Spider Killer

Panting with fear, transfixed by the halting progress of a grotesquely well-fed daddy long-legs angling across the shower tiles, I chant to myself: She can’t hurt me. She can’t hurt me!

I respect and adore this beautiful black-widow eater, but what is she doing in my shower?!?

My heart beats in fits and starts, matching the jerking progress of her exquisitely delicate long legs as they climb, fall an inch, regain ground.

Ninja-like, equally delicate long fingers of fear, panic, and pain permeate my chest, squeezing so tight I stop breathing.

She can’t hurt me, but she just killed me.

Secret Thoughts That Make No Sense

~Once upon a time there was a hairy creature who couldn’t catch a break. They just didn’t make razors strong enough to handle his armpits, let alone his chest and back. The end.

~Once there was a wolf spider named “Rebecca”. “Rebecca” was her mother’s name. It was her grandmother’s name, her great-grandmother’s name, and even her great-great-grandmother’s name. She had eight legs, which made housework a whole lot easier, but she still hated it. The end.

~Pericles the Pony was very proud of the fact that he could count to 82. He also knew that he could divide 82 in half and get 41. He told his friends “82 is a nice, round number. When you divide it by two you get 41.” The end.

~Felix the Cat was a control freak. He could never understand why his family never did anything right, let alone why they tried to hug him and kiss him. “Dictators need to be feared!” he would say to himself while he washed his sleek black fur. The end.

~The prince was a jerk, so she married him for his money. Every time they kissed she kept one eye open to see if he would turn into a human prince or remain a frog. Secretly, she hoped if he did change into a man that she would change into a woman and finally be able to wear the shoes she kept buying, and then their marriage would be worth it. The end.

~Once upon a time a watermelon sat in its field, counting the stars at night. “Well this is very nice,” she thought to herself, “I’m craving watermelon and the stores are closed for the night.” The end.

~A piece of fudge waited around on the kitchen counter, on a little plate all its own, trembling with excitement. “Today is the day!” He said to himself. “I finally get eaten!” And then he saw all those teeth and instantly regretted his situation. The end.

~”Being a basketball must be a real headache, especially with all those dribbling drills,” thought the baseball as it sailed across the pitch to the bat. The end.

~The milk loved the blender; it was like being in a Jacuzzi at an amusement park. “Whee!” the milk would laugh the whole time. The banana felt different. And the peanut butter did not want to talk about it. The end.

~Samantha the volleyball shoe was becoming extremely agitated. “For Pete’s sake, Sally!” she would scold her twin sister, “Can’t you take a shower? You really stink.” “So do you,” Sally retorted. The end.

~The pirate knew better than to eat dessert before dinner, but he did it anyway, because it was breaking the rules and that’s what pirates do. He was kicking himself later when he didn’t have room for meatloaf. The end.

~”Of course I’m purring,” said the cat snoozing gently in the sunlight, “I’m thinking of all the ways I’m going to scratch you when you least expect it.” But in spite of all his fantasies, he never got around to it. He was a lazy cat. The end.

~Ellie had always harbored a secret desire to knit. Sick of being a sexy bombshell with an endless round of parties to go to, she hoarded yarn and knitting needles of all shapes and sizes. The yarn was all brown. The end.

~The suitcase was beautiful. Regal. Large and spacious, with structure, integrity. Dignity. But he always chose the backpack in the corner for his wild adventures. The dirty whore. The end.

~The rubber band, being helpful by nature and always willing to lend a hand, stretched as far as it could. And then it broke. Some of the other rubber bands learned from his experience. Some of them repeated his mistake. The end.

~The laundry basket sat in the closet all day long, waiting for its people to come home and fill it up at bedtime. But they were messy people and left their clothes on the floor. The laundry basket tried not to take it personally. The end.

~The $1 bill had a crazy, adventurous life and traveled the world. He went to a hot dog vendor in New York and a cab driver in Tucson and a tilt-a-whirl on an old-fashioned boardwalk. He saw grocery stores, gas stations, and museums. Restaurants, bowling alleys, and back alleys. It was an amazing life. The $100 bill, afraid of getting lost, stayed in one place for a very long time, and then went to a bank. The end.


Mermaid Thief

Chelsea moves herself into her new apartment today. Tell me this dream has nothing to do with her leaving:

I’m in Chelsea’s room. The mattress is stripped, the drawers of her nightstand and dresser are open and empty, the walls are bare; the only things left of hers are piles of clothing floating in about 6-8 inches of water. The clothing moves in the water like reeds, swaying gently with some source of mysterious motion. The legs of her jeans drift and tangle with the arms of her sweaters. She’s in the room, but just out of my peripheral vision. I sense her, that’s it. I can’t quite get a look at her, but I know she’s in that deep sleep that cocoons her in blissful unconscious peace.

I start to realize something is not right in the water. A dark and silent mermaid creature is slithering under the surface, a trail of rippling little waves showing me where she’s been. I am suspicious, but uncertain. Slowly, it dawns on me that Chelsea is in the water with her; she has slithered my daughter off the dry surface and is enveloping her sleeping, malleable form in the dark liquid.

I lunge for her, for the last place I see arms, half a face, blonde hair breaking the surface, but I miss and miss again, blindly thrashing in slow motion.

I find the strength to break the spell and catch the creature. Yanking at limbs I am able to rescue someone else from her grasp, a male, but in the seconds that it takes to get him to safety and return, she is gone. Chelsea has melted away into the water, into the space beyond the mermaid where I can’t go. I can reach behind her in the water, but my daughter is melting away from me. There is nothing I can do. She is gone.

I am left desolate and alone, digging through water-logged clothes, staggering through shin-high water thick with heavy blankets and hoodies and long-sleeved t-shirts, hurling demands at this smirking sea creature in a hoarse and powerless voice to give her back! Give my daughter back! Give me Chelsea NOW! She is MY child – return her NOW!

All the while, I know that Chelsea is sleeping peacefully, painlessly removed from me, and I’m destroyed, desperate to find her. I just want her back in this room, where I can touch her face and hear her voice and watch her sleep, safe and undisrupted.

And no, Katy is not an evil mermaid sneaking up to take Chelsea away from me. I think Chelsea is the mermaid, and if she’s reading this: BRING MY BABY BACK!

Fishy Situation(s)

So this is a story about a guy named Joe who is actually a penguin, which makes sense because he delivers fish for a living.  His buddy Larry helps out on the deliveries and cleans the big truck.  Larry’s name is on the side of the big truck as well as both delivery vans because “Joe and Larry’s Fish for You” sounded much better than “Joe’s Fish for You” and the guy who did the painting threw in the extra words for free.  Joe is a sucker for anything free.  Two other guys clean the vans. 

In penguin culture this is a pretty sexy job, at least the delivery part is.  Remember that.  It explains a lot, like how Joe came to find himself unblissfully aware, on a crisp, bright, beautiful, almost warmish summer morning in Antarctica, that his worst nightmare was about to come true.

But let’s rewind.

Daisy, Rose and Juniper lived in different parts of town.  Unlike the town where we live, their town in Antarctica was spread out over miles and miles of ice and snow, with a complex system of freeways and toboggan chutes connecting all the parts.  Of course they had a downtown with coffee shops and bookstores, and an uptown with snooty attitudes, a cultural center, parks, fisheries (no dairies), schools, observatories (penguins dig stargazing but like to be informed about what they’re gazing at), and all the amenities of your typical town, plus a fairly unsuccessful zoo with a high turn-over rate for mammals and an even higher turn-over rate for reptiles (“turn-over rate” being the politically correct way to say “death toll”). 

And yes, there were plenty of churches and rec rooms available for groups and clubs and organizations to hold meetings in.  On any given Monday, Wednesday, Friday and some Tuesdays you could find at least half a dozen Herring Eaters Anonymous meetings in session across town.  There were even a handful of support groups for penguins with seafood allergies and penguins who faked seafood allergies to get out of eating seafood (not everyone likes fish).  There were Daddy and Me Egg Protector meetings, Mommy and Me chick playgroups, chick-rearing classes, cooking classes, craft classes (101 things to do with an icicle being a regular favorite, especially around Christmas), and finally, just to try it out and see if anyone would join, Merriweather Penguin formed a knitting circle; the only knitting circle in the whole, wide, super-spread-out town.

Daisy, Rose and Juniper were total strangers, their addresses forming a perfect isosceles triangle on the map – no matter how you turned it – and their lives almost guaranteed to never overlap.  I mean, they weren’t supposed to ever overlap.