is an unapologetic, bleeding-heart liberal who writes about everything from politics to private parts. A TV-writer in a former life, her credits include "Big Spender" for Animal Planet,and "A Child Too Many," "Cradle of Conspiracy" & "Deceived By Trust," for Lifetime
Day 19 of Nancy Stohlman's "30 Days, 30 Stories" flash fiction writing challenge and the prompt is "my father."
My father waits at the curb, leaning against his ’56 Hudson, a Lucky Strike burning down to his calloused fingertips.
Despite my mother’s protest, I wear my best dotted Swiss dress, my petticoat starched and stiff against my bare legs.
He reaches inside the car, pounds twice on the horn.
New black patent Mary Janes pinch my feet as I rush from the window to the front door, down the three steps from the porch and out to the sidewalk. He tosses his cigarette to the ground and picks me up, his face like sandpaper against my own.
“Well, aren’t you Miss Fancy Shmancy” he says.
I smell the whiskey on his breath, though it is barely noon, and I know we are not going to the promised zoo.
Pinched in a small, white box, wrapped in a sock,
buried deep in her underwear drawer, the last gift her mother would give her
lies in wait for those occasions when it is brought out from the darkness and slipped
onto the daughter’s finger.
Cast with diamonds from the mother’s wedding
ring out of a marriage born of duty, its memories best left in the past, and a single
blue sapphire added at its center for her own birth, the ring bears decades of
love and sacrifice, blessing and burden.
Another election is behind us. Enjoy the relative
peace for about another six months until the 2016 campaigns kick in.
Yes, I voted. I’m of the opinion that if you don’t
vote you can’t bitch about the results and God knows how I love to bitch.
Does it really matter who wins the Senate when the
choice is so pathetic?Republicans are
evil, Democrats are spineless, and they’re all blowing Wall Street.
Republican supporters can gloat today, but they
shouldn’t take the election results to mean that the majority of the country’s
populace supports their anti-middle class, anti-minority, anti-woman agenda. The
GOP won because the majority of our citizens either didn’t care about voting or
were disenfranchised by new Republican-backed voting laws that made it
impossible for them to do so. Not
surprisingly, most of the disenfranchised were people of color. The good news
is our brown brothers and sisters will soon outnumber you old, white bastards.
Then we have the people who consistently vote
against their own best interests and wonder why their lives are shit:Those who voted for Republican governors who
have fought to prevent them from access to Medicaid. Pissing blood? Good luck with that.Those who voted for Walker in Wisconsin,
despite his blatant assault on the middle-class, because why should teachers,
fire and police have decent pensions after they’ve spent their lives serving an
ungrateful public?And what’s with those
who voted for McConnell in Kentucky?Has
there ever been a bigger turd in the punch bowl?
For those who believe this was a win for the “real
patriots,” think again. The big winners were the international corporate
interests that have no allegiance to flag or country, only to shareholders. You
might as well pledge your allegiance to G.E’s corporate logo.
But now the fun begins. Remember all the whining
by Democrats over Republican filibusters and obstructionism?“Tit for Tat,” baby.Say what you will about the Nixon years, but
we had a Congress that actually worked together.We’ll never see that again.Not in my lifetime anyway.
For those of you who remember my older blog posts
where I was so passionately political, that torchlight has gone out.I’m just happy to live in California where
sanity, for the most part, prevailed.
I’ve misplaced a brain cell.Not just any brain cell; the one containing
the pin number to my checking account.To be fair, it wasn’t a pin of my choice, but when first given to me two
years ago after a large bank gobbled up my small bank, it seemed easy enough to
remember and so I kept it.
I love ATMs.Just the idea that you can put in a plastic card and it gives you money
never fails to thrill me.I usually take
out $20 at a time.Sure I could take out
$100, but then I wouldn’t get to play the game as often.With most of my thrills behind me, I cling to
little shit like this.
It’s just a tad pathetic.I know.Where was I?
Oh, yes:The missing brain cell.Because I
rarely carry a lot of cash, I use my debit card like a slot machine junkie at a
casino and I’ve probably punched in that same pin number hundreds of times always confident that it was lodged securely in my brain and
it was – until this past week.
Trader Joe’s on a Saturday afternoon is not the time
or place you want to have a brain fart.
With a month’s worth of cheap wine and pumpkin ice
cream already packaged up I slid my debit card through the slot like a pro and
that’s when it happened:“Enter Pin
Number.”As surely as if someone had
robbed me at gunpoint, the goddamn brain cell charged with the retaining of
that information was nowhere to be found.I knew it started with a two and ended with a zero.You’d think with enough combinations I could
have hit on it, “enough” being the key word here.But you don’t get enough.You only get three tries and then you’re
The line of people behind me was not amused when I
had to pull out my checkbook – yes, a checkbook – and write out the payment in
longhand on paper like some relic from an era now studied in high school
history classes.As I pushed my cart
from the store I’m pretty sure I heard one of them mutter “poor thing.”
I know our body sheds and replaces cells all the
time, but lately I feel like I’m getting short-shifted on the replacement
part.I suspect the brain cell containing
the pin number ran off with the brain cell containing my Facebook password,
which I also had to replace recently.
Was it a blue jacket with a gray-and-red striped
tie or a gray jacket with a blue-and-gray striped tie?Scanning the bar area, Sarah saw only young
men dressed in leather.
She made her way across the room, slid onto a barstool
and ordered a Jack Daniels neat, something else she’d never done before the
divorce, but had always liked the way it sounded when uttered by self-possessed
women on TV.
Maybe he’d said Luke’s on Fifth near the bay and
here she was at Duke’s on Fifteenth.
Freud said there are no mistakes… or was that
You awaken to a world pressing in on you for
attention.Your mind speeds ahead before
your bare feet even touch the floor.But
for him, you would dive back under the covers.
Turning down the dusty driveway, you pull up to
the red, shed-row barn where he stands in his paddock under the shade of a tall
Eucalyptus tree, his long neck low and relaxed as he drinks deeply from his
water trough.You step from the car and
before you can make a sound his head rises, quickly turns in your direction,
ears alert to your presence.
“How’s my handsome boy today?”
His nostrils flare open and shut at the sound of
your voice and he moves towards the door to his stall, his muscles rippling
beneath a gleaming coat the rich color of dark cocoa beans.
Standing nearly 65 inches at the withers, your own
slight, five-foot frame is not even tall enough for you to see over his long
back. Yet every day, in trust and faith, you climb onto that back always
marveling that he will permit you do so.
He sticks his head out the top of his stall door,
watching you approach. You kiss the soft spot at the front of his nose and
breathe lightly into his nostrils, mingling his breath with your own and your
heart swells with love.
Nuzzling your pockets, he nickers softly, seeking
the treat he knows you have brought him; a carrot, half an apple, or maybe a
cube of sugar.He gobbles it down and
greedily nudges you for more as you reach up to slip the halter over his massive
head. You fasten the buckle, then run your hand down the side of his neck, as
soft and slick as satin, give him a pat, and lead him from the stall.
Outside the barn gate your world continues with
all its demands, but for now you are in his world.