Apr 25, 2011

Genetic Tendencies

We like witches in our family. I guess. They keep popping up in family stories. I think my mother had a lot to do with it. Well-behaved women, history, and all that.  She had a soft spot for witches.
She did a great witch's cackle and was often called upon to do it. I also remember a skirt she had when I was very little that was long and flowing and had moons on it. I called it her witch skirt. It was dressy and elegant, not the least bit costume-ish, but the moons reminded me of my favorite book at that age, The Witch of Hissing Hill. The name stuck. My mother liked it (but she’d also bought the book).
Whenever Marie Laveau played on the radio, someone always ran and turned it up.
Hazel?  The witch on Bugs Bunny with the spinning bobby pins?  We thought she rocked.
Our family’s sailboat was named the Water Witch. An unrelated story behind the name, but there's that word again.
So years later, the angel atop my mother's Christmas tree was fair game. It was a corn husk angel, and old, so her skirts were dry and curled...windblown? Perhaps. She's holding a trumpet, but it’s kind of droopy now, and one could conceivably mistake it for a wand if one looked quickly. If one was two and had a cool Granny.
My daughter was two, and had a cool Granny. She also lisped (she's thirteen now, and does not). We'd stopped at my mother's for a quick visit on our way home. Frances ran in, ahead of her sister, to see my mother's Christmas tree. She came charging back to the kitchen, eyes wide and delighted, to report to her sister, "A WITth. Granny has a WITth on her tree!"
My mother was tickled. With the idea, and with my daughter's delight. The shadowed sense of humor evident at such a young age (heart clutch) ... the legacy lives on.

Apr 24, 2011

444 Submission to 4 Corners Press

Four Corners Press is having a contest! 444 word submissions about dreams, and I continued with a post of another character...
No boundaries. Good thing.

Nuptials from Hell

Busy time of year. Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines.
Dead. Lines. Lost souls get backed up if you don't stay right on top of them. This one isn't happy about where they’re going. That one has unfinished business. blah blah blah. The whining gets to you. Now serving number 8,936,472,785. Next.
Days like this I need an assistant, but good help’s hard to find. Most applicants only see the position as a stepping-stone, and corporate sabotage is always a concern. Some would lift your best spells and curses, some are just using you to climb the corporate ladder (they don't know the back door is at the top), and some have aspirations of Disney. Not everyone is a Sabrina, but they don't want to hear the truth.
My left arm for a Renfield. Yeah, he had a few problems, needed occasional stroking, and fresh blood, but overall he was a loyal employee who was fulfilled by his career choice.
I digress...I was sitting in Reception. We all have to do so many volunteer hours a decade – licensure requirement- and it was my turn. I was sorting the new arrivals and it wasn’t going well. My quill had a leak and blotches of Eternal Ink were staining The Book—turning Hells into Hell-Os. There was no rhyme or reason in the queue of souls waiting. Up, down, the hangers-on ... and in came the Dream Dallier. I groaned.
The Dream Dallier is the After Life’s jester, the fool, and a nightmare to have around (literally). He’s a walking chicken/egg quandary. Have millennia of screwing around in people’s heads made him an odd duck, or, was he the obvious choice for the job because he was an odd duck? Hard to say. He’s one strange dude.
He sashayed into Reception, drunk as a skunk. Giggling and reeling, raising a pint in greeting to the reception area at large. He had a Banshee by the hand, and she was just as drunk as he.
“Toatht! Toatht! I’ve taken me bride!” he slurred, and they both collapsed into giggles, sending rice sprinkling across the cold marble floor.
Whoever’d showered the happy couple with fertility blessings needed their heads examined. What sort of offspring would bless this union? He was weird, and she wasn’t much better. Would a toddling Junior cavort through sleeping people’s heads, shrieking? At least the Dallier was kinda cute, but the Banshee was a fright. All gray and wavy, and it wasn’t just ’cause she was drunk. This wasn’t good.
I looked around Reception for a security guard but they were notably missing. Hiding in the break room watching this from the safety of the monitors. Cowards.

(to be continued)

Apr 22, 2011

My Hero


     A man among men, he's a champion for the downtrodden and overwhelmed. He rides alone, few brave enough to join him on his quest.
     His arrival heralds salvation from misery and despair. He swings from his mount, accepting his duty with somber humility.  A gentle smile reassures all will be righted, and the sufferers will be delivered from the evil oppression.  Hope warms my frozen heart.
     Bravely he battles an enemy which has grown to formidable proportions. Time stands still in this ageless battle of good versus evil, but he prevails.
     My soul rejoices and hope springs anew.
     He casts a jaunty salute to the adoring crowd and swings back onto his perch. No rest for the weary--another tired soul awaits him, but the world is a better place. My garbage is gone.

Apr 11, 2011

Gustatus Similis Pullus receives ....

Awarded by none other than Deirdra Eden-Coppel !

"I love your site and as I browsed your blog I decided to award you the Creative Blog Award." D.E.-C.

Deirdra is a fresh new author with a strong voice and a passion for creative marketing in a changing literary world. She works full time as a professional writer and illustrator. In 2009 she began creating animation for e-books.

Deirdra has spent the last decade captivating audiences of all ages with her novels and fairy tales. Her specialty is fantastic fiction that delves into documented historical phenomenon and natural disasters of biblical proportions. Her novels entice indulgence of the fine line between fact and fantasy.

Her goal in writing is to saturate her books with intrigue, mystery, romance and plot twists that will keep her readers in suspense. She wants to see fingerprints on the front and back covers where readers have gripped the novel with white knuckles.

Aside from writing, Deirdra enjoys jousting in arenas, planning invasions, horseback riding through open meadows, swimming in the ocean, hiking up mountains, camping in cool shady woods, climbing trees barefoot and going on adventures.

Thank you, Deirdra! We're thrilled!

Apr 10, 2011


Was the cat mean because he lived with the Melton kids or were the Melton kids mean because they lived with the cat?

Hard to say. The good news is there was only one cat. The bad news was there were three Meltons. 

Said something. 

About the cat.

The Melton kids were rotten. Mrs. Melton worked a second shift because the factory was more peaceful than home. Teachers had been known to choose early retirement when they saw the name on their September roster. The cops drew straws when they were called to the Meltons' street.

Joey Melton had a way with snakes, and he thought teachers' desk drawers were a great place to keep them. Stevie Melton was a thief and an accomplished pickpocket. Marvin Melton liked blowing things up. All three liked tormenting the neighborhood kids, especially the littler ones, because the Meltons were lazy, too.

The cat's name was Smokey, but no one called him that. No one ever called him anyway, but after one of Marvin Melton's duct tape bombs lit his tail on fire with flying, flaming adhesive the name didn't seem like the best choice. Even to the Meltons.

Apr 6, 2011

Have You Hugged Your Butter Knife Today?

We all know the wheel changed history, but I'm pretty sure there wouldn't have been a wheel without a butter knife. Or butter flint. Or whatever.

The butter knife is an unsung hero, and it gets the shaft. There isn't an inventor or tinkerer, or otherwise noteworthy person, who did not have an intimate relationship with their butter knife.

I know Ben Franklin embraced his butter knife. Hedy Lamarr used one developing a "Secret Communications System" to help combat the Nazis in World War II, and she looked good doing it, too.

I'm no Ben Franklin, or Hedy Lamarr (alas), but I recognize greatness when I see it, and the butter knife is, far and away, the most versatile tool in one's arsenal. And, as any person who regularly uses tools knows, findability is key. It's never lost because you have seven more!

I've screwed screws. Pried paint can lids. Fished toast from the toaster(tip - unplug the toaster). Removed coins and caps from the vacuum nozzle. Spackled putty. Cleaned spark plugs. Lifted flat things with a fine seam. Spliced wire. Mixed accelerants. Tested cakes. Dug dandelions. Weeded stone paths. Fixed glasses. Banged things. Propped things. Spread things. Stirred things. Shaved things. Eaten things.

Rounded end, pointed tip? Sculpted handle or pistol grip? Vive la Butter Knife!

Apr 3, 2011

Chairman of the Abhorred IV

Wild-eyed wasn't a flattering look on Mick. He was trussed like a turkey, and duct tape covered his mouth.

The stranger stood back, studying him. "You know, Mick? I'm worried about you. You have that mottled look. Any history of hypertension in your family?"

Mick struggled and protested but only garbles got past the duct tape.

"You really should take more care. Treat yourself better. Body, temple, and all that. No matter. I think I have just the solution. A day of beauty!" The intruder raised Mick's own pint of Scotch in salute, and took another haul.

Mick flailed, shaking his head. "UhNNph."

The stranger stroked his scraggly beard. "How we feel on the inside is so important. Don't you agree? Difficult with a rotted soul, I know, but I'm nothing if not optimistic! Set small goals! We'll set aside all the people you've screwed, women you've exploited, dollars you've stolen, lies you've told - we'll set that all aside. For a minute." He removed a pan from his satchel, and filled it with water at the vanity. He plugged in the hot plate, and then then turned back to Mick. "Let's get these restrictive clothes off you."

Mick shook his head, frantically, eyes bulging.

"Don't be silly! One can't fully experience hot stone massage with clothes on ..."

Chairman of the AbhorredChairman of the Abhorred II
Chairman of the Abhorred III
Chairman of the Abhorred V

Apr 1, 2011

Tragic Magic III

Nope. Definitely not right. The concoction in the pitted cauldron should have turned a clear blue. And no lumps.

Harriet skimmed the list of ingredients with her finger. Yep, yep, yep, all there. She reread she directions, yep, yep ... how had she missed stick of juniper in the fire?

She grabbed one and threw it into the flames, saying a silent prayer to Hecate and anyone else who might be listening.

The bunny twitched an ear, catching her attention. He pointed toward the door, and through the glass she saw an elderly man, hand up, about to knock. He was short, his round face only showing in the lower pane, a houndstooth derby in the middle one. He smiled and dropped his hand when he realized she saw him.

She opened the door just enough to stick her head out, but he pushed it right open and stepped inside with a wide smile. "Good day to you. I wonder if I might have a few moments of your time." He looked around her kitchen, his smile growing. "Just in time, I see. Excellent."

"I'm afraid now's not a good time, Mr. ..."

"Pithwick. Cecil B. Pithwick, at your service." He bowed, sweeping the derby off his head.

"Mr. Pillwick. I'm sorry, but now's not the best time-"

He sniffed. "Pithwick. Forgot the juniper branch, didn't you? Happens to the best of us," he said, shaking his head.

He walked to the cauldron, patting the bunny's head as he passed, and peered in. "Oh, fear not. This is salvageable. A bit of salt will do the trick." He chuckled, and confided, "works with stew, to."  He reached into his vest pocket and sprinkled a pinch of something in. The cauldron belched blue smoke. "There. Right as rain."

Harriet's eyebrow went up and she frowned. "How did you-"

He dismissed her question with a wave. "Now. As I was saying. Just a few moments and I'll be on my way."

"If you're selling-"

He laughed, genuinely amused. "Selling! Good heavens, no. I'm from the Council of Enchanted Creatures," he paused, and looked at Harriet's bunny. "And our radar went off when you conjured ..." his voice trailed off.

"Bun Bun," Harriet supplied.

"Yes, Bun Bun." His eyebrow went up, but he continued, "the Council has need of Bun Bun's services." He paused and looked around the worn kitchen, before continuing, "you will, of course, be compensated for your efforts. Both of you."

At Harriet's confused look, Pillwick exclaimed, "Why, you have no idea, do you! Your Bun Bun, is a Cuniculus Afflatus. One of the rarest of all enchanted creatures, channeling divine knowledge. He is the proverbial Lucky Rabbit, and still has all four feet! We thought we'd have to wait years to find one, and POOF, you conjured him, just like that!"

Harriet looked at the bunny. He shrugged his ears.

"What did you have in mind?" she asked.

Tragic Magic
Tragic Magic II