Days Like This [Repost]

Prompt: Switch

sheets-on-clothesline

Oh no.

Leep awoke slowly, but to the distinctive odor of his own body, warm sheets wrapped around him in knots, his head under the covers.

It was going to be one of those days.

Did anyone else have such days? He got out of bed, stripped off the sheets, took them to the back hallway and put them in the washer. He had only the one set of bedding at the moment, so he set the oven timer to remind him to transfer it to the dryer.

He had a quick shower: quick because the hot water was so pungent, minerally, and reeking of chemicals. Was it always like this?

The kitchen smelled of burnt bacon, lingering from two nights ago. Leep switched on the oven fan. There was a mechanical part loose inside the fan so it rattled ominously. He wouldn’t be able to tolerate coffee this morning, so he put the kettle on for tea. The kettle smelled salty, so he spent half an hour scrubbing hard water build-up before filling it with fresh water and plugging it in.

The fresh tomatoes were heaped in a cardboard flat on the counter. Their scent wafted over to where Leep hovered over the kettle and his teacup. Green and earthy, a pleasant smell, but combined with the burnt bacon, the hard water, the chicken skin in the kitchen garbage pail (he emptied it into the big garbage can out back), the smell in the kitchen was overwhelming.

Outside the air was sulphuric, so much so that Leep could almost see the yellowness of it. He held a cotton handkerchief over his mouth and nose and made his way to the car. He put the tomatoes in the back seat.

The sharp smell of evergreen assaulted Leep as he slid into the driver’s seat. There was a green cut-out fir tree dangling from the rear view mirror shaft, and Leep had no option but to yank it off and toss it out the window. He would clean it up later. Then there was the grease. Leep reached under the passenger seat and found an old hamburger wrapper. Sighing, he got out of the car, picked up the air freshener tree from the ground, and put them both in the garbage can before leaving for Beth’s house.

Leep got the flat of tomatoes from the back seat of his car and went around to the kitchen door of the house. He could see Beth, whom he called (to himself only) Lizzie, through the window, fiddling with something on the counter. He saw the shadow of someone leaving the kitchen. Her daughter, Deborah? He tapped on the door.

“Hello, Leep,” she said with a small smile, glancing behind her where the shadow had been.

“I was at Costco,” said Leep, setting the tomatoes down heavily on the kitchen table.

“Oh!” she said, with marginally more warmth. “What do I owe you?”

“No, no,” said Leep. And he suddenly noticed the smell in the room. It wasn’t Lizzie’s orange and gardenia perfume. It was a powerful scent that overrode anything else. The last time he breathed it in was late at night, on the street, with his gun drawn, hearing an insult so dire that his finger squeezed the trigger and someone crumpled to the ground. It was sweet and musky. To Leep it was a deeply unpleasant smell, but perhaps women liked it. Today, at this moment, it was overpowering.

Leep suppressed a shudder, but not enough to prevent him stammering. “I know you like, you know, tomatoes, you cook them, um—“

“Yes, thanks. I do freeze a lot of spaghetti sauce when tomatoes are in season.”

Which they weren’t, but at Costco Leep had put one of the tomatoes to his nose, and it smelled fresh and fruity. “These ones are ok, I think,” he said to Beth.

She looked to the back of the house again. “Yes, thank you, Leep.” Her breath smelled sour, of coffee. The pot she was making was not the first that Saturday morning.

“Who is he?” asked Leep, then immediately, “Sorry.” She waved her hand at him in dismissal, sending wafts of pear soap fumes.

Then, to Leep’s shock, she answered. “Just a friend from the cruise. Dropped by to say hello.”

“The cologne.” Leep said.

“I know,” said Beth.

He had to get outside. But when he stumbled out, the sulphur smell struck him again. He took his car to the 999 Car Wash. They scrubbed it inside and out. Then instead of evergreen and grease it smelled medicinal, which was intolerable too. Leep took the freshly laundered sheets out of the dryer and made up the bed. They smelled of linen, a blissfully neutral odor. He got a disposable surgical mask from the drawer in the bathroom, turned on the ceiling fan and the portable air purifier, and lay on the bed.

It might take a few hours, even until nightfall, but it had always gone away before. Did anyone else have days like this?


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Puffy enough

Prompt: Strange


Hello Wednesday,

Lately, despite my increased obsession with my iPhone 8s, I find I am placing notebooks and pencils everywhere: beside my chair, on my bedside table, by my desktop, and in my purse. Maybe this is my last-gasp effort to climb out of the mire of digital (digital was supposed to be clean and crisp and efficient) and into the fresh air of analog (old, slow, tedious analog?).

Last thing at night, first thing in the morning, I stare at the screen. What if something happened while I was away from staring at the screen? What if there was a political event, a meme, an emoticon message that I missed for a few hours later or even until tomorrow?

Irrational digital.

A paper novel, a fresh notebook and a pencil. The six o’clock news on television? Maybe. Read a little, look at the horizon; write down a thought or a note, think, put the pencil down. Comprehensible analog.

Ok, just try and pry my laptop or my iPhone from my hands— I don’t want to give them up. But I am making room, lots of room, for my lined notebooks and sharpened pencils, too.

Apropos of nothing particularly strange, though strange they may be, may I present a few of my favourite cartoons?

cartoon valentines day

cartoon horizon

cartoon not puffy enough


Love and peace,

~~FP

Shantay, You Stay

Prompt: Earworm


Don’t you hate it when you get up, have a shower, realize you are too sick to function, go back to bed with wet hair so that you look like a clown when it dries, miss out on a whole day and don’t even manage your usual Wednesday post?

The struggle is real. But I’m fine and busy and had time to mull over the prompt, “earworm”, which is a tune that buzzes around in your head and is impossible to silence. When I feel sick I like to binge-watch stuff on Netflix— well, even when I’m not sick. In any case, I’m up to season 10 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, a reality-style competition show that pits drag queens from across the nation of America in a contest that nets the winner $100,000, some make-up, and huge drag queen fame.

When you binge-watch, Netflix edits out repetitive credits but the basics of the RuPaul theme song remain… “May the best woman winnnn” and of course the show is filled with repetitive songs and catch phrases (“The library is open!”) and insider jokes. The song that simply will not leave my head after a binge evening is “Cover Girl”, which plays every episode when RuPaul, before the judging segment, appears in full glorious drag and struts down the runway:

Cover girl
Put that bass in your walk
Head to toe
Let your whole body talk

That’s about it. But that little fragment spins round and round in my tiny brain until it collapses in on itself in exhaustion… then I sit down and watch anther RuPaul. I am diligently focussing on this series now so that I can reach the final episode and have that song grow wings and take flight for a destination far, far away.

(…BTW, I tend to like the quirky and the glamorous queens, like Tyra, Raja, Sharon, and Sasha.)

May  I now present a wee cartoon extravaganza?

cartoon that good

Merry

cartoon hickock


And remember, if you can’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else?

~~FP

Robin

Prompt: Enigma


It’s it is somewhere between twilight and darkness and the clouds are defined by the light ash sky behind them. Crickets are making their night sound. And I am thinking about Robin, the enigma.

Robin arrives on our back lawn every evening at 5:30 pm. He is tall and plump for a bird and has excellent posture. He hops around on two legs. When he hears worms making worm noises beneath the sod, he stops, tilts his head, and pounces. Then he continues his hop but with a worm or half a worm dangling from his beak. The ritual continues. When enough worms dangle he disappears, presumably to his hungry young family, tucked away in a nest in a location unknown. Then he returns, hopping and posing and pouncing, until sunset.

Robin returns every afternoon, punctually, so that I always know when it’s happy hour. This is a great service.

I can’t help but wonder what sound worms make in the dense earth under the grass. I wonder if they can feel Robin thudding around on the surface. “Oh shit, here he comes. Everybody run!”

Robin is not bothered nor distracted by me. He doesn’t fear me. If he does, he hunts anyway, for how else with the kids eat? He is a success as a provider.

I see the quail, and their parade of babies. I see the ducks, and their trail of ducklings. I watch them fatten and, sadly, dwindle in number as the season stretches on. I will never see Robin’s babies.

But I’ll see Robin tomorrow at 5:30 sharp. Cheers!

As it is Wednesday, many I now present a few of my favourite random cartoons?

cartoon mystery wrapped

cartoon nice moat

cartoon security


Peace and love,

~~FP