BY ro

04/01 Direct Link
I said I wasn’t going to subscribe to writing April, because when I write (“write”) I can’t read, and there’s an intimidating stack of classics on my bedside, mocking me. “Remember when you were going to be a pretentious, poor English major?” they say. “We mock you now.” I don’t really want to enter into an abusive relationship with Faulkner, so here I am. Just typing. About stuff. Nothing particular. OH! I got a parking ticket today. That was exciting/enraging. That’s about it. No news. Letting the fingers dance on the keys. Just riding the wave to word number 100.
04/02 Direct Link
Spring hasn’t exactly sprung, but the hillsides of Vermont have sloughed to the extent that their soft, muddy underbelly has been exposed. The sun is out, the roads are dry, and I can make sharp, fast turns on the backroads; the way I like it. M is with me; we’re taking an off-season jaunt to a local Inn. The drinks go down easy; the final bill, notsomuch.

I made two mistakes this weekend: I told M that I refer to him as “M” when I write. The second mistake was when I told him he made my stomach drop. Whoopsy.
04/03 Direct Link
In fifth grade, my best friend and I were dating twins. We were living the plot of every teen girl lit book, and we, as the two Best Friends for Life (who, coincidentally, also had such a striking resemblance that we were mistaken for twins), did everything together. We dumped our boyfriends together, over the phone, by reading our vaguely predictive Sassy horoscopes, as if this were supposed explain our actions, as if the cosmos were deeming it so. In karmic retribution, however, the cosmos have decided, after a twenty-year moratorium, that it’s time I am on the receiving end.
04/04 Direct Link
I’ve allowed myself two hours to come up with something magical for the page. I’ve arranged the laptop altar appropriately: divining creativity. I even have my magical amulets: Jack and Coke, cigarettes… because I’m serious this time. No, actually, I’m an idiot. I’m going to get face cancer, and I’m going to die with half a jaw. My jaw is going to be resected, and some first-year resident is going to fuck it up because they’d rather go home and smoke cigarettes and drink Jack and Coke. And so, the cycle continues, and I’m only slightly comforted by the irony.
04/05 Direct Link
Lazy re-telling of an IM conversation, thinly veiled as fictional 100-word prose entry:

E: what is the beverage of the night
K: Jack and coke, as always
K: Jack is my boyfriend
E: so Jack is cheating on me with you
E: or are you cheating on me with Jack
E: next thing you know you and Jack have my tv at the pawn shop, my bank account cleaned out
K: don't give Jack any ideas
K: he's shady
K: shady AND tasty, just the way I like 'em

Note to self: Real-life does not have normal, interesting plot structure.
04/06 Direct Link
Dear Nora Ephron,

Today, I purchased your highly-acclaimed Non-fiction musings entitled I Feel Bad About My Neck, at a used book sale. The book was in good condition, and despite the six-dollar price tag (condition or not, it’s still used goods), I took it under advisement from the New York Times and the Kirkus Review that your book was a “…witty and refreshing, often hilarious, take on the modern mature woman.”

Instead, I find your writing style pedantic, your main character unsympathetic, self-absorbed, and wholly unlikeable. No one, least of all me, cares about your neck. Ever hear of Darfur?
04/07 Direct Link
There’s a hilarious* poster hanging over the register in the pharmacy at the hospital. “Is It Medicine, Or Is It Candy?” it asks, with pictures of various pills next to their doppelgangers: M&M, or ibuprofen? Good-n-Plenty, or Vicodin? Ju-ju Fruits, or Grandma’s enema? Klonopin wafer, or the Eucharistic Body of Christ?

I note the various similarities as I stand in line, waiting to pay for my delicious Pepto Bismol/liquid bubblegum. Other patrons are oblivious to the comedic genius of the poster.

Somehow, though, I don’t think “both” is the appropriate answer to the poster’s impromptu quiz.

*Degree of hilarity reader-dependent
04/08 Direct Link
I’m trying to temper the angry. This is something I’m convinced can be ameliorated virtually overnight, with the help of selfless introspection and a hefty reading list consisting of the selected works of Deepak Chopra and Gandhi. “There is no beginning, end, time, evil, or good. There just is,” they tell me, paraphrased. They speak in circles, and I get it. I do. It makes sense somehow, and I’m at peace during the day, for the most part. I feel the pervasive reverberation of the universe’s love (it tingles a little bit). FIFTEEN HUNDRED DOLLARS FOR FEDERAL TAXES?!? SMASHY SMASHY!!
04/09 Direct Link
I’m moving, I say. Next town over.

So, like, 50 miles away? He says.

Snort. No, surprisingly, 10 down the road.

Cheaper? He asks.

You bet. Smaller, but quainter. Character.


Hells no. I don’t play those games anymore.

Besides, he says, you need to feel truly at home. You need to be able to walk around your home naked, eating out of a Campbell’s soup can and not feel judged.

Yeah, what I do with my Saturday nights are my business.

Throw in a Sci-Fi Channel marathon and I’ll join you, he says. Cream of Celery OK with you?
04/10 Direct Link
Words I Wish I Knew the Meaning of Years Ago, as I Have Missed a Substantial Amount of Time NOT Incorporating Them Into My Vernacular and Thus NOT Reaching the Full Potential of My Articular… Aticularness… Articularity? (in no particular order):

Wifey. (“It’s hard being Wifey.”)
Whips. (“I drive mad whips.”)
Duplicitious. (“Becky is a needy, duplicitous bitch.”)
Loquacious. (“That loquacious dude needs to STFU.”)
Hubris. (“Look at the pair of hubris on that guy.”)
Nookyalur. (Is not a word. No matter how many times GWB says it. May it never enter the language to the extent of Harding’s Normalcy.)
04/11 Direct Link
There are two meanings to the word submit.

The first: to render, to present; to hand over, turn in, relinquish.

“I will submit the proposal in the morning.”

“The guidelines for the contest require participants to submit his/her work by the end of April.”

The second: to yield, surrender, give in.

“It is one thing to praise discipline, and another to submit to it.” -Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

“I have a nasty, oblong welt on my inner thigh from when I refused to fully submit to my Domme.”

They tell Lisa she's not allowed to teach seventh grade English again.
04/12 Direct Link
The liquor store was open at 11 o’clock, because every alcoholic needs to have breakfast sometime. I, however, am here at this hour for far nobler reasons than the standard AM Eye-Opener. The store has small, compact carts for when the order exceeds the hand baskets. They remind me of a type of Mommy-and-Me line of toys whereby the child can emulate Mommy’s wifely duties at the supermarket. But the more I think about it, the less absurd this parallel is, because it is this morning that I am taking care of my own proverbial child.

I am the enabler.
04/13 Direct Link
All LIES! (the recipe):

1/2 cup regular oatmeal
1/4 cup low fat cottage cheese
2 eggs
A pinch of the following: cinnamon, vanilla extract, nutmeg

Use a blender or beat with a hand mixer on low speed until smooth consistency. Cook the mix as you would normal pancakes, three-inch diameter cakes optimal. Consider omega-3 rich oil; use sparingly. In place of syrup, honey may be used; can also be eaten plain. This recipe saves 45g of carbohydrates per pancake. A South Beach staple for your Sunday Morning. You won’t even be able to tell them from the real thing!
04/14 Direct Link
Perhaps I shouldn’t have skimmed my advanced directives. I can’t be bothered with reading the minutia of how to handle my potential comatose state. But this is something I’ve been meaning to do; my wisdom teeth need pulled, and should something go terribly awry, I need to know that my lifeless body won’t become fodder for Religious Right propaganda. (Although, if someone jumped a fence to try to feed me a sandwich, I would permit such tragic hilarity to ensue.)

“I, ___, on this day ___ of ____, 20__, hereby deem the Durable Power of--“ Oh look, a kitten!
04/15 Direct Link
How I Came Into Existence:

“I was with my fat roommate, and we went to the Shoppers-Faire—you know, before it became the Piggly Wiggly—and me and this guy were both looking at Abbey Road. He was cute, but he had nasty hair, and these tight jeans. He was a greaser; I think the kids today call that ‘emo’. Anyway, the fat roommate and I go to McDonalds, and this Greaser shows up there, too. It was a sketchy part of town, so he gives us a ride home in his suped-up car.”

“Can I start calling Dad ‘Ponyboy’?”
04/16 Direct Link
How hard is it to write a children’s book? I’ve purchased a Reading Rainbow-endorsed (LEVAR BURTON, I LOVE YOU) hardback for my nephew, and I note that the writing and illustration are attributed to two separate people. Somehow, I think Illustrator Lisa McCue got the shit-end of the stick here. The pictures make up ninety percent of the book and tell the story of a Puppy who wanted a Boy; the actual prose, no longer than, say, a month’s work at, merely supplement the illustrations.

Groundbreaking stuff here, Author Jane Thayer, if, in fact, that is your real name.
04/17 Direct Link
Two Dollar Fine for Not Walking Your Horses, the 1792 sign over the covered bridge tells me.

I slow my 115 Japanese-engineered ponies to a crawl… I thought there was a story in here somewhere, some poignant or ironic narrative, using the sign as a metaphor for... But I really just wanted to mention that I saw an old, obsolete sign somewhere in Vermont, as I was driving fast and far away, galloping into the hills, trying to escape the valleys, trying to reach the summit, or at least a clearing, or any place that I could finally just breathe...
04/18 Direct Link
A pseudo-palindromic narrative:

In plain view is the easiest place to hide.
I disguised myself using no masks, using no glamourous spells.
He did not see me, despite standing right in front of him.
I loved you once, I said.
He blinked, twice, and folded his arms under each other, shaking his head, and finally said, “Who are you, again?”
I loved you once, I said.
He did not see me, despite standing right in front of him.
I disguised myself using no masks, using no glamourous spells.
In plain view is the easiest place to hide.

A pseudo-palindromic narrative:
04/19 Direct Link
My muse left, as I had more or less anticipated. No one can expect a thin, five-foot-nine, legs-to-high-hell blonde to stick around in a musty rented upstairs storefront apartment, patiently floating paper airplanes of ideas your way. She was corn-fed Midwest, not unlike myself, which is probably why she stayed around for as long as she did. But where as she showed up to work in a tailored yet practical slate grey BCBG pantsuit, I showed up in a wifebeater and Hello Kitty boyshorts, only slightly hungover, and bitching and whining about whatever needed bitched and whined about that week.
04/20 Direct Link
Superpowers I Would Use for Not Entirely Altruistic Reasons:

Telekinesis- Because the TV remote is so. Far. Away.

Teleportation- No more gas station bills!

Shapeshifting- R. Ro? Nah, haven’t seen her. But there’s some Mexican dude at her desk, maybe he knows where she is.

Regeneration- Kidneys go for a pretty penny on the blackmarket. Three words: never work again.

X-ray vision- Diagnose your own fracture!

Precognition- When you know everything, why do anything?

Time manipulation- Back the Future was a cool movie.

Flight- See teleportation.

Weather manipulation- I’d be worshipped in eco-friendly circles.

Immortality- This one weirds me out.
04/21 Direct Link
Everyone remembers The Kid Who Puked.

“Sixth grade, Social Studies, two desks ahead of me. Red-headed kid, brown flannel shirt and khakis.”

“Fourth grade, Mark Williams, all over the aisle. His mom had always made him leave when there was a sex-ed lecture; he was the only kid who had to.”

Even Jen’s mom remembered that fateful day in 1962:

“The small kid with the black-rimmed glasses who wore the same white tee-shirt every day, in the hallway, all over his shoes.”

Where are they now? We wondered. Did they know that they were being defined by a singular event?
04/22 Direct Link
...And so it was, from that point onward, that she, Daughter of the Son of Adam, became the Protector of the Protected.

She, a swarthy lass plucked from the obscurity of her quiet proletariat life, was now burdened with the unfortunate miasma of anointed Keeper, Knower, Master and Protege.

Surrounded, in her first battle, high in the turret, she stood, with broadswords drawn at her neck, and she, armed with only a bullet betwixt her fingers and a cyanide caplet hidden in her false tooth.

The Protected, the mere lady-child, sat, oblivious--nay, nearly catatonic--to the events around her. The Fortunate Fool.
04/23 Direct Link
You’re going to lose her. It’s going to be a Tuesday, and you’re going to be arguing with the neighbor over his uncut lawn. This, you feel, is worthy of your strife; Peterson cut down your birch last spring, despite only 63% of it hovering on his property. You loved that birch. You planted it after your firstborn, and the placenta had nourished it from its sapling roots. The birch blossomed with the each passing season, while your child, inversely, was whisked from appointment to appointment, given trashcan diagnoses; withering, despite the food and love and sunlight lavished upon her.
04/24 Direct Link
Sit outside of a Gas-N-Go on a Friday night. Treat yourself to some Cheetos, or RedBull, or whatever your pleasure. But grab a bench, preferably near the door. Poise a notebook, discretely or covertly, whichever is more clandestine, and take note: Socrates had nothing on the witticisms uttered by the small-town patrons after dark:

“Jake. Jake. JAKE! FUCK. Can’t you just come inside like a Normal. Human. Person? (Hiccup).”

Meditate, dear Grasshopper, for Trista from the local VT-echnical Institute is further ahead on the path to Nirvana than your sorry ass, sitting outside of a Gas-N-Go on a Friday night.
04/25 Direct Link
“I flew over from London last night, but Paul here has been in your country for two months now. He’s writing a book about his adventures. You’ve just unwittingly become a character,” Ian tells me.

“Oh yeah?” I say. “I’m making it my mission top any story you have so far.”

“You hear that Paul? She wants to top your best American Story.”

“Best American Story?” Paul says. “Well, you blokes did dump all of our tea into the harbor, that was a pretty good story.”

”Why did you do that?” Ian asks.

“We were angry. And we hate tea.”
04/26 Direct Link
Virtually overnight, a larger, craterous hole has appeared in the parking lot. The tenants are incredulous: Where did this come from? They say, standing at the periphery and kicking loose stones over the edge. As far as we can tell, there’s no discernable bottom.

“It certainly wasn’t here yesterday.”
“I didn’t hear anything last night.”
“I came home at 3AM and it wasn’t there, but I was high so it might’ve been there.”
“I’m not paying for this; rent is already ridiculous.”
Jerry from 2B sets up his lawn chair, cracks a beer, and dangls his feet over the edge.
04/27 Direct Link
What the hell am I supposed to do with that book?

It’s on my windowsill, only the first few pages attempted. It’s decorative now, which is possibly the biggest insult I can bestow on my books. It’s wedged in between The Corrections and Life of Pi, two notable, high-profile tomes that failed to capture my attention, my imagination.

Not to say that this book didn’t have a certain pull, but it’s not the book itself that’s keeping me at bay; it’s the flyleaf hand-written inscription that tells me, every time I open it, that all it ever was, was decorative.
04/28 Direct Link
…But maybe one backstage is every backstage? There was a crudy old couch in the corner, cushions askew, revealing forgotten change, playing cards, a half-smoked roach. The band, still onstage, was rounding out the set. We heard the bass thud; the door, although closed, jiggled on its hinges in 3/4 time.

Lacy’s finger was knuckle deep in the peanut butter. The spread didn’t consist of much more; saltines, a gallon of water in an old milk jug. Had I known then what I know now, I would have sold that jug on eBay after The Shits McGiggles went double platinum.
04/29 Direct Link
Red, blue, and yellow jimmies anchored by and yet smothering the underlying icing: thick, fluffy buttercream white, whipped in circles and contained entirely within the boundaries of each cupcake's golden bosom, themselves spilling over the edges of the foil. The scent of each, sugary-sweet, like lust, inviting a closer look, touch, taste. A nip from a corner, ilicit and forbidden, when no one is looking; this one gets tucked in back where no one can see: an affair. I whisper fervent promises; I'll send for you later.

Happy Birthday, Vicki! the card reads. A subscript: Sorry I Violated Your Cakes.
04/30 Direct Link
It's a cliche, I know, to want to live in Paris; to sit on the Champs Elysee and sip Louise Jadot's Beaujolais-Villages, to lament the tacky and loud American tourists, to smoke the cigarettes and not get cancer (or at least get the sexy variant of cancer, but not until you're ninety, watching your grandchildren play on the rolling green hills of Versaille, smoking a pipe that you have graduated to in your old age.)

It's cliche, I know, to want to go to Paris to be a pretentious dick when I'm so good at being one here in America.