10/14/10: Way to shame me into updating again by commenting, people who comment! (Seriously, though, hi, welcome, and pull up one of the splintery old orange crates that we use for seating 'round these parts seein' as we can't afford no fancy chairs.)

The rules from
here still apply.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Warren sighed as he extracted himself from the truck and carefully shut the door behind him. Damn thing was near rusted to pieces, and here he was driving all over creation for a typewriter ribbon. Of course, he hadn’t expected to have so much trouble actually finding the ribbon; but he’d already tried the Harpersville Office Depot, the Staples and Frederick’s Office Supply in Dillimore, and the Wal*Mart and other Office Depot in Blackwater Point, all with no luck. He was starting to worry he’d have to go up the city to find what he needed. There were over five thousand souls in Palomino Creek, and being surrounded by that many people always made Warren feel claustrophobic.

A puff of hot air hit him in the face as he passed through the sliding doors, and then he was in the air-conditioned cool of yet another store. He made his way toward the back wall, where a huge sign reading “OFFICE SUPPLIES” hung from the ceiling. Rows of computers and fax machines and other technological marvels seemed to glare at him disapprovingly as he sought out the customer service desk.

“Helpya?” muttered the bored-looking employee behind the counter. Warren tried to give him a friendly smile, but was stymied by merit of the man’s apparent unwillingness to look up from the computer in front of him. It looked like some kind of card game on there – poker, maybe, though whatever it was, Warren doubted this fellow was being employed to play it –

Helpya?” the man repeated, interrupting Warren’s mental rambling. This time he deigned to glance up briefly before returning to the computer.

“Well, I.” Warren cleared his throat. “My Smith-Corona T34 needs a new ribbon, and –”

The employee looked up at him again, and something about the expression on his face made Warren falter. “This a joke, buddy?” he drawled. "We don’t sell beer here, and we don’t sell guns neither.”

Warren sighed, seeing the long drive to Palomino Creek ahead of him. “No, it’s a typewriter.”

“Uh huh. Got a lot of writing to do, buddy?”

“Yes,” Warren answered, brightening somewhat. Maybe he wouldn’t have to brave the big city after all…

“I got a recommendation for you, then,” the employee sneered. He pointed toward the aisle Warren had just walked through. “It’s not the nineteenth century anymore. Buy a goddamn computer.

Warren sighed again. “Thank you anyway,” he said, and walked back out to his car. People these days, living crammed five thousand to a town, going in for all this strange new technology when they already had ways that worked just as well. He just didn’t know what the world was coming to.

Throughout most of my high school career, I did not have a computer; when it came time to write a paper, which was quite frequently in my honors English classes and not too seldom in any of the others, I had to use an electric typewriter that we’d picked up at Office Depot for a hundred bucks. It was extra-fun when we had to do a rough draft, submit it for peer evaluation, then “edit” it and bring in the final version… because while my classmates got to make their edits, print out their new versions, and go off to have fun, I got to sit down and type the entire thing over again. Good times.

These days I honestly cannot think of a good reason to stick with a typewriter instead of a computer. I guess some people really, really like the idea of having to type an entire document over just to correct a couple of typos.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Back In My Neighborhood

"Of course, that was assuming you didn’t ask where the car’d come from," he added offhandedly, pulling the Porsche back onto the highway. "You could be particular about that if you wanted, but then you’d have to pay a bit more."


"Local guy ran the biggest stolen-car operation in the state," he replied. "Small-time mobster, name of Magliore. Half the teenagers on my block were working for him – running errands, or… ‘supplying’ him with stock. All under the table, of course."

His passenger frowned. "How dreadful. I assume you weren’t involved in all this."

"Are you kidding?" he asked, eyebrow raised. "I was one of Magliore’s boys before I’d even learned how to ride a bike. How did you think I learned how to hotwire cars?"

"Well," his passenger sniffed, her frown deepening. "At least you’re old enough to know better than to mess around with any stolen cars."

There was expectant silence for a moment; finally, he coughed. "Sure. Of course I am."

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Mushroom Soup

The mother ladled what was left of that night's dinner into the container, scraping the pan clean. No sense in wasting food, after all, and the leftovers would make a lovely meal some other day. She set the pan down, fitted the lid over the container of leftovers, and then carefully placed that container on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator.

The son pushed it to the back of the shelf ten minutes later, while rooting about looking for the last can of Coke.

Nobody gave much thought to the leftovers, not even the mother who had so carefully saved them; and as days turned into weeks, it quietly brooded beneath a package of stale flour tortillas. The life stirring within it went unremarked, its original contents long since forgotten.

At last the tortillas were pushed aside, and the daughter's hand closed upon the plastic container. "Oh, here's something," she said over her shoulder. The leftovers were once more brought out into the light.

"What's in it?" the mother asked from her post at the stove. Pots simmered and bubbled, though the saucepan on one burner yet lay empty.

The daughter peeled back the lid and looked into the container. "Looks like mushroom soup," she replied.

The mother smiled, took the leftovers and their new growth from her daughter, and began preparing them to serve to her family.

Monday, May 05, 2008

In The Trunk

Norm started getting a bad vibe from the guy from almost the first second he set foot on the huge lot, but he needed a car bad enough -- and right now, if he wanted to make it to the plant tonight and thus keep his job -- that he forced himself to overlook it. No sense walking back around the woods to the car lot on the other side of town, just because the salesman seemed a little odd.

After all, it was kind of a warm day. Maybe that was why the guy -- "Vincetn", to go by the nametag, although Norm assumed that was a typo -- was sweating so much. And there were plenty of non-sinister explanations for why mister "Vincetn" had quickly agreed to sell him the old Chevy, rather than trying to take him around the lot and interest him in something more expensive. And so he kept grinning at seemingly random moments. What of it? Probably was swapping dirty jokes with the other salesmen back at the office before Norm showed up. Probably that was why he was in such a hurry, too -- Norm'd interrupted his break, or something.

Dammit, he is not a serial killer who is thinking about just where in the woods to dump my corpse, Norm thought to himself as "Vincetn" handed over the paperwork. He signed in all the appropriate places, then looked up as a thought struck him. "Hey, uh, I don't suppose you could throw in a pair of jumper cables while you're at it...?"

Vincetn's face twisted up alarmingly. "They are already in the trunk," he replied, oddly formal, and then grinned his biggest grin yet.

"Uh. Right. Thanks." Norm handed back the paperwork, got into the car, and drove away from the lot as fast as he possibly could. Vincetn's grinning, waving form dwindled to nothing in the rearview.

A half-mile down the road, the strange gravity with which Vincetn had spoken of the trunk finally registered on Norm, who pulled over and walked reluctantly around to the back of the car. He took a deep breath, then popped the trunk.

The jumper cables were there as promised, though Vincetn had said nothing about the dead racoon around which he had lovingly wrapped those cables.

"Ah, Christ!" Norm shouted.

A half-mile back, Vincetn giggled, then scurried back into the woods before the actual salesman could find him and chase him off again.