“We’re looking for a parent for Caroline Merriman?” The woman calling me sounded professional and slightly worried.
“She fell and chipped her tooth.”
The kids were at Starbucks, not two hundred feet from where I was answering phones at the ballet. I send them on a regular basis, confident Caroline knows when to come get me if Sam breaks down and Sam knows I’ll throttle him if he does anything too outré. It gives them an outlet when my volunteerism has left them stuck waiting around after both their classes have ended.
I knew I’d get a call eventually.… Read the rest
“Sam, why did you bite your friend?”
“Oh yes you did. Hard enough to bruise. His Mom told me.”
“Mom, I didn’t bite him.” Arms crossed, Sam stomps. “I pinched him.”
Holy moly, cats, it’s been three weeks. The Nutcracker cracked my figurative nuts this year. But it was good, and the kids had a great time, except for the moment mentioned above. I’m finally hooking up with Trifecta again, just in time for the editors to switch things up and put Trifecta and Trifextra in alternating weeks. This is good. It isn’t like I have time for many more than 33 words this week, even with the annual cracking of the nuts behind me.… Read the rest
When I eat Ritz crackers with cream cheese, I think of my grandparents, of childhood winters in Florida, of the briny ocean stink as we put in the boat at Wiggins’ pass. Mummum stocked the cooler with the three necessities for any fishing excursion: water for me, beer for the adults, and sandy cracker sandwiches for everyone.
But we didn’t use Ritz, God no. They were expensive, and the generic was good enough. We didn’t shop at the chain groceries, either, where prices were higher. We went to Benson’s corner market or the scratch-and-dent food store. The very fact that they had a winter condo and a boat nearly overwhelmed my grandmother, so she made sure the condo was part of a cheap complex at the end of Wilson Street.… Read the rest
Clarissa Drew pulled her dress tight over her rounding belly. “This fits too well,” she muttered.
Her husband went on shaving. “It’s driving me crazy.”
“No. You know.”
“Owen, he’s not some Dickensian waif you can pluck up like Oliver Twist. He’s your nephew. He has parents.”
“They aren’t fit! God only knows what the kid sees. Pot, sex, meth, whatever walks in that trailer door.” Owen drew an even line through the foam on his cheek and shook the razor in the sink.
“You don’t know that.”
“You mean I can’t prove it.”
“Same thing.” Clarissa let go of the dress to rub his shoulders.… Read the rest
Every Tuesday, Scott and I put on our wedding rings like armor. It’s easier than explaining, “We don’t usually wear them; they fall off. We won’t resize them. My grandmother touched them.” We dress in slacks and button down shirts. I strap on my ten dollar gold watch and poke through my golden heart earrings. He shaves as we drive Caroline to school.
Then he, Sam and I, jump on the highway for the hour-long commute to therapy. It’s exhausting.
We’re working with a graduate student clinic in Auburn. We’re very lucky to be there. The students, completing their practicums under licensed psychologists, have access to the newest theories, the things that might help Sam.… Read the rest
I wish to lodge several complaints, and I hope you can be of help to me To begin with, I hate the way you fancify recipes. Perhaps, on a TV show, there is something inherently more satisfying about the texture of meatballs made with Panko, rather than average breadcrumbs, but frankly, I think not. Similarly, I believe sea salt, cremini mushrooms, lacinato kale, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and freshly ground anything are all included to make foods sound less plebian, more worthy of Pinterest or Emeril. There is nothing wrong with my iodized salt, ordinary mushrooms, normal kale, low-fat Parmesan Cheese, and dried spices.… Read the rest
Caroline, Devon, Mike, and Scott
The first day I met Scott’s cousin Mike and his wife Michelle, I had no idea how much we would develop in common. How we would each name our youngest sons Sam. How we would laugh about this every Thanksgiving at Michelle’s parents’ dinners. Who spends the holidays with her husband’s cousin’s wife’s family? Me. That’s who.
About damned time! I’m FINALLY Ketching Up! You can, too. It only takes fifty seven words about a first day.
The quality of mercy is not strain’d
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes…
Shakespeare – The Merchant of Venice 4.1
Sam sat in a ceramic explosion. But as soon as he saw me, his vampire grin turned to dust “I was so angry.”
“Is this why you called me?” I scowled from the door.
“Yes.” He made fists and pounded the carpet. “I was so angry, and I smashed Pandy!”
His beloved panda bank was tonight’s victim. “There’s not much we can do but clean him up and throw him away.”
“No!” Sam leapt up bawling.… Read the rest
“My ass cheeks are going in opposite directions.” Scott glowered up from the couch. It had recently snapped in the third place in less than two months.
“Mm-hmm.” I sat across the room. In a chair.
“We have to replace it, don’t we?”
It came to me used and free in 1998 when I went to grad school. After Scott and I and four friends nearly killed ourselves getting it into our first shared apartment, Scott said, “It’s coming out kindling.”
“Baby, I’ll buy the axe.”
But it didn’t. Instead, when we rented our first house, we gave all our friends rope burn dropping the couch over the balcony.… Read the rest
I struggle with scenes where protagonists flirt or flush with desire. But I want to capture those moments in my writing. This one story has been haunting me since I was ten years old. Ten fucking years old. When I wrote it then, it had a lot of breast kissing and ended in “the rest, I will leave to your imagination”. I’m still mortified by that phrase. I was obsessed with sex but had not the first clue
about what took place under the covers.
It was five years after that failure before the idea crept back into my mind. This time, it stayed.… Read the rest