Moving!

Hello friends.

Been a while.

I’m moving over to a new website dlrosabooks.com.

I’m in process of cleaning up one blog and starting another. In a few days this one will no longer be active. Thank you for reading and hope to see you on the other side!

-Jessica

Random Wednesday: Promptly Penned – Cake

It’s the time of the month where we have our promptly penned posts. As a group, we’re given a quote, sentence, or an idea and asked to write a short story around it. I can’t remember the last time I did one of these. It’s been a while because I’m a terrible person. Here are the less terrible people participating today:

Jessica Jarman

Bronwyn Green

Soibhan Muir

Deelylah Mullin

Kris Norris

Please, pay them a visit and give their stories a read. Today, I present you my short story below titled, Cake.
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Fondant is the bane of my existence. The moment a cake is set down in front of me the first thing I am going to look at is the frosting. If there is fondant on it, I will peel that son of a bitch off of there and throw it under the table like it never existed. Fondant is gross. Starch packing peanuts are less gross. Those are actually kind of fun to eat. Take a starch packing peanut, put it on your tongue, close your month, and it will dissolve instantly.

Didn’t know you could do that with starch packing peanuts? Find that weird? Well let’s talk about the asshole who invented fondant.

Let’s make a dough, but we can’t use flour, it’s not sweet. We’ll need to use something else that is elastic enough to keep it’s shape when rolled and formed. Gelatin! We’ll use gelatin and sugar with food coloring plus a few odd and ends like glycerin. Brilliant! Because the weird skin that forms over your best attempt at home-made jello jigglers is exactly what people want on their desserts.

That is why fondant is weird. And gross.

For the curious, the second thing I look for the moment a cake is set down in front of me is if it has a layer of fruit jelly, or filling, or whatever that mysterious layer of fruit is. Because at that point, it’s game over. If I wanted fruit with my cake I would have ordered a goddamn pie.

“Take a baking class.” My husband said.
“It would be good for you to get out more.” My husband said.
“You love to cook, why don’t you try something new? Baking sounds fun.” My husband said.

But there I am, sitting in a high school class room after hours with a hot mix of other Parks and Recreation sign-ups. The desk I picked said fuck Tom in pen dug deeply into the wood. I don’t know who Tom is but I’ve already sided with the author. The room smelled of sweet vanilla and had me under a trance as soon as I walked in. While the class settled in I took a moment to look around the room and I spotted them. In the cooking area were a row of small cakes cooling. One for each person in the class plus a few extra. I’m pretty good at math.

The instructor, a cheerful woman named Ms. Kim, set her reusable shopping bag on the front desk and started to pull out little plastic wrapped bundles.

“I had a few of my students stay over for a little extra credit and bake some small cakes for every one so today we could practice decorating. Everyone go ahead, grab a cake, and pick a station. You should already have tools out at your station, if you don’t, let me know.”

I left my desk, and that fucking Tom guy behind, and went straight for the cakes. Each of the cakes were perfect. The golden exteriors we smooth and silky. I picked up one of them to take to a station. The smell was heavenly. Absolutely heavenly. I don’t know which fifteen year old made this cake but they have a solid future ahead of them and a happy marriage if they keep this solid performance of cake perfection up.

At the baking station was butter, vanilla, and tools that I don’t think I’ve ever seen in a kitchen before. I pushed the tools aside and picked up the instruction sheet. It was the moment my day went from 10 to 11. It was the recipe for butter cream frosting. Moaning is not appropriate in these situations but there might have been a little moaning.

Making frosting from scratch is much easier than I thought. Ms. Kim questioned if I measured the vanilla correctly. Which I did. I had put in exactly what was on the instruction sheet and then I added exactly what I felt it needed. While we worked on frosting our cakes Ms. Kim started to microwave the little plastic bundles from earlier and pass them out a few at a time. I should have been listening but I totally wasn’t. I paid for the class and I was there to learn but, you know, buttercream frosting on a majestic cake, I had other things on my mind. But the word “frozen” caught my attention.

“…never put cake in the fridge. Always freeze it first. I’ll give you instructions on how to prep a cake properly for you to take home. We’re going to skip that step today for the sake of learning. This is only introduction and a little bit of a play time.”

A plastic bundle was set on my station. I looked around the room and everyone was unwrapping theirs. I decided to follow along feeling a little behind. My neighbor with the perfect hair and a smile full of gums was dusting her station with powdered sugar.

“Mine’s a little sticky. Is your’s sticky, too?” She whispered.

No idea. “A little.” I answered. To save face I copied her and dusted my station. Once I was done I finished unwrapping my bundle to expose a smooth and warm dough.

Ms. Kim handed out the last bundle and walked back to the first station she visited. She took a rolling pin and held it up to the class.

“You’re going to want to roll out your fondant until it’s 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch thick. A few of you have some textured rollers. Feel free to play and experiment. Share with your neighbors too, please. You should have plenty to both cover your cake and to make some other decorations with. If you see bubbles let me know, I have an xacto knife to use to release the air and work the bubbles out.”

“Oh, for christ’s sake.” I didn’t mean to say it out loud but Gums heard me.

“Something wrong?”

“No.” I left it at that. I kneaded the fondant a little and it was just painful. I though, okay, take a little bite of it. Maybe, it’s just a situation were I only ever had commercial fondant and home made is better. Like when you hate pork chops because your mom always cooked the shit out of them. They were so dry you had to saw through them with enough vigor to shake the dining room table. Twenty years later your college roommate throws a few chops on the George Foreman and you realized, oh shit, that’s how pork chops are supposed to taste.

I braved it as best I could. One small bite. A little square. A tiny piece. A squat white turdling. I put it in my mouth and chewed. The best way I can describe it was the chalky feeling of heart burn tablets combined with the off tasting sweetness and elasticity of whatever the white gummy bears are. I’m not sure what my face looked like exactly, I wasn’t aware I was making one. But Gums was watching me and looked away when my eyes caught hers.

“Alright everyone, watch me real quick for this next step. Do you mind?” Ms. Kim was staring right at me. In her hand, a rolling pin. Wrapped around it was layer of 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch thick fondant.

I regret to admit this but, natural instincts took over and I slid the cake off my work station, into the palm of my hand, and backed away several steps.

The majority of the class giggled though a few straightened from their work station, rolling pins frozen in their hands.

“It’s okay. I’m not going to hurt your cake.”

More giggles from the class.

“Take one more step closer, and I swear to god, I’ll drop this cake! I’ll do it! Don’t test me!” I yelled.

Everyone was roaring now but Gums. She slipped under her station and hid. In hindsight, it’s funny. At the time I thought, you might avoid the cake splatter but there isn’t a safe spot in this room the follow-up powdered sugar bomb can’t reach. I had no qualms about popping a bag of powder up in the air and hitting it with a rolling pin like a roided-up slugger. “You don’t like fondant?” Ms. Kim asked her face a little pink from laughing or embarrassment, I didn’t know.

“I, ah…” Shit. Shit shit shit shit shit shit. “..am vegetarian.” I was not going to win any Oscar’s for that one but I managed a quick save. “Of sorts. I’m okay with eggs and milk because those naturally occur from animals but fondant uses gelatin which is a slaughtering byproduct.”

“Oh.” Ms. Kim lowered her rolling pin for a moment only to lift it back up at the ready. “Fair enough. How about you? Do you mind?” She asked as she walked a few stations away, locking eyes with a husband and wife team.

I waited a few until everyone watched her demonstration and was distracted trying to cover their own cakes. I took my cake, casually grabbed my bag, and slipped out the door. I’m sure I didn’t go completely unnoticed. Either way, I didn’t go back. I suppose I could say I was embarrassed but that’s not really my style. I just, was no longer interested in the science of baking.

Fuck fondant.

And Tom.

 

 

 

 

 

Random Wednesday: Rebels!

Today’s topic: The most rebellious thing you did while growing up.

Wonderful topic, however, I plan on taking those secrets to my grave.

Instead, follow me while I make a tangent to being a “rebel” and picking fights. Now, no one picked a fight with me personally. Not that I would I recommend it. Rather, someone decided to be cheeky on the internet and write a letter which started out, “Dear America.”

This post was forwarded to me from Awesome Jim and Awesome Jim simply asked, “Thoughts on the topic?”

 

DHxB2CJWsAEwVOS (1)

My immediate reaction?

download

And here, readers, is my response:

Dear Britain,

In response to your picture in question of an useless mug with your useless monarch (Edward VIII is it not?) seems slightly, ironic. America is a country of intrigue, beauty, and is quite sexy even with a sloppy history. Edward VIII has experience in this himself falling in love, and leaving his seat on the throne, for our lovely Wallis Simpson.  
But I digress, while Britain is full of history far more grandeur than America ours will always be passionate, more exciting, and eye catching to our distant and somewhat jealous cousins across the pond. Our history is also fresh in the minds for us who live here and this is how I know the following:
Edward VIII abdicated in 1936. 
The Confederate statues in question were all erected in the late 1800’s.
I applaud your effort in wit but as always the old chap, a wee bit rusty on execution. 
Sincerely yours,
The United States of America
Will Mr. Lopez see this? Probably not. The fact that this situation involves two individuals with very clearly Spanish sir names having a dick measuring contest about which Anglo-Saxon based country is better is not lost on me either.
To this I say let’s all raise a glass of sangria and a toast:
May today’s troubles teach us to get our heads out of our ass, it’s not a hat. Tomorrow may we encourage others to seek education and vote wisely because between Brexit and Trump, this shit is bananas. In the wise words of Mr. Lopez, together let’s “get a fucking grip.” 
Cheers to you and my mates.

Promptly Penned: Three More Days Of This

It’s that time of the month for Promptly Penned where myself and several others write a short story based off the same prompt. The prompt is “Three more days of this.”

This months authors are:

Bronwyn Green

Jessica Jarman

Deelylah Mullin

Kris Norris

Enjoy!

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She was on the phone talking to her boyfriend and didn’t know what was about to happen. Given, I didn’t know either but all the pieces presented themselves and I’m opportunistic at times of extreme boredom. By this point, I don’t know how long my sister had been on the phone or even how she was paying for the call. The payphone was in a room with a function yet to be determined, full of construction equipment, paint buckets, pieces of lumber, and dry wall. Beth had pushed some boxes next to the phone but her short legs didn’t quite get her butt to the top. She had to climb up to sit on her perch. Legs tangling below her kicking the box side as she talked. Her boyfriend was still at home up north in Michigan with the spring air and mud. We were stuck in Florida with thick wet air and suffocating heat. Not that it was really suffocating to those native to Florida. But for young Michiganders, it was insufferable and sticky.

“Now, isn’t this beautiful?” My Mom asked.

“Yeah, it’s nice.” We lied.

As an adult I would feel differently about Florida beaches. As a preteen kid, it smelled of dead fish and old people sweat.

Beth felt the same. She was excited to be in Florida at first, where I was more in the state of mind where I craved entertainment or home. There was no middle ground of relaxing, sun bathing, or reading a good book. That would come later in life. But Beth was more accepting to a new view away from home. Only a day if I had to put a time on it, just one single day. Then Beth became about as insufferable as the heat and the construction in the condo we were staying at. She would go into bouts of refusing to talk to anyone or whining non-stop. This happened due to her trying to get a tan to show off to her boyfriend at home and then getting sunburned to the point of turning into an angry red tomato.

Mom didn’t care much. She was there to enjoy herself. This meant while she was drinking pool side we were stuck in the condo listening to constant drilling and sawing while trying to watch local TV that seemed foreign and odd. It’s not as if other states don’t have car dealership commercials. It’s just Michigan commercials had better jingles than Florida. So while Beth lathered herself in aloe and watched strange TV, I wondered the building. This is both how I got stuck on the construction floor and found the payphone. The construction workers seemed very unsettled to see a child with extreme proportions of arms and legs with nothing else standing in the middle of a cloud of dust confused to how she got there and where the elevator went. The payphone, which I found on a different floor entirely, didn’t give me any odd looks.

I thought Beth would be excited to hear I found a payphone and I’m was pretty sure we could manage enough change between the two of us for her to call her boyfriend. I was right and she couldn’t wait to talk to him right away. She talked to him first and then let me talk to him for a few minutes too. You would have thought we were stranded on an island and he was our first human contact in years rather than, a days drive straight down I-75 and we’d only been gone for only two days at this point.

Beth called her boyfriend every night. My Mom was gone to hang out with her friends doing who knows what. I had nothing but sweaty armpits and a new smell I wasn’t used to before now. It wasn’t fair to be honest. I get this was suppose to be Mom’s get away. I get that Beth is homesick and boyfriend crazy. But what am I suppose to do?

Annoy my sister, obviously. And it just so happened that while Beth was on an endless phone conversation, she didn’t notice the lizard about the size of her forearm crawling on the ceiling above her. Nor did she notice that I happened to acquire a long piece of wood from the construction material just long enough to reach the ceiling. In fact, Beth was so engrossed in her, “I love you’s” and “I miss you’s” she didn’t see me gently nudge the lizard on the ceiling with the long piece of wood.

The lizard freaking out and falling from the ceiling was completely unplanned. I was just trying to get it to move enough to catch Beth’s attention. The lizard falling and landing on Beth was again an unplanned, but hilarious event. She screamed and screamed and screamed. I don’t know who was more upset the about the situation, the lizard or Beth because both ended up running around the room and bumping into boxes and buckets making a lot of noise. This was about the time in the vacation I thought, “You know, I could handle three more days of this.” Beth might not have agreed but, that’s her problem.

Random Wednesday: Promptly Penned

That little blinking cursor of an asshole was staring at me and I was a loss. I’ve taken such a hiatus from writing, I’m not even sure where to start but yet, I’m eager to write something. I couldn’t decide what though. Should I be clever, witty, truthful, inspirational? How do I break the ice?

Then my email chimes and this was the picture someone (Jim, it was Jim) sent me:

xcm

Perfect timing and one hell of a segue to…

PROMPTLY PENNED! YAY! SHORT STORY TIME! As you might recall, for the promptly penned entries I’ve done once or twice before, we are given a prompt and must use this to create a short story.

If you want to read more qualified authors please visit Bronwyn Green and Kris Norris. Otherwise, just keep reading and I hope you enjoy.

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It’s odd how life is rarely about those big important choices, but hinges on the small stupid choices you didn’t even realize were choices until it was too late.”

Liz dug through her center console and found a few bills, enough for a coffee without having to use her debit card. It’s not like Grandma wouldn’t have coffee at her house, Liz knew she would, but she only drank decaf. And who in their right damn mind drinks decaf?

Liz’s mother often told her, “You need to visit your grandmother more. She isn’t going to be around forever.”

Perhaps that was the first sign of her graceful fall from power. “Defcon 4. Grandma’s on decaf only. Suit up and stay alert to stay on the will.” Liz had joked. Her mother had not laughed. Dad did. Yet, she agreed to visit. At minimum, she could make sure her side walk was clear of the recent snow fall.

The car in front of her slowly rolled forward and she followed behind, trying to make her money look a little less crinkled when an overly cheerful voice spoke louder than expected over the speaker.

“Good morning! And what can I get started for you today?”

“Just a mocha please. Grande.”

“Extra shot of espresso?”

“No thank you.”

“Hot, iced, or frozen?”

“Hot.” Liz looked around at the size of the snow banks left by a snowplow lining the streets and considered the idea of a cold beverage on a day like to day foolish. Not as foolish as decaf but still…

“And what kind of bagel would you like?”

“Just the drink! Please, thank you.”

“And would you like whipped topping.”

Liz was starting to lose her patience. “No. I do not want whipped topping. And you said ‘whipped topping’ very carefully instead of whipped cream which makes me question a few things. No whipped topping. Thank you.”

“One grande mocha, hot, no whipped topping. We’ll have your total at the window.”

The line moved painfully slow but after fifteen minutes Liz was drink in hand and on her way. She turned on the radio and listened to all the school closings, church event cancellations, and postponed sports games. Local colleges were never on the list but that didn’t stop the professors from emailing the night before telling her and her classmates not to bother coming in. She wasn’t complaining about a day off from lectures though the roads didn’t seem that bad to her. Traffic was light and cautiously moving but moving none the less. The plows had been out and it was just warm enough for the salt and sand to be effective on the ice. Even if the roads had been impassible, Grandma would still be fine. She had more than enough non-perishable food and Sudoku books to last her until spring. The worst of the roads were only small patches of slush that pulled at the tires from time to time.

Grandma’s house was a small but picturesque 1950’s ranch in an older subdivision. The plows had already visited and it appeared a neighbor must have taken care of the sidewalk and the driveway before her early morning visit. Almost every house was dug out but for one or two. Grandma’s looked welcoming as always. She had her oversize wreath on the door and the Christmas tree lit up and decorated to perfection front and center in her living room picture window. Liz parked in the driveway but walked down to the street and checked Grandma’s mail box for good measure.  Inside she found a few mailer advertisements with coupons printed on them and a couple high quality envelopes. Liz recognized the sender addresses as distant relatives. The types that visited during family reunions, told the same stories, said they should visit more, and disappeared into the sunset until the next reunion five to ten years later.

Liz had only taken a few steps onto the walkway when the wreath on the door jingled with movement. “Oh, hi honey!” Grandma peeked her head around the door.

“Hi Grandma. I got your mail.”

“Oh yes, thank you. You look lovely. Did you color your hair again?”

Liz touched the top of her head instinctively. She hadn’t washed in days and she was badly overdue to visit to the salon, her highlights grown out by several inches. She had placed her hair in a knot on her head because it was easy and out of the way. Now she became aware that her dirty hair, workout pants, and boots with the separating soles were not the most presentable choices. Especially to Grandma who looked, without a doubt, classy in her festive green and red dress paired with sensible house shoes.

“No, I haven’t colored my hair.”

“Oh, well. It looks very stylish. I see a lot of the young ladies in the style magazines with hair like yours.”

She meant tabloids and unflattering paparazzi pictures of celebrities, Liz let it slide.

Grandma held the door open for her. Liz stepped in and removed her boots quickly. The fireplace had been lit some time before Liz arrived and the front sitting room was warm and inviting with the smell of burning wood and the sound of it crackling under the heat. Grandma took Liz’s coat and shuffled to a nearby closet.

“It looks like you got some Christmas cards in the mail. One from your cousin Tony out in Washington. That’s pretty far away from Michigan. When’s the last time he’s been out this way? Are there any Donahue’s even around here anymore?”

Grandma stiffened briefly and then she took down a hanger to hang Liz’s coat though she was sloppy and a shoulder slipped off. Liz thought she heard a muffled swear but once the coat was hung, Grandma closed the door and gave a smile that was a little too forced.

“Oh, I’m not sure anymore. I see you have a drink there. Why don’t you sit down and I’ll bring you out some cookies I made.” Grandma disappeared into the kitchen but kept talking. “I don’t make as many as I used to anymore. Not as many people come over to eat them and I was never one for a sweet tooth. I only enjoy them once in a while. But I do enjoy baking. Now I make them for church and the neighbors and save a few for when people visit from time to time.”

On her return she presented Liz with a tray of assorted cookies from sugar cookies with a little bit of green and red sprinkles on top to Liz’s personal favorite, peanut butter blossoms. But, Grandma did not sit down. On her hand she had a few pieces of tape stuck to her fingertips. She took the cards from Liz, opened them, and taped them to the arch separating the sitting room from the dinning room.

Liz already had half a cookie in her mouth. “Aren’t you going to read them first?”

“What was that dear?”

“Sorry, these cookies are really good.” Liz finished chewing and asked again. “Aren’t you going to read them first?”

“Oh. Well. I’ll read them later.”

“Grandma, I don’t mean to be rude but, I have a feeling you’re not going to read them later. So, why are you even putting them up?”

She took a step back from the cards and studied them for a moment. “It’s just tradition.”

“Do you read any of the cards?”

“Some of them. Some of them are very pretty to look at.”

“And the one from cousin Tony?”

Grandma didn’t answer. She only put her hands on her hips while she again looked at the huge arraignment of hanging cards. There had to be at least fifty Liz guessed. While Grandma scanned all of them, her eyes always ended on the same one.

“Grandma?”

“I sure do have a lot of cards. Do you send out Christmas cards?”

“No. Mom and Dad do but only a few and they don’t get as many as you do. I think they have maybe only four or five. But that’s not saying much. One of them is from the dentist.” The card from the dentist made Liz laugh. It had been a picture of Santa smiling, the front of the card diecut so when you opened it you realized the teeth were actually snowmen wishing you a Merry Christmas. Brush twice a day to keep those teeth white as snow. It was simple and clever.

Grandma sighed. “I shouldn’t be telling you this but, I think my cousin Tony is, well, needy. High maintenance. Perhaps a little arrogant. I don’t particularly have much to say to him but he always sends a card which is very nice. And in kind, I should really send one back. It would be rude not to.”

“But you don’t want to?”

“I’m getting old and tired. There are many other things I would like to do with my time than keep track of Christmas cards. It cost a lot of money to send out so many and I don’t enjoy it. However, I feel I should. It would be rude not to. There are just – ”

“So many? Can I tell you something I shouldn’t?”

“Yes?”

“I only remember who Tony is because on the rare occasion I see him he is always a self righteous dick. I don’t think he is worth your time or a Christmas card.”

“Liz! Oh! I mean. He is what you said, but it’s not nice to say that word in that manner.”

Liz stood up from her chair and walked over to the Christmas cards and removed Tony’s from the wall and handed it to Grandma. Linking arms together, Liz walked her Grandma to the fireplace. “You can like who you like, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want. You always have a choice. You’re old enough, and maybe, oh I don’t know, cousin Tony’s card got lost in the mail.”

Grandma’s eyes lit up with life as she looked at the dancing flames and squeezed the card in her hand. She let out a small giggle. “Oh what the hell. Lost in the mail sounds about right to me too.” With a little toss, the card fell into the fire and was quickly consumed, twisting and turning until it was out of sight.

Before Liz registered Grandma had let go of her arm, she was back at the arch pulling off more cards.

“Grandma! What are you doing?”

“Aunt Linda is a, how did you put it, a dick too. And so is this fellow from church…”

“Grandma!”

“Winters are tough in Michigan. A lot of cards are going to get lost this year.” She turned and looked at Liz with a smile.

Random Wednesday: Promptly Penned Nursery Rhyme Addition

This month’s Promptly Penned is to take the first line of a nursery rhyme and make it your first line in a dark narrative.

I have small children and many of the nursery rhymes we learn and sing are pretty warm and fuzzy. We have a few books with rhymes but we also frequent Super Simple Songs and Mother Goose Club on YouTube. I don’t encounter many dark nursery rhymes now and I don’t remember too many from when I was a kid other than the fictional story behind Ring Around the Rosie. And no, Ring Around the Rosie is not about the plague.  (Edit for Jim: I’m talking about Ring a Ring o’Roses you weird Brit.) However, when talking about this blog assignment with Bronwyn – holy hell weird ass nursery rhymes! I never knew so many existed. The worst I knew was the maid in Sing a Song of Six Pence having her nose pecked off by a black bird. Well, Bronwyn showed me it gets a whole heck of a lot weirder when it comes to nursery rhymes. She texted me the lyrics to Goosey Goosey Gander and titled it “Bronwyn’s Childhood’s Greatest Hits.”

And this, blog readers, is why I never ask Bronwyn to babysit.

Here is my attempt at nursery rhyme darkness, enjoy.

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Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily life is but a dream.

The water splashed against the hull of the boat with a thud and pulled away in waves with a sucking sound, releasing the boat and rocking it gently side to side. The rocking is what makes people sick but I found it relaxing and dreamy. We couldn’t see the land anymore. Well, I couldn’t. Audrey was down below and she wasn’t seeing much those days. It didn’t take us too long to get into the bay with a casual speed and once there, I opened the Sea Ray up a little more. The wake behind us turned from a turning bubble to smooth defined waves as the boat cut through the water. Aubrey bumped below and this is when I realized I had not secured our belongings before heading out. A few books would fall of the table and the lamp in the upper berth would be on the floor. That lamp never stayed where it was suppose to anyway, even when it was secured. Aubrey had picked out that lamp and most of the decor of the boat. I picked out the boat myself. Paid for it with my money. Worked long days, spent weekends away from home in stuffy hotel rooms, shook hands with greasy clients, who would finally sign contracts after we negotiated almost all of our profit away. But still, I did it for Aubrey and she was the one who always got what she wanted. I picked up the speed of the boat even more and heard Aubrey roll again which made me smile.

Row, row, row your boat gently on the tide. Merrily, merrily, merrily to the other side.

The sailboats were the last to go out of sight. It was a beautiful afternoon and the breeze on the water was light and fresh. I slowed the boat down to a stop and I let her drift. The smell of the water was wonderful, not like the dead fish or musty water dreaded up in the marinas and river to allow big freighters to pass through. This was the smell of water, pure and clean. Exactly how I wanted to feel on that day and have felt every day since. I opened the doors to go below and saw the mess that had been made. One of the cabinets popped open and cans of vegetables were rolling with the waves on the floor. I picked them up and placed them back on the shelf, securing the cabinet knobs with an extra rubber band to keep it from opening again. Surprisingly, the books were still on the table where I had left them but not surprisingly, the berth lamp was on the floor. I left the lamp and the books were they were. Instead I focused on my dear Aubrey. She had fallen off the sofa and had rolled back and forth during our cruise out to open water. The plastic tarp was still secured tightly but she was only unconscious. I didn’t know if I let her be if she would recover or not. Asphyxiation is mysterious in that way. When I was angry I felt like I could crush her. Her, with all of her wants, needs, constant complaining, constant bickering, and telling me I’m no longer good enough? I felt I had to strength to rip her head off of her petite body but no. I waited. I planned. When the time was right, I no longer had the strength. She fought me but her legs weren’t strong and her arms were not long enough. I stopped when she went limp but I didn’t realize until later she was still alive. Getting her to the boat was no trouble at all in the early morning hours. My dock neighbors were accustomed to seeing me at the boat before they arrived in the morning for their weekend visit. While Aubrey laid on the sofa with shallow breaths they offered me breakfast of eggs and toast. For all they knew she had kicked me out of the house again, always fighting, always about money and her over spending. Now in the bay, I removed the tarp and brought Aubrey up and onto the swim platform. I didn’t make a ceremony of it. I simply untied the tarp and let her body roll into the water. She barely made a splash.

Row, row, row your boat gently back to shore. Merrily, merrily, merrily home for tea at four.

I didn’t bother to watch what happened to my Aubrey. I dragged the tarp on to the boat and folded it neatly, placing it in one of the storage areas under the seats. It was simple, more simple than I thought it was going to be. I imagined the water flooding into her nose and throat, seeping into her lungs, swallowing her body and weighing it down to the bottom feeders. There Aubrey can rest with her own kind. I loved her once and I did it all for her. I brushed my hand over the steering wheel and felt the smooth leather under my skin. This water was my freedom. This boat was my escape. From stress, from work, from anxiety, from anger. This boat is my escape from it all. Aubrey wanted to take it all away from me. Everything I worked hard for, she wanted it for herself and wanted to cut me out of it. Take me for every penny I earned and this boat, this freedom. I never thought the open water I loved so much would provide the happiest moment in my life, an escape from her. The water drifted the boat for some time but it was still early in the day when I decided to turn home. I had a full day head of me and it was just after noon.

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Please visit the other writers today:

Bronwyn Green and her weird ass nursery rhymes

Deelylah Mullin

 

 

 

 

 

Random Wednesday: Promptly Penned

School is now in session and my quiet morning drive has turned into whole lot of fuckery.

As is my daily ritual, I email my husband to let him know that I made it to my destination unscathed. Today was titled “Traffic Report: WITNESS ME!” and I attached the following picture.

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Back to school indeed.

And as it happens, today’s prompt for Promptly Penned is somewhat schooled inspired. Let’s see where this prompt takes us. It will be a surprise. Like the “proud trucker wife” decal toting, Jesus fish clad, truck I followed into town this morning that used a blinker a total of zero times.

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In school tests started with a class bell and ended with a “pencils down”, outside of school things weren’t so well defined. At least not when it came to drivers training. And I suppose I shouldn’t say things weren’t well defined. The lines painted on the black top of the back school parking lot were pretty well defined in bright yellow. If the lines weren’t enough to give a hint or two, a few well placed orange cones were pretty in your face. For most of us at least. There was the quiet kid who decided to punch the gas straight for the fence. He forced his driving partner to slam on the passenger side brake all the drivers training cars were equipped with. The car stopped in time however, only one of the kids in that car moved on to the next drivers training session. One very much did not. But downfall of obtaining a drivers license is not the test, written or driving. It’s not even the parallel parking or trying not to drive through fences. It’s having a hot mom and a Ford Tempo.

I drove a ’93 gray Ford Tempo and in the passenger seat logging the required driving hours was a short blonde with the greenest eyes you’ve ever seen. To say Mom was excited for me was an understatement. So much so, she was sitting next to me fudging my numbers and turning the 35 hours I did drive into the even 50 required to get a license.

“Think of it. Now, whenever we need milk you can drive to the grocery store for me! And you don’t have to worry about getting a ride home after school. You can drive yourself.”

“Yup.” I answered. Though I was more focused on the fact I could pick up fast food whenever I wanted but sure, I would occasionally pick up a gallon of milk when asked. I like milk.

By the time we arrived at the local college where the drivers test was to begin, a very large burly man was already standing by a setup of cones with a clipboard. As I pulled the car up, he signaled us to park and walked to the drivers side.

“Hi, I’m Phil. I’m going to be your tester today. First, I’m going to ask you to step out of the car and keep it running. I have to do a vehicle check.”

I got out of the car and he reached in to activate the turn signal, walked around the outside of the car to make sure all the lights were blinking. At that moment, he noticed her. Burly man meet hot Mom.

“And who are you?”

“I’m her mother.”

“What? No. How old are you? You can’t be past 30!”

My Mom blushed and shrugged in her own little cute way. I stood there observing in my tall skinny awkward teenage kind of way.

Phil gave the car a pass though technically there was a single light out in the middle brake light located in the back window. It wasn’t a major brake light and it was still semi-functioning. Good enough to get in the car with a hot blonde and her gangly child. There was a slight problem. While Mom had no problem sliding into a back seat of a two door compact car (and I’m sure there is a joke in that statement) our flirtatious Phil was a tall, thick, “before” picture of a weight loss commercial. He hesitated only for a brief moment before climbing in one arm and leg at a time. From here on our adventure began with the car listing slightly on the right.

“I want you to take a left out of the parking lot. I also want you to physically move your head when you are checking your mirrors so I can see your checking them. I know you are probably checking them with your eyes but I can’t see where your eyes are looking so I’m going to ask you to make it obvious for me when you look at your mirrors.” Phil rolled his body to a very uncomfortable looking position to face the back seat as best as he can. My Mom sat in the middle seat unbuckled, but Phil didn’t seem to notice or care. “This has to be your oldest.”

“No. She is actually my middle. I have two older and two younger yet.”

I stopped at a stop sign. No one was coming though I turn my head dramatically to make sure Phil knew that I’m looking. He didn’t tell me to turn so I assumed we’re going straight.

“Five kids! Get out of here! You do not look like you have five kids. I don’t have any myself but I do like kids. I’m actually a truck driver as a full time job. I just like doing this on the side. I think it’s fun.”

“Oh that’s interesting and very kind of you to help kids with driving. Especially since you are so experienced.”

For the record, I’m actually a good driver. I didn’t need my Mom to help me with the test. And she wasn’t. She was just being polite but man – was Phil laying it on thick.

“You have a really nice shade of blonde hair. Not many woman can pull off such a beautiful color like you can.”

“It’s highlighted but I am a natural blonde.”

See Phil, the carpet matches the drapes and you didn’t even have to go there to find out. Keep that mental image for later. Which is probably exactly what he does because he seemed mostly satisfied with where this conversation with my Mom is going and spends a little more time telling me were to turn and what to do. We go through a couple of back roads, jump on the highway for a few, exit to get some city driving in, and about thirty minutes later we’re back in the parking lot of the college.

Phil announces that I had passed my test and did a wonderful job. He only said, “You should use your mirrors more but then again, I tell almost everyone that. I’m sure you were using them and just not turning your head enough for me to see.”

Teenage self wanted to yell at him. “If you weren’t facing the back seat the entire time you would have seen I was using my goddamn mirrors!” I didn’t. Rather I thanked him for the note, promised to do better, and once more thanked him for driving with me.

On the way home my Mom seemed in a good mood. She rehashed how well I did on my test and how proud she was. Then she listed off all the documents we would need to get before we head to the DMV to finally get my license. While I’m sure my Mom was still on Phil’s mind, Phil was only briefly on my Mom’s. “That tester of yours was sure chatty. Very nice though. I think you were lucky to have such a nice one. Oh, before I forget. Swing by the store. We need milk.”

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Thank you for reading my flash fiction today!

Here are the other participants:

Jessica Jarman

Bronwyn Green

Kris Norris