Thursday, April 22, 2010

Snake Farm

Another excerpt -- more soon!

“Don’t be afraid, Shelley,” Mother said, using her affectionate nickname for me. Nobody except her ever called me Shelley, and she never used it except when she was trying to be sweet. I’d offered to accompany her in hopes of buying some unusual Christmas gifts for my friends in Michigan. But once there, I didn’t think it was a great idea.

Harlon had worked at the farm for a couple of years and none of the people Mother knew when she was young and selling snakes still worked there. Harlon told us a lot of them had died from the acetone used to make the paperweights. “They think it gave them cancer,” Harlon reported.

I wondered if this had affected Mother. She looked so frail among all the snake merchandise, her weight plummeting post-surgery, her face drawn and tired. Now she relied on a steady stream of Vicodin to get her through the day. Much of her time was spent in her darkened bedroom watching television, the set surrounded by tiny stuffed animals that Beth had bought to make her feel better. Mother enjoyed The Sopranos and documentaries about people who had undergone violent transformations.

She looked happy in the snake farm, but I could tell she wanted to get home. “I think I’ve seen it all,” she said as I paid for a dandelion encapsulated in a paperweight.

“I don’t know how the guy does it so that the dandelion looks like you’re just about to make a wish,” Harlon said. “Seems like it would get all fucked up in the goop surrounding it.”

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Once you've been really bad in a movie, there's a certain kind of fearlessness you develop." Jack Nicholson

Cocktail Hour
Dr. Pepper, Dr. Pepper, Dr. Pepper!

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy belated birthdays to Nick, Iggy Pop, and today is Jack Nicholson. The Taurus cycle begins . . . Happy Thursday!


Anonymous said...


the walking man said...

It's hard to tell if the goop is shit or fertilizer sometimes. This short segment pulls right along ...don't change anything.

chris said...

Age seems to have a reverse effect on you. I'M still reading your stuff. I have just been busy as hell,working for Uncle Sam and building the Bar / Grill on St Croix. I'M about through with pays well but sux to work for. Time for my own thing. Foot Surgery yesterday,so the boggie shoes are down. It is still not enough to keep me out of the kitchen. Do you know any good Bartenders that want to write in their spare time,while living in what some say is Paradise ? Keep doing what you do,I'M starting over at 45. It only took me 20 years of Gov service to figure out what I wanted to do when I grow up.

Laura Benedict said...

Bengal and I took a little spring break trip last month to St. Louis. He casually mentioned that he'd never had Dr. Pepper--and he's ten! What kind of mother am I? I promptly bought him some to drink with his octopus sushi. Please don't ever tell him about RC Cola.

Awesome excerpt. And I love how your skin is always so young and glowy! xoxo