Angel or Moth

Superman Can’t Find a Phone Booth has challenged me to write a story using this photo as a prompt. 

Here’s what my demented imagination conjured:

The Shameful Secret

Carl couldn’t confess to his dear sweet mother. Nor could he tell his father or his sister or anyone in his family. And he most certainly couldn’t tell his best friend, Dr. Clarabelle Litchfield.

“Now Carl,” whispered the angel assigned to comfort him as she wrapped her wings around him. “God is with you.  God loves you.”

“But how could he possibly forgive me?” Carl said aloud.

“What honey?” Clarabelle, who could not hear angels, asked as she leaked oil onto the driveway. “There’s a giant moth wrapped around your shoulders.  Should I get out the BlackFlag?”

“She’s my guardian angel.”

“Now dear, I can clearly see, she’s no angel. But we’ll get to that delusion later.  Now, why don’t you tell me what has you in such a state.  I promise I won’t judge you.”

Carl raised his eyes to her face.  She seemed sincere but no, he couldn’t tell her.

“Are you gay?”

“No!”

“It’s alright if you are. In fact there are some nice guys at -”

“No. I am not. Oh god, how could this have happened?”

“Did you tell that moth or guardian angel thing?”

“No, but she knows.”

Clarabelle addressed the angel. “Moth, I implore you to tell me what the problem is so that I can help my friend.  He’s clearly distraught and I am a licensed psychoanalyst.”

The angel rose to her full height, spread her ten foot wings and, then enfolding the two of them, whispered Carl’s shameful secret.

“NOOOOOOO!” Clarabelle cried in disgust.  “You can’t be addicted to that brain dead television show!  It’s idiotic and so phony.  What’s happened to your brain?”

The angel’s eyes turned into those of an irate tigress. “That’s my favorite show too, you snobby bitch!”

Dr. Annabelle Litchfield soon found herself in a puddle on the parking lot.    

[I suppose there’s a moral to this story but I’ll be damned if I know what it is.]

Magic Red Panties

The only logical place to be today is in the sun.  The skies have stopped dumping ice crystals and only a lump of cumulous sits anchored above, but it is cold. 

I’m very superstitious.  If a black cat crosses the road in front of me, I will make a U turn, knock on wood and throw salt over my shoulder. I don’t walk under ladders or open umbrellas in the house.  And I painted my front door beet red. But nothing is sillier than habitually reading a daily horoscope that has never been even remotely accurate.  I’d be better off with the Ouija Board, Tarot Cards or even tea leaves.

A few years back I found out that, according the Chinese,  my mother and I were both born in a Year of the Tiger.  No wonder we were always at each other’s throats, I thought.  We couldn’t help it.  We’re impetuous, untamable beasts.   So I decided maybe there was something to Chinese astrology that warranted looking into.

Didn’t last long. In 2017 tigers, whether born in 1926 or 2010, were guaranteed bodice-ripping, once in a lifetime, grand and passionate love affairs.  Great news to my mother who was raring to go.  But I greeted the news as one would an infestation of wasps. Actually, the wasps would be more welcome. 

But today is the Chinese New Year and so predictions are everywhere. Here’s one of the predictions for tigers in this Year of the Pig.

The Tiger needs to be cautious in dangerous situations such as walking in narrow dark alleyways in the evening, high places such as cliff tops, busy building sites or participating in dangerous activities.  It is advisable for the fire Tiger to wear a red string around his/her waist for the year, or to wear red socks or underwear for support.

I guess this means I can dawdle down dark alleyways at night, do cartwheels on cliffs and pirouette through dangerous work sites as long as I’ve got on my magic red panties.

 

 

My teeth will outlive me

God gave us two sides to our mouth because he also gave us teeth guaranteed to rot over the years. Then he invented a special breed of human, one who would, for the price of a Maserati, endure twenty years of sticking their hands in other people mouths.  He called them dentists.  Then he said onto them “Behold! You have the God-given ability to make even the mighty feel like slobbering fools.”

You’ve probably guessed that half my face is numb and my chin is sagging down to the floor.  My stomach is full of the crap that never gets completely sucked out by those vacuum cleaner things you’re required to pucker up to and kiss. And tonight my dinner will be tepid mashed potatoes and warm wine.

Apparently the dental assistant saw right through me.  She knew that unwarned I would bolt out of the dentist’s office to the nearest restaurant and scarf down a steak burrito and then head for the ice cream shop.  While she still had me upside down, she leaned into my face and ordered in broken English. “Do not shoe on dis side.  Do not eat or dink till numb is gone.  Do not eat hot or cold. Do not floss dis side.”  Then recognizing I couldn’t focus my eyeballs on her face, she handed me a sheet of instructions.  “You put on frig!  Two hours, no eat! No dink.”

If I lose that temporary crown she’ll probably make me wear a sign around my neck that reads “Bad Patient! Not follow instructions.”

My current dentist started out as a classical pianist which I guess is reassuring as he grinds out all those silver fillings put in when I was a teenager who could not go a day without chocolate.  He sweetly informed me:  “Your new cap will have a life time guarantee!”

I don’t know how I feel about having body parts that have a lifetime guarantee.  Good grief.  I don’t have a lifetime left.

Becoming a fruit fly

I dreamt that I died but instead of being free to shape shift into some other existence, a fruit fly or whatever, my ex-husband sucked me into a hologram and made me sing White Christmas alongside Bing Crosby.

He would try to do that because he’s a Mormon now and they own their wives forever. Or so they think.

According to the news show VICE (HBO)  it’s not enough that images of dead celebrities are being used to sell products, now they’re being “reanimated” to do things they may not have wanted to do.  Like sing White Christmas with Michael Buble.

Oh Gawd. Save me from a show filled with reanimated celebrities.  I’d never be able to get to sleep.

No, no, no. I loved them but let them go!

Believe it or not, until recently the legal ramifications of digital necromancy were somewhat fuzzy and the estates of several dead celebs  had to sue to protect their star’s legacy.  And they didn’t always win. In the 1970s a judge on the California Supreme Court actually ruled that after Bela Lugosi died, he no longer owned his “personality rights.”  I guess that judge thought the dead don’t care.  I’ve got news for him.

Today, companies have to gain the permission of a dead celeb’s estate before they exploit his or her “personality” to sell products. But what if a celeb dies intestate?  Whoever winds up in control could do whatever they want.  I’m reminded of Stieg Larsson, the author of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, whose estate ended up in the hands of his estranged father and brother.  According to the reviews, the latest installment of the series sadly does not do justice to Larsson’s legacy.

Hologram of Ronald Reagan.

Poor Ronald Reagan has to give the same speeches over and over again and again at his presidential library.  He was scary enough in the flesh.  Seeing him reanimated would definitely bring on the nightmares.

One good thing about not being a celebrity is no one will try to reanimate me after I’m gone.  I’ll be allowed to die and whatever energy force resides within can either scatter to the winds or find another vessel.  

As a non-celebrity I’ll also never be on the following cruel and sadistic lists:

  • Stars Who Aged Badly
  • Stars Nobody Wants to Work With
  • Stars Whose Spouses Are Unattractive

This picture is from “Stars with Bad Mug Shots.” I have no idea who it is but she kind of looks like me in the morning!

And don’t even get me started on wax museums. 

The Spoon Apocalypse

My paternal grandmother believed that at some point in the near future the world would be bereft of spoons.  To prepare her grandchildren for the coming apocalypse, we all received spoons for Christmas, that is until Cousin George, then over six foot eight, pooped on her prophesy. I believe his exact words were “Get your head out of the vodka bottle Grandmother.”

“Oh what a wonderful spoon, Grandmother! Now I’m prepared for the Spoon Apocalypse.

Through all my travels and relocations, my spoon collection has not fared well but I still have the first one she ever sent me. It’s a sterling silver teaspoon with an etching of the Moorhead Minnesota Public Library.  I always assumed it was just something she picked up at some antique store, but through the miracle of the internet, I believe it had some other meaning to her besides the spoon prophesy.

Moorhead was my Grandmother’s home until her father died and her mother married The Judge. Probably a wise thing for a young widow with two small children to do but The Judge was a controlling nasty pants who didn’t allow his stepchildren to talk of their father or paternal aunts, uncles and cousins still living in Moorhead. That town always remained a life that could have been if not for the Spanish flu.  As a freshman in college when the library opened, she probably also spent a lot of time there.  At that time, the University of North Dakota at Fargo catered to the study of animal husbandry and improvement of soy bean crops and not to the study of something so useless as English literature.  So the spoon wasn’t just something she wrapped in foil and sent to her granddaughter (or maybe it was and I’m just a fruitcake)

After Grandmother’s death my aunt sent me this odd assortment of her utensils. Note anything odd?

 

There’s only one fork and who needs that many butter knives? Or pickle forks.

I don’t know what to do with all those spoons. Perhaps play Spoons.  Have you ever heard of that game?  Apparently it’s also known as Pig and Tongue and it is some kind of variation of Musical Chairs.  The winners of Spoons take a spoon from the middle of the table and the winners of Pig, fart.  (Not really they just touch the end of their noses. Don’t ask.) The winners of Tongue stick their tongues out.  I imagine it’s a game old Judge Nasty Pants would have loved.

Maybe I’ll give the spoons to the Spoon Lady!  Any odd things you’ve gotten as Christmas presents that made sense many years later?

 

Car Eighteen Where Are you?

Don’t you just hate it when you’re not as smart as you think? Or that you were smart but too late in the game.  Or you just plain weren’t smart at all.  I’m talking about the overnight train from Montreal to Halifax in “renaissance” cars with old world charm, three course meals, and wine and cheese tastings in the afternoon.  The one with the observation car available only to the sleeper class passengers where you can enjoy panoramic vistas  of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.  The train with the friendly staff who will regale you with local folklore. Yes, that undiscovered gem I was so smart to have stumbled upon.

You can probably guess the moral of this story. Googling “unique vacations” is going to get you to the same URL as three billion people also searching for a unique vacation.

In our case, we were joined by a group of about sixty party hardy retirees from Minneapolis. Relax and enjoy the countryside?  Hell no. The scene on board reminded me of the geriatric version of the movie Some Like it Hot.

 

Compounding the raucousness of the trip, the aisles in the sleeper cars (all eighteen of them) were so narrow that if you were heading toward the dining car (at the front of train) you would have to wait at the end of a car for the aisles to be clear or hop into a stranger’s cabin when confronted by someone going the opposite direction. But what am I saying? 

There are no strangers on a party train.  At times one group would confront another halfway down an aisle and flip coins as to who should back up and let the others pass. It was like being part of an eighteen hour conga line and guess which car we were in?  Yup, the eighteenth car.

Would I do it again?  Yes. Nova Scotia via train is spectacular although it’s not easy to get good pictures so you’ll have to take my word for it!  

Leave Room in Your Take-on for a Lobster

We just returned from a ten day trip and so now I am a travel expert. I could write a book and charge you money for my expertise but heck, I’m a generous sort of gal so you’re getting my top five or so tips free of charge. 

Tip Number One: After checking in to your hotel, Airbub, VRBO or friend’s couch, locate the nearest liquor store.  This is not as easy as it sounds. In Canada, where where we spent most of our vacation, liquor and wine are sold in well-guarded holes in the wall that are often hard to find. However, these shops only sell alcoholic beverages so if your nightly poison is a gin and tonic, you will have to find a separate grocery to purchase the tonic. Oddly, beer and hard cider are not considered alcoholic so they’re sold just about anywhere food is.

I’m not saying you should avoid the local bars and hole yourself up in your room to get sloshed. God no. Good bartenders are true artistes and it’s always fun to see what regional spin they’ll invent to liven up a standard. But, if you consume more than one Hop, Skip and Go Naked, you might just hop, skip and go naked.  So, it’s best to wait until you’re back in your room to get wobbly sloshy (the only way to watch the evening news in a country where the citizens think your president is a sick and perverted joke.)

Tip Number Two: If you can, splurge on a centrally located hotel so you can walk everywhere you want to go. Do not assume ride sharing services such as Lyft or Uber will be there for you. The two cities where we stayed, Montreal and Halifax, have outlawed them. Of course, there’s the Metro and bus service which I’m sure are absolutely wonderful but I’d rather march the old goat I’m married to all over town and listen him to complain for the next three days (another reason why locating the liquor store first is smart thinking).  Besides, a wrong turn every now and then can lead to new and fun adventures. Here is Joel on an overlook that overlooks nothing. Now, that’s not in the guidebooks!

Tip Number Three: If your hotel has one of those obnoxious turn down services, put the Do Not Disturb sign on your door and leave it there for the duration of your stay.  I don’t know about y’all but once I return from marching the old goat all over town, there ain’t no one gonna pry me from bed for a chocolate mint. A chocolate martini perhaps. Heck, if we’re staying at a hotel for more than one night, we put out the Down Not Disturb sign and never take it down. I’m one of those women who can’t stand to have people see my mess and so I will scour and scrub a hotel room if I think a maid might be coming in while I’m gone which kind of negates the idea of a vacation.

Tip Number Four: If you’re staying at a popular tourist destination, such as Halifax Nova Scotia, and you look out your hotel window in the morning and see five super gigantic cruise ships docked in the harbor, adjust your plans to visit all the must-see places.  I can assure you that the mile long line of buses parked at the wharf are waiting to shuttle three hundred thousand retirees out for a delicious lobster feast at Peggy’s Cove. Getting that perfect shot of the most iconic lighthouse in the world, well, is it worth trailing a line of tour buses for thirty five miles? Nay.  Trust me, there are other picturesque lighthouses in Nova Scotia. (Below Baddeck’s lighthouse)

Tip Number Five:  If you’re planning to take the famous Adirondack train from Montreal to Manhattan and are worried about passing through customs at the US border, keep two things in mind. First,  you will be leaving from Gare Centrale which is a cavernous station filled with shops, cafes, and the most heavenly bakeries in the world.  For crying out loud, unless you prefer microwaved hamburgers and three dollar bottles of water, purchase food and drink at the station.  It’s an eight hour trip and the tiny snack bar on the train runs out of everything by the time you reach Albany.

 The second thing to keep in mind is to rehearse your story.  You will be questioned at least three times by armed customs agents who stop the train out in the middle of nowhere.  They stand over you and, after asking the usual “Are you carrying explosive devices?” will ask gotcha questions such as: “When did you have your wisdom teeth removed?” “Are there any left-handed people in your family?” “Are you currently or have you ever eaten a rutabaga?”

And you better give the same answer every time they ask or they’ll pull you from the train and you’ll never be seen again.

Last tip: Always make room in your take on bag for a lobster. I didn’t and so we had to leave Halifax lobster-less.  Ah well, live and learn.

What are your favorite travel tips?