Thursday, March 31, 2016

Let’s All Go to the Lobby, and Get Ourselves a Snack

Blog buddy Joe H recently had a run-in with a Negative Nancy at the movies. Let the record show that Val did not leave Missouri on the date in question. You can check T-Hoe’s On-Star records.

Now, Val doesn’t have such a posh thee-ay-tor as Joe. Uh uh. Backroads has a four-plex, and that’s that. No reclining seats there. You’re lucky if you can get a seat with a…well…a SEAT, and a back. Sometimes a row is roped off with yellow crime-scene-like tape. That doesn’t mean it’s reserved for somebody famous. It means you might become impaled on some pokey-outy part of the seat that has lost its upholsteration.

I haven’t been to the movies in a long time. Probably since I took my mom to see The Heat, or Genius to see one of those Hunger Games sequels. Nothing tempts me lately. That’s sad, because I really DO enjoy going to the movies. And the snacks. Especially the snacks. Maybe because of the snacks. No. I’m not like my sister the ex-mayor’s wife, who has been known to stop by the four-plex, scam her way in without a ticket, buy popcorn, and leave with her bounty. But we’ll get to refreshments later. Just like I do when I go to the movies.

Our theater does not sell the seat when you buy the ticket. Nope. It’s festival seating. First come, first seat-picking. Heh, heh! I said seat-PICKING! Had to throw that in for my club. Anyhoo…I have no issue with getting to the movies early. As soon as they open, if it’s the first showing. I want my seat! And it’s the row of four in the back, seat on the aisle. Only one row is behind it. And if the universe is smiling on me that day, nobody will sit there.

Here’s Val’s biggest pet peeve about the movie theater. A pet peeve so big it might as well be kept in a pet peeve zoo. Val’s ferocious humongous pet peeve is LATECOMERS!

I know there will be the preliminaries that start at the “showtime” listed in the paper. That we will get commercials for Coke, inside clips about upcoming movies and TV. Then there will be previews. A lot of them. Which now show almost the entire plot of future movies. But I don’t mind. That’s part of movie-going. The part that makes my blood boil, though is when somebody comes in late, and


The not-heaven you say! No way am I moving over from the seat I got there early to PICK, just to make it convenient for a latecomer and companions to take them with no effort! The not-heaven with being polite! If they want to split up, or want to climb over me to get to those one or two empty seats on my row, then go for it. I don’t care if you have to expend the effort of a climb from base camp to the summit of Mt. Everest (without Sherpas) to get to those seats. You should have planned ahead. I am not here to make your life easier. I am not a seat-saver like Cosmo Kramer at the Tony Awards. I don’t care how many people you disturb trying to find a seat. I am NOT giving you mine!

You might assume that once Val picks her seat at the movies, she’s never getting up. You know what happens when we assume! Val will gladly get up from her picked seat in order to purchase snacks. Of course, she has her personal Pony as a seat saver. Or Hick, if he’s invited. You might assume that if Hick is invited, he’s going to be tasked with fetching the food. Didn’t you learn what happens when we assume? Hick can’t be trusted to get the snacks! He does it wrong! AND he sometimes denies The Pony his requests. Who is Hick to decree what The Pony can consume at the movies? You’d think he’s the one paying!

The movies in Backroads try to scam you on the snacks. No, I’m not just talking about the atmospheric prices. They try to serve up previously-prepared foodstuffs! NEVER buy your snacks as you go into the theater! That is crazy. You are getting OLD popcorn! With the amount you pay, you deserve to have that popcorn harvested out back and shucked right before your eyes! My tactic is to go pick my seat, and wait until I smell popcorn. Then I go get the fresh stuff. You have to be careful, though. The clerks are crafty. They stockpile the already-popped stuff in a big flip-top bin, like commonly used to scoop ice out of, and then try to pawn that off on you as fresh. IT IS NOT! It is cold! Old! Possibly very full of mold. AND they jam that scooper down in there to make sure they crush as many kernels as possible, and dip up crumbs into your bag. So…you have to say, “Nuh nuh nuh! I want my popcorn from the bin that’s popping now!”

Oh, and if you get the large combo with refills, make sure you get the refills! I used to get them for my mom, taking her a big bag of popcorn and a giant Diet Coke. Mom LOVED the movies, even if she didn’t go! And when she DID go, she wouldn’t have the snacks there. But she would sure take them home with her.

Movie ticket prices in Backroads are fairly economical compared to the big city. So I don’t mind paying for snacks. It’s part of the movie-going experience for me. However…I am not above sneaking the candy part of our treat in with my movie purse. That’s right. I said MOVIE PURSE. A separate purse, with ample room for The Pony’s Cookie Dough Bites, and Val’s Junior Mints, and Genius’s Reese’s Pieces. It does not behoove The Pony to complain. Val is taking those snacks in, whether he is embarrassed or not. Or perhaps he fears being caught and thrown out, which is possibly why he cautions me to walk slowly so my purse doesn’t rattle. Also inside the movie purse are my glasses, a book or magazine, a tiny flip-top spiral notebook and pen in case some prime blogging material breaks out, and butter-flavored salt. We Thevictorians do not want butter making our popcorn soggy. But we’re fine with adding hypertension to our snack for flavor.

Wow! This makes me nostalgic. I need to check the movie schedule. I’ll use the internet. I do NOT want to call and get some hipster doofus acting like a movie timetable recording.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Goose Says, “EFF the Gander, and the Gator He Rode in On!”

Sunday afternoon, Hick asked me what I thought about his newest project. Well, not so much asked me what I thought, as gave me a lecture on not thinking what he thought I should think.

“How do you like my new project?”

“I don’t.”

“Would it kill you to, just once, say you liked something that I did around here?”

“No. Not if I liked it. I would tell you.”

“Do you know how many people want this kind of fence around their house?”

“No. But what I saw was half a fence. And it doesn’t match anything you had done to the roof or the siding. A fence with peeling white paint, HALF a fence, really, in front of a carport I didn’t want, in brown and green.”

“You never appreciate anything I do!”

And with that, Hick turned on his muddy heel and made his exit, with no comment whatsoever about the nine hours over two days that Val spent preparing dishes for the Easter feast, which was consumed in 20 minutes and 18 seconds.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Less Val Knows, the Better

Don't go thinking Hick is frittering away our future backyard-rock retirement nest egg by squandering a dollar on two dollars worth of pennies and three dead mice. He also gets things for free. And by free, I suspect him didn't hear it from me...GRAND LARCENY!

Last weekend, he hitched up his trailer and took it to work Saturday. You never know what Hick is up to. That one time he brought home the free hot tub that belonged to his boss's recently-deceased father. I was not such a big fan of that hot tub, so I don't even want to know what Hick will be bringing home next. Except he parked that darn trailer out front, by the new carport I didn't want, right where I see it after backing out of the garage each morning.

This past weekend, Hick was working up a storm out there by the carport. We'll get into that another time. But as I went to town Friday (when Hick was off work just like me!), I put down T-Hoe's window and asked him, "What is that you've got now?"

"Pipes! Those are worth about $100 dollars apiece!"

"How did you pay for them?" We have an ongoing battle concerning credit vs debit.

"I didn't! They were FREE!"

"How's that?"

"I got them at work."

"Your boss just gave you a bunch of pipe for free?"

"No. They weren't from MY work. I got them at work. From the lot up behind us."

"Who gave them to you?"

"Nobody. I went and loaded them up."

"Um. I believe that is called STEALING."

"No, Val. I told my immediate boss that I was going to get them. He said he didn't care."

"Yet they were not his to give."

"No. But they've been there over three years. And that contractor guy that was doing the work there before? He died. It was in the paper."

"Still. I don't think they were up for grabs."

"I don't know why not. Nobody has wanted them for three years. So I picked them up."

Let the record show that I was done with that conversation. And that the lumber stuffed inside one of the purloined pipes did not escape my attention. I waited until I got back home to ask about the two-by-fours.

"Pony! Those boards in Dad's free pipe? Did you guys buy them?"

"Uh huh. When we went down to Lowe's on Thursday night."

"You took that whole trailer full of pipe down there?"

"Uh huh. Dad didn't want to unload it or unhitch it."

Okay. At least The Pony is not yet an accomplice.

Monday, March 28, 2016

I Hope This Purchase Doesn't Come Back to Hanta(virus) Hick

Friday night, The Pony and I were watching an episode of The People's Couch, happy as little Gizmo tooting a toy trumpet under the tree on Christmas morning in the Peltzer household, when Hick showed up to give us a dose of Stripe spit.

We knew we were in for something out-of-the-ordinary when Hick came tromping halfway down the basement steps. It was after 9:30. He's usually asleep by then, but since it was Friday, that meant Auction Night. Normally, Hick puts his treasures on the kitchen table until Saturday, when he distributes them amongst his various themed sheds. And sometimes, he does not bother to tell us what he bought, but instead leaves those treasures in his car, and drives over in the Gator on Saturday to spirit them away to the BARn.

"I was at the auction, and they had this big jug with pennies in it."

No fine how-do-you-do or nothin' from Hick. Obviously his news was more important than our show. Couldn't wait until commercial. Or the next day. Good thing we had recorded it to zap commercials as we watched. I put it on pause. Thinking, perhaps, that Hick had scored a fortune and was going to trade in pennies at a car dealership for a new vehicle.

"Nobody else was bidding, and I got it for a dollar! It must have at least two dollars worth of pennies in it!"

Yeah. That's not the amazing part.

"And it's got three dead mice."

Yep. That's my Hick. He paid a dollar for a jug with two dollars worth of pennies, and THREE DEAD MICE!

"No wonder nobody else bid on it. What are you going to do with it?"

"Well, I wanted the container. But I'll put those pennies in my big plastic Coke bottle with my other pennies."

"You're NOT bringing those mice pennies into this house!"

"Oh, Val. I'm going to wash them first."

Not sure if he meant the pennies or mouse corpses.

There's Hick's jug, sitting on the car cover of his 1980 copper-colored Olds Toronado, which now resides under the new carport, since it got a moldy dome light spending a year in one of the freight containers. I told him I couldn't see inside. The penny jar, not the Toronado. So he made sure I could view those pennies in their full glory.

Don't hate Val because she's beautiful, and married to a prize catch like Hick. Hate Val because she has mouse pennies, and you don't.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Weirdo Convention at the Corner of Mailbox Row and Gravel Avenue

Lest you think Val is too paranoid about uninvited, unknown people coming up her 1/10 mile driveway...let the record show that the woods are crawling with weirdos out here in Backroads.

On Tuesday afternoon, The Pony and I came up over the long hill that leads down to Mailbox Row by the creek. There sat a red SUV. Uh huh. IN THE ROAD. Just over the hill. Parked right there in the right lane of the county blacktop road! Not talking to a car going the other way. Not looking for something in the ditch. Just parked. As if in a parking lot. In the road. The road traveled by traffic both directions.

This is much different from Val parking in the road, of course! Val parks at the bottom of the hill. With her signal on. Not parked like she's leaving her vehicle at an airport during a month-long vacation.

WAIT A MINUTE! There was a lady in that red SUV! Sitting behind the wheel. Texting. What in tarnation? She could have easily traveled to the bottom of the hill and pulled trespassingly onto our gravel road beside the creek. To text to her heart's content. Oh, wait. There's no reception down there. How inhospitable of us. We need to look into a tower to make freeloading more convenient for the weirdos.


That's not the end of it. On Tuesday evening, we had TWO weirdos for the price of one!

"Pony! There's a lady in that red car. I can't look while I go around on the wrong side of the road! What's she doing?"

"Um. Looks like she's texting."

"Well, that's a fine place to be doing it, right where people come up over that hill and can ram into--WHAT IS THAT MAN DOING?"

"Looks like he's walking in the creek."

"Look what he's wearing! Hip-waders up to his armpits! And that water barely reaches his ankles! What's in his hand?"

"I can't tell. A phone, maybe? A piece of paper?"

"He's probably texting that woman in the parked car--"

"I don't think so. Here she comes. I was looking to see if I could open the door to get out for the mail, and I saw her coming at me."

"There she goes. Look at HIS car. It's like Aunt Gambler used to have. A giant Chrysler. Like the highway patrol. An old people's car."

"Well, he IS old."

"Why would he be out here in those armpit hip-waders in THAT kind of car? What's he doing in the creek? He's walking around looking at his feet."

"Looking for a good place to hide the body?"

"I give up. There are way too many weirdos out here."

At least neither of them was peeing or dumping limbs. That I know of.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

A Woman's Home is Not Her Castle Unless She Has a Moat

There I was this morning, taking a break from pre-Easter-meal prep, having just cranked back in the La-Z-Boy, when a car turned into the driveway. A car unknown to Val. A tiny, four-door, misty blue-gray subcompact looking like the back end had been sliced off of it at the factory. Not a car I would have chosen to drive, myself. Nor one I would have chosen to come up my driveway.

This is a private association, you know. Not to be confused with a gated community. But we USED to have a gate with a padlock, down by the low water bridge. No thru road up here on homestead lane. Nobody maintains our roads but us. Not the city. Not the county. Not the state. Private. We even have (questionably-lettered homemade) signs that say so.

"Pony! Whose car is that?"

"Car?" He was sitting on the long couch texting, since he was on call to help me with food preparation. "There's a car?"

"Yeah. And you're going to find out who it is, because YOU are the one who's going to answer the door. Fix your hair. You look like a Duggar. Um. I meant look in the mirror. Smoothing it straight down in the front does not help."

"Why do I have to answer the door? Dad's out there."

"But WHERE?"

"Over by the garage. That's the last place I saw him going on the Gator."

"Huh. Nobody's coming up on the porch. I guess he is."

After about 5 minutes, the tiny blunt-butted car went back up the driveway. It turned to go farther up our gravel road. Deeper into no-man's-land. The direction of the headless-body-septic-tank house. As it passed in front of our homestead, it stopped a minute. Like masked Michael Myers in his blue coveralls that he stole from the tow truck driver, jamming on the brakes in the station wagon after Jamie Lee Curtis's smart-mouth friend yelled, "Hey, jerk! Speed kills!"

I sent a text to Hick: "Who was that?" He did not reply. So I called him. "Who was that?"

"Who was what?"

"In that little blue car. Who was that?"

"I don't know."

"Where are you?"

"In the BARn."

"You mean you weren't out by the garage?"


"The Pony said you were! That car came up the driveway. It was out there at least five minutes. I thought you were talking to them."

"Not me."

"What are they doing here? They went on up the road. Toward your buddy's house. You need to go up there and see what they're doing. Take the Gator. It will give you and Juno something to do."

"I have plenty to do. I'm cutting boards."

"Huh. Maybe they were scouting out the house. When all your stuff disappears, don't say I didn't warn you."

"Huh. I don't know what they were doing here."

"Are you going to see where they went?"

"Maybe. I don't know."

Let the record show that he did not. Don't know what's going on here. I DO know that my sweet, sweet Juno ran over that direction barking. That's what made me think Hick was out there. Maybe my fierce guard dog scared them into staying in their car.

Funny thing. At 3:35, we had a call from a local number, over in bill-paying town, 20 miles away, that sounded like a bad connection on a cell phone, purporting to be a roofing solutions company, wanting to set up a time to come look at our roof due to recent storm damage. Heh, heh. We just GOT a new roof! And who works on a Saturday afternoon the day before Easter, making cold calls to drum up business for roofing? Something fishy here...

When I'm retired in three months, who knows what would-be crimes I might disrupt!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Back of the Book Blurb Friday #7

Blog buddy Sioux is hosting Back-of-the-Book Blurb Friday. I have 150 words to entice you to by my fake book. C'mon! What else do you have to do with your fake disposable income? Fork it over and expand your horizons. Better than forking gas station chicken into your gaping maw and expanding your waistline! Stop forking and start faking! Get Val's fake book while it's hot.

The Adventures of Sentient Sneaker

Sneaky had seen the world. If he'd been manufactured a suitcase rather than a gym shoe, he would have covered himself with 1930s era travel stickers. He was a bit of a con. At one time he'd used an alias: Chuck Taylor. Conversely...Sneaky now saw himself as an all-star.

He'd dangled from power lines in Philly. Walked a beat with a gumshoe in Vegas. Accompanied a young girl named Rochelle Rochelle on her strange erotic journey from Milan to Minsk. Kicked back with an aging hippie at the foot of the Himalayas. Lodged himself in the mouth of many a political candidate. Dug in his heels for worthy causes. Throughout it all, he'd stood on his own two feet. But now, Sneaky was tired. Ready to kick the bucket.

Will somebody hoof it across the pebbled beach to save Sneaky before the tide comes in?
(145 words.)


Fake Reviews For Val’s Fake Book

Chuck Taylor…”I demand a paternity test. Val's fake book hits a sour note, like the clank of a 30-footer off the rim.”

Dr. Scholl…”This fake book is a real pain in the arch. I prescribe the wastebasket.”

CEO of The Good Feet Store…”This fake book gave me the most scathingly brilliant idea! I have just placed an order for 33,000 pairs of Converse All Stars, to be dropped from a helicopter, FREE, on the populous of Backroads, Missouri. This purchase is guaranteed to garner me $33 million."

Manolo Blahnik…”Wait a minute...that's a SHOE? This fake author clearly has no idea what she's fake writing about.”

Big Brother 13 Houseguest Jeff Schroeder…”This fake author is a clown! And as such, along with her subject matter, has given me flashbacks to a very traumatic time in my life.”

Achilles…”This fake book is like a poison arrow through the back of my ankle! The fake author needs to be dipped in the River Ganges, and hopefully contract a flesh-eating bacterial infection through a blister on her heel.”

Thursday, March 24, 2016

That Blooming Idiot Gave Me Flowers!

This morning I wrote out some bills and slapped a couple of stamps on the envelopes. Val is not a philatelist. Nor would she be considered anthophilous. And as neither, she has ZERO appreciation of the flower stamps foisted upon her by the government worker at the dead-mouse-smelling post office. Some of you may find these botanical beauties breathtaking. Val, herself, does not.

Those flower stamps look like the print on a dress my 80-year-old grandma might have worn to church with her L’eggs knee-high suntan hosiery pressing the inch-long dark hairs to her legs. Using them makes me feel like I smell of sachet, or like I need to drench myself with a cloyingly sweet heavy floral scent like all my grandmas and mom wore. Like I need to drape a shawl around my shoulders and start tatting a delicate doily to set under my vase of chrysanthemums on the cherry wood table in the foyer. Like I should drive a white Ford Galaxy 500 down the middle of the road at 20 mph.

That P.O. dude did not even ask what kind of stamps I wanted. Why do they even have those sample books under Plexiglas? It’s like that time I was buying stamps to put on thank you cards after Mom’s funeral, and the P. O. gal tried to give me the black ones with fireworks that said CELEBRATE. 

That P.O. dude flung those flowering stamps at me like a short-order cook in a diner slinging hash. Like he would not take NO for an answer. Further investigation revealed that those bloomin' stamps are called Botanical Art, and...

The U.S. Postal Service continues its tradition of beautiful floral-themed stamps by dedicating the Botanical Art Forever stamps featuring vintage illustrations taken from 19th- and early 20th-century plant and seed catalogs.

No offense to the artist(s). I’m sure a lot of time and effort and went into these flowers. But they are not my cup of tea.

I use them to pay bills. I’d sooner have dandelions on my stamps.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A Somewhat Questionable Way Run a Business

Last week, when The Pony had activities after school, he wanted me to pick up a cheese pizza for his supper and later lunches. Being a thrifty sort (unless 44 oz Diet Cokes and lottery tickets are involved), Val balked at spending $11.84 on a medium cheese pizza from Pizza Hut.

On the Pizza Hut website, I saw that the local franchise had a special for two medium pizzas with up to three toppings for $6.99 each. You can’t always count on that, because the local store sometimes quite rudely tells you, “We don’t honor that.” Mostly in response to national commercials promoting specific deals. What if that’s a racket? What if NONE of the franchises honor those deals? I cry shenanigans.

So…the plan was that if I couldn’t get it cheaper than $11.84, I would get one from Dominos for the midweek special price of a large for $7.99.

I called in the order for pickup, and asked about specials. The girl who answered the phone said that yes, they had the special for two medium pizzas for $6.99 each. So I figured I’d get The Pony’s cheese pizza, and one for Hick, since I had leftovers planned for my supper. I started giving my order, but the girl stopped me.

“You have to have a topping.”

“I don’t want a topping. I want a cheese pizza. Leave off the topping.”

“No. I can’t give you a cheese pizza. It has to have up to three toppings.”

“I don’t know why not. You’re just leaving off the topping.”

“It’s part of the deal. I can only give it to you if you have toppings.”

So I tried to think what would be easiest to pick off. I decided on sausage and green pepper. I could have the green pepper with leftover meatloaf, and I could put the sausage on Hick’s. So I got Hick a pepperoni, bacon, and beef thin crust, along with the pan pizza carrying unwanted sausage and peppers on top for The Pony.

I got to the window with my money ready. $15.22. Yes. I know it was more than $11.84, but it was TWO pizzas, by cracky! With at least two meals for Hick for that extra $3.38. An older lady slid open the window. Not the young voice I talked to. I handed her my money. She left and came back.

“Do you have a coupon?”

“No. Do I need one? Nobody told me anything about a coupon. I saw that offer on the website. It didn’t say anything about a coupon.”

“You can’t get two medium pizzas for $15.22.”

“That’s what the girl told me on the phone. She’s the one who gave me the total. That’s how I knew to have that exact change.”

“Well, that’s the online ordering price.”

I just looked at her. Blankly. Because I was starting to think these folks were batpoop crazy. She turned to the girl ringing up an order.

“Did you give her this price on two medium pizzas?” Of course she knew that was the truth, because I’m pretty sure their computer shows who took the order and what the total was. The girl affirmed that she did. The cranky lady came back. “I’ll give it to you for this price. But you can’t order that on the phone. It has to be an online order.” She acted like she was doing me a favor. When all I had done was call in, ask about specials, receive that price quote, and order.

I did not even thank her when she handed me the pizzas, as I normally would have done, even for an overpriced $11.84 pizza. No sirree, Bob! You don’t grill Val Thevictorian over improprieties in pizza price when she has done nothing but be a customer. You’re darn tootin’ they’ll give it to me for $15.22, or I’ll drive away and pay nothing after they’ve already made the pizzas. By cracky, I’ll make them EAT that pizza! Heh, heh. I crack myself up sometimes.

Seriously. How much cheaper is it for them to sell two medium pizzas over the internet than over the phone? EXACTLY! I’m sure they don’t hire a person only to take phone orders. It’s not like I was coming in at 11:00 a.m. every day, ordering two mediums in person, sitting around until closing time getting drink refills, using their toilet paper, causing excess wear and tear on their carpet and chair.

How much cheaper is it to put up to three toppings on a pizza rather than just make it with NO toppings? It’s not like I asked for extra cheese. All I expected was the crust, sauce, and normal cheese, before anything else would be added.

I think Pizza Hut hires a consultant to give seminars on how to be a butthole.

Val Thevictorian will always honor advertised specials at her proposed handbasket factory.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Next Time, Alex Might as Well Tell Them to Complete this Sentence: "Little Red Riding _____."

I was quite disappointed today when I turned on the TV as soon as I got home, and caught the tail-end of Jeopardy. The question was from the category "Classic Children's Book Characters."

"The name of this character who lives in a forest is a shortening of an Italian word for a newborn."


The correct answer is only three sentenced below. So you have been warned of the spoiler.

The Pony had just sat down on the couch to plug his phone into the charger, and looked up to see the question. Of course I ruined it for him by shouting out the answer. "BAMBI!" I did not waste any time. Nor did I put my answer in the form of a question, because we're all informal here at the homestead, shouting out answers willy-nilly as the mood strikes us. We'd sound pretty silly saying, "Who is Bambi, Alex." Besides, that lets somebody else steal the win. Oh, who am I kidding? Only The Pony and I are coming up with correct answers. Hick is not even home yet on most evenings.

Can you believe that only ONE of those contestants knew the answer? And she was older than the hills. Not so old that God signed her yearbook. Nor so old that her social security number is "1." That would be Mrs. Thevictorian, according to former pupils. Anyhoo...the two younger contestants had no clue. The man said, "Winnie the Pooh." Because, I guess, Italians refer to newborns as "pooh." The woman said, "Gretel." Because, perhaps, Italians want to shove that newborn in the oven. I don't know their reasoning. So don't go hatin' on Val because she tries to psychoanalyze what young Jeopardy contestants think of Italians and their diminutive terms for babies.

I told The Pony, "I can't BELIEVE they didn't know that! That' easiest question EVER for Final Jeopardy! A child would know that!"

Apparently, not MY child. "Mom. I didn't know it."

Yes. I was quite disappointed. Despite my show of knowledge.

What is wrong with society today? I KNOW I mentioned Bambi to my kids. Really. Later, The Pony even verified that he knows who Bambi is. A little fawn who lives in the forest. "And his mother got shot!" Huh. Perhaps The Pony should have been exposed to TV shows like The Sopranos. Even though he claimed he knows what a bambino is.

I've got to get my proposed handbasket factory off the back burner and into production.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Val is Preserved for Perpetuity Like an Insect in Amber. Or at Least for a Year, Like a Pickle in Brine.

Gather 'round the paddock and greet the newest little filly in Val's stable of published works.

Ain't she sweet?

That artsy photo was taken by The Pony this evening, with the instructions: "Get me a picture of my book, and don't show a mess in the background. Open the shades to let in a little light."

Of course I no longer have a program to crop photos, since Genius built me my new computer last summer. Woe is me, no Office 2010 to kick around anymore.

This anthology contains two of my stories. Okay. They're not so much "stories" as they are tales of Hick's shenanigans.

The first one is "One Man's Hot Tub is Another Woman's Nightmare." It received an Honorable Mention in the Saturday Writers 2015 "Water" contest. This little story also WON the nonfiction division of the All Write Now 2015 Conference last July.

My second story in this anthology is "Let the Breather Beware." It received 1st Place in the Saturday Writers 2015 "Air" contest.

Now it's time to get to writin' some more stories so I can submit again. To get on the stick, as we say around here, when we can FIND a stick that hasn't been burned beyond recognition in an accidental Hick fire.

Did I ever tell you about the time he decided to burn all the grass in the front yard (field) of our cedar-sided home?

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Where There's Hick, There's Fire

The night The Pony and I came home late in the evening and caught Hick gorging on charred hot dogs...we at first did not attribute the smokiness of the homestead to Hick's hot dogs. Yes, my eyes watered, and smoke hung heavy from the ceiling. But I initially assumed that smoke had come in from OUTSIDE.

Coming up the gravel road around dark-thirty, we saw a glow in our field. The field where Hick has his two freight containers that are one day going to be joined in unholy trussimony to put under roof a garage/shed with fillable metal sides.

"What in the--PONY! What IS that?"

"It looks like a fire. Dying down."

"I KNOW that. Why is there an untended bed of coals smoldering in our field? LOOK! Did you SEE that?"

"Uh huh!"

"That blew right toward that downed tree! Hick is going to catch the woods on fire! Where is HE?"

"Probably in the house. Or the BARn."

"He can't leave that burning! The wind must be 50 miles an hour!"

We got T-Hoe in the garage and clambered across the sidewalk to the porch. The wind whistled through the breezeway, whipping my lovely lady mullet to and fro. Well, not so much whipping it to and fro as almost blinding me with the gust-driven tendrils. Only Hick would have chosen to do some open burning on a day like this. I had scolded him only the week before for setting fire to a fallen tree in the goat pen, with wind pushing ashes and smoke toward the house.

Of course Hick confessed right away to the burned hot dogs he made himself for supper. Better to be thought a horrible cook, I presume, than an unrepentant arsonist. Surely he's old enough to have grown up with those Smokey the Bear commercials. "Only YOU can prevent forest fires!" I saw them. And Hick is older that me!

“Oh, and while you’re sitting there feasting on your charred hot dogs, your field is on fire. We saw it on the way home. I thought that was the smoke inside the house at first.”
 “I’ll go check on it when I finish my hot dogs.”
"Seriously. Why would you start a fire with the wind blowing so hard?"
"It wasn't windy when I started the fire. I was just trying to clean up those trees we had down."
Let the photographic record from the next day show that this is the scene of the crime, AFTER Hick went over and shoveled dirt to smother the still-glowing embers that were being fanned by the wind and blown towards all manner of bone-dry combustible tinder.

Yep. The burning embers were right there under the little pile of dirt, which Hick shoveled from the big pile of dirt that he'd accumulated while trying to dig out room for some giant concrete squares he's going to use as a foundation for his freight container garage.

Notice the dry cedar laying in the path of the wind-blown burning embers, and the wispy dead weeds that make good tinder, and the row of cedar trees at the edge of what we call THE WOODS, which are trees, you know, made of wood, which is the main fuel for FIRE.

That man needs to go back to burning hot dogs.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Hick Might Just Need an Intervention

It was 7:45 by the time Val and The Pony arrived home from conferences Tuesday night. Dark outside, even after Daylight Savings Time. And here’s a funny thing. (Not funny, ha-ha. Funny peculiar. Peculiar as in Hick.) The homestead was almost as dark inside as it was outside!

I smelled it before both feet crossed the threshold. A charred odor. Like somebody had used that oven-cleaning setting and burned oven droppings to charcoal. A haze hung near the ceiling. Not so much near the ceiling, as halfway down to the carpet. I imagined that Hick had burned the pizza. The Walmart pizza that I had bought for him Sunday, a thin crust meat trio, just what he likes.

I told him I would be gone three evenings during the week. And he agreed that such a pizza would be easy for him to make. Turn on the oven to the temperature on the box. Take off the plastic, slide it on a pan, and put it in the oven. Let it stay there for 10-12 minutes. Even a child could do it. Even a Genius could do it, although he would let it sit out 24 hours on the stove top and then eat it.

“What’s that SMELL?”

“What smell?”

“The stench of charred food!”

“I don’t smell anything.”

“Dad. It stinks in here. Like something burned.”

“What’s going on?”

“I’m just eating my supper, Val.”

“The pizza? Did you burn the pizza?”

“Nooo. I didn’t burn anything.”

“Hoo hoo…that’s a good one. My eyes are watering from the smoke. You’ve got to be kidding me. What are you eating?”

“My hot dogs.”

“You made hot dogs? I bought you pizza!”

“We can have it another night. I wanted hot dogs.”

“What did you do, forget about them in the oven?”

“No, Val. I cooked them. In a skillet?”

“Then where’s the skillet?”

“I washed it, Val.”

“Uh huh. So I wouldn’t find out. I notice that you only washed your secret skillet—

“And my knife and fork, Val.”

“-- not the additional silverware and that one bowl on the counter by the sink.”


“Oh, and while you’re sitting there feasting on your charred hot dogs, your field is on fire. We saw it on the way home. I thought that was the smoke inside the house at first.”

“I’ll go check on it when I finish my hot dogs.”

Hick lets nothing come between himself and his hot dogs. Not even a raging forest fire.

Sing along, if you dare...

The Smell of Hot Dogs

Hello hot dogs my old friend
I’ve come to sup on you again
In the kitchen without Val here
I open Frig II’s door to peer
And the vision I behold before me glows
Saliva flows, anticipating hot dogs.

All by myself I feast alone
On tasty hot dogs without bones
In my La-Z-Boy I recline
On my hot dogs I begin to dine
And my gut is stabbed by the char of a burnt tube steak
Bad food I make
When I prepare my hot dogs

And in the living room I saw
Val had returned and sensed my flaw
Val was choking and not breathing
Val was questioning my cooking
‘Cause her eyes were singed by the smoke hanging in the air
How she did glare!
Because I fried my hot dogs

“Fools,” I said, “You do not know.
Charred hot dogs through your bowels flow.
Hear my words that I might teach you
Cure constipation now for you
But my words like silent mustard fell
Extolling the benefits of hot dogs.

Later I bowed and prayed
To the porcelain god I betrayed
And then Val cried out her warning
As I left for work this morning
“The words of the wise aren’t found in a toilet clog, but in Val’s blog.”
Advising you: Lay off the hot dogs.