Mississippi Woman, Louisiana Man
Rolling in My Sweet Baby’s Arms. When I was a kid my big sister and I would visit my father for a week, twice a year. One of my more memorable takeaways from those visits was the intercom system in his house. At 5:30 am Pop would start cooking breakfast (eggs, sausage, biscuits, gravy… the works), and while doing so would fill the house with very loud bluegrass music. Ready or not, like it or not, in imitation of an infamous grizzled farm rooster Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs were suddenly right there in your bedroom with you, a-picking and a-grinning as only they could, rolling out those raging banjo and mandolin alarms. Lucky for me I was an early riser. My sister was not. She was always late to the kitchen, with a tussled head and an attitude, so this practice caused no little bit of friction between she and my father. But no worries, when you only had two weeks a year there was no time for, lyin' round the shack 'til the mail train comes back. We was jammin’!
… she found another and PHHFTT she was gone! Pop used to love Hee-Haw. When he would turn it on Sis and I would stick our fingers down our throats and pretend puke in our attempts to get the channel changed over to anything else! I hated that show, until I was grown. It was not until then that I saw past the silly, beyond the hokey, and was able to appreciate the self-deprecating, stereotypical humor that was aimed directly at me and mine… and still today when I stop flipping channels for a few minutes to check out those old reruns on the RFD network I marvel at how good the music was, and I understand why Pop tuned in.
East bound and down, loaded up and truckin'. I remember Pop took us three times in one week to see “Smokey and the Bandit”. My sister wouldn’t sit beside him in the theater because she was embarrassed at how he laughed until tears ran down his cheeks, and at how he beat on her leg while continually blurting, “Did you see that? Did you see that?” Jackie Gleason was absolutely incredible in that movie, no matter how red-necked up it was.
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. And on the long drive to meet my mother half way home Pop would pop a Guy and Ralna cassette in the 8-Track player. I would provide a link for you, but trust me, you really don't want to hear it. Guy and Ralna were regulars on the Lawrence Welk Show, and more importantly Guy Hovis was a fraternity brother of my father's at Ol' Miss. The three of us would sing our hearts out to their cheesy gospel right up until we cried them out as we parted again for six long months.
Pop loved hill-billy music. So do I, now. Funny how the worst memories can also be the best, and the longest lasting.
Passing The Buck
"It's these damn service technicians," Larry said, barely able to contain his ire. "See, all the companies laid off their senior techs during COVID, and then they hired back these young bucks who don't know jack on the cheap afterwards. Now I have to deal with all these extra service tickets because some idiot didn't do their job right."
TW listened attentively. "I understand that frustration, Larry. Let me make sure I've got all the info I can for your technician before you send them out to site. I'll follow up."
"It's these damn appliance makers," Joe said, blowing out after each breath. "See, nobody makes anything worth shit anymore. Everything's got so much 'smart tech' crap uploaded to it you need to be some kind of magician to run a simple oven nowadays. Don't even get me started on the coffee makers! Now the chef is screaming at me along with the building owner!"
TW listened attentively. "I understand you're under pressure, Joe. Let me pass this site info on to the technician so we can get this unit up and running. I'll follow up."
"It's these damn contractors," Patty said, her voice sounding like a tin can over her Bluetooth connection. "They don't pay us to properly install the units, then they screw up the install and turn around and blame us! Now I've got angry clients blowing up my phone all day and this isn't even my job! I'm a vice president! They just pawn all these folks onto me! UGH! I hate being a female manager in this industry!"
TW listened attentively. "I understand your pain, boss. I've got a technician coming out to fix the unit. I'll coordinate with the contractor afterwards to make sure it's running smoothly before we close out the ticket. We'll get these guys off your back."
"It's these damn bosses," Mr. Fixit said, collapsing into his computer chair after a long commute back from the office. "They just expect us to work to the bone, more and more hours each day, and then when we burn out they refuse to pay us what we're worth or listen to us when we need more staff on hand! I totally blame this company for our marriage falling apart!"
TW listened attentively. "I understand you've had a rough year. We've got a meeting scheduled with the divorce attorney you picked. They'll get the paperwork filed for us and we'll sort out the details slowly over the next few months. You're already signed up for dating sites. I'm sure you'll find somebody who has similar goals and work ethics in no time, you're still young."
TW laid in bed alone, eyes closed, moonlight beaming through the window.
"One day, self, it'll just be us," she whispered quietly. "We'll take care of ourselves instead of everyone else. We won't have to listen to everyone whine and complain. We won't have to fix everything for the Fixits. People won't even notice we're gone and we'll take that vacation we've always dreamed of to Peru. Just wait, self. Just wait."
With a smile and a dream of beautiful ancient ruins, TW rolled over and gradually fell asleep.
my body ruptured
my hospital stay
cost hundreds of dollars
but by far
the most terrifying part
was watching a young woman
in my same
admit to the nurse
she didn’t want
to live anymore
and my pain
her empty gaze
The Trouble With Cussin’ Is There Ain’t Enough Words For Excrement and Fornication.
I've always loved curse words, and fuck in particular, for it's versatility and gumption, but as I spend most of my time around little earthlings, it becomes a definite priority to curb the expletives in order to adequately civilize the darling little munchkins. Some of my favorite sci-fi's have tackled the problem, coming up with great replacements- "Frack"(Battlestar Galactica) and "Smeg"(Red Dwarf) being prime examples.
I've noticed that curse words tend to have a common theme; being short and satisfying to say is only one prerequisite, the other is that it must be a shameful subject matter. Many of the best curse words simply mean poop: "crap" "shit" etc.. The only thing which makes fuck more objectionable is that it equates to sex, and if there's anything humans find more shameful than shitting it's sexing, especially around children, obviously. Can't let 'em know that they were born into a sexually reproducing species, they're not ready for that harrowing dingleberry of bad news, not for another few decades at least...
"Cock" is another of my favorites in adult company. eg: noun: "what a marvelous cock you have!" exclamation, verb & adverb: "cock! I've cocking cocked it up again." alternate verb:"all I need is a good cocking." adjective: "you're looking mighty cocky about it." more questionable adjective: "what the cock happened to that sandwich?" (and it has the advantage of being brushed off with the definition of "rooster" if accidentally overheard by young ears. But it's still cutting it a little close to the mark of social-unacceptitude...)
All that said, there is actually another existing word which has all the uses and which is acceptable to say around litl'uns: "Snot."
noun: "wipe the snot off yer face youngin."
verb: "stop snotting on the furniture, that's what snot-rags are for."
adjective: "Alright, I see your handkerchief is already quite snotty.."
adverb & exclamation: "'snot my fault your father skimped on our snot-wiping expenses. Just use the snotting toilet paper or sniff it back in. No, your sleeve will not do in a pinch, we shall not be a family of grotty little snots!!"
Operation Ted Bundy
Take the place of Ted Bundy’s first victim and bring back his brain for study.
My research brings me to March 18, 1946. A bedroom in small bright blue house with white shutters and a yellow front door in Roxborough PA where I take the place of the very first victim slipping into the pleasing sleeping body of a raven haired twenty-one-year-old Eleanor Louise Cowell.
That night. Squeezing her eyes shut pretending not to notice as her father Sam Cowell, having found nothing in the stack of semen-stained pornography kept hidden in his greenhouse to bring release, pulled up her covers. Just enough. To reach in and insert first one finger. Moistened with spit. Probing. Then one hand, spreading her labia wide, dipping in to broaden the passage. Expert he was at preparing for fertile planting. Satisfied, he hastily pulls up the other handful of bedclothes tossing them to land burying his daughter’s silent grimace. Beheaded. Intombed. His rough hands, the hands of a professional gardener, nails embedded black with soil, coaxed apart her ankles like tangled stubborn tree roots. His penis heavy. Angry. Aching. Beyond caring about noise or messiness. His wife in the bedroom ten foot away behind a wall cocooned in herself by the latest rounds of electroshock. What good was she to him? He knew anything could be concealed. Hidden away. His moan too loud. As he buried himself deep into the mossy hole he had dug. Impaled there he planted his seed ever deeper again and again.
I continue to live on as Eleanor into early summer with the shame of knowing she cannot vomit away what is growing inside her. She cannot hide. She feels the horror stretching her once slim belly from within. At night, she hits herself down there as hard as she can hoping to kill it and make it go away. Hoping to see something warm and red trickle into the toilet each morning. Weeks go by. She whispers words of hatred as she digs deep into her ballooning belly searching for a little neck beneath the heaviest shape her fingers can find to snap it off and make it die. One night, as her hands travel down to maim and kill, it strikes back. Inside the blow of a fist went straight to her gut making her gasp for breath. After that, she feels its sharp fists and kicking feet striking her endlessly with howls so loud inside she wonders if her parents will hear ten feet away where nightly she knows the sounds of flesh slapping, her mother’s sobs, her father’s moans.
Later that summer, her mother also named Eleanor, was taken away to the place where they shocked the emotions out of her memory for a time. She came back blank. Calm.Content to wander aimlessly going from cupboard to cupboard, drawer to drawer looking for what she’d lost before taking to her bed causing Sam to come again to his daughter’s room. This time bolder. Reaching under her covers with two hands. His fingers extend up under her nightgown and touch the bulge above her pubis. I squeezed my eyes shut. I grimace at what I fear will come next.
“What’s this?” He shouted tossing her sheets to the floor. “You whore. Slut. No daughter of mine.” He slapped her spat in her face. “How could you bring disgrace on this family?” You trollop. Who’s the father?”
Eleanor just looked at him. She was shaking. She felt her lips curl into a grin. “How about Lloyd Marshall? An Air Force Vet I met...” Another slap. Then a back hand to her jaw.
“Are you sure? You cheap worthless tramp. Answer me!” A clenched fist lands hard just clipping her left ear. There was a buzzing sound. Some warm wetness trickled.
“Whoever, Jack Worthington?” She looks at his eyes. Blue turning to black. “You want to hear me say it...........it’s you.” This time the blow of his fist when straight to her gut making her gasp for breath, followed by two more. Could knock out Joe Louis. Doubled over, she smiles. “Good. I hope you killed it.”
He reached over and grabbed her face by her cheeks burning from the blows. “I am your father. You will not shame this family. I’m sending you away where no one will ever know and you’ll have this child and then you will both come home. And your mother and me will raise the little bastard as our own."
Then her father kissed her, his hot swollen tongue licking the roof of her mouth as his hands roamed down stopping to weigh her newly ripe breasts. An expert gardener. Big juicy tomatoes. Eleanor just squeezed her eyes shut pretending not to notice.
November 24, 1946. Burlington, Vermont. Elizabeth Lund Maternity Home for Unwed Mothers. I know I will not have to endure this mission much longer. The pains went on for three days doubling her over. Could knock out Joe Louis. Eleanor hoped it would die. Eleanor hoped she would die. She felt her body being forced open like a rough huge hand spreading her wide, dipping down to broaden the passage. The pressure coaxing her bones apart. Tangled stubborn tree roots. Then her moans too loud. Her vagina too full, stretching bursting. Her feet in cold metal holding her open too wide. She howls. Some warm wetness trickled. She reaches down and feels a heavy shape covered in bloody moss. She whispers words of hatred as she digs deep and pushes just enough. Her fingers searching for a little neck.
Before the doctor can say a word or the nurses pull her hands away, I snap off the head. Slipping out and away from the first female victim.
I look back and see the doctor yelling at Eleanor to keep pushing to expel the mangled dead child. She bears down with all that is in her. A headless body plops explosively to the floor bloody, battered, bruised.
"The head, where its head?" The nurse yells.
"It must be buried somewhere in all this." Another nurse replies. She is crawling on hands and knees looking through the bloody sheets and tools that have fallen to the floor.
The doctor exclaims, “It would have been a boy. Too bad. Did you have a name for it?”
Eleanor is sobbing. Gasping for breath. Howling through tears of relief, “I would...I would have named him Theodore...Teddy...Ted."
The infant head in my hands, and make my way back, completing my mission.
"See you, Monday, Ann Marie."
"See ya," 8-year-old Ann Marie replied as she head across the high school football field to take the shortcut home.
As she passed the empty bleachers, she heard, "Hey, pretty, can you give me a hand?" Ann Marie smiled at the high school boy who had called to her. He had a sling on his right arm and his books were scattered at his feet.
"Sure," she said walking towards him.
"So, sorry for the bother."
"It's okay," she said as she knelt to pick up the books.
"What's your name, sweetpea?"
"Ann Marie Burr," she said passing the books to him.
"Yes," she said standing up to hand him the last one. "Bye!" she said as she turned to walk away.
"Thanks for the help, sweetpea," he yelled after her. As she skipped away, he muttered, "See you soon."
"I don't think so, Ted," I said from behind him. He whirled around, ready to strike at me - with a now perfectly functional arm.
Ready, but no longer able.
"Hello, Ted," I said, moving into his space. "I've waited a long time for this moment."
"Who are you? Why can't I move?"
"It doesn't matter who I am. What matters is that because of me, you will no longer have the opportunity to continue down the path you were headed today."
"What are you talking about?"
From under the bleachers, the crow bar he had hidden flew out and rapped him behind the knees, knocking him to the ground.
"What the he**?"
I sat on the bleacher closest to his head.
"You see, Ted," I kicked him in the belly with my steel-toed boot. I allowed pain to flow through him. He screamed, but couldn't move. "Today would have been a turning point for you. You would have graduated from trapping, torturing and killing small animals to kidnapping and killing your first human being. It would have been the first day of your life as a sadistic sociopath."
"That makes no sense. None of this makes sense. I'm fourteen. I didn't do anything! I'm just a kid."
"A kid with a crowbar," I said as I made him smash his face into the ground. "A kid who planned to sneak into the living room window of 8-year old Ann Marie Burr, remove her from her home, bludgeon, rape and dismember her before burying the pieces where none would ever find them -- even decades after her disappearance."
"You can't possibly know what I haven't done yet. It hasn't happened yet!"
"And now it won't. Ever."
I could feel the fear began to overtake the bravado. I could smell it. I knelt on the ground next to him.
"I've studied every aspect, every minute detail of your miserable existence. I've been you in every virtual reality program the Academy offered. I know you better than you know yourself.
"I know every woman you have killed. I even know the men no one considered your prey. And the animals on which you practiced that led you to today."
His eyes were wide and unblinking.
"How could you...no one...I didn't..."
"Where I come from, you are the textbook example of sadistic sociopath. You proclaimed yourself "the most cold-hearted son of a bitch you'll ever meet" and one of your own attorneys said you were "the very definition of heartless evil.'"
"You're crazy," he shouted. I silenced his tongue. He gagged as it swelled in his mouth.
"And you," I whispered, "are dead. But instead of dying in the Florida electric chair at age 42, you will die right here in Tacoma, Washington, age 14, an apparent heart attack victim despite your youth." I paused. "You will be mourned by your mother, perhaps, and then forgotten. And all those who would have suffered at your hand, will live."
His eyes pleaded with me. I released his tongue.
"Please, I don't know what you're talking about, but if nothing happened yet, I can be better. I promise ."
"Not an option, Ted. Teddy. Theodore." I stood up and walked a few paces away. Looking at him I said, "I was quite young when I was chosen for this honor. Because of certain...special abilities I have," I caused him to rise in the air and slam into the bleachers before falling at my feet. "Each training I ever received over the course of my years at the Academy had this moment as its goal."
A small container appeared in my left hand, a scalpel in my right.
"Wha...what is that?" He stuttered, staring at my right hand.
"You, Theodore, have the pleasure of being the first serial killer the Academy will remove from the annals of history. We know a great deal, of course, but when it comes to selective termination, it is imperative to leave no rock unturned."
"It's a complex process. We've already compiled a complete analysis down to the nano-elements of a so-called healthy brain. We've also conducted in-depth examinations of myriad sub-nano threads linked to sociopathic behaviors gleaned from the few current murderers in custody of the Academy.
"Once we have the fullest picture by harvesting, comparing and charting the brains of other well-known serial killers, the first of whom will be you, not only will we be able to determine from birth who should be terminated due to a 99.99% chance of sociopathic tendencies, we will also have eliminated from the collective memory of humanity some of the most evil human beings that ever lived."
I placed the scalpel and box on the floor as I knelt next to Ted. I looked into his eyes. I sent a thought. He looked confused, then horrified then excited. "I did that?"
"Oh, Teddy," I murmured, "that is not even a fraction of what you have done."
"But, how can...how did you...but I haven't done any of that. You know I haven't!"
"I had the pleasure of meeting the you you become and appropriating all your memories before I came back for you."
As he began to accept the reality of my words, I allowed him to feel the fear I could smell. He began to tremble.
"I met him, you, in the antechamber moments before you were fried. You were unrepentant and cocksure. With pleasure, I took your memories and you went to the chair confused and screaming you were innocent. You soiled yourself as they strapped you in."
"Why are you telling me this? You're gonna kill me. Just do it!"
"Now, where's the fun in that?" I picked up the scalpel and inserted it into his ear, activating the suction element as I placed the capture box next to his head.
"This is going to hurt, Teddy."
I silenced his scream but allowed his pain and fear to roll over and through me. Every needle of fright ignited sensations of pure pleasure. I shivered.
I understood him better than anyone ever suspected.
Than anyone will ever know.
When I have provided all the grey matter the Academy desires, I will have fulfilled my task. No one can say I am not a woman of my word.
But it will be too late.
My powers have allowed me to slip out of the time tunnel without leaving even an atom to follow. Very soon, I will have managed to acquire all the darkest memories associated with the men and women whose brains the Academy wishes to study.
And then, with the greatest perpetrators of evil eliminated, I will give new meaning to the phrase, Greatest of All Time.
“You Shall Go to the Ball!”
Remember Cinderella's stepsisters? Well, they were excellent with losing weight.
1. Buy extra small corsets in order to force yourself to eat only one or maybe two bites of food. Then have your stepsister, who has no idea she's going to be a princess, use all her strength from hauling water buckets to squeeze your waist until you can't breathe or bend over. Works like a charm!
2. This next one is not for the faint-hearted. Take a cleaver or run to the butcher and grab one of their knives. Now, carefully cut off chunks of your feet. The heal or toes are the most popular places. While blood is still pouring out of your feet, stick them into exquisitely designed shoes made just for your small-footed stepsister. You will feel lighter immediately!
3. Watch out, you might be blinded. When your aforementioned stepsister finally marries her prince, and you get to stand on the balcony with her, hire some ravens to peck your eyes out. You'll be in agony for days, but that doesn't matter. You'll feel so much better once you realize you can't see how fat you are!
4. This one, yet again, involves your stepsister. Follow your stepsister around, mercilessly teasing her. Make sure to yell at her until you lose your voice. Your newly chiseled jaw muscles might just cause that young man (or woman), that you've been eying for a while, ask to court you. When Stepsister tries to follow you to the royal ball, tear her dress and necklace into shreds. Excellent bicep and triceps workout. Force her to do your bidding by ordering her around. Walk back and forth, making sure you follow her around like a nagging fly. Make sure she gets those chamber pots!
5. Learn to sing like a braying donkey or sketch like a bird who can't hold a pencil. Sing every day at high volumes in order to further your singing. Good thing you are tone deaf. Sing so much that it physically hurts to eat. Watch all those calories wash away! If you prefer not to sing, don't worry! We've got another option for you too! Pick up a piece of paper and a pen. Scribble until you cannot anymore. Make sure each picture looks like your anguish when your suitor decides to court another lady or gentlemen. Your sore arms will discourage you from ever picking up a fork. Let all those emotions out!
Hmm... I wonder what Hansel and Gretal might have to offer.
Weight loss hack
In-laws. Get some in-laws and stress out like the coolest homies on the block. Just think about them and you feel genuine discomfort and concern. Open the door, and into the crannies of your mind the dread shall explore. It devours from within, an insatiable parasite leaving its host weary yet remarkably thin.
Speaking of parasite, its time to swallow a parasite. Tapeworms are all the rage but really any old wonky looking parasite will do the job. Just get one and put it inside of you, and let it hang out for a while, sort of like an intestine or a lung.
"Hey how can you eat that and be so skinny?"
"Oh I'm not eating anything."
"What are you talking about, Sheryl?"
"My friend ate it."
"You sound crazy right now."
"Crazy? No I'm not."
"Does this have to do with that illegitimate doctor friend?"
Parasite. Just swallow. It's fine.
You know what else is fine? The things you don't know. How do you not know? You can't see. You don't know what you can't see.
Worried how you look?
Don't get a mirror.
If you can't see then you don't know.
Sounds good to me.
You know what else sounds good? Not the news. Just turn on the news while you eat. Pick your least favorite news and crank up that volume like they did at that nightclub you don't remember and then you'll be so pissed off the pounds will literally burn off.
Still not satisfied? We've got you covered. Try our seven day plan of doing stuff that scares the living daylight out of you nonstop 24/7.
Think we're kidding?
Because we're not.
You're kidding for saying we're kidding because we are definitely not kidding.
Looks like you're the crazy one now.
Worried? You should be. Get help.
But before you do, fill out a form of what terrifies you so badly that it shakes your inner soul and then spend a week of hell so terrified that you'll forget what undressed personal problems got you show up in the first place. You'll be pooping your pants so badly that you'll have that figure back in hours! You might be crazy, and we can't help with that, but you'll sure look good!
Well, I’d have to say the first time I started writing was when I picked up a pencil or crayon to start scribbling out letters and short words back in nursery school, age 4. After that, I have a clear memory of writing a short story for a second grade class, maybe third grade. The story was about me in a shopping cart that I could drive around wherever and whenever I wanted. At this age, I may have based this story on driving around because I had to walk to and from the elementary school that was about one mile each way every day. I walked to and from school up to the fifth grade. Anyway, I had enough time and plenty of footsteps to walk and imagine wonderful delights and freedoms in my young child brain.
I wrote essays throughout high school and sought extra English classes in my first and second year of college that contained writing. About eleven years later I took a trip to India and came home with the impulsivity to pound away at the keys on a laptop dated circa 1990s wherever I was, including a client’s reception area. I also have memories of stealing away to a vacant cubicle in one particular client’s office that had a bright red carpet and a shiny midnight blue almost black painted ceiling throughout the office. That writing connection lasted for about a year. Many years later I volunteered to begin a store newsletter full of fun and quips of merchandise for the employees to help rally the team concept. Fast forward to 2014, when I experienced a major loss after a several year period of undoings, lost dreams, profound changes and descending into a state of despair I was guided to an author and writing for healing. I began journaling everyday in the early morning hours. I’ve journaled every day for seven years.
Writing has given me back my life. I do not tell of this lightly. The habit of coming to the desk in the deep quiet of early morning hours took hold like a strongly connected line on a bow cleat holding me as I watched dreams wash away and losing any answers to my life. Anchoring into my morning writing practice became secured, stronger and stronger with the gift of willingness every day to show up at my desk no matter what. For this gift I am grateful. With each change I was encountering I thought it would be the last round of disruptions. Changes abound resulting in a stage of transformation. There is a significant difference between changes and transition vs. transformation. I was unaware of the value of the gift of willingness at the start of my practice which anchored me into an inner self groundedness as things around me and within me began to dismantle. The effects of such changes have left me only with my pen, paper and my thoughts. This is all that is left. Just like harm can be done to the physical body, but the spirit is never destroyed. The changes I have experienced have brought me to the viewing point of how I relate to the world, and again, I am left with my pen, paper and thoughts. This is where I find I am connected, just as is my connection to breathing. It has come to this simplicity, yet vital.
Do I dare say “dream”? Because I’ve witnessed so many dreams unwind and come undone right before my very eyes. So, if I answer to the “writing goal”, will the idea of a goal be held in some protected space never to be pierced, dismantled and shattered? I will risk to respond right here and now before the many unseen eyes that will peek at these words whether by choice or by accident. It is my goal to be a published writer earning a decent living in which I can easily and joyfully support myself, bringing me happiness and helping at least one person. This deep and very private reveal has only been shared with one person in my life. Until now.
Must be the full moon in Gemini.
Must be the full moon in Gemini.
Thank you @Finder
Five utterly fantastic, easy and entirely possible tips for weight loss
1. Move to the moon, of course. You will instantly be six times lighter!
2. Change the gravitational pull of the earth. It’s easy, some measly supernatural power is all you need.
3. Transform into a small animal. Like a squirrel or rabbit. You can lose weight and look adorable, too!
4. Go skydiving for eternity. If you never stop falling, you will literally be weightless forever!
5. And of course there is the old classic, transform the very structure of your body. Turn your bones to feather, your flesh to wind. Who needs to be a solid form, anyway?