A Change of Circumstances

TBP
TBP


Davis walked in the door, straight to the kitchen and opened the refrigerator. He pointed at the couple seated at the table across the room.

“Don’t get up,” he said, “stay put and nobody gets hurt.” They sat, but put their forks down on the table, apparently their appetites were gone. They watched him.

Davis scoured the refrigerator, clearly looking for something specific. He reached in and pushed some yogurts around looking behind them. “Don’t you have any juice?” he asked and picked up a carton of 2% milk. He shook the carton, sniffed it, shook his head, and put it back.

“What are you doing here?” the man at the table asked. “I’m going to call the police.” He picked up his i-phone and did something to the face of it, to wake it up.

“If you know what’s good for you, you’ll put that back down.” Davis said, without looking at him, still searching the fridge.

He set it gently back down and then the lady spoke up, “There’s cranberry juice on the door,” she said. “I just bought it yesterday.”

“Where do you keep the glasses?” Davis asked.

She pointed. He got a tumbler and filled it to the rim, then came over and joined them at the small table.

“Thanks,” he said, “I’m really thirsty.” He downed about half the glass. “Damn, that’s good. Not too sweet. I like that. Where do you get it?”

“I got it at the farmer’s market,” she said, “its organic.” She paused and everyone looked at one another. “It is good, isn’t it? I think it has a hint of some kind of ‘earthy’ flavor. Just a hint, though.” She smiled and Davis took another drink, just a sip this time.

“I think you’re right, uhm… I don’t know your name.”

Her man stood up next to the table. “You don’t need to know our names.” He blustered.

“I’m Iris,” she said, “and this is Foster.”

“Goddamnit Iris,” Foster said. His face was beginning to turn a bit red.

Davis raised his arm, palm down, and lowered it gently, motioning the man down, he said, “Sit back down Foster, you’re making me nervous. Foster lowered himself back in the seat and Davis turned his attention back to Iris.

“Iris, my name is Davis, and I’m not going to hurt anyone but I need to spend a few hours with you guys. All the commuters are on the road, and there’s a tremendous traffic jam on the parkway. There always is this time of day. I want to get out of town but I have to wait for the roads to clear up. I can’t afford to be stuck in traffic, you know?” He suddenly realized that he had interrupted their meal, “Oh sorry, you guys keep eating or your food’ll get cold. You don’t have to go on a diet just because I stopped by. What are you having there?”

“It’s a spinach frittata,” Foster said and he picked up a ketchup bottle and poured it generously on his eggs, “My favourite.”

“It’s not really a frittata,” explained Iris. “It’s a quiche. I tell Foster it’s a frittata because he thinks he doesn’t like quiche. You know, ever since that book came out.”

“Goddamnit Iris,” Foster said again, he was beginning to sound a bit like a broken record.

“Calm down Foster,” said Davis, “Iris is making you food that you love, and she cares enough about you to give it another name so that you’ll enjoy it and not have to sacrifice your machismo. You ought be nice to this lady and thank your luck stars that she puts up with you. Tell her you’re sorry, go on.”

“Sorry, Iris. I love you, you know, even if I don’t tell you that enough.” He went back to his breakfast and Davis smiled.

“There’s plenty left, if you want some, Davis.” Iris said.

“That sounds great. But you keep eating; I’ll get it. Is it in the oven?” she nodded.

“Plates?”

“Next to the glasses; silverware’s in the top drawer on the right.”

Davis got his food and poured himself more cranberry juice.

“Damn, this is a good quiche, really creamy. What time do you guys have to leave for work?”

Foster looked at the digital clock on the range, “I should be leaving in about 30 minutes if I’m to be there on time.”

Drumming his fingers on the table top, Davis studied Foster, “What about you Iris?”

“It’s my day off.” She responded.

“If I let you go to work, Foster, you won’t tell anyone that I’m here will you?”

“Hell no, Davis! Your secret’s safe with me. If anybody asks I’ll just tell them that an old friend stopped by at breakfast. If they press for details I can say that you startled me when you came in but that’s only because I didn’t realize you were going to stop by. It’s been great to see you and I wish I didn’t have to go to work, but I have that Dithers presentation due. Is that OK with you Iris? You’re OK staying here with Davis?”

“I’m fine.”


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Meeting Mama



We had parked the car at the curb and run across the neatly trimmed lawn, “Are you sure this is OK?” I asked Emma.

She grabbed my hand and dragged me across the stoop to the front door of the pink suburban bungalow where her mother lived. “Of course it’s OK,” she said, “We’re expected.” She turned the knob and pushed the door open. “Hey Mom, it’s me. I mean it’s us. We’re here.”

There was no reply. In fact there was no noise at all in the house. The phrase silent as a tomb ran through my mind and I tried to dismiss it right away.

I squeezed Emma’s hand, “Maybe we have the wrong day,” I whispered. “Maybe she has a new boyfriend. We wouldn’t want to interrupt her. Maybe she’s shopping, or out of town. We should come back later. I’m not sure it’s a good time for me to meet your mother anyway.”

Emma stopped and gave me that look, the one that could freeze a dog to a fire hydrant. It got cold in there.

“Listen, David,” she said. “We’ve been dating for over a year. We’ve been engaged for three months and the wedding is less than two months away. You’re gonna have to meet her sometime, might as well be tonight. Besides, I think you’ll like her.” She turned her head back to the silent house and said, “Mama; es ist Emma. Wo du bist?“

Nothing, no response, we walked deeper into the silence. As we walked Emma continued her lecture, “Besides this is a good night to meet her. She’s Swiss remember, and tonight she’s serving raclette, which is like one of the three national dishes of Switzerland. She loves raclette and she’ll be in a great mood.”

“What’s raclette?” I asked.

“Basically, it’s melted cheese and you serve it with bread, gherkins, pickled onions, olives, new potatoes and pretty much anything else you like. I like small red potatoes the best with mine.”

“Like a fondue?” I ask. “That’s Swiss too, isn’t it?”

She considered my question and then said, “Yeah, I guess it’s a little like a fondue but you don’t have a pot of melted cheese. You put the edge of a half wheel of cheese near a fire or a heating element until it gets soft, or even toasty, then you use a knife to scrape it onto your plate or your bread. It’s really good – Orgasmically good. You have to drink white wine or tea with your meal to keep the cheese soft and then, if you want, you can finish it off with a taste of Kirsch.”

“What’s that?” I asked as we stepped through the door into a large eat-in kitchen where six people were sitting around the table staring at us. A middle aged blonde woman was holding a large chunk of cheese and wielding a knife. She set the knife on the table and handed the cheese to a red faced man sitting next to her. She came around the table and hugged Emma, “so, Ihr Freund hat kommen?” she asked.

“English Mama, please.” Emma replied.

“My name is Katerine,” she said to me and she smiled as she shook my hand. “Welcome.”

Everyone at the table started moving their chairs closer together and Emma left the room. “I’m David,” I said.

“We know,” the red faced man with the cheese interjected. Sporadic chuckling from the others punctuated his statement.

Emma returned with two folding chairs and set them in the newly opened space at the table. Plates and glasses appeared from nowhere.

“These other people are my family,” Emma said, “Mostly aunts and uncles but that young girl over there is my cousin, Anna.” We all nodded at one another and tucked into our food. I was eating one of the finest meals I’d ever eaten and in my reverie, with the molten cheese, I spoke up and asked of no one in particular, “Emma tells me that this is one of three national Swiss dishes. What are the other two?”

Everyone said in unison, “Geschnetzeltes mit rösti, and chocolate.”

Thanks to the Pinot gris the rest of the evening is mostly a blur. I learned that Kirsh is a kind of Schnapps made from cherries and I let Emma drive home. When we pulled into the drive Emma pushed my elbow to wake me up, “You passed the test,” she said, “they like you.”


Et tu, Kate and Petruchio?

Le Blog Propulseur



“Hey guys, come on in. Sorry that the house is such a mess. Kate’s been too tired lately to keep up on her share of the cleaning; but I scoured the barbecue and mowed the lawn so we’ll eat with paper plates on the patio tonight, hope that’s OK with you.”

“Did you eat the last roll, Peter? One of our guests might have liked it.”

“Dinner was delicious tonight Kate, who made it?”

“Where are the cookies? Where are the cookies? Damnit Pete, I told you that those were for our party. Did you have to eat them all?”

“And here’s a photo of our wedding…
“It proves that Peter once had hair.”
“And that Kate knew how to smile.”
“And that he wasn’t born with a beer belly.”
“Whatever happened to that wisp of a girl I married?”

“I hope you didn’t go to work like that, you look like a ragamuffin.”
“Of course I did.”
“Oh my goodness, what will people think of you?”
“It’s OK dear, they know I’m married. They’ll blame you.”

“I think I need a husband with a job rather than a hobby.”

“Of course dear, you’re right dear, you’re always right.”

“Someday, I hope to be able to park my car in the garage again. Pete keeps saying he’s going to clean it out.”

“I should have listened to my mother.”

“I should have listened to your mother too.”

A Bump in the Road to Fame and Fortune

MFtS

Photo courtesy of Barbara W. Beacham
Photo courtesy of Barbara W. Beacham


The A&B Building was made entirely from driftwood. At least that was what they said, but I was skeptical. I questioned the structural integrity of driftwood.

Now, I don’t want to brag, or anything, but you usually gotta get up pretty early in the morning to pull one over on me so, I stationed myself across the street from the A&B and studied the building. I wanted to expose the lie. I wanted to rocket to fame, and cement my place in the halls of investigative journalism. This A&B scam was going to be my launching pad.

The first thing I noticed was glass in the windows. Then I saw the electrical drop. That clinched it.

But I was wrong. The A&B spokeswoman responded to my tell-all article in “The Tattler”.

##

I had never heard of transparent trees. Trees that folks seldom notice because, well, they’re transparent.

I had never heard of  the rare copperwood tree?

Who knew?


 

Tattoos Live

TBP

This Post is probably not suitable for young children or readers who are easily offended. If that sounds like you then please move on – this is not the post you seek. Perhaps you should try this one instead.



Smitty was a sailor. He was a Boatswains Mate and he had learned when he first got to the USS Puddlefish that it’s pronounced bō’sun not boat-swain. He was assigned to the Seaman’s Division and spent his days swabbing decks, chipping paint off the hull and repainting, where he had chipped earlier. The Puddlefish spent most of her time at sea, pulling in only for stores and diesel fuel. That suited Smitty just fine. He liked life at sea. For the most part it was peaceful. He would lash up a Boatswain’s chair and lower himself over the side to work on the hull. He was also fond of the “Battleship Grey” colour of paint that was all he ever worked with.

When he was hanging halfway between the scuppers and the waterline people tended to leave him alone and let him continue with what he was doing. As long as he looked busy, he seldom had to deal with LPO’s, Division Officers, or Department Heads. The Captain had no idea what he looked like and that suited him just fine. He could daydream and sing to himself. He was almost anonymous. He was happy.

Another benefit of a seafaring life was foreign ports. There was a lot to do and see in a foreign port. He was fond of beer, topless bars, and bordellos. Those things were always close to the waterfront. That’s why when they tied up at the Navy Pier in the small South Pacific Island Nation of Boga Barbonata he knew he wouldn’t have to go far to find things that would make him happy. He had drawn his pay so he was flush with cash. He was whistling as he walked through the gates that separated the sailors from the locals.

He met a girl, with a name he couldn’t remember, in a topless bar. She was beautiful and he took her to a tattoo parlor where she served as a model and he had her likeness inked on his left pec, right above his heart. The artist portrayed her topless, leaning forward, with her lips pursed and her empty hands spread wide to the sides. She wore a grass skirt and a garland of plumeria around her head. It was uncanny how much the tattoo looked like her. That night she took Smitty home with her, to a trailer parked beneath a coconut palm. The Formica was worn, the carpets threadbare, and the upholstery torn and tattered.

The next morning when he woke in his bunk; mid rack, bow compartment, frame 14, starboard side, he could barely remember the girl. He thought it might have been a dream. He looked down at his chest and peeled off the napkin that was taped there. He knew then, that he had not imagined her. In fact he thought that he may have said things and made promises that he never should have. He figured he should avoid that girl for the next two days while they were in port. He knew she could not get past the gates. She could not come to him.

Smitty spent the day nursing a hangover and sitting as still as he possibly could on his Boatswain’s chair, close to the waterline. At the end of the workday he went out again but steered clear of the topless bar where he had met the girl the night before. He met some of his mates, Digs and Boomer. They had a couple of beers and enjoyed the company of some bar girls but never left the bar and Smitty was back on board and tucked into his rack before 2200. He didn’t want to meet that girl again.

The next morning after quarters Boomer found Smitty, “Hey Boats,” he began, “You know those girls we were with last night?”

“Yeah, what about them.”

“They’re dead. All three of them were hacked to pieces right outside the gates. The guard says he never saw anything. They found what was left of them at first light.”

Smitty shuddered as he thought about the close call but didn’t worry about it too much. What could those girls have been involved in that earned them such a gruesome death? Chances were that he would never know.

He dropped below to change into the coveralls he would wear that day and looked at his new tattoo. The grass skirted Polynesian beauty was still there, still topless and crowned with plumeria blossoms. Her hands were still spread out to the sides as she leaned in towards the viewer, but in her right hand she was now clutching a sword. Her lips were no longer pursed, she was smiling.

Smitty stayed on board that night. No bars, no girls, just a dumb movie shown on the projector in the crews mess. He was scared.

The next morning they got underway. It was an eight day transit to their next port o’ call and during that time the sword faded from the hand of the tattoo girl. When they made land he figured he was safe. There was no way that girl could have followed him here. He was shed of her. They were only in port for one night so he and Digs decided to make the best of it. They went to a strip club and he tucked a lot of bills into the g-string of one of the girls there. He had a great time.

The next morning when he showered Smitty saw that his new tattoo girl had nunchucks dangling from her hand. He knew that the stripper was dead.

So, Smitty spent the rest of his enlistment on board the Puddlefish, never setting foot on dry land. When his rotation came up he took an honorable discharge. His Chief and Division Officer tried to talk him into re-upping but wouldn’t do it. He walked off the ship, took a cab to the airport and bought a one way ticket to Boga Barbonata. It took him almost two weeks to get there and when he did, he made his way to that titty bar where he had met her the first time. When he walked through the door he paused to let his eyes adjust to the low lights, she was on stage. She was topless, wearing a grass skirt and plumeria blossoms in her hair. She was beautiful. When she saw Smitty standing just inside the door she stopped her dance, spread her arms wide, palms up showing him that her hands were empty. She pursed her lips and then she smiled. Jumping off the stage, she ran across the bar laughing and jumped into his arms. He held her tight. He never wanted to let her go but finally she whispered in his ear.

“Hang on a minute; I have to go quit my job.”

He let her go; she went over to the bar and had some words with the bartender before she ducked through a door to the back that Smitty hadn’t noticed before. Seconds later she ran back out wearing shorts and a tee shirt. She gave him a peck on the cheek, put her arm around his waist and led him out the door.

“Let’s go baby,” she said, “What took you so long? By the way, my name’s Kinipela, it means ‘wave’. Try to remember it this time.”

A Ghoulish Celebration



“Really, only one candle? That’s all you got? Jeez, I got more legs than that!”

“That can be remedied. What are you, a spider? We’ll yank some off.”

“Now that I think about it, one candle’s appropriate. I mean, we are only one year old!
“Yeah, one candle is just about right.”


Courtesy of Jen Brunett
Courtesy of Jen Brunett and Grammar Ghoul Press

Picture Prompt #30

The Blog Propellant

Image Courtesy of The Blog Propellant
Image Courtesy of The Blog Propellant


Bob

Bob Winston was an awkward boy. ‘Specially around the girls – ‘specially one on one. He was a good student but he tended towards the quiet, seldom speaking out or engaging in conversation. He liked Regina Applegate though; he sensed a kindred spirit in her. They had been in the same class since third grade and had probably not spoken a dozen words to one another in all that time. Bob was pretty shy.

At home, in his room, Bob used to pretend that he and Regina were friends. She was the only girl in school with such a regal name. He had looked it up when he was in the fifth grade and found out it meant ‘Queen’ in Latin. He thought it was fitting for her. She had long jet black hair, straight teeth, and a crooked smile. Her eyes were as deep and as blue as the sea. He loved her eyes and longed to speak with her but every time he tried his tongue would knot up, his stomach would knot up and he often had to run for the bathroom.

Regina

It was the Autumn of her Junior year at Madison High when Regina made up her mind. She decided that she needed to start living and stop merely existing. She wanted to make more friends. She wanted a social life. She wanted a boyfriend. She knew she wouldn’t have trouble finding a boyfriend. She just had to find one who was available and that she liked. Boys were weird and they found the oddest things to be funny. Last year she had been walking home from school when the bus with the football team drove past. All the players were whooping and cheering and every window of the bus was filled with the bare naked ass of a football player. She could hear them laughing and cheering all the way to the traffic light on Edgemere Avenue. That wasn’t the kind of boyfriend she wanted.

Regina wanted a serious boyfriend. Of course he should have a sense of humor but he needn’t be a dolt like the entire football team. She made a list. She listed every boy she had ever known and could remember. Then she began evaluating the names on her list. Quite a few of them were either too old or too young and she crossed their names out straight away. The football players were the next ones to go. In fact most of the jocks were eliminated in short order except for one of the tennis players named Ralph Cortina. He was somehow different than the other lettermen. She realized that this process would take some time.

Bob

As it was his Junior year, Bob was eligible for the Chess Team. When he applied he was selected because he already knew and played with a bunch of the Seniors who were on the team. Usually, he could beat them. He was active with the FFA and a member of the Honor Society. He recognized that he lacked the social skills to run for Student Council so he never tried. He thought about it once and immediately considered that possibility of having to wear T shirts that said “Vote for Bob” instead of “Vote for Pedro” and that pretty much killed off that idea.

Mostly though he thought about Regina and what it would be like to stare into her eyes for all eternity.

Regina

It took almost a week to narrow her list down to three boys. She had:

  1. Ralph Cortina, the tennis player.
  2. Bob Winston, a boy she had known since second or third grade but never spoke to, much. He was pretty shy.
  3. Russell Spires, a really dreamy boy who was in her Algebra class, but he was going steady with Linda Bustamante.

Bob

Bob asked his mom what kind of medicine he should take for nausea and a stomach ache. He had made up his mind that he was going to talk to Regina. He figured he could be proactive with the right medicine and stave of any urge to vomit that he knew would come when he made a fool of himself in front of her. His mom, of course, thought he was sick and wanted to dose him with Immodium and keep him home from school. He told her no, it was more like car sickness. He and Jimmy were going to go to a chess tournament in Watsonville and the road was pretty twisty and mountainous. Jimmy would be driving and he was just curious. Mom recommended Dramamine.

Bob went to the pharmacy and bought a box of Dramamine in preparation for his approach to Regina. He planned to try and talk to her on Tuesday and if he didn’t puke he was going to invite her to the dance on Friday night.

Regina

Sunday night and Regina studied the three remaining names on her list. She crossed off Russell Spires because Linda had never done anything to her. It would be pretty shallow to just steal her boyfriend. Besides, she wasn’t sure if she could lure him away from Linda anyway. There were rumors going around school that those two were already sleeping together.

That left Bob Winston and Ralph Cortina. She chewed on the pencil eraser and thought about these two boys. They were both polite. They were both cute enough. What if she fell in love with one of them and they got married? Her eyes widened and she immediately scratched the tennis player off her list. If they got married she would be Regina Cortina and that would never do.

Bob Winston it was then. She needed to make some preparations tomorrow after school and be ready by Tuesday.

Bob

It was Monday and Bob had his box of Dramamine but hadn’t taken any yet. He was getting really nervous about approaching Regina. At lunch, she actually smiled at him in the cafeteria. He barely made it out of the room to barf in a trash can in the hall.

He wasn’t sure he could do this and thought he might just call the whole thing off. That evening he suffered with terrible stomach cramps and explosive diarrhea. He decided he couldn’t do this and finally fell asleep about 4:30 am.

Regina

It was Tuesday morning and Regina had gotten everything ready the evening before. When she got to school she looked for Bob. He wasn’t in any of his usual places but she eventually found him sitting on a bench outside the gym. He looked tired.

Taking a deep breath, she steeled herself, threw her shoulders back, determinedly walked over to where he was sitting, and sat down next to him. Not too close, she didn’t want to scare him.

Bob and Regina

When he looked at her he turned pale and began to squirm in his seat. Fumbling in his shirt pocket he pulled out a small pill and swallowed it.

“What’re you taking,” she asked.

“Just a vitamin,” he said.

“Oh,” she extended her hand and offered him the pink balloon she had bought the night before.

Reflexively he took it, “What’s this?”

“It’s a balloon,” she told him. “I got it for you last night and, I got you a pink one because pink is my favorite colour.”

Bob thought he might throw up again; this wasn’t what he had planned even before he had decided he wasn’t brave enough and had cancelled his plans.

“Thanks, I guess,” he said. Then he continued, “I don’t have anything for you.”

“That’s OK.”

“Would you like to go to the dance with me on Friday night? I mean, if you don’t already have a date. I can probably get my mom’s car.  I mean if you’re not busy that night, huh?”

“I’d love to,” she said. “But it’s customary to give a girl a little token when you ask her out on a first date.”

“I have a balloon,” Bob said. “A pink balloon; I, uhm, I heard that pink is your favorite colour.”

She smiled broadly and took the proffered token. She told him that she would see him Friday night at 7:30. Then she stood up and skipped off to homeroom.