Not Non-Fiction

Stories.

What It Was Was Fantasy Football.

fieldDefending Team:

Safety-Jim Hudson

Safety-Rick Volk

Cornerback-Gerry Philbin

Cornerback-Billy Ray Smith Sr.

Outside Linebacker-Don Shinnick

Outside Linebacker-Johnny Sample

Middle Linebacker-Al Atkinson

End-Verlow Biggs

End-Ordell Braase

Tackle-Dick Butkus

Tackle-Alex Karras

Wide Receiver-Jimmy Orr

Wide Receiver-Bill Mathis

Tackle-Paul Rochester

Tackle-Fred Miller

Guard-Bob Talamini

Guard-Dan Sullivan

Center-John Schmitt/Bill Curry

Tight End-John Mackey

Quarterback-Joe Namath

Fullback-Don Maynard

Running Back-Jerry Hill

Receiving Team:

Safety-Festin

Safety-King Meshugah

Cornerback-Garet Jax

Cornerback-Dejah Thoris

Outside Linebacker- Thorin Oakenshield

Outside Linebacker-Yog Sothoth

Middle Linebacker-Sandman

End-Ningauble Of The Seven Eyes

End-Conan The Barbarian

Tackle-Sir Gawain

Tackle-Mongo

Wide Receiver-Namor Of Atlantis

Wide Receiver-Balon Greyjoy

Tackle-Hellboy

Tackle-Xena, Warrior Princess

Guard-Anita Blake

Guard-The Red Queen

Center-Lessa/Ramoth

Tight End-Lord Voldemort

Quarterback-Atticus O’Sullivan

Fullback-Eeyore

Halfback-Rudy Ruettiger

If you recognized the reference to Andy Griffith give yourself five bonus points and a big orange.

Maybe It’s An Omen.

babyThis is some party, isn’t it? The Thorns really don’t spare any expense. I’ve been to some of the other events they’ve put on and they always go big, but this is pretty huge even for them. I guess since the kid’s adopted they want to make a big deal out of his first birthday. They’re trying to make him feel welcome and all. I wonder if he’ll even notice it or remember any of it.

I noticed that weird birthmark too! It’s kind of hard to miss. Maybe that’s why Mrs. Thorn keeps putting his little cap back on. Isn’t that cute? You’re right, it does look kind of like a cluster of 9’s. At least it did earlier. Maybe it’ll change as he gets older. His hair will cover it up anyway. You want to hear something weird? That priest thought it looked like something completely different. You know, the priest who was harassing the family a while back. He kept saying it looked like the Roman numerals DCLXVI. He said that even stood for something from Revelations. What a crackpot. That was right before he was killed in that freak accident when a gargoyle fell off his church right on top of him.

Is it just me or do a lot of crazy accidents seem to happen around this kid? No, really, I mean it. Did you hear about his pediatrician? Oh, this is too weird. His pediatrician said the kid had jackal blood. I know, right? I didn’t even know they tested for that sort of thing. I asked my kid’s pediatrician and she thought I was insane. I guess doctors all have different opinions. Anyway right after the pediatrician said that he was killed in that freak elevator accident. The investigators said it was really a million to one chance something like that would happen. Well, I guess that was the millionth chance. Maybe it’s not that weird. People win the lottery too every day, right? I guess it was just bad luck.

The accident the maid had isn’t nearly as weird. I know she yelled at him the same day it happened but what was she thinking? Who in their right mind cleans a chandelier from the second floor landing on a rickety old ladder? Really. It’s like she was just asking for a fall. Lucky for the Thorns that new maid was available to start right away. Well Mr. Thorn said it was lucky. Between you and me Mrs. Thorn—you know, Rosemary—she doesn’t like the new nanny one bit. She especially doesn’t like that big dog that came with her, but the dog is very protective of the kid. I told her they should consider obedience classes. She said she’ll look into that but it’s like the dog is very well trained already and will do anything the kid or the nanny wants. I guess that’s a good thing.

There really is something weird about him. The kid, I mean. Have you noticed he never cries? He just seems, I don’t know, really intense. And what’s the deal with the choir that follows him around? It seems like they always start chanting right when somebody’s about to die. The priest, the pediatrician, the maid, that private investigator who was looking into the orphanage, the photographer who said there were strange shadows in the pictures, the kooky archaeologist with the daggers, the nurse that drew his blood, the cousin who was afraid of the kid. I’m not saying the choir had anything to do with all those deaths. I mean, those were all accidents, right? There goes the choir starting up again.

Have you noticed the kid’s been staring at us this whole time?

Dog Walk.

dogwalkThese morning walks with Bruce are the best. The afternoon walks are good too, but in the mornings it’s cooler and still damp. Everything smells so much better when it’s a little wet. Smell rises in the mist. Bruce is going the wrong way. Why is he doing that? I try to pull him the other way but he’s insistent. Okay, I’ll go with him.

Chipmunks have been here. And rabbits. I’m getting that more earthy smell of rabbits here. Squirrels too. I got a squirrel once. One good shake and there was squirrel everywhere. That was fun. It surprised me so much as soon as Bruce called me I went running to him. He cleaned it all up, but I could smell squirrel guts in the driveway for a week after that.

This is okay but I’m worried we’re going to miss Treat Lady. I like Treat Lady. I like her a lot. I look forward to seeing her. She always has something for me. Sometimes it’s cheese. Cheese is my favorite, but it’s good when it’s something crunchy. She’s nice. She smells like a cat. I’ve never really been around cats but I know what they smell like and I like that. And sometimes her legs have tiny little cuts on them that I have to sniff very carefully. When her legs are bare and have those little cuts they also smell like perfumy soap that makes me sneeze. It’s a little like the stuff Bruce used to use on his face. He’d get cuts on his face too. Then he got the buzzy thing. It attacks his face every morning. He holds it but it still manages to get all over his face. I don’t like it. Sometimes after he’s pulled it off and made it get quiet he lets me sniff it. It smells like his face and his hair and also kind of burned. I really don’t like it. Sometimes I have to tell it to stay away from me. I don’t know why Bruce thinks that’s funny. He can be so weird.

He used to feed me and take a shower after we’d go for a walk, but now he takes a shower first. We used to just get up and go. Then after we started meeting Treat Lady every day he would get up earlier and take a shower before we left. The first time I stuck my head under the shower curtain and watched him and waited for him to figure out he was doing it wrong. He didn’t, even when I stood by the door and told him I really needed to go. He was really messing up my schedule. Sometimes I have to remind Bruce about things. I have to go in circles or stand right by the food box because he’s got the voice maker pressed up to his face and he’s talking to it. Sometimes I have to speak sharply to the couch because my ball’s under there and that’s the only way I can get Bruce to get it out. When we’re lying in bed together and he moves I have to let out a long sigh to remind him he’s not supposed to move while I’m trying to sleep. And when someone knocks on the door I have to yell a lot to let them know I’m here and that this is my house. Bruce doesn’t appreciate how important that is.

The next few days Bruce kept taking a shower before our walk and I said, okay, this is something new and different, like getting to know Treat Lady, but not as good.

This tree smells like squirrels. Like a lot of squirrels. And a dog. Bruce lets me stop and pee on it. I lift my leg really high to let them know how big I am. Usually Bruce pulls me away when I scratch at the ground with my back feet to let those squirrels know how serious I am, but today he just lets me do it. We’re going very slowly today.

There’s a person with a dog on the other side of the street. Maybe it’s that same dog I smelled on the tree. I can’t tell. I stay close to Bruce. The dog says something to me. I ignore it. We walk on. I’m glad Bruce doesn’t try to stop. There’s too much new and different already today.

There’s a spot on the ground that smells like it could be from that dog. I hope we’re not going to keep going this way every day, but I pee on it just in case.

I wonder if this has anything to do with Treat Lady. Yesterday when we saw her I could smell Bruce getting sweaty and his body tensed up. I could feel him getting warm when he was talking to her. It was weird. He wasn’t angry but his voice was tight and he kept twisting the leash. He breathed really fast and really heavily, and Treat Lady didn’t look at me as much as she usually does. She gave me something crunchy that was salty and stringy, and then Bruce and I had to walk away really fast. When we got to the big tree at the intersection, the one with the funky, musky smell I don’t recognize I barely had time to pee before Bruce was pulling me on again. Then when we got home he banged the bowl around while he made me breakfast and that hurt my ears.

Bruce didn’t shower this morning, and the buzzy thing stayed where it is. He’s very slow this morning. He’s not pointing out the squirrels to me. Maybe he misses Treat Lady too. I feel like I should do something to cheer him up. I’ll bring him this stick. That’ll make him happy. He always likes it when I bring him a stick. Hey! Birds!

This May Be The Laziest Thing I’ve Ever Done.

Several years ago I saw this headboard and thought it was a terrible idea.

headboardWhy is it a terrible idea? Because when you’re in bed there are just certain things you don’t want to hear:

“That’s very well lit for the bottom of a crater of an abandoned volcano at the bottom of the sea.”

“We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese.”

“Santa’s going to whimper like a whipped pup.”

“Make my muscle car prune colored.”

“Next on ESPN, full contact nightgown wrestling!”

“This is where my tongue lives.”

“I need to know what not to do on a date!”

“So can I split your top and butter your buns?”

“This man is wearing a push-up bra. Now he’s pleasing.”

This time, don’t make so much noise when you ‘read.’”

“I don’t make threats, Mr. Fingal, only promises. And a great pork roll!”

“He tried to kill me with a forklift!”

“You have fingers. I like that in a man.”

“Do you know that I have little bunnies painted on my knees?”

“Look, look, look at my crotch. Look, look look at my crotch. Loooook at my crotch. Yay!”

“Oh, and “go Packers” too, but mostly burn the witch.”

“Some carrots are frozen. Some carrots are humiliated publicly.”

“Watch out for snakes!”

“I’ve got a mantis in my pantis.”

“Just puttin’ the salmon balls away.”

“He takes on a series of strange body habits…wears toast in his pants…”

“No springs? I don’t care. There’s still butter and meatloaf.”

“Jiminy, thinks Johnny, if only I could get a ride in one of those.”

“The ear is the human organ the public speaker is most likely to try to impress as he makes a speech…after the human nipple.”

“Oh, the previous tenant didn’t flush.”

“Kids’ brains always taste better when they’ve been thinking about donuts.”

“Trumpy, no!”

And, of course:

“Well, there it is. Spankings all around then.”

If you need me I’ll be in bed.

Submerged.

Note: Because of my schedule this week my friend Allen Walker has allowed me to publish one of his articles. Walker is a professional journalist and regular feature writer for Catchall, the alt-weekly for Catalpa, Tennessee. His articles have also appeared in Matrix, Road Hogs, Elsewhere, and other publications.His essay Patagonia Dreamin’ is included in the anthology The Journey Of A Thousand Miles.

His work, previously uncredited, has also appeared here:

Living Or Dead is Purely Coincidental, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

The Year That Was, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

ellentonKatherine plans to keep working at Ellenton as a tour guide once it’s opened to the public. She’s been here for two years as a government inspector ensuring the safety of the remaining buildings and working as a diver. Removing as much hazardous material from the water as possible has been an arduous task. Luckily it was a small town, dying economically even before Hurricane Philip and before the underground aquifer broke permanently flooding the area. No geologic survey of the area had ever been done so no one realized how lucky it was that the town hadn’t already been permanently flooded.

“The biggest problem is security,” Katherine tells me as we stroll around the edges of what’s now known as Lake Ellenton. It’s only May but the air is still muggy, the temperature already soaring this early in the morning. The surrounding trees buzz with insects. I look down at the water and see water gliders skating across the surface. Looking up I can see the public library nearby. A Neoclassical building that must have cost the town a fortune its steps are now submerged. I can see the head of something, a carved bird, I think, poking up next to one of the columns. A real bird is perched atop it.

“There’s just so much area to cover. People have been trying to sneak in almost since day one. We’ve caught all kinds of daredevils, and just curious types.”

We stop and look down a broad street.

“The closest precedent for this is lakes made by dams, intentional flooding done by the TVA [Tennessee Valley Authority]. Houses were submerged, but they were cleaned out first, and mostly burned. And there people had warning. They had plenty of time to leave. Here it was all over in a flash. Two days.”

It’s still called miraculous that the entire population of two-hundred and ninety-seven people survived. The heavy rain from the hurricane was expected to bring flooding so people were prepared, and many had already left ahead of it. The realization that no one would be able to go home again was a shock no one could have expected. The insurance debacles, the lawsuits, and the story of Henry Clovis, the last resident who had to be forcibly removed from the attic of his home, have all been written about. Now, two years later, Ellenton is about to experience a new economic boom. It’s going to be opened to tourists to join Fukushima, Chernobyl, and Alta Mira as a site for disaster tourism, famous as The Underwater Town.

(more…)

I Have No Idea What’s Going On Here.

After taking a sip of his morning potato juice and putting aside the news sheet Lord Buxtingtoncheth motioned to the underbutler Digby.

“Pray tell my good man if you would, where is the Lady Anesthesia this morning?” he queried interrogatively.

Digby straightened the wastrels of his tunic coat.

“I am given to understand she is breakfasting in her room m’lud.”

Upstairs Lady Anesthesia sat up in bed. She’d tried to counter her insomnia with a novel, but after writing two chapters had given it up as hopeless.

Back in the dining room Lord Buxtingtoncheth’s eldest daughter Primrose, already dressed on flocculent muslin, entered, and promptly tripped over her sister Chrysanthemum. The son Hawthorne then entered and joined the dignified tangle of extremities on the Polynesian carpet.

–selection from Sceptre Over Skegness by R.A.L.B.G. Wavell, O.B.E.

teatime

The Word Of The Day.

Today’s word for the day is sporadic.

Sporadic (adj.)-Occasional, occurring at intervals, scattered or dispersed.

Derived from the Greek σποριξ, from the island Sporadia in the Aegean sea. The Sporad were a militant people who occasionally declared war on the Athenians. They were admired for their prowess in battle but just as often mocked for forgetting to show up.

The Sporad appear briefly in both Homeric epics. In The Iliad they are a phalanx of soldiers who switch from Agamemnon’s side to Paris’s then back again before moving out of the battle entirely. They then organize a sacrificial rite but can’t decide which god they should honor. Early on in The Odyssey they attempt to offer directions to Odysseus but can’t remember which way Ithaka is.

greeks

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