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.”

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

  1. Linda Medrano

    Lauren, I have some anxiety issues from time to time and feel like I’m choking.  Scary business.  I’ll be ready to swallow and I get stuck.  Oy vey!

    We used to go to a restaurant with my parents every weekend.  It was an Italian place in San Francisco’s North Beach.  They served wine to the kids in short water glasses and then added water to the red wine.  Good old days, Honey!

    1. Lauren

      I really went through this obsessive internal monologue, wondering if I was breathing. Duh! If I’m wondering something other than where’s the phone, there’s a good chance I’m still alive.

      Gotta learn how to do the Heimlich.

  2. Juneohara65

    Living alone–and planning to continue that way–I sometimes have depressing thoughts about what will become of me in my “golden years.” I try to push them from my mind as quickly as possible. And flossing teeth with a matchbook cover? Ice pick?? It’s classic Lauren. I love it.

    1. Lauren

      Thanks June. I’m glad you loved it. This is what I’ve been working on. Keep pushing those thoughts out of your head. You’ve got enough going on in there. : )

      It freaks me out to think that I could choke when eating alone in my house. I am a four star neurotic.

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  4. Aschatria Xyana

    Uh-huh—erm… anxiety(!) can be a bitch sometimes.

    That was very vivid imagery, makes me wonder how would I pass if I spit out something like that. Not a piece of meat , of course or anything dealing with ice pick…
    I’m pretty sure that most of the people would enjoy this chapter, but somehow I’m not in the mood.
    I watched very stressful movie last night, one of those that makes you wish tv was banned forever.
    “Human centipede 2” – it’s the one that measures up for the category  “Kill the author”. The amount of anxiety left by completely shitfull scenario, is epic.
    Final note: forget to watch it.

    Like your writing; don’t miss me in this mood. 

    1. Lauren

      I saw parts of Human Centipede 1. No pun intended. I couldn’t watch the whole thing. I heard that Centipede 2 is supposed to be good. Though, I don’t think I’ll watch that one either. Too disturbing. Thanks for swinging by.

    1. Lauren

      Thank you so much, Carla.

      I live in the northeast, so I’ve had limited Internet access. We’ve been without power since Saturday. Using a generator for essential items. I tap into my husband’s iPhone to get online. I’ll stop by the next time I’m online.

      Thanks again for the award and your kind words.

      Take care,


  5. Heavena Singha

    When I think about dead people sneaking up on me, it’s not funny at all 😀

    Enjoyed reading this post 🙂 

    1. Lauren

      Thank you. I still don’t have power. We had a nor’easter here on the east coast this past Saturday. I have limited Internet access. I’ll swing by when I’ve got power, which hopefully will be on Sunday.

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