Friday, December 14, 2018

A Krampy Holiday Part 2

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.

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.

I'm using: meaningful encounter, holly, creature, pod, clay, hidden treasure

They were submitted by:

I wasn't sure if I'd be writing a second part to this. I felt okay with leaving it as a standalone drop-in kind of story where we see a few moments and never get real "closure" or an ending, but I had a couple of asks about the rest and the words I had really lined up with a second part, so here we are. I like Estelle as a character. I'm glad I got to write her a little more. 


Estelle was a little rough around the edges and had a tendency of isolating herself. She hadn’t had the best life. Throughout life, whenever the chips were down, she had learned she was the only person she could count on…which, she also knew, was, at least partly, because she was terrible at asking for help. It was a tough cycle to break. But things had kind of changed when she became a Memaw. She had a different outlook on letting people in and not pushing them away. Things in her life had finally fallen in place, and when she’d looked on their little red faces in the hospital, she felt things she hadn’t even with her own kids.

She snuggled them a little harder thinking back on that moment. Lucy, half awake, sighed and demanded, “Memaw finish telling us about when you met…when you met that creature.”

“Child, you fall asleep every single time before I finish.”


“Oh yeah, then why were you sleeping just now, missy?”

“memaw, my name is Lucy not missy. And I was resting my eyes like you do after lunch.”

“You mean your name isn’t HOLLY? I thought it was Holly this whole time!”

“MEMAAAAW! WHAT?” Lucy giggled loudly making Leo stir a little, but he fell right back asleep with his finger up his nose like he was digging for buried treasure. These two, night and day, made her heart so full.

She took another sip of her cider, cleared her throat, and got ready to finally finish this story for at least one of these kids when she heard Lucy snoring lightly. She couldn’t help but chuckle. It was kind of tradition for her to not be able to finish the damned thing now.

She slid slowly out from between the two, lay them on either end of the couch, and tucked them in. She had a feeling that sleep would elude her like it often did lately. She wanted some coffee, one of the caramel vanilla pods she bought for the fancy Keurig her kids had sent for her birthday a couple months ago and headed for the kitchen.

She was a bit lost in thought about that day, the day she saw the Krampus. She’d really thought it was the end of the line for her when he jumped off that bus. He stood there pushing hot air through those flared nostrils staring her down. She was too terrified to scream, too terrified to move. She sat there in the snow, ball melting in her hands soaking her gloves while waiting to be eaten.

He hadn’t moved, hadn’t spoke. She had spent time taking in all his features, hyperfocused on him, memorizing every wrinkle. The lines in his goat-like face had been so deep she could have sworn he was carved out of clay. His ears had been pointed like an elf’s, and she could see the tips of sharp, serrated teeth through the small parting of his lips, lips that didn’t look much different than her own. His fur had been a deep brown with grayed streaks especially in the thicker mane that surrounded his face. His coat looked like the rough, wiry fur of the Bergmans’ dog that had lived down the street from her house. Toby was his name and petting Toby had kinda been like petting a dish scrubber, but he had been nice and had licked her face sometimes even though her mom hated that. The creature had no clothes, but like Toby, he was hairy enough, shaggy enough that his fur looked like pants hanging down over part of his hooves in the snow. She had been horrified even more when it had finally dawned on her that she was staring at the Krampus from that old story her mother had told her every year ‘round Christmas. Santa would bring her gifts if she behaved, but if she didn’t…the Krampus would come and take her away.

But she hadn’t been bad. She knew she hadn’t been bad. She hadn’t been spanked all year at school or my her mother. She did her chores and made good grades and never talked back even though it almost killed her, and the more she thought about it, the madder she got.


He turned his head to the side like an animal hearing an unfamiliar sound curiosity getting the better of him. “You have not?” His voice was deep and grumbly sounding both human and animal-like at once.

“I HAVE NOT. I’VE BEEN GOOD. VERY GOOD. SO NOW WHAT?” She’d felt braver than she ever had before in her life. She had cried all the way up to age 8 every time they saw Santa at the Christmas parade.

“Who said you have been good?”


“Well, I suppose bad grammar is no reason to have you for my dinner.”

“I’d probably taste bad anyway. My mother made asparagus last night, and it makes your pee smell funny. Maybe it does that to your blood, too, and taste funny.”

“I suppose you have a point there, Estelle Kalinda Sizemore.”

She shivered when she heard her name but held her gaze on him steadfastly. “Um, am I supposed to wish you a Merry Christmas or not?”

“Actually, I’m not quite sure. No one ever lives this long.”

“Well, it seems rude not to, so Merry Christmas, and thanks for not taking me.”


She had waved until he was out of sight, and of course, not a single one of her family had ever believed her no matter how much she had cried and swore she was being truthful.

Estelle had almost finished her cup of coffee by the time she snapped out of the memory. Reflecting back on that story always made her feel…like some kind of badass. She’d faced the Krampus and lived to tell about it even if it hadn’t really been a meaningful encounter. It didn’t change the course of history, but it did change her. She was certainly no scaredy cat after that. When she wanted something, she went for it. She stopped sleeping with a night light even.

As she washed her mug still reveling a bit in the memory of that day she thought she saw a little of herself in Lucy, that same sassy bravery and loudmouthed way of getting answers at least, and she smiled. One day they really would have to hear the rest of the story.


Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado

On the Border

The Bergham Chronicles

The Blogging 911

Cognitive Script

Part-Time Working Hockey Mom

Friday, December 7, 2018

A Krampy Holiday

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 8 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 prompt is: It was a cloudy cold day in December...

It was submitted by: 


Two pair of pattering feet hit the hallway floor seemingly going from 0 to 60 mph in the blink of an eye. The twins were up again. Of course. They never managed to stay in bed the entire night no matter how often they stayed with her, and they so rarely got to stay (at least in her opinion) that she couldn't help indulging their every whim.

"Memaw, can you tell us the story again?"

"What story???"

"Meeeemaaaaaaw," Lucy giggling, "you KNOW the story."

"I don't have the slightest idea, sweetheart. To which story are you referring?"

Leo rolled his eyes and sighed, "ME. MAW. You do know. You're just being starcastic. "

"I think the word you're looking for is 'sarcastic.'"

"That's what I said, starcastic."

Lucy nodded in agreement, her little curls bouncing with the movement. "Memaw, you know. We can't say his name."

The older woman, known as Estelle to pretty much everyone but these two, smiled to herself but feigned shock. "Oooooh you mean--she lowered her voice conspiratorially--you want the story of how I met Krampus."


"Hush now. I told you *I* can say his name since I saw him and lived to tell it, but you two cannot."

In unison, an exaggerated "oooooohhhhhh" caressed the air in that half whisper of relief. It was the same every time she told it like some sort of ritual. If they asked every time, maybe it would help keep him away.

Estelle gave them a moment to get settled, grab their respective blankets and snuggle in beside her while she sipped her hot cider.

"It was a cloudy, cold day in December..."

"How old were you then, Memaw?"

Lucy. That child was always full of questions.

"I told you I was not much older than you two. You're how old now? 34?"

A ruckus of giggles delighted her ears. "MEMAW! You know we're 7. Boths of us. We're twins!"

"Oh yes that's right! 7! I must have been 9 or 10 at the time. We lived in North Dakota then..."

"Is that near the North Pole?" Lucy again.

She smiled as she feigned a scolding, "do you want to hear the story or ask questions?"

"BOTHS!" she shouted in her little chipmunk squeak giggling all the while. No surprises there. No book could be read, song sung, or story told without Lucy asking her questions. Leo was the quiet one usually pondering over it all and never letting anyone know what was really on his mind until it was absolutely made up about things. The two of them could not be more different.

Estelle began her story again, "It was a snow day that day like the day before it. There had been a snowstorm, and we'd gotten a couple feet of snow overnight, but it was finally slowing down just after lunch, so my mother sent us out..."

"What's a snow day again?" Leo, this time actually.

"It's when it snows so much traveling to school is dangerous or when people are snowed in. You don't have those here in Florida really."

He nodded looking wise well above his years, so she continued. "We went out all bundled up with our sled to the middle school a few blocks from our house so we could take a few turns going down the hill behind it. It wasn't the biggest, but we still had fun and got to stay close to home to be back in time for dinner."

"Wait, you just go down a hill on snow? Do dogs pull you like in White Fang? How do you stop? What if you crash?"

"Whoa there! Are you practicing for your future career as a game show host, Luce? Are we in the lightning round?!"

"Memaw! It's not storming!!"

"One of these days you'll get my jokes, sweeties."

Leo, bless him, studied her for a moment all too seriously. "Jokes are supposed to be funny, Memaw."

"Touché, kiddo. Now, where were we? Yes, sledding means sliding down a hill on a sled, but it's different than a dog sled. There are no brakes on these kinds of sleds, so you have to pick a good spot, know what you're doing, and be very careful not to get hurt."

Two little chipmunk voices in unison, "WE WANT TO GO!"

"Of course you do. What about this story first?" They settled back in beside her snuggling in close. It was cool out for a December night in Florida. She didn't have much in the way of a heating system--just a couple of small space heaters. It never really got so cold she needed more, but on this particular night they were hardly keeping them comfortable. She might have to bring them all into the living room and sleep in here with the kids just to make sure they didn't get too cold.

"Pete, that's my brother, and I got tired of sledding pretty quickly. It being such a small hill really didn't give us the action we needed after being cooped up all day the day before, so we decided to have a snowball fight. Now, our mom was deadset against them. She just knew one of us would accidentally roll up a rock or worse and really nail the other one, so that element of taboo added to the fun..."


"Lucy, these questions! Heavens sake. No, no, no. 'Ta-Boo' not 'tat-Too." Taboo means something you're not supposed to do or someone you're not supposed to be around."

"So like how Mommy doesn't want us playing with James across the street?"

"Right. Sort of. But James is an asshole, so you not being allowed would not make it more fun to play at his house."


"My mom passed a long time ago, honey. But I will tell you like I told your mom when she was your age. Those words are not *bad.* They're just for adults. Adults know when to say them sorta like adults are better at driving."

"So you need a lishentz to say asshole?"

"LUCILLE KALINDA MORRISON. Watch yourself! And no you don't need a LICENSE. You need to be an adult. Let's get back to this story before I fall asleep telling it. Where were we?"

"Snowball fight, Memaw." Leo, the angel.

"Right. So we went to the two buses in the parking lot. They were a few spaces apart with small snow drifts all around, so it was a perfect spot to take cover and have plenty of ammunition. I hid behind my bus and started putting together my stack of snowballs. I'd made maybe 5 when I heard something on top of the bus, a clanging sound with weight. I thought it was Pete though I have no idea how he would have gotten on the bus, so I yelled out calling him a cheater. He yelled back from across the way right about the time the Krampus jumped from above and landed a few feet from where I sat. I took one look at him and was too scared to even scream. He had black hooves shining like leather boots, a furry body with goat legs, and two massive horns coming out of his head. He was dressed on a weird old coat that split in the back to make room for the weirdest tail I have ever seen in my life."

Estelle paused to take a sip of her cider and looked down. She had fully expected more questions by now. Both of them were passed out holding hands across her lap. She hadn't made it to the end once.


Here are the links to the rest of the entries!

Baking In A Tornado

The Lieber Family Blog

The Bergham Chronicles

The Blogging 911

Cognitive Script

Friday, November 16, 2018

Granny Candy Part 3

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 were: scenario, payoff, lynx, attitude, crucify. They were submitted by:

I really didn't expect to be writing a part 3. I know it's hard for bloggers who don't participate in these challenges regularly to keep up with a multipart story like this, so I was going to leave it with part 2, but these characters have been some of my favorites from any writing I've ever done (the demon story characters too), so when I got these words for the challenge, things just clicked, and here we are. Sorry not sorry.

You can find part 1 here: Granny Candy Part 1 and Part 2 here: Granny Candy Part 2


With that attitude of yours, you'll be lucky if my, our, employer does not crucify you. She will not call you Lizzy, for gods' sake, or be bribed with delectable sweets. You must be on your best behavior, answer all questions to the best of your ability, and thank her graciously for her consideration or she may be of a mind to stick you with Uncle Wayne.

"With... with him? That would be torture. I would rather die."

Lizzy. LIZZY. Have we not established you are already dead? Why else are we here?

"Oh. Well, yeah. Right. I'm dead. But can't I, like, blink out of existence? Or blink HIM out of existence?"

No, that is not how any of this works. His exasperation sent a foreboding dread over her skin like it lived and breathed. Can you not answer a few questions for a position you want without being so obstinate and cumbersome? Is it so hard?

"Honestly? Yes. But I'll give it my best shot."

Fine. Fine! Also, I must warn you...if she turns into a lynx, do not scream or run. Think of it as a test you MUST pass or the results will be less than favorable for your continued pain-free existence in this realm. And do NOT under any circumstances call her a pretty kitty and try to pet her.

"I was betting that's how I'd die, you know. Trying to pet a wild animal."

Yes, I lost money on that bet myself.


We do not have time for these questions. Follow me.

She did. Mostly out of curiosity. But also because she really didn't want to do anything but annoy Grimmy for all of eternity.

They exited the hotel offices, popped into the elevator, and Grimmy hit the button for the penthouse. The elevator itself was padded with a deep maroon crushed velvet that smelled...well...not quite bad but also a little like death. A little rancid. It wasn't pungent or overwhelming, but it was definitely there.

"Question. If this is a figment of my imagination, the hotel depot, why does it still look like a hotel and not its true form?"

It has no true form.

"Everything does. Doesn't it? It has to."

No, everything does not. I do not. This depot does not. The Boss does not. Also, you have not officially been accepted. This is not exactly protocol, child, so I am unsure if it will change form when you are and are no longer in need of an eternity or if we are now stuck in this licorice vomit garbage dump.

"Licorice vomit?! I would think you would love all this dark shit."

No. No, I do not love all this groaned. I do not care for the dark shit.

"Grimmy! Did you really just say 'shit?!'"

Hush, child. We are here.

The doors opened into an open floor with pink toned sunset light steaming in through giant windows that lined the opposite wall. Ethereal was the word that immediately came to mind as Lizzy scanned the room. There were filled, mahogany bookshelves lining the remaining windowless walls. The room smelled like old books, sandalwood, and a hint of blood orange. The carpet was cream and somehow glittering with strands of gold. Chaise lounges and deep velvet sofas in hues of red and purple made the room seem cozy while the large gold desk in front of the windows commanded respect.

As they approached, the large leather chair behind it turned to face them, and Lizzy finally caught a glimpse of the Boss.

She had richly umber skin and a crown of natural curls styled in an Afro blow out. Her eyes gleamed with the force of her smile, and every bit of her makeup, fierce and bold, was flawless--bronze eyeshadow, full brows, red lips, highlight that could blind if she stared straight on long enough, and eyeliner wings that could cut.  When her chair stopped it's slow spin to face them, she stood in her stark white, nearly sheer, gown. Everything about her made Lizzy's heart flutter...but when the Boss threw her head back and let loose a throaty, full body laugh, Lizzy's eyes inexplicably filled with tears, and she felt absolutely petrified.

It was then, still smiling, that the Boss did her lynx transformation.

Not in all of eternity did Lizzy think this scenario would actually play out in reality. She had been sure Grimmy was trying to put her on edge and make her look like ridiculous in front of the Boss like some weird, old being hazing ritual. But nope. She was not that lucky apparently.

The lynx, Keeper of Secrets that she was, stalked towards Lizzy, ears back and muscles flexing. She paced back and forth in front of her feet, growling.

Kneel, child. Kneel or it gets worse.

Lizzy did as he said, no lip. The Boss immediately stood face to face with her growling again and hissing to bare her fangs. Lizzy trembled, but she didn't move. No running, no fear reaction. She closed her eyes and stayed perfectly still, hoping for the best. Hoping, at least, not to get eaten or swiped into eternity or whatever might happen.

It felt like hours that Lizzy stayed kneeling in darkness before she heard that throaty, life-taking laugh again. She opened her eyes to find The Boss once again in human-esque form in front of her, still face to face. She stared deeply into those richly brown, gold-flecked eyes that seemed so full of answers and waited.

"So you want work, is that it?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"Ma'am, eh? You don't seem half the little twerp Charon made you out to be when he asked for this interview. Perhaps he was being a bit melodramatic?"

"He has a tendency to do that.'am."

"You do want the job, though? And it was your idea?"

"Yes, ma'am. It was all me. Grimmy--uh--Charon seems like he will make a great supervisor."

The Boss threw her head back in laughter again. "Grimmy? Oh, this is rich. Give me your hand, child."

Lizzy gulped and looked at Grimmy, but he gave no indication what she should do. She looked at the Boss again whose eyes made demands her voice wasn't needed for and stuck out her hand.

When their skin connected, Lizzy felt its warmth and softness but nothing more. She had wondered if this was some kind of power-giving ceremony in the seconds before she made contact bracing herself for the ferocity of her touch. But it felt like any other hand.

For the Boss, though, it didn't seem like such an easy task. Her eyes rolled back until those all-knowing irises vanished, and her breathing was labored. She sucked in one long, ragged breath and nearly collapsed when it escaped her. Grimmy was at their side in an instant helping the Boss up and to her chair where she sat, back straight as an arrow waiting, Lizzy assumed, for her breath to return to something close to normal.

"I see you are a bit of a twerp, Elizabetha Madeline Forrester. But it does appear it's all in good fun. Your Grimmy here doesn't seem to mind even half as much as he made out. I have to admit, his reluctance to bring you on motivated my agreement to this request more than anything else as I do love to see him annoyed. I feel a bit played now." She laughed more playfully this time. It was light, genuine, and full of warmth more than the power Lizzy had felt from her before.

Lizzy felt a little bolder. "Is there some sort of salary involved?"

The Boss leaned forward no longer smiling and clasped her hands together on the desk primly but not without force. "The only payoff here is my letting you exist. Now if you want to remain on my good side, dearheart, get the fuck out of my office."

Grimmy ran. Lizzy could hardly believe it, but she was close on his heels. Neither of them spoke until the elevator doors closed them into relative safety.

You could not resist opening your big mouth, I see.

"Grimmy, babe, we have all eternity in front of us. Let's not dwell on the past."

They rode the rest of the elevator ride with Grimmy's annoyance surrounding them like a cocoon while Lizzy was doubled over in laughter.


here are the rest of this week's participants!

Baking In A Tornado

On the Border

The Bergham Chronicles

The Blogging 911

Cognitive Script

Part Time Working Hockey Mom

Sparkly Poetic Weirdo

Friday, November 9, 2018


Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 9 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.

Your “Secret Subject” is: This year, I'm grateful for _______.

It was submitted by:      


I am grateful things aren’t worse.

That’s about all I can say for this year. I’ve lost friends, watched the nation turn more and more towards hate, dealt with the return of a stalker, weathered a hurricane that left the area devastated, and now have a dog with diabetes that I can never leave alone for more than a few hours until she gets her next injection. I’ve been hurt, friends are dealing with scary health issues, and my cfs has been a constant and ever present nightmare. But. It could be worse, I guess? I think that’s really one of the major thoughts that helps me get through the day some days. It could be worse. I could have worse health scares. I could be bedridden. It could be another year for an execution instead of just an anniversary of one. I could have lost my dog instead of having to give her injections twice a day. I could have lost my closest friend not just a couple good friends. It could definitely be worse.

I’m thankful I haven’t had to see “30 Days of Thanks” on my Facebook timeline this year.

I know a lot of people do it. I get why they might want to in a way, and I do realize most of the time the intent is not related to ego. But holy shit it can be isolating. Impact matters. For anyone struggling with their health really badly like many people I know are, seeing everyone else be thankful for their health on their feed throughout the month is just a reminder we don’t have that. Seeing someone be thankful they’re pregnant can be a reminder for the person struggling to get pregnant that they don’t have that. It’s not that it’s just one person saying this randomly. When this has been a trending activity to do on social media, it’s a barrage of different people posting it throughout the month. I know that people are still happy for others and would never wish sickness or infertility or whatever on any of their friends, but those reminders of what we don’t have can be difficult, and I don’t think it’s too much of an ask to be mindful of what others’ may be going through before sharing what you’re grateful to have every single day for 30 days or how much people who are struggling are seeing how alone they are in their struggle.

I’m grateful the House was flipped blue to try and keep a check on things in the government. I’m thankful Muslim women, gay women, gay men, democratic socialists, and Indigenous women all made history winning their elections. I’m grateful Georgia seems to be moving more blue as demographics change and younger people get more involved in voting. I’m absolutely horrified about this new Trump-esque governor (as of typing this Kemp still has a lead anyway while Abrams files suits and waits on final counts). As a queer woman with friends of color, trans friends, veterans I love, people I love with pre-existing conditions, and other queer friends, it’s terrifying to have someone in control who would deny us coverage, existence, access to benefits, and more. I didn’t expect different really. It’s still Georgia after all, but it’s still unsettling to say the least that in this time we will still elect people like Kemp or DeSantis in Florida who ran corrupt campaigns and made thinly veiled racist statements. It’s give and take, this election, but I’m grateful I was able to make my voice heard even if it’s not fully or really at all represented in my home state.

I’m grateful I for all the kiddos at my house—the human one and all the furry ones. Not furry like costumed but furry like actual cats and dogs. I feel too weird not making that distinction. I don’t know where I would be without them to both keep me too busy to think about things and to keep me feeling loved. A year ago, I was contacted by a facebook friend about a friend of hers who needed help with 2 cats in the Atlanta area. The other woman’s former partner had passed suddenly, and these cats needed a foster home. She planned on moving one to Canada with her and helping me find a home for the other. It literally took days for Secret to dig her claws into my heart and make her place here. I call her Queenie now because she runs this place and owns me. I can’t really explain it. I have more than my fair share of cats between rescues and foster fails and fostering period, and I have bonds with a lot of them, but nothing compares to this relationship I have with my Queenie. We’re inseparable, and I am grateful every day I made the choice to bring them here even when I didn’t have the space. I’m grateful I took a chance on contacting the people who had Rost, my dane, even though I didn’t think I was ready for him after my old man Cap passing away a few months before. He’s been amazing in keeping me anchored to this Earth. I don’t know how I would have made it through this year without him. And of course, I’m always grateful for the weird relationship I have with the human kiddo. He keeps me laughing, and the amount of leg hair he has now is awe-inspiring. Haha.

I’m also thankful I have friends who will come to me with questions about social issues, who don’t mistake my passion for anger, and my honesty for hatefulness. I’m thankful I have friends willing to learn, to do the work to be good allies, that will keep me in check when I fail, and work with me to challenge others to be better. I’m thankful I can be a part of groups that help others with everything from depression pizzas to meme threads when we’re down but also to help keep that growth going no matter how dark the future might seem at times. I’m thankful I have made spaces where those of us who aren’t the majority feel safe to express how we see the world and who aren’t afraid to be unapologetically us. I’m thankful people see me as someone who will stand up for them and fight with them, and that being, well, disabled, hasn’t changed how they see me. I might not be on the front lines of the fight, but I’m here for them, and they know it. I’m thankful I have friends who are there for me too, that fight for me, that love me no matter what. Those are the relationships that keep you going.

I’m grateful I found kratom. That’s been my savior this year to help battle the pain I experience with cfs. There were some dark times full of misery and anger and thoughts of ending it all to escape the pain for awhile there. I tried CBD oil which did help with anxiety but did nothing much for the pain, and I was starting to feel I was out of options when I stumbled upon this plant. I cried the first day I took it standing in the shower wowed at how it feels to not have a level 8 pain all day long trying to make it through the day. I still have pain even on it, but holy shit is the world easier to take when it’s a 3 or 4 and not so intense I cannot function.

And I’m immensely grateful even after everything, I still have a sense of humor. Laughing really is the best medicine.


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

The Lieber Family Blog

The Bergham Chronicles

The Blogging 911

Cognitive Script

Never Ever Give Up Hope

Part Time Working Hockey Mom

Sparkly Poetic Weirdo

Friday, October 12, 2018

Granny Candy Part 2

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: pinecone, path, sun, patch, and evolve

They were submitted by:

This is part two to a story I did for my last UYW. I know these are hard to keep up with in multiple segments like this, so I'm probably going to end it here as far as blog challenges go, but I'm not sure I've seen the last of these characters. I kind of love them both. 

here is part 1 if you need a refresher or didn't catch it last time: Granny Candy Part 1


“So when is my funeral, Grimmy?”

The two of them headed back to the Overlook, the hub—whatever it was—each with a Werther’s still tucked in their cheek. Well, whatever he had. She still wasn’t sure what he had going on under that hood. 

I have word it begins in about 5 minutes or so. Your wake was last night. Closed casket as you requested, I believe. We did find that gem of a quote when we did our investigation. ‘I don’t want no [ahem] creepos staring at my dead body.’

“Well, it’s a little morbid. Don’t you think? Beyond weird wanting to look at lifeless bodies. I’ve seen one. It did NOT look like the person it was supposed to be, and I just really don’t know why people want THAT to be their last memory of someone.”

I will not argue that.

“But also, like, how the hell is my funeral in 5 minutes when I’ve been here like 5 hours or something.”

Time is different here. You will become accustomed, but it is much slower than what you experienced in life. It has been nearly a week since your accident there.



“Did you really just say ‘pardon’ while I am in freak out mode over how dead I really am? You are infuriatingly adorable, ya grandma. So, can we, uh, blip on over to my funeral? I bet it’s gonna be lit.”

What is this ‘lit?’

“Poppin’, wild, people crying and shit and saying I was too young. Plus, I want to see how many people I didn’t like show up.”

I am thinking perhaps there will be many people who did not like you.

Lizzy paused a minute staring into the shadows of his hood then stuck out her tongue and crossed her hands over her chest. “You’re getting a little too good at roasting. Fast learner, I see. So, can we go or not?”

Go where?

“To my funeral, ya walnut. Where else? I want to see who shows up. Like, come on, that has to be better than what we were about to have to spend the next gazillion hours doing!”

Perhaps. I do have to admit I am not fond of visiting the Eternal Gardens.


What now, child?

“Who in the ever loving fuck named them Eternal Gardens?”

She could feel his frown. He was aghast, embarrassed. “oh, shit… it was YOU!”

I thought it was quite fancy. Catchy, even.

“Oh, honey, no.” She doubled over laughing in her way, funeral almost forgotten until he cleared his throat loud enough to vibrate her chest.

Go ahead and laugh. Let’s see where this gets you. 

“Grimmy! No! It’s adorable, but, uh, if you take me to my funeral, I’ll help you give the place a name that really works for the new kids coming in, evolve your style. And I’ll help you learn about all the candy.”

There is more than one candy? 

“How has no one ever taught you about candy? Either way, do we have a deal?”

Are there even better candies?

“You bet your ghoulish ass there are.”

Then, yes, we do have a deal. The dead can wait. We do have a queue, after all. It shouldn't be long enough for the line to get too long. 

He snapped his fingers again, and the two of them were standing in the entrance to the cemetery near her old elementary school. The sun shone on the path that lead to the heart of the place. The path itself was dirt, but it was peppered with patches of grass here and there and pinecones from the trees that provided shade and shadows all throughout the property. They could hear voices up ahead—the boom of a preacher especially. Which was odd. That wasn’t at all what she wanted. 

Maybe Grimmy sensed her agitation because he stopped her from moving forward with a hand on her shoulder, are you certain you want to do this? It could be…difficult. 
“Sure as fuck am. I want to see how much my drama queen of a mother made this about herself and not me.”

The two of them followed the path towards the sounds of the voices winding in between trees with headstones both old and new lining the land as far as she could see. “They won’t be able to see us will they?”

Not at all. We are not of this realm. 

It IS rather ‘lit,’ is it not?

She turned to him in shock feeling his sassy pride wave over her. “I’ve created a monster. And I l o v e it.”

The two of them were a few yards off from the actual funeral at this point. The crowd was pretty huge like she figured. People she’d gone to school with that had been awful. People she’d been awful to…aunts, uncles, cousins, and family member she couldn’t remember when she saw last. Her mom was there in this huge black designer dress with a set of huge shoulder pads and an even bigger veiled hat sitting on her head. The thing was gaudy. Like, seriously, someone should have yeeted it straight into a toilet. It would have been doing her mom a favor. The woman was wailing of course, throwing her self on whatever man she’d brought with her, the boyfriend of the week, and sobbing loud enough to make the people next to her cringe. And in the front seats right up near the casket were all her mom's bougie ass friends.

“See, this is her show. This is nothing to do with me.”

Your mother seems rather anguished. 

“For attention. Trust me.”

Lizzy heard a giggle then and shifted her attention to sift out the misplaced sound from the sea of tears and sniffles. When she found its source, she stopped in her tracks, mouth agape, face reddened beyond the shade of a ripe tomato. “You have got to be fucking kidding me. Who does this Post Malone lookin’, body odor havin’, no job holdin’, whole bitch think he is?”

To whom are you referring, child? 

“Do you see that bum ass motherfucker over there with the matted hair wearing that Rastafari shirt?”

The young man with black hat?

“No, the one next to him with the ICP neck tattoo of the little ax guy holding a dildo, the one with the lion on his shirt. That, sorry as it makes me to say, is my ex.”

X? What is an X? Like the letter of the English alphabet? Is it some sort of abbreviation? What is an ICP? 

“No, my dude. That’s E-X as in my ex boyfriend, someone I used to be in a relationship with but can no longer stand the sight of because he doesn’t have all his teeth and still lives with his mom. And no one really knows what ICP is. Don’t worry.”

Was he not a good partner?

“Does cheating on me with my best friend count as good? Or how about the time he stole my rent money out of my purse while I slept and spent it at a strip club with his loser ass friends?”

Cheating, I assume, is a way your era discusses extramarital affairs? If so, he is a terrible human being, and his visit with me will be deliciously terrifying.

The Cheshire cat grin that she felt coming from him absolutely felt every bit as terrifying as he made it sound.

“That’s my cousin he’s flirting with right now. At MY funeral. This waste of oxygen knows I would never want him within 10 miles of my funeral. I had to file a restraining order on him because he kept showing up at my work harassing me with his stunted vocabulary and weed stench.”

How do you know he is attempting to court her?


Bet? But I do not gamble, dear.

“Oh Jesus Murphy Lynn. Let’s move closer and you’ll see.”

Okay, but I feel I must inform you that is not Jesus’ correct formal name.

Her eyeroll was magnificent. “Grimmy, sweaty, that is not the point.”

I do not sweat.
“Oh my god, if I wasn’t dead, I would stroke out right here just trying to have a normal conversation with you. Let’s go over there already.”

They moved the short distance to close the distance between them and the ex ending up directly behind them in the crowd. It didn’t take long for Grimmy to pick up what Jeremy, the ex, was attempting to lay down. He complimented her figure. He talked about his car. He talked about his newfound dj fame. DJ Lickalotapus. He played in a t-rex costume. (And he would). He touched her hair, said he felt sparks the same exact way he did when he talked to Lizzy the first time. AND HE INVITED HER TO HIS SHOW THAT NIGHT AT CLUB SERENITY.

The longer Grimmy listened the more intense she could feel his disgust. Lizzy, I see what you mean. He is, as you would say, a creepo.

“We are going to that show. We are going, we are haunting the fuck out of his set, and we are ruining his chances at putting another woman in my family through the shit I dealt with.”

My services may be needed sooner than that, Lizzy. I cannot leave you here, but I cannot desert my post. I also need your decision.


You need to know I do not think leaving this girl in any way the right decision.

“Wait. Listen. Time goes slower there, yeah? So it’s only been a few moments we were gone?”


“Okay, so let’s snap back, leave a “back in 15 minutes sign”, and blip back over to the club. By the time we get back, any people that need you won’t have had to wait too long, and I’ll help you out with it.”

And we will get more candy after? 


The two of them did their blipping rather rapidly. Lizzy scribbled out the sign and hung it on the door to the hub, and even in those few moments, by the time they snapped through space to the club, it was nearly time for DJ Lickalotapus’ set to begin. And her little cousin was standing right up front grinning and waving at him.

Lizzy was in a rage. Grimmy was determined. That dino didn’t stand a chance.

“How do we do this?”

Do what exactly, my child?

“Haunt his shit! Can we interact with things here? What can I do or not do?”

Our energy is very limited here, but if you have enough emotional output, it is possible to interfere with objects or make others aware of your presence.

“Oh, I think I am topping the gd charts on emotional output. Let me at this sentient premature ejaculation.”

She was, topping the charts on emotional output that is. She pushed her hands into the turntables he was using. Sparks flew alright. But not the kind he was looking for with her cousin. She ripped her arms through his records sending them flying in all directions across the room crashing into walls and making the audience scream. In the haze and smoke from the failed machinery, she was so full of desperate anger that she took form, the smoke clinging to her features. That sad, smelly t-rex saw her. He saw the culprit, a puddle forming on the floor beneath him as he screamed. The lights of the club blinked out from the power surges sending even more people into a panic.

Grimmy stood amidst the chaos, and even though she couldn’t hear it, she felt his laughter, and before long, she was laughing right along with him while people rushed by them for the exits.

So, is this what you mean by ‘popping?’

“Indeed, it is.”

I must admit I have never had so much enjoyment.

“And we haven’t even gotten to the candy, yet.”

I may be starting to like you yet. 


I absolutely cannot imagine you anywhere else


Here are the rest of the submissions:

Baking In A Tornado

On the Border

The Bergham Chronicles

The Blogging 911

Cognitive Script

Friday, October 5, 2018


Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 7 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:

If you could be any kind of animal what would you be?

It was submitted by:

I took a little freedom with this prompt and wrote a piece of short fiction for it. Hope you enjoy :) It's a bit wholesome which I needed with the current climate.


I woke up that morning and stretched reaching my hands up high while twisting my back to work out some of the stiffness that usually kept me from being able to get out of bed without struggle…but none of that stiffness that had been so familiar for the last several years was there. It was such a part of my life that it almost felt like something was missing, like a phantom limb that was all pain all the time. It felt alien for that pain to be gone in a way that was jarring and gave me pause.

I looked around the room a little, but it was still not light enough to penetrate any of the measures I’d taken to reduce the daylight coming through the windows. The sun was rising judging by the bare sliver of light I could see above my blackout curtains, but it wasn’t full on morning. Not yet. It certainly wasn’t time for me to be up. Not with my nocturnal schedule.

I laid there for a minute more before my bladder screamed at me wondering if I should eat breakfast when I made my way back from the bathroom or come back and cuddle in the covers for some more sleep first. I rolled over to try to turn on the bedside lamp, but I couldn’t get hold of the damned knob to twist it. I tried again and again, but I couldn’t feel my thumb. I couldn’t get a grip on it. And I started to panic more than a little bit to be honest.

A chill hit me, and I shivered. I ran my hands over my arm anticipating a wave of cold, but something was off. Way off. I felt…hairy. Like, you know, ridiculously furry. And my nails felt super sharp even though I’d always kept them trimmed short. What. The. Hell. Was. Happening.

I moved to swing my legs over the edge of the bed and ended up on the floor on all fours, claws dug into the carpet, feeling better, more lithe, capable…predatory even…than I had ever felt before. I had very little time to wonder what was going on before the padding of kitty feet hit my room. They always knew when I was up no matter how quietly I tiptoed to the bathroom or how short a time I was awake.

“Good morning, Mother.”

“Good mor….” Wait. Had I really just heard? Surely, I was losing it, I thought. I mean, I did have 21 cats after all. Most people didn’t think I was all that together anyway. But hearing them? That was new.

I looked across at Mario, the big black and white tuxedo chonker with the kitty stache standing across from me. He sat like a statue, tail perfectly curled around his paws. I reached out to pet him, but my arms wouldn’t reach.

“Mother, please do not panic. We have much to discuss. And, yes, you are really hearing me.”

I fainted. I’ve never done that before, but I woke up with several little faces hovering over me speaking in hushed tones about whether or not it had been a good idea.

“What was or wasn’t a good idea?” I asked.

“To turn you feline, Mother.”

I just sat there looking at them trying to breathe while my vision tunneled, and I felt sure I’d pass out once more. I tried to put my legs between my knees, but I couldn’t get my legs to do the things I needed them to do. I must have looked like a flailing idiot, a fish out of water. “What do you mean? Turned me feline?”

“Mother, you have been so sick the last few years with your-- what you call--cfs, your body failing you. Our boy has been gone on to his new life for awhile now. We thought it might save you to be one of us. Cats do not know this cfs. It can’t ail us like it has done for you.”


“It’s a lot to take in, Mother. We know.”


“Cats are magic. Did you not know?”

“It’s, what, sorcery?”

“Of a sorts. You see we scouted you long ago as a good place for cats to live while we studied humans so we can try, possibly, to take over this world. If there’s anything left to take over now once there are enough of us… Usually, we have to use mind control powers to be able to get someone to house this many cats, but, Mother, you are something different. We thought it was the mind control. We used it, but we noticed the little things you did for us, the toys you made by hand which was never part of any control we had, the songs you made up for each and every one of us, the way you would pet one and never leave anyone out…give us medicine even when we—ahem, Seymour—were not kind about it. Some of the children peed on your things, and we literally raised hell every night. We got into your cheese, woman. We ripped up the house, chewed up wires—it’s a weakness—lost your earrings. And no matter what you still gave us all your love. At some point, we realized it was never the mind control. You kept taking us in because you thought we needed you, and you loved us. Perhaps we did need you. Either way, we want to take care of you now. You’ve done it for us so long. You can be one of us.”

“What about when the boy comes home?”

“We can change you back for that, and anytime we want. Someone has to get us food, of course. Oh and while we’re talking about food. It would behoove us if you go back to Taste of the Wild. Pardon me, but, fuck Purina.”

“So what do we do now?”

“Same thing we do every day, Pinky. Try to take over the world. And lick our bholes and nap.”


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

The Lieber Family Blog

The Bergham Chronicles

The Blogging 911

Cognitive Script

Never Ever Give Up Hope

Friday, September 14, 2018

Granny Candy (part 1)

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.

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.

My words are:

Dialed in ~ licensed ~ tricks-of-the-trade ~ in large measure ~ surveillance ~ phone record

They were submitted by:

So....this was originally inspired by a swap prompt I sent out last month or before (and I checked with that person to make sure she didn't mind me giving it a go! I'd never want to hurt anyone's feelings that way). I just couldn't stop thinking about it, and the words really fit, so here we are. It's probably going to be a multiparter if enough people enjoy it. I feel like it could end rather ok, but I'd like to see where it goes.


Lizzy was dead.

She kinda figured that was the case when the creepy dude in the black robes told her it was time, and they climbed in this weird ass skull boat floating down a bloody river that appeared right beside where she wrecked the car. She had swerved right into an ENTIRE tree trying to miss an oppossum of all things... a fucking marsupial. But now that they were standing in front of a building that looked remarkably like the Overlook Hotel, she was sure of it. She was definitely for real d e c e a s e d this time.

"Is this Hell? Do Jack Nicholson's sentient monster eyebrows chase me down the halls with an ax for all of eternity? Because I have to admit, that's kinda rad, my dude."

She didn't hear the robes' reply so much as understood it. See, total creepfest.

All in due time, Elizabetha.

"Nobody calls me Elizabetha." She squinched up her nose and made a retching sound.

Is that not your name?

"Well, yeah, sure. Technically. But isn't it a little...much?"

She couldn't see his face, but somehow she still knew he was rolling his eyes.

Elizabetha is your name. Why do humans insist on making everything a production?

"Oh? Oh is that how we're playing this? Well, what is your name?"

Charon. Technically as you put it. I have many names in many cultures, but that is my given name.
"Well how about if i call you... 'Death.'"

I prefer Charon.

"The Grim Reaper?"



What?! No.

"So despite having 'many names' you stick to the one you like is what you're saying?"

Very well then....sigh....Lizzy.

She could tell beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was barely holding off a retching sound himself, and it delighted her down to her newly ethereal toes. Being dead might have its perks.

"Sooooooo...." she rocked back and forth on her feet a little really ramping up her impatient stretching of the o. Such a tiny word for so much sass. "What the fuck are we doing here, Joe Black?"

Why must you lot always compare me to your terrible, cheap cinema?

His look of disgust seemed to move the air around them even while hidden in the shadows of his hood, but she would not back down. No way. "The depth of your eyeroll was deserving of an award, surely. An emmy for best supportive role in a feature film."

This is not a film, child.

"Then why the hell are we at the damned Overlook hotel? Why does this place look like it jumped here straight from a Kubrickian nightmare?"

That would have nothing at all to do with me, dear. You perceive this place as you want to...or need to really.

Now that finally rocked her. Not being dead. Not being escorted by a being older than humankind who was supposed to be a femme entity in an on again/off again fling with Deadpool. Her own little quirks could haunt her better than anything. "And this is what my brain has come up with, eh? Well, ain't this telling."


"Smug bastard."

She felt the grin tingle the base of her spine like an ice cold breeze.

"Ok, but where is here?"

It is a depot of sorts. I escort you to the afterlife you chose in life. Christians get their Heaven...or Hell. If one believes in reincarnation, you step through a door and go back to Earth in a new receptacle. If--

"Ewwww. Receptacle? Wtf?"

Body, then. Being. Creature. What do you want, child?

"Anything but receptacle. Creepsville, my guy. No one will ever swipe right on your ass if you talk like that to all the ladies."

Swipe right? What is this swipe right?

"You know, Tinder? Dating app? Booty calls? Friends with bennies?"

My place in existence is not to marry.

"I do not have to be married to sleep around, man."

Are you as certain of that in death as you were in life?

"What's that supposed to mean?!"

No matter. Let's step inside. We have much to discuss this night.

The inside looked remarkably NOT like the inside of Kubrick's Overlook though it did make her think of the darkest recesses of Stephen King's frontal lobes where sharp toothed clowns were born alongside haunted cars, spoiled aliens, and killer dogs. The architecture, stairs, doorways...every chair and desk and couch were all black highlighted by blue lighting that only fueled the shadows instead of disbursing them. It was tacky and weird and everything she ever wanted in a house...when she was a 14 year old Ouija queen holding seances at sleepovers and doing tarot readings at the lunch table. The nostalgic love for it hit her almost as hard as how terrible it all looked. The two emotions intertwined to knocked into her with a sucker punch that doubled her over in a maniacal laughing fit that would rival even The Shining girls in their pretty blue, bloodied dresses.

This is all you, dearheart. I must admit even I am a little bewildered here, but we must attend to our business. I have a long night ahead.

"What business do you mean?"

It seems we had a little trouble getting dialed in on exactly what your beliefs are.

"I'm agnostic. Was agnostic. How hard could that be?"

Oh, we knew that of course. We sent quite a lot of effort attempting to narrow it down. In large measure even most agnostics have a hope or a holdover belief from family or childhood they want to be true. But you... When I say there was nothing there--not an iota of care--I mean it. We even hired a licensed demon investigator, the best in the business, to conduct some surveillance in your world, check phone records, and all the usual tricks of the trade. My purpose here is to walk someone their spot in the depot, to their version of eternity whatever it may be, and release them--

"Wait. Just wait right there."

Yes, Elizab...Lizzy?

"You mean to tell me everyone was right? All religions are right? All these people fight and hate and ruin each other over religion for...for nothing?!"

That is an extremely limited way of conceiving it.

"So who is right then?!"

No one. And everyone.


It not only is possible, it simply is. If a person lived a good life, they get to live the eternity they worked for. How else would you have it?

"But.... but then they get to think they were right all along and had justification for looking down on others! They never know everyone gets their own deal."



Why does “fair” matter? And who does it matter to? They are dead.

“Because so many of them have been fucking awful? Because a lot of them treat people so terribly and judge lifestyles? Kill for religion? None of that matters.”

You are forgetting that if they have misused their beliefs for hate or violence, there is more than one place they believe they will go. Most religions allow for what you can whittle down to a good place and a bad place. Do you understand? Those people aren’t worried about whether they were right when stuck in a place that punishes their transgressions for all of time.

“I suppose that makes it slightly better then. A smidge. But it still ain’t a great compromise. What about atheists?”

I cannot answer these questions all night. You have a decision to make. But since we needed to visit the Atheist afterlife anyway to help with your choice, shall we start there?

“uhhhhh….I guess?”

He lead her then to a small hallway off from the reception area. Each room had a number like in any hotel. She wondered what this place looked like to others if not this. They stopped in front of 127, and he turned to look at her. Well, she assumed. She still hadn’t seen his face.

We’ll visit several doors tonight. You take a peek in, get a feel for the place, ask a couple of questions if you absolutely feel the need, and make your choice. Most people do not take this much work, so keep in mind this choice can be taken, and I’ll place you where I see fit if you abuse my time.

His eyes lit a fiery, deep orange on the last sentence like he was itching for the opportunity which made her take a step back involuntarily while his laugh surrounded her like a blanket made of spider webs. “I get you and all, but do you have to be so damned creepy?”

He turned, still laughing, opened the door with a little oxblood-colored key card, and the two of them stepped in. It was sort of like being on a balcony. She could look down on the city below her, high enough to be above the clamor on the streets but still be able to catch the action. It looked just like home…people scrambling to get here and there, homeless in the alleys, fights outside bars. She could sense everything as it was happening—joy, hopelessness, anger, pain, confusion. “Is this their bad place?”

Atheists do not believe in a dichotomy of afterlife. There is only one place, here. They are given the option to blink out of existence as they believed they would in life, but given the option, most end up here. It is much like where humans spend their lives—a place of madness if you ask me. But no one here is sick or dying. They just live their lives like workers in a child’s antfarm doing their work and turning over green paper for things they think make them feel better. As I said, it’s essentially the world you left with a few caveats.”

“So…I’d have to spend eternity working? With the same kinds of people I lived with? Like, there are libertarians here?”


“No fucking thank you. WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT THIS?! Next.”

Very well.

The two of them climbed a set of winding stairs up to the second floor where they stopped of 237.

This, my child, is Christian Hell. Unless you particularly want to have the option, we can skip this one and go down the hall to what they call Heaven. You don’t really qualify for this door, but I am obligated to give you the full tour of options per my supervisor.

“You know…if it had been any other door besides this one, I might be game, but considering there are zombie tiddies behind this one in the movie, I think I am just fine with skipping it. Also, who is your supervisor?”

My supervisor is none of your concern.

They turned and walked a few doors down. Light poured into the hallway from underneath the door like it was just too powerful to be contained. A faint music could be heard….musak seemingly. The internal cringe she felt ended up sending a shiver down her spine. “Uh… can I ask something out here?”

I suppose.

"So maybe you know this, but my uncle Wayne was a pastor of some kind of Christian sect. I don’t know the details, but he was always preaching about eternal damnation, his incontinent cat, and how gay people are selfish. I’m not sure which one or what the deal was, but before I decide about this door I need to know if he’s in there because if he is, well, I can pass this one up right now.

Pastor Wayne... ah, yes. I completely understand. Pastor Wayne was a special case as well. Wayne has his own afterlife. In life, he believed he was the only person living a good enough life to get into Heaven. All ego, that one. So, no one and nothing else is there which, since you know him well, you also understand is really his own version of Hell. He has no one to talk to about himself or feel superior to. It worked out well for everyone that way. I should say, however, there are people similar to your uncle behind this door. But they’re also surrounded by gay Christians and rainbows, so it’s made a bit of an impact on things. In this instance, since you seem to care so much about who was right and wrong, those individuals have had to eat a lot of crow as you humans might say.

“You can tell you meet mostly old people if you think a lot of humans use that phrase.”

They have egg on their face, then.

“Still no.”

Have had to eat their words?

“oh just give up.”

Fine. Do you want to go in or not?”

“No thanks. I don’t think this is for me either. What’s next?”

Jannah. The Muslim version of eternal paradise.

“I mean, I AM curious, but in the interest of saving your grumpy ass some time, I can go ahead and pass. These Daddy type religions are not really my thing.”

So, no to anything associated specifically with Catholics who have their own space separate from other Christians, Jehovahs, Mormons, and the Jewish rooms then?


So, no gods or many gods are acceptable?

“Oh wait what about Scientology? Is that, like, one or many?”

You…you’re actually interested in the Scientology room?

The confusion emanated from him like a dark cloud which made her double over laughing again.

“I really feel like I didn’t get enough shots at them in life, you know? Like I’d love to peek for some meme-worthy jokes.”

I wish you would speak your language correctly. What is this meme?

“Grimmy! You mean to tell me no one has come here and talked about memes? What the fuuuuuuck? Memes are life. How could someone come here and not talk about memes?”

It’s obvious you chose to say “meme” as many times as possible in order to pull one over on me.

“Pull one over on you? You sound like someone’s great grandma. Do you have some Werther’s Originals in your purse, Granny Grim?”

What are these Werther’s Originals?

“Wait. Wait… You’ve never… I was just kidding around and giving you a hard time. Trolling or whatever for shits and giggles. But…do you have money? Like, can we pop on over to the Atheist door and hit up a drugstore? Do they have real food there? I cannot live with myself for all eternity if I know you have never had a Werther's.”

I suppose if you feel it is absolutely necessary to your journey, we can.

“Let’s do this!”’

Charon snapped his fingers, and the two found themselves outside what appeared to be a regular ass CVS. Lizzie stared up at him dumbfounded, a look of utter confusion on her face. “Uh…if you can just snap your fingers and take us anywhere we want to go, what’s with the fucked up hotel and the doors and the walking?”

Perhaps I, too, have a flair for the dramatic.

“I’d say that’s an understatement. Now, come on.” She grabbed him by the robe sleeve and pulled him down the aisles until she found the candy. She grabbed the Originals, some chewy Werther’s, and the green apple ones since it was almost Halloween, and she hadn’t had those all year long, omg. Charon paid at the register like he was anyone else. No one bat an eye of weirdness at the creeptastic hooded demon dude, but whatever. Stranger things happened to her back at home. She had accidentally walked into a furry convention once while she was high thinking it was some kind of Comic Con event. It was a memory she spent the rest of her life wishing she could unsee.

When they stepped back outside, she pointed to a bench under a huge oak tree in the park across the street, and the two of them made a beeline for it with their bagful of old lady candy.

She sat right next to him instead of moving to the other end of the bench when he sat down prissily on one end. The displeasure he sent her way made her grin. She was having a little too much fun giving him shit, but the Werther’s were definitely going to make up for it. She handed him one, took one herself, and sat back waiting for his reaction while she unwrapped and popped it in her mouth. As soon as it hit, she was flooded with nostalgia which was immediately drowned out by joy so intense she thought she might explode in a cloud of glitter and unicorn farts.

“S’good, eh?”

Mmmmm. Yes. I do agree.

“So, Grimmy…like, don’t you need an assistant or something? Is that a thing?”

It has never been requested. I would have to make a formal request to the supervisor. If I can put up with you, that is. We still have to finish your tour. It is the way things are done here.

“Let’s eat a few more of these first, then.”

Finally…something on which we agree, Lizzy.


Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado

On the Border

The Bergham Chronicles

The Blogging 911

Cognitive Script

Part-Time Working Hockey Mom

Friday, September 7, 2018

Pry My Candy Corn From My Cold Dead Hands

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 8 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:

What’s something that “everyone” seems to be obsessed with and you just don’t get it?

It was submitted by:

This kind of had perfect timing. I've been talking about this with people for a few weeks now.


Like anyone else, I have a lot of things I just haven’t been able to get into while people I know sing their praises. TV shows, foods, drinks, movies, brands, activities… The list is pretty long. I couldn’t get into Breaking Bad. I don’t like The Walking Dead. I didn’t even bother with Game of Thrones. I hate root beer. Don’t even get me started on black licorice. Baked beans are the devil. The Notebook was trash. I can’t stand South Park or Family Guy. I have never ever wanted a Coach bag or a Louis Vuitton. I don’t shop at Sephora, and I’ve never seen Frozen even though I love Kristen Bell. I don’t have any plans on ever watching it either.

Can we just take a moment to think about my sick ass trying crossfit? Or watching…*shivers*…football?

Is it even possible to picture me wearing anything that isn’t black or that doesn’t make you want to hold an exorcism?

But those are just me. Those are my opinions and tastes. I don’t think not liking any of these things makes me special or makes anyone else objectively wrong except maybe the black licorice. Sadly, though, that’s exactly the thing that everyone else is seemingly into that I just don’t get—shitting on things other people love for likes and attention instead of just letting people enjoy the things they love.

Youtube is rife with videos titled “how to eat [insert food]” or “how to drink [insert beverage]” and thousands show up on facebook every year of regular ass people throwing away perfectly good food in order to show how detestable something is supposed to be. Dr. Pepper, Mountain Dew, milk, candy corn, a whole ass plate of Chinese food, and pineapple on pizza are all examples of the subjects of these videos. Adults ordering food or buying whole 2 liters just to film themselves throwing it away in the name of controversy on social media just kinda blows my mind. At no time is that more apparent than Pumpkin Spice season. Hordes of memes making fun of pumpkin spice crowd the spaces of our social media timelines making fun of anyone who dares like a traditional spice selection dating back hundreds of years used for all sorts of baked goods. How dare we, eh? It’s not enough for these people to *not* care for it themselves; they absolutely have to label and tear down every person who does. “Basic,” ridiculous, obsessed… a whole stereotype of woman has been built upon liking a fucking mix of spice.


We live in a world plagued by huge issues. Times are pretty scary especially for women, minorities, and LGBTQIA folks. We aren’t sure of the future. You might even say we’re living in a somewhat dystopian nightmare that we thought we would only ever read about in novels as a cautionary tale. Instead of tearing down folks for finding some small joy in life that absolutely hurts no one else (unless you want to debate the tenants of capitalism), here’s a novel idea.


I can’t watch Game of Thrones for the assault scenes but I don’t trash on the many friends I have that watch it.

I don’t like pineapple on pizza, but I live with someone who does.

I would rather stab my own eyes out than watch a single episode of Family Guy, but I know dozens of people who get a laugh out of it.

Try it with me. Let people have their loves, their fandoms, their tastes, their passions…

Let men wear their hair in a bun without being yet another person to question manhood as if masculinity has anything to do with a hairstyle.

Let people eat their candy corn which must not be that fucking bad since it has existed literally for decades doing just as well as ever.

Don’t debate tea over coffee. Let people drink whatever they want.

Drink Dr. Pepper or milk or Mountain Dew or KoolAid or even Fanta if you choose and let other people choose too.

If a person wants to eat/drink/lather in/bathe with/spray themselves with/gargle with what we call “pumpkin spice” why not try letting them without cutting them down into some narrow stereotype?

Be a Converse person or Vans or even Uggs AND LET PEOPLE WEAR WHAT THEY WANT.

Repeat this after me: no one’s choice of clothing or food or drink hurts you or takes away your choices. And not liking things that other people like makes you no different than everyone else who doesn’t like it.

At best, when you gang up together and talk shit about things other people enjoy, styles they have, and activities they enjoy, you look like a bully, and your children are watching.


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

The Lieber Family Blog

The Bergham Chronicles

The Blogging 911

Cognitive Script

Never Ever Give Up Hope


Part-Time Working Hockey Mom

Friday, August 17, 2018

Visual Literature

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:

school ~ books ~ difficulty ~ letter ~ budget

They were submitted by:


This is my 5th year homeschooling. I think. Time has lost all meaning in the brain fogged existence I lead planning lessons and grading papers and begging, pleading for this child to pull more adjectives out of his ass than "good" or "interesting" when writing an essay and to actually learn to write in such a way that I no longer need a decoder ring to decipher almost every letter in the answers to the questions he's assigned.

There are not enough words in the English language to describe the difficulty of teaching a child, at least MY child, at home. It is a drain of patience and my precious little energy considering what is already drained with me/cfs, and I have realized all too keenly that my child was perfectly constructed so as to be able to tune out almost every single thing I say. He thinks "skimming" counts as reading. He skips rules and takes shortcuts and refuses to ask for help even when he desperately needs it. He loses every. single. pencil. I buy him which I blame all on his father's half of his genes (only half-jokingly).

It's a lot of responsibility. I have to know what the average kid in his grade level should be learning, what the state standards are, and the laws involving homeschooling. I have to make it fun but informative, challenging but ability-appropriate, varied enough to hold his interest but not so varied we lose the sense of routine that helps him stay focused despite being unmedicated with ADHD. I have to prepare this kid who is terrible at written tests (but gets the answers 100% right every time if we do it orally 😑) for a standardized test every 3 years to make sure we're on track with our learning. It's work, hard work. We don't always get along during the school day. My expectations and his motivation are hardly ever at the same level. We end a lot of days stressed the fuck out and in need of a breather.


I don't think either of us would have it any other way. He has not yet answered affirmatively each year when I ask him how he wants to handle things regarding going back to public school, and even though he drives me crazy so much of the time...I like the control I have over what he learns, and I can make sure his education is tailored to him personally. We choose classes together. I choose the books which means I don't go with the ones tailored just for Georgia students used by the school system here that whitewashes much of history and skips a lot of evolution. It's my budget not a school budget dependent upon the overall test results of the students. If we need extra books, we get them. We handle our own supplies and skip a lot of germs. We work on our own schedule meaning we stay up late and sleep in most of the time. If we need a day off, we take one and make it up elsewhere. When he has a grip on a lesson, we move on, and when he doesn't, we repeat it. It's less stress for him than going to an actual school, and he still gets plenty of socialization. And we're obviously doing something right since he tested more than 2 grades above his level this past year in reading comprehension, language skills, and math.

So difficult...but also worth it.

Right now we're doing pre-algebra, biology, grammar, ancient world history, and computer fundamentals. But I also added film studies in place of literature this year, and so far it has been amazingly fun and has gotten us sharing movies and talking about them more in depth every school night. I happen to think visual stories can be as important as written ones, and the work that goes into them can be fascinating. Understanding lighting, color, continuity, transitions, camera angles, and the like can tell you more about the stories you're watching. We've watched Citizen Kane, Jaws (compared to Wet Hot American Summer), What We Do in the Shadows, Almost Famous and This Is Spinal Tap. We watched parts os Sin City and clips from Clerks. Pan's Labyrinth, SLC Punk, Taxi Driver, Snatch, and Scott Pilgrim Vs The World... and we're only 3 weeks into the year. 

I share with him insights as we watch pointing out the elements he has read about in his film studies class. I taught him why the color palette of Jaws is so calm and neutral or why Sin City is in mostly black and white. He learned what film noir is. He knows now why some characters are bathed in light and some in shadow in certain scenes. We talk about why a shot is wide or why it's a close up, what the intent is for the viewer and what the director is trying to say without saying it with dialogue. We looked at Guy Ritchie's signature montages and how he uses transitions and narration so successfully and so uniquely that you can watch a movie and just know when he's the director. And we have so much left to cover--genres, directorial style, plot, chopped narratives and straightforward ones, what defines a "cult classic," scores that change the entire movie, movies that are a product of the culture in which they were created and more.

Now that we've started, he can't stop. Even when he watches movies for fun, he notices the things we've gone over. Finally my child can actually listen to me talk about something and appreciate the knowledge I'm giving (knowledge I had to teach myself)! It only took how many years?! Either way, I'll take this win and put it in my motivation bank for the next time I look at his worse-than-doctor-scribble handwriting that might say plates ate the sordid phantom or might say hydrogen is good.

***Before I go, I do want to add that he listens to me about other things because I like to talk shit about historical characters. it's fun and more relateable for me to call Christopher Columbus an incapable, lying mf than what he can read in a book. it's like he has Samuel L. Jackson for a history teacher.

Baking In A Tornado

On the Border

The Bergham Chronicles

The Blogging 911

Cognitive Script

Part-Time Working Hockey Mom

Friday, August 10, 2018

Where's the Justice?

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 9 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:

“How could this happen..?”

It was submitted by:

I recently picked up a new person (in prison) to write. His case astonished me to be perfectly honest which has not happened too often in my 11 years of doing this, and when I got this prompt, it felt a lot like I was meant to write about it. A few informative links will follow


How could this happen? is something I asked myself over and over again when I read about Ivan Bechtol and why he's in prison for life. At 38, he's been in almost as long as he was ever free, and there's only a slight illumination at the end of his tunnel that might be a sunlit meadow of freedom or might be the tunnel on fucking fire trapping him inside for eternity. The way his life is going I imagine he feels more inclined to believe the latter.

When Ivan was 19, he was using cocaine on top of the usual substances a lot of people that age enjoy. He was actually with a local coke dealer in the wee hours of September 3rd, 2001. Those hours he spent with this dealer would be his unending in a wild tale that reads more like a poorly written whodunit than an actual, believable criminal investigation.

In those early hours on September 3rd, the dealer, William Cron (with a history of sex crimes and drug dealing), stopped the vehicle that he and Ivan were in at the house where Cron's ex-girlfriend was staying with another male companion. Apparently, Jamie Moran, the ex and victim in this case, had gotten some coke from Cron earlier. He fronted it on the promise she would pay him later with the money she got from selling some on her own. After a night of  doing drugs and drinking himself, he became paranoid she wouldn't pay because he owed *her* money and decided to track her down. Ivan had gotten a ride with him when Cron decided to stop by where he figured Moran would be staying.

Cron got lucky with his guess. It just wasn't very lucky for anyone else involved.

Cron cut the phone lines to the house and broke in leaving Ivan in his vehicle. The owner of the house, Ira Henke, heard a dog bark around 6:30 a.m. He went to check and found Cron inside the house, and the two got into a fight. Ivan heard the commotion, ran in, and broke up the fight. Ivan and Cron ran out.

The next morning, Ivan was arrested on a home invasion charge over this incident. He spent most of the rest of the day in a jail cell. Cron, however, managed to slip the police and spent most of his day terrorizing Jamie Moran. He found her new cell phone number and called repeatedly to threaten her at her job. The police were called but didn't find him nearby and left with matters unsolved. Jamie had a friend follow her part of the way home to make sure she wasn't being followed. The intersection where they parted ways was the last time Jamie was ever seen alive.

Not long after leaving her, the friend made a call to check on her and heard screaming. Her body was found in her car in a lake the next morning at 7 a.m.

It has never been disputed that Cron killed her. In his trial, it was indicated that he hid in her trunk wearing a disguise and forced her to pull over. He was physically 100% responsible for her death. No one else was there. He even forced her to write letters clearing him of crimes he committed against her and left them on her body...

That should be where the story ends for Ivan--with maybe a little time served for a home invasion he wasn't really responsible for and a wake up call about the friends he chose to hang around. Instead, he might very well spend the rest of his life in prison. Shortly after Jamie Moran's murder, he was picked up and charged with helping to plot it and hasn't been home since.

At Cron's trial, Ivan's involvement was never an aspect on either side of the case. In fact, Ivan was hardly mentioned at all and certainly was not discussed as playing any part the planning of or execution of the murder. At no time did conspiring with another person even get discussed at that murder trial. Cron was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison with there being no doubt about his sole involvement in the murder. It was called a crime of passion.

Ivan's trial involved a completely different timeline, motive, and story. Instead of the straightforward timeline involved in Cron's trial, he was accused of somehow, even with spending most of the day until well into the afternoon in a jail cell, conspiring with Cron to kill Moran to keep her from going to the police about his use of drugs even though she had been using drugs herself. The only real evidence against him beyond his presence when Cron broke into Menke's house to find Moran was the testimony of a jailhouse informant who said Ivan told him he had been involved in a murder. This confession supposedly took place in jail after he was picked up on a DUI charge and because of that alleged confession, he never left. He's spent all of his adult life behind bars. 

That "witness" later recanted.

Let me pause here for a moment. Jailhouse informants are hardly what you might call a reliable witness. It has been proven time and again that many of these informants offer information in exchange for favors, reduced time, dropped charges or even payment or are pressured by attorneys or other authority figures to testify--even to lie. In multiple states, DAs have been proven to have rings of multiple informants. If the DA needs testimony to clinch a case, they simply place one of these informants in the same prison as the defendant, and suddenly there is a confession to help out, help win a conviction. At times, the informants themselves are completely fabricated in order to get warrants or help win a case in court. And while many of these cases are eventually thrown out because it is all lies and bullshit used to pad numbers and win elections, many more remain undetected.

That is very likely true of the informant in Ivan's case. When recanting later, this witness voluntarily offered an affidavit that stated he was coerced and pressured into making that statement by the prosecuting attorney. Ivan never told him anything at all about any murder which has been Ivan's consistent story for nearly two decades. Keep in mind that same prosecutor has already had one case overturned where it was determined he coerced a false confession.

At this point, pretty much all of Ivan's appeals have been exhausted. A recanted testimony alone does very little to sway the appellate court. At the appeals stage, a defendant is looking to prove the trial was unfair. Attacking the evidence used at the trial after the fact only works in the event forensic analysis obsolves the defendant of guilt or that new evidence (like the affidavit recanting the jailhouse confession) is enough to have changed the jury's mind. In this case, there's just not enough to attack, and the trial itself, even if utterly ridiculous, was conducted "fairly" under most interpretations of the law (in a fairly conservative state and certainly a diehard conservative area of the state).

At best, Ivan may be eligible for parole in 2029 when he is nearly 50--too old to start over and have children or live any semblance of a normal life. In letters, he apologizes frequently for being so withdrawn. He's forgotten how to connect to people well. Another 11 years inside isn't going to help him come home and be just fine not to mention he may not even be granted parole in the first place (though I hope to be as much of a help as possible in him getting it). He was effectively given a life sentence for a murder the court knows he had no physical involvement in, committed by, at best, a casual acquaintance at a time in his life when, as the entire field of psychology has proven, his brain was not yet fully developed. His decision making and impulse control at the very least were underdeveloped. Not to mention the way cocaine and alcohol use at such a young age added to that aspect of immaturity. The only thing he's guilty of is the same faulty decision making so many of us have at that age, and he surely doesn't deserve to spend the rest of his life in prison for it.

He did not kill anyone. That fact has never been disputed. He made some shitty choices about drugs and who he hung around, sure. But he wasn't even out of jail long enough to plan a murder that day. He wasn't involved, and there is absolutely no real proof he ever was. The prosecutor wanted another conviction and did whatever it took to get one.

In Ivan's trial, Ira Henke had the nerve to say Ivan is pretty much as guilty as Cron for having broken up the fight, that Henke could have held Cron until the police arrived, and Cron would have been in custody instead of free to murder Jamie Moran. The jury bought into that as much as anything else.

This is where our criminal justice system is at--sending people to prison for life often at a profit to multiple billion dollar industries based on no evidence, psychic predictions like Henke's, and the whims of overzealous prosecutors. Ivan isn't even the first for this particular prosecutor. How many more has he done this to? How often does this happen across the country? How have we gotten this far off the course of actual justice?

How could this happen and so many people not know?

How do we fix it?


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

The Lieber Family Blog

The Bergham Chronicles

The Blogging 911

Cognitive Script

Never Ever Give Up Hope

Part-Time Working Hockey Mom