Tag Archives: Angst

Prompts IV: Epitaph and Gridlocked

Stephanie at BeKindRewrite provides five excellent weekly prompts, which are gaining momentum. In a fit of self-doubt I was ready to quit but she dispensed a much needed slap for which I am grateful. Here are my submissions for Inspiration Monday IV.



Another giant MacMansion to clean today. Her shoulder was killing her—every vast floor mopped, every walk-in shower scrubbed, every floor-length mirror washed brought sharp pain down her arm. She was tough but life sucked these days. She wasn’t born a housecleaner, shit happens, and it could happen to anybody. She just figured you did what you had to. The snobby Old Lyme money treated her like a servant, but they left the check on the counter, so she tried not to complain.

She dragged her cleaning tray into her third full bathroom of the day and prepared to scrub down the Jacuzzi. She didn’t feel too good, but her motto was to shut up and get it done. She rooted around in her tray for the right spray bottle when she slipped and fell over, hitting her head on the fine Italian double-glazed tile.

“Oh shit,” she mumbled, “I’m out of Tilex.”

The owners found her that night and after calling 911, discussed the annoying problem of finding decent help.

The prompt was His final words were. I hope it’s not cheating too much to have made the adjustment to Her final words were.



My younger sister was an unpleasant bitch all her life but I overlooked that when she needed help. Drugs, bad men, no job, no car, no skills, nowhere to go but down. I taught her how to drive, gave her my car, got her a job in a factory, a room in my apartment, a kitten. I was still young enough to believe that family meant something. She was still a shrew, but I thought that with some care she might grow out of her taste for trouble. I learned to tame my own temper lest we regress back to the kind of vicious fights we had growing up.

But there it was, unlocked and untapped, lying carelessly on the floor emanating  the kind of karmic negativity reserved for conscience-stricken souls.

Hands shaking with shame, I opened it. I would recognize her childish scrawl anywhere. I sunk down on the floor with the kitten in my lap and began to cry.

She fucking hates me. Always has, always will.

The prompt was I wish I hadn’t read her diary.


Week 3 Prompts—Worse than Death

The cages are stacked floor to ceiling in a tiny postage-stamp sized room. Each cage was full, some with one cat, some with a mother and kittens. Each morning I’d go into the room to change the litter and feed the cats. In better times, the cages wouldn’t be full. But even when they were full, cats and kittens if healthy and sociable had a chance of adoption. Then I could let the cats out for a bit to stretch and socialize, some would let me brush them or clean their ears. But not these.

These cats were feral, picked up by the animal control officer for reasons I didn’t understand at the time. On this morning I went in and found several motionless kittens whose mothers had literally neglected them to death. Feral cats hate people, hate being in cages, won’t eat, won’t let you touch them. I had been bitten and scratched so many times my hands were a bloody mess. But I had to get the dead kittens out of the cages.

I begged the animal control officer to either euthanize the cats or spay them and let them go. No, and no. No is the only word he knows. He would make up reasons why we couldn’t help them. No we can’t euthanize them because “people will get mad.” No we can’t spay them because “the town won’t let us.”

It was on this day I finally figured out why he kept the cages full of unadoptable cats. I heard him on the phone telling a resident he couldn’t come pick up a stray cat “because we’re full.” The pure evil of this man hit me full force and I swore then and there if I ever got cancer I would name it after him. I took pictures of the cat room, listed everything that was wrong at the city pound with the dogs and cats, wrote a list of suggestions, prepared a speech. I made appointments with the city manager, the chief of police, and the mayor. They listened sympathetically but claimed they couldn’t get involved.

To those people who are dead set against euthanasia, I urge you to visit a city pound. If putting a wild animal so full of fear that she will let her own babies die while she rots away in a tiny prison isn’t worse than death, then you tell me what is.

Stephanie from Be Kind Rewrite provides five prompts on Inspiration Monday. I struggle with them woefully because I’m no writer of fiction. All I know is how to write the truth, which makes each story more depressing than the last. It’s not the prompts, which are always good—it’s me unable to fashion a story from them. I love fiction but writing it couldn’t be more foreign to me. I think this will be my last attempt.

The Week in My World 3/11/11


THE LAW OF ATTRACTION really works. I have mastered visualizing underabundance, trusting in the force of negativity, and manifesting inadequacy. I’m a firm believer in self-disempowerment.


A HANDY TIP FOR HALF-BLIND SCREENSLAVES: As many of us age we become presbyopic, where the lens of the eye loses its ability to focus. Along with reading glasses, this easy keystroke is a lifesaver:

Hold down your control key and hit the plus (+) sign. Each time you hit the + sign the page will enlarge in increments. It works like magic on blogs or any internet page with uncomfortably small type.


DOES ANYONE ELSE EVER read the end of a book by a favorite author first? Bad books get tossed after a few pages. Mediocre books may be suffered through by skipping pages. But give me a P.D. James novel and I go to the last page first. I don’t want to race through the book for the sake of the ending, only to neglect the beauty of the writing. I read to savor the rhythm and flow of a virtuoso storyteller.


THE REPRESSION OF OUR PARENTS’ or grandparents’ generations was reflected in their music. In the ’60s when rock music exploded, kids no longer  wanted to listen to Bing Crosby or even Elvis. I think it’s not only cool that today’s kids listen to music than spans five decades, it’s almost obligatory. Many kids today love Led Zeppelin, and what’s not to love?

There are many people in my town who are stuck in the ’70s. They condemn the ’80s (they insist it’s all disco!) and the ’90s, (damn modern crap!) and they won’t even discuss the aughts. I vow to never let that happen to me. Viva Lady Gaga!


CAN WE PLEASE STOP with the phone books?  A couple of times a year they distribute them  in my neighborhood, and most people don’t even pick them up. They sit there by the road in their plastic bags and rot, and then I pick them up. Phone books should be by request only—who even uses them anymore? They are going the way of the landline and video stores.


1948 Bisbee dog license that our friend Hogan found on his property. It is one of my dearest possessions, I use it as a key chain. I wonder about the dog who wore it, and frankly I’m surprised they even had dog licenses in AZ in 1948!

The Ironman statue at the corner of Tombstone Canyon Road and Quality Hill.

Even our sewer covers are cute here.

The trees are budding and some are flowering. This beautiful old apple tree is in full blossom, and is busily attended by birds and bees.

Friends built this hay bale doghouse for their outside dogs. Hay bale houses are popular here as they make superior insulation. The bales are stacked on wire forms or rebar, then covered with cement or plaster. This doghouse is not plastered, but it is very cozy inside.

Bonnie is a three-year-old pitbull who needs a home. She’s been through more than I can write here. She’s being fostered by my friend Janice. Bonnie is funny, loving, protective, and doesn’t need no stinking leash. She’s a companion dog first and foremost. However, she’s not crazy about other big dogs.

Car of the Week: 1959 Volvo PV544, beautiful condition inside and out. Drive it away! Brought to you by our friend Hogan at http://hogansclassiccars.com/