Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Groundhog Day!

Here's another excerpt from a longer essay. Thanks for reading! Hope you're staying warm . . .

Two years before I was molested by the mortician who lived next door to us on 10th Street, my mother's parents, Charlie and Yvette, returned. Mother hadn't seen them since she was fifteen, when they had abandoned her and her grandmother, Mimi, in a trailer in Iowa. Charlie and Yvette left in the middle of the night while Mother and Mimi slept. They left one step ahead of a trail of debts, bad decisions, and people who meant them harm. They drove up to our house without any warning except for the sound Charlie's truck made that you could hear long before you saw it.

Charlie asked Dad for a beer which Dad fished out from the vegetable crisper, a PBR someone had left behind from one of my parents' parties, parties Mother insisted on throwing for her wide variety of friends, friends who defied almost all traditional categories of classification, but none who were adverse to spending late nights drinking vats of Wild Turkey and Blue Nun and then retiring to the sunken living room, entertaining themselves by conducting seances or trying to astral project.

Mother cried when she saw Yvette's face which resembled a boxer who had gone one too many rounds with a far stronger opponent. They promptly informed Mother that they had moved into a nearby trailer park, one of those places with a name more suited for a country club.

"What will you do?" asked Mother.

"Things that need to be done," Charlie replied. "People always need help."

Mother looked afraid, an expression I rarely saw on her pretty face. She picked up rattlesnakes and tarantulas from the roads. She told me stories about three name serial killers, about men who hid under cars and cut women's tendons so they couldn't run. I'd always been a nervous child, and she delighted in telling met that they were plenty of good reasons to be afraid.

"Do you want more?" Dad asked, pointing at the beer can.

"Sure," Charlie said. "I can always use more."

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Rita, I've come to the end of myself." Bill Murray, Groundhog Day

Cocktail Hour
Biography suggestion: Little Girl Blue: The Life of Karen Carpenter Randy Schmidt

Benedictions and Maledictions
No worries -- Baby Grouchie Jr. is safe and sound! No, he's not Baby Grouchie, he's the understudy which is probably explains the resentment on his face. The only time he gets to pose is when Baby Grouchie is too lazy, hungover, or cold to show his face.


the walking man said...

Some of these demons will only be purged when you finish the essay. If you can ever finish a life story. As usual Dallas has it worse than the D. Even without Kwame they got it worse than we did.

Charles Gramlich said...

people always need help. That is for sure.

Anonymous said...

Me and my shadow!!--P. Phil

Anonymous said...

PBR!--D. Hopper

jodi said...

Michelle, I can't believe how those people are in every small town! So Grouchie has a doppleganger! I will FOR SURE read the Karen C. story. I cannot hear 'Superstar' without seeing Cynthia Gibb on that old Schwinn stationary cycle, peddaling away....xoxo

Scott said...


Nice excerpt. I also liked the pic of Grouchie's understudy. Oh, your pic today was nice,too. :)

Have a great weekend, and stay warm!

Anonymous said...

10th Street. I wonder if that is near the streets named after presidents. Not all small towns have them. Most cities do. Washington. Adams. Cleveland.

I remember when the first time I saw a street names Cleveland, after I had already saw a street names Adams, and I thought "Why is there a name of a city after a name of a president?" It dawned on me that I wasn't as hip to American history as I thought I was. "Oh, yeah, there was a president named Cleveland. Right."

Remember, four left turns and you'll probably be back right where you started. Mind where you are and where you're going. Having a sense of direction helps, but sometimes you just can't help feel that you've been where you are, even if you're treading new ground. Then again, someone else has probably already been there.

Anonymous said...


Lana Gramlich said...

So much to fear that fear becomes pointless, y'know?