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The Neverending Funeral, the Addict, Love and the Ring

He intended the ring to be a romantic gesture, but he made the decision hastily, desperately, in a fit of anguish. Overcome with emotion and unwilling to allow one more public tear to fall, he began to feel as if the maple wainscoting of the mortician’s office itself resembled a coffin. So he picked something and stuck with it, just as he’d been instructed to do a thousand times before by Her. Guided by her, still. God.

Looking through a fudgeing glossy catalog of ways to display his dead wife was beginning to make him feel like he was on the world’s longest, worst mushroom trip. The whole experience sucked and he wished he could have been drunk all the way through it but they weren’t Irish or whichever denomination allowed drunken funerals. They were the sober kind of mourners, with the white flowers, boring food, and white music. And tears.

He felt embarrassed to admit that he forgot about the ring until summoned down to the Armenian jeweler’s shop to pick it up. The jeweler, a stocky, sweaty man with enough hair for both of them wanted to make conversation with him based on the sheer novelty of it. It was the first time the Armenian’d ever crafted a ring from a dead person and he was excited to share the process with ring’s spouse. He felt sick from the smell of jewelry cleaner, whatever greasy crap those fudgeers had for lunch not to mention the beer he smells on this guy’s breath. He just wanted out: away from this pathetic row of shops in this anorexic downtown, obviously struggling to survive despite the story laid out by the commercials and gentrification nearby. The curb littered with potholes, beer bottles. The usual cast of stinky characters occupied the vacant doorways around him as he made he way dazedly back to the car with his hand pinkie finger concealed carefully in his pocket, hot with promise.

He’s not a pinkie ring guy, but he wears this one because by now he misses her and this is a little humiliating to admit, but you know- he MISSES her. For a while he slept with a photo of her pinned to the pillow but then he started to feel a little crazy, especially when he began telling the pillow good night and asking it what he should pick on the tivo. Then, when the housekeeper saw it and called his daughter that was it for the pillowspouse.

The ring is white gold, a manly width and fairly gaudy if you want to know the truth. He wanted it crafted into a wedding band, but those sadists only offered the pinkie style. So he walks around with his right hand in his pocket a lot. Understated can only take you so far when you’re wearing a pinkie ring. The stone made from his wife is a lovely, preternatural, shade of blue reserved for colored contacts, photo-shopped pictures of vacations, and one little girl he sees around town. It’s not a human color, is his problem and he knows she would have hated it. As soon as he slips the ring on he believes he hears her laugh softly. His shoulders relax, he cocks his head to the side and he is right where he wants to be.

Alone with his wife.

Which is how he finds himself addicted to masturbating thinking of his dead wife, seeking therapy, and wondering if he’s finally falling off the misanthropic deep end from which is there is just no fudgeing return.

At work he is Gollum, nearly helpless to resist the temptation of the flashing stone. He’d been nearly caught in the office bathroom, lost in a memory of the two of them pulled over under a bridge during a rainstorm when the windshield wipers were broken on their fist car, an impossibly dinged up Chevrolet station wagon with a bench front seat. He stumbled back to his desk on shaky legs wondering how long it might take him to pound his way through twenty-three years of lusty memories. He wonders if he’ll do this without getting arrested or injuring himself, and will the ring then finally lose its power? Does he even want that? He not so shamefully admits to himself that he enjoys the fantastical idea that she exists inside this ring and that he can summon her ghost with his cock.

He moves the ring to his left hand and finds to his dismay, and shamefully excited surprise, that he is an ambidextrous mastubator. He thought ambimasturbators were legend- in the seventh grade when he broke his arm that time skateboarding down the 18th Street hill and he truly needed to be one, he could not master the skill.

While at the therapist’s office he learns that there is a support group for people who whack off to their dead spouse’s memory. Wait, what? If Marla Singer is there, he will pay his therapist ten million dollars because he’s sure at this moment that she is also a psychic and knows he would absolutely be able to fudge Marla Singer even with a ring made of his dead wife on his hand.

At the rec center he takes a seat in the circle and checks out every hand in the group. No one has a ring like his, which makes him feel unique just like that time he was forced to attend A.A.meetings (in his ear his wife softly whispers, “like how you decided you weren’t an alcoholic because of your special drinking rules, except you were an alcoholic after all and we almost got a divorce?” and chuckles) so he sits there quietly cursing his wife, contemplating hurling the ring across the room. Then when he reaches over to take it off he feels that telltale warmth spread across his chest and crotch, so he stops.

After an hour be believes he’s picked out the support group junkie in the room and he plans to confront her because even though she’s not Marla Singer she’s pretty hot. Otherwise the group seems to be just full of pathetic people who are jacking off to photos taped to their wall.

They are amateurs. Nothing more. Nothing compared to him, his ring, his wife, his needs. There’s nothing for him here. He arranges his features into a vacant smile and carefully folds his naked hand over the hand containing his wife and waits for the clock and the closing prayer to tell him that it’s time to take her home.

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Oceans of Love and Flowers and Blood and the Mountains to Hold it all Down



I’m pretty sure the painting was supposed to be a field of poppies, a simple landscape. Flowers in the foreground, mountains in the distance. I’m sure of it. Maybe the reason I picked it up for $4 in a hand stretched linen frame has to do with the fact that that the poppies look a whole lot like droplets of blood.

Some nights swear I’m in the room with him while he daydreams himself into the canopy of leaves, pine needles poking into his legs as he stretches out to let he sun dry his trail sweat. Him and me, we explore those trails together; we say fudge those flowers, fudge the flat land, and we skinny dip in the coldest water this side of the Mississippi. A black snake stands up to judge us for a minute before settling onto a rock above our heads, the way black snakes sometimes do, sideways on a rock, looking like someone drew a curvy line with a sharpie.

He doesn’t care about anything back beyond that bloody lake. He wants out of this commitment, and this painting, and this fudgeing field of flowers that he -oh, why in GOD’s NAME did he- promised her he’d hang on the damn wall across from that godforsaken mechanical bed. That up and down, up and down, up and down bed that will never-will NEVER-take her to the mountains. The mountain range she HAD to have. That she MADE HIM PAINT. On the other side of an ocean of blood.

In my fantasy the man put this canvas away-he hid it in the garage, out of her reach and field of vision. I like to picture us, shaking hands gently at the trailhead as he turns to wade through an ocean of blood back to a clean canvas to begin again.

I like to imagine that, somewhere there exists a cheerful painting consisting of a field of poppies and happy mountain range, and there is a woman who wakes to that painting every morning and says “On! My poppies! My mountain! My love! Thank you for bringing my home to me when I can no longer go to my home.”

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How to Pick Magazines That Make You Smarter. (Come Back, Brain, Child!)

Every parent should have a subscription to Brain, Child. The only thing that bothers me about the magazine is how fudgeing long the articles are. I mean, I’m trying to be cerebral here, but honestly, what part of their reading audience has the time to sit down and read a 10-page essay? Mental Floss- now that’s a magazine I can get through in a hurry, but then there’s that terrible letdown at the end. Let me also mention here that both magazine subscriptions have run out. I’m on my last Brain Child and my MF is 2 months old. My brain hasn’t yet begun to atrophy, but it’s close.

I read my copy of Brain, Child in increments of one or two paragraphs at a time. I rarely have more than 5 minutes of uninterrupted free time, and most of it is when I’m “winding down” before I go to sleep. That’s it- that’s all the time I have for you folks. Luckily, this fine publication comes out only 4 times a year, so I’m not facing a backlog.

In other news- on Monday I walked into this odor in our house, which was vaguely chemical, to my nose. Michael, of course, can’t smell it. Is it a ghost smell? Do I have a brain tumor? Is it possible that my aunt is still actually paying for the house to be bug sprayed once a month, and if so, why haven’t I been accosted by this god-awful smell before?

Because it’s not pesticides- it’s the cat litter. This, THIS is what we get for trying to be eco-friendly with our cat litter. We bought the pine stuff, free of silica dust and totally organic. (Use it for compost! Flush it down the toilet! One bag lasts 4 weeks!) Now, we are being punished. More specifically, I am being punished, because as I said somehow I’m the ONLY ONE who can smell the stench of wet, feces covered pine needles. I’m in my own special hell, catching a whiff here or there as I walk through the house. Every once in a while I’ll think “hmm! it’s over! Maybe it’s neutralizing” and then WHAM! The hairs on the inside of my nose are gone, by the way.

You might wonder why we don’t just go buy more cat litter? Well. I’m wondering the same thing, I suppose. All I can tell you is it’s raining outside, M was at work all day and had an open house tonight, I worked all day at the consignment store with the baby, and 3 miles is just too damn far right now. We are officially natives of Yulee, when 3 miles is too far to drive. Officially. I’m going to put on my John Deere hat and jacket now, while I smoke a Capri on the porch.

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The Late Late Show, or Why I'll Never Get Pregnant Again

Baby A is standing in front of me, pushing keys on the telephone and grinning like a mad baby. I think she might also be chewing on something from the floor buffet, too. Yes, readers, welcome to our evening life. Baby A goes down for a short siesta around 7:30-8, and then we are treated to several hours of giggling, dog food breath, mischievous grins, and ultimately screaming fits, until she is too exhausted to go on. She reaches that point somewhere around crazy-thirty. Each night one of use will say to the other “why don’t you go sleep upstairs?” but up to now, neither of us has been willing to actually do it, for fear of the consequences of leaving Baby A alone with someone who for moments during the night, actually considers putting her outside with the cats. We’re both guilty of it. How the hell are you people out there who have more than one small child surviving? Drugs? Amphetamines? What? I don’t need to know just yet, but before I get pregnant again someone better let me in the club.

As if there were every going to be a time IN MY LIFE that I’d actually have the chance to get pregnant….

Now she’s screaming with laughter, tottering around the house carrying a cat collar in her mouth. We’re a step up today- yesterday she ate some cat litter. What? I can’t be expected to be on top of my game only 2 days into Primary Caregiver mode. I had 8 weeks off, for christ’s sake. Now that school is about to start, I’m ready to look at Day Cares again. I just can’t figure out what’s preventing me from getting out the goddamn stroller and walking 400 feet to the subdivision next door every day? Even today, when the house f-ing reeked of bug spray, we were stuck here. Tethered to the house by my supreme laziness, which has resulted in my weight being 15 pounds MORE than it was when Baby A was a week old. At least I don’t have to se Dr. Bobby regularly. “Oh, I’m into working out, and it looked like you probably were too at one time (at one time!? fudge you!), so I made sure to sew your stomach back together. If you want a 6 pack, you can get one again- it’ll take 6 to 9 months, maybe a year….”

If he could see me now, munching on my evening snack of chocolate cake and chocolate milk, bathed in the stench of bug spray.

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