I glanced up when the bell announced my first customer. Christ on a cracker, it would have to be him—I just can’t catch a friggin’ break. I tried smiling, but it wasn’t going to happen—the miserable old bastard didn’t deserve the attempt. Still, the owner of the store pounded into my head that all customers were to be greeted regardless of their shitty dispositions.
“Good morning, Mr. Ellsworth.”
“Says who, girlie, you? Your blatherings are wasted on me, so just take my order. I want six ounces of Black Jack, six ounces of Trapper’s and half a dozen of them bear claws. They better be fresher than last week’s bunch. I won’t make the mistake of buying them later in the day. Never thought Mrs. Maitland would have the balls to put out day old crap and for the price! Just proves people will do anything to make a buck these days.”
He glared at me. I glared back.
“Is that all?”
“Of course, that’s all! Do you think I’m made of money? And don’t take all day about it either, girlie. Be careful while you’re at it. Never known a female to be so damn ham-fisted.”
It required endless buckets of self-control to refrain from bouncing the heavy steel tea scoop off the nasty old goat’s skull. By the grace of whatever god was the rage these days, I managed to harness my instinct to maim, and filled his order—like I did every friggin’ Friday these past months.
“Don’t think you can short me like you did last week, girlie. I bet you thought I hadn’t noticed, but I did. Not much gets by me. You damn kids aren’t as smart as you think you are.”
I sucked in my cheeks and counted to seven. Did nothing give the guy pleasure? Anyone with a heart would cut a sob-story a bit of slack, but by most villager’s accounts, Mr. Ellsworth was a miserable human being from the moment he formed words.
“Quit day-dreaming and get to it, girlie.”
What is his deal today? Jesus.
Normally, a couple rude comments meant to end someone’s good day proved enough to satisfy his hateful nature. However, today’s bitter criticism went far beyond his usual contempt for humanity, and every Friday it worsened. The old vulgarian derived true enjoyment from inflicting verbal abuse on people. I wished I could cork his mouth for good.
Just then a thought popped up. An epiphany, more like, enabling me to see a clear way forward. Euphoric, I reached for a jar hidden beneath the counter, and while he launched into another scathing diatribe about women in the workplace, I slipped a teaspoon of the fine, dusty powder into a cup of tea. I handed him the drink.
“Care to try a complimentary sample of our newest flavor–Just Desserts?”
He accepted the offering, cast a suspicious glare at the contents, and then stuck his hawkish nose so far into the cup, I thought he might snort the contents.
He beetled his brows and glanced up. “Bout time I get something for free ‘round here.”
He blew and sipped at the tea not stopping until he slurped up the dregs. A low gurgle broke the silence. Startled, he stared at me. I stared back. He began to speak, but no words formed. He lurched forward mouth agape and eyes wild. The cup dropped from his fingers and bounced before rolling beneath the cabinet. He grabbed at his chest, and the smell of skin a-sizzle laced the air. Moments later a heavy fog enveloped the old man and he disappeared.
I flapped a towel to help dissipate the fog then leaned over the counter and peered at the floor. A pile of clothes lay in a heap where the old bastard once stood. After a tick, they too dissolved revealing a gray, grizzled cockroach.
My boss poked her head out from behind the office door, looked around and made her way over to me.
“I thought I heard Mr. Ellsworth’s voice earlier. I assume Mr. Wonderful left?”
“Yep, you just missed him.”
“How was he today?”
“He seemed a bit…bugged.”
The cockroach scurried toward the door catching the boss’s eye.
She exclaimed stomping down on the roach with a size eleven foot.
“Where there’s one there’s hundreds more. Looks like we’ll have to get the fumigators in.”
“Yup, looks like.”
There is a place between the waking world, and the dream world, which has no documented name. When a sleeping person arrives in this odd place they feel as if they are floating through an ocean of stars.
Every star symbolizes the dream(s) of people in their sleep state. Here, Dream-Walkers search and sift through the dreams of those who are most vulnerable. But for what purpose? A Dream-Walker hopes to communicate with others in their dreams for the purpose of controlling the dreamers waking state, thereby changing the Tel’aran’rhiod, or, Wheel of Time. Tonight, beware the Dream Walker as you drift into slumber.
~Please click on the link below and enjoy the adventure with special guest; Blanca the Chihuahua/Maltese mix!
So, last weekend, I climbed 1100 feet up the side of treacherous mountain to nose around a 15th century castle and do some metal detecting. The JTH video makes the climb look easy, but believe me, if not for a few trees dotting the trail, fallen logs and footholds, there wouldn’t have been much to grip on to hiking the treacherous vertical climb. For my metal detecting efforts, I dug up one nail and pull tab respectively—still, it wasn’t about the metal detecting for me. It was more about the reward at hike’s end. The mountaintop was beautiful and so breezy! We heard all sorts of bird song; came across a couple wicked looking spiders, and listened to monkeys calling back and forth from across the ridge. Once we were at the bottom again (much easier on the way down!) I rousted the gods at the Shirotori shrine and said a prayer—a fitting end to a wonderful day with good friends.
name: Tenjinyama castle (Tenjinyama-jo)
place: Tado Wake town, Okayama
structure: Mountain Castle
built: 15th century
remnants: moats & clay walls
Tenjinyama castle spreads across a long ridge northwest from the peak of Tenjinyama mountain, and alongside Yoshiigawa river in the east part of Okayama prefecture. This ridge is over 1650 feet long and sandwiched by sheer cliffs.
Twenty-nine years and still having fun!
Happy Anniversary to my Sweetie~
Tachikawa, Tokyo, Japan
originally posted: 30 Jan 2014
My 40-something self, who has been driving since 1982, was only allowed to get a driver’s permit today. Yes, an effing permit. Having just arrived from Germany with an expired US license, I discovered that fabulous news when I applied to the North Dakota DMV. Lucky for me, since I’m over fifteen, I can forgo the need for another adult driver to accompany me. Oh, and I have six months to get the road test done. Yes, a GD road test–unbelievable. I did happen to mention to DMV personnel that if I could drive by myself for six months why do I have to take a road test? If I hadn’t careened off the road in a fiery crash by then, I should be considered good on all the traffic laws, right? Blank stares all around.
Briefly, I dredged up memories of me at fifteen tooling around in a crap brown Driver’s Ed station wagon; Thing 1 & 2 moaning in the back seat while I ferried around the jerk-of-a-football-coach/driving instructor (from a rival school no less) who decided he may as well get his errands done while he “taught” us to drive.
Uhm, coach L.? I still can’t parallel park!
The idea of taking the d*mn road test irked me more than the written. I never had a crash (on record) never had points taken off my license, never had a speeding ticket (talked my way out of a few) and maintained a clean driving record while licensed in Michigan, Florida, North Dakota (stationed at another AFB years earlier), Nevada, South Dakota and California not to mention being tested and licensed in England and Germany. None of it matters.
Apparently, with all the oil people stampeding across North Dakota in recent years, they’re not taking any chances, so I’m forced to fall in line and prove myself competent enough to drive their hallowed roadways. I protested and whined a bit more just to annoy the lady who looked like she wanted to stab me in the neck with a ‘North Dakota the Peace Garden State’ pen, and then sat down to take the test. Since it was a computer program I knew immediately if any answers were wrong–none at that point …and then my screen froze.
Oh eff me.
I wait it out hoping the problem self-corrects. It doesn’t. I stand up, go to the door and, *GASP* knock on the window to get someone’s attention. Once he finishes glaring at me with gross indignation the test proctor hustles me back into the test area. Proctor’s lips are pursed in disgust. The jerk thinks I’m exaggerating because I’m getting a lecture telling me this has never happened. To anyone. Ever. After five minutes blinking at the same driving scenario and multiple choice question, he declares that there is, “indeed a problem.” When jabbing his spindly fingers at the keyboard and switching the PC on and off doesn’t work, it takes another five minutes before he realizes standing there and scratching his dandruff won’t fix things either.
Eventually, he assures me I could continue the test where I had left off, using another computer. Unfortunately, the program dumped my results and now he tells me I have to restart the test. Despite having completely different questions and scenarios, I passed. I get my permit, but before I leave, I have to make an appt for the road test. I tell the pen lady that I shouldn’t have to come back to take the road test on pain alone, or at least a discount was in order for holding me hostage all afternoon in a poorly ventilated room that smelled like teen angst. I could tell my comment was not appreciated. Humor is so lost on these people.
Inside every snarky b*tch is a pleasant woman who just got fed up with the bull-sh*t.
When people ask how well my writing is going, somedays I think to myself, “If I was a bird, I’d fly into a jet engine.”
Self-absorbed a-holes must have been put on the earth to test our anger management skills.
Everyday I try to be a positive person, and today I’m positive everyone is losing it.
I tend to be more accommodating when there are witnesses.
On the surface I may appear calm, but inside I’m rehearsing my alibi.
“Flavorful” is the favorite adjective of people on ‘Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Most likely these people need a map to their own kitchens.
“There are no stupid questions.” Are we sure about this?
Please don’t make me explain what you won’t understand.
Another day gone, and I didn’t use Algebra.
If sarcasm was a language, I’d be fluent.
If only common sense was more common.
Italian proverb: “A ogni uccello il suo nido è bello”
Amen to that!
Post title quote credit: Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
Born to Write
A picture tells a thousand stories!
"We make bitter better."
Irish History, Culture, Heritage, Language, Mythology
spare the crazy vocabulary, speak from your heart
Poetry, Prose, Photography
by Lize Bard
Natalie. Writer. Photographer. Etc.
Exploring land recently released by ice (geologically speaking)
A wee anthology of dark yarns.