No Strings Attached

I prefer to work behind the scenes as a Puppet Mistress because I’ve had my fill of being controlled. Yessir, up to ‘ere, I tell ya! I’m only a meter and a half high so that’s a bloody lot! No more headlining in Freak Shows for me.. full time anyways. Gotta start somewheres, I guess. I’d rather create me own fantasies than live in this depressing reality, as a freak. Ya see, I was born with a facial deformity and bowed legs, which me own Mother capitalized on by sending me away to a traveling Circus Freak Show when I was a wee lass, just six years of age, for a whoppin’ two shillings! Me Mum never looked back, I only remember seeing the back of her bright blue and yellow floral sundress and wide brimmed straw garden hat as she strolled away from the railroad station.. away from me. I wonder if she ever missed me, her one and only daughter?

The Ringmaster took me in as his own, but he’s a businessman at the end of the day and I’m not the only orphan in the Circus Freak Show. His time’s spread thin with booking shows, breaking down and putting up tents, traveling here and there, everywhere really, kissing audience members’ arses, wrangling the performers, hiring and firing the crew, refereeing quarrels, and of course.. putting up with us freaks. The Ringmaster, we call him “Burly Burke,” he’s the closest to kin I’ve had for the past two decades. Even though he’s the lad is charge and I’m just one of his many workers, we get on just fine. I can’t say the same for the naughty kids, they call him “Burke the Jerk” behind his back. I don’t believe any of their hogwash about Burke being a jerk though. I choose to believe this unsavory nickname came about because Burke is always chewin’ on beef jerky.

One day soon, I hope to be promoted from Puppet Mistress (like an Apprentice) to Puppet Madam; I just gotta prove my stuff first, impress Burke and Gertrude, win over the audience, and not muck up too much. If I do all that, I just might transfer from Freak Show to Puppet Show. I’d have more creative responsibility as a Puppet Madam: writing scripts and crafting the puppets, which is much better than untangling the puppet strings. What a shite gig! Seriously, a monkey could do it. I mean, we do have a thirty-three year old chimp named Marmalade, we call her Ol’ Marm, she doesn’t seem to mind, as long as you don’t look her in the eye. Her full time job is being the Ringmaster’s right hand. She follows Burke around carrying a satchel with anything he may need. Rumor has it that Ol’ Marm is a retired undefeated boxing champ. I cannot imagine Burke putting her in the ring with a drunkard for three shillings a round! Well, I guess if this is all true, that would make her Burke’s unofficial bodyguard too. I read in a mustard stained, ale soaked National Geographic magazine that I found in a bin that a chimpanzee has 1.35 times the strength of a human being.

Reading seems to be the only escape I can get from this place. The Puppet Madam, Gertrude, begrudgingly taught me how to read and write a couple years ago. I think she saw potential in me because she’s never taught anyone else before or since. Crippling arthritis robbed her ability to write Puppet Show scripts and craft the puppets. Her previous illiterate pissants were able to memorize the scripts from her dictation. She still dictates, but now I’m beginning to write for her. I’m still learning how to craft. Gertrude has quite a few strict rules. Top of the list is: “No Improvising” as she thinks it mucks up the whole production.

“Bloody hell Deirdre! What’d I tell ya?” Gertrude demanded while stomping her cane with one hand and wiping her twisted fingers across her face with the other. “Rule number thirteen: “Do Not Be Seen.” We’re meant to be invisible to the audience because it creates a sense of believability that the puppets are performing on their own.”

“S-sorry M-mum,” the new puppeteer, Deirdre, quickly apologized, avoiding eye contact and shuffling her feet, ready to retreat. “A-anything else before I g-go?”

“No child,” Gertrude softened with a tight lipped smile. “Off with ya,” as she waved her moth eaten handkerchief and plopped down on an uneven footstool. Deirdre vanished before Gertrude finished her second syllable. I don’t blame her because when an elder comes at you like that, we expect to be beaten, and if you can outrun ’em.. You might as well give it a go.

“Brilliant show tonight, Mum,” I said while pouring two cups of hot tea and handing one to Gertrude.

“Eh. We still have two more to go,” she muttered with a sip and a yawn. “I don’t think I can muster through.”

“Oh, w-well, I-” I began, gathering all the courage to continue. “Y-ya know, I-I could take over for ya so you can r-rest?”

“That’s awful kind of ya,” Gertrude breathed with a sigh, her wrinkled face relaxed as she leaned against a splintered tent post and closed her eyes; teacup still in hand.

I carefully wiggled the warm teacup out of her tight grip and tucked a frayed quilt around her. She started to snore and drool, which were signs she was out. Over the years, I’ve learned the saying: “The wise man doesn’t poke a sleeping bear with a stick.” Wonder if there’s a story behind that? Maybe someone published their unpleasant experience in an issue of National Geographic? Which reminded me that I needed to rummage through the bins later for something new to read.

“Well done, mate,” I said, patting Deirdre’s shoulder as we both stood from kneeling on footstools for what seemed like hours.

“Thank ya?” Deirdre hesitantly replied, motionless, waiting for more to come.

“I mean it,” I continued, handing Deirdre the puppets and props one by one. She placed each of them into a steamer trunk. “I think you’re gonna fit in here. Don’t worry about Gertrude. She’s a tough ol’ broad, but she grows on ya.”

“If you say so,” Deirdre replied, locking the trunk and sitting upon it. “So, what’s your story?”

“M-me?” I asked, not expecting the conversation to turn. “Oh, ya know, um, classic runnin’ away to join the circus story. I heard something about you stealing some bread from one of our tents? Couple weeks ago?”

“Yes’m, I’ve been on the streets for as long as I can remember,” she reminisced while twirling her short greasy golden locks between her stubby fingers with one hand and pocketing the steamer trunk key. “This traveling circus gig seems to go with my nomad lifestyle, so we’ll see how it goes..”

“So, you’re a gypsy?”

“More or less.”

“More of a thief? Less of a gypsy?”

“Jury’s still out on that one,” Deirdre said with a quick grin. She shifted her weight to the edge of the steamer trunk and her shiny penny-less loafers rhythmically tapped the ground. “Anything else before I go?”

“Uh, aye,” I started, clearing my throat, and leaning against a tent post. “Those are some nice shoes ya got there.”

“Thank ya?” Deirdre questioned the compliment, as she crossed her legs and arms.

“Lookit, I live in a grey world,” I put my hands up in surrender. “I was just gonna ask if ya could maybe be on the lookout for a size three and a half for me?”

Deirdre uncrossed her arms, leaned back resting her palms on top of the steamer trunk, stretched her still crossed legs out, and squinted her blue eyes up at me.

“I-I’m way overdue for a new pair. I g-gotta hole in each sole. These damn bowed legs need b-better s-support. W-whenever it rains, I c-catch a cold. I can’t a-afford losing anymore work.”

“What’s in it for me, eh?”

“I’ll put in a good word for ya with Gertrude and Burly Burke?” I proposed while absentmindedly thumbing through the puppet show scripts in my burlap apron.

And teach me how to read?”

“Think you’ll be around long enough to learn?”

“I’ll see to it that I do. Haven’t had nothing to look forward to in- -,” Deirdre trailed off, averting her gaze, and quietly chuckled to herself. “I’ve never had nothing to look forward to.”

“Got yourself a deal,” I agreed.

“Aye,” Deirdre leaned forward to her feet and extended her hand towards me.

I slowly lifted my hand out of my pocket, Deirdre firmly shook my hand, and I instinctively winced.

“You okay?” Deirdre loosened her grip and looked me in the eye. “Didn’t mean to hurt ya.”

“O-oh, n-no, um, it w-wasn’t t-that,” I began, voice trembling, and letting go of her hand. “I-I, uh, d-don’t have a lot of p-physical c-contact.. with a-anybody.”

“Not even Gertrude? Y’all seem friendly,” Deirdre’s assumption prompted me to shake my head. “Burke?”

I slowly shook my head again, feeling uncomfortably awkward.

“I’m sorry,” Deirdre whispered, grabbing my hand again, and squeezing it gently.

“Blimey! Look at the time,” I blurted to end the lingering silence, disconnecting our hands. I fumbled to open my cracked pocket watch and closed it in my jittery hands.

“Are you turnin’ in?”

“I think it’s best. I’m knackered,” I excused myself in a hurry and stumbled out from behind the dusty maroon velvet curtain into the twilight air. “Oi! Watch it,” I exclaimed as I bumped into a wee lass.

“AAAAAHHHHHHH!!!” the toddler screamed, her eyes wide as saucers. “A-a m-monster!”

“Oh, bugger.. I’ve been called worse,” I mumbled under my breath, as I attempted to bend down to her level and comfort her. This only made matters worse. She shrieked again and scurried off towards a woman wearing a faded blue and yellow dress and tattered straw hat. Safe to say, her Mum.

“Aw, what’s the matter, love?” the woman calmly asked her distraught daughter while tenderly stroking her hair. The wee lass hid behind her Mum’s leg, peering out with one eye, and pointing her index finger in my direction. The Mum locked eyes with me, she tilted her head, mouth agape.

“Apologies, Miss,” I stepped forward. “Didn’t mean to give her a fright- -,” I trailed off as I witnessed the Mum guiding the wee one away from me towards the exit. Thrice, the woman glanced over her shoulder back at me before she disappeared amongst the crowd.

“Whoa, whoa, what’s going on?” Deirdre flew to my side, checking her surroundings, wondering what the commotion was all about. “Thought you turned in?”

I didn’t hear her. I was lost in thought. Replaying what just happened. That woman’s bewildered face.

“She looked familiar,” I murmured as I stared after the departing visitors, hoping to catch one more glimpse of her. “Vaguely, and yet.. still familiar.”

“What are babbling on about?” Deirdre beseeched, still looking around for any clues to piece together.

“I accidentally bumped into a kid and when she ran screaming to her Mum- -” I cut off, remembering where I’d seen that dress and hat.

“Then what?” Deirdre pressed, holding onto my shoulders and trying to make eye contact.

“I-I t-think,” I sputtered, repeatedly blinking and my knees began to buckle. Deirdre caught me before I tripped over myself.

“What? C’mon, spit it out,” Deirdre demanded, repositioning her hands on my shoulders, not letting go.

“I think that w-was m-my M-Mum,” I said, my mind whirling with uncertainty, but my gut gurgled with assurance.

“Did you really?” Deirdre asked, unsure how to respond to such monumental news.

“A-And m-my s-sister,” I stated, surprising myself, finally putting the pieces together.

“Wicked!” Deirdre celebrated, patting me on the back with one hand, and resting the other on her hip.

“N-No, no, it was h-horrible- -,” I divulged, deciding whether to share my past with her.

“Oh, so, uh, those weren’t screams of a happy reunion, then?”

“No, no, definitely not.”

“Wanna talk about it?”

“I don’t know.”

“C’mon then, let’s go for a pint,” Deirdre insisted, while putting her arm around my shoulder and we walked side by side.

“Don’t be daft! It’s almost curfew.”

“Bollocks! Curfew, shmurfew.”


“It’s Gibberish or Pig Latin,” Deirdre chuckled, while bumping her hip into mine.

“You’re thick. Those aren’t real languages.”

“Rubbish! Says who?”

“I, for one. And I’m sure everyone at the pub will agree,” I stated matter-of-factly as we entered O’Sullivan’s.

“You’re on,” Deirdre declared with a wink and squeezed my shoulder as we approached the bar.

“What’ll it be lasses?” the bartender asked with his back to us.

“Two pints, please,” Deirdre said, holding up her thumb and index finger.

“I’ll put it on your tab,” the bartender stated, now facing us, taking two coasters from.. Ol’ Marm who popped up out of nowhere from behind the bar!

“Burke?” I asked, while positioning myself on top of a sticky barstool. “What brings you two here?”

“Oh, well, y’know, when somebody’s a no-show; we gotta pick up the slack,” Burly Burke expressed with pride while gently petting Ol’ Marm’s head. Like an assembly line, Ol’ Marm filled two pint glasses and she handed them to Burke. He slid one full pint glass across the shiny walnut bar top into my hands. Then to Deirdre.

I smiled while lifting my sweaty pint glass in agreement with him. Burke half-smiled back at me and was off in a flash to take the next patron’s order.

“That chimp’s a cheeky bastard,” Deirdre teased in a hushed tone. She abruptly cleared her throat and raised her glass towards me. “Cheers, mate!” We clinked pint glasses, took long sips, and “aahhh-ed” with satisfaction.

“So, what’s your real story?” Deirdre craved for the full scoop on my life.

“We’re gonna need another pint,” I admitted, while downing the rest of my beer. “Burke! Fill ‘er up?”

“That good, eh?” Deirdre followed suit.

“Settle in. It’s gonna be a long night,” I burped and we both burst into laughter.

Side Hustle & Bustle

I joined a new writing community called The Narrative Method (TNM), which is a nice change of pace in regards to agenda, structure, timing, and group dynamic. Whilst in the Zoom waiting room, a silent short video played on a loop explaining TNM’s mission statement, rules, and what to expect. The TNM Host was engaging, intelligently versed, and to-the-point. The one hour Zoom session was thoughtfully planned out to maximize the literary and interactive experience.

The TNM Host promptly commenced by greeting as many attendees as possible, then they quickly summarized their mission statement, rules, and what to expect. They briefly shared their screen with an image as inspiration (I was fast enough to take a screenshot for my reference), then they verbally announced the first writing prompt (as well as writing it in the Zoom chat) and we wrote silently for seven minutes. Once time was up, the TNM Host verbally announced the second writing prompt (as well as writing it in the Zoom chat), we again, wrote silently for another seven minutes. The TNM Host separated us in small Breakout groups, of 3 or 4 people for about 15mins, to share with one another.

We re-joined the entire group (of about 45people) and I believe the TNM Host stated that whomever would like to share the first sentence or their favorite sentence from their writing could do so by “raising their [Zoom] hand.” I didn’t hear this possible announcement or instruction, most likely due to technical difficulties, time delay, &/or because I am hard of hearing.

The first person to share asked: “Can I cuss?” and the TNM Host replied: “Fuck yes!” which tickled me more than it should have, haha! Another person who shared said: “I noticed my writing turned dark and I became uncomfortable so I just stopped writing, reading.” The TNM Host replied: “It’s okay that you felt that way! I, personally, like the dark because the depths is what’s real and rich. Embrace who you are!” Later the TNM Host said: “Share what’s inside you, if it offends someone.. [shrugs] ..oh well!” This was refreshing to hear because while I do understand the reasoning behind giving “trigger warnings” before sharing, I feel this somehow “censors” and prohibits creatives to fully express themselves. We should be able to create and share without boundaries. Without judgment. Let’s just color outside the lines! If you can’t be yourself here or there.. then where?!

The TNM Host was also open to hearing feedback in regards to suggestions to improve The Narrative Method writing sessions. There were quite a few attendees who commented on how the below inspiration photo was pixelated, fuzzy, blurry, difficult to decipher, etc. I quietly wrote in the Zoom chat that this added to the mystery of the corresponding writing prompts. This unclear image forces you to fill in the blanks. Some agreed with me. Others were neutral, I suppose. I wasn’t trying to sway anyone in particular, because everyone is entitled to their opinion. As a graphic designer, I totally understand, however sometimes clarity and high-quality imagery isn’t always obtainable when it comes to a.. free writing workshop. I did however, give some suggestions at the end:

"You could include the prompts on the image (in lieu of verbally repeating & writing in the chat because when others write, you have to scroll to see the prompt(s)), however I recall the TNM Host mentioning they didn't want to have the image on the screen the entire time (~14mins of writing prompts).

Another suggestion could be creating a Google Slide deck (or Microsoft PowerPoint presentation) with three individual slides showcasing:

1st slide = Image
2nd slide = First writing prompt
3rd slide = Second writing prompt

This may help those who are hard of hearing, like me, and eliminate the scrolling up and down in the Zoom chat to see the writing prompts."

The TNM Host seemed to appreciate my suggestion(s) and replied something to the affect of: “Oh, not to make light of your hard of hearing, but you have made me see the light!” something like that, I can’t remember exactly what she said. It was funny that she didn’t seem to take herself too seriously. I could see she thoroughly enjoyed interacting with a diverse group of creatives. This group seemed to be courteous of others time and brought it to the TNM Host’s attention if they skipped over someone by mistake.

The TNM Host briefly shared the above image as
inspiration for the below prompts

Prompt #1: What secret past is unknown to his colleagues that they’d never suspect? (~7mins of writing)

In the Muggle world, he’s a Concierge at a four star hotel in downtown London from June to August. In the off season, he is the Caretaker of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry. His name is Argus Filch and no.. he’s neither Witch or Wizard. He’s a Squib, he was born to at least one Witch or Wizard parent, however he cannot perform magic. A dud, if you will. Nonetheless, his scholastic wage barely covers living expenses so he needed another job to make ends meet.

Prompt #2: What one small slip breaks his cover? (~7 mins of writing)

On a long, dark, and stormy humid summer night, Argus was escorting two hotel guests from the lobby; his 48th trip during his double shift. “Merlin’s beard! Ten more minutes to go and I’m off,” Argus thought to himself with a yawn as he ascended the last step and turned the corner into the hallway. The tall slender lady handed her portly gentleman companion something from her pocketbook and he handed it to Argus. They tipped him Muggle money for carrying their luggage to their room.

“Yessir, thank you, Headmaster,” Argus automatically replied, pocketing the tip.

“H-hang on, w-who?” the male hotel guest replied, glancing to Argus, and then to his lady.

“Oh, a thousand apologies, s-sir,” Argus blurted, he slowly realized he slipped up, and attempted to recover. “I-I’ve m-mistook you for s-someone e-else.”

“I know very well who you mistook me for- -,” the middle-aged man sternly stated, unwavering, stepping closer to Argus.

“Ahem,” the lady interrupted, tip toeing in between the two men, resting one hand on her companion’s shoulder, and the other on the hotel room door knob. “I’m sure it was an honest mistake.”

“Yes, Mum,” Argus whispered, with his head low, eyes fixed on the floor. As he slowly backed away from them, he heard the man make an indistinct remark with a grunt.

“C’mon Vernon, Mummy needs to be oiled and spoiled!” she squealed, while pulling his necktie like a dog leash toward her.

“Oh, Petunia!” he pleaded, panting and whimpering; they disappeared behind the hotel room door.

Bloody Muggles! It’s time to clock out,” Argus thought to himself with a sigh of relief as he began to descend the stairs to the lobby.

Sob Storyteller

My now husband and I creatively collaborated for a fourth time! I re-introduced him to another one of my childhood favorites; the movie called Cry-Baby. It’s a raunchy spoof sprinkled with a classic charm! We utilized this flick for his new-ish magazine called: Rob’s Video (you can purchase it here).

We’re taking a time warp to 1954! No, not to Rocky Horror Picture Show, but.. you’re getting warm, haha! Alright, so, just picture it: a high school gymnasium with two long lines of teenagers anxiously waiting to be stabbed with a giant needle, which I presume to be for the polio vaccine. There are two distinct cliques: Drapes and Squares. Drapes are provocatively and darkly dressed, greased back haired guys in jeans and black leather jackets, girls in form fitting, short dresses, high heels, and with heavy makeup. Squares are conservatively and brightly dressed, guys in zoot suits, girls in cardigans, poodle skirts, saddle oxfords, with minimal makeup.

A Drape falls in love with a Square at first sight. The pair later discover they’re both orphans; the Square, Allison (played by Amy Locane), her folks died in an airplane crash. The Drape, Wade “Cry-Baby” Walker (played by Johnny Depp), his folks met their demise in Old Sparky. Cry-Baby’s sister, Pepper, is a pregnant teen mom who “can fight like a man,” played by John Waters’ Hairspray lead actress, Ricki Lake; she gives birth to baby #3 in the back of a car that’s playing chicken. Guess the adrenaline rush induces labor, haha! The bloody crazy punk rocker OG, Iggy Pop, plays Cry-Baby’s & Pepper’s uncle. Former underage porn star, Traci Lords, plays a Badass Drape Bitch, who uses her “bazooms as weapons” to ward off creepy, predatory geezers. Her “Mrs. June Clever” mom is played by none other than Patty Hearst, a former convicted felon (bank robber) whilst under the influence of a terrorist organization who kidnapped her. Another Drape gang member named Hatchet-Face plays a mean saxophone. I mean, who can resist a sexy sax?! I know I can’t, haha!

In my first two movie reviews, 1986’s Troll and 1988’s Mac & Me, they each had random musical/dance numbers that had no relevance to the storyline whatsoever; however this 1990 flick is a.. ♫ MUSICAL! ♪ This flick is where Grease meets Jailhouse Rock, minus the authentic singers. That’s right, Johnny Depp lip syncs every number in Cry-Baby! Even though Depp can sing.. he has provided vocals in the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie in a drunken duet ditty of “Yo Ho a Pirate’s Life for Me.” Years later, Depp reveals his singing chops in the musicals: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and Into the Woods. Johnny Depp is in touch with his musical side, he’s played guitar in a couple rock bands: Rock City Angels, Pink Grenade, & Hollywood Vampires. Johnny Depp doesn’t dance either, however John Waters somehow talked him into briefly cutting a rug with his fellow juvenile delinquents. Depp has openly admitted that he has two left feet. Even his Mad Hatter’s Futterwacken dance in Alice in Wonderland was CGI! I’m sure the bone bending moves and 360° head spinning had a little to do with it, haha!

This provocative parody packs a punch! And the punch is spiked, so watch at your own risk! You can expect the following and more: Unwanted panties thrown onstage. Licking a lover’s lonely teardrop. Graffitied cars with sugar poured down their gas tanks. French Kissing Lesson 101. A blown up jukebox. Unforgiving noogies. An inflamed, runaway motorcycle. Obnoxious, too-much-tongue-makeout session. A flat tire on an iron lung and then being jacked up to put on a spare. Dropping a trio of F-Bombs, two of which are comedically bleeped so they could keep their PG-13 rating. A glass jar filled with overdramatic, low-spirited tears, and drinking them. An inmate’s ass unexpectedly smacked by a guard as he hops up on a top bunk bed. A boosted helicopter. A three story dumpster dive. Repeatedly pressing personalized license plates of the same name: “Allison.” A needle prick prison tattoo of a lonely teardrop. A pair of tighty whities scooting through a manhole. Giggling vermin. Faux Siamese twins on display in a painted freak show circus glass cage. And a ziplining bunny.

Cry-Baby had a budget of $12M, it grossed $8.3M domestically by the end of its theatrical run, making it a box office flop; even though it was shown in 1,000+ cinemas — an unprecedented number for a John Waters film. Rotten Tomatoes gave Cry-Baby a rather high rating of 73% and its Audience Rating is 77%, which I think is quite generous considering these “professional movie reviewers” seem to despise the majority of my childhood favorites. This one may be the exception. I believe the reason why Cry-Baby resonates with me is because.. sure it’s a silly parody; however, it cleverly pokes fun at the ridiculousness of cliques, colorful language, and anybody who’s.. different. I can relate to not fitting in with the crowd and ruffling feathers along the way just like the Drapes do. I can proudly say I am the only person in my family with a mohawk who went to public school. On a personal note, everytime Cry-Baby says Allison’s name, I swoon and imagine Johnny Depp is speaking to me. He can press my license plate anytime! Check out this crazy camp cinematic tearjerker. I’ll be damned if there won’t be a dry eye in the house.

‘Twas such an honor that Jaimie asked me to collaborate with him, again, on his creative project, Rob’s Video ‘zine! As I mentioned in my Vintage Trolling, Intergalactic Pals, and Imaginary Frenemy blog posts, we were originally inspired to create vintage good/bad movie posters whilst watching the documentary: 24×36: A Movie About Movie Posters (highly recommend). Jaimie decided to take the lead on the overall design of the movie poster because I was drawing a blank on any suggestions or critiques. I was struggling with how to situate the two main characters that made sense for the storyline and to think of an original idea. Of course, it hit me like a bolt of lightning! Right before Jaimie was going to print, I had a last minute suggestion for a entirely new composition! Jaimie was a good sport, he begrudgingly went back to the drawing board, and created the final concept I pitched to him. Luckily, he’s a quick illustrator. I formatted the movie title, advertising slogan, and billing block. We may not color this movie poster, because we think it stands on its own in black and white. We have officially displayed our four movie posters in our living room. We finally made some wall space! Feels good to have a collaborative display piece that you can brag about when guests visit!

Through Thick and Thin

Well, a lot has happened in the past year. I’ll try my best to give you the SparkNotes version. Last May, I proposed to my partner on our 4yr anniversary. If you click the previous sentence that is underlined (hyperlink), it will direct you a website showcasing how I proposed.. and his answer.

Nine days later, I had an unfortunate misstep and injured my ankle. Whilst x-raying my ankle, I injured my other ankle, thus I was physically inept. I needed surgery on one ankle, however my temp job did not want to give me time off to do so, therefore they let me go.

I found myself.. having a lot of time on my hands so I could heal, recover, and reevaluate the direction of my life. Literally, one step at a time. I took the advice of my therapist(s): redirect my negative thoughts into productive, positive thoughts/actions and.. start wedding planning. Every girl’s dream! Well, almost every girl, haha.. I’m a simple gal who has been a bridesmaid in a few weddings and I know I’m anything but traditional.. including the groom-to-be.

In preparation of proposing, I had an inkling that Jaimie would ask me if I had a date in mind. I thought a year engagement would be sufficient, so I looked a calendar year ahead, and discovered the day before our 5yr anniversary was.. Friday the 13th! It just so happened to be.. Jaimie’s favorite horror film, his favorite number, he has the number 13 tattooed on his forearm, and his previous cat’s name was named Thirteen. Plus, it was close enough to our anniversary date to where we didn’t have to remember two different dates. Just a day apart. Not bad. Without even realizing it, we had our wedding “theme.” Most people predicted I would have a Disney themed wedding, however I didn’t have any real expectations or preconceived plan or elaborate dream wedding in mind. I knew I wanted our day to be a collaborative event. Representative of both Jaimie and I. Jaimie not only said yes, but he was on board for the Friday the 13th date and theme. I mean, I knew he would be. How could he not be intrigued? I also knew he’s not a fan of weddings, in general, so it was effortlessly easy to entice him with a fun concept!

I knew Jaimie was the one on our first date. Not exactly “love at first sight,” but I had a gut feeling that our chemistry had potential to be off the charts. I later discovered this feeling is called:

This overwhelming feeling drove me to do some pretty presumptuous things.. such as.. buying a wedding ring for Jaimie.. after dating for only a year. I was helping a recently engaged friend of mine pick out a wedding ring for her future husband at a jewelry store near where we just had brunch. This jewelry store was having a sale. A store closing sale. Up to ninety percent off. My friend chose a ring. The ring she didn’t choose, but I had liked, I asked the sales clerk how much it was. She said it was originally five hundred something, but it’s sale price was less than fifty. I couldn’t believe it. Seemed too good to be true. I consulted with my friend and before she could answer, an older gentleman overheard us and interjected: “If you were proposing to me, I’d say Yes. Go for it!”

I let my folks know of my recent purchase and my half baked future plan to propose with no further details. They insisted that I ask for Jaimie’s parents’ blessing. I shrugged off their suggestion as it was an outdated, old fashioned tradition. And yet.. I couldn’t shake the thought that his folks are old fashioned, so it made sense to ask them. They laughed.. and.. laughed. Ultimately, I did not get their blessing. And I didn’t blame them. We had only been together a year, so I understood their hesitancy.

This minor setback did not deter me from purchasing my wedding dress a couple months later. I was on my way to the produce section at Meijer, I had to pass the women’s clothing dept, all their new Easter/spring dresses were out.. there I saw.. the perfect little white dress.. I grabbed it, bought it, put it in the back of my closet, and forgot about it.. Couple weeks later, I was putting laundry away.. in the back of my closet.. and I saw that perfect little white dress.. which reminded me, I needed to try it on. I hung it up on the back of the bathroom door, unbuttoned it, and noticed.. Well, let me preface by saying Jaimie doesn’t usually sign his artwork. He signs: “As you wish.” A quote from the movie The Princess Bride, which means “I love you.” So, I noticed the dress tag said: “As U Wish.” The company name is what Jaimie signs on his artwork! Like I said, “perfect little white dress.” I just didn’t know how “perfect.”

I knew I wanted to propose in a creative way.. since Jaimie and I are both artists in our own ways. I had numerous ideas: custom photo puzzle of us with a comic bubble coming from my mouth, “Will you marry me?” Or a photo slideshow of us throughout our relationship, maybe even recruit our family members and friends to contribute with their approval of our relationship by spelling out “will you marry me” in each photo. I also knew I wanted to propose on our anniversary. Originally, it was going to be on our 3yr anniversary during our vacation in New York City, however COVID threw a wrench in that plan. We cancelled our trip. Also, I had lost my job of 5.5yrs. I was in between multiple temp, freelance jobs and I did not have the confidence to follow through with my proposal plan(s).

Luckily, with the encouragement of a dear friend, he told me: “Just go for it because love doesn’t wait for the right time.” I decided a week before our 4yr anniversary to make plans to propose. Once everything was ready, I asked Jaimie’s folks again for their blessing and this time.. they did not laugh. His mom happily cried and they gave their blessing. Whew, I couldn’t believe I had sat on that ring for 3yrs! I asked Jaimie the biggest question I had ever asked.. Anyone. Ever. Click here to find out how.

I designed our wedding invitations, I created a Facebook event, for those who weren’t on social media, I texted them or emailed them.

Our friend was kind enough to offer his services as our officiant. He was dressed as a Camp Crystal Lake Counselor: polo shirt, short shorts, tube socks, whistle necklace, ball cap, sunglasses, and clipboard. We collaborated on the wedding ceremony officiant script. If you click the previous sentence that is underlined (hyperlink), it will direct you to it.

We sprinkled the spooky throughout: our attire, accessories, shoes, props, décor, food, even my hair! See if you can spot ’em all!

Our hockey masked flower girl was Jaimie’s 11yr old niece who did a fantastic job of creepily stalking about the park. Speaking of the park, I had researched multiple local parks that would compliment our Friday the 13th theme. A lot of them were connected to the city or county and they wanted thousands of dollars for five minutes, which was crazy! I finally found a park, Lindner Park Nature Preserve, that did not have a website, only a phone number that they never answered; nor was there a way to leave a message, thus I deemed it.. the park. We decided since we couldn’t ask permission for having our wedding ceremony there, we’d have to go Guerrilla Style.

Click here to see more of our wedding photos & videos synced with music.
*killer photography by: Bird & Rose
Click here to see our photo slideshow that played during our reception.
Click here to see our honeymoon in Salem.

Left Right Ignite Write

I have internally debated over the years about sharing this story on social media, however I have only shared it with a few select individuals from time to time when the occasion called for it. I consider myself a private person for many reasons, number one being for my safety and well being. As I type this, I keep editing it and then promptly deleting it and thinking: “Who cares? I mean, really? But then.. Maybe.. I’ll do it for me because I can’t stop thinking of its importance.. all these years later? Yeah, that’s enough, right? Well, here it goes..

It was the year 2000, I was in the seventh grade, first period music class was being held in the cafeteria, we had a substitute, thus it naturally became a free study period to do as we pleased. I chose to catch up on homework, being the studious kid I was. I found myself caught in the middle of a paper wad fight between two boys. I quickly became annoyed so I collected the stray wads on and around my work-space as they came and sat on them. The bell rang, one of the boys demanded I give him back the paper wads, I stubbornly refused, he persisted, but I stayed put. The bell rang again, he finally acknowledged my unwavering tenacity, and he retreated in a panic per his tardiness which garnered an automatic demerit.

My never-ending curiosity was ignited, so my girl friend helped me open each paper wad to discover the reason for his persistence. One by one, we unraveled doodles, rough drafts of assignments, blanks, and then finally.. There was an organized hit list in his handwriting, first victim was the music teacher who was absent that day, who coincidentally was a neighbor of mine. The list continued: fellow classmates who held popular statuses, infamous teachers, an unpopular Office Administrator, and the rest were unbeknownst to us. How I knew it was his handwriting was because I knew this kid, we grew up down the block from one another, we were in the same classes together, our sisters were in the same Brownies/Girl Scouts troop, I had been to his house numerous times, I knew his father was a Police Officer and an avid gun collector (recalling his locked wooden/glass case in the living room).

My girl friend and I quickly discussed what we should do: she asked, “Is that a..?” I nodded. She proceeded, “Do you think he’s capable of doing something like this?!” I nodded. [crickets] I had flashbacks, seeing black and white surveillance footage of kids fleeing their school cafeteria the year before on every TV channel and thought: “I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I let this go.” I handed her the hit list wad and said: “Give this to that substitute, tell him everything, if he doesn’t seem interested, then take it to your dad!” Her father was our Math teacher and the head football coach who tolerated no nonsense. I continued in the same breath whilst gathering my books, “I better hurry so he doesn’t suspect (“he” as in the boy), we have second period together too!

He was expelled from Butler County schools for two years, I heard from my mom that he was home-schooled by his mother, and attended counseling until.. he was deemed safe to return to the public school system. We saw each other again in our ninth grade Civics class, he sat right behind me, I silently feared for my life everyday for a year, never speaking of it again until well after my academic career.

Fast forward years later, I decided to move out on my own, I went to a local furniture store to compare prices, I saw him from across the sales floor, he was their delivery employee, sporting a lower lumbar back brace support belt with suspenders, I abruptly averted my gaze, formulated a quick exit strategy, so I “browsed” in record time and left before he noticed me.

I find myself thinking of this often, now more than ever, and I think it’s important to.. Go with your gut, listen to your conscience, and act. I think I was meant to be there. I was at the right place, at the right time, and under the right circumstances to.. Help this boy, my school, and myself. I felt a duty to do so because I was fortunate enough to realize this was a serious matter. At the age of 12. Yes, 12. I am proud of myself for acting. I could have just.. disregarded it, went on with my day, maybe gossiped about it to a couple classmates, or occasionally pondered.. But by then, it may have been too late. This was an invaluable lesson that taught me.. That the real world is a scary place, but one person can make a difference. I chose and choose to be that one person. I implore you to be that one person. I’m counting on you. You can count on me.

*To those few who are my junior high classmates (their parents too), you may or may not of heard of this almost happening at our/your child's school, but it's true. I thought of you and am thankful you're still here today. I am thankful I am still here. I hope you are too.

**Originally posted via social media on February 15th, 2018
***Re-shared via social media on May 25th, 2022

****Utilized writing prompt to share via blog:
"Have you ever spoken up when you saw something going on that was wrong? 
Were you scared? 
What ended up happening?"

Imaginary Frenemy

My fiancé and I creatively collaborated for a third time! I introduced him to another one of my childhood favorites; the movie called Drop Dead Fred. At surface level, it’s a complete ridiculous bonkers film.. yet it’s deeply and colorfully good! We utilized this flick for his new-ish magazine called: Rob’s Video (you can purchase it here).

A doting mother reads her sweet daughter, Elizabeth, a wholesome bedtime story. The youngster asks: “Did they live happily ever after?” The mother replies: “Of course, if the beautiful, young girl had been naughty; the Prince Charming would’ve run away.” The little girl’s natural response was: “What a pile of shit!” Kids say the darndest things! And.. cue the early 90’s animated opening credits sequence! That’s how ya know it’s the start of an awesome flick!

The little girl, Elizabeth aka Lizzy, grows up to be dumped by her cheating husband, her car is stolen, along with her purse.. all on her lunch break! She returns late to work and.. she loses her job too! She’s forced to leave her apartment she shares with her douche husband because her overbearing Mother demands she come home with her. Elizabeth sleeps in her childhood bedroom where she finds her forgotten, closeted childhood toys, and one of them starts to play a musical tune in the middle of the night. As she opens the taped up Jack-in-the-Box, an orange and green puff ball poofs out, bounces about the room, and rolls under the pastel pink twin bed. Lizzy investigates this mysterious dust bunny and is startlingly reunited with her long-lost playful imaginary friend named.. Drop Dead Fred! He wreaks havoc.. and chaos ensues! You gotta check this flick out to see how!

Drop Dead Fred is not a movie for children, yet the trailer paints it to be quite innocent. How misleading, I know! This could be the reason why my folks let me watch this movie as a kid. It has a PG-13 rating, where the Mother is referred to as “The Mega Bitch” a couple times, however is later referred to as “The Mega Beast” so they could keep their PG-13 rating.

The brilliant portrayal of Drop Dead Fred was played by the late Rik Mayall, an English stand-up comedian, actor, writer, author, narrator, voice actor, and stage performer; the majority of his credits are from British productions. This is his only American role that I remember seeing him in growing up. Rik Mayall’s quick wit, comedic timing, and slapstick is the best I’ve seen next to the late Robin Williams, which makes sense as Williams was initially offered the role of Drop Dead Fred, however he chose to play Peter Banning in Hook instead.

The mousy Lizzy aka Elizabeth aka Snot-Face is played by the 80’s hottie Phoebe Cates best known from Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Gremlins. Lizzy’s best friend, Janie, is played by none other than.. Princess Leia! Ahem, I mean.. the late Carrie Fisher; she originally auditioned for Lizzy, but she was considered “too old.” Ugh, how rude!

In my previous movie reviews, of 1986’s Troll and 1988’s Mac & Me, they each had random musical/dance numbers that had no relevance to the storyline whatsoever; however this early 90’s flick, Drop Dead Fred, doesn’t have any of that. It’s unusual and immature all on its own! The humor is as lowbrow as it gets with picking of noses then wiping snot on faces, purposely walking in dog shit then stepping on freshly shampooed white carpet, looking up women’s dresses, brief male bare bottom nudity, and serving steamy mud pies for breakfast and dinner.

There are numerous special effects (for its modest budget of $6.7M = £3.6M) such as Drop Dead Fred pinballing around rooms along with cartoon sound effects (Boink! Aoogah! Splat! Zoom!), appearing/disappearing with a magical twinkle, a head being smashed by a fridge door, being run over by an oncoming fire truck and leaving only a pair of bright red shoes behind in the middle of the street, a deflated car whizzing about like a balloon, a magical tree growing out of a staircase, a body engulfed in flames, a set of eyeballs bulging out, and steam blasting out of some ears. Drop Dead Fred grossed $13.8M over its entire theatrical run and £1.7M in the UK.

I believe the reason why Drop Dead Fred resonates with me (still, after all these years) is because on the surface, it seems like a silly comedy; but it’s deeper than you can imagine! This movie is about embracing your inner child, using your imagination, and standing up for yourself even if no one believes in you. Speaking of “not believing,” Rotten Tomatoes gave Drop Dead Fred a rating of eleven percent (super lame), however it has an Audience Rating of seventy-seven percent, which I think speaks volumes to the mass of dedicated Drop Dead Fred fans who are more open-minded to this amazing dark fantasy screwball dramedy cult classic! You should give this one a try. It’s a goodie with a hilarious, fun loving baddie! I pinky promise you won’t be disappointed!

‘Twas such an honor that Jaimie asked me to collaborate with him, again, on his creative project, Rob’s Video ‘zine! As I mentioned in my Vintage Trolling and Intergalactic Pals blog posts, we were originally inspired to create vintage good/bad movie posters whilst watching the documentary: 24×36: A Movie About Movie Posters (highly recommend). Immediately after viewing the movie, Drop Dead Fred, we brainstormed the overall design of the movie poster: Fred popping out of the jack-in-the-box toy/prison, picking his nose, and wiping it on Elizabeth. Our final concept paints a clear yet disgusting picture of what kind of film this is: immaturely fun yet brilliant! Jaimie drew our ideas to life and I formatted the movie title, advertising slogan, and billing block. We will, for sure, color this movie poster, because it’s the most interestingly fun illustration we’ve conceptualized thus far. We will absolutely display it somewhere in our home. We just gotta find the wall space.. Ugh, haha!

I’m looking forward to collaborating with Jaimie again soon for his next issue of Rob’s Video! Please stay tuned. You don’t wanna miss it!

Kaiju Crew

From a distant planet named Kerfuffle

Where it always snows, but never sticks

Many asteroids, many moons, and many stars ago

A strange creature arose from a steaming pile of…


That’s how Nosilla got her fiery red locks

Perfectly quaffed in a stripe on her head

She smashed her way around the village

Making waves amongst everyone she encountered

Nosilla seems like a villain

But she’s not

She always cleans up her messes

She makes peace with all the villagers who got a bad first impression of her

What Nosilla lacks in gracefulness

She makes up for in her super power of creativity

To solve the unique challenges Planet Kerfuffle has to offer!


If you brought a dish that represented "you" to a dinner party, what dish would you bring and why?

Deviled Eggs

Pooped out by a fowl creature


Not born

Boiled from the inside out

Guts and all

Cracked out of my delicate shell

Strategically dissected, disemboweled, and separated from myself

Whipped with a creamy sauce

Stained with a yellow squirt

Seasoned with a dash of black pepper and a circle of salt

Sprinkled with paprika

A little spice and everything nice

A spiritual invocation sung upon my final phase

Hail Satan for I am Deviled Eggs!


Intergalactic Pals

My now fiancé, Jaimie, and I creatively collaborated for a second time! I introduced him to another one of my childhood favorites; the movie called Mac and Me. It’s such a bad movie.. it’s good! We utilized this flick for his new-ish magazine called: Rob’s Video (you can purchase it here).

Across the universe, a family of four search to quench their thirst on their barren home planet by poking hollow tubes into the ground. Their meal is interrupted by a NASA robotic rover that landed nearby to collect rock and soil samples. This curious family communicates with one another by whistling as they carefully approach this foreign vehicle. The youngest child accidentally gets sucked up in its suction hose along with rocks and soil. The parents and sibling try to rescue him but get sucked up themselves! The family travels to an unknown land, they emerge from the dissected rover, unsure of its residents, escape their dangerous grasp, and get separated from one another. The youngster tumbles into traffic causing a three car pile up (as well as a major traffic jam), he becomes squashed on the windshield, and is described as: “omelets.. with eyes!” He becomes a stowaway in a nearby van, which is occupied by a family of three, the Cruises, who are moving across the country from Chicago to LA. The first sign of the stowaway’s presence is when he steals a can of Coca-Cola (with a straw) from the youngest boy, Eric, who blames his older brother, Michael.

Numerous signs follow indicating that there is an unknown life form lurking about their new house: unplugged TVs turn on, remote control cars drive without batteries, wet footprints leading away from an empty/steamy shower, power tools modifying walls/doors, a hundred-year-old heirloom painting ruined, trees/flowers replanted throughout their living room, etc. Eric’s mom and brother do not believe him when he says: “It wasn’t me, it was the little creature! I saw it!” Upset-yet-determined Eric follows the little creature into the backyard (he names him: Mac, short for: Mysterious Alien Creature), down a treacherous hill, and into a deep pond below (oh, by the way, Eric is wheelchair-bound, so this incident is life-threatening as he cannot swim, so Mac dives in, takes him ashore, and saves his life). The girl next door, Debbie, sees Mac rescue Eric, but she’s afraid to tell the grownups because nobody would believe it! Eric and Debbie team up to catch Mac and prove his case, but they didn’t plan for the government to show up, who are trying to take Mac, and do who-knows-what to him! Will this physically disabled boy and his pals evade the bad guys and help Mac reunite with his long-lost family?! You’ll just have to watch Mac & Me to find out!

Mac & Me is a complete rip-off of.. you guessed it.. E.T.! This movie came out six years after E.T. Ironically, this film was made by Orion Pictures, which filed for bankruptcy in the early ’90’s.. maybe because Universal Studios sued them?! Whoa, I’m seeing stars.. Far out, dude!

Mac & Me is so bad.. it’s good! The epitome of an 80’s bad rip-off action adventure, sci-fi cult classic! Fun for the entire family! Speaking of family, they stole E.T.’s older brother’s name, Michael. I mean.. C’mon, they definitely cheated off someone else’s paper! The rip-offs continue, they even pulled a “Marty McFly” move when Eric grabs a hold of a truck and strolls down the street; the music playing during this scene sounds eerily similar to the Back to the Future theme song. Bet they wish they had a time machine so they could reconfigure the space time continuum and get back some of their dignity!

IMDb’s description of Mac & Me: “An alien trying to escape from NASA is befriended by a wheelchair-bound boy.” I mean, goodness gracious, can ya get anymore unnecessarily specific?! This was the first time I saw a physically disabled character who was played by a real life wheelchair-bound actor. Still, to this day, I don’t think I’ve seen anything like this on screen since! Representation matters, however knowing where to highlight and being tactful about it is important.

This movie’s small cast has a few unknown gems: The mom is played by Christine Ebersole, a soap opera star from One Life to Live and Broadway stage performer. The older brother, Michael, is played by Jonathan Ward who voices Zak from the animated film Ferngully: The Last Rainforest. The actress who plays Debbie’s sister, Courtney, is played by Tina Caspary, who has been in 1982’s Annie, Can’t Buy Me Love, and Teen Witch. The lead who played Eric, Jade Calegory, had a short acting career with only three credits to his name; Mac & Me was his film debut.

As I’ve said before, what’s a bad movie without a couple random dance numbers that have no relevance to the storyline whatsoever? Oh, and we can’t forget the blatant product placements: Coca-Cola, Skittles, and McDonald’s! Debbie and Eric attend a birthday party, which so happens to be at.. McDonald’s! Where Debbie’s sister, Courtney, works. Even Ronald McDonald himself shows up to entertain the kiddos; he infamously won a Razzie award for Worst New Star for this film. I remember going to many birthday parties at Mickey D’s! Hey, I’ll bet it’s no coincidence that Mac is named after their famous Big Mac burger. Mac joins in on the fun and dances, in disguise, as a robotic teddy bear along with the McDonald’s staff, party goers, and customers. The uniformed footballers dancing by the front door is randomly hilarious.. because they’re grown men trying to pass as teenagers!

My favorite scene is when their silver VW van cruises through the desert with wild horses running alongside them while the song “Waves” by Debbie Lytton plays. Waves in a desert, how ironic! Such a beautiful scene, with this catchy tune, gets me pumped every time! I’m a sucker for a sexy sax solo!

Actor Paul Rudd has a running gag with late night talk show host Conan O’Brien where he plays Mac and Me’s trailer, again and again, instead of showing a clip from his upcoming film. Rotten Tomatoes gave this flick a five percent rating yet the Audience Score is at thirty-eight percent. This just goes to show that maybe lovers of this bad movie, like Paul Rudd and I, are a little more gracious than the harsh film critics.

SPOILER ALERT: Mac & Me ends with a pink chewing gum bubble that says: “We’ll be back!” and then bursts. It didn’t do well in the box office, only making back half of their budget, and a portion of its box office intake was donated to the Ronald McDonald House Charities. Maybe the clown is to blame for this major flop?! For obvious reasons, the proposed sequel was never made. Go figure! I wonder if they thought about how iconic that final scene is.. because ya know how the saying goes: “I don’t mean to burst your bubble, but..” Haha!

‘Twas such an honor that Jaimie asked me to collaborate with him, again, on his creative project, Rob’s Video ‘zine! As I mentioned in my Vintage Trolling blog post, we were originally inspired to create vintage good/bad movie posters whilst watching the documentary: 24×36: A Movie About Movie Posters (highly recommend). I just let Jaimie go with creating the illustration of this Mac & Me movie poster. I didn’t have much input because the storyline (ahem, E.T.’s storyline, ahem) was pretty straight forward. He did make sure to include the obviously obnoxious product placement with Coca-Cola and McDonald’s. This design does differ from the VHS &/or DVD covers and other posters because it doesn’t include any Earthlings or suburban California skyline. I do like that Jaimie changed it up and included Mac’s silhouetted family in the background. I formatted the movie title, advertising slogan, and billing block. I don’t think we’ll color this movie poster, no real reason as to why, however Jaimie did color the Troll movie poster so we can display it somewhere in our home. We just gotta find the wall space.. Ugh, haha!

Internal Climate

Eerily quiet, chilly breeze, soft drizzle, and heavy clouds

My mind has surprisingly quietened

Just like the empty streets in my neighborhood

Oh, how good it feels to be home!

I feel a gentle nuzzle at my side

It’s just Hex

She hasn’t left me alone since I walked..


Walked in the door two weeks ago

She even follows me into the shower now

She sits on the tub ledge in between the two shower curtains

As a woman who runs naturally hot, this change in temperature has been nice

I’ve had the windows open and been enjoying the cool fresh air

I know Houdini does too because he’s sitting in the window sill

The rhythmic beat of rain drops calms my soul

Reminds me of the consistent chirping crickets I play on my sound machine at night to fall asleep to

It’s soothing



The lack of sunlight is reassuring that I have control of the brightness, if I so choose

To lamp or not to lamp?

That is the question

The wet forecast swells

Weighing heavy on my heart

They increase together

In sync with Mother Nature

I take this as I am in tune with my surroundings


The natural music to my ears and mindfulness

I softly whisper to myself:

“This won’t last forever.

Things will get better.

Get yourself together.

Light as a feather.

Simply enjoy this weather.”

My cranium is in a desolate, vast disarray:

Torn out pieces of crumpled paper littered about for as far as I can see

Puddles of spilt milk

Dry, cracked foundation

Overgrown, luscious poison ivy

Echoes of constant barking dogs

Fluttering birds dropping their poop everywhere

Herds of brittle tumbleweeds rolling through the chaos

I start by picking up, flattening out, piling, and filing the pieces of paper

Organizing them largest to smallest

Setting out the wet, transparent ones to dry

I turn up the heat and brightness to help the drying process along

This settles down the birds as they perch upon the file cabinets

This distracts the loud, obnoxious dogs to not focus on the now still birds

The dogs begin to fetch and bring me the strewn parchment

The birds start using their beaks to neatly place the papers in the drawers

I can use all the help I can get

Other pups catch and dismantle the stray tumbleweeds

Other fowls pull the botanical vines and fill in the cracked ground

I discover that who/what were annoyances are now helping me rearrange my messy thoughts

I realize that I’m feeling grateful for silence

I remember that even shit is useful

It fertilizes crappy situations into something beautiful

I notice how even spilt milk nourishes the thirsty mind and body

I carefully glove both hands to push the poison ivy down, further into the cracked crevices

I close my eyes and concentrate as I make the surface tremble together

The pieces align into a smooth leveled path

Illuminating my way to the combined “Enter / Exit” sign

I no longer feel confined in my own streamlined, refined design

The sun begins to brightly shine upon my face

I divinely breathe, “I’m fine.”

Open thine eyes

I sense my feline intertwined nearby

I now decline this benign deadline

I desperately pine for myself

I define this life of mine

Shivers down my spine

I refuse to resign