Barnyard “Foul”: Dealing with Rupert a Purely Evil Pig wrapped in Cuteness

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This is Rupert.

Rupert is my new pet.

A mini-pot belly pig given to us by a couple who realized they had made a seriously poor impulse purchase.

They had a backyard entirely of cement.

A front yard with no fence.

Both had full-time jobs and so leaving the little three-month old piggy man in the house all day while they were gone was a recipe for disaster.

Rupert is (and this is an understatement) a handful.

But… we were willing to take him from his owners. We had a houseful of pets and I had been hoping to get a pig or a pygmy goat to be friends with my chicken Matilda, for quite awhile and so… within the first week of taking Rupert… I believed I had made the perfect choice: Matilda loved him.

They wandered around the front yard together; Rupert rooting around in the grass making big dirt holes with his snout. Matilda by his side eating all of the worms that he uncovered… a bit like a gang-of-two and we began to call them by their aliases… Ham and Eggs.

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They were inseparable.

But then… the trouble began.

Rupert became comfortable with his new environment and his Prima donna personality began to shine through.

He didn’t like to be touched when outside in fact, he squealed and jumped back each time one of us approached him.

But at night, when he came in for dinner, and to go to bed on his furry little leopard skin blanket on the cool tile floor of the bathroom, he flipped over on his side expecting a full body massage as he smiled, yawned, smacked his little piggy lips, and stretched his little cloven-hoofed legs out in front of him and batted his long piggy eyelashes.

He was adorable… but of course… he seemed to believe that he was completely entitled.

By week two, we realized there was trouble on the horizon.

The front yard had giant patches of grass entirely removed… Matilda’s chicken feed had to be hidden from him or like the pig that he was… he would gobble it all down without a second piggy thought and… being that he is a very smart little man… he seemed to know exactly when the clock struck 6:30pm and so… he would  rush to the front door, squeal and bang on it repeatedly until we let him in for dinner and bed.

The sound was terrifying.

Charlotte, our youngest, actually heard his commotion and her eyes grew big as she said, “My God! It sounds like you have a Changeling at the door!”

A White Walker

A Zombie

A Pig Nightmare.

Rupert.

Or as my good friend Warren liked to call him: a Purely Evil Pig wrapped in Cuteness.

Now… of course my children loved to post photos like this on Instagram:

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Fooling you into a false sense of pig security as you say to yourself, “Awwwwwwwwww. How sweet! That Rupert is just the cutest little thing! D.D. must be exaggerating in this story.”

But I tell you, he is the devil.

The other night, I wouldn’t let him in a half-an-hour early for dinner and as I stood in the laundry room, getting ready to turn on the dryer, I heard a loud crashing sound from the front yard.

Afraid that something serious had happened, I rushed to the front door, opened it, and there I saw Rupert, his little piggy legs spread apart in a stance of defiance, his snout held high, one of my prized ceramic gnomes now decapitated and lying severed; body on one side… head on the other… across the front walkway.

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“Rupert?” I asked. “Did you do that?”

He wiggled his little piggy nose, pushed the decapitated head with his snout, and let out a loud snort as if to say, “FUCK YES I DID IT! And guess what? There’s more where THAT came from lady!”

I stared at him… he glared back.

I was shocked at the little bastard he had become… and just as I was about to punish him for his behavior by closing the front door and making him wait and extra hour for dinner, Ringo, aka Bastard Number Two, our male teacup chihuahua, ran outside, lifted his leg and peed inside the broken innards of my gnome’s head.

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I watched as Ringo’s urine puddled inside of my gnome’s little broken red cap… dumbfounded for just a moment… before I became enraged that these assholes were actually biting the hand that feeds them.

“THAT’s IT!” I shouted. “You fuckers get the fuck away from my gnome!”

Rupert ran for the bushes.

Ringo ran for the house.

As Matilda watched from a distance, her head cocked slightly to the side, amused to see her little toadies torment and mock me.

“Keep it up,” I said. “You’ll be chicken dinner, he’ll be Christmas ham,” and here I turned to shout inside of the house, “And you Ringo will have your balls chopped off.”

There was complete silence.

No one moved.

I reached for my broken gnome, dumped the pee from his cap and placed his bisected remains into a large flower pot.

I turned on my heel and went inside to sulk in the quiet of my office but not ten minutes later… piggy brat Rupert was squealing at the front door.

“Mother fucker,” I yelled, which didn’t stop Rupert from squealing but did cause my mother to mute Two and a Half Men long enough to shout, “God, the mouth on you!”

Too worked up to even yell at the “Old” I opened the front door and watched as Rupert passed me without another sound and made a B-line to the bathroom where he expected to find his dinner in his bowl.

When he saw that it was empty, he kicked over his water dish and stomped his little feet and THAT… was IT!

I had HAD it!

I smacked his fat little pig butt, and he didn’t even care, he just threw his weight into it and then turned around and screamed at me.

I physically turned him around the other way, as he wailed bloody murder and pushed against me… but I wouldn’t have it… I made the little bastard go to his piggy bed.

“NO!” I shouted. “NO RUPERT!”

He refused to turn around then.

He faced the wall and stood there.. defiantly… ass to my face… refusing to listen.

“Do you understand I won’t tolerate this behavior?”

He begrudgingly swished his tail once, just like a spoiled child who realizes that he has lost the battle but that the war isn’t over yet, and he understood.

I swear I could hear him chanting in his little piggy mind, I hate you. I hate you. I hate you.

I closed the bathroom door and went to get his dinner.

By the time I came back… he was rooting about, fluffing his blanket, as if nothing ever happened.

The little shit.

I reached down and fed him, then watched as he licked the bowl clean before flopping over on his side, tired and world-weary from his little tantrum, ready for his full body massage… as if we had made up… and all that transpired was now: water under the bridge.

“Are you serious?” I asked.

He grunted.

I sighed as I sat down on the toilet and rubbed the little man down.

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It was no different than dealing with a tired toddler.

He stretched and yawned and I resigned myself to my fate.

In the morning we would try again.

In the morning we would find a way to make this right.

In the morning, I would go to Jack-in-the-Box and eat a Breakfast Jack with ham and in that way… extract my revenge on Rupert.

Yes my little man.. that’s right…. a BREAKFAST JACK WITH HAM.

Oh Rupert…

My little piggy demon.

You.

Have.

Met.

Your.

Match.

In.

Me.

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Dealing with the Olds: Or How I Barely Survived the “Panty” Incident… A Cautionary Tale in Two Acts

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BIG OLDS

I have been care-taking others my entire life:

My own children…

My school children…

Neighbors, friends, strays, and of course… “Olds.”

If you would have told me in high school… that my destiny was to be a caretaker… I wouldn’t have believed you.

I was sure that I would be the first of my friends to leave the country, and never to return, unless under extreme pressure to do so.

But it seems it is my lot in life, and like Jimmy Stewart’s iconic character, George Bailey… I guess it is my destiny, to leave my nomadic dream of independent traveling behind, and accept my fate: to take care of all the numerous jackasses that reside in my own personal “Bedford Falls.”

Don’t get me wrong… I love my people… my jackasses… but two inappropriate panty incidents with the “Olds” in one week was a bit too much for anyone.

It started with Ernie.

Ernie is one of my father’s Navy friends, circa World War II, who comes to visit us every year from New Zealand where he now lives.

I love Ernie for numerous reasons:

One, he tells me stories about my father, that make me feel like I really know the man that kept so much of his own wild life hidden from his children, as he raised us.

Two, he likes to drink a lot of beer and go out dancing and believe it or not, even at 85… he still seems to have the moves that make the ladies adore him.

And…

Three, Since my father passed away, my mom likes to lay all of her demands on me, but when Ernie is here to stay, she spends her time bossing him around which means… she isn’t bossing me about: it really takes the pressure off.

Ernie is a skinny guy, very tan, white hair, a pretty healthy old man, and he tends to favor those weird fashions of the “Oceania Region” where they are prone to wearing Birkenstock sandals and of course, you guessed it…. sassy black speedos, teeny-tiny little things, as he lays on the chaise, in the backyard by the pool reading one of his many Clive Cussler novels.

I have grown accustom to this sight, over the years, but it is still a bit unnerving at times to know that he’s out there… lurking… in his little panties.

Now, Ernie had just arrived at our house about three weeks before the incident occurred.

Everything had been going as smoothly as possible, considering I live in a house where not one, but now two, advanced elderly people lived.

I spent most of my time… making sure each morning… that they were still alive… and listening for loud thumps… each evening… hoping that it was one of the kids bouncing down the stairs and not an “Old” in the process of breaking a hip or having a stroke.

Basically, it’s like being on 24-hour alert “high watch.”

So when someone began banging heavily on the hall door at 11:30 pm on Thursday night, waking me from a “dead” sleep, chihuahuas barking, big dogs howling, pig squealing (yes we have a pig) I woke as if I were already in the early stages of a massive heart attack: dazed… confused…. unsettled…. my mind and heart racing at an alarming pace.

I jumped from my bed, sure that someone must be seriously injured or dead, ran into the hallway, and found Ernie, in his tight black speedo underwear, blood dripping down his arm, yelling my name.

I was about to totally freak out when he said, “You don’t have a band-aid do ya? I fell out of bed having a dream, about pulling my brother out of a porthole from a sinking ship, and pulled some of the skin off my arm.”

I swear, I almost throttled him to death right then and there.

I couldn’t believe that he had woke me up, by banging repeatedly on the hall door, at 11:30 at night, as if it were a LIFE OR DEATH situation for a fucking band-aid.”

But I held it together and in my kindest voice said, “Hang on Ernie, let me find you one.” And then I directed him to wait for me at the kitchen bar, because if I don’t give him specific directions, he follows me about which, is actually how he accidentally saw me completely naked the previous week, by following me into the bathroom before I realized he was doing so.

I closed the hall door and gathered my composure.

I called Dylan, my son on the phone and said, “Are you upstairs?”

“Yeah,” he replied.

“Well can you come down here please. Ernie just woke me up for a band aid.”

Silence.

“Why did he wake you up for a band aid? I was awake and up here. What was he thinking?” He asked.

“I don’t know!” I screamed; unfortunately verbally kicking Dylan since I was unable to take my wrath out on Ernie. “I don’t know why OLDS do what they fucking do. Just come down and bandage the old man so I can go back to bed. I’ve got work in the morning.”

Two seconds later, Dylan was downstairs bandaging the old man and I was back in my bed, trying to calm down enough to hopefully get a few hours sleep.

But I tossed and turned until my alarm went off at 6 am and so, still twisted and tired from my “late night fiasco,” grumpy and bitter, jumped up from the bed, put on my slippers and rushed to let the pig out into the yard for the morning and let my chicken out of her coop (yes, we also have a chicken) before I would have to get to school on time. But… as I opened the front door, I was assaulted, yes once again, by an OLD.

There… out in the bright morning light for all the neighbors to see was my 85-year-old mother, bra-less in a tank top, barefoot and leaning on her cane, bent WAY over low, in her GIANT silky grandma panties, butt crack CLEARLY visible through the silky fabric as she struggled to let my chicken out of her cage.

I tell you it was a once in a lifetime sight that no one should ever have to view.

I actually backed up and gasped.

“Jesus Christ!” I screeched. “What the hell are you doing?”

She didn’t even stand up. She just looked at me from between her legs.

“Letting the chicken out.”

“Mom!” I shouted. “Do you realize that you are out in public, basically naked. The neighbors are going to call Adult Protective Services and take me away!”

“Well, now wouldn’t that be funny!” she said.

I felt myself fuming.

I wanted to grab that cane, topple that old woman, and pop her in the coop.

Now, now, now… I thought to myself… wouldn’t THAT be funny old woman?

But instead, I backed away from the scene and turned around to find Ernie waving at me from the reclining chair. Looking chipper and perky with his morning coffee and his Clive Cussler novel and his little arm all bandaged up with our spiffy pop-culture red band-aid that said “KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON.”

“Mother Fucker,” I whispered to myself. “Sweet Jesus for the love of God somebody help me please.”

But no help arrived.

No one there to listen.

Just a pig.

Just a chicken.

Just an old skinny man.

Just an old woman.

And me.

Sweet Jesus, obviously smart enough to stay miles away from this scenario, enjoying the view from above.

Ms. Wood Goes on a Bike Ride Ending in an Unexpected Police Chase and a Sudden Realization for Mr. Warren Renfrow.

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COPKIDNEWWARREN

I am new to the world of cycling.

In fact, I have only been on my bike a couple of times.

But, it seems that most of the musician men friends I know, are all about riding bicycles these days: R. Scott, Darryl Mitchell, Mike Martt, Johnny Minguez, Steve Houston and Warren Renfrow, all former or current members of well-know bands, participate in cycling and though I haven’t seen them all in action yet… I have noted an alarming number of them wearing tight little spandex pants and helmets with strange points on the back.

Now, these are not men who look like the men from the Tour de France… who look like they should be wearing spandex swag… these are big burly tattooed men… blue collared Blutos… rough and tough … and to see them sporting their delicate little panties and day-glow race helmets is frankly… a bit disconcerting.

But having grown up with brothers and raised in a houseful of an endless parade of boys during the 1970’s… where I longed to be the girl version of Evil Knievel… in on all of their ramp jumping fiascos… I find myself drawn to ride with them… ride fast….. and really… if I’m truly to be honest… kick their fucking asses all over the bike trail.

It’s a competitive thing… a feminist thing… but I honestly never planned to get the Seal Beach Police Department involved in my Battle of the Sexes “vendetta.”

It was early Sunday morning when I met up on the bike path with Warren Renfrow and almost fell off my 10-speed with joy once I realized that I might actually have a friend to ride with; Stephen my man, unwilling to delve into the world of hot spandex… more comfortable on his Schwinn cruiser then a Bianchi 10-speed… and always looking for a chance to work on his 64 convertible Valiant, unfettered by my constant interruptions.

Warren had been riding for awhile and since it was my first time out, I was a bit trepidatious about the thinness of the tire… the downward position of the bars… the speed which I hit each downhill drop… as I followed behind him from El Dorado Park past the Power Plants. But by the time I was nearing Seal Beach, I was out in front, moving at a good solid pace and ready to ride farther.

Now, maybe he was just being nice and cutting me some slack… but I don’t think so: I was really getting the hang of it.

By the time we hit the beginning of Bolsa Chica I was hooked.

I was about to ride on when Warren shouted out, “D.D. come back!”

I pressed my hand breaks and turned around.

“What?” I said all sassy.

“You still have to ride home,” he said. “This was a good first trek for you but, I don’t think you should push it.”

Push it?

He’s lucky he didn’t lose an eye saying that to me.

I’m sure he was just being a good riding partner… concerned that I would be able to make the trip home… but all I heard in my demented mind was:

You’re a girl.

You can’t ride that far.

You weak-ass idiot.

You better go home now and leave the long ride to the big boys.

“Fine,” I said and took off at a fast pace as I cut back through the Sunset Beach housing.

Warren could have given a shit.

He lumbered about… totally ignoring me as he drank off of his stupid plastic sippy cup bottle that all of those bike guys have.

I stormed ahead: my chucks pushing hard on the pedals…. my Ramones shirt blowing in the breeze…. my big bun of hair bobbing up and down blissfully helmet free: I felt like a rebel.

He caught up to me at the red light off of Anderson, right next to Turc’s, and he was still in a nice glide when the light turned green. He gave me a smug nod and took off like a bat out of hell.

I was FURIOUS.

I started back from a total stop, downshifted and raced to catch up to him.

By the time I hit the first hill’s rise on PCH… in the Naval Weapons Station Wetlands… I had him.

I was beyond stoked.

I was gonna make him pay.

I couldn’t wait to be the rookie that pushed past the “Big Man” and road him into the ground.

And this is when I made the worst rookie move I could have ever made.

If there had been a video feed of this moment… cyclists everywhere would have thrown their arms up in exasperation, slapped their foreheads stunned and dismayed, and then turned to laugh at me with all of their little cycling friends.

I thought that the best way to conquer the hill was to shift into high gear and hit the pedals hard but my momentum slowed to almost a dead stop and by the time I adjusted my gears and looked up again, Warren was at the top of the second hill, drinking out of his stupid ass little sissy cup again, legs splayed wide, riding as if he was an old man on a Sunday joy ride through the park, casually enjoying the wetlands,  his demeanor.. pleased with the fact that he left me, the idiot, behind, without a second thought.

I was sure at that moment… that my head was actually going to explode.

I leaned forward, clenched my teeth and started barreling up the second hill.

Warren was almost across Seal Beach Boulevard when I came flying down towards him at an impressive pace.

I broke into a wide grin.

I saw him stop on the other side of Seal and wait at the curb for me.

Fuck that shit, I whispered to myself, You’re going down Mr. Crane Operator Man.

I pedaled harder.

I pedaled faster.

I didn’t give a shit that I had the red light.

I didn’t care that cars were driving through the intersection in front of me.

I would die beating Warren Renfrow’s ass.

I held fast to my grips, leaned forward aggressively and steeled myself to run the intersection.

I watched as Warren’s eyes suddenly grew large.

I ignored him as I zig-zagged between moving cars and stopped pedaling as if I had just won a lengthy race, knowing that my advanced momentum would carry me through the finish line, in front of him, and that’s… when I saw the cop: About half way down Seal Beach Boulevard, moving at a good clip between the police station and PCH.

I couldn’t see his eyes through the windshield, but I heard the cruiser accelerate and knew someone inside was ready to give a big ticket and hungry for a chase.

I hit the pedals hard again, and blew past Warren like a rocket.

I was off PCH and turning down the alley behind 17th Street to hide in the neighborhood when I heard Warren yell, “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?”

And then the police car skidded around the corner after me.

I was almost out of view from the main drag when I saw the cop race down Seventeenth hoping to catch me coming out the other side.

I hit the breaks, flipped the handle bars to the right and stopped in a hard skid.

A quick backpedal and I was back racing towards Warren at top speed.

“GO!” I shouted as I rushed past him. “GO!” I screamed as I blasted on by and rode hard towards 12th Street where I turned right into the neighborhood behind the Pavilions and followed, my head low, hidden behind the concrete wall, until I cut through the back parking lot of the Chase bank on Bolsa and pedaled the last one hundred yards of PCH to the bike path at a furious pace, only allowing my legs to slow as I cut the gate by the stone remains of the legendary Marina Palace and caught my breath; chubby tired and worn as I coasted down the bike trail towards home.

Warren raced up behind me.

“Jesus!” He shouted. “Sonny warned me about you. You fucking Grishams are crazy!”

I pictured Big Sonny’s face, our mutual friend, his dark glasses, greaser vato, long bushy gray goatee, shaking his head in disgust as he said to Warren, “Just remember one thing bro… she’s a Grisham” and my face flushed.

I could just imagine him cackling, crowing actually, about being right.

I road on in silence… part of me… glad to keep our family reputation for insanity alive… part of me sad that I probably would never be riding bikes with Warren Renfrow again.

We made it home, and Warren took a moment to stop and talk with my man about cars, and music, and whatever else.

I straddled my bike from a distance, an outsider, just an ear shot away from their conversation, when I heard something about me and the cops.

“I heard that!” I shouted.

They both turned and looked at me.

“Obviously you didn’t,” Stephen laughed, Warren joining him.

So I climbed on my bike, made my best pouty face and rode off, leaving the two of them deep in conversation, most likely about what a total jackass I was.

The next day, I decided I better call Sonny and come clean about my antics before Warren got a chance to tell him.

“I told him you were fucking crazy!” Sonny said. “All you mother fucking Grishams are!”

I felt deflated… ready to give in and concede defeat when Sonny added, “Hey… hey….”

“Yeah,” I said quietly.

“I’m really proud of you. I like that you still know how to get away from the fucking cops.”

And then he hung up.

But I didn’t mind.

In Sonny’s eyes I was still the winner of the race that day.

And that… was enough… for me.

Corey Hale Becomes Confused After Experiencing an Overly Sexy Hug from Mrs. Wood

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Corey Hale copy

Well it was bound to happen.

Sooner or later I knew that I would cause some type of confusion in a young man’s life.

And so it goes…

Corey Hale: former student, friend and band mate of my 23-year-old son, amp wizard, and all around good kid.

I had forgotten about the “overly sexy”  hug that had sent him reeling for many months but last night as we all sat around at Sam’s Seafood, enjoying Kallie’s 23rd birthday party, the story came out.

I had just been lamenting the fact to my boyfriend, Stephen, and my dear friend Margie, that I was “dry” and didn’t have a Saturday story to tell, when Corey popped up, plied with cheap beer and a shot of Wild Turkey, his new girlfriend in tow, and said, “Mrs. Wood, do you remember when you gave me that overly sexy hug and then got really angry with me because I told Dylan about it?”

Stephen’s eyes widened… so did Margie’s before she said,  “Well there you go. Your Saturday story. See how the Universe aligns?”

I turned around and looked at him.

He was clutching his girlfriend’s hand tightly, she was a tiny little sweet thing and I could only imagine what she was thinking: I was the spitting image of Joan from Mad Men last night. A brick shit house in a tight white wiggle dress… dark red lips… high peep toe pumps.

I had become Mrs. Robinson and hadn’t even realized it.

I wasn’t sure where his story was going to go… but…. I am always willing to call myself out publicly and so… I joined in and hoped he would continue.

“I wasn’t angry at you.” I said.  “Just surprised you were such a kiss and tell!”

“I was confused!” he shouted. “Dylan and I were just about to go on stage. We were loading in out front of Di Piazza’s. You had just finished playing. I was in awe of you and it was like my first show ever and then you gave me the overly sexy hug.”

Stephen smiled at him, “Do you remember any of your set that night?”

“NO!” Corey said. “I was confused. The overly sexy hug confused me. I kept wondering. Did Dylan’s mom mean to give me the overly sexy hug? Was I really supposed to be the recipient of the overly sexy hug? Was I just imagining the overly sexy hug?”

Here he paused and looked to his girlfriend for assistance: She was no help.

“I don’t know what you’re complaining about,” she said. “Mrs. Wood is hot.”

This only made things worse.

I felt my shoulders tighten and I couldn’t bring myself to look at Stephen or Margie.

Corey began to sweat freely.

You could see his shiny little face… embarrassed, as if admitting in a confessional, that he had “feelings” for his friend’s mother: inappropriate feelings.

It was hard not to chide him and really fuck him up for life but I was reeling now myself and so… I sat quiet.

He reached up and wiped the sweat from his brow.

“Corey,” Stephen asked. “Can you show us the overly sexy hug?”

Corey put down his drink.

Excited to replay the moment.

He had his girlfriend stand up on a step so that she could portray his height accurately while he would play me.

He grabbed her roughly, took both hands and pulled her hips in towards his until they were both touching. Then, he kicked up one of his heels in a cutesy position and arched his back and pretended to press his make-believe giant boobs forward.

Oh my God… I thought to myself. Jesus…. I’m surprised he hadn’t passed out on the street when it happened.”

Stephen was really enjoying the moment: I of course was squirming.

I wiped my own sweaty brow and pretended to examine my fingernails.

I took a long sip off of my Coke and rolled my eyes at Stephen.

“Yep,” Stephen said. “That’s an overly sexy hug.”

“RIGHT?” Corey said directly to him. Happy to have a champion on his side.

At this time Corey’s girlfriend left to get a soda and I turned to face Corey head on.

“Corey,” I asked feeling defensive for my behavior. “Are you saying that my hug confused you all of this time? That it was a negative experience for you?”

He looked at me stunned.

“Are you kidding? No way. I was confused in a good way for months.” He looked at Stephen and then added, “Months and months” a big happy smile plastered across his baby face.

I felt my own face flush.

Stephen nodded his head, lifting his beer toward me, in a silent toast to my brazen behavior.

He loved it.

Happy in the knowledge that I was Corey’s Mrs. Malone: Stephen’s hot high school teacher who he was still crushing on after all of these years. She was probably close to seventy by now but to Stephen, she would always be thirty-five, in a tight black pencil skirt, white silk blouse, small sprinkle of light freckles across the bridge of her nose, and a large luscious mouth.

“It was great,” Corey said. Before he bounced off to find his girlfriend.

Stephen leaned in close to me and whispered, “Mrs. Robinson. You’re trying to seduce me now aren’t you?”

“Oh shut the fuck up Stephen,” I snapped.

He giggled like a school boy as I watched Corey wave and smile at me from the bar… to be forever happily confused over the overly sexy hug.

While I considered the possibility of a breast reduction and a life time of wearing, no make-up, my hair pulled back in a small tight bun, a moo-moo and some nice orthopedic shoes.

Ms. Wood has an Affair: The Lemon Lush Pie Incident

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Lemon Lush

I didn’t mean for it to happen.

I swear… I really didn’t… but then again… isn’t that what everyone says?

I couldn’t control myself?

I was overwhelmed with passion?

I was in love with a feeling?

I thought it would be just a one night stand… a fling really.

But it wasn’t….

Me sitting secluded in the dark booth…

My new lover, Lemon Lush Pie from Jongewaard’s Bake n Broil sitting seductively in front of me.

Oh… how he lured me in…

His intoxicating smell…

His handsome exterior…

He was the perfect combination: sweet, rich, complicated in his multiple layers.

Any woman would have fallen for his magnetic pull.

One bite… and I was overwhelmed.

I tried to act coy… pretend I wasn’t that interested… and so I pushed him away and waited a week before I returned.

And when I arrived… he was excited to see me.

All spruced up on his little blue plate… just waiting in anticipation for the moment when we would be together again.

I didn’t hesitate.

I jumped right in.

And by the time I was done I was spent… satisfied.

I believed that my craving for him had been quenched but I was a fool…

I had no idea what power he had over me.

Soon, I was obsessed.

I began to talk about him often.

I found numerous ways to bring him up in almost any conversation.

Any excuse to focus on my crush:

“Hey Ms. Wood, did you hear about that incident in North Korea?

“Oh yes,” I would reply. “By the way… did you know that they don’t have Lemon Lush pie in North Korea? I think we should go have some just to celebrate that fact.”

Soon… I was dragging others along with me.

They had no idea how serious it was.

They thought we were just friends.

They thought it was just casual.

And like any good addict I hid my addiction.

I kept my distance at the table.

I never licked my fingers in public or acted as if my heart raced whenever I was near him.

I made sure not to stare at him for too long or give him an overly flirty look.

I played it all off… and I was good… really good…until the real lying began.

I would come up with any excuse… any reason… to get away and be with my crush.

“Hey D.D.” Stephen my boyfriend would say, “I’ve gotta pick something up at Home Depot do you want to…”

“Oh! I’ll go for you,” I would shout, knowing that Bake n Broil was less than a mile from the hardware store.

“Are you sure?” Stephen would question… his innocent gaze completely unsuspecting.

“Sure,” I would say overly cheerful.

And when I returned… sated once again… sugar still on my lips… he had no idea of my indiscretion.

But after months of lying… I began to feel horrible.

How could I do this to my man?

Hadn’t he always been so good to me?

Extreme guilt washed over me each time I looked into Stephen’s sweet, naive face.

I watched as he stayed steadfast… his trust in me secure… while he ate his diet lunches and dinners sure in his knowledge that we were in a mutually exclusive relationship comprised of trust and love.

But it still didn’t stop me.

I had to have Lemon Lush at any cost.

Soon, I began bringing him home.

I had him in my office.

In my bathtub.

In my bed.

He was amazing.

And each time we were together… the risk seemed worth it.

Even when I heard the dogs bark…

the gate latch lift…

the front door swing open…

I rushed to finish before I was caught ecstatic that once again… I had my way.

But like any affair… the outcome always ends in tears and so… on one particular Friday when I believed Stephen to be fast at work in his office in Anaheim, I sat in my bed, fork in hand, an entire pie tin of Lemon Lush pressed close to my face, and looked up to find that Stephen had quietly come down the hallway and was now standing at my bedroom door, shocked… stunned…. expression full of pain.

“All this time?” He said, his voice breaking on the last word.

I stared at him… caught mid-act I didn’t know what to say.

Lemon Lush had no time to hide and I had no time to clean myself up.

“How could you do it?” He asked. “D.D. How could you do it?”

I sat silent.

Mute in my guilt, as Stephen slowly turned and headed off down the hallway and out the front door.

We sat there… Lemon Lush and I… unwilling to go on… ashamed of our behavior.

I gathered his things and escorted him to the trash bin.

I could see that he was hurt but I knew… it was Lemon Lush or Stephen… and Stephen was my true love.

I would have to make an amends to Stephen and give Lemon Lush up forever.

I left him at the curb and rushed to find my keys so that I could go find Stephen and apologize for my indiscretion.

I found him… sitting on his front stoop.

Sad face.

Head down.

Eating a tin of Sardines.

Glass of water by his side.

I walked up hang-dogged and sat beside him.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “It won’t ever happen again.”

“Oh I know it won’t,” Stephen said. ” There’s consequences to your actions.”

He tipped his head, motioning behind him, where I saw the Weight Watchers Digital Scale looming in the background.

“Go ahead,” he said as he ate his last sardine.

I stood up, I knew what I had to do. I stepped on the scale gingerly.

“All the way,” Stephen said sternly.

I watched as the scale went up twenty pounds higher than it had read four months ago when the affair began.

I gasped in shock.

“I could have told you that guy wasn’t good for you,” Stephen said smugly as he moved on to his hard-boiled egg… a small snarky smirk on his face… knowing the painful months that lay before me.

Diet.

Exercise.

And the day-to-day painful longing for my lost love: Lemon Lush.

Joe Wood Calls Me a “C. U. Next Tuesday” Resulting in a High Speed Pursuit with Pro Skater Eddie Reategui

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Ed and Joe

Back before I was a beloved high school teacher, I ran with a notorious group of musicians and skaters.

Basically, a Rat Pack of boys, sure to provide all types of trouble, and as Steve Soto of The Adolescents fame just recently said to me… I was their “Shirley MacLaine.”

But the problem with being the Shirley MacLaine to the Rat Pack, is that though you are a standing member; a band girl that has been deemed cool enough to hang with the boys… you never really ARE one of the boys and so… it set up a musical dichotomy: me on one side…resentful and hurt… the boys on the other…happy to continue on as they always had.

Having grown up with brothers, I had pretty much resigned myself to this “Continental Divide” this “He-Man Woman-Haters Club” until the day that Joe Wood went way too far.

Joe my boyfriend at the time (later my husband) was in T.S.O.L and we were caught up in a VERY passionate relationship.

We were actually known all around town for our knock down drag-outs.

We were the Ike and Tina Turner of Long Beach.

The Johnny Cash and June Carter of the Punk Rock World.

The Loretta Lynn and Doolittle Lynn of the local club scene.

Basically, we were everything that has EVER been represented in volatile musical couples since the dawn of Rock-n-Roll.

You never knew what to expect from either of us and we never knew what to expect from each other.

One day, as we were driving in our old 69 Buick Wildcat past El Dorado Park on our way to God knows where, we got into one of our terrible arguments.

I don’t know how it started but it escalated so quickly, that by the time we turned off of Spring Street and onto Studebaker Road, it was nearing fist-a-cuffs.

We were barely half a mile from the house, ranting and raving at each other, arms waving, cuss words flying, when the light turned red, Joe lit up a smoke, and said, “You know what? You’re just a stupid cunt on the side lines of music and I don’t really give a shit what you think” and jumped out of the car, ran across the street to the far corner, where he flipped me the bird, before sticking out his thumb and trying to hitch a ride with anyone who could get him as far away from me as possible.

I felt my face burning.

My heart was racing.

My mind was spinning.

If I could have floored that Buick and cut diagonally across six lanes of traffic and run his stupid ass over without killing an innocent bystander believe me, I would have done it.

I thank God that neither of us carried guns during our time together.

We were the perfect poster couple for why there should be U.N. mandated GLOBAL gun control.

Trust me… If I had had a gun back then… Joe would be ball-less wonder right now, singing some type of Hedwig and the Angry Inch cover set at Alex’s bar every Thursday night for the rest of his miserable “little” life.

I glared at Joe across the street.

Smug look on his face.

Leather pants and black shirt.

Cigarette dangling cooly from his mouth.

The Devil standing on the side of the road… and I snapped.

Any man in his right mind should know that you NEVER call a woman a  C. U. NEXT. TUESDAY if you want to live to tell the story.

He was gonna pay and good.

I couldn’t wait for the light to change so that I could throw that car into a U-turn off of Willow, and jet over to his side of the street where I could sock him proper.

But, just as I was making the turn, heading across the intersection to let him have it, a cute little 1970’s VW bug pulled up, Joe hopped in, and as they pulled back into traffic, I saw that it was Eddie Reategui at the wheel.

Now I had known Eddie forever, and I knew there was no way in hell Eddie would have picked Joe up if he knew what the hell was going down.

I saw Joe gesturing wildly and then point his finger forward repeatedly and rapidly as he told Eddie to, “Drive! Drive! Drive!”

But Eddie’s poor little 1970’s bug was no match for my V8.

I revved the engine and laid the Wildcat about five inches off of Eddie’s bumper.

He looked over his shoulder, face crumpled, hobbit like fear at the unknown danger he had found on the road.

He turned back and I could see him clutch the wheel and throw a hard shift into 4th hoping that he could out run me.

For a moment… he pulled away and I saw Joe break into a wide grin.

I let them have their one moment of relief before I floored it again, came up on Eddie’s right side and screamed, “You better pull over right now Eddie Reategui or I’m gonna kill you!”

Eddie shook his head no, a scared little shake of a nod, trying to remain “Boy’s Club” looking to Joe for reassurance, a sign that he was doing the right thing, but he found nothing to comfort him there.

Eddie’s not stupid: He knew the minute he saw me on his tail… that he had sided with the wrong team.

I pulled back and watched as in a panic Eddie cut in front of me and made a sharp left turn on Oak, a small secluded street right behind the Los Alamitos Police Department, hoping that the power of my heavy metal would cause me to blast past the turn and leave me having to make up time on Walnut before I could cut back and cut them off.

The VW cornered like it was on rails but Eddie had underestimated the moment.

I made my own hard left onto Oak, pinned the pedal to the floor, blazed past the boys on the wrong side of the street, before hitting the brake, throwing the car into a hard skid, and T-Boning them.

Eddie hit the brakes, his face one of total terror, Joe, no longer the big mouth in Eddie’s ear screamed as their car skidded towards me and luckily… stopped.

I jumped from the Buick before they had a chance to recover: 113 pounds of green-eyed bitch.

Black mini skirt riding up high…

bullet belt bouncing off of each hip…

boots clicking fast across the asphalt… as I screamed at the top of my lungs, “You get your ASS out of that car RIGHT NOW Joe Wood!”

Joe jumped out of Eddie’s car as if God had yanked him from it himself.

I stared him down.

Hell hath no FURY like a women called a C. U. Next Tuesday.

My eyes could have burned through his skin.

He tried to play it cool…

Strutting towards me as he stopped to acknowledge his nemesis.

He paused, lit up a smoke, I raised one eyebrow and stared him down.

His gaze faltered before he regained a little bit of composure, sauntering the rest of the way towards the passenger side of the car, my eyes following his every move.

I watched as he got in… slumped into the seat, arm extended out the window, chain tattoo prominent on his wrist, Marlboro light dangling from his fingers.

Fucker.

By the time I turned back to give Eddie Reategui what for… I saw that he had slipped his car into reverse and was silently edging away from me.

I raced towards him like the cyborg in Terminator, my steely gaze ready to cut him deep but he was gone before I could even get close.

I never thought I would ever see a 1970’s VW bug pull off such a slow Rockford but Eddie’s skating techniques, in the end, boded well for his escape. I’m sure by that time if Eddie had to perform a 360 Hard Flip in that VW just to get the fuck out of there, he would have figure out a way to do it.

He raced off and out of my general vicinity, happy, I’m sure, to leave with his balls intact and arrest free before the police station caught onto the insane domestic dispute going on outside of their main building.

I stomped back to the car and threw myself into the seat.

“Are you out of your fucking mind?” I screamed.

Joe took a deep drag off his smoke and blew it into my face.

My eyes narrowed.

“Go ahead,” I whispered. “Say it again. I dare you.”

I waited.

My gauntlet thrown down.

Neither of us blinked.

I watched as his gold eyes glared into mine before his stonewall expression was betrayed by a slight twitch.

“That’s what I thought,” I said as I threw the car into gear, spun the back tires hard, and roared down Oak Street for home.

Joe Screams Like a Girl when Confronted with Aliens in the Gauntlet of our Hallway

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Fire In The Sky2

During the late 80’s early 90’s there was a huge resurgence of alien movies and Joe, my ex-husband, was obsessed with most of them.

But, Communion freaked him out so badly, that he actually became terrified of extraterrestrial beings.

When alone, at night in our house, and our house was a big dark house… he would often let his imagination get the better of him and believe that around each corner these guys were lurking:

comalien2-thumb

And that they would gang up on him and do this:

fire-in-the-sky

I can’t say that I did anything to reassure him otherwise.

Like the rest of the members of the Grisham family, I have quite a penchant for childish yet evil practical jokes and so… I often times would listen to Joe rant on, as he smoked a cigarette on the porch swing, his eyes sketchy, sure that he had just seen a little scary man eyeball him from behind one of the large neighborhood trees… before I would look over his shoulder and shout, “Joe! Watch out! He’s after you!” Taking great joy in watching him scream and squirm before running pell-mell into the house to hide.

I have to admit, there is something very pleasurable about watching a big, dangerous man that looks like the devil, scream in fear.

So much so…. that when Fire in the Sky came out on pay-per-view cable, and Joe wanted to stay up late night and watch it, I knew beyond a doubt that this would be the time to pull one of my best pranks ever.

I had already seen the movie, caught on a flight back from Nashville, and watching it on the airplane, mid-day, drunk on gin and tonics, made it seem almost comical more than terrifying.

But I could see that in the stillness of a great, dark house, how the mood and music of the film, could weigh heavy on your soul and lead you to believe that things were going bump in the night.

I told Joe I would be happy to stay up and watch it with him, even though I had already seen it, and so, we settled in, Joe in the blue recliner by the stairwell and me in the black recliner by the far wall.

I watched as Joe’s eyes grew large, his mouth turning into a small little terrified “O” shape.

The dark wood paneling of the room….. the large glass sliding doors reflecting images of pale white aliens all around us… the cold drafts of the old house blowing under the closed doors… the creaking of the beams… had Joe curled up tightly in his chair.

He was almost in the fetal position as he absorbed every moment of the film… his gaze barely lifting from the screen… only from time-to-time looking to me for some sort of maternal reassurance and still… he couldn’t stifle his weird “Oooooo! OOOOOOooooooos” a sound somewhat a combo of a siren and a guttural growl type of scream… each time a new and unique creepy little man appeared.

I tried not to giggle each time he reacted.

His dark hair spiked up wildly all about his head.

His heavily tattooed arms covered in skeletons, demons, and dragons.

A living oxymoron in my family room.

It was hard to keep a straight face.

I pretended to be just as terrified as him, by the idea of being captured by a small little man, saran wrapped and anally probed but it just somehow didn’t work for me.

I always wondered why Christopher Walken’s character in the film, didn’t just take a bat and “swing away” like Joaquin Phoenix in the film Signs.

They were little guys!

Christopher Walken, creepy in his own right, should have been able to take ’em!

We were about thirty minutes a way from the end of the film when I put my prank into play.

I yawned loudly several times before I got up from my chair, walked over to kiss Joe on the forehead, and told him that I was just too tired to finish the film.

He looked at me in total disgust.

“I know you’re gonna hide somewhere and scare me,” he said.

I smiled lovingly.

“Don’t be silly,” I kissed him on the head again and brushed back his hair. “I wouldn’t do that.”

He glared at me… he knew a fake when he saw one.

I walked away from the living room, and hid behind the kitchen bar, way back in the corner between two bar stools.

I knew that if I just stayed there, I would be able to trap him in the “gauntlet” of the small hallway and hopefully make it near impossible for him to open the hall door in time to get away.

I snickered to myself as I breathed quietly and waited.

“I KNOW YOU’RE  HIDING!” I heard Joe yell from the living room.

I stifled a giggle and held my breath.

A few minutes later I heard him again.

“D.D.” he shouted. “Knock it off! I know you’re over there.”

I didn’t move.

I didn’t breath.

I waited and sure enough, the grandfather clock soon struck 11:45 and fifteen minutes had passed, and Joe had forgotten all about me.

By midnight, the film was over, and I heard Joe rise to turn off the TV.

I realized at that moment, there was only one light left on in the house: the laundry room light on the far side of the kitchen.

Joe would have to pass me to turn it off before going to bed and if he looked in my direction, my prank would be ruined.

I pressed my body deep into the shadow of the corner and watched as he walked bravely past me, head held high, to turn off the laundry room light and walk the very short distance from the kitchen to the front hall, alone… in the dark.

He made his way into the small room and I took the opportunity to creep out of my corner quietly and hide against the wall by the front door.

Once he turned off the light, I would be completely hidden in the darkness and Joe, his eyes not yet adjusted to the night, would be completely defenseless.

The house went black.

I dropped quietly to my knees and waited for his footsteps to approach.

Once he passed by the front door, I waited for him to be trapped in the small closed cult-de-sac that the front wall of the house, the closed hall door, and the small half-wall separating the passage way from the living room created, and knew that he was screwed.

I made a horrific high pitched gurgling noise… and grabbed at Joe’s legs.

He rushed forward and ran face first into the closed hallway door: It was a loud and terrible crash of a sound.

I reached for him again, this time barely nipping at his heels as I gurgled some more.

He shrieked in misery… it was a banshee of a howl.

He kicked and clawed at the closed hall door, crying out as he tried to basically climb the wall and find solace from the monsters, somewhere up high in the corner of the ceiling.

It didn’t work.

He screamed again and threw himself backwards into the wall, smashing a framed antique photograph of a long deceased family member before dropping like a lump, into the corner of the small space, as the upstairs stairwell light suddenly flashed on and my mom screamed,  “YOU KIDS STOP THAT GOD DAMN RUCKUS DOWNSTAIRS!”

Now at this time, Joe and I were already way into our late 20’s but… the sound of my mother’s voice on the stairs stopped us COLD… as if we were two naughty little children.

For a moment, we stayed silent in our solidarity.

We waited.

She stood at the top of the stairs, assessing the situation, deciding if she would come down the steps and berate us.

A few moments passed, before we heard my mother’s bedroom door slam shut and I began to laugh like a maniac as I slid down the front entrance way wall.

“I hate you.” Joe said as he got up, turned the hall door knob, hit the light switch, and stomped off towards the bedroom in a huff. “I fucking hate you.” He repeated.

I looked down at the floor and saw that he had broken the frame of the antique painting.

“Oooooooh!” I taunted. “You are in so much trouble now!”

He turned one more time and flipped me off before he barricaded himself in the bathroom and to this day… I don’t know if it was protection from me…. or protection from the aliens that lived in all the corners of our old family home.

I got up and readied myself for bed, not sure if my husband would be joining me.

Finally, I tapped gently on the bathroom door.

“Joe?” I said.

No answer.

“Joe,” I repeated.

“What?” his response was sullen and somber.

“Are you coming to bed?” I asked sweetly.

“What about the broken frame?” he said. “What am I supposed to tell your mom about that?”

I tried not to giggle as I gave my response.

“Just tell her you were so afraid of aliens that you broke it in your mad rush to escape their carnage.”

“Fuck you!” he snapped.

I gurgled at him one more time and went off to bed.

Joe and Dave Light the Street on Fire: A Cautionary Tale

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Joe and Dave

When I first married Joe, he was the lead singer for a well-known punk rock band and Dave Mello, was his best pal and his new bass player.

They were always together making surf boards, surfing, working on cars, having their little “bromance” and as any good wife knows… it is a joy when your husband has a best friend.

Their “boy” project at the time was a 1959 Ford Fairlane that Joe was in the process of restoring.

He had just had the engine rebuilt at a shop, and he and Dave had the block back under the hood and were in the process of priming the carburetor when all hell broke loose.

I was minding my own business, upstairs in our small apartment across from what now is the Long Beach Towne Center.

I was keeping an eye on Dylan, who was barely 18 months old, as he rode on his favorite rocking horse, which sat sideways next to the large picture window, watching his Dad and “Uncle” Dave work on the car down in the street below.

“Da,” Dylan said which he used freely for both Dave and Dad and just about every other thought he had under the sun in that little baby brain of his.

“Yes,” I cooed. “Dad and Dave are working on the car.”

He rocked on his little horse excitedly repeating, “Da! Da! Da!” as he watched the boys work.

“Yes,” I repeated. “Da. Da. Da.”

I walked into the other room for just a moment, when I heard a sound that any parent knows is trouble: the sound of complete silence.

The rocking horse had stopped.

The baby made no noise.

I paused in my housework and listened before I heard the words “Uh oh” from Dylan’s baby mouth.

Now, I had never heard Dylan say anything but “Da” so that was shocking enough. But the word that followed just about floored me.

“Shit” I heard the baby say plain as day and then the springs creaked on the horse, his feet padded a few steps, and his little hands began to bang against the plate glass window as he shouted “Da! Da! Da!” at the boys below.

I dropped the laundry I had been folding, and rushed into the living room to find the baby now quiet, head leaning against the window, his eyes large and round, his hands pressed flat against the glass, his mouth in a tiny exclamation of an “Oooooooooh” and before I could even start to comprehend my two-year-old’s first full word being “shit,” I saw a large plume of smoke hanging above the hood of the car in the air, and Dave yelling at Joe, “Try it again! But no more gas!”

To this day, I don’t know if Joe actually really didn’t hear Dave say “No more gas” or if he was just being obstinate, but… he completely ignored Dave and poured a large stream of gas from the gas can in the carb before he raised his empty hand in a big “thumb’s up.”

Dave, oblivious to Joe’s actions, hidden behind the protection of the driving wheel and the opened hood, hit the ignition and I watched as a large fireball exploded out from under the hood of the car and blasted into the air.

“JESUS CHRIST!” Dave screamed as he jumped from the car and then stopped short as he watched Joe, gas can in hand, jump backwards flailing his arms wildly as the flame shot up through the carb, ignited the stream of gas coming from the can, and left a trail of fire that blazed steadily across the sky, lighting Joe up as if he were holding a giant Roman candle on the 4th of July and using it to make fiery decorative loops.

“Throw it Joe!” Dave screamed. “Throw the fucking can!”

Joe panicked.

Mouth open.

He looked back and forth from each hand. I could see from even where I was that his rock-and-roll 90’s hair-do, his giant bushy eyebrows and hipster goatee had been singed to a crisp.

If it wasn’t so terrifying… I would have laughed at the comic farce playing out in the arena below but, I knew enough about combustion to know that if Joe didn’t throw that can within the next few seconds he was toast.

“THROW THE GAS CAN JOE!” I screamed through the glass and though he couldn’t hear me… it seemed my urgent need for him to listen had somehow broken the spell and Joe flung the gas can as far as he could.

I saw both boys rush to outrun the explosion.

For a moment it felt as if I were back in time watching two small children play soldiers at war.

They made it to the curb before the can hit the ground and exploded into a fiery bomb that was quite astounding.

Joe did some weird Chuck Norris tuck-and-roll before he leaped to his feet, leaving Dave behind him face down on the grass, as he ran into the building next to ours.

I watched Dave raise his head.

His look… one of dismay.

Joe had left his man behind.

A cardinal sin when in the midst of the heated passion of a bromance.

We all heard a loud crashing of glass followed by Joe dashing back across the street with a fire extinguisher to put out the blaze as Dave smiled, now sure in his best friend’s love for him, as Joe raced throughout the street, trying to right his wrong, putting out large patches of flame, as Dave looked on in admiration.

“Ooooooooooooh!” Baby Dylan said as he watched from the window.  “Uh oh Mama?” he pointed towards the street and then looked up at me.

I picked him up and cuddled him in my arms, glad to know that he was becoming a virtual vocabulary savant from this apocalyptic event.

“Yes baby,” I said as I kissed his cheek. “Uh oh.”

“Shit,” he said again.

I turned to look at him.

“No, baby,” I said sternly. “No!”

I thought he might actually begin to cry for a minute, but then the fire truck rounded the corner, sirens blaring, lights spinning, and Dylan became mesmerized by their brilliance as I heard the boys’ cowboy boots pound up the stairs and then bound through the door where they pulled the curtains closed, dropped to their knees on the floor, and hid low from “the man.”

They watched quietly, afraid to make a sound, afraid they might be seen, as the fire department assessed the incident.

Black 59′ Fairlane: gas trail circling the motor.

Broken glass: fire extinguisher thrown empty to the ground.

Entire street: burnt and black as if some type of car bomb had just gone off in Beirut.

Neighbors peeking from the windows but unwilling to rat anyone out to the authority: the unwritten rule of all good neighbors.

“Shit!” Joe said.

“Shit,” parroted Baby Dylan.

“He said a word!” Joe exclaimed.

“No shit Joe!” I snapped without thinking.

“Shit,” Baby Dylan said again.

“Jesus!” I snapped. “Are you happy now?”

Dave, always the peacemaker, and afraid that I actually might be angry enough to turn them in myself, snatched the baby from my arms and said calmly, “No baby, no.”

I gave Joe a hard look and mouthed the words, “Great.”

Dylan lay his head on Dave’s shoulder and curled his tiny little fingers through Dave’s long hair and said, “Da. Da. Da.”

We watched hidden for the next thirty minutes until the fire department finally went away, sure that the flames were long since extinguished, as baby Dylan slept in the crook of Dave’s arms.

“D.D. did you see that shit?” Joe whispered, teasing me, as both boys started to giggle in silent fits of laughter and tried not to wake the baby.

“Oh I saw it alright,” I said before I rolled my eyes at both of them. “Not funny!”

They sat on the couch, pretending to be forlorn until I exited the room in a over-dramatic huff.

Like any good mother… I let them believe they were in serious trouble, due for a scolding, and a complete disappointment to me.

I went back to folding laundry in the other room when I heard Joe whisper, “Did you see that shit Dave?”

And Dave, pretending to have a coughing attack just so he could get away with laughing like a naughty little boy, giggled as he held my sleeping baby in his arms happy to be in cahoots with his best friend.

Kicking Joe’s Big Toenail Off: A Lobster Tale

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Lobster

I have always been… what you would call… a troubled sleeper.

It wasn’t like Joe, my now ex-husband, didn’t know this going into the marriage: He’d already been quite at home in my bed for several years.

He knew about my walking through the house in the middle of the night for no apparent reason, talking about someone in my sleep whose name was “Mr. Pig.”

He tolerated my hitting, slapping, biting as I slumbered… but I guess when I kicked off his big toenail during the lobster incident…it really was the final straw in our night time sleeping routine and maybe… actually the catalyst of our marital collapse.

We were living in our apartment at the time, and I had just watched a National Geographic special about lobster migration.

I didn’t even know that lobsters migrated and Joe, already queeeeezed out by the large numbers of lobsters migrating across the bottom of the mid-Atlantic ridge, via our TV screen, begged me to change the channel before he totally freaked.

My mean streak however, caused me to hedge a few moments longer, enjoying watching him squirm, before giving in… but I have to admit… it really was an odd and seriously disturbing sight.

There were thousands of giant lobsters, piled together like bright red cockroaches of the sea, propelling themselves backwards at an alarming rate, towards God knows where, their tails flapping rapidly, pinchers acting as flippers, as the line crossed miles and miles of ocean floor.

It was creepy.

I shut the TV off and went into the bedroom to read.

Now, I’m not really sure when exactly I dozed off, but when I woke, I sat up in bed and stared at the giant lobster sitting at the bottom left hand corner of the mattress.

He was startling in size.

His beady black eyes glaring at me.

He seemed to be daring me to make a move, to put up a fight, his pinchers pulsating in-and-out ready to snap off my finger if I even tried to take him.

I knew what I had to do.

I gently pulled my foot out from under the covers and swung my hardest kick right to the lobster’s face.

He screamed as if I had just thrown him into a boiling pot of hot water to be cooked before I heard his body make a large “thump” and land at the foot of the bed.

I was ecstatic!

I had saved my husband from the lobster’s inevitable wrath!

I was Queen of the Bed!

Queen of the World!

And so…unable to separate my sleep disorder from real life, I woke completely to find Joe, writhing on the floor, screaming in absolute pain, confused and alarmed.

I turned on the bedside light and looked at his face: He was bewildered, eyes the size of saucers.

“My toe!” He screamed. “My God my big toe! What the hell was it? What the hell happened?”

How do you look at your spouse and tell them the honest to God truth?

I tell you… it isn’t easy.

I looked at him with my best pouty face and said in my littlest voice, “There was this giant lobster migrating across the bed and…”

His face changed from one of total confusion to downright anger.

“Fuck you!” He screamed. “Seriously D.D. fuck you!”

“But Joe,” I tried to explain as I pulled back the cover and crawled out of the bed to help him, “It was…”

I stopped.

I knew that what I had just seen was about to escalate this incident to about ten-fold in a matter of seconds and I was preparing myself for it.

“Joe,” I said calmly. “Um, I think we need to go to the hospital.”

Joe ‘s face went from anger to total panic.

He looked down and began screaming. “You’ve kicked it off! The whole fucking thing! Oh my God! You Mother Fucker! My toenail is gone! It’s gone!”

Blood was everywhere.

I began circling the floor as if I were Jackie O. trying to find JFK’s piece of head and stick it back on.

“Joe,” I cried, “I’m gonna find it. I’m gonna put it back on. It was the lobster… I swear I was saving you and…”

“YOU CAN’T PUT IT BACK ON!” He screamed as he rolled into the bathroom and kicked the door closed with his good foot. “FUCK YOU!”

It was actually the most “fuck yous” ever used towards me at one period of time in my life.

If I hadn’t been worried that Joe was gonna come out of the bathroom and shank me with the toilet plunger or the nose hair trimmers, I swear I probably would have chided him on his lack of vernacular.

I sat on the bed in silence… listening to my husband moaning in the bathroom.

I waited patiently until he came out, towel wrapped around his foot, one flip flop on the other, a pair of old athletic shorts and a t-shirt that read “Eddie Would Go” hanging loosely from his tattooed frame.

I watched as he grabbed his wallet and car keys.

“Do you want me to go with you?” I asked sweetly.

“Fuck no,” he said as he stomped across the living room, kicking baby Dylan’s Mr. Magoo car with his bad toe, which resulted in another slew of curse words and a wild swinging of both arms, before he reached for the door, walked out, and slammed it behind him.

It was two hours later before he returned: big toe swaddled in bandages, bottle of extra strength Tylenol in his hand and it was two months before I was forgiven for the incident and to be honest… I really don’t think I ever was.

It’s been over fifteen years since I tried to save my husband from the giant lobster on our bed and yet it was just three weeks ago that Joe reminded me, how I ruined FOREVER… his absolutely perfect toe.

Teaching Sharla a Lesson: Or How Sharla Learned to Always Let Me Hold the Bird

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Sharla

This is Sharla.

Sharla is one of my dearest friends and as you can see… quite a beauty.

And like most beautiful women, she tends to be a bit bratty every now and then… a life time of “getting away with murder” due to her exceptionally good looks.

And though her attitude has mellowed over the years… this brattiness… still appears on occasion.

This is me:

OLD NAVY DOG

Why ANY serious shopper would want to take me to a store is BEYOND my realm of thought.

I loathe shopping.

I hate it with a passion.

I will do ANYTHING to act up and act out when placed in a store or worse yet… a shopping mall but… Sharla seemed to really want me to come along… and because I actually like to go just about anywhere with my friends… even the garbage dump can be quite entertaining with the right person… I decided to join her on the outing.

So let me set up the scenario for you:

The scene: Michael’s Art and Craft store.

The players: Sharla Bafia and D.D. Wood

The conflict: The bird.

I had never been shopping with Sharla before, but since we spent most of our time together being totally inappropriate and usually lost in laughter and unable to breathe… I assumed that she could make shopping fun.

However, as soon as we entered the store, I watched Sharla change into a person I did not know.

She became what I could only describe as a militant mom: on a mission… on a deadline… and I seemed to be the “child” that was annoying her as she fought to complete her very important task at hand.

Suddenly, I was afraid I had made a terrible mistake.

We were barely five feet in the door when I went to pick up an item and Sharla said, “Don’t touch that. We don’t have time to look at non-Halloween specific items.”

I eyed her suspiciously… shocked by her tone… as I put down the plastic foam cone I had been fondling and remained silent.

My thoughts?

I wasn’t sure if I liked being the toadie on her little shopping trip.

I walked on behind her, shuffling my feet, a bit of a pout beginning to show on my face.

I reached for another item.

“What are you doing now?” Sharla snapped.

I stopped, and looked at the item I was now holding in my hand.

“What?” I gave her a dirty look. “I was just…”

“Put it down!” Sharla ordered before I even had a chance to finish the sentence. “God!” She rolled her eyes, “I’ve never seen you like this. Are you going to stop and touch everything in the entire God damn store?”

I looked at the ceramic Paint-A-Gnome art kit that I held in my hand.

By the time I looked up again, she was already ten paces ahead of me, furiously pushing her cart towards the Halloween aisle… sure in her knowledge that she was about to grab hold of the “Halloween Find of the Century” if I would just hurry the fuck up and stop dicking around.

I seriously felt like hurling the gnome across the store and blasting the back of her head with it… but I calmed myself down… sat the art kit gently back in the bin… and admitted to myself that I was obviously unwilling to harm a gnome to make a point.

I sauntered after her now, the rebelliousness in me coming out in my swagger, and found her admiring fake black crows in a large discount bin between aisle 9 and aisle 10.

Her eyes were glassy and glazed.

I knew an addict when I saw one.

She was jonzing for her fix and she had found it in the bin of birds.

“Aren’t they great?” Sharla said as she admired the bird she was holding. “Don’t you think I could really come up with something good with these guys?”

I reached over and took the bird from her hand to examine it.

“Yeah,” I said nodding in agreement.” These are super cool. You could…”

Sharla looked at me and snatched the bird out of my hand, her eyes burning into my core. “IDIOT,” she said. “You don’t get to hold the bird.”

She placed it in her cart as if she was placing the baby Jesus in his manager.

She was smug and self-satisfied and I had finally had enough.

I would teach her a lesson she would never forget.

I have no shame when it comes to acting the fool in public.

I will make a scene anywhere if I believe it will make a point or improve on a comic prank and so…

I did what only the best kind of friends do: I publicly shamed Sharla.

I turned away from her and began to pace furiously back-and-forth in a small neat pattern. I roughed my hair up with both hands before I took my open palm and banged it against the side of my head repeatedly while shouting at the top of my lungs to anyone and everyone in the crowded store that…

“SHARLA WON’T LET ME HOLD THE BIRD!”

At first, Sharla couldn’t understand what was happening.

She looked at me like I had lost my mind and she seemed genuinely concerned for my well-being.

But when she realized that my acting skills were impeccable… and that to every other shopper in the store I actually did look and sound like a person in the middle of an EXTREME psychotic break… she began to panic.

“Shut the fuck up,” she whispered.

I didn’t even acknowledge her.

I was in character.

I was the Robert DeNiro of the craft mart.

She had gone TOO far and now… she was gonna fucking pay.

“SHARLA WON’T LET ME HOLD THE BIRD!” I screamed again, banging my head fiercely as I pretended to cry and moan.

“Shame on you!” an older woman, holding a bag of pom-poms shouted from aisle 7. “Shame on YOU!” she repeated. “Let her hold that bird!”

“D.D. fucking stop it,” Sharla begged. I smirked at her as I continued my tirade.

“SHARLA WON’T LET ME HOLD THE BIRD!” I screamed and watched as a man walked up towards Sharla and said, “What the hell is wrong with you? Let her hold the bird for God’s sake.”

Sharla looked at him, tried to explain, but he wasn’t having it. “Give her the bird,” he repeated sternly.

“Give her the bird!” A couple shouted from the end of aisle 5.

Sharla confronted with a store load of DIY’ers…was afraid that they might just make their own torches, light them up, and chase her out of the store, where she would be banned for eternity, from Michael’s Art and Craft Mart, a WANTED poster of her bewildered face posted on each and every craft store wall for the remainder of her life.

She reached into the basket and thrust the bird towards me. “You are such a fucking bitch,” she said as she rushed away from the scene, her cart bobbing wildly as the speed caused the wheels to wobble and bend.

I held the bird close to me, and began to rock gently back and forth whispering, “Sharla lets me hold the bird. Yes Sharla lets me hold the bird.”

The older woman from aisle 7 patted my back and said, “Yes. Isn’t that nice? Sharla lets you hold the bird.”

She shot Sharla a vicious smile and I watched as Sharla stood at the checkstand, pretending not to see it, pretending not to know me, praying that the line would hurry up and move, so that she could pay for her birds and leave the store as quickly as possible.

I looked over at Sharla; my head tucked low, cuddling my bird, wicked smile on my face so that she would know that I had won.

I finished my scene for the shoppers, they all felt content with their good deed for the day, helping a psychotic person hold a fake bird, before heading off down God knows what aisle in search of the perfect glue stick or shiny, sparkly Bedazzler.

I walked towards the front of the store, ditching the bird somewhere around aisle 13, before making my way to the exit where I walked over to the car, leaned against the passenger side door, arms crossed in front of my chest, triumphant smile on my face and watched as Sharla headed towards me.

“I hate you,” she said. “I so totally hate you.”

I watched as she put her bags in the car.

“Are you going to let me hold one of those birds?” I asked.

She pulled one from the bag, and placed it in my hands.

“Fucker,” she laughed hysterically. “I can’t believe you did that to me. I’m never taking you to Michael’s again.”

“Good,” I said. “I hate that fucking place anyways.”

Then I climbed into the passenger seat and held my bird all the way home.