Sep 292011

[Originally written in August 2005]

I was delivered a crushing blow this morning in the cemetery as I panted my way back to the car after an hour-long walk/jog amalgamation. (My jogging is something  like 2 parts Corky, 1 part wounded unicorn, garnished with a candied twist of poor eye sight.) It was a hot August day and my hair was dreadlocked with sweat, bugs and dirt, possibly blood, like you’d expect from someone who had just engaged in a spirited flee from Leatherface; this is how I exercise.

Vanity made me freeze as I rounded the edge of the mausoleum next to which I had parked, because not only did I spy my car (homestretch!) but also a suspicious rotund form hovering behind it.

Great, there’s my car, please don’t let this man talk to me. Please don’t let him talk, maybe he won’t see me, please, keep facing straight ahead, no eye contact, so close, so close, so—

All hope was lost as he turned toward me and furtively motioned me over. Trying not to scuff my feet, I grudgingly sidled up next to him.

“Look, two fawn and their mother,” he whispered to me as he pointed down the hill to the valley below.

Terrific, because I don’t see enough deer here in Western Pennsylvania. Still, I feigned interest and together we stood in silence for a few seconds longer. Would he be offended if I walked away? Do I say goodbye first? Small talk protocol is not my strong point.

And then he began talking about deer: what they eat, where they sleep, where they buy their Uggs. I didn’t want to talk about deer. I wanted to go home. Sweat was stinging my eyes at this point and my ankle hurt from when I ran into a slight ditch in the path (things like this wouldn’t happen if I wasn’t so preoccupied with whipping my head around every three seconds, looking out for ghosts and rapists, or the ghosts of rapists) and I could see the silver dome of my car over yonder, pointing and laughing at me.

I hope they don’t get hit by a car was my delightful addition to the conversation before I started to subtly back away. I told him to enjoy his morning to which he countered with, “Have a good walk.”

“Thanks,” I said as I walked the five feet to my car. Thanks? Why did I say thanks?! I was finished with my walk. Now I’m That Asshole who accepts underserved well-wishes.

Because I’m neurotic and as if that man actually cared what I did, I ignored my itchy trigger finger which was waiting impatiently to press down on the button to unlock my car door and I continued walking past it. I’d look like an idiot (to no one but myself) if I get in my car and leave after I just said thanks.

And that’s why, out of principle, I walked an extra fifteen minutes (not like I couldn’t use it, but still) uphill. All because I said “thanks.” As I looped up and around the path, I wondered maniacally about which direction the man had gone. I couldn’t stop thinking about it and the intensity was making me have to pee. What if I ran into him again? Should I turn around? If he was still standing by my car watching the deer by the time I get back…he’d probably think nothing of it. But try rationalizing that to me after I already the devastating finale penned in my head.

And so I kept walking until I reached a path which would have brought me back in the same direction I was headed pre-meeting with the deer watcher, when I noticed him one path below me, taking in the view of the pond. Perhaps he had shifted his awe onto the fish. Had this man maybe not ever seen real life animals before? And then I did this thing that I do where I start to imagine worst case scenarios and I started to feel horribly compassionate for him to the point where I was on the verge of tears. What if his wife was fucking his boss at the zoo and now he has nothing going for him but a stack of National Geographic magazines and memories of skinning buck in Uncle Herb’s storage unit?

Surely he can see me, I thought. If he sees me, he could very well start walking in my direction and we’d end up meeting up at the bottom before I’d have time to hit the next path. He’d maybe want to talk more about the deer, maybe he’d want to tell me how many deer he’s seen in his lifetime. Maybe he even keeps track in a little pocket notebook, and he’d whisk it out of his back pocket to show me the yellowed pages with tiny slashes for each deer sighting. What if he kills people and feeds them to the deer? Do deer eat meat? Maybe he eats the people for himself. Maybe he kills the deer too and then stuffs them with the murdered people and displays them all over his house.

I bet he has a lot of grandfather clocks.

Time stood still for what seemed like eternity. My perspiration had nothing to do with the heat and the laps at this point. This was pure, stinking liquid-fear seeping from my pores and sluicing down my temples.

So I kept walking further away from my car. My right contact lens, clinging onto my eye with its last few ounces of suction, hated me. But I had sacrifices to make in the name of small talk avoidance. (See also: murder; abduction; rape.)

I eventually made it back in the opposite direction and, right before the bend in the path which would show me my car, I quietly slipped behind the mausoleum wall and peeked around the corner. Clear.

For all I know, this man could have very well left the cemetery and gone to feed (deer to) the homeless before swinging by the hospital to read children books (about deer). Yet here I was, playing cloak-and-dagger with some stranger and he didn’t even know.

Maybe I should just get a tread mill.

Apr 292011

I’m taking the day off. (Because I do SO MUCH on here, you know.) So here is an oldie about littering and cops, and cops who litter.

Another Reason to Hate the 5-0

May 2007

It was the middle of a lazy Saturday afternoon in Hamilton, Ohio. Christina and I were lounging around her room and I was making her cry by talking about how I hate God. I suppose I should have been penciling in a time for church in my day planner since “He” evidently spared our lives the night before when we got caught in the midst of a hail storm on our way from Pittsburgh to Ohio. It was probably the single most terrifying moment of my life and it took place right after I had been talking about Hell.

Over top of Christina’s mighty exaltation for her love of all things Christ, I heard the squelch of a siren from behind her house. We ran over to the window and discovered that there were two police officers on the street behind her house and they had pulled over a man in a truck. It seemed like it was just a traffic violation and I was quickly becoming bored. Luckily, I hung around long enough to witness the most appalling act of crime I have ever seen with these green eyes.

The officers were beginning to wrap things up and as the one cop made to get into the passenger side of the patrol car, he poured out the remainders of a can of what appeared to be Pepsi and then deliberately tossed the empty can into Christina’s back yard.

“Oh no he didn’t!” I exclaimed to Christina, right before shaping a makeshift megaphone with my hands and shouting “LITTERER!” and then ducking, leaving Christina framed alone in the window looking like the sole perpetrator.

Stomping over to her bed, I grabbed my shoes and sat down hard.

“What are you doing?” Christina asked nervously.

“I’m going out there.” I walked out of the bedroom and bounded down the steps, leaving her pleas in a cloud of my dust. She caught up with me before I made it to the back door and grabbed my arms.

“Look, I really don’t think going out there is a good idea. The cops around here are dicks.” She had thrown herself between me and the door so I knew she meant business. I walked dejectedly back into her kitchen as she explained to me that her neighborhood is kind of bad and that the cops are always looking for a reason to, well, be cops and that she really didn’t want to have to make that call to Henry.

“Henry!” I exclaimed in remembrance of my boy-toy in Pittsburgh. “Let’s call him for legal counsel.” And of course he wasn’t home. I left a message and that dickshitter never called back because he figured it was “something stupid” I was calling about, as I would later learn.

The cops had left by then, leaving me alone with a heightened sense of extreme community failure. I didn’t want it be over yet so I continued pacing and spouting vulgarities until I finagled Christina into calling the police station. “We have their patrol car number! Do it, Christina, for all of us civilians. And the environment. It’s God’s will.” I knew that would clinch it.

Christina finally relented, only because she didn’t want me making the call because supposedly I’m too “hot-headed.” But I would have used words like ‘reprehensible’ and ‘detestable’ to convey to the sergeant how appalled I truly was. And I would have thrown in the words ‘law’ and ‘suit’ somewhere in between mention of dying babies and that our earth is God’s playground (HAHA).

But Christina still wouldn’t hand over the phone; she was eventually dispatched through to Sgt. Ebbing (a man I will never forget, bless his heart). Explaining the complaint, she actually said, “Sir, I know this may seem trivial.”

Excuse me, trivial? Are you kidding? That prick littered in her back yard. He did something that people like us would get fined for. Oh, I was livid. She was being too nice and congenial during the phone call and my body was burning. I started to envision what would have happened if I had managed to get out of her house while the cops were still there. They don’t scare me. Plus, I have big boobs.

This was when I decided that I really, truly, and legitimately hated that littering officer. My ears were roaring with the sound of large, wavering sheets of metal and my heart was pounding like I had just run ten yards after ingesting fourteen fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches and an eight ball. I imagined scratching his face (out of malice, not passion) and striking his nose with the heel of my palm in an upward motion, just like Mr. Miyagi taught me. Then I would retrieve his discarded aluminum can and crush it against his jock.

Oh heaven, I have finally reached you through my fantasies.

Christina ended the call and jolted me out of my daydream. She explained to me that Sgt. Ebbing was going to call her back once he reprimanded the officers and that he also informed her that she could go to the courthouse and file for a citation, to which she said would not be necessary (I would have done it – fuck the police). I felt a tiny bit reassured and calmer but Christina was a little leery that Sgt. Ebbing had asked for her full name and address. “I’m a pot head! What if they’re going to be watching me now?”

“What do I care? I live in Pittsburgh.” And then I laughed. And if you know me, you know that laugh, and are probably wanting to bitch-slap me just at the mere thought of it.

In the meantime, we called Henry to fill him in. “You didn’t go out there, did you?” was the first utterance from his fat mouth. I began to feel a complex developing and asked, “No, I didn’t go out there but would it really have been so bad if I had?”

“Uh, yeah!” he answered. “With your temper? I don’t need to be bailing you out of jail.” I have to say I’m a little insulted that I’m not trusted to handle situations such as this one on my own. But Christina was happy because Henry shared in her apprehension.

Sgt. Ebbing called back about two hours later (presumably because he was banging broads in the drunk tank), at which time Christina’s sister Cynthia answered the phone and yelled to Christina, “I don’t fucking know who it is!” The sergeant (I don’t trust him, by the way; I think he’s a cocksucker to be honest with you) relayed the disciplinary action that was sanctioned, and might I add it only entailed asking the officers if it was true and then telling them to come back and pick up the can.

But he lied to us and I know it. Sgt. Ebbing, you’re a lying cocksucker. He told Christina that the officer admitted to tossing the can, which was purportedly an “illegal can of beer” which was confiscated from the man who had been pulled over. In the midst of the confusion while they were making an arrest, it must have slipped the officer’s mind that he had littered.

Except that I didn’t see them make an arrest. I saw the man get back in his truck and leave. What did they say, “Just meet us at the station”? Oh, I don’t think so.

In other words, the sergeant wanted us to think that it was admirable of the officer to be honest about the littering, but at the same time he tried to make us feel guilty or ashamed that these men were in the throes of serving justice and that they should be excused of such a trivial act.

“I’m going out there to wait for them to come pick up the can,” I announced as I ran for the door. Christina came with me and we discovered that the can was no longer there. That asshole sergeant waited for them to come pick it up before calling back because he knew that I was about to get all Firestarter on their asses. I just know it!

I don’t feel like justice was served. And I didn’t get to swear at anybody.

I’m going to pay one of her neighbors to let me slice their baby with a Pepsi can and then pretend it happened on the one in the Christina’s backyard. THIS IS FAR FROM OVER.

[Ed.Note: Obviously, it was over. Christina plied me with pie and the day quickly turned into “Sgt. Ebbing who now?”]

Feb 132011

Trying to distract myself from hockey hell by looking through old pictures. Found this one from June of 2007 and now I want to re-share the story behind it, so you will just deal with that, OK? I’M A LITTLE OUT OF SORTS. I wish you could see my eye twitching. (Yes, I realize how pathetic this makes me. But I’m used to it. I will be OK once I go skating tonight.)


Uncle Otis was a spry nine year old lad when Annie and her family moved to the neighborhood, on account of her daddy losing his job at the paper mill and forced into the trade of candlestick making, naturally. Uncle Otis’ town was known all around, far and wide, as a thriving candle hub.

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So this made sense, you see?

Annie was in the grade below Uncle Otis and he would flick daisies at her during recess. She never noticed him, mainly because he was poor, but also because she liked black boys and Otis was, well, very pale. And had a small peepee.

Uncle Otis continued to pine for Annie, all the way through high school. Even after Johnny Maplebitch gave her genital warts, his heart still pitter-pattered down Lovelorn Lane. Even after, at age sixteen, Annie was impregnated by a salesman shilling Swiss Army knives and gained fifty pounds that she couldn’t shake, Uncle Otis would still feel a horde of butterflies molesting his insides at the mere mention of her name. Even after Annie joined a religious mountain top cult and was brainwashed into sewing up her vagina, Otis yearned to be the one to rip out the stitches.

At age eighteen, Uncle Otis was offered the job of a lifetime, joining a carnival caravan as a gum-wrapper sweeper. In his mind, he would let himself be engulfed in this job, saving each and every penny and dime, until he had a nest egg large enough to return to town, scoop up Annie, and deposit her into their new house, which even would have its very own colored television, and a pinwheel near the front stoop.

But you know how these love sagas pan out: Some shit always has to go down. Someone dies, someone cheats, someone gets caught masturbating with a candlestick, because Lord knows there’s more than the candle pourers can keep up with so what else are you going to do with it? Give it a wig and call it daughter?

I’m not too clear on the details, as I’m sure pertinent facts have gotten lost in translation through generations, but from what I’m told, the salesman caught wind of Uncle Otis’ great American dream and sent an anonymous telegraph stating that Annie had been murdered by the town meat cutter, after being confused for a bovine.

Uncle Otis snapped, just completely went ape shit all around the camp site. He ripped suckers straight from the mouths of conjoined twins, urinated in the cotton candy maker, fucked a chicken or two; he was destroyed, sanity annihilated. The carnival director was forced to serve him his walking papers, because the dwarves were starting to cry.

Otis binged on moonshine while trying in vain to fight off chimeras of Annie, frolicking through the junkyard next to the campsite.

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He’d squint and rub his eyes, probably give his face a few sharp slaps, as you would too if you thought you were seeing the ghost of your one true love. She would eventually fade away just as fast as she had appeared.

It didn’t stop, though, no matter how much booze Otis would gulp. He couldn’t take it anymore; it was too torturous. So late one night, after all the lanterns had been snuffed around the camp, Otis sneaked back in and rummaged through the prop chest, tossing bowling pins and barbed hula hoops over his shoulder, until he finally unearthed what he was seeking.

Making a hasty sign of the cross, Otis closed his eyes tight and swallowed the sword. This was tragic because Annie had not actually been murdered, contrary to Otis’ belief. Salesman lied to keep Otis at bay!

So my friend God was like Aw, hell nah and made Otis into a vampire, because if he hadn’t, then all the other suicide-by-sword-swallowing vampires would cry foul and God would have another revolt on his hands, like the time when that big-chested broad had half of her back flesh torn off by a zombie and God was all, “Aw, she’s too pretty to be a zombie” and instead turned her into a fairy princess. Shit like this doesn’t sit well with some residents of the afterlife. But you probably know that.

You can imagine how thrilled I was, now that I’ve regaled you with Uncle Otis’s rich history, when I happened upon his portrait bright and early yesterday at the flea market. Henry, after six years of meticulous note-taking and observation for his forth-coming case study, knew immediately what I desired when I abruptly stopped in the middle of the hustle and bustle and shouted, “Oh-ho, hold the phone!”

“Aw, come on. No. No, no, no. Keep walking. Please keep walking.”

The portrait was propped up at the foot of a table holding less savory items, like books and costume jewelry, a few tools and glassware. My hunger for this tasteful portrait was hearty enough to make me forget about my current hunt for owl-related merchandise and postpone my challenge of forced unicorn affection, which originated after I stumbled upon a display of unicorn figurines, of which Henry reminded me of my dislike for such nonsense.

Manning the table was an older gentleman.

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He seemed approachable enough but after a few seconds scrutinizing the situation, Henry deemed that it was the same person in the portrait, but you and I know that’s false, because the boy in that picture was Uncle Otis. “I am not buying that. No way, that’s embarrassing.”

There was really no good reason for a person to desire such an item if it wasn’t that of their vampiric ancestor. We couldn’t even really say it was for the frame, because it was battered cardboard. But there was something fantastically compelling about this child and I really needed to have it at that moment or I really think I could have died. What was the use in continuing to breathe if that picture wasn’t going to be on my mantle, I reasoned.

I could only imagine the scene that would ensue if I tried to inquire about the portrait because I really just couldn’t shake the giggles. I’d undoubtedly end up embarrassing myself and that poor man. Plus, it would have really pleased me like a good back-scratchin’ to see Henry muddle through the awkward transaction.

And if you know anything about our past flea market expeditions, you know that there was a moment or twenty of tense deliberating, negotiating, bribing, threatening, whining, crying, until Henry’s endurance was whittled away by my expertise in the subject of spoiled brat.

“Fine, I’ll ask. But you’re coming with me!” I pretended to follow him and Riley over to the table, but then I ducked behind a rack of clothes and feigned admiration over a velvet blazer decorated with gold flecks. I peeked over top of the fourth-hand clothes and nearly ODd on riotous laughter when I saw the seller holding my son while Henry handed him a dollar.

On his way back over to me, Henry hissed, “Take the picture. Take it. Take the fucking picture.” I snatched it up greedily and returned the seller’s happy wave. Then I laughed my fucking ass off.

“You owe me ten dollars,” Henry mumbled.

“But I saw you hand him one dollar.”

“You owe me ten dollars,” he repeated.

Henry was carrying Riley, allowing for an empty stroller in which I could prop my cherished artifact of some stranger’s past. I mean, the eyes weren’t as Borden-ish as I’d generally like my old-fashioned photos of strangers to feature, but it was still one for the brag books. I wanted everyone to see it, to kick themselves for not acting fast enough the first time they wiggled past his table.

“Turn it around. TURN IT AROUND!” Our neighbors were at the flea market and god forbid they should see us with our impressive acquisition. Henry probably didn’t want them to be jealous.

Uncle Otis will be so pleased that I recovered his old school picture. Hopefully it won’t dredge up too many painful memories. I guess I’ll show him the next time he comes over to play Boggle. He’s a real challenging opponent.

Feb 082011

Hello. I’m reposting this oldie from LiveJournal to remind Henry that, while I may currently have a crush on his old ass, THINGS CAN CHANGE. He could still LOSE ME.

I do crush easily, after all. (Seriously, I’m juggling about three of them right now. One of them might be yours.)


At Least It Wasn’t Chucky

October 2007

Last night, Henry and I kicked off the 2007 haunted house season with a VIP treatment at Castle Blood. I’ve been patronizing this haunt for quite literally the past twelve years of my life, so when Henry came home one day and bragged about his company scoring a promotional partnership with them for the season, I exalted on high. He got stacks and stacks of free passes out of the deal, too, which is fantastic because it regularly costs .

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This is why I’m always broke after October.

Henry embarrassed me by wearing his Freek Energy Drink t-shirt and managed to succeed in juxtaposing himself with all of the giant Freek ads every chance he got while we stood in line. An employee dressed as a mad scientist came over and slyly said, “Are you the man who dropped 100 cases of love on us?” and Henry puffed out his chest so everyone could see the logo and then the scientist gave him handfuls of Freek swag which made Henry happy.

“Wow! No one ever gave me the tattoos and magnets before!!” he exclaimed. He even wound up with two Freek highlighters by the end of the night. Congratulations! You just got a bunch of shit that you could have gotten from your office.

Then Henry rained free passes on the people in line with us and acted all ass-wounded when one of the little girls didn’t reciprocate by acting like he was Santa. That mustache freaks kids out, I keep telling him. Then the guy who runs the place came over and told the ticket guy to only send us in with the three people in front of us so that we could have a pleasant experience, sans the screaming obnoxious brats who polluted the line behind us. I was smug. Thanks for wearing your Freek shirt after all, Henry.

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(You’re still a loser, though.)

I know you all think this post is going to be about how I loved/hated the haunted house or how Henry’s weener ended up in a wall-cranny or how I found the perfect coffin to be buried in, but really this is about the most intense and pure and real human connection I have ever (never?) had.

A guy walked past me as I stood in line. He was short; in his twenties; looked apathetic, like he’d rather be at a Magic tourney. Trailing closely behind him in a cacophonous bubble were two young kids whom he seemed unable to shake. My initial guess was that they were his siblings and he was forced into bringing them there. I didn’t think anything of him after that. A few minutes later, I glanced to my left and saw him again, but this time he was stationed behind his AUTOGRAPH BOOTH BECAUSE OMG IT WAS ANDY FROM “CHILD’S PLAY”!!! No wonder why he looked like he was forced to be there!

And because:

a) I was bored
b) I was standing in line and bored
c) I was with Henry standing in line and bored
d) I have ridiculous crush criteria;

it was only natural for my heart to swell with that intense love that your typical Ed Gein probably felt as he stood above the body of the attractive barfly he snuffed earlier that day and just realized how fabulous her hide would look as a lampshade. I buried my head in Henry’s armpit and squealed as Alex (that’s his real name in case you assholes didn’t know) approached the children behind us and did card tricks for them.

“Oh my god he’s so cute! Oh my god I can’t handle it! Oh my god he’s so close to us right now!” I broke up with Henry a few times so I could run off into the sunset with Alex;  Henry pretended to be good natured about it. Probably because being there was like a business meeting for him and he had to maintain his facade of phony sleazeball salesman.

He did, however, push me off the curb once.

Alex’s autograph booth was set up right next to Castle Blood’s exit. When we came out, there was a teenage girl getting him to sign a photo. She bounced from foot to foot like she was running through tires and talked in a quick high-pitched voice fueled by star lust. “Oh my god I can’t wait to tell my friends! You have to understand, no one ever comes to our town!” (Bealesville, Castle Blood’s locale, is about an hour outside of Pittsburgh and there’s  honestly nothing to do there.) Alex smiled and pushed the photo back to her.

I didn’t want it to be my turn! I wasn’t ready! I tried to get Henry to do it for me, but he shouldered me toward the table.

I made a brilliant first impression.

“Hi can I have your autograph?”
“The colored photos are $15. Black and white are $10.”
“Shit, my money’s in the car. BRB.”

I probably wouldn’t have been back. I’m a tightwad. BUT! As I made to walk away, Alex stopped me.

“So, is it any good in there?” he asked, nodding toward the castle with his REALLY CUTE HEAD.

So I had an opportunity to get into my element and tell him about how fantastic it is and how I want to live there. He remarked about that as I walked away so I laughed along with him, but naturally I have no idea what he said.

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On the way back to the car, I completely unraveled. “Oh my god did you see how cute he was? Oh my god, should I really go back? Oh my god, was I worse, better or the same as the girl in front of me?”

Henry told me I talk too much.

I went back after all and bought a black and white photo. I know, there’s little I won’t do for love. I made a big production of choosing between the TWO black and white photos, before settling on one with him and the director. “That’s my favorite one,” he said. “Cool,” I remarked, trying to keep my composure. I wanted to ask him to write “Your blog is the best” or “We made a really cute kid together!” but instead I stood there silently, gnawing on my bottom lip as he wrote “To Erin, Chucky did it!” Then we had a brief exchange about how he spelled my name right and he scoffed at the thought of people spelling it wrong and said, “But then it would be Aaron!” and I’ve always been attracted to people who even say the boy’s version differently than “Erin.” He is an amazing man.

He then asked me if I’m from Beallsville and I yelled, “No, Pittsburgh!” because God forbid he should think I’m a townie. I asked him where he’s from, and he said, “Jersey.” I should have asked him really awesome questions, like, “If you had to have one of your organs stolen, which one would it be?” (For me, it would be any of the ones that I’d die without. ANY of them. Take them all, fuckers. Or my skin. I seem to have a lot of that.) Or, “Where should we go to make this baby?” But instead I was all, “Yo-de-doh, how long are you here?” delivered atop of serving of insane giggles.

I really think though that the only thing preventing us from embroiling in the passionate act of porno-making was that damn table with his seven-year-old mug plastered all over it. He asked me if there’s anything to do around there and I should have said “Yes — me” but instead I rolled my eyes like a disinterested teenager and said, “Ha, no!” and he laughed but what if he was hoping I’d invite him down to the pier for a cock fight? (I’m not sure there are any piers in Bealesville, but if he wanted one, I’d have made Henry build one.)

So that was that. No swapping of spit, no crude genital introductions. Instead, we stuck with just saying goodbye to each other. I rushed back over to Henry, who was talking to the owner of Castle Blood a few feet away from my love, so I had the excruciating chore of remaining in his line of sight. I tugged on Henry’s arm. “Give me your cell phone!” I whispered, like one of those annoying children who have little regard for when their parents are in the middle of a conversation with another grown up. I had one whole friend I needed to call and relay this sorrowful tale of The One Who Got Away! Henry distractedly pulled out his phone, looked at it, then dropped it back in his pocket, too engrossed in his discussion to fully understand what I had asked. I growled like an angry teen.

On the way back to the car, I reiterated what went down. “I really think he liked me back because there was this REALLY STRONG eye contact. I mean, it was intense! But I was so sweaty though.” (It was 90 fucking degrees that day and some of the humidity lingered in the air that night, making the hallways of Castle Blood stuffy and moist.)

“Some guys like sweaty girls,” Henry said encouragingly.

I talked about it the whole way home.

“Can you believe I met him?? Oh my god, I love—-” I had to pause to refer to the autograph because I forgot his name. “–Alex Vincent so much! I really feel like it was the strongest connection I’ve ever forged with someone. Oh shit I should have given him my business card! I could have written ‘KIT’ on it!”

“KIT?” Henry asked.

“Uh, yeah. It means keep in touch. Maybe if people actually signed your yearbook, you’d know that.”

Then Henry changed the subject by ridiculing me for being the only person he knows who consistently leaves her business cards at home.

After the excitement of getting Alex’s autograph wore off, I morphed into full-blown stalker mode. “We’d have an awesome life together I bet. I’d call him and be like, ‘Hey Alex baby, what do you want me to bring home for dinner?'”

This caused Henry to laugh with aneurysm-triggering force. “Oh, that’s funny. You would never ask something like that! Maybe if it started with ‘Could you,’ ‘can you,’ ‘will you,’ it would be more believable.”

I’ll be back for you, Andy. I don’t feel like I got my $10’s worth.

Jan 072011

Probably the only thing Henry enjoys more than receiving a swift punch to the guts/knee in the nuts combo when I get into bed every night is being forced to stay up for a half an hour and listen to me rattle on about my new love.

“You’ll never guess what happened tonight!” I gasped as I climbed over a blanketed mound of Henry and kicked my legs under the covers.

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I paused for a second or two, waiting for enthusiastic curiosity to gush from his mouth. I prodded him in the tailbone to gain back his attention.

“I talked to my crush!” I squealed into his sleep-veiled face. He murmured unintelligible syllables which I took to mean, “Oh, what an exciting development. I am grasping my penis, like a baseball bat, in a fit of impassioned anticipation. Please recap the entire conversation, preferably on a stage and in costume!”

And so I turned over on my side and spilled forth my secrets.

“OK so I was walking out of the building because it was the end of my shift and I was leaving, right? And he was standing outside and so I was like Ohmigod should I say it? and I did! I said ‘Bye!’ in that really sweet baby voice I use on people who don’t know the real me, or maybe I said ‘See ya,’ I don’t really know now but whatever I said I’m sure it was fucking brilliant and seductive and then you know what he said back? Oh my god, he said ‘Hey, have a nice night, now’–” And here I paused briefly to shake Henry with my quivering hand so he could understand how profound this exchange truly was. “–like he was struggling to hold himself back from ravishing me right then and there and then I said ‘You too, hehe.’ Isn’t that fucking incredible?”

“Who are you talking about?” Henry moaned into his pillow.

“The security guard at work, you idiot!” I mean, I don’t expect a lot from this relationship, but at least have the decency to keep my crushes in check. “I think his name is Chris,” I cooed, reverting back to my puppy-love intonation. And Henry deemed this a good time to get up and leave for work.

Earlier that night, thanks to Tina’s primal need for gossip (I always get this visual of Tina slurping the gossip out of coworkers’ mouths, like an oyster from a shell. I hope you will now, too!), I learned that the old security guard had been fired for, in Tina’s exact words, “doing the illegal.” I took this for a good opportunity to engage Eleanore in friendly banter regarding the whole situation because she also is a carrier for the Talksalot gene.

Leaning back in my chair, I reached my arms into a stretch and asked, “Oh, so is that why there’s that new guard out there now?”

“Yeah, babe. I guess so.” Eleanore seemed more primed for discussing the aforementioned illegalities, but I forged ahead anyway, hoping that my interest in the new, drama-free guard wasn’t raising suspicions.

“What’s his name, I wonder?” I mused, making sure to sound like I didn’t care too much, though my ears perked at the slight jump in octave near the end of my question. I’m no stranger to moments of out-of-control crush-induced mania, after all.

“I don’t know, sweetie. I think his name is Chris. But don’t quote me!” I found myself breaking into a smile and slowly mouthing his name to my computer monitor. Visions of Christmas morning gyrated through my mind: his stocking emblazoned with a silver glittered “C” hanging joyfully from the fire place mantle, while I poured coffee into his C-monogrammed mug with one hand while adjusting my “I ♥ Chris” pendant with the other.

Eleanore leaned back in her chair and peeked around the divider. “Why don’t you just ask him when you see him?” she suggested.

I nodded and said I would do that, tousling my hair against my cheeks to mask the fast-spreading blush. Then it became giggle-suppressing time.

During one of our breaks outside, Tina and Eleanore were still buzzing about the security guard soap opera. Tina went on to lambaste the new guard by complaining that when she left early the night before, he wasn’t even inside the guard station.

I was furious. I couldn’t have her making such serious accusations about my new boyfriend like that. So when I noticed a slight movement in the guard station across the parking lot, I interrupted the conversation by over-zealously shouting, “He’s in there!

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The new guard! I just saw him move!” Tina, Joe, and Eleanore quieted down and stared at my finger, wildly pointing across the lot. I lowered my arm and, toning down the TRL-esque shrillness in my voice, concluded by saying, “See, he’s doing his job. That’s all.”

And they resumed their boring discourse in property taxes and cost of living. Bo-hor-ing.

I can’t really tell you why I’m already penning the story of our eternal love. It’s not that his hands are clad in erotic security-strength gloves, because they aren’t (although could you imagine? Ho boy!). It’s not because he coifs his mane in the style of Robert Smith and recites idyllic sonnets about the way the sunlight vaults off my golden locks the same way my boobs bounce when I chase after the ball in a sweaty match of kickball. Because he doesn’t do that either. Christina does, though.

Look, it’s not even fueled by superficial desires to put my hands all over his security-badged chest, because to be honest, I haven’t been close enough to see how attractive he really is. My eyes are bad!

I think it’s because he’s black. I’ve been listening to a lot of Bone Thugs n Harmony lately.

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[Ed.Note: Found this when doing some Tina-related digging on my old LiveJournal!]

Nov 232010

I have blog apathy, so here is an old LiveJournal post from August 2007. Peace out, girl scout.

It’s been dire straits ’round here ever since our car abandoned us. Thankfully, Henry’s mother has been generous enough to let us use her car whenever she doesn’t need it (and as luck would have it, that’s quite often). We decided to be nice and not force her to rot away in her apartment over the weekend, so we rented a car at Enterprise. It was one of those vixens on four wheels — a Mazda 3. I wanted to hug it every time I got into it. But that’s not the point of this story.

Last night, Henry informed me that he wouldn’t be home in time from work to return the car by its noon curfew. When it slowly (but surely!) dawned on me that what he was really trying to say was that I was going to actually have to get off my ass and do something, I freaked out.

“But I don’t know how.” A good enough excuse as any, I figured.

“What do you mean you don’t know how? Just drive it the whole whopping one mile down the street to Enterprise, give them the key, and have one of them bring you back home.

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Oh, anxiety! Hold your horses!

I began to grow weary just by imagining the impending hassle, much like the day when I will round a corner and get my head lopped off by a sickle-wielding serial killer.

My mom came over this morning so I could get it over with while my wrestler-child was napping. As I backed the car up the driveway, I glanced at the car seat, still fully-fastened to the backseat. I’ve never had to deal with removing the front-facing car seat, only the rear-facing carrier.

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“Mother fucker!” I yelled. Henry was supposed to take that out for me. I threw the car in park and climbed into the backseat, thinking that I was about to embark on an easy journey. Within five seconds, it became clear that this was a job for a spinach-eating Mensa member. My mental energy quickly waned as I searched for the magical release button to make all my dreams come true.

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Right after I nearly snapped off a finger, the spandexed idiot we employ to mow our lawn crept up on me, whining about his six dollars. I’m pretty sure he’s that paper boy from Better Off Dead, all grown up. I told him I didn’t have it and he did this really obnoxious motion with his head, like he was using his body movements to whine “Aw, maaaan.”

“When can I stop back?” he asked impatiently. Just to get this asshole off my back, I ran into the house to see if my mom had cash, which she didn’t. But at least it looked like I kind of cared by asking her.

I reported the bad news to him and he stalked off. “Sorry!” I yelled sarcastically at his back. I also didn’t appreciate the way he looked the rental car up and down, because I know he was thinking, “Oh, she drives this but doesn’t have six fucking dollars for me?”

Asshole. I’m so over him anyway.

Returning to the task at hand, I accepted the fact that I needed help. My mom came out and together we toiled and bumbled in the backseat until I broke down and called Henry. Obscenities were sprayed, nails were broken, ulcers burned, and my mom was bracing herself for a trip to the nearest psych ward, before I finally conceded that I’d just let one of the guys at Enterprise do it for me, per Henry’s suggestion.

“They know how to do it there!” he promised.

When I handed the key over at the counter a few minutes later, I asked the Enterprise employee if someone there could help me remove the car seat.

“Um, I can see if someone will try, but I can’t make any promises. None of us here have children.”

An older woman was leaning against the counter next to me, waiting for her invoice. “I can help you; I have three children of my own.” I thanked her, but a young man in a dress shirt popped up from behind a desk and enthusiastically asked me to let him try.

“I’m up for the challenge!” he said eagerly, like I was holding tryouts for some outrageous Japanese game show.

After a few minutes, I returned to the lot to check on his progress. He got about as far as I had.

“What did your boyfriend do, glue this in here?” he laughed, but I got a real sense of anguished emasculation out of it.

The mother-of-three jogged over. “No luck? Let me try.” She climbed in the backseat and began furiously working to unsnap the opposite side.

After a minute passed, she turned around and looked at me. “Holy hell!” she laughed, as she blew out a breath saddled with exhaustion.

The woman she was traveling with got out of their minivan and came over. “I gotta see this car seat!” she said with wide eyes.

The mother-of-three saw this as her way out. “Oh good, see if you can do it!” she yelled over her shoulder as she ran back inside the office.

“Wha—I just said I wanted to look at it!” But she shrugged and climbed in anyway.

Another Enterprise employee came over and the first one called out, “Oh good, are you here to help?”

“Aw shit, no. I’m just here to take the girl back home.” What a nice gentleman. I’m sure that will be a pleasant cruise to look forward to, I thought.

Oh yes, Henry. This is so easy, that’s why it took three people to do it. I hope we get a car soon so I never have to worry about this car seat bullshit again. Or, I hope Henry and I stay together at least until Chooch graduates from car seats. The reality of either option is a scary one though.

The Enterprise employee finally dominated the car seat. He stood up and stretched his back. “Tell your boyfriend not to work out so hard!” he laughed. Yeah, I’ll tell him to lay off the cock-pulling, I thought bitterly.

Everyone involved had a nice laugh and exchanged contact info for a future reunion, and then I got back in the car with my chauffeur. We made strained small talk as he shouted and pumped his arm out the window every time we drove past his homies. Which was a lot. Then he flipped on the radio just in time to catch a lovely joint by Bel Biv Devoe.

“Daaaamn, I always forget how old this jam is!” I nodded in agreement and added that I thought I was in middle school when it came out. You know, just to tip him off that I have more urban in my blood than my pasty-suburban facade lets on.

I guess it didn’t impress him much (sometimes my flava just can’t be sensed, I guess), because instead of pulling into my driveway, he sidled up on the curb across from my house, leaving me to cross the street with a big ass car seat over my shoulder. It was kind of like the car rental walk of shame, I guess.

Edit: A quote from Henry. “It’s the easiest thing in the world.”

Aug 302010

I didn’t know it then, but I was about three weeks pregnant at the time of this trip. It was originally posted…ew, exactly 5 years ago. And this day will come up later in The Christina Chronicles.


I haven’t been to an amusement park since we attempted to run amok at Six Flags in Ohio two years ago, with disastrous results. See, I evidently became sick after two hours, leaving Henry no choice but to take me home. No, Henry’s no quitter — he tried everything in his power to get me to stay, tossing out suggestions such as: “Well, you don’t have to ride anything. I can ride by myself. Just sit on that bench over there and I’ll be back in a few hundred thousand hours” and the classic “Go in the bathroom and use your finger. Make yourself puke and then you’ll feel better.” What are you saying, Henry? Is this some sort of double entendre? Do you think I’m fat? Why do you really want me to throw up, Henry, so I can stay a few more hours and not make this a wasted trip, or so that last candy bar and plate of cheese fries don’t stick to my ass? So now what, you’re some sort of pageant mom? Oh, you’d like that, wouldn’t you, if I turned bulimic. Then I could be an Olsen and make it easier for you to keep me locked in the closet. Oops, did I just say that? Now the world knows!

Now here’s the thing — I can’t remember if I really did get sick, or if I was just being bi-polarish and over dramatic and that’s why we left. In my mind, I can see myself roiling in pain, pressing back a torrent of vomit with shaking hands, but I have a habit of creating my own memories, in which I paint myself as a victim. I’m going to toss out an educated guess here and suggest that I probably wanted something and Henry said no and the day’s mood quickly soured from there, so I faked illness to get sympathy. On the ride home, I vaguely remember producing a slight fountain of pity waterworks while Henry white-knuckled the steering wheel and kept his eyes glued to the road. Between theatrical sniffles and staccato intakes of breath, I could hear the cash register in his head dinging as it calculated all the money we wasted that day.

However, there was a time right before that doomed trip where Henry’s kid Blake and I were the only patrons at a rickety mall parking-lot carnival. We bounded from one death trap to the next like Japanese beetles buzzing in the wind, not having to piss with any lines.

We both got really sick that day.

Now, these are the only two pieces of evidence I have to fall back on and exhibit A is pretty fucking distorted. Am I at that age where spinny rides have the ability to blast through my equilibrium and shackle my body with waves of nausea? Or were these just two very bad circumstances?

I find myself worrying about things that never occurred to me as a kid. What do I eat? Do I eat something light before I get there? Will coffee come back to bite me in the esophagus later in the day? Do I stick with familiar edibles of a doughy nature in order to absorb any future risk of gastric acid rising from centrifugal force? If I don’t eat at all, look out maelstrom! One thing is for sure — my Rolaids SoftChews will be tucked snugly into my pocket.

I worry about rides breaking and catapulting me to my grisly death. I hear nuts and bolts popping and clicking and my mind starts racing and making up premonitions that I can visualize behind closed eyes, and before I know it, the ride’s over and I didn’t even get a chance to enjoy it. These are the things that used to make me applaud as a kid, the element of fear that makes your blood buzz with exhilaration. I don’t feel that anymore. Relief–now there’s something I feel. With each and every ride I disembark without whiplash, hemorrhaging or sprained body parts, I’m flooded with relief and feel an overpowering urge to go to church. For real this time, is what I say to God in my head.

And my hair. What do I do with my hair? I want to wear one of my scarves because I’m so scene, but what if it blows off on a spinny ride? That’s a whole FOUR DOLLARS drifting off in the wind. I don’t like to wear my hair pulled back because it brings out neurotic smoothing motions every thirty seconds, much like a nervous tick. Don’t even get me started on fly-aways–I’ll produce a cold sweat. Flashbacks from days sporting more barrettes than a braided black girl as my mom attempted to keep each and every last stray tuft of my hair in place. My scalp tingles when I think of how some of those plastic barrettes held down sections of hair pulled much too taut–now that I’m an adult, I realize my mother did this on purpose. It was a form of “accidental” torture.

But if I wear my hair down? O-ho — knots ahoy!

What do I wear? This frantic compulsion stems from school picnics at our local amusement park, Kennywood. It was tradition to have a new outfit to wear so all the boys will notice you. Never mind that they didn’t notice you in a thirty-desk classroom. I remember my eighth grade apparel like it was yesterday. It came from Merrry-Go-Round and I looked like an extra in Salt-n-Pepa’s “Push It” video–jean shorts with purple leather on the fronts of the legs, a black tank top with a purple mesh shirt over top. Oh, I was so fly. By the end of the night, that fucking shirt had more snags in it than the stockings on a hooker’s trunk-stuffed body.

I’ve been stressing over this all week. If I squeeze my eyes shut real tight, I can hear the cruel cadence of my step-dad’s chastising voice, reminding me that it’s not the fucking prom. Almost like holding a seashell up to my ear. Thanks, daddy.

Many moons ago, I was a young and spry youth with pigtails and Bandaid-adorned knees, skipping around Kennywood like I owned it, when a tragedy struck. A friend and I were exiting a ride equipped with swinging cars. As I stepped out, my friend took her hand away from the car, which had been holding it in place and keeping it from swinging. The car swung toward me and scraped the back of my ankle. I remember an eternity of travail, time stopping, voices sounding afar, and thinking, “This is it. I’ve lost my foot. Now I’ll have to get fitted with a club and all the kids at school will mock, ‘Hey let’s play croquet with Erin’s club foot!'” Cotton candy and funnel cake proved to be a sure-fire distraction and I eventually stopped hopping on one foot.

This is the part that stands out the most–when I went home that night, I couldn’t take off my sock. It was actually glued to my heel with blood. Each and every tiny tug and pull created a stinging sensation that traveled up to my thigh. I was so afraid to show my mom because I just knew she would take me to the hospital and the sorry doctor would shake his head and I could read his lips as they mouthed, “We need to take the foot.”

At the very least, my step-dad would want to pour peroxide over the wound which always made me feel as though I was being punished for getting hurt.

Vowing to keep my mutilation under wraps, I thrust my socked foot under warm running water in the bathtub, grimacing as it saturated my laceration, until I was finally able to slowly peel off the sock and watch rivulets of coagulated blood slide off my ankle and swirl around the drain.

I still remember the socks I was wearing that day.

As kids, we’re more resilient. What if something like this occurs on Saturday? What if the rusty steel from a thrill ride pierces and catches my skin and before anyone can save me, my flesh is being unraveled like a mummy. I’m no kid–I’m much higher off the ground now; I’m susceptible to much more damage. Chances of me breaking a bone are more likely than walking away with a sprain. I’m a walking accident! Call me on the phone and listen to how many times I murmur “Ow” as I walk from one room to another. I am fucking panicking here. I don’t want to get hurt! I don’t want the whole of King’s Island to see my blood!

If I die on Saturday, it better be from something cool, like a roller coaster jumping track and plummeting into a ravine. Not something anticlimactic, like me tripping over my feet and then getting run over by a tram.

There is an upside, however.

When Henry and I spend large amounts of time together in public, the tension grows and multiplies until eventually a thick fog of it is smothering us and testing our gag-reflexes. But this time, we won’t be alone — Christina and her sister Cynthia will be accompanying us and hopefully cutting through the bulk of that fog. Instead of fighting with Henry all day, I can mix it up between him and Christina. And of course, any innocent by-standers who cross my path.

Plus, maybe I can convince Christina to buy me a souvenir cup.


We left Saturday morning and drove through a consistent sheath of downpour, which led Henry to blabber on about how “if it’s raining like this when we get there, I am not wasting my money at King’s Island, I’m sorry.” And somewhere on a stretch of wet highway still within the boundaries of West Virginia, we had a shouting match about how he’s going to treat our pre-conceived baby (we love playing Hypotheticals) and I stamped my foot down hard and yelled, “Take me home!” at which point he laughed so hard he had tears in his eyes and I wanted to break his stupid glasses.

After many stops so he could drain his grizzled bladder, we finally made it to Christina’s house in Hamilton, neither of us maimed or sustaining any head trauma, amazingly (my limbs flail when I’m angry and trapped within the confines of a cramped Nissan Sentra).

I know many of you had been holding your breath all weekend long, wondering what I did with my hair and/or if I retched myself into clammy-handed oblivion on any rides at King’s Island.

1. I wore my hair down in hopes of starting a knotted and dreadlocked free-for-all. I tried to act blissfully unaware (I think maybe I did a not-so-good job) and only ran my fingers through it as a makeshift comb about forty times after each ride. And I only furtively smoothed down the mini afro of frizz atop my head all day long, but really—who’s counting? By the second hour, I purposely avoided any glimpses of myself in restroom mirrors.
2. I did not get sick; however, I brought home a lot of (free) souvenir bruises. No contusions, bless our fine Lord. What the hell — and his mommy, too.

While I would love to sit around the campfire with hot cocoa, recounting tales of all my favorite rides (Son of Beast was the most funnest you guys), all I can really remember amidst the whirlwind of clanging metal parts and side-stepping fresh gum in my path is one thing: checking for my period.

I came prepared. The arsenal of tampons was just short of being strapped to my body like dynamite—I had one waiting in each pocket of my cargo pants in addition to a surplus of “just in cases” in my purse. If I had worn boots, I would have tucked one or two in there, also…next to my switchblade. Which I don’t have yet, but someday. Someday.

“Check me! Do I have stainage?” These were my pleas to Henry, Christina and Cynthia every ten minutes while we were held hostage in one line after another. Oh, how I yearned to make fun of others in my proximity, but feared to in case Karma came back to paint a large blood target on my crotch.

I got lucky when we disembarked Flight of Fear, an indoor ride, as no one was around me. “Block me,” I whispered hoarsely to Christina as I leaned forward and spread the legs of my pants apart nice and wide, to inspect for wetness. Doing this while keeping a steady pace walking down a slanted corridor takes skills. Skills which I possess. I like to compare it to performing magic amidst a ring of fire.

But something good came out of my obsessive bathroom breaks–the highlight of my amusement park junket.

Picture it: You’ve just emerged from a stall with eyes raised to the Heavens (bathroom ceiling) above and are silently praising the Lord Almighty for no blood stains on your panties (if you’re a man, picture it anyway. It’ll help build character). As you’re washing your hands real good because this place is dirty (and if you had a more accelerated condition of OCD, you probably would be convulsing and foaming at the mouth by now), you start to panic as you wonder when your next chance will be to “check.” Everyone in your group groans as you drone on and on about your need to “check,” but you can’t shake the paranoia and obsessive need to make sure you’re not drizzling menstrual blood down your legs; the fabric of your cargo pants is thin and blood will seep right through in no time.

You slowly snake the paper towel around your wet hands, sopping up the water and looking at yourself in the mirror, wondering when you became so uptight about the small things. You contemplate telling Christina you want drugs (ask and she’ll do it) so you can relax and if you end up floating around town with curdled blood around your thighs, big deal; you’re too busy goo-goo’ing and ga-ga’ing at the giant unicorn smiling down at you from a cloud.

And then you start thinking about unicorn porn.

Wait, where were you? Bathroom, hands, drying. So, you turn to your left and casually pitch the paper towel into the large garbage can, when you happen to get a glimpse of something extraordinary. So extraordinary it snaps you back to the here and now. No more unicorn.

The bathroom stall directly in your line of vision is slightly ajar, with its occupant standing hunched over, jean shorts and white cotton underwear down around her knees. Before you even have a chance to scold yourself, your eyes slip down a few inches and that’s when you see it.

a  real life vagina.

You feel your friend Christina tugging on your arm and saying in a terse whisper, “Erin, let’s go. You’ve seen enough” but you can’t pull your eyes away from the hairy mound of flesh ten feet in front of you. Your body slightly lurches as you feel the giddiness building up and you’re ready to explode into a conniption of giggles. Christina steers you to the exit and you run and tell your friends what just happened, waving your hands like you’re approaching the climax of a jazz dance routine, and rubbing it in their astonished faces. “You don’t know what you just missed in there!” you say smugly, trying to catch your breath. You feel like you’re on a safari. Then you make them stand around, in the way of hundreds of fast-moving patrons and strollers, so you can point out the woman whose vagina you saw. They don’t really care but you make them wait anyway, and when she comes out of the restroom with her kids, you jump and point and they shrug and start walking away.

And that’s my big exciting highlight. It would have been cooler if she was being scalped or having her face painted at the same time I saw it, but what can you do.

My second favorite moment was eating at the Festhaus. I had pizza and fries, but not just any fries: Fries with a buffet of condiments. I derived great, some might even say ecstatic, amounts of pleasure by deliberating in which pool of sauce each fry would be taking a bath: would it be the succulent marriage of ketchup and mayo, the tiny basin of honey mustard, or the thick and rich vat of creamy nacho cheese? My companions had long since finished eating and sat around idly while I dined on one single fry after another. It was heaven.

Lately I’ve been really into dipping things.

Notice the drooping folds of skin hanging from palm, like the skin of an elephantWe left around 10:00 that night so I could be back at Christina’s in order to bid on a spectacular piece of Cure memorabilia. In between spastic menstrual wonderment, fleeting thoughts of missing the Ebay auction would swim through my mind. I even carved a reminder on my inner wrist, imagining my pen was a box cutter and I was sacrificing my tainted blood in the name of Robert Smith.

“Why would you write it there?” Henry asked in a tone that would suggest I just pissed in the corner of a church (I would actually do that too).

“Because it’s the part of my body that I look at the most.” Sadly, I had to explain this to him because, evidently, after four years he hasn’t picked up on my morbid fascination with my veins. And my ribs. Ooh, shivers.

Aug 122010

Last night at work, I received a string of really sweet emails from Henry. Totally out of the blue, he apologized for letting me down, especially on my birthday(S!!!). That’s the one day that always makes me realize how alone I really am in this fucking city, and Henry doesn’t really do much to help in that regard. But at least he’s acknowledging it. Baby steps!

Anyway, his emails were so nice that I actually started to cry a little while reading them. It made me realize that it doesn’t really matter how many people let me down, as long as I’ve got that Henry guy. (Ew, gross I know. But this only happens once every three years, so deal.) So today’s post is a Henry-centric flashback to 2007.


Things I Learned From My Fridge

April 18th, 2007

When I moved into my current home in 1999, my step-dad gifted me with a refrigerator. But not just any fridge! This was a true relic of his bachelor stint, a tangible slice of the 70s. One could tell at first glance that this box was old, but it was good enough for a single girl who acquired her groceries from the gas station.

The crisper had lost its lid during one of the fridge’s many locale changes, but what did I care? I didn’t even know what a crisper was until Henry moved in. Pre-Henry, I had adoringly referred to it as the Alcohol Receptacle. When he schooled me about its function, I laughed because the last time I checked, there was no produce department in Sunoco so why would I need to know what a crisper was? (I’m the world’s worst and unhealthiest vegetarian. I lived by the philosophy of “Can’t cook? Cheese curls!” But now I have a Henry1965 so I eat vegetables.)

And when various liquids and syrups hybridized into a mysterious pool along the bottom of that crisper, I learned that using the hose of a vacuum to suck it all out was not a Smart Idea, as evidenced by the exasperated “Oh, Erin, no!” evoked from Henry.

The freezer, bless its heart, was comprised mostly of a giant iced growth protruding from the top. One time my friend Wonka and I went homicidal on the ‘burg with screwdrivers and hammers. It was one of the most violently rewarding moments of my life. It taught me that therapy was a waste when I could be simulating crimes of passion on gigantic ice cubes as a stress-reliever.

And of course there was the time it smelled so bad and then Henry finally cleaned it, providing yet another great photo op.

I thought about all of these things Saturday morning when the fridge completely fell to its knees, totally gave up its rank ghost. But mostly I thought “Good riddance.”

Yesterday, Henry rented a Uhaul and went to my grandma’s to pick up her surplus refrigerator. It must be nice to buy a fridge to keep in your game room “just in case” and then oopsies, never use it because you never needed such loft in the first place. If I ever get to that place in this lifetime where I can have duplicate appliances on the off chance that I might someday house another family under my roof, then maybe I’ll sling a little less hate. Maybe!

Of course, Henry has no friends so he was all on his own with the Fridge Acquisition, which made me laugh. When he returned with it, chest puffed out like a man coming home with a freshly slain buffalo carcass slung over his shoulder, he made me stand on the front porch and hold the door open for him. As he stood there, he mumbled “This will be the true testament of my strength” and with a swift intake of breath he hoisted the fridge up the (only two, ha-ha) steps and into the house.

Now, I’m not one of those females who gets all panty over men exhibiting random acts of Herculean strength, so I was surprised when my obnoxious laughter — the usual soundtrack peppering Henry’s every movement — became strangulated in my throat by an impetuous sense of attraction.

But how could this be when my embarrassing crush on him had ended in March! Two days after it started! I was so angry at myself for succumbing to such typical womanly persuasions.

As I jumped around him and fulfilled my duty of Getting In the Way while jabbing the camera in his face, I realized that it was probably not so much the act of fridge transportation, but more so the gloves he was wearing while doing it.

Real manly, blue-collar worker man gloves. The kinds with the little black nubbies on it. I would be lying to you, Internet, if I said it didn’t make even the tiniest beads of sex-sweat bubble within me. To think, I might not have unearthed this new personal idiosyncrasy had the fridge not intervened.

I admitted my new found delight to Henry and he seemed annoyed. Probably because I never say things like, “Your pretty face turns me on. Hey, your weener makes me hot” but instead I blurt out mood-inducing gems such as, “You remind me of Michael Myers, please simulate a rape” and “The gloves that you (and millions of other people) wear make my nethers drizzle and sizzle, touch me all over.

But only if you’re wearing them!” I think he’s also afraid because this means hello, new role-playing scenario! Sure, Henry, I’ll spread the legs for you, but not until I watch you lug that fridge upstairs. Give it to me, Papa H.

Before I left for work today, he was telling me that one of the guys at work is plying him with blank DVDs, to which I excitedly responded, “Oh good! Now go find some glove porn to download. But none of that fashion glove bullshit. I want the big bulky ones. Like the kinds that garbage men wear. You know, dirty.”

The last thing Henry said to me was a tired sigh paired with “You’re disgusting.” Honestly, he couldn’t have slipped in an “I love you” somewhere in there? He better pray I don’t have a car accident and die tonight, because now everyone will know how callous he is and I’d love for that to be seared upon my headstone. Fantastic, yet disgusting, partner to Henry. She had a big mouth and a fat face, but still she will be missed.

We’ve only had the fridge for two days, and already I’ve learned so much.

May 112010

[I know, I know: reposting old shit from LiveJournal is a cop-out, but!! I’m trying to slowly move the entries I like over here so I can have everything in one place; I’m on a Robin kick; I’m trying to buy myself some time while I organize all the photos for Chooch’s birthday party post and I honestly go through these phases of extreme mania where I get a panicked sensation if I don’t post here once a day, what the fuck is my problem, I don’t know. No, really – I do know.]

When Janna arrived at my house yesterday, I’m sure it was beyond her wildest dreams that she would have front row seats for The Robin Show.

Around 5:00, Robin rapped on my front door. The sudden sound caused me to jump in my seat; but for Janna, it was the sight of Robin’s emaciated frame, skeletal face, and sun- and nicotine-ravaged skin that forced her to lurch in shock.

Robin asked to borrow a flashlight. A simple request, I thought; and besides, I have no qualms about lending out Henry’s belongings.

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I was unsure where he kept the flashlight, so I had to call and ask. Once he told me, I quickly thanked him and hung up before he had an opportunity to ask why I wanted to know.

While I was retrieving the flashlight for Robin, she skittishly prattled on about how “he put the papers in the rafter and I have three flashlights and none of them work.” I assume “he” refers to her son, Brandon. But papers in the rafters? No idea. The thing with Robin is that she has problems and wants the world to know it, but she cuts herself off in the middle of explaining things and then moves on to something unrelated, so I’m always left standing there in a state of confusion.

There should be anti-drug posters with nothing but Robin’s picture on them.

Henry returned home shortly after and cautiously asked why I needed the flashlight. When I told him it was currently with Robin in her boarded up house, he became noticeably irritated.

Every half hour therein, he would remind me that Robin had not returned his flashlight.

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“Hey, I can’t see. I need my flashlight,” he would say dramatically. Still, I sat on the couch. I can’t express how badly I did not want to go over there.

Around 10:00 PM, Hoover had left to take his son Blake home, and I was getting ready to put Riley in his crib. Just then, Robin vaporized at my front door, nearly giving Janna her second coronary of the night.

Janna opened the door and Robin poked her head in, waving her white cordless phone in her hand like a baton.

“My basement is all filled up and I can’t see and that’s where your flashlight is. Can I use your phone? I can’t dial out on mine.” She waved the phone again to illustrate her point.

My cell phone was laying out in plain sight on the coffee table, but I put on my best “Uh-oh so sorry” face and told her that the battery was dead. She pointed her phone at Janna and said, “What about you? Can I use yours?”

Janna denied having a phone. In fact, Janna uses carrier pigeons and telegraphs, that’s how certain she was that she didn’t have a phone to lend Robin.

She turned to leave, promising to return the flashlight the next day, and took her perfume of nicotine and liquor home with her.

Janna looked at me with scared eyes and said, “Oh Erin, you weren’t lying. I have never actually seen such trash in real life!” We laughed heartily, and then Janna asked, “Does she always speak with such a slur?”

Henry returned home a half hour later, dismayed that his flashlight wasn’t awaiting him, swathed in ribbon and unicorn hair.

I should note that Henry is fiercely protective of flashlights. He used to have this small green flashlight and he would seriously flip his lid anytime he caught either me or his kids playing with it. “You’re going to waste the batteries!” he’d snap, always with more venom when it was directed toward me, because he favors his kids. If someone dropped a flashlight and Riley simultaneously, Henry’s head would probably explode as he tried to determine which to catch. I have no idea what’s up with that.

Janna and I tried to piece together what we could make of Robin’s incoherent reasoning, to which Henry responded, “Great, now my flashlight is part of her meth lab. Thanks, asshole!”

Earlier this evening, we drove past her house on our way home. Her son (who just turned six and had a ghetto birthday jamboree on Friday that I was not invited to–I wouldn’t say no to cake) was standing on the porch with the door open, and Henry yelled, “I want my flashlight back!”

An hour later, I heard the outer door open and spied the silhouette of Robin’s brittle nest of hair. A soft plunk alerted that she had dropped the flashlight between the two doors. As she began her slutty sashay back to her yard, she called out through my open window that she had left the flashlight inside the doors. We think she’s intimidated of Henry (finally, someone is) because she won’t come over when he’s home.

Henry swiveled out of his chair and snatched up his flashlight, clutching it lovingly to his chest.

I still don’t understand why she needed it.

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May 032010

[Originally posted September 2006]

Two and a half years. That’s how long it had been since I was last sick. Two and a half years. So it came as no surprise when I developed a cold the night before the baptism. Pair that with the fact that Brian waited until the eleventh hour to suggest that we just do the luncheon at his place (because he was too scared of my wrath to just come out and say that he failed at securing a room in the church), and you have yourself a Very Erin Baptism.

Figuring that most of the guests wouldn’t be willing to drive from the church to downtown, where Brian lives, I decided to just have the luncheon here, in my cluttered house. Which meant that Henry spent Saturday night and Sunday morning cleaning. He tried to use that as an excuse to bail on me, claiming that it would be more conducive if he stayed behind and cleaned some more. After inspecting the house, I realized that there was nothing left to be done, short of polishing the silverware and waxing the doorknobs, so I snapped my fingers and he reluctantly donned his I’m Playing Dress Up attire. After securing Riley into his slippery baptismal garments, we were ready to go.

Everyone arrived at the church on time, even Christy, who has tardiness ingrained in her nature. I was glad to see that she was already there, because she’s the godmother. And it’s important for the godparents to be at the church.

Once inside the church, the first thing that happened was Brian rushing up to me and giving me a huge, hearty hug as if this was common practice within our friendship. For the record, it is not. Wow, Church Brian is different than Street Brian, I mused to myself.

I was too busy willing my nose not to drip to pay much attention to the guests preceding the ceremony, which I feel bad about now. Except that I don’t feel bad for ignoring Janna, who flitted around me like a fucking fairy, telling me all about the trials and tribulations she endured when baking cookies for the luncheon. I think she might have expected a pat on the back, but I was like, “Bitch, I told you to just make chocolate chip cookies, not scour the Food Network website for the most ambitious recipe you could find.”

She repeatedly worried out loud that no one would like her cookies. “Do you think my cookies will be good enough?” she’d ask. I don’t know Janna, can my kid get dunked in water first? I delegated video camera duties to her, so that arrested her mind for awhile and gave me some peace and quiet.

In a happy turn of events, two members of my family showed up: my aunt Charmaine and Grandma Lois, on my birth dad’s side. That made me less embarrassed about the fact that my other family blew it off like it was simply a communal trip to the grocery store. Even my brother Corey let me down, but that’s OK — now I won’t have to go to his high school graduation. (Oh that’s right, I play those games.) I was happy to see that Christy’s parents were there, along with Janna, Brenna, Kara, Lisa, Carol, and Christy’s boyfriend Andrew. And of course Brian, the godfather and resident churchy person.

The cold medicine which I had coursing through my system made me oblivious to the fact that I was standing near an altar. Trying to dab my nose with discretion also helped keep me from erupting into giggles every time the priest spoke. Most importantly, I didn’t do anything stupid or childish.

I was chagrined, however, to learn that I would have to speak out loud from a baptism guide book. It was your basic “I do”s and “Amen”s, but still. That made my skin crawl a little, and it was hard to keep a straight face as I realized that Henry was intentionally not participating in his speaking role. He busied himself with the squirming Riley, so I don’t think anyone noticed that his lips were not, in fact, moving.

I spent a large portion of the ceremony flipping ahead in the booklet to see how much more speaking I’d have to partake in. I’m sure I appeared to be very grateful and pious.

At one point, Riley arched his back so extremely that I felt like if someone would have slid a set of stairs underneath him, he could have recreated the deleted scene in The Exorcist. That would have been a good time.

The priest, who was quite the card, anointed Riley’s head with some scented oil crap. He then closed his eyes and said, rather dramatically, “Oh yes, that does smell wonderful” and he encouraged Henry to take a whiff of Riley’s head, but Henry was still being a spoiled sport and ignored the suggestion. I, on the other hand, had a dire need to know what it smelled like, so I announced to the church, “Well, I want to smell!” and made a show of sniffing my kid’s head like I was a dog. I don’t know why I made such a scene of it; I could barely smell anything through all the sick in my nose.

God, I must have been so attractive, standing up there with red, sore nostrils, clutching a wilted Kleenex. When I looked in the mirror before we left for the church, I swear I looked semi-decent. Then it all unraveled in the car on the way to the church and I look like Throw Mama From the Train in every picture that was so rudely snapped of me, like the only thing that’s keeping me from looking like a true Cyclops is that I have an extra eye. I somehow managed to appear pregnant all over again. Sick or not, I’m just not photogenic and you would think that after twenty-seven years of scratching out my face with a Sharpie, I’d have come to terms with this.

But no, no I haven’t. It still makes me want to rip my face off.

After about twenty minutes, Riley was officially baptized and I hastily ran away from the altar so I could blow my nose. I don’t even think I thanked the priest. Now I kind of feel shitty about that. But no, not really. Not at all.

Back at my house, everyone lavished my kid with exorbitant attention (except for Brenna, who doesn’t like kids, and Janna, who was too busy staking out the perfect spot for her cookies) and he was in his glory. He cruised around the house in his Tot Rider, showing off for all who would cast a glance his way, until Christy’s dad decided that the only way he’d stay for the luncheon and enjoy himself without faking was if I turned on the football game.

So my son was soon forgotten and the baptismal luncheon quickly morphed into a football party, but I didn’t care. I was just happy that everyone was there and staying. Every time someone would approach me at the food table, I’d desperately cry out, “You’re not leaving, are you!?” Turns out they were coming to the food table to, you know, get food. I don’t get much company.

Lest anyone get too godly, Marcy came out of hiding and skulked around under a cloud of Satanism, seducing hands to pet her so she could suckle the blood that her claws were sure to draw. I could hear Christy in the other room, begging her dad not to touch Marcy.

“Daddy please don’t touch her! I tried to tell Ma once and she didn’t listen and that cat attacked her!” She usually punctuates her pleas by holding her hand against her chest, like a mom does when her child is about to fall off the monkey bars. Christy is the head of the Put Marcy Down Coalition. They have history, those two.

I dare say that Marcy was able to eclipse the football game, if only for a few minutes.

My Grandma Lois was happy to get an opportunity to give Riley a bottle. He started coughing at one point, and with a mouthful of cake, I feigned concern. “Oh. No. My son is choking. I hope he is OK.” I even craned my neck slightly in an effort to look like I cared. Then Henry called me out. “You don’t care about him; you just want to know if you have to stop eating or not.”

Come on, I was eating cake! I don’t know many people who are inclined to forsake a piece of cake in order to save a choking victim.

Did I mention that Janna made cookies?

I started to regret asking Janna to make the cookies in the first place.

Every time I’d see her talking to someone at the luncheon, I imagined she was filling their head with her stories of being a broken woman forced to bake cookies.

“Do you like those lemon cookies? Yeah? Did you know that it took me five billion hours to make those? Well it did. I even went to Egypt and excavated the jaw of a Pharaoh which I then used to grate the lemon rind to perfection. And the cinnamon on those Snickerdoodles you’re enjoying? It’s actually directly from a cinnamon fern in Asia, and it is very helpful with diarrhea.”

It would figure that Janna would be the last to leave, and she was still expelling sour air over her fucking baked goods. She wound up with a few leftovers to take home. I feel bad for her parents.

Riley was in a sound sleep in his crib by the time I realized that I had forgotten to take a picture of him with his newly appointed godparents, so a cute bottle of Mountain Dew served as a stand-in.

All in all, it was a good day. We laughed a lot and my kid was loved on a lot and he made me proud by being such a good sport about the whole manhandling by a priest situation. And that church was really pretty, too. I’m glad I let my aesthetic disposition prevent me from using the church across the street. Because that one is very plain. And you know, looks matter.

May 012010

[Ed.Note: Apparently, in the beginning, I tried extra hard to pretend we weren’t actually calling him Chooch 24:7. This post was originally written June 2006.]

Last week, I had Riley on the front porch and I noticed that he was staring at a bird perched above us on a telephone wire. Clearly, this meant that he is obsessed with birds so Henry and I took him to the National Aviary on Saturday. Because that’s how all infants want to spend a hot and humid Saturday afternoon, right?

We get him inside and I extract him from his stroller, in spite of Hoover’s pleas to let him wake up first, and began thrusting him at all the birds. Now, he’s not even two months old yet, and the rational portion of my brain realized that he wasn’t going to give a shit about an enclosure full of birds. But the child-like section of my brain is a large expanse of Legos and spit bubbles and it always wins when pitted against rationality and reason. So there I was, holding him up and saying, “LOOK AT THE GODDAMN FLAMINGOS! WHY DON’T YOU CARE ABOUT THE GODDAMN FLAMINGOS?” When he was nary a week old, I got all fed up and deflated because he wasn’t paying attention to his toys. “Make him wake up!” I would whine to Henry. Now I’m all, “For the love of God, make him go to sleep.” But I still get frustrated when he won’t take delight in the treasure trove of toys I totally splurged on when I could have been buying CDs for me me me.

I realized that Henry wasn’t capturing these riveting aviary memories so I barked at him to start videotaping for Christ’s sake. We now have a few minutes of Riley slobbering and staring blankly at everything but the goddamn birds, and then a few seconds of Riley bursting into tears at which point Hoover hurriedly turned off the camera because God forbid people know that our baby cries.

We sat outside under the protective cover of shade for a bird show, also not cared about by Riley. I looked around at the toddlers, who were squealing and applauding with expressions of pure fascination, and I wished Riley were older. But then we went into the gift shop and one of said toddlers was running amok and throwing merchandise off shelves and it really made me appreciate my little infant Riley, sacked out in his stroller. Please don’t grow up.

Then he arose and screamed bloody murder. He is not the happiest of babies. Henry said he has my temperament. Mine? But I’m a DOLL.

Oh well, at least we didn’t have to pay for him to not care about birds. But really, not even the parrots, Riley?!

Riley, enjoying life in the quiet sanctuary of his crib before being whisked off into a rowdy and humid pen full of bird shit and bellowing children

Two days earlier, I had wanted to dip Riley into a fountain at the cemetery we were at, but that was when I realized that I might have left the stove turned on. When I relayed my foiled plans to Henry that night, he breathed a sigh of relief and began lecturing me on dirty fountain water. It looked so clean and sparkling to me, though!

While we were there, I noticed a refreshing pond-sized rectangle of water down yonder from the aviary and begged Henry to let me dunk Riley in it. Maybe this particular receptacle of water would meet Hoover’s standards.

“Do you even know how filthy that water is? I don’t think so. And what’s with you wanting to ‘dunk’ our son in water?”

I can’t help it, he just looks so dunkable! I want to be dipping him in swimming pools, ponds, puddles, vats of molasses. I just want to be dunking him!

Yesterday, Henry compromised and let me dunk Riley in his little bath tub.

Thank you for dunking me in clean and sanitary water, Mom
At least it was clean and sanitary until he let loose with an explosive shit. I screamed and made Henry clean it. Anytime he protests, I viciously remind him that I’m breastfeeding. The breastfeeding card is just as good to play as the birthing card. I love this game.

That’s me who he’s smiling at, by the way. I was so excited the day he flashed his first smile, because it was 6-6-06. But then I realized it wasn’t so exciting because that was also Henry’s birthday. However, I noticed that while he does in fact gift Henry and I with his occassional smiles (which he usually follows with a scowl or blood-curling scream as he realizes that, “Hey, I’m being happy. There goes my reputation.”), the recipient of the bulk of his beams is none other than Robert Smith. It’s true. He’ll be staring off over my shoulder and I’ll follow his gaze straight to one of my many Robert Smith portraits. Maybe those nine months of rubbing my belly, playing the Cure and chanting “Robert Smith is your daddy” really paid off.

This kid is going to be so confused.

Apr 202010

At my new job, there’s some no-microwave rule on our floor, has something to do with safety, I don’t know. Everyone bitches about it on the daily, because this is a new thing for them and they’re not used to it. The closest microwave is in the kitchen one floor up and every day I hear things like, “Now I have to walk around two floors with cups of hot soup, like THAT’S not a safety hazard!” Last night, one of the analysts bitched for fifteen minutes straight about wanting popcorn but hated having to go upstairs to pop it. She eventually gave in, but when she came back to her office with the popped bag, she called one of her friends on the phone to bitch about it some more.

I thought about this for awhile, this microwave debacle, and then had a flashback to my job at the Tina&Eleanore Company and realized that maybe it’s a good idea there’s an entire floor separating me from the microwave.


The Burnt Popcorn Situation

March 16th, 2007

Henry bought me snack-sized bags of popcorn to fall back on in case I get post-dinner cravings at work. One night last week, I made one and as I returned to my desk, Eleanore flung off her headphones and, with a mouthful of disgust, moaned, “You know I love popcorn. I damn near eat it here every night. Now someone went and burnt a bag! Ain’t nothing smell worse than burnt popcorn.”

There was fire in her eyes.

I held my bag up with two fingers and gave it a playful jiggle.

“It was me, Eleanore.” I added a bashful giggle just to be safe.

Girl! Imma chop you!”

And we laughed together.

Monday night, I managed to pop a bag to perfection. Plain. It tasted plain and stupid.

When I prepared a bag last night, I swear I only left it in there for two minutes, taking into account the smaller snack-sized bag. And I know I should have been panting and pacing in front of the microwave like a good obedient snacker, perking my ears for the two second silence between kernel pops, but I was too distracted with graffiti-ing one of those “GUYS you’re not following the RULES!!!” signs on the refrigerator.

I burnt this bag almost entirely to a crisp. Instead of pitching it right there in an effort to contain the wrong smell into one room, I trekked back to my desk, pulling the top apart on my way and leaving a trail of residual burnt stench in my wake.

Eleanore was waiting with her arms crossed.

“Girl! You done went and did it again! What am I gonna do witchu?” (When I’m not incinerating popcorn, she calls me “babe.”)

I was going to eat around the burnt part, which was the entire center. It was a solid brick of charred destruction, like I tried to cook it in a fireplace. I must have looked real triflin’ to Eleanore because she gave me the rest of her regular sized bag of Act II.

I know it was a kind gesture, one that I accepted graciously I might add, but my popcorn was Pop Secret. And I kind of like it when it’s burnt. At least around the edges. So my hand, clutched sadly around my dejected burn victim, wavered above the garbage can and I took a few seconds to assess the situation. I kept my bag. I balled it up and shoved it in my purse so I could enjoy it in the privacy of my home, where burnt popcorn haters wouldn’t flock around and taunt me with their popcorn slurs.

“Next time you want popcorn, just give the bag to me and let me do it,” Eleanore said, giving the knife one last wrench.

On my way home, I called one of my friends and confided in her about my filthy popcorn secret, and she went off on me like I had just shat on her Bible. She used to manage a movie theater and she gets easily up-in-arms over any related matter. She made me feel embarrassed and self-conscious about my popcorn preference. I could probably fuck a dead body with less guilt.

I came home and left my scorched goods on the kitchen counter, where I would come back for it the next day. Maybe nibble a handful along with my morning coffee. Who knows?

Except that this morning, when I entered the kitchen to reclaim my prize, it was no longer on the counter.

It was in the garbage.

I called Henry. I think he was anticipating it, because his argument of “The whole kitchen stinks now!” rolled a little defensively off his squirming tongue.

Et tu, Henry? You mother fucker.

Feb 162010

Friday, June 1, 2007

There are two of them ascending the steps to my front door, wrapped in a shroud woven of the Holy Word and sweat beads; long wool skirts shifting left and right against their panty hosed-calves. Their presence is announced not by the gentle rapping on the door, but by inflexible clodhoppers amplifying their chaste footfalls against the concrete.

Henry, in typical older male fashion reminiscent of our fathers, is splayed out on the couch in a striking pair of boxer briefs; he hurriedly stuffs a pillow onto his lap and coaxes me to get the door.

Balancing my kid on my hip, I open the screen door and nervously greet them. I learn that they are Mormon sisters which intrigues me as I have only ever encountered the elders;  they had not intended to stop at my house but happened to notice Chooch at the door and that little asshole smiled at them, which I guess is the Mormon code for “Someone in here needs some savin’! Come on down!”

I think I’ll make my child a Tamburitzen as his future penance.

I like to humor solicitors by feigning interest. Especially the Mormons, who have always amused me so. They provide me with human contact, doses just large enough to keep my society membership card from being revoked. And sometimes it does end up being interesting! There were two Elders who swung by once on a Saturday evening, many years ago, after I spotted them walking past my house and hysterically screamed for them to come say hi. They allowed me to video tape them as they commented on the party debris covering every flat surface of my living room. “The Christmas lights are lit, there’s beverage on the table, looks like a party to me!” the one hollered, channeling his best frat boy dialect which he probably picked up from the WB, while the other Elder stood nervously to the side. Then the bolder one took the camcorder just in time to pan onto me as I stumbled drunkenly onto the sidewalk, tripping all over my halter-topped slutiness. He was my favorite Elder. Strangely, I never saw him again. And after all that flirting, even?

However, I have a really terrible tendency to laugh in their faces, only partially because I’m an asshole. From birth, I’ve been tagged as an Inappropriate Laugher. Even when I actually was religious (truth!) and cheered when I was blessed with a Sunday School teacher who deemed it necessary to give us exams, I would still rip open the insides of my cheeks with my molars in awkward attempts to stop laughing during mass.

So when one of the two sisters enters a coital-like trance and begins her spiel, I start to relive the day Henry and I attended baptism class. It’s like my bottom lip is trying to mount the top one, like humping earthworms, causing them both to contort in jackass-y smirks and lewd leers. I laugh hard and try to project it all onto  Chooch, hoping they’ll interpret my uncomfortable display of giddiness as the universal sign for a mother’s joy. Look at me! I am so happy to be the mother of this sticky kid that I just can’t stop twisting my face into sneers better reserved for serial killers! Oh-ho, will the laughter never stop?

They pause in between glory be’s to acknowledge my giggles with interjections like “Yeah! Uh huh!” as though I’m that delirious from their recount of Joseph Smith’s vision that I am losing my mind in a God-loving fervor.

And then, as I’m in the height of my seasonal lesbianism, it dawns on me just how hot this here Sister McRae really is, with the natural highlights sparkling in the sun’s heat and her cute little sweater vest enveloping her in innocence. Her words begin to perform a strip tease on her tongue, grinding to the hottest ecclesiastical club anthems, and making me want to collapse in a fit of immature giggles.

A thousand knee-slappers whir through my mind, the kinds that have made the Elders crack smiles; but as past instances have pointed out, I can’t flirt with girls. My tongue gets caught and I end up spitting out sociopathic flag-raisers like, “I have cats!” (Another truth, and possibly one of my darker moments on the playing field.)

The more marmish-looking one asks me if I know that Mormons have a living prophet.

Do I. I’ve watched Big Love.

It is clear that she is the no nonsense, get-convertin’ one of the pair, so I deep-six all eye contact from that point and focus on Sister McRae’s perfectly plucked eyebrows.

During all of this talk of Joseph Smith and light pillars (which I already know about thanks to the last time I was approached), I have been inadvertently leaning back on the front door, causing it to open wider and expose Henry and his Fruit-of-the-Loomed nut sack. He is very unnerved by this because the ugly Sister keeps staring at him (he swears she is only looking at his face, and I kind of believe him because who’d want to gawk at Henry’s package?).

The couch becomes his Iron Maiden.

My cat Marcy slips out through the crack I left in the front door and proceeds to weave in and out under the stauncher Sister’s skirt, pausing underneath to look up. Marcy has a long tail, which is erect and wagging like a large feathered quill, dusting the cobwebs. I bet that’s considered first base back on the compound. Stifling back chuckles, I give Marcy halfhearted scoldings and fight the urge to regress to a fifth grade mindset.

Fifteen minutes and lots of unintentional laughs later, the pretty Sister picks up on my dire need to retreat into the house (or else her love for Jesus isn’t strong enough to keep her standing in the ninety degree heat for more than twenty minute intervals). She asks if they can come back another time. I happily agree because I love torturing myself. She pencils me in for Monday at 1 and gifts me with a church pamphlet, which I am told to study in the meantime.

I am sad to see that the Jesus depicted on the cover is of the gentle, lamb-cradling shepherd variety, one that I just had no right picturing in sweaty, pretzel-bodied trysts. No, a date with this one would probably be jam-packed with seed scattering and roof thatching. Maybe a few blessings before dinner and then a reenactment of the apple scene by the local youth group.

Unless there’s some back scratching and strawberry shortcake involved, I’ll pass.

Henry shot off a torrent of disbelief. He asks me things like why I invited them to come back and if I’m really going to attend their mass like I said I would. I ignore him as I flip through my Mormon study guide and laugh at pictures portraying loving families and content hand-holding parishioners.

I will undoubtedly spend my weekend daydreaming about what Mormon mass is like and how quickly I get myself blacklisted. Will they at least serve  doughnuts and orange drink first? Can I wear a bonnet? I hope to make lots of friends there so I have more people to invite to future game nights. Then I’ll put them in a room with my friends who are adamant debaters of opposing religions and have them all sic each other.

At least they didn’t make me pray with them.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Henry is home from work early. On his way upstairs for a nap, he reminds me that I have a date with the Mormons.

By 12:45, my front door is barricaded, the windows pulled closed and robed by curtains, and the volume on the TV lowered. I’m on lock down. I even bite off one of my nails in a fretful fit.

1:00 comes and goes, and I feel abandoned and unloved. Am I so pathetic that even religious recruiters stand me up? I go upstairs in search of consoling from my napping partner, but he shuns me, so I return to the living room and make snarly expressions with my mouth until I’m distracted by a Ciara video.

The clock turns to 1:35 and my ears perk at the sound of Christ-like exaltations growing louder outside my door. I swear that I even hear the heavenly notes of harps helmed by cherubs, but it might just be the sound of my own angelic breathing. Suddenly, I’m consumed by an animalistic danger response and I flee to the bedroom, tripping over my flip flops on the way.

This is my mother’s fault. I grew up hiding with her in the attic as Jehovah’s Witnesses circled around our house like crows; PTA member Donna Thomas made spontaneous visits to try and get her to type programs or bake cookies or be a room mother; and my uncle’s insane girlfriend Stella would appear for impromptu cups of tea, her psychosis only thinly veiled as she choked on tears and hysterical laughter (she once hid under the bed for a week because she wanted my uncle to assume she had gone off and killed herself). I’d pretend whoever my mom had us hiding from on that particular day had shotguns and that if I lifted my head, my brain would explode like Gallagher’s watermelon and sound like a moist sponge as it splattered against the wall and dripped down into a gelatinous pile of blood and skull fragments. It was exhilarating.

As I spy between the slats of the blinds, Henry asks me through a sleep-coated slur what I’m doing and in my best hushed tones, I inform him that the Mormons hath returned and I’m hiding. I haven’t even read their literature! The only term I learned was Aaronic Priesthood, and that’s only because it topped the list. I didn’t even complete the study questions at the end! Did Jesus’s Apostles know that an apostasy would occur? I don’t know!

Henry shakes his head and rolls over, rejecting me with his back.

I cower in the dark sanctity of my bedroom corner until I’m certain they’ve left. They pull out of the driveway in what appears to be a brand new Camry in golden hues, probably meant to mimic a halo’s tint. I then briefly consider converting, until Henry informs me that the car is likely owned by the church and not two Mormon hustlers who don’t have jobs. But then I start to think of other scenarios that could afford them a car, like drug dealing. Mormonism is starting to sound scandalously tempting. I could probably get used to the itchy wool caressing my thighs if it meant reaping the rewards of Christ’s drug deals. The scratchy caresses might even be an improvement on Henry.

Do Mormons engage in self-flagellation?

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

I’m hanging out in the living room with Henry and Chooch, enjoying a block of music videos that teach my son to call girls bitches and hoes and to fuck them barebacked to see if they really are a wonder woman. To keep our wandering child in one room, we pull out our chaise and use it to block the entrance to the dining room, since it’s too wide of an area for a standard baby gate to cross. Henry is presently laying across it on his stomach in a position he hopes will make him look younger than he really is. How is he going to slip his hand down his pants with his jock pressed against the chair? I wonder.

In my peripheral, I catch two wool-skirted smudges through the open front door. The Mormon Sisters have nearly reached the front porch, but I’m not opposed to obvious dodgings. In what feels like slow-motion, I leap up from the couch and lurch into a scissor-kicked hurdle over top of Henry’s lazy form on the chair. I pause briefly once I land, impressed with the height I reached on that one, but then I sprint like I’m being chased by the muthafuckin’ popo until I’m swaddled in safety’s sweet embrace at the top of the steps.

I hear the soft rapping upon the front door. I hear the door open. I hear Henry’s gruff voice. Though I can’t hear it well, I imagine his voice all but paints a portrait of his chagrined state.

I hear silence.

And then, Henry is standing at the bottom of the steps.

He hisses for me to get my ass downstairs.

No, I hiss back, slinking further into the shadows.

This is your doing, he seethes. Tell them you’re not interested.

But I won’t, and he knows he can’t make me.

He shuffles off to do my dirty work. I wait a few moments after I hear the closing of the door before I come out of hiding.

Henry tells me smugly that they’re coming back tomorrow. I hope they come in time to spectate the simulated baby sacrifice that I perform on Chooch. He loves it so much that he laughs until he vomits.

I love the thrill of the chase, the sensation of being stalked; I love how my heart palpitates wildly and I feel my blood rushing, in a nervous race to hide from the word of the Lord. Sometimes I call myself Susie and pretend that I’m in the Witness Protection Program. Other times I pretend my house is a forest bathed in moonlight and I’m fleeing from a chainsaw-brandishing Jason Voorhees, tree branches snagging my camp shirt and jagger bushes carving thin trenches into my flesh. What really provides good cardio is envisioning that they’re rapists saddled with 12-inch barbed-wired and hot sauce-ensconced dildos, pelvises thrusted and jutting, ready to penetrate.

I can’t wait for them to come back.

Feb 132010

Alisha and I had plans to meet down the street at Eat n Park for lunch.  I don’t mind walking there because it’s only a few blocks away, but I hate that I have to cross over a main road; it’s a phobia.  Fortunately, there was a young guy ahead of me who was about to cross, so I ran and yelled, “Wait! Wait for me!” He turned mid-step to eye me up suspiciously. Catching up to him, I panted, “I don’t like crossing the street by myself.” It wasn’t awkward at all. But then I made the mistake of telling Alisha and she was like, “Why are you so stupid.”  Later, she ordered a turtle sundae but that is a story for another time.


OK, it’s time. Alisha decided we should get dessert and since she was buying, I heartily agreed. “I’ll have the dutch apple pie,” I said to our waitress, Barb. This was after I recovered from the shiver session I had when, in passing, Barb imprisoned me in an intense eye-lock. I really don’t know what that was all about, but afterward I was literally trying to bear hug my way through to my soul, you can ask Alisha.

Barb nodded and duly jotted it down.

“And I want the turtle sundae,” Alisha mumbled with the general disdain she reserves for strangers.

“Ooooh, the turtle sundae!” Barb exclaimed in an intonation preschool teachers must master before getting their own classroom. And then she let loose with some celebratory sound before shuffling away.

Shocked, I asked Alisha, “Did she say ‘God damn’?!”

“No,” Alisha shook her head, looking alarmed. “It was just some excited noise. And why was she talking to me like I’m 8 years old?”

When Barb came back, she made some monotoned comment about, “Here’s your dutch” before raising her voice several octaves and cooing, “And here’s your….turtle sundae! Ooooh! Look at that!” Alisha gave her a fake smile and was all, “OK bye bye now.”

“What the hell, it’s just a sundae,” I said. And not even a signature one at that. But then I remembered I had the pie of the Dutch beneath my face and focused on that for awhile.

Barb reappeared a few minutes later to make sure we were competently devouring our desserts. “How’s your TURTLE SUNDAE?!” she shouted, fawning all over Alisha like she was a visiting diplomat, because don’t all visiting diplomats stop at Eat n Park for a turtle fucking sundae while visiting Pittsburgh?

Alisha, refusing to make eye contact, assured her it was fine. Satisfied with that review, Barb began to retreat. She made it a few feet before turning, as an after thought, and asking over her shoulder, “Oh, and how’s the pie?”

Oh, why it’s no turtle sundae, Barb.

Suddenly, it occurred to me that this situation seemed redundant. Like, I was having some major deja vu. And then I realized I had been in that same situation before, three years ago, only that time I was in the Queen Seat. I went home and checked LiveJournal, and sure enough, this was not my first run-in with Barb, the Dessert Snob:

July 2007

Lisa temporarily resides in Colorado so I was excited to get to see her Wednesday afternoon during her Pittsburgh visit. We walked down the street to Eat n Park for coffee and dessert, the perfect pre-work sugar fix.

Our waitress Barb was an older woman with the easy-to-talk-to charm of a seasoned server. Lisa immediately overshadowed me with her big smile and confident voice.

“I’ll have the chocolate cake!” Lisa cheerfully ordered.

Barb smiled and jotted it down.

“And I’ll have the blackberry pie with ice cream,” I ordered not as cheerfully, but I sort of smiled. Which is big for me.

Barb’s body shook with pleasure. “Yes! Good choice!” she sang as she scratched my order on her pad with a flourish.

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“That’s my favorite!”

I smirked at Lisa after Barb retreated. “She likes me better than you,” I chided.

“What makes your pie so much better than my chocolate cake? I mean, it’s chocolate cake!” Lisa’s visage melted into a befuddled glaze.

“Chocolate cake is a menu mainstay, Lisa. My pie is a seasonal delight.” This seemed to distract Lisa long enough for me to continue droning on about my life’s conundrums. It’s nice to have counseling ears across from me sometimes.

Barb returned with our desserts and the reminder than I am, and always will be, better than Lisa. She set down Lisa’s plate with an unremarkable motion, but then turned to me with the fanfare of a queen’s arrival as she gently placed my pie beneath my fat face and took a step back.

“Look at that pie, would you?

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Oh, I hope you will enjoy it. It really is the best!”

I hesitated before crushing into the crisp sugary crust, unsure if Barb was going to stand there and gawk. She smiled once more and carried on with her rounds of coffee refills.

Lisa was absently slapping her cake with the back of her fork, scowling at me. “Enjoy your freaking pie,” she mimicked.

During our meal, Barb came back later with our separate checks. She was delighted to tell me that my check was special. “Lookie here! There’s a number at the bottom to call and complete a real short survey. Then you write down the code they give you and bring this back next time for a two dollar discount!

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” She clapped her hands together and held them under her chin, waiting for me to call my mommy and thank her for birthing me so that I could one day experience the jubilation of getting an Eat n Park survey check.

I feigned happiness for the sake of Lisa’s plummeting self-worth. “It’s because I was smart enough to order the delicious pie and not the boring cake,” using my words to further wheedle away at her ordering inadequacies.

We continued to pick away at our desserts and imbibe (too much) coffee, when Lisa spilled her water all over the table. Barb came running over with her rag and we all tried to make light of Lisa’s fumbling fingers.

“At least it didn’t get on her pie,” Barb sighed.

The worst part of today’s episode in dessert racism is that suddenly Alisha likes cherries now and no longer gifts me with her unwanted maraschino sundae toppers. FUCK.


Just a few moments ago, Chooch started shouting some nonsense about how there’s a Valentine card for me in the car.

“No there’s not,” Henry said tersely, all but making throat-cutting motions to get Chooch to shut up.

“Yes there is!” Chooch battled.

“No there’s not!” Henry said through gritted teeth, like the subject was hidden paternity and not some flimsy supposedly secretive greeting card for a holiday that I know is tomorrow, sorry, but I have a calendar and people on twitter reminding me every .005 seconds that tomorrow is Valentine’s Day.

“Yes there is!” Chooch shouted, getting visibly upset at this point. “We bought it in the Valentine card section!”

The jig is up, Henry!

Feb 022010

Dear Internet Diary,

It appears that when I was born on July 30, 1979, I was bestowed with the flimsiest immune system this side of AIDs. I had intended on writing about Alisha’s and my very fortuitous evening at the Penguins game last night, but my throat hurts so bad that I am in tears and my skin is pleading with me to dunk it in a tub of hot, sudsy water. I don’t know if this is some kind of obsessive-compulsion, but I get real nervous if I go more than a day without writing in here. What does that mean?? I don’t know. So I hurried up and found something old to post from LiveJournal. It’s from the secret locked-entry vault because it’s about co-workers, but since I no longer work there, who gives a fuck, am I right?


Murder Girl and the Coat Hook Conundrum

January 2007

Thursday night, I walked into the kitchen to get a coffee refill. Two girls, Kristy and Allicia, were conversing near the counter. I was just in time to catch Allicia saying, “…and now I’m facing murder charges…”

I was stunned into silence and tried frantically to suppress nervous giggles. Two weeks ago, I had heard Allcia telling someone that she teaches bible study and that anyone who knows her knows that ministry is her whole life. My presence apparently didn’t faze her one bit as she continued telling Kristy things that would probably be best told to a lawyer. I tried to shake myself out of the stupor so I could hear more and try to piece together what she did, but the situation only proved to further unravel as Allicia noticed the empty coffee mug in my hand and reached over with the pot to fill it.

Horrified, I watched as coffee rose up to the brim. I have a system and she completely shot it to hell. So while she was diving deeper into the tumultuous situation she’s created for herself, I was too busy dwelling on the fact that she poured my coffee before I had a chance to lace the bottom of my mug with the flavorings of my choosing. I always add this stuff first because I’m lazy and it cuts out the dirtying of the spoon step, you see. Why bother pissing around, meat-fisting a spoon, when you can already be slurping the surface of the hot brew? So while I was standing there, now staring into a piping hot mug, Kristy–who earlier had seen the picture of Riley on my desk asked if he was “what, like three?” when he’s clearly still a baby– leaned over and handed me the cannister of sugar. I use sweetener, not sugar, but what did I do?

I thanked her and poured it into my mug.

Peer pressure works in mysterious ways. It’s amazing that I’m not waddling around with my asshole corked with bags of heroine, that’s for sure. Sometimes I think I purposely don’t say no, just to make things uncomfortable for myself. Why sit back at my desk with a cup of coffee garnished the way I like it when I can grimace through a seemingly never-ending cup of bad-tasting sludge?

Why didn’t I simply raise my hand in a halting fashion and say, “No thanks, Kristy, I prefer a pack of sweetener” or “No, Allicia, I’ll pour my own damn cup of coffee”? Because I’m Erin, that’s why! I mean, what’s the worst that would happen, Allicia’d kill me? Oh wait.

Sometimes my brain doesn’t work quick enough and get myself into these dumb scenarios. I really think it does this to me on purpose, to see how situations will play out. Awhile back, when some guy in the cemetery told me to have a nice walk, as we stood near my car, why didn’t I just say, “Thanks, but I’m actually finished with my walk and now I’m going home”? Or better yet, not said shit and just got in my car and left? Instead, I walked past my car and continued to walk, even though my legs were killing me and it was kind of fucking hot that day.

So now I had a cup of coffee prepared out of order and with real sugar instead of sweetener. There was nothing to stir my coffee with, and instead of dumping it for an improved cup I retreated back to my desk with my crappy cup of caffeine and sipped through the bitterness with a puckered face.

What if some day, Kristy is in a good mood and takes it upon herself to gift me with a cup of coffee and thinks that I like it with a dusting of sugar and not stirred?

But I guess the bigger question here is: I wonder who Allicia killed?


At first glance, Tina appears to be kind of white trashy, with her femmullet hybrid in gray. But I think maybe she just makes bad choices when it comes to her hair, much like Hoover. Tina was hired a week before Bill and me but one would mistake that she’s been here much longer, with her air of superiority and need to take charge. She wears high-waisted mom-jeans, sweatshirts with turtlenecks peeking out of the collar, and she caps off the ensemble with a pair of plain white Reeboks.

She’s a walking billboard swathed in United We Stand banners and yellow magnetic mini-van ribbons. Her daughter writes pro-war poems which Tina submits to Fox News and is then shocked when she doesn’t receive a response.

Allicia (aka Murder Girl) is a large-framed black woman who speaks softly yet each word is tinged with annunciated assurance. Usually she wears a golden weave but lately her hair has been pulled back into a natty ponytail held in place by a too-large and ruffled Scrunchie. At her last job, a co-worker told her that she liked her Coach purse, so Allicia gave it to her. A valiant and upstanding gesture for a suspected murderer, am I right?

During a quick meeting Tuesday night, there was a situation.

“Does anyone have any questions?” Michelle asked as she brought the meeting to a close. We were all gathered around the section where Allicia and two others sit.

Allicia slowly turned in her seat and  said, “Someone took my coat hook.” Each employee has a hook which attaches to the top of their cubicle wall, but in Allicia’s section, she and the other two employees have theirs hanging all in a row, on a shared wall. I looked over and noticed that now there were only two.

Michelle said she would get Allicia a new one. I thought this meant the meeting was over, so I started to turn on my heels.

“But Michelle, someone took my coat hook,” Allicia repeated. Michelle nervously repeated that she would simply get a new one for her.

“Wait, I think I took it,” someone piped up from behind me. It was Tina. Great.

“Well, it wasn’t your coat hook to take,” Allicia spat, flavoring her complaint with ebonical verve. (And that’s the best kind of verve to have, really.)

“I needed a coat hook and asked Michelle for one. We didn’t think anyone was using one of the ones on that wall, since there were three,” Tina retorted, not balking at Allicia’s increasing agitation.

If I hadn’t walked in on Allicia’s murder-talk last week, maybe this would have been easier to exit, but instead I stood there, glued to my spot, waiting excitedly to see how it would play out. Everyone else stared at their shoes or picked awkwardly at their cuticles while my head snapped back and forth like I was following a tennis ball during match point. Would it come to blows? Would I get splattered with blood? Maybe it would make the news. Oh, mama, one could only hope!

“There were three coat hooks because there are three people who sit here,” Allicia seethed behind her character-building gapped teeth. Michelle shifted in her seat and was probably desperately trying to find a way to diffuse this escalating situation. Once again, she offered to get Allicia a new hook.

“I don’t want a new hook. People should axe before they take.”

Tina turned up the volume when she shot back, “I did ask!” Her face was flushed with spreading florets of anger.

A heavy drapery of tension hung over the room.

Allicia turned her back on the room as she mumbled, “Next time, axe the right person.” That’s my girl, right there.

Michelle stood up and we all dispersed. On our way back to our section, Bill and I discussed our relief to be basically sitting in a desolate area of the room, ostracized from the rest of them.

This way, we wouldn’t get caught in any impending crossfire.

Later that night, Michelle was sitting with me at my desk, going over some new applications. I tried to press her for more information regarding Tina and Allicia but all I could squeeze out was that Tina and Allicia are both strong-willed women who clash and that the coat hook debacle was the stupidest scenario she’s encountered as a supervisor.

“I mean, do you know how easily I could have just gotten her a new one?” she said with tired eyes.

Yeah, what was the big deal, I thought. But then I discussed it with my super-sleuth friend Bill From Michigan who theorized that perhaps the coat hook was Allicia’s murder weapon which would explain why she was so desperate to get it back. I did notice the next night that the wall was once again decorated with a trio of hooks; I wonder if Allicia got hers back, or if she settled for a new one.

I bet everyone else forgot about the incident quickly after it ended, but I childishly obsessed over it for the rest of the shift. Besides, Eleanore wasn’t there for me to record snippets of her conversations with my cell phone, so I had to busy myself some other way.

Allicia stopped by my area near the end of the shift. I guess I should be thankful that Allicia likes me and will jiggle the back of my chair when she passes by and then laugh a Michael Jackson-esque “ha-HEE!”. She was complaining to Michelle and me about how tired she was and that she thought walking around the parking lot, in the brisk air, would wake her up but it hadn’t. Michelle implored her to be cautious while walking around out there at night, because the facilities border on the cusp of one of Pittsburgh’s seedier neighborhoods.

“I’m not worried,” Allicia drawled. “Besides, I have a knife.”

I think I’m going to ask Allicia if I can join her on her next walk, get her to open up to me. Maybe I can force her to say something mildly humorous and I’ll give her a playful shove and squeal, “Oh, you KILL me!” Do you think that would trigger anything?

God, I am so attracted to danger! It makes me giddy and hyper.