I Know A Little

 

by Fielding Goodfellow

I don’t know how she didn’t wind up with whiplash, I mean she turned her head so fast that I was sure it was going to sail across the room into the fish tank, settling at the bottom where it would forever stare at me with suspicion. “Did you do something you weren’t supposed to?” she asked. Hell, I had been doing things I wasn’t supposed to, sometimes two or three times every day of my life, I mean, that’s just the way I am. My mother used to worry that she’d get a call some dark and stormy night that I was laying in a ditch somewhere in rural Dufferin Country, and the old man, well he was certain that I’d wind up in prison. To everyone’s surprise, I managed to evaded both. I tried to think of what I had done that day, but nothing came to mind.  My wife however had her voodoo thing going on. She got these waves of energy and she knew.  She said that she could always sense when something was amiss, and to tell the truth, she usually could.

It had been going on for decades really, although it took me nearly twenty years of marriage to figure it out. It was never a big deal, I mean it was always some trivial thing, like an unpaid parking ticket or a bill for driving on toll highways.  It was always about money. Its not that I ever tried to hide anything from her, I mean it all seemed so meaningless in the general scheme of things that I just simply forgot to mention it. But we played this game often, round after round of some Spanish-Moroccan version of ‘I know what you did’, that always seemed to leave me feeling like Mr. K. in The Trial. “More than likely.” I said, recognizing that really was the was the only move. In all likelihood I had. It didn’t really matter what it was anymore I mean, once she was sure that I was involved, a confession was the only way to end the entire proceeding and possibly save a life.  Pleading innocence was suicide, but that innocuous confession would save me from the customary two or three days of her not speaking, followed by a review of the incident that would raise its ugly head semi regularly for the rest of my life.

“I just wish you’d tell me.” she said. “I don’t think that’s too much to ask.”.  She was right, but it could very well have been too much to ask, I mean we just didn’t see it the same way. I know it was important to her, but it meant nothing to me, I mean there was a truckload of  stuff that was important to me that she didn’t give a shit about. That’s just how it was. And yet when I raised a concern, we never seemed to resolve it, I mean there was no confession or even a concession on her part.

“You know” I said, “you win every argument.”

“That’s not true.” she said. “Remember when I moved the furniture around you said you wanted it moved back.”

“It was never moved back.”

“Well, as I recall you got very distracted and we never really got to finish the discussion.”

“Right.” I said. “You took your shirt off and showed me your tits. What did you think was gonna happen?” And there it was. I had always thought that I was a relatively bright man, I mean I’m not claiming to be a genius or anything, but I get it. I generally understand what’s going on around me. That being said, I had absolutely no idea why I hadn’t realized this before. She played me. She used her body to distract me whenever there was an issue she didn’t want to deal with. It was no wonder that I never got to ask the questions. Anytime she wanted to avoid the confrontation, she simply showed me her tits.

“You manipulate me.” I said. “What if I did that to you?”

“You’re kidding.” she said.

“No. I’m dead serious. What if every time you got upset, I whipped my junk out?”

“You’d stand a fair chance of losing it.”

“What?”

“If I am upset” she said, “I’m upset. That’s it. But every time you see a pair of tits its like your twelve years old and you’re seeing them for the very first time. You have no idea what the hell you were doing once I take my shirt off.”  Well, she was right. Hell, that pissed me off, but she was right, I mean that really is all it takes to distract me. A pair of tits or a thigh, it didn’t really matter. All she had to do was take her clothes off and whatever else was going on vanished as quickly as it had appeared.

“Well that’s gonna change.” I said.

“Okay.” she said. “But you can’t help yourself.”

I knew she was right, I mean she knew me better than I knew myself. I had no idea why I even said it, but if I could have done it, I would have. Not four hours later, after she informed one of my sons that he could move back home if he wanted to and before I had a chance to express my displeasure with the possibility, she said that she was hot and pulled her shirt up over her head. “Come on” she said,  tapping her hand on the mattress, “come to bed.”

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On The Roof

 

by Fielding Goodfellow

The family that moved in directly across the street from us when I was growing up were pretty fucking strange. Not in a creepy sort of way or anything, but they were weird. Everyone thought so. They weren’t really friends with anyone on the street, I mean there were the obligatory hellos and other familiar pleasantries, but no one ever really hung out with the Klingmans or anything. We called them the Klingons, simply because we were sure that they had come from some other planet, and if not then they were most likely the product of inbreeding. Either way, they were definitely messed up.  In the two years since they had moved in, I had barely said anything to any of them. In the summer of 1970, that all changed.

In that summer I began spending a lot of time on the roof of my parent’s house. It was quiet and peaceful, and the world seemed so different from up there. And there was Bonnie Klingman, who at eighteen years old had become the object of many of my wet dreams, had been mounting the ladder that bore the tv antennae and carefully placing a foot on each rung, made her way to the roof of her parents house. And there, in the heat of the midday sun, she took off her clothes and lay naked on the bath towel she had spread out on the hot shingles. I Knew that I probably should have turned away, but I didn’t, I mean I couldn’t. I stayed right where I was, spellbound as I watched her breasts heave with each breath, and followed the curves of her body with my eyes. Hell, she was beautiful.

One evening, as I was practicing my slap shot against the garage door, Bonnie came across the street. “I know you’ve been watching me up on the roof.” she said. I tried my best to deny it, but I suppose that my embarrassment or perhaps it was my guilt that gave me away. “Its okay.” she said. ” I’m not gonna tell.  I kind of like it.”

“Me too.” I said.

“You know you’d get a much better look if you came up to the roof with me.”

“I suppose I would.”

“Well, you’re welcome any time.” she said, as she walked away, just like that.

I had trouble sleeping that night, I mean there was this movie that just kept playing over and over again in my head, and no matter how many times I rehearsed every moment and contemplated every possible scenario in order to leave nothing to chance, it always had the same ending, with me falling off of the roof and being discovered naked in the bushes beside to Klingman’s house. I suppose that I should have seen it as an omen, but at thirteen years old my dick was making most of my decisions.

I watched from my roof as Bonnie came out of her house in the morning and began her long, sultry climb up the rungs of the antennae base. Once at the top, she began a slow, purposeful strip tease allowing me an opportunity to see her as God intended. She stood, proudly displaying her nakedness, lit up a cigarette and smiled at me as she seductively caressed her breasts before sitting down on the bath towel. With nervous excitement I scurried down the antennae at my house, raced across the road, and flew up the stairway to heaven. I have no idea where she learned to do the things she did to me, but it confirmed my suspicion that she was indeed not from this planet. The rooftop rendezvous went on for most of the summer. It always played out the same. For a couple of days Bonnie would perform for me from her roof, dancing naked and touching herself, teasing me to no end while I sat across the road and watched. On the third day I climbed the ladder at the side of her house and made my way to her body where we spent most of the afternoon banging our brains out. I suppose it was kind of cheap and sleazy, and I suppose it cost me some of my self respect, but hell it was worth it every bit of it. The old man had started worrying about the amount of time I had been spending alone on his roof and pointed out that it could be very lonely at the top, but as far as I knew, the old man had never been with Bonnie Klingman.

The Crazy Train

by Fielding Goodfellow

 

Drug induced psychosis is what the doctor said. Hell, we didn’t even know that was a thing. Drug induced psychosis. The more we heard those words, the more ominous it seemed. But I guess it was a big deal, I mean the doctor said he’d never really be the same. All they could do now was give him some pills that would mess around with his brain and settle him down and everything, which we found insanely ironic, I mean but that was exactly what got him into this mess. I guess life can be like that, sometimes. As we watched him in his bed sedated and strapped to his bed on the seventeenth floor, it was obvious that  Pauly Herman was pretty well fucked. I suppose it was bound to happen to at least one of us, I mean we were pretty messed up most of the time, riding the ebb and flow of the peyote express. Pauly was always up for the ride. We all were. We’d hang out for what seemed like days at a time, listening to ‘Tales From Topographic Oceans’ over and over again, as it carried us across deserts and oceans of mind blowing melodies catapulting us to the top of the mountain from where we were pretty sure that we could see the future. It was just what we did then. We’d invite Mindy Kessler and take turns with her in the bathroom.. She wasn’t very pretty, but there was little she wouldn’t do at the drop of a pair of pants.

Things got pretty weird sometime after side ‘A’. We were used to the flying monkeys and the singing grapes and everything, but this was a completely different kind of weird. Pauly met God, or so he said, right there in the kitchen. He didn’t stay long, but he told Pauly that there were only two truths. First, there are aliens living among us, and second, Paul McCartney was, in fact dead. I was already pretty sure that beings from another planet were living in my neighborhood, but the McCartney thing, well that was a pretty big deal. I can’t verify it or anything I mean, I didn’t hear God say a word.  By the time the sun came up we had all come down from the mountain top, although Pauly was still up there, convinced that we needed to sacrifice a virgin, even though not one of us knew of any. We thought he was just stuck in some kind of bad trip or something, but Mindy was sure that he had lost his fucking mind. We had to believe her I mean, she was a psych major and everything.

Pauly had always been a fairly normal guy, despite having only one testicle which, I was assured by a nurse, had absolutely nothing to do with his mental breakdown. I wasn’t as certain though, I mean I think anyone would be a little fucked up if they was missing a testicle. He didn’t lose it or anything, I mean it was just never there. It seems that it was stuck somewhere inside, although I have no idea what use it was to him there. From his stretcher in the E.R., Pauly reiterated all of the clues that existed in Beatles lyric and album covers that clearly noted the death of the famed musician. We had been over this before and the truth was none of us really cared. They were still The Beatles, and to be honest, we didn’t really think that McCartney had written anything of substance since well, forever. Pauly saw it as a great conspiracy, the grand cover-up that scammed a planet. He became loud and animated and was eventually subdued by two rather large security guards and a syringe in his ass. He was moved to the locked unit on the seventeenth floor, where he remained for twenty-three days. We visited him a few times during his stay and he was pretty much out of it most of the time. Whatever pills they were giving him seemed to have turned off his mind completely, but I suppose that was the point. I don’t think he knew we were even there. We took Mindy with us once in the hopes of cheering the poor bastard up I mean, who wasn’t happy getting a blow job, but Pauly wanted nothing to do with it. He pushed Mindy away every time she tried to touch him. After a while we just stopped visiting, I mean there seemed to be no point to it, really.

While he continued to have his mind reprogrammed, we were just hanging out for what seemed like days at a time, listening to ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ over and over again, fucked up on peyote, watching the flying monkeys devour the singing grapes. Mindy was on her knees, honing the skills that had made her a legend when we got the news. Pauly had died. They said it was sudden and inexplicable, but we all  knew that they were full of shit. Pauly just gave up, I mean there was still enough of him left to know that he didn’t want to spend the rest of his life uninterested in blowjobs. With no desire to live, he simply slipped into oblivion and found his way back to the deserts and oceans of mind blowing melodies that carried him to the top of the mountain from where he would be able relive the past.

 

Something’s Different

by Solomon Tate

 

It was an auspicious event, filled with the kind of tension that lives in the pages of a Raymond Chandler novel. It was the christening of my son’s new gas grill and while I was pretty excited about it I just couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong. Well, not wrong really, but different. Something had definitely changed, and for days I just couldn’t figure out what it was. We headed into the desolate wilderness of the suburbs, maneuvering our way through men in cargo shorts tinkering with lawn mowers and lawn sprinklers, and their wives who gathered on driveways in yoga pants to watch. “What the hell are we doing here?” I asked.

“Making your son happy.” my wife said. “Its important to him so please try to behave yourself.”

“I always do.” I said. I really didn’t, I mean sometimes it was just fun to rattle their brains about a little, and other times I suppose that I just didn’t give a shit. This time though, I had all intentions of trying my very best.

Despite the phone calls and inter family memos, one of my sons and his wife arrived fifteen minutes late. My son’s girlfriend had this five minute window either way, and anything else was early or late. Neither was acceptable to her, and both result in a significant brow beating that addresses common courtesy and respect. She slipped into one of her emotional convulsions and the show that accompanied every family dinner since she moved in with my son began. “What time did I tell you to come?” she asked.

“Four o’clock.” he said.

“What time is it now?”

“I don’t know.” he said. “I guess a little after four.”

“Fifteen minutes after four.” she said. “Five minutes is a little past. Fifteen minutes is late.”

“Do you think she’s gonna say it?” I asked my wife.

“Be quiet.” she said. “I don’t want to miss it if she does.”

“I just don’t understand why you think its okay to be so self-centered and disrespectful.” she continued.“Its just common courtesy to be on time. You may as well have not bothered to come at all.” And there it was. Common courtesy. We had all heard it from her a million times and she always seemed to place the emphasis on the word common, and not courtesy. To be honest, we all found it a little strange.

“Why do you talk like that?” my daughter in law asked.

“Are you questioning me?” she said. “I am a teacher.”

“You’re a Phys. Ed. teacher.” one of my daughter’s stated. “That really doesn’t count.”

“Well that was weird.” my daughter-in-law whispered to me.

“Not really.” I said. “That’s actually pretty normal for her. She’s fucking insane.”

That nagging feeling that something was amiss kept hovering over me. It was my wife. There was something different about her. Something had changed and I knew that my not knowing was somehow going to bite me in the ass.

“Something’s different” I said to my wife..

“With what?” she asked.

“I’m not sure, but I feel like something’s changed.”

“I don’t feel anything.” she said. “Maybe you’re just old and losing your mind.”

“It could be.” I said. “It would explain a lot of shit. Did you cut your hair?”

“Does it look shorter?” she replied.

“I don’t know.” I said, “but you did something different.”

“I didn’t do anything. I stopped coloring my hair months ago. I can’t believe you’re just noticing now.”

“Well, to be fair” I said, “I’m generally too busy looking at your eyes. They’re actually quite beautiful. Sometimes I just get lost in there. But now that you’ve pointed it out, your hair looks good. I like it”  She didn’t say a wood. For the first time since this theme park ride with her began she had absolutely nothing to say and  I was pretty sure that I stood a very good chance of getting laid  that night.

“He’s very good.” my daughter-in-law said.

“Ya, but she’s no slouch, herself.” my son told her.

“Well ” my wife said to the kids, “we’re gonna say goodbye now as I’d like to be alone with your father.”

The Talking Dead

 

There is weird, and there’s spending an afternoon at the cemetery with my wife. There’s no particular reason for it, she just likes to go. She says its the only place she can go where she can get any peace. She says that its the only place she can go where spirits aren’t constantly whispering in her ear. I always thought that spirits would be all over a cemetery, but apparently I have always been mistaken. She says that the spirits leave the bodies and make their way to the other side long before burial. Even when they come back, they never return to where the body is interred. Sometimes she says that we should pack a lunch and eat at either of the two nearby cemeteries. Sometimes I wish that I could talk her out of going in the first place. Its not that I mind if she does her thing, but it all just gives me the willies.

The sky was insanely blue and the sun shone brighter than I thought it had a right to, and the universe seemed to have lined up all of the ducks into a single row and managed to create a fucking, spectacular day for us to picnic at the Necropolis. We sat on a bench eating veal on a bun as we gazed at the grave sides of Capt. John Andrew McRae and his beloved wife, Catherine. “If you listen closely” my wife said, “you won’t hear a thing.”

“I expected nothing less.” I said. “After all, it is a cemetery.” But she was right. If you really listened, there wasn’t any sound. There was no wind rustling through the trees, and there were chirping birds. There was nothing, and it was pretty fucking weird. We walked along the pathways that wound through the myriad of headstones that often seemed untended and occasionally illegible.  She said that sometimes she could pick up latent energy from the graves. She said that this was often a message indicating a troubled spirit who was unable to rest. She said that sometimes these restless souls get angry. I had no idea what the hell she was talking about, but I was pretty sure that I wanted no part of any of it.  Suddenly she stopped dead in her tracks. The color seemed to drain out of her face, and she burst into tears. Right in front of the final resting place of William Tyrell. Now I had spent a great deal of my life traversing space and time and as I wandered through assorted dimensions I discovered that while life races past at warp speed returning us full circle to where we began, its the attractions that make it all worthwhile, and not the journey itself. Sooner or later the lights of this amusement park will go out and I had always tried not to miss a single ride. This was not, however one of the attractions that I had any interest in riding. Sometimes you just have to pass.

She stood there crying for what seemed like forever, unable to speak. I held her until she stopped. She told me that she had been overcome with an intense feeling of sadness. She said that it enveloped her like a blanket and she just couldn’t seem to get it off. She was shaking. “I think we should go.” I said.

“Not yet.” she said. “I can’t explain it, but I feel like something’s here.” For me, that was the sign that it was time to leave, but for my wife, well she had yet to meet a ghost she wouldn’t want to talk with.  She stood there for a long time waiting, although I have no idea what she was waiting for, while I smoked and  polished off her iced tea.

“We should go now.” she said as she turned and started walking quickly across the cemetery grounds. She seemed afraid or worried, or both, and I followed close behind. She didn’t stop until we walked out the front gate, and stood on the sidewalk.

“What the hell is going on?” I asked.

“I don’t know.” she said. “Something was there. I don’t know what it was but it wasn’t good.”

“Are you alright?” I asked.

“I’ll be okay.” she said. “But that was pretty weird. I wish you could have felt it.” She could never understand just how happy I was that I couldn’t.

“I’m not doing this again.” I said.

“I know.” she said. “But I have to. Sometimes they talk to me. Sometimes they need my help.”

“Can we just go home?” I asked.

“Soon.” she said.

“I just want to go, now.” I repeated.

“In a minute.” she shouted back. “I thought we’d get a soft serve from the ice cream truck over there. Do you want one.”

“Ya. I suppose.” I said. “Medium chocolate vanilla swirl.”

“Ok.” she said. “You just sit here and rest. I’ll be right back. And then if you’re up to it,  I think you’re about to get incredibly lucky.”

 

What Do You Think

by Fielding Goodfellow

It was one of those oppressively hot summer days that sent the heat waves dancing across the road, making him think that he might just be having another flashback. They had been driving for an insanely long time, or at least it felt that way, and his wife hadn’t stopped complaining about the fact that her ass was sticking to the seat. “My God.” he thought. “Will this nightmare never end?”

“What’s that supposed to mean.” she asked. He wasn’t sure what she was referring to, but he prayed that those words didn’t really come out of his mouth. He was pretty sure that he didn’t make a sound, but he had learned a long time ago never to underestimate her super powers. With her he knew that he couldn’t really be sure about anything.

“I didn’t say a word.” he said.

“It doesn’t matter.” she told him. “I can hear what you’re thinking.” At first he didn’t believe it. He was pretty sure that if she could really hear what was going on in his head, he would have been dead a long time ago. As far as he could tell, this was just another round of the game that she liked to play with him whenever he was quiet and she was bored. A part of him knew that he had been wrong about her many times before, but this time, this time he was almost certain that he was safe. He was however, about to find out that he was mistaken.

“The only reason you’re not already dead” she told him, “is that I have way too much fun tormenting you.”  He leaned over and turned on the radio. “That isn’t going to help.” she said.

The truth was he had to try to silence the residual thoughts that continuously swam laps around his brain. He thought he had found some relief with The Tubes when ‘Talk To Ya Later’ came out of the car radio, but as he sang along, he just couldn’t stop himself from wondering how long she been able to hear what he was thinking, and why she had never mentioned it before.

“Its been years and years.” she said. “And letting you know about it wouldn’t really have changed anything.”

“No, I suppose not.” he said as he turned the radio off. “So you pretty much know everything I’ve been thinking about?”

“No, not really.” she said. “It doesn’t work like that. There are some limitations. Sometimes I can’t hear a thing. Sometimes I pick up so much that I can’t figure out anything. Its all just a jumbled mess, like listening to a bunch of songs at the same time. Its hard to isolate them and hear just one.”

“Well, I’m not sure that I like the idea of you nosing around in my head.” he said.

“There’s nothing to worry about.” she said.

“That may be.” he said, “but still, it would be appreciated if you could knock first and let me know you’re there.”

“Do you want to find a place to stop?” she asked.

“Why”.” he asked. “Are you gonna tell me I have to pee?”

“We both know you have to.” she said, “but I’d like to stretch my legs, if I can pry my ass off of the seat.”

It was a little concerning to him that she was sure that he needed to use the bathroom, but hell, she was right. All of a sudden he needed to pee. “I think I’d better find a place to pull over.” he said.

“If you think so.” she said.

He pulled into a small rest stop just off of the highway, fully equipped with a gas station, a restaurant, and a small motel. She got out of the car and stood in front of the restaurant giving it the once over as he walked towards it. “Did you want to eat something?” she asked.

“If you want.” he said, as he headed inside.

She wasn’t in the restaurant when he came out of the bathroom. He checked outside and she wasn’t by the car either.  “She went over to the motel.” some pimply faced kid in coveralls sitting outside at the gas bar told him.

He found her in the motel office, seemingly waiting for him to arrive. “I got us a room.” she said.

“Really.” he said.

“Uh huh.” she replied. “For the last half hour or so all I could hear from you was ‘fuck her’, so here we are.” She handed him the key as they walked towards the room. “You don’t mind me hearing what you’re thinking now, do you?” she asked.

“Not at all.” he said as he opened the door to the room.

“I didn’t think so.” she said as she walked in and lay on the bed. He supposed that there could have been a myriad of things she could do that would be far worse than knowing what he was thinking. And perhaps, if he thought real loud, he wouldn’t have to say a word. He tested his theory that evening in room 5 of the Crown Motel, and he decided then and there to never question or challenge her thought reading again.

Season Of The Witch

by Solomon Tate

 

Things were getting weird. Something strange was going on with my wife. She’d been lighting candles.At first it was just one or two small candles at twilight which she believed was helping to keep the planet green, and as she explained, the candles  helped her to relax. But then it spiraled out of control. She was lighting so many candles that the house was lit up like Mass at St. Peter’s. We were awash with candles. There were tall ones and short ones. There were candles in glass jars and candles in pewter holders. There were holiday candles, tapered candles, and scented candles. They were everywhere. She was lighting them day and night, closing the curtains and turning off the lights in order to obtain just the right effect. And while she found it soothing, we were all concerned. She had become a candle junkie.

She developed a fondness for candle shopping, seeking them out where ever she went. She was finding them everywhere, bringing them home home from stores, and ordering them on line. She waited with anxious delight for the deliveries to arrive, and was overjoyed when the packages finally came. There was great anticipation wondering just which of the candles had arrived. She looked at them carefully, examining them methodically as she searched for any damage or flaw. Once certain that they were exactly what she wanted, she carried them to the bedroom and kit them, losing herself in the orange glow of their rather insignificant flames. I tried to warn her of the fire hazard but she  assured me that she was always extremely careful. She positioned them in very specific and precise arrangements, and made it clear to all of us that they were not to be moved.

One of my daughters began to question her mother’s motives for this new found interest in candle lighting. She suspected that my wife may be a witch. It was not a new supposition, but the multitude of candles being lit at any given time had only served to heighten the concern. “She could be practicing witchcraft.”, my daughter stated. “Sometimes I hear her mumbling in there.”

“Its not likely.”, I remind her. “You’re mother rarely feels the need to practice. anything. If she’s doing witch stuff, she’s probably already turned pro.”

She was particularly partial to those little tea candles which she purchased at Ikea, and the citrus scented ones that come in little glass jars that she said would be use to hold spices once the candles were spent. It was a well thought out scheme, although I did let her know that we could purchase small spice jars at Ikea as well. She balked at the idea, reminding me that she liked the candle light.

“Wasn’t there an aunt or someone who was a witch?”, my daughter asked. Indeed there was. A great aunt, who was believed to have put a curse on her husband and turned him into a zombie. There are numerous stories about curses and hexes she had placed on several people over the years that served to make her the scourge of the family and allowed her to wield great power over her mere mortal family. Everyone was afraid of her. Everyone, except my wife.  I had met this woman on two occasions, and for weeks after I regularly inspected my boxers just in case the story of her turning a neighbors genitals into a pretty useless sock puppet was true.

Aunt Layla was quite old when I first met her, and she also had a fondness for candles and had amassed a rather festive collection in her home. We visited her home just one time, and found her husband sitting in a chair, neither blinking nor talking, surrounded by an array of tapered candles of assorted sizes that appeared to have been used often. I had been warned by other family members  not to accept any food or drink Aunt Layla may offer as this was her preferred method of getting someone to ingest any one of hundreds of potions. They said her husband simply drank some mint tea, and within hours had become a zombie. He stayed that way for over thirty years. My kids, who know the stories of the family’s witches, have advised me to keep a close eye on my wife, and not to eat or drink anything she prepares.

And as the candle lighting continued flooding the house with the warm glow of yellow and orange, we all kept our eyes wide open. We sought out professional help, but my wife was unwilling to participate. We considered an intervention, but worried about the consequences if she really were a witch. If she was casting spells or reaching out to her long deceased Aunt Layla to increase her powers, we were all pretty much screwed already.

My daughter has pointed out that I appear significantly shorter than I once was, and while I thought it was due to aging, it could very well be my wife’s handy work. She was always resentful that she was so much shorter than I. My daughter continues to watch her mother like a hawk. She just can’t seem to relax and let it go. “Have you seen her stirring her cauldron in the morning?”, she asks.

“She’s making oatmeal.”, I reply.

“Really?”, she questions. “Are you sure?” I would like to believe that I am pretty sure. It’s unlikely that she’s cooking up eye of newt, and toe of frog. But in the meantime, the candles keep burning, my wife keeps chanting, and the rest of us, well, we regularly roam the house searching for wool of bat and tongue of dog and any signs of a pentagram drawn on the floor. So far, its all good.

Feet First

by Solomon Tate

“I think my body’s starting to get old.”, my wife informed me.

“No way.”, I told her. “It looks fine to me.”

“I’m glad you think so.”, she said. “But stuff’s starting to drop and sag. At least my feet are still perfect.”, she added. “Look at how cute they are.”

“They’re adorable.”, I responded.

“No, really.”, she went on, sensing my sarcasm. ” Each toe is perfectly spaced from the one before.They’re absolutely perfect.”

“Well I know it thrills the shit out of me. Do you want some tea?”, I asked as I headed into the kitchen.

“No thanks.”, she replied. “I think I’m going to have to measure them to make sure they’re perfect.”

My wife has always had a thing about her feet. Me, well, not so much. I am not a foot person. But in the lifetime I have spent with this woman, I have feigned an appreciation for them, with particular emphasis on her toes. “It’s amazing.”, she said as I returned to the bedroom to see her holding a tape measure against her foot. “My toes are perfectly spaced.”

“I always thought so.”, I stated.

“You have to see this.”, she insisted as she measured the height of each toe. “See. They’re perfectly proportional.”

“I’ll take your word for it.”, I said. “I’m really not a foot person. If you want me to examine your thighs, I could be enticed to give it a whirl.”,

“I know you would.”, she acknowledged. “And I appreciate the gesture. But we’re talking about my feet.”

“Perhaps you should become a foot model.”, I advised her.

“Maybe I should.”, she said.

“You’d have to get them insured first.”, I suggested. “Like Jennifer Lopez’s ass, or Heidi Klum’s legs.”

“Really? I can do that?”, she asked.

“If they are cute and perfect enough to be modeled, they’re gonna be worth millions.”, I informed her. “What would happen if you developed Athlete’s Feet, or lost a few toes in a wood chipper? Ten toes should be worth about ten million dollars if they were no longer so cute and perfect.”

“I don’t think my feet are worth much.”, she informed me. “Not yet anyway. I’ll look into it if I start to get a lot of work.”

And then, without any notice, she decided to do it. I should have anticipated it, I mean, she gets like that. She immersed herself in learning everything she could about becoming a foot model. She contacted several agencies, and managed to secure an agent. A shoot was arranged to build a portfolio that could be submitted to potential advertising agencies that involved three and half hours of photographing her feet in various foot wear and nail polish. Comments were made about just how perfect her feet were. They were so perfect, that there were even some nudes taken of her feet, which I assumed were to be used in the adult foot industry. Not long after, she was offered a job to model a line of toe nail polish. She was excited as hell, and I suppose, I was proud of her.

A few days before the shoot there was a crisis. The unimaginable happened. It was catastrophic. “Look at this!”, she shouted.

“What?”, I asked.

“My big toe.”, she explained as she pointed. “What the hell is that on my toe?”

“Shit.”, I said. “I think its a callous.”

“How the hell did I get a callous?”, she asked. “What am I supposed to do now?”

“There’s not much you can do until you get it scrapped off.” I said. “I think its a pretty simple procedure.”

“I can’t have a scar.”, she advised. “No one wants a foot model with big scar on her foot.”

“I don’t know what to tell you.”, I said. “I don’t think there’s any scaring. The doctor just shaves it down. See what the doctor has to say.”

“The shoot is in two days.”, she reminded me.

“I know.”, I said with as much support as I could muster.

It turns out the callous was not a callous. It was a bunion. It could not be treated in the two days left before the shoot. My wife was forced to decline the job offer. The bunion was treated, but she received no further offers. It appears that she was blacklisted due to foot problems. It seems that having foot problems is not conducive to being a foot model no matter how perfect or cute your feet are. The dream was over. “I should have taken out the foot insurance.”, she told me.

She retired her feet, but still sits on our bed, in the wee hours of the night, and talks to me about her feet. She continues to measure them on a regular basis to ensure that they remain cute and perfect. I nod and grunt in agreement, patiently waiting for her to notice just how perfect her thighs are.

The Son Of The Mouse In My House

 

There’s no way you’re ever going to believe it. Hell, I have a hard time believing I myself. But ts true. Over a year since I last heard about it, my wife spotted another mouse in the house. Not just in the house, but actually in our bedroom. She saw it run in and dash behind a dresser.

“That’s it.”, She said. “We’re moving.”

“We’re not moving.”, I told her.

“Well I’m not sleeping in here.*, She continued. “Not with that thing in here.”

“Just relax.”, I reassured her, “We’ll catch it.” As I began to move the furniture in our room away from the walls, my wife put on her calf high rain boots and stepped up on the bed. “Seriously?”, I asked. “I could use some help.”

“I’m not moving until its out of here.”, she informed me. I pulled out the dresser, and nothing. I moved the wall unit, the end tables, and the stationary bike which had sat not only stationary but solitary for the past eighteen months. “There it goes.”, she shouted, pointing to a far corner of the room. Its in my closet.Get my shoes off the floor. I don’t want it in my shoes.”

“Relax.”, I pleaded as I slowly opened the closet door, adding to the suspense. I began moving her shoes off of the floor as she announced the movements of the rodent.

“It went to the left side of the closet.”, she reported, so I focused my search on the identified area. “It went back to the right side.”, she continued. The mouse shot out of the closet like a rocket amid her screams and squeals. “It went behind the book case.”, she told me frantically.

“You know”, I said as I headed back to the bookcase, “I wouldn’t mind hearing that kind of stuff when we’re having sex.”

“If you don’t find that mouse”, she advised me, “we probably won’t be having sex again. And besides, I make a lot of noise.”

“Yes you do.”, I agreed. “But ‘hang on the remote is digging into my ass’ is not the kind of noise I’m talking about.”

“There it goes.”, she shouted pointing at the path of the mouse along the southern wall of our bedroom. “It’s behind the bed.”

One of my daughters entered our room, and seeing my wife standing on the bed in her red and black flannel pajama pants tucked into a pair of knee high rubber rain boots that were at least a size too big, and a khaki colored rain slicker with the hood up, holding a tennis racket was too much for her to bear. She burst into uproarious laughter. “What the hell are you dressed for?”, she asked my wife.

“Safety.”, my wife replied. “There’s a mouse roaming around somewhere in here.”

“Are you trying to catch it or kill it with laughter?”, my daughter asked.

“You’re going to have to get off of the bed if you want me to move it.”, I said.

“Are you crazy?”, my wife remarked. “I’m not getting off the bed until the mouse is gone.”

“I don’t know what you’re worrying about.”, I said. “You’re in your hazmat suit. You have to get off the bed.” I had never seen her move so quickly, jumping directly from the bed to the floor with one bounce, sticking the landing close to the door in one precise move which, had I been judging would have scored her a 9 out of 10, and then running out of the room, closing the door behind her. After a careful search, there was no mouse under the bed. There was no mouse anywhere. I opened the bedroom door and informed my wife that the mouse had left the scene of the crime.

“Are you sure?”, she asked.

“Well its not in here.”, I answered. “I don’t know what else I can do.” My wife climbed back on the bed, still dressed in her mousing attire. “I have to go to sleep.”, I added.

She leaned forward and began scouring the room with her eyes darting back and forth, looking for any movement, any trace of a mouse still lingering in the room. “I don’t think I can sleep.”, she informed me. “Not in here.”

I sat down on the edge of the bed. “What do you want me to do?”, I asked her.

“Just stay here and watch for it.”, she said. “Maybe if its still in here, it will leave while I’m asleep.”

“You want me to sit up all night and  be on the lookout for a  mouse that may or may not be in here?”, I inquired.

“Yes.”, she said. “You’re the man.”

“What does that have to do with anything.”, I asked.

“It just does.”, she reminded me, “Now, I’m going to try to get some sleep.”

“Dressed like that?”, I asked.

“Well I’m not taking it off.”, she stated. “What if it jumps up on the bed?”

And so, I spent that night on the edge of the bed, dozing off for a bit every now and again, but never for very long. The night seemed to go on forever, and I kept myself awake with nicotine, caffeine and Benzedrine. I did not see the mouse in our room again that night. In the morning my wife contacted a pest control company, who attended our home later in the day and placed bait traps in a few select places. I hiked over to the hardware store and picked up more sticky traps, snap traps and some kind of electronic gadget that claimed to emit a sound that would keep the mice at bay.

I have no idea what happened to the mouse that had invaded our bedroom that night, but I assume it eventually left, sitting around a camp fire with its colony sharing a hunk of usurped cheese,  laughing hysterically at the story of a strange woman who spent the night dressed as if she were planning to survive nuclear fallout.  I check the traps several times a day, and so far, I have caught nothing. I can’t be sure if I even saw the mouse in our room that night. Maybe it was never there. Maybe my wife had merely imagined that she had seen a mouse. Either way, I thought it best to cancel the surprise anniversary trip to Disney World. I just don’t think that she would have been able to handle the giant mouse that roams the Magic Kingdom at will, without all of her mousing gear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day Of The Dog

There was going to be a party. Not just any party. There was going to be a birthday party at my son’s home. It was an hours drive, deep into the suburbs north of the city. There was going to be food, fancy food created by a chef. Everyone was attending. They had been talking about it for weeks. It was a thoroughly planned party. My mother-in-law and my sister-in- law, were coming in from out of town. It was apparently a party that was not to be missed. Some of the family members were discussing gifts, text messaging photos of items they were considering purchasing for the guest of honor. Everyone was bringing a gift. My wife wanted to know what I wanted to take as a gift.

“You’ve got to be kidding me.”, I stated.

“No.”, she said. “We have to take to take something.”

“Why.”, I asked her.

“Because that’s what you do for a birthday.”, she advised.

“You know”, I told her, “He doesn’t know its his birthday.”

“It doesn’t matter.”, she replied. “We have to take a gift.”

“The question really is why do we have to go at all.”, I said.

“Because its the right thing to do.”, she said. “Its his birthday.”

“You know”, I said, “you know he’s a dog, right?” Right. Everyone knew he was a dog. But he had always been my wife’s dog.

The party itself was a gala event. The living room was decorated with banners embossed with sentiments suggesting that the dog have a happy day. There were dog cupcakes, and a candle was put in one as my family burst into a rousing rendition of happy birthday for a dog who had long ago left and went to sleep in another room. He was carried out to hear the song and to eat a cupcake, and then returned to another room to go back to sleep.

The gifts were unwrapped without his presence. There was a sweater, a basketball jersey, some assorted chew toys, dog treats, and a certificate for a dog spa day.

“Someone should have got him a girl.”, I said.

“What?”, my wife asked, wondering if she heard me correctly.

“Someone should have got him a bitch.”, I said, “You know, a female dog that jumped out of a cake or something.”

“What the hell is he going to do with a bitch?”, my wife asked me. “He’s been fixed.”

“So have I.”, I reminded her. “But I’ve still got a bitch.” She smiled ever so slightly, not wanting me to know that she found it funny.

“Well”, she said, “The difference is you’ve still got your balls.”

“Really?”, I queried. “I’m pretty sure that you’ve had them for the last 25 years or so.” I went back to sit in the lounge chair only to find the birthday dog and his little sister laying down across it.

The chit chat emanating from this group was loud and diverse, There were several different conversations occurring at the same time, each one slightly louder than the other, in order that each participant in each conversation could hear and be heard. There was talk of synthetic proteins to aid in muscle building, shoulder surgery, and healthy eating. There was one conversation which raised the concern of the poor and the homeless. I was bored, and I wanted to leave. No one was speaking about music, or drugs, although my mother in law did raise the issue of now taking statins. There were no philosophical debates, and no questions regarding intelligent life in the universe. What the hell had happened to my family? The lot of them were turning into protein drinking, vegan gym rats. I had never felt so alone in my life. It was clear to me, at that moment that I must be the alien. As for intelligent life in the universe, I was certain that it wasn’t in that room on that day.

I suppose it was a good party, I mean its always great to see all of the kids and their partners together. It was nice to see the dogs too, although in all of the years I have known my mother-in-law and sister-in-law, neither of them has ever come into town for one of my birthdays, and there have been many significant ones. I have never received a gift from them either, although my wife informed me that I already had the greatest gift they could have given to anyone, and that of course, was her. I remind her that the return policy had always been very one sided, with no opportunity for a refund or at least an exchange. She let me know that she is irreplaceable, and at best, I would wind up with a a very inferior replacement. And as for the refund, well, apparently there just wasn’t enough money to cover her value. Sadly, she was right.

“This better not become an annual event.”, I told her on the long drive home. “I’m not doing this again.”

“We’ll see.”, she said. “Since we’re in the area, do you feel like grabbing a veal sandwich from Nino D’Aversa?”

“Are you buying?”, I asked.

“Do you have any money on you?”, she questioned.

“Not a dime.”, I answered. “You don’t let me have any.”

“Well.”, she told me, “That’s because you keep losing it.”

“So you’re buying then?”, I  again.

“I always do.”, she replied. “And this is why I can never be returned.”

“Ya.”, I said. “Because you have all of my money.”

“Its our money.”, she advised me. “And yes I do.”