Tuesday, March 03, 2009

We Were Winning When I Left

Here's the start of an old story -- I'll be back at you tomorrow with something new. Thanks for reading!

We Were Winning When I Left

There are few things more humiliating than having a dog shit on you while you sleep. The dog who did this to me is long dead, Pepper, my grandmother’s black poodle, the low-energy dog that nobody liked, that ate and slept and had no trace of personality. Pepper was frequently contrasted to Peppy, my mother's dog that died from the exhausting pursuit of the neighbors' German Shepherd while the Shepherd was in heat. At least he lived up until the end, my mother would say, defending Peppy. At any rate, it was Pepper who climbed up on my skinny little back and defecated without waking me up. My father started screaming when he saw me the next morning, yelling, don't roll over while my mother laughed until she couldn't breathe. I always thought that t-shirt looked like shit, she said. After Mother snapped from stress a few years later, she formed a theory that a demon had forced Pepper to hover above my back and perform his surprise.

These were my thoughts as I laid in bed, not wanting to get out and knowing that I couldn’t stay forever. It was a Saturday, and I didn’t have anything to do so I fell back asleep. Living alone means never having to pretend you’re some sort of go-getter. Now that I had been caught in a situation that I’d never dreamed I’d be caught in, I had been happy to live the way I wanted to live, no parents, no boyfriends, no clutter. I kept the apartment immaculate, if only as a rebellion against my rather haphazard nature and my parents’ house full of dead snakes and spiders in paperweights, stuff that you didn’t notice until it was right next to you, terrifying you with its simple horrible presence. The phone woke me from a dream where I walk into a mirrored room only to find out someone has razored tiny cuts in my face. I picked up the phone, trying to shake off the dream.

Without so much as a hello, my friend April reported that she thought her boa constrictor had died. I made sympathetic noises, but was relieved in that way you feel when someone you love breaks up with a real asshole.

“He’s cold except where he was on his hot rock. Plus, he threw up his rat,” she said.

“He threw up his rat?” I asked.

“She started to cry. “He’s supposed to live for twenty more years.”

An hour later, April arrived with an extra-large Playmate cooler carrying the seven-foot body of her boa. I remembered pulling a Coke out of that Playmate. Never again.

“His eyes are still clear,” she said. “Maybe he’s not dead.”

I pretended to look before I motioned for her to close the cooler.

“Things cloud up when they die,” she said.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"A champion is afraid of losing. Everyone else is afraid of winning." Billie Jean King

Cocktail Hour
Drinking movie suggestion: Be Kind Rewind (I finally watched this and realized that it is just like my life in some bizarre emotional way. If you rent it, give it a little while. You'll love it!)

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Tuesday! To my girl Jodi, fresh twinkies can mean any number of things, but I think Mr. Twinkie Kid is meant for actual twinkies.


Anonymous said...

Actual Twinkies!!!Available in aisle two at your local Krogers!!!The right store at the right price!!!! Remember: 1. Price. Our prices are good. 2. Product. I get what I want plus a little. 3. People. The shopping experience makes me want to return.--Mr. Whipple and Artie the bagger

Anonymous said...

Je m'appelle Inspector Cloud Clueso. Zee pooping of zee poodoe, eh?

Scott said...


Great story excerpt! I really liked the descriptions of the creepies in the paperweights...very nice.

Hope your week is going well. Take care!

Charles Gramlich said...

"Things cloud up when they die." That's the kind of line that says much with only a few words. You do that kind of resonant thing as well as anyone.

the walking man said...

"I always thought that T shirt looked like shit." ha ha ha ha ha ha

Maybe this was the comment that started you on the way to being a clothes hound.

Rob said...

"After Mother snapped from stress." I'm just waiting for the day when I follow suit.