Friday, December 13, 2019

Where Have All The Forks Gone?

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: climbing, spirits, midnight, brand, diamonds, behind

they were submitted by:

I saw a prompt about hearing a voice reply to you in the middle of the night or whatever and read a cute little story about a person discovering it was their Monster Under the Bed. So I wanted to do my own spin on that for a while, and, well, currently I'm down to 3 forks from like at least 10 so...?


It was late. I’d actually already been in bed for a few hours, but I woke up with a dry mouth from the cold medicine I’d taken and nothing on the bedside table to relieve it, so I dragged myself from bed, took a little wee, then headed to the kitchen for something cold and fizzy. Diet ginger ale was my weakness.

I’d lived in my house for a lot of years already, so I didn’t turn on any lights moving from the bathroom connected to my bedroom to the kitchen. I heard some scurrying claws on the kitchen tile, but I figured it was one of the cats. One or more of the cats. It seemed like they took great pleasure in pretending I was some kind of monster ready to pluck their spirits from their bodies any time I moved around after midnight. During the day, I couldn’t keep them off me or at least from weaving between my feet as I walked to convince me it was absolutely imperative right.this.moment to refill their food bowl that was still, by all accounts, ¾ of the way full.

Oh the horror.

The tragedy.

It was absolute torture.

I guess their weirdness at night was something to be thankful for. Pitching forward onto a floor partially alive with furry and clawed bodies in the dark did not sound like a good time. I might not make it out alive.

So there I was gulping down a drink that felt like TV static in my mouth but made me happy nonetheless when I heard a sneeze. I treat the cats like people more than not, so I didn’t even really think about it when I said, “Bless you.”

“Thank you,” a small, tinny voice said back.

I froze with my can of ale midway to my mouth, held my breath, and listened closer. It was as silent as a house can get with so many cats living in it. There was definitely a late night litter visit happening in the connected laundry room. Ick.

“Who said that?” I ventured. I wasn’t ready to turn the lights on yet just in case.

“No one.” The voice trembled a bit.

“Uh, obviously someone if I can hear you.”

“oh. You’re right then.”

“Are you a cat?”

“What?? No, no way. That’s gross.”

“I mean, yeah, cats are pretty gross aren’t they?”

“Every time I take a fork they drop on the floor, it always smells like their buttholes, and I have to scrub it so many times to get it clean.”

I sat with this thought. And sat a moment longer.

“what do you mean ‘every time I take a fork they drop…?’”

There wasn’t an answer this time. I wasn’t ready to let this go yet. I’d probably gone through 6 or 7 sets of flatware since moving in this place, and it wasn’t because I was just ready for a change. They were forever going missing. It was a million times worse than the stories about missing socks. I kept up with my socks ok. It was the fucking forks and spoons that ran away in droves in this place, as rare as blue diamonds especially when you really needed one to fight the hanger taking over your body and depleting all your patience.


Out of curiosity I turned the light on, my heart rate climbing, and dropped one of the few mismatched forks I had left onto the floor.

Nothing happened.

I looked behind the stove, under the table, in the cabinets…nothing. I saw nothing. Heard nothing. I wondered if I was dreaming or hallucinating or just fucking losing it when a whisper floated my way on the heat from under the fridge.

“Can you…will you turn the light back off please?”


“Can’t see me. Not allowed except in exceptions described in Section 2B of the Code of Conduct for Flatware Trolls.”

“Not allowed by who? What exceptions? Oh my god, did someone slip LSD in my ginger ale????”

“Not allowed by the Ruling Board of Fork and Spoon Collectors of Trolldom. But I am not allowed to tell you the exceptions.. Must be what you call ‘organic.’ What is LSD?”

“Why haven’t we ever talked before then? LSD is a hallucinogenic drug.”

“Only permitted in instances where you speak to me first. No need for drugs. Just forks. And spoons. More forks than spoons though. And an occasional butter knife.”

“oh. The ‘bless you?’ Well I suppose that makes sense. If any of this makes sense, it’s that part. I’m going mad. I must be.” But I turned the light out anyway.

I heard the same scurrying as when I stepped out of my room earlier, a metallic clink, and a satisfied sigh.

“Well, goodnight, I guess.”

“thank you, miss, goodnight.”

And that’s how it went. I bought forks and spoons every time I went shopping. Thrifted ones, souvenirs, plastic (though my little troll wasn’t as fond of those), entire sets in nicer brands when I could afford them so they could have a collection. It was kinda like having a pet I never saw, didn’t have to clean up after, but could talk to. Who responded. That was the best part. And I mean, it’s not like Forker (that’s what I named them but they didn’t get the joke) had any worldly advice to help me with my problems or anything, but they listened. They told me I made them happy, and they never barfed on the couch. We listened to music together. They learned all the words to every Sturgill Simpson song and really got the twang down so much it affected how they talked the rest of the time. They weren’t interested in movies or sports or any of the shows I watched, but I could put on a vinyl and have a sing a long anytime I felt like it.

The years went by like that, and everything was great really…until they got sick. I heard little coughs in their singing and wheezing late at night when I went for a cold drink. It started getting really bad, but when I asked what I could do, I didn’t get an answer. All Forker would say is that sometimes they get sick and die, and that’s just part of things. So I got an answer, I guess. Just not a satisfactory one. I left cold medicine out. I put out some antibiotics I had left over from a toothache that I had been allergic to…. But they wouldn’t take anything that wasn’t flatware not that I even knew if it was safe for them to take really. I just wanted to do something to help. Probably a rule violation in some code somewhere. A few days later, I wasn’t even hearing the wheezing or the coughing, and I had the worst feeling. I sat in the kitchen floor holding a fork and sobbing.

“I wish I could help you. Let me come help you.”

Light flowed from behind the fridge like it was suddenly on fire. It lit the entire room and then some. I watched for a moment wiping away my tears and sniffling then stood up and moved the fridge. There was a little doorway back there big enough for me to crawl through that had never been there in all the times I’d cleaned behind the thing—admittedly not nearly often enough.

The door itself was old and painted olive green. The knob was constructed somehow from bent spoons and turned easily in my hand. I crawled through a small, cobweb covered tunnel. It had a dirt floor and a warm blast of air from the back of the fridge. It only took a moment to get through to the room Forker was in. It was insane. All of it was insane. My whole life had lost any sense. If I ever tried to tell anyone about it, I’d have been locked away…but I LOVED it. I loved every minute of it. And being in that room that was far too big to exist inside my wall, bigger than my entire kitchen, seeing Forker for the first time tucked in their bed made of spoons and blanket knitted from floss (it looked like) with the souvenirs I’d bought them displayed on the walls, every detail made of forks and spoons and butter knives and still piles and piles more everywhere I looked, I felt so alive. Forker was a real life middle earth type fantasy in my every day life, and they gave me something to wake up for, something to look forward to.

I stepped over beside their bed. They were tucked up to the chin in the blanket, but I could see the mauve colored wrinkles of their skin with soft green freckles. They had a little mousy nose and whiskers and watched me with big golden eyes. It looked like maybe some fur existed somewhere judging by the tufts on the sides of their face, but I couldn’t be sure with the blanket in the way.

“Forker? Is it okay that I am here?”

“You wished it to be,” they said before a coughing fit hit them hard and brought tears to their eyes.

Despite their lack of interest in any of the medicine I’d been leaving out and begging them to take, I managed to get some antibiotics in the tea on their bedside table—made of, as you might guess, flatware. A bit bumpy for my tastes really. I didn’t know if it would help, but I had to try something. I couldn’t lose my best friend. That’s what I’d come to realize when they got sick—that I loved this stealer and hoarder of spoons and forks, and I’d kind of come to depend on them to be there day after day. I wasn’t ready to let go.

So every night after work, I’d whisper my wish and visit with some medicine and the best forks I could buy and little by little they got better. Apparently the section 2B permitted me to see Forker if I actually cared enough about them to wish to help them. That’s it. That’s the only circumstance. And it had to be organic meaning it couldn’t be just to marvel at their existence or gawk or get pictures. I had to want the best for them, and then I could be a bigger part of their life. We hung out even more after that. I visited theirs and brought my laptop and FINALLY got them into Steven Universe. We’ve watched them all a couple dozen times now and can’t wait for the last season. They taught me about Troll politics and all the different types. Sock trolls, pen trolls, key trolls…Frustrating little creatures when you think about it.

Funny how a little frustration and a love for ginger ale gave me the best friendship I’ve ever had, and there’s no way I’d ever trade it for having a fully matching set of flatware ever again.


Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado

Wandering Web Designer

Spatulas on Parade

On the Border

Follow Me Home

Sarah Nolan

Southern Belle Charm

Part-time Working Hockey Mom

Friday, December 6, 2019

Cooking with Chronic Illness

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:

As you get older do you find you decorate less, bake less and shop more?

It was submitted by:


I don't know if any of this is true for me. Haha.

Am I older? Am I getting older? I don't know. I feel like even with chronic illness I've never been as good as now in my 30s. Mentally. And physically maybe I'm just a tad, a decade or few, older than I should be perhaps.

I guess the point is that, for me, age isn't really a factor in my answer. It's more about my physical limitations and really my budget whether we are talking about every day or the holidays.

I cook often. My house isn't really a sweets house. We don't have dessert often or anything, but I do cook regularly. I can't physically cook a small meal every day so I typically do recipes that can be doubled easily and cheaply and can last several days then freeze what leftovers there are to make a base for something else. If I make taco soup, for example, I always freeze the leftovers to add to rice for burritos or reuse for nachos. This means I can still make exceptionally tasty meals with love that are healthy and all that jazz without it killing me. It's pretty hard to move around the kitchen with a cane. So limiting the days I have to do this really saves me while helping me provide home cooked meals. That's important to me. It may not be a big deal to everyone, and I'm in no way condemning people who can't or don't care about it, but for whatever reason I do. I think it has to do with changes after my parents divorced. My mom went from cooking for us--something we maybe took for granted as kids but felt the love from it all the same--to eating out with my stepdad every night in a relatively short amount of time, and I wasn't invited to go because of how I dressed. So I had to make my own dinners. Cheese sandwiches, egg noodles with butter, or vegetarian tacos if I could get my hands on what I needed. And while my kid can make a few things on his own like that if he doesn't feel like leftovers, I like having food here that I've made that I know he enjoys and that I know has more of the sustenance he needs.

The thing of it is...I can't even eat any of it myself. My chronic illness comes with a myriad of gastro intestinal issues which means the types of foods I can eat without issues is very limited. Sometimes depending on the meal I can make a variation of whatever I'm making that will fit my restrictions, but a lot of times I have to opt for a can of soup or a baked potato for myself. So most of the time he knows I'm making stuff for him that I won't even be able to eat, and I hope he looks back on that with some kind of appreciation even if he doesn't always have it now.

In terms of holiday cooking, my mom hosts so I've only ever made desserts and cheese pennies (basically cheese straws), but since my brother got married, his wife can't stand for anyone else to get any attention whatsoever, so those two just stopped eating anything I brought for dessert entirely and brought their own and got mad if someone didn't eat theirs over mine. Yes, if you're thinking that is absolutely petty, childish, and shitty, you would be right. I don't see much of them anymore or any of the family except holidays now, and it makes the holidays SO MUCH FUN. Family tension really makes the holiday season special.

Living on a budget also has an effect. I can't really afford a bunch of convenience meals that might actually be healthy. It's by far cheaper to make food when I can and excess shopping is out of the question especially since I'm basically homebound. I might get out once a month? Every couple months? And when I do I have to medicate myself to the gills to be able to handle it. Motion sickness meds, anti inflammatory meds, ginger, CBD oil, and pack migraine meds and ginger candy plus another dose of motion sickness meds to take before I leave wherever I'm going. It would be impossible and very hard on my body to do that every couple days or even once a week. So I don't shop more. Maybe I do buy more now that I have more than myself to cook for and can afford better than the poptarts, popcorn, and ramen I lived on when I was first living on my own.

I also can't really afford to shop more than I already did for Christmas. I've had a pretty solid budget for years and luckily my family isn't growing anytime soon. If ever. My child is only 14 and more into boys than girls with zero interest in being a dad so far, so no worries about being a grandma any time soon. And we've hopefully gotten past the point of my brother having a 5th child.

As for decorating...well, it's Halloween all year at my house. I've occasionally put up a tree, but with cats, it's always a disaster and I don't have the energy to clean up the mess every morning, so we haven't done that in a few years. Trust me when I say no one is sad about it either. Haha.

I suppose the one holiday tradition that will never change is how many Christmas movies and specials I love to watch even if I'm not really a person who celebrates. Home Alone, Home Alone 2, Charlie Brown, Rudolph, the Grinch, Frosty, Garfield, Elf, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation...I love them all even at my age, and I hope I never grow out of it