Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Like All the Old Horror Movies


I received my first obscene phone call when I was twelve years old, Simon and Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson" playing in my parents' living room, my younger sister in her bedroom sleeping. My parents were gone for the evening so I was at a loss for what to do. The backyard neighbor was gardening so I walked outside and told him what had happened. He asked me if I was scared and I said, No, I'm a fatalist, a remark oft-repeated by the adults for years after. I hated admitting I was afraid, still do. To note, I'd given myself a black eye in this very yard the year before by showing off my gymnastics skils to a very enthusiastic (read drunk) audience of my parents' friends and ended cartwheeling right into the overflow of the septic tank, slipped and busted my ass and blackened my eye in one grand swoop. I stood up after and saluted for the invisible gymnastics judges, told everyone I was okay, and the next day my eye was so bruised, I couldn't open it for school pictures.

So I lied about not being afraid as I was wont to do and went back inside, my sister woke up, and we danced to more Simon and Garfunkel until the record ended, and I decided a little Steppenwolf might cheer me up as well. Nothing like John Kay's searing odes to the "pusherman" to perk one up after a rough night! The phone calls continued off and on for years until we figured out it was an old man living directly behind the house as we caught him looking out his window, one hand on the phone, one hand someplace else, and well, the calls weren't coming from inside our house, like all the old horror movies, but close, spitting distance, if one were inclined to do so. As a fatalist, I was not inclined to do anything since time takes care of everything.

Michelle's Spell of the Day

"I like beautiful melodies telling me terrible things." Tom Waits

More movies to drink by that star Billy Bob Thornton:

Bad Santa
Slingblade
Pushing Tin
U-Turn

Benedictions and Maledictions

First published in Flint Hills Review:

Water Moccasins

He killed almost every one that summer at the lake,
severing the head from the body, the body jerking
for a while, then not. We couldn’t move on
until he defeated each threat to our paradise.
Near the end of the summer, I saw one drip from a tree,
but I didn’t say a word because I knew it would mean
the hoe, the fear and ugliness of its death, the disruption
of our entry into the water. From time to time, I’d look
up from my raft at the place the snake had been, wondering
where it had gone, close or far. That night, I shivered
and pulled closer to him, thinking I’d made a mistake not to draw
attention to the danger, could see it entering the house, a casual betrayal,
like a secret kiss that goes too far, the poisonings of love.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog. So cool. Memphis

John Ricci said...

Dear Michelle,

That must have been frightening for you. And the poem is a fright, too. Luckily not many snakes in Detroit, but plenty of champagne to spare. Lovely view of you, beautiful as always. Bravo!

Evil Bender said...

That's a compelling story, on an always-compelling blog. I've never been able to make my life the stuff of narrative, and I'm oh-so-impressed to see the way you make it work for you.

Thanks for sharing!

--Izzy

Anonymous said...

Snakes have at least seven types of ambiguity.

Anonymous said...

Today's triple-header "Quote of the Day": #1: The dual nature of art reaches its epitome in the Janus-like face of opposites:comic and tragic;black and white;good and evil;here and there;lasting and ephemeral.--Winifred Lambrecht;#2:Jehovah was not the first deity to take on a humbler form that He might serve His people.--Nancy Willard; #3: Hello, I must be going.--as sung by Groucho.

Anonymous said...

Is that the "Merlot" hair, Michelle? I think Froggy likes that.

Anonymous said...

Wear leather pants, like AJ in "Pushing Tin."

Anonymous said...

We want the pants. We want the pants. We want the pants. We want..., etc.

Wichita-Lineman said...

I really really like the poem. Snakes, Love, and Poison, a recipe for disaster, or bliss, depending on which way you look at things.

cindy said...

Michelle,
Q: why do men make obscene phone calls? Or leave anonymous comments? Anyway, you look adorable today! AP: are you confused about the difference between Kermit and Oscar? What does this say about your psychological orientation?
xo;
Cindy Cobb

Anonymous said...

I studied Sesame Street when I was in a certain college. The names of the characters escape me.

Anonymous said...

I tried winning Ernie in the claw game at Krogers today, but he escaped me.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't Michelle have really big, brown eyes. Pool-like in their depth. They kind of want to make ya dive in and go for a swim, those eyes.

Sheila said...

Obscene phone calls can be sooo scarey! I got one at work one time and they guy was being so nasty. Kinda freaks you out when you gotta walk to your car in the dark.

Paul said...

O Might Isis
BEAUTATIOUS. tha's no horror film pretty Lady. Rockout with your socks off
R2 C2!

Cheri said...

I love obscene phone calls. (well not really)

Once at Red Robin, a guy called in for a carry out (I was working the carry outs that day) and instead of giving me his order, he asked if I wanted a hot piece of man meat. I hung up on him and he called back, a few times, and said some nasty things to a few different people.

Sickos.

paul said...

I just had to read your foxy self again. You're rockin my world and i dont care who knows it.
C2 PEACE + LUV U R2!

Jason said...

HA! Spitting distance! I gettit.

John Ricci said...

Dear Michelle,

A vision of loveliness, as always. Am I already in the Catholic part of Heaven? I hope drinks are allowed. Bravo to you and yours!

Anonymous said...

Good guess on the hair color---anonymous---Michelle's Hair Potion (du jour) is Marmalade, but in a certain light could definetely pass for Merlot.
:o)~S

Wastelander said...

BETTER LATE THEN NEVER: I love this line of your poem... "That night, I shivered and pulled closer to him, thinking I’d made a mistake not to draw attention to the danger, could see it entering the house, a casual betrayal,like a secret kiss that goes too far, the poisonings of love."

The poisonings of love...so like a bite from a snake...