A WIP, not a WHIP, though one smacks a horse’s ass

Excerpt from a work in progress

This was my moment: choke or breathe. Either the cubed potato would slip down my throat or clog up my air filter.

So far, my soul hadn’t bailed out on me. Thoughts continued to light up my brain while my fatalistic, internal drama queen ranted on about the end of days. It focused me in a weird, disturbing way.  I no longer pined about losing time or sight of my goals.

A Horse's Ass

Image by citron_smurf via Flickrosing time or sight of my goals.

I had one big assed delusional goal lurking in front of me. Staying alive! Staying alive! Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, staying alive! No other pathetic self-perpetuated malady could come close in comparison.

Either that potato would make it down my esophagus or EMT workers would be hauling off my corpse tonight on a stretcher and Jim would be cooking for one. He was the better cook anyway.

I don’t remember the point when I stopped stressing over the potato and my early demise. Did it happen downstairs in the kitchen or upstairs in the office? I have no recollection. One minute death obsessed, the next I was in front of the computer screen staring at white space.

Maybe it was a white light and my dead relatives would be arriving any minute to take me to heaven for some Chinese food.

That’s what my family did every Sunday night when I was kid, a Tung Hoy night out with the grandparents and immediate family, although my younger brother and I didn’t know the meaning of immediate. We were usually late.

I would enjoy hearing the dinner din again, especially the pre appetizer spat over what to order, as soon as the waiter handed out the food-stained menus.

I didn’t care what I got in the Chinese food lottery as long as it included a bowl of wonton soup. But that wouldn’t happen until my folks stopped arguing over the merits of ordering from A” or “B,” while the waiter stood with a fake smile, head slightly bowed, probably regretting his table assignment.

“Spareribs and egg rolls,” my father said, and then slammed the menu down on the table.

I chimed in with “I want fried lice.”

Back then, you could get away with saying crass ethnic shit if you were a kid. Political correctness didn’t exist. Even so, I got a death-ray stare from my mother across the table.

Meanwhile, my grandmother was flossing her teeth with a matchbook cover. She didn’t get a death-ray stare from my mother for committing a major social faux pas. Grandmothers could get away with old world habits. Hell, I have a picture of her on a horse-drawn carriage.

They didn’t have toothpicks back then. Just ice picks. Someone would have to be in a bad place to remove a piece of meat from their teeth with an ice pick, a perfect excuse for an unhappy wife or husband to get rid of a spouse.

“But officer, I was just trying to remove a hunk of chicken from my wife’s teeth when the ice pick slipped and impaled her brain.”

If my dead relatives happened to sneak down from heaven and observe a day in my unstructured world, they’d probably be disappointed and not stick around. Once back up in heaven, they’d share their experiences with the other dearly departed. “It’s okay,” they’d say. “We’re not missing anything.”

The Alternate Universe of the 99 Percent


I am a member of the 99-percent club, a part-time worker, poverty wage earner, with more time than money to spend.

On my never-ending search for more part-time work, yesterday rubber met the road when Gladys GPS and I followed Google’s convoluted directions to a 2 p.m. interview in a different state – of confusion.

The road on which I traveled was a long, winding route, smothered with traffic jam, not unlike a root canal. The road ended at a funeral home. Gladys assured me the address was correct.

I called the receptionist, my conduit to the interview. “I’m at a funeral home,” I said.  “Is that right?”

“Yes. Just head down to the center of the parking lot and open the glass door by the bicycle shop. We’re on the second floor.”

Now I had to find the bicycle shop and mysterious glass door. The bicycle rack out front provided a clue.

So, I opened the glass door and trudged up the steps, as an older gentleman in a rumpled suit squeezed past me on his way down and out.

When I entered the offices of Marketing Is Us, I looked for a boiler in the room and found nothing, so I said “hello.”

Immediately, Darla, the twenty-something receptionist, handed me a one-page employment form to fill out, which pleased me. Handwriting didn’t come easily to me.  I think I’m Dysgraphic, a distant relative of Hypochondriac.

While I waited for my turn to be grilled and flambéed, I chatted with Darla, who was a great conversationalist and I think part of the interview process. She told me about Marketing Is Us’ combative relationship with the funeral home on the other side.

“After we first moved in, the funeral home sent a note asking our employees not be too cheery when entering the building, and to act solemn in fact.”

“For real,” I asked, loving the life stranger than fiction part of the interview.

“When they realized their funeral faux pas, they sent us a bouquet of flowers.” She pointed to a glass vase tied with a somber maroon bow then added, “The flowers smell like a funeral.”

“Maybe they were on a dead body?” I said, probably not the words she wanted to hear.

She turned to watch the TV.

By that time, Goth Girl, the pubescent applicant who preceded me, said goodbye with a stud piercing in her lip and a dagger look in her eye.

My turn on the roaster spit.

“Spanky will see you now,” Darla announced. “Just go through the glass doors.”


There was a large desk in the center of the room with a man-child seated behind it. He looked like a 12-year-old in a suit and tie.

“Hello,” he said, then jumped up with his hand extended. “I’m glad you could make it,” then gestured. “Please take a seat. We are the result of corporate outsourcing, although we’re in New York, not India”

I didn’t see any cows.

“We handle marketing and sales for Yakety Yak Communications. Tell me what you can you bring to the table?”

Milk and cookies. Or is your mother bringing snacks?

“Where do you see yourself in five years?”


I didn’t say that but wish I did.

When the interview ended, I waived goodbye to Spanky, Darla and the gang, such incorrigible rascals.

On my way down and out, I passed a rumpled baby boomer, struggling for breath, hiking up the stairs. She could have been me.

Back in the car, “Home Gladys,” I ordered. Then, we snaked our way toward the Connecticut border where time, not money, was spent in the alternate universe of the 99 percent.

I hope Operation Wall Street Rocks the Top One Percent’s Rafters.

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Clueless About Remotes

English: Various remote controls fot TV-set, D...

Image via Wikipedia

How many remotes does it take to change a channel?

It depends upon what mode you’re in: DVD, TV, TiVo, or DVR (Digital Video Recorder).

When it comes to remotes, I’m usually in split-spleen mode because my technological knowledge only includes TV on and off, channel up and down and volume loud and soft.

I think TV remote management skills are inherent in the male DNA. I don’t mean to sound sexist, but I don’t know a remote thing about remotes, yet my husband and son do.

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