccupied with the aliens living on the golf course. They were infiltrating our schools by taking over teacher’s bodies. Soon, they would take the children and fully integrate into the bedrock of our society. I think he watched The Faculty and got a little too into it. I have no clue why he went with the golf course, but who am I to question drug induced delusions?

Remember kids, say no to drugs and alcohol. If life is painful, weed will make you feel better and I can safely guarantee it will not be a prevalent cause should you cut off your genitalia.

humor · mental health

Diary of a Mad, Spoiled Brat (Pt. 3)

Entry 3: The Look

When I was little, Dad bought a 10 gallon fish tank and pimped it out. 6 months, 20 fish, and 1 litter of kittens later, it sat empty in the garage.

One day, Dad found a baby lizard and decided to put the old aquarium to use. He made an impressive habitat with a layer of dirt, a few small rocks, and several well placed sticks. It was a mini forest, and in the center, he put a chunk of petrified wood that looked exactly like Pride Rock.

This kind, not one of the regular garden lizards.

I was one happy camper. I named him Gecko and moved him into my room. One morning, I noticed Gecko hadn’t moved since the night before. I poked him, but he still didn’t move. Gecko was dead.

It was a shame he died, we only just met. I didn’t know what kind of funeral a lizard would want, so I settled for placing his body on top of Pride Rock while I mulled it over. I was paying respects, it was a position of honor. I thought it a very considerate thing to do, I didn’t relish touching a dead lizard, in case that wasn’t clear. With that chore done, I resumed playing Mario.

Several days later Dad came to check on Gecko. As he looked into the aquarium, I wondered if perhaps I should have mentioned Gecko died. Before I could decide, Dad said, “Pause your game sweetie, we need to talk about Gecko.”

I hesitated, trying to decide if I should pretend to be surprised, but I couldn’t pause at that moment. “Is it because Gecko’s dead?” I asked without looking away from the tv.

“You… you know he’s dead? When did he die?!” Dad’s tone was either amused or angry, it was really hard to tell which.

“Yea. I mean. He didn’t wake up yesterday.” Yesterday probably sounds better than last week.

“Why didn’t you say anything? Wait… did… did you put him on the rock after he died?” His look made me feel like the answer mattered.

“Umm. Yea…no..sort of before?” My voice trailed off as I strung together every answer, hoping one was the right choice.

The Look Dad gave me as he carried away Gecko’s house was one I would become intimately familiar with. It is the Look that begs, ‘What the hell is wrong with you?’

Oh how I wish I knew.

I think Dad understood I was developing… issues long before Mom. At least to the point of taking action. It’s not surprising, he’s a social creature. Everyone knows a guy like Dad. He’s the guy who holds you hostage in conversation each time you randomly bump into each other. Some try to escape, but few succeed. Not once did he go in Walmart without seeing a minimum three people he knew. They pretended not to see him, he chased them down, and the long wait began. I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m bashing Dad, I’m not, he’s the nicest, most honest, caring man I have ever known. For that reason, he just isn’t capable of grasping the concept Mom and I are not that way.

At first, people started off with greetings and a smile, but then came the worst part. As they listened to Dad prattle on about what he’s been up to, they felt obligated to acknowledge me. Some actually tried to touch me. Whether it was ruffling my hair, patting me on the back, or just holding out their hand for a high-five, I wasn’t playing along. I stood out of arms reach, and kept quiet when asked the crap people usually ask kids. They mostly took the hint and tried for their own escape, but it cost me the Look. Totally worth it in those cases.

“Well, it was great catching up, but I really need to…” that’s how far most got before Dad interrupted.

“Oh I forgot to ask, how’s your mother?” He targets a weak point, but calls it ‘manners.’ No one can run off on such a considerate question. Especially one that opens up several more avenues of talking points regardless of the answer. Small talk is a fencing match, never let anyone tell you different. It’s a deadly dance of words and wit, where words cut like swords and wit is your only shield.

In the end, it was left to me, I was the only one in a position to save us all. In the best interest of myself, Dad, and his victim, I had to intervene. “Dad! Dad! Daddy, can we go now? I’m ready to go Dad, come on I wanna go home!”

The trick is, you gotta find yourself a good handhold, something like a belt loop or pinky finger, something they fear could tear or break if pulled hard enough. Then you yank on that as you beg to leave. Most of the time, his victim understood I was showing them mercy, and helped me out with a push from their end. Something like, “Aw, she looks tired, you better get the little one home.” The really smart ones are already walking away, one hand lifted in a goodbye wave, as they said it. I appreciated those so much, we were kindred spirits.

Unfortunately, some could be bad as Dad himself. I had to exert extra effort in those cases. “Dad! Can I have this really expensive toy I just fell in love with? Please, please, please!” Or there’s always the classic, “Dad, I need to potty really bad.” That one didn’t give me a chance at new toys, but no one wants to deal with a piss soaked kid. No one.

It was rare for all three of us to venture out, but if we did, Mom and I ditched Dad when his antics began. She, like myself, ran away from familiar faces. Mom encouraged me to interrupt anyone fool enough to corner her into conversation, and I was rewarded handsomely. Until I told someone, “we have to go, Mom hates talking to you.” That one got me the Look from all parties, and dragged away by the ear. Let me tell you, that’s a pain I still remember. Tv portrays it as a cliche way to handle children, but it seriously hurts, it should be classified as child abuse.

Dad was more sympathetic to my plight. He told Mom, “Something like that was bound to happen with you teaching her that shit.”

I find it ironic he be the one to worry about my ability to socialize. He became so distressed I went through kindergarten and first grade without making friends, he began to arrange play-dates for me. How he was unable to see the correlation between my appearance and lack of friends, I’ll never understand. I went to school looking worse than Ruby Sue from Christmas Vacation. I wouldn’t let Mom dress me in outfits or do my hair, and she didn’t have the patience to force me. Dad thought it was adorable, I assume because of some kind of parent blinders, there’s no other explanation.

If you chopped off all her hair because she thought she was a boy, she would still look like a princess on her worst day compared to me at my best.

The first play-date Dad arranged was fishing with a work friend while the man’s daughter (Girl) stayed at our house. We were the same age, but it was hate at first sight. Dad wanted it to be a surprise, and a surprise it was. My angry tears flowed hot with rage before she was introduced.

Mom was also upset, “Why would you do this? Do you expect me to watch that kid too? Did you think our kid was going to enjoy this? While you go fishing?!” She bypassed the usual warning signs and went straight into a full blown episode. I didn’t mind it this time. I viewed her episodes differently once I felt the intoxicating power of having one on my side.

“You’re making it sound worse than it is, we’re fishing in our own pond, we’re only going to be a few feet away. If you have any trouble just holler for me.” Dad shoved Girl inside before Mom could protest more. He made fast introductions and ran for it.

It was the motivation Mom and I needed to finally put aside our differences and join forces, Dad’s actions were unacceptable. What was I suppose to do with Girl? Why on earth would I want to entertain some kid I’ve never seen before? Did he think she could go in my room or touch my stuff?

Spoiler Alert: That’s exactly what he thought.

“Hey, take her to your room and play back there.” Mom, like myself, was glaring at Girl.

“No way, she’s not allowed back there!” I argued, still wiping snot off my tear-streaked face.

“Don’t argue with me, you get her back there now!” She gave me the Look, except when she gave me the Look, it came with an additional meaning.

Aside from the usual “what the hell is wrong with you?” it also meant, “do what I say right now, or I’ll have an episode that makes you regret being born.” Well I already regretted being born, thank you very much.

I took the kid to my room, and immediately felt claustrophobic. The tiny room was even smaller after cramming in bunk beds, entertainment center, dresser, and shelf. I felt suffocated with her standing in the middle of my room. I retreated to the top bunk, hovering over her like a gargoyle.

This is the pose!

It made me feel safe. Safe she couldn’t get me, safe she wouldn’t try to climb up. All my stuffed animals lived up there, I couldn’t let her sully them with her sticky touch. I knew she was sticky, they’re all sticky. Except me, I was the exception to the rule. You could tell by how pristine my possessions were.

After she lost what I concluded to be a staring contest, Girl spoke. “Do you have any Dogs?” She asked.

“No, just cats.” Not that you can pet them. I answered.

No, I mean dogs like toy dogs. Do you have any?” She tried again.

Uh-oh I have lots of stuffed dogs. If I say yes, shell want to play with one. “No. I don’t have any kind of dog.” Final answer.

“No! Doll! Do you have any dolls? Like barbies?” She clarified.

Oh gods it’s worse than I imagined. “No! I hate barbies! They’re the worst things ever. The only barbies I ever had were hanged, decapitated, or burned at the stake. I might have some of their heads left if you want to see those or the guillotine.” I glared into her like I was Darth Vader.

Then it happened. Girl gave me the Look. “Why would you do that?” She asked. After a long pause, “don’t you have any girl stuff?” She was looking around my room, trying to find something of interest.

It’s one thing to get the Look from my family or an adult. I had no choice in that matter. Pain and punishment followed any retribution I sought against them, but Girl was no one. Just a stranger Dad brought home. A stranger Mom didn’t like either. If I wasn’t so afraid of leaving Girl alone in there, I would have gone to tell Mom whatever she needed to hear to end the horrible nightmare. As it stood, I was stuck. I had to come up with a plan.

“I don’t play anything. I watch tv. Nothing else.” Brilliant, tv is perfect. She wouldn’t have to touch a thing. I grabbed the remote and had it on Cartoon Network before she could respond.

Then she started climbing the ladder. “What are you doing?! You can’t come up here! There’s no more room!” Obviously, improvisation was not yet a talent, give me a break.

She gave me the Look again as she stared at the empty half of the bed. Slowly, she lowered herself to sit on the bottom bunk. “You have Nintendo! Cool, what games do you have? Can we play?” The Look was gone, she sounded excited.

“No, it’s broke.” I’ll sacrifice my entire body if I have to throw it off this bunk to keep you from getting my controller sticky.

“Oh. I just don’t really feel like watching tv. We can watch tv anytime, let’s play something.” Girl said sheepishly, looking at my beloved tv like it was an insect on the bottom of her shoe.

Bitch gotta go. “I love tv. It’s the only thing I do, it’s the only thing there is to do. I don’t understand why you’re even here, why would you come here?”

“I came because Daddy said we were gonna be best friends, but you’re just a mean girl.” She sobbed.

Oh great, now she’s crying for no reason. They’re gonna blame me for this. Well… if I’m getting blamed anyway…“I’m not forcing you to stay here. You could always get off my clean sheets and go fishing with Dad.” This was his mess anyway, let him clean it up. Otherwise, how will he learn. Too bad I didn’t think of it before she started crying.

Spoiler Alert: Dad never learns this lesson.

“I don’t like you at all!” She jumped up and ran to the door. “I’m never coming back here again!”

“Ok thanks, have fun out there!” I said sarcastically.

** Real quick, for the sake of accuracy and my future team of psychologists, this is a good time to mention my tone problem. I haven’t known how to explain it, but I was unable to identify or convey sarcasm like you norms can. Everything came out of me in a monotone voice. Whether I were serious or joking, it all sounded exactly the same. It got me in lots of trouble, but over the years, I’ve (mostly) mastered identifying sarcasm, and almost always convey it correctly. Just know for the majority of my stories, when I say the word “sarcastically” there’s a 90% chance the other people in the story did not interpret it the same way. **

Girl paused with a foot out the door to give me one last Look. When I didn’t try to stop her, she walked out of my life forever. After hearing the front door close, I went to give Mom a heads up. She also came out of hiding when she heard the door.

“Where’s she going?” Mom asked.

“To fish with Dad. That girl was so weird I hate her.” I answered.

“Shit. What did you do to her? Tell me everything you said. Exactly. You didn’t hit her did you?” Mom bent down and gave me her full attention.

This was extremely rare, I wanted to encourage it. If I couldn’t train my cats to do tricks, maybe I could train Mom. I reinforced her behavior with a full account of the truth, and ended my report with a request to have my bedding washed. I wouldn’t be able to sit on the bottom bunk until it was sterilized. The more Mom laughed, the more confident I became my actions were correct. Clearly, I handled the crisis better than she hoped, I was quite proud.

Mom looked out the window as she spoke, “Great job, kid! They look like they’re packing up, I don’t think Girl likes fishing. When your daddy comes in, let me do the talking. You stay quiet and watch tv. In here, and look pouty. Come on, go put on a cartoon real fast. If he asks you a question, you have to go along with what I say, you can do that right?”

I had no clue what she was doing, but it sounded like fun. If she wanted the hassle of talking, I wasn’t going to argue with her. “You bet I can!” Food and tv sounded lovely too.

Dad’s friend was driving away as Mom set food in front of me. I settled on my Dalmatian pallet, ate, and watched a tornado throw Dorothy into Oz for the zillionth time. Dad stormed through the door. I never bothered looking up, my part was done.

“What the hell was that?” Dad asked. I’m not sure who he was addressing. If I looked at him, I might blow the game.

Mom jumped in before he could ask again. “What did you expect? I told you that wasn’t going to go well! That girl was awful!” She protested.

“What do you mean she was awful? I heard some pretty awful things, but nothing her fault.” Dad argued. I could see his shoes out the corner of my eye, he was standing really close. I shoveled a load of food into my mouth and made a neutral grunting sound. Please don’t step on my blanket, please don’t step on my blanket.

“Did you find out anything about her at all before you arranged this whole thing? That girl was a bully!” Mom dropped her voice low, like she didn’t want me to hear any more of it. It must have worked, Dad walked his dirty shoes away from my blanky and toward the kitchen.

His voice also dropped drastically. “What do you mean bully? What happened?” Anger gone, concern the dominate tone. Victory was ours.

“It was inconceivable to Girl we don’t have doll houses or barbies. Our kid has enough problems without you dragging drama into the house! What’s next? You want to put her in dance lessons? See how well that goes?!” Mom was on fire, once she gets started there’s no telling where she’ll stop.

“That little bitch! She came out there and told us she got bullied! She told us the exact opposite like she wasn’t allowed to play with anything. Oh I’m so sorry! What am I going to do? How upset is she? Should I say something?” I almost felt sorry for Dad, but my conscience was years away from developing… plus it really was his fault.

“No! Don’t you dare say a word! I just got her calmed down. She’s fed, she’s comfortable, she’s got that god damn movie on again. Just sit in the room and make sure she doesn’t burn the house down. Do not make her talk about this again. I’m going to watch tv in bed, I’m exhausted now and I can’t tolerate watching this movie one more time.” Mom exited dramatically, slamming her bedroom door for a final touch.

That night, I slept well and deeply in the comfort of knowing such a horrible thing would never happen again. If Mom or I had known Dad was not properly swayed, I like to think we would have taken further action. As it stood, neither of us could see Dad thought his mistake lay in the character of the kid he chose, not in the act itself. Needless to say, we were in for another surprise a few weeks later.

“Ok before you get upset, let me explain. I knew you wouldn’t give it a chance if I said something ahead of time, but this is an entirely different situation.” Dad explained as he wiped the sweat from his brow.

This time, it was an old school friend bringing his son. We were all fishing together. This automatically excluded Mom. Our newfound partnership crumbled as quickly as it began. She threw me to the wolves, and without a second glance, retreated to her room. The man and kid were outside, waiting for us.

“Don’t do this to me! Why? What did I do wrong?” I haven’t done anything wrong!” The angry tears were on full blast.

“No, no no no, it’s not like that at all! This is a reward! It’s a good thing!” He said. Now it was my turn to give him the Look. “Boy is only a year younger than you, and he loves fishing. You love fishing! If we all fish together, we’ll have lots of fun and you can make a new friend! Doesn’t that sound nice?” He waited for my response, but I felt like the Look was a response unto itself.

15 minutes later I was on the embankment with Boy while our dads fished off the pier. My rod stuck in the ground, I refused to participate. I told Dad I wouldn’t fish, but he baited the pole and forced it into my hand anyway. When he got serious with his threats, I pretended to fish until he was distracted. Then I ditched my cricked and cast the empty hook back into the water. I shoved my pole in the mud and stared at my bobber, knowing it would never get a bite. Dad’s glances became less frequent as he convinced himself I was cooperating.

I tried different tactics to get Boy to leave me alone, but he seemed to enjoy talking just for the sake of hearing his own voice. If asked a question I responded “No.” regardless of what he asked. When he realized what I was doing he thought it was funny to ask crazy questions.

“Do you eat pizza? No?! Whoa! Do you breathe air? No?! Wow! What do you breathe then?” To his credit, Boy was having a blast. He thought he was hilarious, but couldn’t seem to fathom I didn’t share his feelings.

“Hey look! I got a fish! Look! Look, hey, why aren’t you looking?” He got loud enough to draw the adult’s attention.

“Alright, way to go Boy! Reel that sucker in!” Dad shouted encouragement.

“She won’t watch! Why won’t she watch?!” Boy whined.

“Uh.. hey! Kid! Look at him go, did you see that?” Dad tried awkwardly to draw my attention.

I continued staring at my bobber like it was the most interesting movie in the world. Finally I heard Dad say, “she’s just concentrating really hard, she does that.”

By then, Boy had his fish reeled in. “Look at the size!” He said, proudly holding it out for my inspection.

“No.” I said again.

“But why not? You could just look, you know?” The way he said it made me turn to face him. I already knew what I would see. He was giving me the Look.

I stared daggers into him. “No.” I said it just to piss him off. It didn’t matter if it made sense or not, I would not suffer that Look again. Not from another strange kid Dad brought home. Like Dorothy, I would need to stand my ground, and melt this bastard with water. “No.” Barely a whisper that time, but he was still giving me the Look.

Boy lost his shit. “Oh yea?! Let’s see what you have to say about my fish now!” He let out a primal scream and charged at me, his fish held out like a weapon.

“The crap?” I didn’t have time to say more. It’s amazing how big of a size and strength difference a year made at those ages. The scuffle was no contest.

Boy lunged the fish at me like it were a sword, but he was slow and clumsy about it. I easily dodged his thrust and grabbed his wrist. Just like I saw on tv, I squeezed until he dropped the fish. He cried out and flailed, catching me with an elbow. That really set me off. I felt so embarrassed, more rage leaked out. When he got free of my grip, he tried to turn to face me, but I was already swinging. I intended to punch him on the back of his shoulder, as he was walking away. But the way he turned, combined with my inability to actually aim a punch, resulted in my hitting his face. Suddenly, everything happened in slow motion. Boy’s head snapped back, and his body followed suit. He fell straight back into the water. He was soaked, I watched his face change as he looked himself over. He cried, looked to me, to his ruined clothes, back to me, he continued this until finally, the adults arrived.

Later, I was told he had a nice bruise on his cheek, but I got lucky with this interaction too. Somehow, the adults only saw Boy rush me with the fish. They thought he was being a typical little boy who learned a hard lesson. I like to think the smile Mom gave me as Dad related the events meant she knew the truth. It probably did, she was pretty smart when it came to those things.

That ordeal was my last blind play-date. Afterwards, Dad switched me over to cousins, but they came with their own hazards. I’ll save that for later, one day when I’m very, very not sober.

Before I go, one last thing; we may all be crazy, I may carry decades worth of resentment about arguably ridiculous things, and sometimes, I say terrible things about my parents; but when it’s all said and done, I have some damn good memories too, and I truly do love them. I understand the way it reads doesn’t always come off that way, but remember, they only had my best intentions in mind when they made terrible, terrible decisions. You’re only hearing one side to the story, and we can never hear their side because we are not, and will never be, that kind of family.

Alright, good talk.

humor · mental health · spooky

Ghostbuster

For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don’t believe, no proof is possible.

Stuart Chase

I have no clue who that is, but he is obviously a smart man. I heard the quote on tv and fell in love with it. It’s one of those quotes that make you feel like, “I’ve always known that, why have I never put it in words,” but then you’re like “oh it’s because I suck at words.”

Halloween is my favorite holiday! I start celebrating September 1st and don’t stop until November. I’m a huge skeptic, but I love to immerse myself anyway. I would like to share a couple ghost stories just for fun. If you love ghost stories you may not find them particularly fancy, but they are true. The one plus for my hometown is it being prime paranormal investigator real-estate.

We have haunted ghost tours and make a big deal out of anything that brings in more tourist money. Haunted antebellum homes, restaurants, and cemeteries are just a few of our attractions. Some are fake. Quick example: one restaurant thriving on the haunted theme uses noise makers in the closets and have stories to tell guests. They do pretty well with tourists. Locals are use to the gimmicks, but still love the food.

While I personally may be a skeptic, I know many places that do just fine in the haunted department without cheating. Growing up there, it’s hard not to take an interest in ghost stories at some point. One of my closer friends grew up in one of the haunted antebellum homes.

The main house has three floors, not counting the attic, basement and cellar, and yes, those are different things. I won’t try to count the number of rooms, but directly above the entrance is a beautiful balcony with staircases. They curve outward to frame the front door between them, giving the master bedroom its own entry. It also has a beautiful brick walkway around it, from which paths spread out over the property. There is a barn, old slave quarters, and various storage buildings. The cellar will need to be its own story later, maybe closer to Halloween. If I can do it justice, it’s a longer one.

As a child, this was my playground. This friend can be Cutty. We met in second grade, and she’s the one that took to cutting her arms up and wearing short sleeves to school. Hence Cutty. I don’t understand why she did it more than once. The football team named a play after her called “Cutter, Cutter.” If she did want attention, it surely wasn’t that kind. If she was capable of keeping a secret, I would have given her advice on how to hide them, but I digress. Later, we can talk about Einstein’s definition of insanity.

Cutty is a believer. She grew up in that house for the first 16 years of our lives, and had several first-hand experiences. I spent many sleepovers trying to prove ghosts don’t exist. That’s really all you need to know, we can get to the actual stories now. I’ll give you her story, and follow with my own investigation of it. We were 12 when this first one happened.

The Nursery

I know my maps aren’t pretty, but they get the information across. The nursery is on the second floor, center of the house.

The nursery is haunted, it has a messed up story, but they won’t let us tell it to tour groups. The family living here before the civil war fixed it up, but no one has used it since. The furniture is exactly the same as the last day it was used.

The father was an army major, but he retired after Indians put an arrow in him… I don’t know where he got shot, apparently somewhere not bad enough to die, but bad enough to retire. Stop interrupting and listen.

When he got home, he learned his son died from scarlet fever. It broke him, he was never the same again. He started spending all his time at home, afraid to leave. Eventually, he started farming, and they had a new baby.

A nanny had to sleep in the nursery back then because they didn’t have baby monitors. Ours has a second bed because the father also slept in there for the first month, but it started causing problems with his wife. The servants were starting to gossip and that’s about as embarrassed as one could get in their own home. Finally, the husband conceded and moved back to his own bed.

One morning, shortly after, the nanny burst in their room, frantic, “The baby dead, he’s dead! He must’ve died in the night, he neva made no sound t’all.”

But the problem was, they didn’t know SIDS was a thing. The mother, still in shock, accused her, “You did it, didn’t you?!”

The nanny denied it, but it didn’t matter. “No! No I loved being with the lil-uns, I would never, never!

The father lost his last grip on reality, he snapped. He stormed out to the slave quarters, snatched up the nanny’s toddler, and killed it right in front of her. Then he beat the nanny to death and tried to sell her husband to an even worse family, but he committed suicide before he was transported.

There was nothing illegal about what he did, not back then, but the whole thing would have been embarrassing. The sheriff was a friend, they had a good old fashioned cover up, and moved on. A few months later, the man and his wife were discovered dead, murdered in their sleep. Many of their records were burned, the theory is, slaves killed them in bed, burned the records of their ownership, and fled to the north.

Sometimes, at night, we can hear a baby crying. Every now and then, if the sound lasts more than a couple minutes, we hear footsteps walking to the crib. Then the crying stops and the footsteps sound like someone pacing the room. Like someone is picking up the baby and walking with it. We keep the doors closed, no one goes in there. It never happens during the day, but I stay away all the time. I’m scared I’ll see something.

** You really can’t believe anything on wiki. I looked up the house, I haven’t seen it in 10 years, I miss it. They have the history completely wrong! I shouldn’t be surprised, it’s probably by design. They claim the same family has owned it since the 1700’s. That’s a laugh, I’ve personally known 3 unrelated owners, and heard the tour speech enough to still have it partially memorized. At the end of Queen of the walk, I told you evil hags closed the restaurant for a visitor center. The reason no one will live in the antebellum homes more than a few years is because of them! They stay up your ass every day of your life making sure you don’t do or say anything they don’t approve of. As far as I can tell, people are genuinely petrified of those Crones. I don’t know why, we’ll revisit this, it actually gets super weird. I could probably write a CreepyPasta series about them, Crone Club. **

As someone who was already a full blown skeptic, I didn’t believe the story. Not the haunting part, the murder part was sadly commonplace. The fact she wouldn’t cross the threshold when I made her show me the room didn’t help convince me. Her parents, did. As a kid, I believed anyone capable of being rich must be smart and sane. I know, I see the ignorance, I promise. But in their case I’m mostly right. Successful lawyer and realtor, no psychotic tendencies, that’s really as good as it gets where I’m from.

I should clarify, her parents didn’t convince me ghosts are real, they convinced me Cutty wasn’t lying. Big difference, same result. I set out to find a logical explanation for the events. Since her parents kept the room locked, we had to acquire a key, and wait for them to fall asleep.

On the big night, her parents went to bed around 10. We waited an hour to make sure they were asleep, then Cutty and I visited the nursery. Well I did, she stayed in the hall. I threw my pillow on the bed next to the crib and sat. “Don’t sit on the bed, are you crazy you’re going to piss them off.” Cutty hissed from the hallway.

“Why? You think they’re protective over the bed they haven’t used in 100 years?” I said, lightly bouncing on the bed for emphasis.

“Come on, I let you see it, let’s just go, you’re right, this is stupid. I was just messing with you, I made the whole thing up and I’m bored now.” Cutty was getting a little frantic.

“Ok, I’m willing to believe you think the ghosts are real, but if they were, science would be all over it. Instead, it’s treated the same way as Santa and the Easter bunny. So I’m sleeping here tonight to see what’s up.” I said, strolling around the room.

“Don’t do that! Don’t touch the crib, what is wrong with you?! You know what? You want to sleep here? Fine, bye.” Cutty threw her hands in the air and walked in the direction of her room.

“Yea, I will! And don’t think you can scare me with some lame noises in 30 minutes either! I’m running after every squeak I hear, fair warning.” I said, too smugly.

“I’m not leaving my room again until the suns up!” Cutty left without looking back.

Growing up in a trailer while your friends live in (essentially) mansions can be hard. I couldn’t help noticing, the nursery was roughly the same size as our living room. Cutty’s closet was bigger than my room and closet put together.

I sat with my back against the wall on the bed next to the crib, opened both doors wide, and the wait began. Because I slept like the dead and had serious anger issues when woken, I would have to stay awake all night if I wanted to investigate properly. I played my gameboy to pass time, but in a world before smart phones, ghost hunting became boring quickly. At least an hour or two passed before the anything happened. It was long enough for my child brain to be completely sucked into the game.

When the door swung closed, it surprised me. I left both doors open intending to make sure I heard Cutty if she tried to sneak up on me. You honestly can’t take 3 steps anywhere in that house without loud floor squeaks. Even immersed in my game, I should have heard her. I also thought she would wait until the middle of the night, trying to catch me asleep. I didn’t hesitate, I leapt from the bed! Fast as I could, I threw myself at the door while listening intently for retreating footsteps. I heard nothing.

The hallway on that side extended both ways. I ran the shortest path for Cutty’s room. I ran quickly as I dared, sure I would run into her any moment, but I made it to her open room door without trouble. When I looked in, Cutty was soundly asleep. I left her undisturbed. I wasn’t sure she was really asleep, but she looked damn convincing. I was sure she would deny it if I played the game of waking her up to accuse her, so I returned to the nursery to think.

I sat in my original position and replayed the events. I honestly didn’t believe I was so immersed in the game I couldn’t hear footsteps, but my unwavering loyalty to logic forced me to concede it possible. Assuming she did sneak into the doorway, reached her arm inside, and pulled the door closed (straight in front of me with the lights on) without making a sound… then how did she get back to her room? I moved fast, and I made noise while moving, but it was late at night. We both feared waking her parents, they expressly forbade this experiment. We were both in hot water if caught, but she obviously feared it more. As an adult it makes even less sense she would risk it, but we’re here so let’s roll with it, kids are stupid after all.

What else could make the door close? AC kicking on? Nope, it stayed off in this part of the house. Likewise, no open windows or anything else to contribute to an air draft. It sat perfectly still up to the point it closed. My 12 year old brain could think of no other answers, but wasn’t ready to call it proof either. I imagined how lame I would sound saying, “Yea it’s haunted alright. I was sitting in bed and the door closed! By itself!” Nope, not happening.

I tried to recreate the event, but I could not make the door shut at all, not to latch. I couldn’t create a draft myself, couldn’t pull it closed from the hall without clearly coming into view from the bed. I couldn’t even crawl down the hallway without noise. I managed to stay up until the sun started to rise, but no more happened.

“I can’t figure out how you made the door close, but I knew nothing was gonna happen.” I said to Cutty over breakfast.

“What happened with the door? I told you I wasn’t going near that room again! Did you expect it to perform for you? It doesn’t happen all the time anyway, I tried to tell you. Besides if you wanted to see a ghost you should have tried the barn.” She sounded like she was losing patience.

“Forget the door, what about the barn, why didn’t you tell me about the barn?” I asked excitedly.

“Because I knew you would want to go out there, and Dad wouldn’t have let us. I didn’t want you driving me crazy all night to sneak out there.” She grumbled.

“Don’t worry I’m sure we’ll find time. What’s the story behind the barn?” Knowing I wouldn’t stop asking, she relented.

*Before you see the map, yes, it has an antique bowling alley. Original pins and balls, different wood on the floor, but obviously it’s just for looks nowadays. Even we were too afraid to use anything and break it. Super cool though. Cutty’s family only used the barn for lawn equipment, it was empty except for what you see on the map. **

The Barn

I had no clue how to draw the loft over the first floor so I did what I did. This may be the worst yet, sorry.

The barn has an actual ghost. I saw her. Daddy sent me to get his rubber boots just before dawn one morning, we were going hunting, but I stayed home after that. When I walked in I saw her. She was wearing one of those colonial bonnets and an apron over a plain dress. She… she was hanging right where the rope swing is. You.. you don’t think it’s the same rope do you? I haven’t been back in there since, and I’m not going back in with you. If you want to go, you know where it is. Just wait for my parents to leave.

No one knows who she was or what her story was, sorry. The people living here during the Civil War woke up one morning and a dead girl was hanging in their barn. They questioned everyone in town, every person who stayed on or near the property, but they couldn’t even find someone who recognized her. They assumed she was another refugee suicide.

The barn’s story is admittedly anti-climatic, but that’s what happens when you tell a story straight up. To avoid more of that, let’s jump ahead a couple years to a different visit.

“I want to camp in the barn tonight, I’m sick of the nursery and I’m never going near that damn cellar again.” I whined to Cutty.

“No! Mom is never going to let you do that, what does it take for you to learn a lesson?” Cutty snapped, patience finally at an end.

“Plenty! Why do you always say that? You never even ask her!” I only realized it was true after I said it.

Our eyes met, and it dawned on us at the same time. We both made a run for the door. I squeezed through first by a small margin. I beat her to her mother by a lot thanks to my expedited trip down the stairs. I never realized how lucky I was not to break something until I repeated the story now. They were very steep and hard. No carpet, just tall, hard wood steps. I bounced all the way to the bottom, shot up and ran onward. I found my target in the kitchen.

“Can we please camp in the barn tonight?” I asked innocently.

“You don’t want to do that dear, there’s no electricity or water, it’s so hot out right now. Plus it’s haunted.” Cutty’s mom sounded amused, which rarely meant a hard no.

“Don’t listen to her, Mom! I’m not sleeping out there so she can’t either.” Cutty caught up to me.

“I don’t mind sleeping out there alone. Not at all! I won’t leave the barn, I swear!” I begged, but knew I had her.

“Oh, I know you won’t. Just use the back door when you come back in, I don’t want you to wake us.” She walked away before Cutty could protest more.

“You suck, I’m not going, and you’re not waking me up in the middle of the night to get in my bed when you regret it. You can sleep in the nursery again for all I care.” Cutty walked back to her room, conversation over.

I followed silently. If I pushed her too far she would cry to her dad and he would overrule the whole thing. I stayed on my best behavior while finding supplies. There was nothing to sit on out there but hay. I commandeered some blankets, a pillow, and lawn chair. I felt pretty smug about the chair, it was the kind that folded from sitting upright to laying back, but also cloth, not those plastic strips that dig into you. I forgot water, but they had the water well pump things.

I mean one of these things. They had a few around the property, and the water tastes different, but in a very good way.

It was just getting proper dark when I settled into the barn. I made a nice spot for myself to the right of the smaller door, facing the rope swing. It occurred to me if I did see a ghost, I probably wouldn’t want to go past it or turn my back on it during a retreat. Not that I would have explained that to anyone else. I filled the first hour just exploring the place. I had seen it 1,000 times. You don’t visit a house with all this stuff without accidentally following a tour or ten, but this was the first time I was alone. Not just alone, but for an extended period of time. When I was convinced I wouldn’t find any earth-shattering antiques, I had some way too dangerous fun on the rope swing. I wasn’t brave enough to touch the bowling equipment, that was practically a death sentence if something happened. I know I can be over-dramatic at times, but this isn’t one of them.

I tired of the rope swing after a bad fall. I tried to do that thing where you flip upside down, but when I started to slide, I gripped tighter with my hands. Rope burns hurt, I let go, still upside down. There was a very thin layer of hay spread beneath the rope that may well have saved my ass, but I wasn’t too high, I don’t think I would have died. The fall scared me straight enough to sit down and stop messing with things. I had a book with me to kill time, that’s what I should have been doing anyway. They told me not to get on the swing because it was old and could fall down, I was lucky enough for one day.

I read long enough to get through a few chapters and begin pacing. If I haven’t mentioned my pacing problem I’d be surprised, but it’s extreme. Annoyingly (for everyone including myself) extreme. It may not help I was reading a Stephen King book, but as I paced, I heard a sudden, loud bang. Against the side of the barn. It was a good jump scare, but I couldn’t tell what caused it. It sounded like someone hit the wall really hard from the outside. I had watched The Green Mile recently and thought of the two girls who are killed in the beginning. As soon as the thought occurred to me it happened again, louder, BANG!

I dropped to the ground, proper scared now, and it happened a third time, bang! It didn’t take me too long to realize this was Cutty’s work. I knee-crawled to the door, thinking if she already saw me I could say I was being sneaky instead of trying to contain my bladder. I opened the door to see a wall of rain. The windows were long boarded up, and without the benefit of a tin roof, I had a hard time recognizing the sound of rain. Either way, it sure wasn’t thunder I heard. I enjoyed playing in the rain, Cutty thought I would stay inside rather than get wet, stupid girl.

It happened again. The bang was my starting gun, I ran around the side just in time to see the 5th bang. It was a shutter. The shutters were still fixed to the side of the barn, they were done to match the ones on the house, but this one was now hanging freely. With each strong gust, the wind slammed it into the wall. I looked over to the house, hoping no one saw my folly. I pulled the shutter the rest of the way down, thinking they would blame the storm. They totally did. I went inside, and began peeling off as many wet layers as I could without being naked.

As I peeled off my shirt, in that split moment it was over my head, obscuring my view, I was in the process of turning to face the loft ladder. I wanted to lay it over the rungs to dry, but I screamed and fell on my ass instead. Through my wet shirt, I saw the blurred image of the hanging woman swinging! She was facing me, her eyes were glowing! I’m lucky I didn’t piss myself, my heart came to a full stop, fell into my stomach, and tried to start beating again, but it couldn’t. Because it was staying in my stomach. My shirt got stuck on the hair clips Cutty put all over my head. I began a flailing around, bumping into the chair, somehow pulling it on top of me, yet still tripping on it at the same time. When I was finally free of the shirt, I spun back to the ghost… which was now just a rope swing blowing in the breeze from the door I forgot to close in my rush.

The large knots tied for hand and foot holds were spaced perfectly to make the vague shape of a woman when seen through a wet shirt. After I was able to breathe again and my heart found its way back home, I got those damn wet clothes off and stared at the rope for a long, long time. When I finished giving myself an ass chewing, I got back to business. I grabbed my shirt, almost completely dry now, and held it out the door until it was good and wet again. I was a little worried at first, but when I remembered to spin while looking, I can see how I made the mistake. I’m not 100% sure what I mistook for eyes. I really did want to know, but at the time I concluded it must have been the way water drops were collected in the shirt. As an adult, I think it’s a safe bet I probably had a concussion from my earlier fall. It explains why the image was so much clearer the first time. I would have never connected the two at that age, and I never shared the fall or hallucination with anyone before this. Now that I know what it was, I can tell you, holy cow I hallucinated that chick! It was creepy AF. I saw that weird bonnet hat, the outlines of the apron, my mind invented exactly what Cutty told me she saw, and Stephen King definitely helped it along. It was a major mindfuck.

It wasn’t nearly as bad as the cellar, but the cellar was a different kind of ‘real’ scary, not ‘spooky ghost’ scary, but it was my last campout in the barn. Not because I had a small scare, but because a rooster tried to kill me. The sun was just coming up when I made my way back to the house. I couldn’t wait for the bathroom any longer, and I hoped to sleep a few hours before Cutty woke up. I already knew I could never tell her, no way she was getting the satisfaction.

I walked into the dim sunlight, rubbing my eyes, when I heard something that almost sounded like someone drawing in the dirt with a stick really fast. As I turned to see what it could be, I saw a bright, colorful rooster charging at me. It made a sound I can only describe as a challenge and kept coming right at me. What the… is… is that rooster trying to fight me?! Why the…

OW! What in the ever loving mother fuck!” I screamed as a rooster dug it’s beak into my leg. I kicked it, but it wasn’t phased at all, he looked angry about it. It was coming for more. I ran full speed. The rooster roared its challenge again, demanding I stand to fight. Fuck that rooster, I ran faster.

“HELP! HELP ME! Someone help me!” I kept screaming as I ran for the house. It was the closest point of safety without a rooster blocking my path. I saw Cutty and her father opening the door as I rounded the corner.

“What’s wrong?” Cutty yelled. Her father looked less concerned and more confused, but when he saw the rooster, he ducked back inside. I assumed to get the gun. They had a rabid rooster and I knew we would need to kill it before it craved more blood. I wondered if he would let me do the honors.

“GO FOR THE TRUCK, DAD WILL BE RIGHT BACK.” Cutty’s voice brought me out of my daydream, she was right, let him kill it, just save me. Her father’s truck was parked out front! It was several feet closer than the house. I changed course ever so slightly. The rabid rooster was gaining on me, I would feel him bite into my ankle any second.

The bite never came. I used every ounce of adrenaline to propel myself into the back of the truck. I leapt from the ground, grabbed the tailgate, and threw myself in. I heard the rooster’s collision the same instance my body hit the truck bed. I was completely out of breath, this was the entire reason I made sure I never went near a track again after 7th grade.

The real kicker is, they tried to tell me the rooster wasn’t rabid, can you believe that?! They said Roosters were territorial and it was my fault for being a stranger in his space! Clearly they were afraid I would sue. Jokes on them because even if I had known that was a thing, I would have been far too lazy to do it.

Well guys, thanks for indulging me. I love any excuse to talk about Halloween. I hope to tell a few more before Halloween’s over, I don’t think it’s possible to run out of these, not for many years at least. It’s been harder to find time for writing this week, but hopefully things even out soon. Until next time, laters.

humor · mental health

Queen of the Walk (Pt. 2)

This one is mostly taking place in my second year at Cows. It was after breaking up with First Idiot, but before getting too serious with Crook. It really doesn’t matter for these stories, but I’m OCD about establishing time-lines.

Entry 2: Our Krystal Method

We had two Krystals, one was Krissy and the other, Kristy. It could be confusing, but we’re talking about Krissy first. She died a few years ago, and I have no clue where Kristy ended up. I’ll be surprised if she is still living. One thing I will give Past Me, when I put my mind to learning the drug world, I learned fast. I was already an expert at crazy, it wasn’t hard to expand into drugs. The two kind of go hand in hand, but I’ll save a self-medicating chapter for later.

Krissy was the first to take me under her wing when I started nights. She was already a Cows veteran, and at the pinnacle of her sober years. She was missing a few teeth, but otherwise looked normal. You know, in the sense you wouldn’t think she had all the issues I’m about to spill. Not only would she be ok with me writing this, she would encourage it. She believed in putting her experiences to use as cautionary tales.

** Fun small town thing: when Crook was 12, Krissy’s daughter put a cigarette out on his arm at a skating rink. They didn’t know each other, that’s just what happens when two assholes have a run-in. **

At Cows, I met a woman who was happy, kind, full of energy and life. She told me, “I like you, I see a lot of myself in you.” She meant it as a compliment, it’s the thought that counts.

I latched on to her. She was actually the one living in the women’s shelter I mentioned in Blue Adam. I can still see her flipping the chairs off table tops while she told me stories. It was almost a dance the way she did it, moving fast, kinda spinning them before she dropped them in place. Opening was routine for her; drop the chairs, make silverware buckets, normal stuff, but she told me stories while we worked.

At first, I thought she was making them up. I have an uncle who does that. Makes up stories that sound real at first, but progressively get wilder until you figure out he’s screwing with you. He thinks it’s hilarious (it’s not), but that’s not what Krissy was doing.

Feeny assured me, “No, she’s had a hard life. Those stories are completely true.”

That’s when I started treating Krissy like Bugs Bunny in 1001 Rabbit Tales, and I was Yosemite Sam’s spoiled nephew. I followed her around helping with set-up, begging for stories. I choose to believe she found it endearing. She told me stories in a shameless way, almost humorous. I bet it was from sharing the stories in N.A. or something, I didn’t know about things like that back then. Not outside a few prank calls, but I really can’t go into that right now. It was a terrible idea to let kids watch Crank Yankers.

Except I was happy. And not a Prince. Wait… how can that little snot be unhappy?!

For context, at this point in Krissy’s life, she is in her early 40’s, single, and taking care of an ailing mother with whom she is very close. She stayed active in church, religion helped her stay sober, and she genuinely enjoyed helping others. Her daughter (Sally) is 21, but turned out exactly like her. This should be enough background, I’m ready to spill the crazy. I’m too lazy to Google how to write Krissy’s stories from my POV so I’ll write them from hers. It will be less headache on all of us. Especially since there seem to be a couple real people reading these… well, I’m pretty sure they’re real. If they’re not, I’ve crossed into a new level of delusions and have bigger concerns.

Sorry, moving on, I’ll start with the first story she told me. I have no clue what order they occurred in, but I want the first one I heard to be the first you hear. It sets the tone for what to expect moving forward.

Krissy Gets Arrested

One night, me and the Ex were bar hopping after doing a bunch of PCP. When Ex went to the bathroom, a man tried to buy me a drink. I said no, but Ex saw him talking to me. Ex pushed the man, and grabbed my arm, “The fuck you think you doing, you trying to suck that guy off?! You wanna fuck him?! You go right ahead and fuck him on the bar if you want!”

The stranger sees this and tries to say, “Hey whoa! The hell is wrong with you?! I didn’t know she had an old man! I only wanted to buy her a drink, she said no!” Kid, never try to reason with someone on PCP.

Ex shoved him hard, then put his cigarette out on my arm. The whole bar was watching. I looked him right in the eyes and said, “You better be careful, you’re about to make me cum in front of all these people.” You shoulda seen the look on his face, I’m telling you it was worth the scar.

Ex slapped me across the face, so I punched him right in the nose, it sprayed blood like a faucet. He hit me one more time before the stranger and another guy grabbed him. Ex hit one of them over the head with a beer bottle, but the police had already been called anyway. I kicked that bastard right in the nuts, but then I sat down before they grabbed me too. Everyone was cursing, screaming, trying to keep Ex held down till police showed up. I just sat there. Laughing my ass off.

When the police arrived, they arrested both of us. They probably only took me because of how high and loud I was. They cuffed us and put us in separate cars, but I kicked out the back window. I was wearing flip-flops, it messed my feet up real bad. They took me to the ER, but I was really pissed when they told the doctor not to give me any good stuff.

So! That was the first story I heard from this woman who was barely two inches taller than me and every bit as skinny. I truly didn’t think it was possible to kick out a window in a police car, (with flip-flops, wtf) but that kind of thing was easy to confirm in a boring, small town. Let’s do another.

Krissy’s Friend’s Abortion

When I was in my 20’s one of my friends got knocked up. We all pitched in to help her pay for an abortion, she was raped by her step daddy. I was the one that drove her up there. Oh, we don’t have a place around here, but even if we did, she could never have gotten it here. The whole town would know before her first appointment was over. No, when people get abortions, they travel as far as they can for it. It’s a shameful secret you bury in your past and pray no one ever digs it up.

We drove to a place hours north of Hicktown, past the state line. We had directions, but we kept getting lost toward the end. When we finally found it, we had to drive down this narrow gravel road that twist and turned for miles before we finally saw the place. It was swarming with protestors. Had to be 30-50 people out there with signs and bibles. They engulfed the car as soon as they saw us.

They blocked our path, those crazy bastards were pumping their signs in the air and chanting, “Turn around, baby killers, Turn around.”

I didn’t understand it. Why would you stand in a road? Do they think people are going to stop? Anyway, I kept driving. I went slow, I didn’t want anyone trying to have me arrested, plus we had a lot of drugs in the car. We couldn’t have the cops messing with things. As I creeped through, they started to peel out of the road, but this one man, he spit a huge, nasty wad of dip right on my windshield. That did it, I slammed the breaks and threw it in park.

Kid, we had been on the road for hours. Do you know how to pee on long road trips when there’s no bathrooms? Yea, I didn’t think a kid like you would. You go in a bottle. And we had a few Gatorade bottles of piss just sitting there in the back seat. I grabbed one, and poked a small hole in the top. I guess they thought it was yellow Gatorade, but when I rolled the window down and squeezed the bottle, they figured it out pretty fast. My friend fired her own piss out the passenger window at the same time. When they jumped back, we floored it. That was an angry ass mob, I don’t think I’ve ever pissed one off more. No pun intended.

We were safe when we drove through the gate. They couldn’t cross the property line without being arrested for trespassing, and they were being watched every second. When we walked through the doors, the whole facility was asking us what happened. They saw the mob split, but not why. When we told them, they clapped for us. Apparently, the mob made their lives miserable. They always hope they’ll cross the line so they can call the police, but the bastards are crazy. Not stupid. They put the facility out there hoping it would be too far for the protestors to bother, but it wasn’t. They had to escort us back to a main road, afraid the mob would get violent. My car got hit with a few eggs, but from a distance. No one would come too close.

It just occurred to me as I wrote it down, this could have been a “she said friend, but really meant herself” thing. I didn’t know about that back then, but I can see how a born again Christian could maybe want to distance herself from the fact she had an abortion. Or that she led the charge of a urine battle. It doesn’t matter either way, I’m just interested in how many moments of ignorance I’ve noticed in Past Me.

Krissy Does Doggie

You really need to stay away from drugs. You don’t understand what you’ll do for them until it’s too late. When I was hooked on meth really bad, I couldn’t afford to keep up my habit, but I couldn’t stop either. If I didn’t have it, I was too sick to work. Vicious cycle.

When I was hard up for money, I had a dealer who would trade for sex. One day, he was having a party and I needed some really bad. Instead of letting me give him a blow job, he wanted me to let his German Shepherd fuck me.

I told him, “ I’ll suck you, fuck you, fuck your friends whatever you want, but I’m not fucking no damn dog, mother fucker.” He was a sick piece of shit. He had been up for days on who knows what all drugs, that made him nastier than usual.

“Nah, if you want it now, you take them clothes off and get down doggie style. I’ll go get Boomer and see if he’ll take you.” Sick bastard knew I had to do it. Every person there gathered in a circle around my naked ass. I got on the ground doggie style like he said. I half believed it wouldn’t work. I prayed it wouldn’t. But it did. It didn’t last too long, and I guess I was lucky they didn’t have these phones with cameras in them back then. That was my rock bottom for sure. Oh well, the dog was probably cleaner anyway.”

Ok. No matter what you think of that story, you have to admit it’s insane she could talk about it at all, but to laugh about it? Wow. Just wow. If only I had known the term “inter-species erotica” back then. I don’t know what I would have done with it, but if there was ever an opening to use it, that was the moment.

Krissy Finds Porn

I don’t know what story to tell you today, I’m too upset about Sally, I don’t know what to do with that girl. I was a terrible mother and we both know it. It’s meaningless to hear life advice coming from me. I wish she would have been smarter, more like you. She just doesn’t think. I didn’t do right by her, but her daddy was worse. That man ruined her.

Don’t tell anyone else about this, but I found out how she’s been paying her rent in that slum hole. She’s been doing porn! Don’t try to find it or nothing, you can’t. It’s the classy stuff, you have to pay for it. It’s not just the free sites where everyone in the world can see it. At least she’s doing the professional kind.

Hey, I know! Maybe you could talk to her for me. You’re only a few years apart, you two could be friends. I bet you’d be a great influence on her, what do you say?

There was many things wrong with that one, but I could only see half of them. I knew what porn was by then, but when she told me “the professional kind” my mind took it as something more… legitimate? It turned out it was just her in front of a webcam doing what creepy perverts told her to do. I guess if you hear your kid is doing porn, that’s just about the best scenario you can hope for. Crook explained it to me later, I had no desire to learn any more details, but I was dumb enough to believe he didn’t see it, he only heard about it.

I felt obligated to agree to try the friendship with Sally. I was a sucker for “you’re like a daughter to me, she’s practically your sister” manipulations. It didn’t matter. Sally had even less interest in a kid her mother wanted her to meet than I did.

Krissy Bleeds AIDS

One time, my Ex and I were at this party. Everyone had been up all night snorting coke and smoking crack. You’d do well to stay away from anything that keeps you up. Nothing good happens after midnight. That’s when the real shit starts going down.

Cops ended up raiding the party. They’d been watching the guy who lived there a long time. We scattered every which way. I tried to go through the kitchen but I got cornered. I still had a razor blade in my hand, we were just sorting another round of lines when shit happened. I didn’t wanna get shot, so I cut my arm open. Right here, see the scar.

I slung my blood all over those cops. I was screaming, “I have AIDS you sons of bitches! I’m gonna give all you mother fuckers AIDS!“

Boy, you shoulda seen their faces! That made them hesitate! But they used mace and tasers. That really sucked. Still worth it though. They charged me with assault even though I didn’t have AIDS. Good times.

These were probably the most unique of her stories. After that they become same shit, different day type stuff. Back then, I didn’t understand the true difficulties addicts suffered. I had only a vague understanding of the mechanics. In my mind, if someone was sober less than a year, you can’t believe it. If they’re sober over a year, they’re good forever. Yes, ignorant, moving on.

One day we received word Krissy’s mother passed away. Obviously she would need time off, Feeny was amazing about stuff like that. Family first, always. We didn’t see Krissy again until the funeral. She looked like she fell off the wagon, and under the wheels. Then it backed up and stopped on top her before pulling off again. It was a horrible mess, but even though I discussed beastiality without flinching, it feels disrespectful to discuss her mom’s funeral.

** I had to guess how to spell “beastiality” and it has the red line under it. I clicked but it wouldn’t show me the right spelling. So I Googled it. It was a terrible mistake, never Google beastiality. Especially if your search bar is still set to images because you were just looking for a stupid Bugs Bunny picture. Oh, and I did it for no reason because the spelling was right the whole time. **

When Krissy returned to work, I met a new Krissy, the Krissy from the stories. An important detail for moving forward, Krissy took the bus to work from the women’s shelter everyday. After several years of taking the bus and saving her money, Krissy was able to buy a pretty nice car. She was so proud of herself, Feeny, and all of us were so proud of her. Needless to say, after she began using drugs again, we worried about the condition she could be driving in.

This is around the time Kristy would be hired. The two women had similar life styles and became fast friends.

Kristy was from Wyoming, almost 50, and moved across country to start life over. I was fascinated by her, this was an impossible notion to me. One does not simply start over a life. Her ex and three grown sons remained in Wyoming. She was close with the youngest son, but the rest of the family was strictly no contact. Apparently, they took issue with her drug use and sleeping around.

Seriously those were her words. She too, laughed about it. Maybe you’re starting to see the similarities in Krystals now.

They both lived close enough to walk to work, but obviously that would suck so they took Krissy’s car. It doesn’t say much, all of downtown and it’s surrounding area can be walked, it’s tiny. The problem is, when you’re never sober, but always driving, the odds stack against you pretty quick. No one was seriously injured, no one died, they were lucky in that way. Unfortunately for Krissy, her insurance was lapsed. No new car, no money, nada. She was super lucky no other cars were involved.

That’s when they remembered they had an impressionable teenager with a car who was desperate to please them. Why I was desperate to please them? I don’t know. That’s why I need a psychologist who wants to study my brain. Keep up people. Moving on.

Another bright side to teenagers, it takes a super small amount of cocaine to please them. It made work so much easier. To be honest, I really do understand how addiction happens. Like yea, that shit makes you feel amazing, but then you need more and money and more again, screw that.

A pattern quickly emerged. On my way to work, one of them called me, “Hey we’re at my house, you wanna stop by and do a bump before shift starts?”

“Hellz yea I do! I’m a cool kid now!”

Which inevitably led to “Alright, time for work, care if we hope in?” You know, as they’re getting in.

“Sure, I’m coincidentally already here so why wouldn’t I drive you. Again, I’m a cool kid now.”

Mean Girls was only a couple years old, this was the image in my head when I picked them up.

Every day I arrived with the two in tow Feeny tried to warn me again, “They’re only using you for your car sweetie, I don’t want to see you getting hurt.”

Poor Feeny just didn’t understand, “I’m a cool kid now, I’m way smarter than everyone else, so thanks, but I got this.” Dumbass, I didn’t have shit.

Things stayed that way until Krissy turned up pregnant. That was interesting in itself. When trying to weigh her options, she often spoke aloud. She wasn’t really talking to me so much as at me. That was fine, I never weigh in on pregnancy topics. It’s too stressful trying to figure out if you should congratulate or sympathize with the person. They’re always offended when you get it wrong.

In the pro column:

  • It was a chance to “do things right” after failing so badly with her first kid. Why a 40 something drug addict thought she was in a position to do better, I’ll never understand.
  • Having a baby would give her someone to live with, unconditional love. I avoided the temptation to say, “only a few years of unconditional love. Then it will become very conditional.”
  • Abortions are expensive.
  • If she ever wanted another child, this was the last chance.

The con column was considerably longer:

  • No drugs or drinking for 9 months (that never lasts more than a day.)
  • Babies cry.
  • Babies need attention.
  • Babies require money.
  • Being a single mother is hard.
  • Delivering a baby sucks.
  • Having a baby over 40 is risky for the baby and mother.
  • Sally was also pregnant, people would gossip. (They were gossiping anyway, again, I remained silent.)
  • No telling who the father is, or his race. Double gossip points.

Neither list mattered. Time passed while she thought it over. There would be no abortion. She refused to go through the hell of having it just to give it up for adoption, she was clear on that. The decision was made for her.

Krissy didn’t quit her lifestyle, but she moderated it better. With a baby to think of, she made an active effort at controlling herself. Not having a car to get around in helped. Ruby helped more.

Ruby was a third Krystal with a different name. She was in her 30’s and had the same story as the rest. Moved here to start over, been a waitress her whole life. Kristy replaced Krissy with Ruby and I kept my job as chauffeur until Kristy and Ruby got boyfriends with cars.

It was fine. By then, I was serious with Crook and learned pain pills were better. Kristy and Ruby had too much drama around them anyway. They were white girls, but their boyfriends were black. In a tiny town full of racists, that tends to be problematic on its own. When you add in being poor people with drug addictions, you’re fueling a cliche. To keep piling it on, Kristy was almost 20 years older than her boyfriend (Andy), and Ruby’s boyfriend (Chill) beat her regularly.

** Quick note here. I used Chill’s real nickname. We had no clue what this guy’s real name was. Not only that, an angry woman beater’s nickname was Chill. Alright, moving on. **

Andy was a really sweet guy, one in a million. Kristy treated him like shit. I saw her curse him like a dog time and time again, and he never once raised his voice back to her. I shared many a smoke break with Andy, and he would be angry, but a reasonable angry.

His biggest complaint, “If she’s got a problem, she should be able sit down and tell it to me without cussing me in front of the whole damn kitchen.”

Their relationship only got worse, Andy was a casual drug user. There is a big difference between casual drug users and addicts. It’s dangerous to put them together for many reasons, most prevalent being the addict almost always turns the other into an addict. I find successful couples must share 4 things in common.

  • Political views
  • Religion
  • Vices
  • Family values (kids, marriage, budget)

The rest can be worked out. Well unless one of the people are mentally ill. If you throw a crazy person in the mix there’s this whole big set of new rules that go into effect and I think I am maxed out on acceptable number of lists in one post. I always wanted Andy and Ruby to get together, but it never happened. Kristy and Andy continued their abusive relationship for as long as I knew them. Chill disappeared, never to be seen again after beating Ruby badly enough to warrant a trip to the ER. It’s unknown if someone killed him or he fled. Seriously, both are equally plausible, that’s why I can use his real nickname. He’s either long dead or long left the name behind. Again, moving on.

When Krissy had her baby, it was healthy. There was a decent risk of defects, but despite age and drug use, the kid pulled through. When she brought it to Cows I kept a safe distance. The kid made it through enough, it didn’t need me dropping it or breaking it with my clumsy problem. I didn’t see anything odd about the interactions with other employees, I still don’t, but babies are a blind spot for me. I can only relay what I heard others say.

I sat with Feeny, Kerry, and a few others. “Did you notice it?” Kerry asked the group?

“I did. She’s completely uncomfortable with her baby.” Feeny answered sadly.

Well, that was news to me! The group of women around me, all mothers, stared at their feet, heads shaking sadly.

“That poor baby, she can sense it. They can do those kinds of things. Especially with her own mother.” Another added.

“Does she have anyone to help her at all? The father?” Kerry asked.

“No, she isn’t sure who the father is and since her mother died it’s just her. Sally just had a baby, she can barely handle her own.” Kristy told us.

“Oh that’s terrible.” Kerry said. After a pause she mused, “I bet it will be weird for the babies, being each other’s aunt and niece.”

“That will be the least of it.” Kristy said.

Life moved on, Krissy eventually came back to work. She and Sally worked out a semi co-parenting type arrangement. When I quit Cows, she was still waiting tables full-time. She worked there until the day it closed down for good. We didn’t keep in touch, she didn’t use social media, not that it would have made a difference. I suck at keeping in touch. I never think to make the effort. If someone talks to me, I’ll usually respond. But if they don’t make the effort, it’s pretty much over.

A few years ago, I received a message from Kerry. Krissy’s body was found dead in a ditch. She was assaulted, body dumped without ceremony. After Cows shut down, everyone went their own way. We can only guess at the circumstances surrounding her death. Police tend to allocate less resources to victims with her reputation. No one was ever arrested for her murder.

I choose to remember Krissy as she was when I first met her. That was the real Krissy. Everything else was the consequence of a hard life in a hard town with hard people. The world broke her, and now, she is finally free. However the after-life works, I hope she was able to see her mother again.

Actually, before I go, there’s a fascinating Netflix documentary I watched, Surviving Death. The first few episodes about psychics and mediums are hogwash, but the last episode is very interesting. They have a scientist who does research on terminally ill patients. He travels around interviewing people at nursing homes, and found most, if not all, were experiencing vivid hallucinations of cherished memories. Most insisted they weren’t hallucinations at all, but real events. I can’t do it justice, but you get the point.

If you’re like Hubby and annoyed by grieving people believing in psychics, I recommend going straight to the last episode.

Regardless of how you want to explain what they experienced, the fact is, they did experience it. They were able to re-live the most precious moments of their lives, and attain a sense of peace before they died. That’s beautiful and reassuring. Eventually, we are all leaving this world, I can only hope to be as lucky as they were.

Alright, seriously, that’s it this time. As usual, I super appreciate each and every one of you.

humor · mental health

Loaded God Complex

I have a super busy weekend of Japanese lessons to catch up on, but real quick, let me walk you through my drunk epiphany from last night. I can do that, because I apparently typed a draft of drunk ramblings. I had to delete most of it, like the title, Hey, Sober Me, Look at This, but some is worth remembering. This is the first time Drunk Me was able to speak to Sober Me. I don’t think the two of us like each other very much, but I’ll save that mind-fuck for another time.

I have a god complex, but I feel like it’s contradictory to being a shy, paranoid spaz. It sounds like something a narcissist or psychopath would have. I’m screwing up being crazy, that shouldn’t be possible. I can’t even with this mess.

Fine, I’ll admit I’ve been called a psychopath more than my fair share, but psychopaths don’t love animals the way I do. And even if I were, not all psychopaths are violent. It’s actually a fascinating topic I highly recommend reading up on.

I’m a gamer, but I hate when they challenge me. I don’t want to try really hard to beat a game. I’m playing it because I can’t life. I don’t want to struggle and suffer like in the real world, I want to mow down my enemies like a god. I want them to fall before me, and stand atop a pillar of corpses.

Sober me just wants to interject, it’s not for the act of killing itself. I only want a castle so I can keep lots of stuff without being called a Hoarder. No one throws around the H word until you have to navigate through pathways of clutter. Castles are a good way to avoid this. Most games just happen to require a lot of killing before they give you a castle.

Right now, I’m addicted to Minecraft. I have been playing for almost a year, and it is still set on Peaceful Mode. The plan was to build up a castle of resources, beef up with the best weapons, then turn the difficulty up when I could swat enemies like flies. 8 months later I’m living in a fully lit kingdom with chests of food I’ll never eat, but I can’t bring myself to change the difficulty. The worst part is, I didn’t build near a village, meaning I have to transport villagers across my map. Not to start a village, but to fill the cells in my dungeon. The traders keep de-spawning.

Sober me does not have a defense for keeping villagers captive in my dungeon. Except that I suck at it. It’s really hard to push a villager that far.

Yes, I converted a Woodland Mansion to stone. It’s pimp AF.
Just to be clear, I cut down an entire Dark Forest without cheats. So. You kinda have to work through night to do that.

Next is the imaginary friend thing… I guess I owe you guys an apology. I started writing as a way of therapy, but that barely lasted a day. Then it felt weird to give background info about myself to myself… so I decided, hey, imaginary friends.

Then I felt weird doing all this for just a few people… so I thought hey… an audience. But then it somehow evolved into something resembling a cult. Maybe having my followers name their children after me was a bit much. Now, there’s a daycare for the kids, I gave people careers. It all got out of hand so fast. Oh! This is the whole, power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely thing! It really sneaks up on you.

What does that say about me? Oh shit, it says I’m a white person born in the south. No, no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no, hell no!

Ok starting right now, all my imaginary peeps have mansions, fancy cars, and swimming pools… but they still have to read my stuff. They don’t have to read every day, but once a week sounds fair. Honestly, it sounds super generous. I feel better. Though, this might just be playing into the god complex even more. I’m so confused, let’s leave this alone for now. Rome wasn’t built in a day, after all.

I like writing because it’s a socially acceptable way to talk to myself. I have conversations with myself, but only in my head. I know if I say them out loud, I’ll be crossing a line into a different level of crazy. One that feels forebodingly permanent. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like myself, that’s not why I do it. I do it because… well. I don’t know. I guess I’m a glutton for punishment. That feels close to the mark.

I think about what I experience now, and how hard it will be to remember when I’m 50. What pieces of my life will I lose then? Sure, there’s plenty I want to forget, but the laws of statistics say I’m going to lose good stuff too. Way back when, I couldn’t comprehend how adults forgot stuff from childhood. Now that I have decades of memories in my brain, it’s understandable.

There are so many days of my past I can’t remember anymore. Theoretically, they’ve been overshadowed by more significant events, but we can’t know for sure because I forgot them. The past is lost forever, but I can technically save now. I kept journals sporadically over the years, but certain events eventually compelled me to burn most of them. I guess I can’t burn a blog, so that’s a new aspect.

It tempts me to dig out my surviving journals for review, but that usually ends in Present Me wishing I could strangle Past Me. That bitch is lucky I can’t lay hands on her. Part of me does feel oddly compelled to record what’s left of those days. For prosperity. Just kidding, it’s so the psychologists who one day study my brain can have the most accurate information possible. You know scientists, all data, data, data. I hope I’m still alive by then. It would suck to go the Van Gough route. We should live in an age of technology where they don’t need physical access to my brain… right?

Ok. Sober me sees the god complex thing now. This is 100% why we’re smokers in this family.

humor · mental health

Crook Rx

It’s time to talk about Crook, he was in my life almost 4 years in when all was said and done. Crook introduced me to the darker side of the real world. I was only dipping my toes, but he shoved me into the deep end without a life vest.

Spoiler Alert: It is nothing like tv.

Today, I want to focus on his criminal enterprises, but it seems more proper to start with how we met. It saddens me I can’t use his real name. If you knew it, you would understand “Crook” is clever, and not just a lazy joke about his being a thief. Although… since my audience is imaginary I can just decide you know it. Yay for me!

A four year age difference isn’t much these days, but I have a weird thing about age. We met at Lunch on the Side when he was hired as a waiter. I was still dating the first Idiot, but I felt something when Crook and I were introduced.

We shook hands, and gazed into each other’s eyes like every cheesy rom-com ever produced. We shook longer than social convention dictates and people noticed. It felt like time froze in that moment. If I believed in reincarnation, I would say we knew each other in the last life. I felt like I was supposed to meet Crook. Later, he said he felt the same thing. I’m not saying it was love at first sight, but I think it’s the sensation people confuse with love at first sight.

** Ok, I need to make something clear. This cheesy crap is making me sick. I hate it now, I hated it then, and the whole thing is lame AF. But this is about being honest, and that’s how I felt. If a psychologist is willing to study my brain one day, I can save us both a lot of time by writing these diatribes now. Great, now I really hope that happens so I can have a syndrome named after me.**

We flirted shamelessly, but I never cheated. I couldn’t if I wanted to, I believed I was “locked in” with my choice for Idiot. Like a video game without reset, there was no going back. I don’t know how the notion stuck in my brain, that’s a weird one even for me. It felt different than being with Idiot, it wasn’t for show. I didn’t care who knew or saw, I just wanted to be with him.

We had social circles in common. In small town life, this confirms you’re good people. As you’ll soon learn, it’s a flawed system. I hope that gets my point across. I’ve had all I can take of that for now. I can write about how we went from soulmates to Chernobyl later.

His criminal enterprises make for a much better story, so let’s do that. Just know, by time I learned these things, we were living in the house I blew my life savings on. I was in love, and believed he changed for me. Regardless, I would have stayed purely to avoid change and keep my house. In that order.

The first time he robbed a pharmacy was too easy, it made him cocky. He lived across the street from it. One night, he walked over, broke in, filled a bag, and walked home. He partied hardy and sold what he didn’t use. The pharmacy bought an alarm system with security cameras, and the world moved on.

I drew you a map to show how ridiculously easy it was.

The second time makes for a better story. Crook could never be happy just robbing a pharmacy, he was a show-off. He wore a silly Halloween mask, and used glow paint to write “Fuck You” on the back of his shirt. He broke in, danced for the camera while filling his bag, and was back home five minutes before the first cop arrived. He burned the clothes and mask in his fireplace as police investigated across the street.

Several things worked in his favor here, especially coupled with Small Town Laws of Physics.

  • He lived in a rich, all-white neighborhood
  • His uncle is a Judge, his family are well-known, respected members of the community.
  • The pharmacy only had two indoor cameras and a silent alarm. Both of which Crook watched them install from his back yard.
  • His mother (Elle) filled her prescriptions there. He had valid reasons to check it out up close on multiple occasions.

The police never worried Crook, but his father (John) did. One day, Crook came home to find John with the stash. John wanted to keep it for himself. Crook told him, “Dad, if you do that, people are going to come to the house, and they’re going to kill you, Mom, Sister, the dogs, everyone. I have to take that bag to them. Now.”

The bluff worked, but he had to get rid of everything immediately. He took a hand full of painkillers for the beating he received, and sold the rest at a price low enough to make him cry.

Over the years, Crook’s choir boy act fell apart as he earned a reputation. It turned into one of those things where the police knew he did it, but couldn’t prove it.

** A quick note, while I can guarantee everything else I tell you about Crook is 100% true, I need to add a disclaimer for the ‘digging’ section. Crook talked about this often, and his story never changed, but I can’t help noticing plot-holes. **

Crook claims he was forced to dig a deep hole in the backyard, but only when Elle wasn’t home. After digging, he had to fill the hole back in. When Crook complained to Elle, John said, “The boy is lying for attention, maybe I should beat it out of him.”

Crook kept telling Elle, “No! That bastard is doing this to make me look crazy! He makes me fill it back in so he can deny it.”

John kept beating him for lying. Eventually, they sent Crook to a therapist. The therapist also determines, “He’s lying for attention. Classic situation.”

Crook had to continue seeing a therapist whose ultimate goal became forcing him to admit the holes were a lie.

If you’re wondering about Elle, she was having an affair with Xanax. She coddled Crook until John stepped in. Fearing John she would say, “Don’t tell lies about your father! Well, goodnight, I’m just going to take this bottle of wine and go to bed. Love you!”

It really seems to have messed his head up, and I think that’s why I never questioned it. When your boyfriend is pouring his heart out about years of people not believing this thing, I can’t very well turn around and not believe him either. It was a hell of a pickle. I listened intently for new details or slip-ups each time he talked about it. Luckily, my confused face mimicked a sympathy face, so I got away with it.

I’ve seen holes dug and filled in. You can tell something was done to the ground unless you do that thing gardeners do where they lay patches of grass. They didn’t live in the country with a lot of land, they lived in the middle of town with a tiny chain-link fenced back yard. I don’t understand how he could all dig these holes yet no one ever saw.

This stuff. I just don’t see how you hide that much digging without it.

I’ve met John. He is an asshole. It does sound exactly like something he would do, I just don’t understand how he would pull this off even if they are the kind of people who can afford therapy bills just to stick it to a bratty kid.

John is the kind of person that drove across two states to connect with a son he never met. Upon arrival the son walked out to greet him. As they embraced, his son’s black wife and daughter walked out. John took one look and said, “I’m sorry, I can’t have anything to do with this.” He got back in his car and drove home.

The first time Crook stayed in prison, he tried to rob a pharmacy in a different town. He ended up in some random guy’s house doing cocaine and who knows what else with people he just met. I never understood how that worked, the whole meeting strangers and doing drugs together thing.

Somehow, Crook started bragging about robbing pharmacies and how much money he made. That was dumb enough but, cocaine = bad decisions I guess. These guys tell Crook, “Hey, what a coincidence, we have a pharmacy a few blocks over! You should totally rob that one!”

Crook wasn’t against it, but he really should have been. “Awesome! Since I don’t have time to learn the area, security, or police routes, you guys should call in a shooting. Use a pay phone on the opposite side of town, and tell them you heard shots fired. I can totally make it back here before cops arrive.”

“Sure. Sounds great bruh.” The guys drove him to the pharmacy. It sat in a small shopping center next to a middle-class neighborhood. “Wait like 20 minutes for us to make the call. Then go down that street right there, it be a straight shot back.”

I know, I’m not an artist. I’m not a writer either but here we are. Anywho, as you can see, this was a slightly more difficult layout for Crook’s usual M.O.

Solid plan right? Good thing he had such trusted accomplices. You know, in the guys he just met a few hours ago who were super cool with bringing a stranger into their home to snort a bunch of drugs? I’m sure they seemed like solid guys.

Crook waited in the shadows for half an hour before going in. He assumed there would be an alarm and cameras and acted accordingly. He wore a plain black shirt and ski mask. It took him a minute to find the good stuff, but once he did he began scooping everything into his bag without reading labels.

He heard sirens much sooner than expected. He planned to be across the highway and out of sight before they could arrive. He ran out a side door, past a cop car, and led them on a merry chase across highway. After almost getting hit by a car, he dove over a fence on the other side. When out of sight, he crawled under the house. He laid in the lowest spot he could and waited for the cops to pass him by.

These police were smarter than what he was use to back home. When they lost him, they set up a perimeter and brought in the dogs. They were good doggies, they found him fast. The cops drug his ass out, and they were super mad about working so hard. They roughed him up a fair amount for “resisting arrest.”

After processing, they threw him in a cell with a dude who was badly beaten, bleeding profusely. He told Crook, “Ho! Stand back there, bud. I got busted for bum fights, I got the AIDS, you don’t want none of this.

Crook threw a fit at the cops, “I’m bleeding from everywhere assholes! If I catch AIDS I’ll sue your asses off.”

That only made the cops more angry. Obviously. They made him wait longer to use the phone. The next morning, Elle and Uncle Judge came to bail Crook out. Judge threw his weight around. In the end, they dropped the resisting charges, and Crook’s made bail. In exchange the cops who roughed him up and threw him in the AIDS cell were not disciplined.

Crook spent $1500 of his drug money on the best lawyer he could find. If you remember what I said about doctors, the same thing applies to lawyers. The good ones don’t settle in shit-hole towns like these.

The lawyer said things that sounded really good until the day of the trial, then it was all, “Pack a toothbrush son, they’re going to take you directly to jail.”

Crook says the lawyer robbed him, he was all like, “What?! You said you could get me a deal. You said lots of good words about first offense and family connections.”

But the lawyer just shrugged it off like, “Oh, did I? Well, we’ll see.”

“Did you even look at my case?!”

“Sure I did, Barry.”

Crook is cray, the lawyer is lucky he didn’t get assaulted if this account is accurate. I feel like a lawyer who gets away with charging a $1500 retainer fee should at least remember their clients name, but we do live in a place where those kinds of facts are unreliable.

But who knows. Crook was sentenced to two years. After 9 months of good behavior, they released him on parole.

While out on parole, he decided he needed to rob another pharmacy. Elle spent all his drug money on a second kitchen claiming she was afraid the money would be confiscated if she didn’t spend it. I can see her point, but there were other things to buy besides a second fancy ass kitchen.

Crooks figured he went wrong trying to rob a place he was unfamiliar with. If he robbed the pharmacy by his house again, everything would be fine. Weirdly enough, it almost was. He pulled his same tricks, and made off with the same rewards. But this time, a guy (Larry) he sold to, got busted. He ratted Crook out to save his own ass. Crook was sent back to serve the remaining time.

** I know this isn’t about our relationship right now, but I’m proud of this. Larry turned out to be related to my co-worker. When Crook and I broke up, I got a date with Larry. He was terribly annoying, but worth it. Larry and I met in a parking lot, planning to leave together, but Crook drove by and saw us. Mission accomplished! I didn’t even have to go on the date with Larry. **

Being caught locally gave him the advantage of family connections. He served 3 months, and was released on parole once again. During this parole, he begins working at Lunch on the Side where our story began. But like I said, this isn’t about us, it’s about his criminal history.

FF to living in the nice house, I know the whole story, but I’m stupid enough to be impressed by the bad boy who changed for me. My main concern was the $50 we had to pay to an asshole parole officer every month. It also sucked to worry about his drug tests. He could get tested on any visit. Each month before going to see the parole officer, Crook had a clean friend piss in a condom, then tied the condom to his dick. Apparently, it worked, so whatever.

Crook caught a lucky break and got out of parole several months early. His parole officer was caught exchanging blow jobs for skipping piss tests. There were too many cases to divide among other parole officers, Crook and several others were off early.

I always told Crook, “I’m the only reason you stayed out of jail. If it weren’t for me you wouldn’t last a month.” It became a slogan for our fights. Why isn’t important right now. I’m proud to report I was right. He was arrested two weeks after we separated. Not for robbing a pharmacy this time.

This time, he was pulled over for driving crazy. He was under the influence, driving Elle’s car. She kept a gun in the glove box. Convicted felons can’t have a gun. They arrested him, but it was his shortest visit yet.

I heard of several instances of drug dealing and fighting after that occurrence, but no arrests. I googled him just now and found the last charge, but nothing new. Maybe he finally learned his lesson. I doubt it, but let’s give him a maybe.

That’s it for Crook’s criminal career. Is it wrong I kinda hope for a sequel?

Also, many of you have decided to follow Todd and Linda’s example, but all the babies having the same name is too confusing for the daycare nurses. Do you think you guys could mix it up a little? Thanks!

P.S. IT WAS COLD THIS MORNING!! FALL IS HERE!!!