Friday, July 14, 2017

Past, Present, and Fiction

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are: mudpie, sunshine, party, windchimes, wet. They were submitted by:


I feel lost more often than ever before these days.

Politics and social issues have been something I poured myself into even when things in my own life were overwhelming (as they often are), but what exactly are you supposed to do when you’ve been bowled over by both?

A lot of people in my generation, folks around their late 20s to late 30s, turn to nostalgia to get them through. I don’t mean we pine for the days of mudpies on sunshine-filled afternoons in a diaper and nothing else while Mom’s windchimes twinkle out their soothing tune in the warm breeze, but we do tend to bury ourselves in the pop culture fandoms of our youth or at least act like kids with pop culture obsessions. I do it just as well and as thoroughly as anyone else when I can, but that’s also becoming problematic. One part of the problem is I’m also the kind of person who has to be doing, producing, or bettering themselves or those around them or I tend to slip into depression. Fictional worlds have always been so much easier to navigate than the one we live in now, but there’s so much in me screaming to help change the world, to leave a mark, to make this reality a better one for my child that I have always been almost obsessive about sociopolitical issues trying to at least reach others via social media about the topics that affect others the most.

But that aspect of our nation, even though it has always been hugely flawed and in need of change, has become a circus. And I don’t mean that in the Obama’s-gonna-take-our-guns hyperbolic way. I mean it in the every-other-civilized-nation-on-the-planet-is-laughing-at-us kind of way. We’re divided as a nation. We always have been split more or less along party lines, and those lines tend to divide how we view a presidency and creates the kind of panic that occurs when a Democrat takes office and gun sales go up just in case someone, somewhere takes guns from the average Joe for reasons unknown and unclear. But now we have a situation where there are some who can’t roll with a changing world and want things to be more “simple” like when women were more or less property and minorities weren’t asking for the things they deserve while the rest of us are fighting to exist or fighting for the right for ALL people to have the same rights and a level playing field. That fight becomes exhausting. People get burned out even in better conditions, but the 2016 election cycle and the following ridiculousness has been hugely destructive for a lot of people’s mental well-being.

On top of that, fictional worlds have become too close to reality. Dystopian futures in films and books no longer look like impossible nightmares. Even make-believe hits too close to home for comfort. The Handmaid’s Tale is an all too terrifying peak into the way capitalism abuses those who can do for those who can pay as well as what “traditional values” defined by religion can do to wreck a society and turn it into a terrifying extreme. Idiocracy with its look at an America lacking intelligence, focusing on brands, pushing capitalism over EVERYTHING, and having a celebrity President is just far too close to reality for most people. Corporations pushing their products to “save” the world lead to its impending destruction while the government plays along. Isn’t that where we are? We haven’t reached a point where our individuality is exactly punished as in 1984, but that dystopian landscape is still a little too close for comfort with Fake News being paraded by the President as a valid response to any criticism and so many folks blindly following that. And while dystopian science fiction doesn’t represent the only fandoms in the fictional universe, there’s no escaping commentary that relates in some form or fashion to the world we do live in…

My own personal life is a daily struggle with a chronic disease that leaves me exhausted and compromises my immune system. Sick, beyond exhausted, and often in pain are how I navigate my days, and it’s really no easier for other folks. This generation and the one after it are finding day to day life more difficult than generations before even while technology works to make everyday tasks easier. What we’ve lost in physical work to do things has been more than recovered in the difficulty paying for student loans, inability to buy a home or even save for the future, and a shrinking job market of positions that will actually cover the bills and not leave families absolutely wrecked.

The headlines scream out everyday: Trump Is Incompetent, The GOP Can’t Pass a Bill, Men Are Afraid of Strong Women, Water Is Wet and all you’ll find in the comments are memes and BUTHEREMAILS.

So where does a person turn when fiction is too close to reality, reality is to disturbing to deal with, and personal lives are increasingly harder to navigate?

I don’t really know the answer, so I’m treading water and trying to keep afloat one day at a time. It certainly helps to have a great support network online and in real life, but there’s not a lot of realities, fiction or otherwise, that I and people like me can bury themselves in even partially to help recover from the hard times of the present and attempt to form a positive outlook for the future.

One day at a time, one moment at a time is the best we can do. For now, the little things like puppy slobber, learning to sew (and succeeding), wine with friends, late nights with my favorite person, hot coffee, and sundried sheets are welcome distractions.


Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado

Cognitive Script

The Blogging 911

Sparkly Poetic Weirdo

On the Border

The Bergham Chronicles

Simply Shannon

Southern Belle Charm

Bookworm in the Kitchen

Part-time Working Hockey Mom

Friday, July 7, 2017

Two Words

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 13 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is:

Mad because of toothpaste and toilet seat lids? Think again.

You are volunteering for a women’s charity. Today one lady tells you about her exhaustion and frustration. She feels all the housework, social activities and kids care are on her shoulders, and all her husband ever does is hang out on the couch, play with his phone and expect her to take care of everything. What are you telling her?

It was submitted by: 

oh boy was I the right person for this one 


I am fairly certain if any woman comes to me describing a scenario in which their partner is pulling less than 50% of the labor, both physical and emotional, my brain will be in such a swirl of variations of the word fuck that I will at least be momentarily speechless trying to sort through to find just the right iteration for the extreme fuckery going down at their house

Two more words will probably filter through the f bombs.

Dump. Him.

To me, nothing else really needs to be said, but it’s a much more complex issue than those two words make it seem.

For the longest time, marriage was more or less a business arrangement. Wealthier people arranged marriages that benefited each family. Kings and queens rarely loved one another taking a spouse that would create a needed relationship with another kingdom/country or arranging marriages for their children which would do the same. Average folks needed one person to work and one person to tend to the home and children, and in the vast majority of societies, the responsibilities were split with men working outside farming, or, after industrialization, outside the home and women tending the home. It made sense with women needing time to recover after children and being responsible for breastfeeding children. Women’s labor was never as valued as men’s nor were women treated as equals. But that proved to be a mistake in wars that sent increasing numbers of men off to fight and in need of a larger labor force to supply demand for both soldiers abroad and civilians at home. It was women that worked the factories to meet those needs—the same women still at home taking care of everything that needed doing. Women have fought for the right to vote, the right to own property and work, to study whatever they chose wherever they chose to do it, to exist in this world as more than homemakers and objects to be owned and used. The idea of equality between genders has caused a lot of bloodshed with women powering through anyway knowing how worthy we were of those rights.

We’re still fighting for the ability to exist in spaces without being paid less, to get where we need to go without being hounded on the street, to be believed instead of seen as hysterical, to be partners not caretakers for our partners, and to be appreciated for everything we do, and this situation is still far too common in families today. Women are doing 40% more of the household chores, are less likely to be able to engage in sports or hobbies on any given day, and spend twice as much time physically caring for children on any given day. And, at least in American, most people still feel like that’s the way it should be regardless of who works and how much. Even if both partners are working full time, even though more and more women are the breadwinners for their families, people still generally believe that chores, children, and emotional labor belongs almost solely to women. But why?

Splitting household chores is one of the top factors in whether a couple rates their marriage or relationship a happy one or not. Top 3. More than half of people rate splitting chores as very important to succeeding in a relationship. The less balance there is when it comes to responsibilities the more problematic a person might rate their marriage.

Women run households. They make budgets, plan meals, notice the things the family needs, make schedules, learn, delegate. Women are almost always working to better their households or at least maintain them far more than their male counterparts *even when household chores are evenly split.

I would tell this woman that she does even more than either of them realize, and that if she wants her marriage to work long-term, if she can still envision her happily ever after with this person through the haze of resentment and stress this imbalance has caused, then the first step is counseling. They’re in a pattern, a cycle of sorts. They’re locked in, and it won’t be easy to break through it without help to deconstruct the pattern and take out the parts that don’t work anymore. Simply delegating chores more often without discussing why they’re locked in this pattern in the first place could create more resentment on his side and is honestly where the “nag” trope comes in for women—asking repeatedly for the help they need while their male counterparts feel entitled to more free time and freedom from the workload.

I would absolutely tell her everything she is feeling is valid, that there is absolutely no reason why she should shoulder the brunt of the work while her husband lounges even if he is the sole income earner. Sure, that means the workload is trickier to evenly divide, but that division should still be equal. Child care should always be equal. The emotional, invisible labor should be equal.

And if he refuses counseling?

Boy, bye.

Fucking dump him.

Here are some resources on some of these issues:


Here are the rest of the submissions. Enjoy!

Baking In A Tornado

Cognitive Script

The Blogging 911

The Lieber Family Blog

The Bergham Chronicles

Simply Shannon

Southern Belle Charm

Never Ever Give Up Hope

The Angrivated Mom

Not That Sarah Michelle

Bookworm in the Kitchen

Part-time Working Hockey Mom

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Food and Life

All people are emotional eaters to some extent. We eat to celebrate new beginnings, to lament break ups, to get over one of the many hiccups of life. We bring food to families who have lost a loved one and eat together to rejoice in the coming birth of a little one. Dinners with new lovers, brunches with friends to relax on lazy Sundays, and power lunches with the boss to work on that ever increasing network are all par for the course for human beings, social creatures that we are. Even alone, we tie food to emotion. Late night Netflix-and-stress-eat sessions and binging to cure boredom are just as intricately woven into our relationships with food as our social eating. Food has come to represent a kaleidoscope of emotions, of life itself.

It’s no different for me. Candy is usually my go-to when I’m feeling a little down. A gummy bear has never let me down, and taffy is a close friend of mine. But comfort food is something else entirely. To need comfort is to be more than a little down. It’s not just a stressful day with the kids or a bad day on the job or a fight with a partner. To reach for comfort food is a bad week, a bad month, a bad year…it’s wanting to feel alive in a way that the day to day routine tends to dampen. When you reach for food in comfort, you want the combination of flavors on your tongue and the fullness of your belly to take you home, to let you time travel, or maybe to let you remember that life doesn’t have to be all aches and pains. Finding the goodness in the world isn’t ever as simple as eating a crab cake, but fuck if that crab cake doesn’t help remind you that in little moments life can be spectacular.

For me, it’s more than eating, though. To find comfort in food, it has to be something I get in the kitchen and make myself--a recipe of my own perfected over time or even something I’m trying for the first time that brings together just the right combination of textures and flavors. I love to cook, to create, to take an idea I’ve found online, in a show, or in a book and make it mine. Cheesecakes are my go-to dessert specialty, and I fucking excel at it. There’s absolutely no reason for me to even pretend to be modest about it either. Haha. But, those aren’t necessarily what I would consider comfort food. Something savory that is a little on the simple side and definitely has a more than healthy portion of carbs and cheese aligns more closely with what I would call comforting, and the first thing I think of when I hear the phrase or feel the need for something particular to soothe my rough spots is shepherd’s pie.

Typically sheperd’s pie is some kind of veggie mixed with ground beef and mashed potatoes. And when my mom fixed it for my brother and I as kids, it was ground beef, mashed potatoes, and cheese on top. But, of course, like everything else, I do things a little differently. We rarely eat beef around here, but it works with this recipe as does ground turkey or ground chicken if you prefer. The key is to use what you love when it comes to both the meat, the type of potato, and the style of cheese, but the goal is to create an umami bomb in your mouth which is what this recipe does 110%.

What you’ll need:

1 rotisserie chicken preferably garlic butter but any will work as will 2 lbs of ground beef, turkey, or chicken.

1 can cream of mushroom

About a cup and ½ of mushrooms (this can be skipped and still be delicious)

1 can of French onion soup

5 lb bag of red potatoes

1 block of extra sharp cheddar (adding some havarti to this is also so good and colby jack also makes a good sub)

2 cloves of garlic or a heaping teaspoon of minced garlic (what I use)

Onion powder


Worcestershire sauce

Salt and pepper

1 tbsp butter

1 large can or 2 small cans of French style green beans (or any canned or frozen vegetable)

I have picky eaters at my house, but fresh onions and peppers are also a good addition if you don’t have to worry about that.

Milk, cream, or sour cream for mashing potatoes


Preheat oven to 350 F

To prepare, peel your potatoes and add them to a large pot of water. Add 2 chicken bouillon cubes to the water or use half and half broth and water. You can also add extra garlic to the water. Turn the potatoes on high heat and boil until basically falling apart.

Grate the entire block of cheese (or used shredded if that’s easier).

Add your butter to a large pan on medium heat. When pan is coated well, add mushrooms and garlic to sautee.

Before mushrooms are done add onion powder, rosemary, Worcestershire, salt and pepper to taste. Begin pulling chicken from bones and adding to the mushrooms. Add your green beans Sautee until mushrooms are done, the green beans are getting soft, and flavors are mixed well. If you’re using ground beef, turkey, or chicken you will need to strain the grease from the meat. With rotisserie chicken, this isn’t necessary. (if you are using fresh onions and peppers you would add them in this step)

Add the entire can of cream of mushroom (fat free can be used without affecting the flavor). Add French onion soup to taste (I add the whole thing) and turn heat down to low.

Mash your potatoes. I aways use butter and milk like my mom did, but this is a personal preference. Do whatever works for you. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Coat the bottom of a large clear glass pan with the chicken and vegetable mixture. Add a layer of potatoes on top of this.

Put the pan in the oven and heat until your potatoes are getting stiff. You don’t want them browning just yet, but close. It takes not quite 10 minutes in my oven, but I’m terrible about remembering to preheat and my oven is wonky. Everyone’s is different right?

Add your cheese and put it back in the oven until melted and enjoy.


This is part of Sunday Confessions hosted by the gorgeous More Than Cheese and Beer. Sunday Confessions is a weekly blog challenge. We get a simple prompt and each post our take on it on Sunday (or during the week if need be). There's no need to sign up early. Just join in the fun by linking up below! Thanks for reading. Oh and this week our prompt was Comfort Food. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

First Date Jitters

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are: cats, candy, turkey, aquarium, rose, coins. 

They were submitted by:

Short fiction! Though it's not out of the realm of possibility. I just wanted to write something sweet instead of the dark fiction I tend to go for. Got to flex those creative wings.


I stand in front of the aquarium, more nervous than I think I have ever been in my entire life, waiting for Jean. My anxiousness manifests as pacing and knuckle popping. Occasionally, I realize how intense I must look and force myself to still, reaching my hand in my pocket to rub the two coins together I brought. They’re ordinary, these coins, but not at the same time. I mean, I could spend them. But I also spent hours and hours and more hours perfecting a few coin tricks with them from a book I found at the thrift shop 2 blocks from my apartment.

Yeah, yeah…I’m the kind of girl (woman?) who thinks a few coin tricks are more romantic than a rose or a bouquet of wild flowers. Flowers die, but magic is eternal or some shit. Plus, it’s effort, right?

That’s what I’ve been telling myself over these hours spent practicing until I have calluses in a few places anyway.

I also brought pull n peel cherry Twizzlers as a backup in my bag. At the very least, I know this girl loves candy, and she did mention once these are her favorite. If I can’t impress her with my amateur magic hour (I don’t even have a top hat for fuck’s sake), then I can at least win her over with a sugar rush and attention to detail.

And, yes, I have daydreamed about eating a string of Twizzler Lady-and-the-Tramp style with her. Because I am, admittedly, a little bit of a creep. That touch of creepiness isn’t why I’m so nervous, though. I’m not THAT big a creep. Truthfully, there is a part of me that thinks she will, of course, be disappointed with who I am really versus who I am online or in text or on the phone. I’m better in writing, I think. At least at first.

We met on a dating site. I was mostly there as a joke. I’m fresh out of a long term relationship with a guy that was better off my friend than my partner, and even though the split was amicable, it was hard. And it’s difficult to face this change. I didn’t want to be with another man, not now, and I’m so far out of practice flirting with women I feel like some sort of alien wearing a human suit whenever I attempt to approach them. Plus, we all know how those things go—dating sites--especially when you list that you’re interested in men and women. At some point you feel like adding a neon ticker across your profile that reads “NO I DON’T WANT TO BE PART OF YOUR THREESOME EVEN IF YOU INSIST YOUR GIRLFRIEND IS REALLY INTERESTED IN ONE.” We both know she’s not, and more than likely, you’re just testing the waters to see what kind of bite you get.

I had a little blurb on my profile about being a cat and dog person meaning I am probably the most loyal asshole you could ever meet, and that’s how we bonded—lots of shared stories about the dumb shit our cats have done. Then it was sharing pics of our pets via text, late night conversations about politics and movies. I never had one of those moments where I had to ask her “you haven’t seen THAT?!?!” which, for me, is usually the way 90% of my crushes go, and, if I’m being wholly honest, the way quite a bit of them ended too.

Nick Hornby had it right—it is, at least early on, more about what you like than what you’re like.

But I like what she likes and what she’s like which is 2 for 2, and I am definitely pretty smitten.

She’s late, but I expected that. Both of us are chronically late for nearly everything, but I couldn’t stand being in the house any longer, and actually made it here on time. I know who I’m looking for. We exchanged a lot of photos of ourselves, seen each other’s social media stuff. But I still feel her before I notice her in the crowd of people walking my way. Something gripped me and made me look her way, catching her eyes.

My heart leaps to my throat, and for a moment I’m sure I will run, but then she smiles.

I melt. Completely.

She makes her way over to me with a small backpack in tow.

“I packed a picnic if you want to walk a few blocks to that new park after we’re done here, “ she says. “I made a turkey and cheese on wheat with a little mustard and fuck the mayo for you.”

She’s perfect.


Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado

Spatulas on Parade

The Blogging 911

On the Border

The Bergham Chronicles

Simply Shannon

Southern Belle Charm

Part-time Working Hockey Mom

Friday, June 9, 2017

Oh What A Day

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 11 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is:

Inspired by Seinfeld's "Festivus", create your own holiday. How would you celebrate it and get others to join in?

It was submitted by:


I have a friend who is pretty religious. He’s Muslim. I’m not. Actually, I’m not religious at all. I hesitate to use “atheist,” but that hesitation is mostly because of the fuckery associated with the label more so than it not actually applying to my fundamental beliefs. This friend knows this about me and has taken great pains to try to change it. I don’t seek out the debate, but I find myself always trying to defend why I believe what I do, and what is most irritating is that I often end up feeling like this person doesn’t buy that I have ever learned a thing about religion or that I even believe what I say I do. To him, it seems that this belief system I have is more akin to me being a rebellious teenager raging at her daddy and yelling “I hate you!” every time she doesn’t get her way. I’m not resentful over the life I’ve had because it hasn’t been easy, and I’m not the kind of person who makes unfounded decisions based on emotion alone. He, the friend, knows that about me when it comes to anything else, but in this context, about a creator, he just can’t wrap his head around my lack of religion. I despise not being heard. I don’t mind explaining how I arrived at this point and what I do believe, but if I tell you this is who I am, don’t tell me you know me better than I know myself.

BUT, I get it in a way. I do. He loves me, and he doesn’t want my soul to suffer for eternity due to what he believes is a rash decision I made because I was abused as a kid. His intention is good, but that really doesn’t change how frustrating and fucking annoying it is to constantly have to defend my ability to be systematic and rational. It doesn’t change the fact that I would much rather people accept me as I am unless I somehow demonstrate that I want or need to change. And it doesn’t change the fact that I somehow have to prove I have thoroughly researched religion in order to be understood by someone (or many someones throughout my life) who was handed their belief system from birth and never questioned it.

I don’t care what someone believes as long as they’re a good person and are true to the core values of the religion. I’ve had friends of all beliefs, and I never try to force Richard Dawkins down their throat. What I want is the same respect.

I think a lot of misconception about other people’s beliefs, religion or otherwise, hinges on this idea people have that if someone is different than them, they’re an idiot, that they don't know what they're talking about and weren't taught better. Don’t get me wrong—I fully and perfectly understand that many beliefs are rooted firmly in ignorance and hatred, and I don’t mean those. But a lot of the time differences in beliefs don’t necessarily equate to differences in VALUES nor does it mean that anyone is an idiot in need of enlightenment.

Except Trump. Trump is definitely a fucking idiot.

Perhaps a national holiday giving people time off work to explore a belief system other than their own would help so many of us. Atheists already host an Ask an Atheist day which is a good step maybe, but the Internet affords a kind of free-for-all anonymity that ends up ruining every.fucking.thing. Workshops with panels of volunteers who want to talk about their beliefs, speeches, banquets, dinners, bake sales…there are so many ways this could happen that would open up the narrow culture most people tend to have.

Personally, I would be find with Get Your Head Out of Your Ass Day, but I highly doubt that would fly with the general public, and Coexistence Day is a little too flower-child to pass either Ask Me About My Religion day might work, and I’d be fine with it even without a religion.

And if that plan were to fall through, we can always attempt my real dream—Halloween for adults who dress up and trick or treat in friends’ neighborhoods asking for booze and a little weed depending on where you live. Sounds much better than the sad 10% candy tax I get off Evan’s haul each year.


Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado

Spatulas on Parade

The Blogging 911

The Lieber Family Blog

The Bergham Chronicles

Bookworm in the Kitchen

Simply Shannon

Southern Belle Charm

Never Ever Give Up Hope

Part-time Working Hockey Mom


Sunday, June 4, 2017

Taking It Back

I’m definitely what society at large would consider plus sized considering I fluctuate between a 12 and 16 depending on how well I’m doing at the time cutting calories down to nothing and doing some kind of exercise in between. It’s been that way since high school. It’s who I am, and it’s been a long, hard-fought war with accepting myself as is and with the fact that I’m never going to be thin. I have this shape and this body, and as long as I work actively to be healthy, I’m okay with it (most days…okay some days). I try, anyway.

But what the fuck is plus-sized anyway?

I’m fine with the terminology, I guess. It helps some people on their journey just like reclaiming the moniker “fat” has helped others while still different folks prefer to say they have fat and are not fat. I just don’t get what we’re actually trying to say with that particular phrase “plus-sized.”

Is it a normal body plus some extra?

An acceptable body plus some pounds?

Plus some extra fabric for our clothes?

Is our fat our plus one on our invites and R.S.V.P.’s?

Plus what exactly?

“Plus sized” has never exactly come with a positive connotation since fat people, women especially, are constantly shamed about even a few extra pounds by men whose egos are overinflated and whose constant struggle in life is calling women sluts who won’t give them what they think they are owed. The more people fight for the right to be respected no matter how much they weigh, a right to take up space and exist without being shamed for something that’s often out of their control, I can’t help wondering what exactly we’re adding on here when we say “plus.”

I. Am. Not. A. Human. Plus. My. Extra. Weight.

I am just a human being with all the complexities that comes with it including a little extra weight over society’s standard definition of “normal.”

I don’t bleed adipose cells.

I don’t have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, and it’s no one’s business if I did.

I’m an offense because I exist.

I deserve a space in this world.

So I might just reframe plus sized. I’m a human being plus some extra love, plus extra kindness, plus extra awareness.

I am woman plus fire.

I am feminist plus magic.

I am me plus a raging hard-on to topple the patriarchy.

I am everything your mama warned you about plus a caring, loving mother myself.

I am flawed in so many ways plus a little side of perfection.

I am enough plus a handful of sass and a nice ass. Rhymed intentionally.

I am the universe in one curvy, soft body—star stuff plus wit, sarcasm, and coffee.

Yes, I have fat, but I am not nor will I ever be a human plus your punching bag, verbal or otherwise.

Sit. The. Fuck. Down.



This was my 3rd time back with Sunday Confessions, a blog challenge hosted by More Than Cheese and Beer. The links to the other submissions can be found below. Feel free to join in--the link is open all week. Our prompt is "plus."

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Vigilante Heroin

Elizabeth shifted her purse from her left to her right shoulder and quietly slipped her right hand inside searching out the cold metal of the handgun she kept there. The weight of it in the bag was comforting, but once she felt the textured grips under her fingers, the world around her calmed.

She was hungry.

She only knew of one thing that would quell her appetite, and he was walking about a block ahead of her.

She had really been curious the first time she followed a man like this late at night, and it was a little unnerving how easily it could be done. She had yet to have any of these guys notice her until it was too late. It was so different than the world she knew as a woman walking with her keys between her fingers even in the daytime if she was at the bus stop for any length of time, having illegal pepper spray because getting in trouble for that was way better than the alternative for not having it… being hypervigilant, keeping covered, never walking anywhere with headphones on or with your nose buried in a book because taking focus from the world could end with death. And that night, the first night, she just wanted to know if the world worked the same for him after she sat in a coffee shop and watched him hassle the barista for her phone number then call her fat when she turned him down. She watched her devolve into a snotty, teary mess after he threw his coffee at her and stormed out. And she followed him. It wasn’t reasonable or rational or a good idea, but deep down, this rage she had never felt before welled up blasting out of her pores. She was angry at him, yes, but she was angrier at herself for being too afraid to step up and say anything.

And by the end of the night, she said a lot.

Back then she didn’t have a gun. That was a new thing. Back then it was just the illegal pepper spray and a rape whistle. At the time, it was enough, though. She followed the guy a few blocks into a parking garage with her pepper spray in hand, and just before he got into his truck (because of course it was a huge truck), she whistled at him from just beyond the tailgate. He turned, and she got him good right in the eyes. She doesn’t even remember now what she actually said to him as he rolled on the ground screaming, but she faintly remembers threatening his life if he so much as thought about doing to another woman the way he did that barista.

The anxiety she felt afterwards was indescribable. Would she get in trouble? Would he be able to track her down? What if the pepper spray hadn’t worked? What if she missed? What if he hurt her? Why did it feel so fucking good and make her feel so goddamned happy? What was wrong with her? She was a writhing mass of emotions that ate away at her like blowfly maggots.

After awhile she couldn’t get the rush out of her mind--that heady feeling from the sheer power and control she had. For the first time in her life, she felt like she had an inkling of what it might be like to be a dominatrix, but she was also getting justice or at least that’s the way she saw it. Vigilante justice, maybe, but it still made her feel good to do something and to fantasize about doing it again. Like some kind of feminist antihero. Like Deadpool but less angry.

So when she was out at a bar a few weeks later and saw a guy grab a girl’s crotch and yell “TRUMP THAT PUSSY” she did it again. He got kicked out of the bar, and she followed, sprayed him, and unleashed a torrent of obscenities about his behavior. It wasn’t long before she had another opportunity, and next thing she knew, it had been a year and she had left probably a half a dozen potential felony charges in her wake.

But the last couple months had been different. She’d been watching this guy up ahead of her for at least 6 months getting to know his habits. He was the boyfriend of her new coworker at the vet hospital. She’d never gone after someone she knew but this was different. She had seen Maven come in far too many times with bruises on her arms, her throat, with too many excuses for black eyes and swollen wrists. The girl was clumsy, sure, but that couldn’t explain the teary mornings, the fear in her eyes when someone raised a hand near her for any reason (and never to hit her, not at work). It couldn’t explain the excuses she gave when they all went out after work for drinks, and it damn sure didn’t give a reason for the times they worked late together when he, Stephen, would call screaming at her and accusing her of sleeping with the male employees.

This was different. This time it was personal.

Maven wouldn’t leave him. They had all talked to her about it last week, had an intervention of sorts. She was too scared to leave. She knew the chances he would hurt her seriously after she left were higher than staying. She had done her research… That’s the thing. She wasn’t stupid, and he hadn’t been this obvious when they got together. She turned a blind eye to the problems when they first happened because back then it was easy to make excuses. Tying their financial accounts together seemed like a logical step, and when he spent their money carelessly then chastised her for so much as buying a coffee, she chalked it up to depression. He’d get help and take medicine then get off it when he felt “fine.” Every time she caught him cheating or in a lie, there would be a honeymoon period that made her question everything. Things didn’t start at this point, in other words. They built slowly until Maven’s life was such a tangled mess she didn’t really have hope of ever getting out of it.

What other choice was there then?

Tonight, Maven would be free, and the world would finally shift in her favor no matter the cost.

Elizabeth was starving for the adrenaline rush, for the sense of good she felt afterwards, and as much as she wanted to pretend this was for Maven, she also, down deep, this had nothing to do with an altruistic need to save. She wanted blood.

Up ahead, Stephen ducked into the parking garage near his side chick’s place.



This blog post was for Sunday Confessions, a weekly blog challenge hosted by More Than Cheese and Beer. The link up is below. Be sure to check out the other submissions!