Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Them Devils

        With some difficulty Rebecca turned the key of her mother’s old home.  The past few weeks had been difficult and coming back into the house gave her chills.  
        Her mother had always kept a clean home, but since Rebecca’s father died she seemed to have lost her initiative and pride in her home.  Dust covered nearly every surface and the house was stuffy and stifling.  Rebecca set down her purse in the nearest chair and went back to her car to bring in some boxes.  Sorting through the entire home was going to be chore because her mother had loved to collect clutter, years and years of clutter.  
She decided to start in her mother’s bedroom, thinking that would be the most difficult place to begin and perhaps packing up her mother’s most personal belongings would aid in closure.  The sunlight shone into the bedroom through the dirty windows and the lacy curtains.  She remembered her mother decorating her bedroom with care.  The sunlight bounced off of the pale yellow walls and made the room feel welcoming. 
Rebecca opened her mother’s jewelry box and regretting doing so because it was the sight of her mother’s favorite earrings that caused her to burst into tears.  It’s not that her mother’s death was unexpected but the manner of her death was the hardest part to get over.
Rebecca sat on her mother’s unmade bed and sobbed for a half an hour, grieving that her poor mother had suffered so much in death.  She knew that coming back to the place where her mother had died so violently hadn’t been a good idea but she just couldn’t force herself to bring anyone else here with her.  
Opening the nearest nightstand table she found a leather bound book, wrinkled with age yet barely written in.  She had never seen it before and knew that her mother had never kept a diary but she flipped through the yellowed pages anyway.  In the middle of the journal were a series of pages dated a few weeks before her mother’s death written in her mother’s old fashioned cursive writing.
April 17 9:46 a.m.
I have never kept a record of my life and I never thought at the age of seventy-five that I would start.  But there are things that are happening that I feel there should be a record of in case something happens to me.  And I think that something will happen soon.

They have been getting restless for days.  As I sit here right now I can hear Them downstairs, banging on pipes, knocking over my boxes, and screaming every once and a while.  I’m not sure why They’ve started up again.  They were quiet after I got back from my husband’s funeral for about a month, but now they carry on like They never have before.  I used to hear them sometimes but since George was here I learned to ignore it and he never mentioned hearing Them.  But now, I try not to go down in the basement anymore because They scare me so.  They hide while I do my laundry, I don’t think They like when I turn the light on.  Maybe that’s why they hide.  After I get done with my laundry I carry the basket upstairs and I can feel them nipping at my heals as I go up the steps!  It’s quite painful but I look when I get up to the top and They haven’t broken the skin, yet.  I also think They want my Tabby cat.  She doesn’t go down there much.  I hope I can keep her from going down there.  She’s my only friend since George died and I don’t want Them to get her and hurt her. 
April 20 10:49 p.m.

I am exhausted, They keep me up all night with the noise.  It’s starting to really frighten me.  Tabby seems frightened too, she’s never home and always outside.  I think They get louder when she’s home.
April 22 6:35 a.m. 
Over the last few days I have stopped doing laundry because Them devils in the basement have gotten worse.  Even when I turn the light on I see Their little black fingers reaching for me from the shadows.  The noise in the house has become deafening and sounds like a constant swarm of bees.  My basement door no longer holds the sound and I can’t sleep for the noise.  It’s almost like the sounds are in my brain now. There’s got to be a way to get Them to leave, to stop.  I have no one to call and no one comes to see me now.  I am alone in this.  Just me and Tabby cat. 
April 23 2:53 p.m.
They have never actually talked to me before but I can hear them coming up the stairs and scratching at the basement door.  And today, they started talking to me!  When I first heard Them I screamed and ran out into the backyard.  I didn’t want to come back inside.  What if they find out how to open the door?  I have stopped doing laundry and haven’t been down there in a week so maybe they are getting more advantageous.  They haven’t really said much besides, “blood.”  I am scared out of my mind and I try to spend all of my time in my bedroom, as far from the basement as possible. What could they mean by saying “blood”?
April 26 4:10 a.m. 
I snuck downstairs for a glass of water and of course they were still carrying on.  And then, I saw them sticking their dirty, black, ashen fingers through the crack at the bottom of the door!  I ran up the stairs as fast as my old legs could take me and I’m sitting here crying.  I don’t want Them to get me.  What do they want from me?  Are they here to take me to Hell?  What have I done?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Phantom Hot Dog Stand

        After a few long hours of driving, Russ was ready to get out of his car and stretch his legs.  He glanced at his gas gage which was teetering on empty and located the nearest gas station off the interstate exit.  He rolled down his window to enjoy the cool desert breeze that ruffled his hair as he directed his car off to the ramp.
  The gas station looked like a lighted oasis in the middle of what seemed like no where.  The florescent lights were a beacon for travelers in need of cigarettes, beer or gasoline.  Russ was only in need of the latter and he pulled up to the gas pump.  As he put the car into park his stomach growled loudly, proclaiming his body’s need for fuel too.  The candy bar he’d eaten twenty miles ago sure hadn’t gone far and his only alternative was a turkey sandwich which sat in the passenger seat that his mom had gave him as he had left home that morning.  For some reason his mom couldn’t remember that he hated turkey and the sight of the sandwich nearly made him lose his appetite.  He really didn’t want to eat anything at the gas station, the greasy food had probably been rotating on the warmer all day.
  Just as he was exiting his vehicle to move toward the gas pump a light came on from across the road.  The light shone from a hot dog stand which had set up shop for the night.  Surprisingly within seconds the smell of freshly cooked hot dogs wafted to Russ' nose which made his stomach growl with anticipation.  He decided not to ignore his biological need any longer and crossed the road to the stand.
Marty’s Hot Dog Haven was sitting in a sandy lot all by itself in the midst of ruts from truck tires and dry desert bushes.  The little silver cart’s umbrella was lit brightly, the stripes appearing like a circus tent of hot dog goodness.  The radio sitting on the cart was blaring country music and the hefty man behind the cart jiggled to the music.
“Hello there, hungry fellow,” the man said through his thick, black mustache.  The man’s shirt matched his umbrella and he wore a stark white apron that stood out boldly in the desert darkness.  “Been traveling all day?  Need a tasty ballpark hot dog to satisfy your every culinary want and desire?  Here,” he shoved a fresh hot dog in Russ' direction.  He took the naked hot dog and looked at the man questioningly.
“Oh, you’re the kinda guy who wants all the fixin’s, huh?”  He grabbed the hot dog, slammed it into a paper tray and smothered it with chili and topped it with shredded cheese.          
       "Oh yeah, looks perfect doesn’t it?  Makes me want to cry,”  He poked a plastic fork into it and held it toward his customer.
“How much will it be for this one?” Russ asked.
“Oh, that one’s on the house!” The man smiled.  Russ looked at the man curiously and he cautiously took his first bite.  When the simple food hit his tongue it bursted with flavor and he downed the entire hot dog in three bites.
“That was the best hot dog I’ve ever eaten in my life!” Russ' eyes bulged with surprise.
“I know, it’s like heaven on a bun... without the dying part.  I almost want to spank it!” The man turned up the country music and began to jiggle some more, his large stomach kept swaying long after he had stopped dancing.  The man’s strange demeanor made Russ uncomfortable but he was willing to overlook the man’s oddness to taste another heaven-sent hot dog.  
“Could I get another one?  How much would it be for a plain one?”
“$2.50,” the man popped another one onto a bun and handed it to him.  Russ counted his money, handed the man the cash and put a dollar tip in the jar sitting on the stand. 
“Thank you, thank you!”  the man exclaimed cheerfully as Russ topped his meal with ketchup and relish before walking away.  “Wait!” the man cried suddenly to Russ' back.  Russ turned, raised his eyebrow, and waited for the man to continue, “Do you have everything you need?”
“Yeah...” he continued to walk away feeling slightly strange about the round man behind the cart.  Russ took another bite and dripped relish in a large glob on the front of his shirt.  He turned around to grab a napkin off the hot dog cart and the cart and the man had vanished. 
“What the hell?” he glanced around while chewing the delicious hot dog.  He was standing in an empty sandy lot in front of the gas station.  He couldn’t even hear the horrible country music the man had been blaring.  Perplexed and slightly freaked out he gobbled the rest of the hot dog, filled up his gas tank and turned out onto the road.  As he passed the sandy lot, the stand had appeared again and the fat man was waving at him as he proceeded to jiggle dance.  Another glance in his rear view mirror as he pulled onto the freeway revealed the hot dog cart was once again missing and Russ couldn’t drive away fast enough. 

Friday, March 4, 2011

Sorry To Copy, Mr. Lichtenstein

When I was first looking for artwork to fill up my first place, I saw this print on and I loved it for a kitchen.  It wasn't the typical countryish kitchen print but at $60, I wasn't willing to shell out the cash for it.  Especially since I wanted a little project to do... 

You can view the original here.

I had an 8" X 11" canvas so I drew it out first:

Measuring out and drawing all the lines in the back was so time consuming but the black and white stripes would really make or break the picture so I knew I had to include them.

 Then I used a black paint pen to get a crisper line for the stripes.  TOOK FOREVER!

Stripes were finished and I began painting the fruit in the bowl.  The yellow and red were just straight acrylic paint but the oranges I mixed a little color to make them a little different and to stand out. 

I wanted the grapes to be more colorful than in the original painting and it took me a while to mix the colors to my liking. 

I used the paint pen to do the outlining and a grey acrylic paint for the bottom.  I'm surprised it came out so well for a DIY painting.  I feel bad about copying but... it's not like I'm going to sell it or anything. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Most Important Day?

As a former bride, I totally resent the fact that the wedding industry shoves the notion down the throat of all brides that the wedding is [the] most important day of a female's life.  I am still an avid follower of all-things wedding and I'm constantly surprised that so many years after the feminist revolution we are still bombarded with these messages.  What is even worse is that the majority of women take this message to heart and place so much importance on the wedding that they forget what the hell a wedding is for.

My wedding day was a great day.  But, my husband and I have had many great days after that and we will have more in the future.  The wedding is but ONE great day in the series of wonderful times that you and your partner will share.  Unfortunately between the flowers, cake, dress, and wedding decor the meaning of the day sometimes gets lost in the shuffle.  I can speak for this personally and there were many times I had to step back and force myself to focus  on what was being celebrated, the marriage. 

So, why are women still being hit over the head with this message of the wedding day as being the Reigning-Supreme Day in a lifetime?  Not only does that make other accomplishments in a lifetime look incorrectly insignificant, it places an insurmountable amount of pressure to make the wedding perfect.  

I believe that this message harkens back to the days in which the only huge life event they were allowed to have would have been the wedding.  After the ring was placed on their finger, the shackle closed around their ankle and the woman was only allowed to roam a certain distance from the kitchen like a dog chained in the backyard.  There were not many women graduating, starting businesses, getting promotions, buying cars, or running for political office.

Times have changed and I think the idea behind weddings should change as well.  A lot of people say that even the way that a marriage proposal comes about is still male dominant because it's usually the man who buys the ring and plans the proposal.  I guess the appropriate modern-woman response would be that it should be a joint decision between the two adults that they should get married.  (Though, I'll admit that this scenario isn't the romantic dream that girls have been spoon-fed since childhood... but also, why is that the story girls are told?)