When one of my friends landed a spot in Playboy (as a model, not a fiction writer -- that's my dream!), she sent her father a copy of the proofs. Her father was a deeply evil man who had once given me a serious case of the willies by undressing in front of me when I came over to pick up his daughter to go to Possum Kingdom Lake. My friend was running late, and I ran the hell out of that house, a house I remember well, decorated with all sorts of sayings from the Bible and Catholic saints left behind by her dead mother who had committed suicide a few years earlier. In a truly ugly turn of events, she shot herself in the head but did not die immediately -- instead she hung between life and death in an alley for a few days before being found and dying shortly after. My eyes scanned the Serenity Prayer framed on the mantle before making my escape. God, give me the courage to change what I can change . . . My car and I proceeded to wait further on down the road. These were the days sans cell phones -- timing was a bit dicier then. I never mentioned to my friend why I'd taken off so suddenly, and she never asked. I suspect she knew all too well.
I admired her act of aggression, sending her father the pictures. I'm not sure what the message was -- This is what you cannot have anymore or This is what you made me or something else entirely. He was a slight man, not someone anyone would have feared upon sight. Like many things lodged in my memory, I've often tried to use this incident in a story. I get stuck on where the story begins, but perhaps it begins in the lake we were trying to get to -- a lake filled with garbage and man-sized catfish, a lake surrounded by venomous snakes of every ilk, a place frequented by people tanked up on qualudes and Wild Turkey, looking for fun, looking for trouble. It's hard to tell the difference. The water is so dark that it doesn't give any clues to what it holds.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"At all crucial moments in our lives we want to speak without knowing what to say." Joyce Carol Oates
Drinking movie suggestion: Office Space
Drinking short story collection: Faithless Joyce Carol Oates
Benedictions and Maledictions
22 days until The Sopranos airs!