Monday, October 17, 2011

Halloween 3#

The Pest

Picky-Picky's body was tucked carefully into the cardboard box. The two young girls stood awkwardly beside the shallow hole that the older child had just dug.

"I don't know what we should do right now," the older girl, Beezus, said. "I wish Mom and Daddy were home."
"We're not supposed to bug Mom at work, remember?" said the littler girl. "Besides, I've seen funerals on TV. They say prayers over the grave and then someone tells the wife of the dead man that she looks beautiful in black."
"Oh, Ramona," sighed Beezus. "I don't know any prayers for a dead cat."
"Poor Picky-Picky," Ramona said, "He was such an interesting cat."
"Remember that time he peed on Daddy's shoes?" Beezus said, smiling. "That was interesting of him."
"Very interesting," Ramona agreed, and smiled too. "Do you know what Howie says? He says his Uncle Hobart says that this whole development was built on a ancient Indian graveyard."
"Oh, Ramona," said Beezus with exasperation. "Do you have to be so immature during a funeral?"

Ramona wanted to explain that she had thought that it would be a good thing to talk about graveyards during a funeral, that she hadn't meant to be so immature. But she looked at Beezus's face and saw the tears in her eyes and decided that right now wasn't the best time to explain this. Instead, she reached over and held Beezus's hand. Beezus squeezed her hand back.

"I'm really going to miss Picky-Picky," Ramona said.
"I know," said Beezus. "Me too."

Ramona woke up with a start in the middle of the night. She had been dreaming terrible dreams, dreams that the spot where they had buried Picky-Picky was the wrong spot, that Picky-Picky had been shook back to life by something old and angry and that he had clawed his way, green-eyed and furious, out of the cardboard box and through the heavy dirt, that he had made his way, stagger-legged, through the backyard and was up on the porch trying to make his way to the cat door.

She was about to call her mother in terror when she remembered her father's praise over how she and Beezus had not bothered their mother when they found Picky-Picky and so she pulled her blanket over her head and closed her eyes tightly.

"It was just a dream," she told herself.  "Don't be such a baby."

In the hallway outside her room, a cat meowed softly.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Halloween 2#

Little House On The Scary
"Hush, Charles! You'll wake the children!" Ma said to Pa as he came stomping into the house, bringing in the silvery moonlight with him. His gun was slung over his shoulder and he had something clutched in his hand. Jack ran dancing in beside him.

Laura snuggled down into bed so they wouldn't see her disobediently awake. Pa liked little girls who did exactly as they were told. Mary was wide awake too, her sightless eyes open in the darkness.

"Four of them, Caroline! I got four of them tonight!" Pa said.

"That's wonderful, Charles!" Ma said, helping Pa take off his tall leather boots. "I feel so much safer now."

The wind swirled up around the house. Not far away, in the dense endless forests, there were panthers and wolves, all waiting to eat little girls who wandered too far from home. Laura held her corncob doll close to her chest.

"Don't worry, Mary," Laura whispered to Mary. "Pa is home now." Mary said nothing.

"Come to bed, Charles," Ma said. "There's so much more to do in the morning."

Pa hung the four new scalps by the front door. Outside, there was no one for hundreds and hundreds of miles. The wind blew again.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Horror: A Screenplay

This is my new blog. I am starting a new blog because of no good reason at all, actually. And so here we are now and it is mid-October ALREADY - good grief - and so my thoughts turn to thoughts of ghosts, of course and Halloween and creepy stories. Here's one:

Halloween One: In Which I Get What I Have Coming To Me
Scene: My house. I am sitting home alone, doing nothing of any consequence. There is a knock at my front door.

Me: I'm not home! Go AWAY! (I then continue chatting on Twitter)

Strangely familiar voice: We can see you sitting at the computer. Come to the door.

I sigh, get up and go to the door. There stands a very famous former talk show host with weight issues and a skinny blond actress in her late 30s. I quickly try to slam the door in their faces but they're too fast for me.

Talk Show Host: We want to have some words with you.

Smug Actress: Yeah. I've got a bone to pick with you.

I then start sobbing uncontrollably, picturing the actress snapping off one of her brittle bones and shanking me with it or the talk show host forcing me to talk about my feelings. Both of these scenarios strike me as equally terrifying.

Actress: You've said a lot of rude things about me over the years. You know what this makes you?

Me: Um..

Actress: THIS MAKES YOU A BAD PERSON. People who are interesting and good understand me.

Talk Show Host: Sarcasm is not helpful for public discourse, BECK. And those My Favorite Things yearly lists take a lot of work. Who doesn't love cashmere socks? Who doesn't love hand-painted dog toile trays?

Me: Well, see, that's the problem. You're both responsible for spreading some harmful, dangerous ideologies - you, Talk Show Host! You spread the idea that everyone could be happy, that everyone could have what they wanted just by WANTING it enough!  And you, Actress! You're the very epitome of entitlement and your newsletter from this week is all about how "everyone" can afford modern art!

Actress: Yes they can! Just like everyone can find time to work out!

Me: But they can't! I have friends who can't afford groceries! I have friends who work three jobs and still can't get by! The middle class is vanishing, the poor are being targeted for blame by conservative interest groups and we can't afford to indulge your professional class of Marie Antoinettes anymore! A human being's moral fiber is not dependent on the fiber in their diet. My value on a parent is less about my child's diet and entirely about the character and quality of the human being I am raising. Everyone cannot pull themselves up by their own boot straps. My wanting something does not mean I deserve it. My happiness should not come at the expense of the happiness of the people I claim to love. Very few people look good in horizontal stripes.

Talk Show Host: Get the pen and the endless reams of paper.

Actress: Oh, I am so chuffed for this!

And this is how I ended up, chained to the Sisyphean, endless task of mocking Oprah's Christmas list FOREVER.