Wash That …Right out of My Hair

Bluesy opened the car door and peered inside, reaching to button my blouse, his cold fingers accidentally touching the already well-chilled skin above my sternum. I could have, indeed should have, batted him away but I was exhausted and just wanted him gone.

He fumbled with a pretty opalescent button as small as a sequin, and as thin, muttering “Lord almighty,” as he attempted to insert it into an equally small opening. The button edge weaseled into a minuscule fissure on the tip of his thumb. I closed my eyes pleased my blouse inflicted the pain I couldn’t. I held the image of it stuck in his thumb, hovering above my chest, blood rising warm from its travels from his heart, releasing a drop on the surface of my skin, where it sat, unable to go further. Maybe survival was possible if I just sat still until he left.

His hair dropped over my forehead and I smelled the factory of his body and his gut-recycled dinner, his mouth a smokestack and me an olfactory mistake. He’d smelled harmless fun – I think it was my shampoo. Herbal Essences would be happy when I wrote and told them I’d used their Passion Flower and Rice Milk product, a welcoming scent boosted by my pulse. The next thing I knew the likes of Bluesy had invited himself over for a steaming cup of tea and a few episodes of Breaking Bad , and before Jesse and Walt had finished cooking their first batch of meth I was flat on my back wondering how many kernels I could count in my popcorn ceiling before he’d leave. I cursed my mucous membranes, my lack of control, Bluesy’s intrusion.

We lasted 28 days. Thank God it wasn’t a leap year.

“It’s minus 30 out there, February, can you give me a lift home?”

Yes, my name is February. My parents thought it a romantic moniker, it being the month of my conception, an ovulatory cycle of snow bound cuddles and cozy fires – but I hated it. It is a bottomless well of cold, a dory adrift in the North Atlantic without an oar or a rudder or a bailing bucket. Here I was, February in February, like a frozen daiquiri on an Antarctic cruise, half dressed in my car trying to get rid of Bluesy.

He finished the job. I sniffed, sucked in the snot that drained from my nose and caught a whiff of Tide Clean.

“God, I love February,” he said as he kissed me goodbye.

I examined his work. He’d married the button to the wrong hole and my blouse was askew but it was over. Bluesy was gone, my heart buttoned up, safe for another year. No doubt he’d be back again to continue his work. On my way home, I stopped by WalMart to pick up some new shampoo and went with “Colour Me Happy”.

 

 

 

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Irritable Vowels

Blame the lack of a consonant
for the vowel’s incontinence,
her violent and windy fury
panicking in a hurry
to escape the gate of teeth,
speak louder than a squeak,
prove she is more than an airy twit,
that words mean more than shit.

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The Dog Shakes

Nearly three years ago I wrote a flash fiction story about a dog with “issues” and sent it around to a few journals. It was rejected many times. Then in June this year I attended a small press trade show in an Ottawa community centre and found Common Deer Press.  Their submission guidelines for the Short Tail section of their website said this,

We tend to prefer work that might be literary if it weren’t so genre….

and I thought “Hmm. Maybe Nelson would like to live here.”

Without further ado, here it is – The Dog Shakes

edited by Emily Stewart. Thank you, Common Deer Press for giving Nelson a home.

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Cheers!

 

 

Crank

– For immediate release –

Crank, A New Literary Magazine Showcases Older Writers

Pensioners prose given preference

April 16, 2018, Ottawa, Ontario – A new literary journal for the 60+ writer launches here tomorrow. Crank will fill you with high fibre content from the sexti-septi and octogenarians you want to read. Look for age defying fiction, creative non-fiction, and poetry to make you wish you were 60, 75 – even 89.

Susanne Fletcher, Crank’s well-seasoned editor, says “No one is too old for Crank but if I find out you’re a 20-something pretending to be 60 because you’re desperate to appear in this mag, I’ll send you a sack of used Depends.”

The inaugural issue features a cover design called “The Grand Damn Canyon”, by 93 year old Val Vielle, and takes you on a single wrinkle’s journey from big toe, through the arroyos of her knees to the crater around her right eye. It will stun you. Sit with ninety-nine year old Digger Jones at the edge of the abyss in his epic confessional poem examining his life as a gravedigger. “Died in Heaven” recalls Mercy Sakes five years in a tie-die commune in central British Columbia.

Crank promises post-menopausal, Viagra pumped prose with no periods. Period. Edgy in the way the young and optimistic don’t get. Real. Short. Limited time offer. Nonfungible.

Fletcher earned her snark working in underfunded non-profits for 40 years. Bitter but not beaten, she feels her experience in this sector notorious for unreasonable expectations and low pay has prepared her to lead Crank.

Got a story, poem, or art to send us? You must be 60 at the time of submission. We charge $50 Canadian ($5.00 US). All funds go to the Crank-in-Chief’s bank account. We promise to reply within two years.  We love horror. Send us your stories.

Contact: sfletcher@crank.ca

– 30 –

Praise the laud

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Apropos of nothing

Susanne Fletcher is a yellow-toothed, grey-haired old woman whose ancestors include a bald-headed bullshitter, an apple pie scented soothsayer, an itinerant ukulele teacher and a lips-sucked-in recriminator. She holds degrees buried in wrinkle canyons carved around her mouth and eyes. When not napping or showering to minimize old lady smell or reading grocery store fliers and clipping coupons, she reads literary journal contributor pages and writes mocking bios that exceed the 50 word limit.

Now its your turn. What would your 50 word (more or less) bio say?

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Suzy-Q doughnuts of  Ottawa –  Top left – The Roughrider; Top right – Carrot cake doughnut; bottom – chocolate truffle doughnut.

Advent pot

She stuffed Hershey’s Kisses into the numbered pockets of the soft, felt advent calendar. The kiss tradition began back when Hershey had a factory in a nearby town called Smiths Falls. She felt virtuous supporting a local business and keeping its workers employed by sweetening the December mornings of their children with a sugar kiss. (Chocolate breath still reminds her of Christmas. ) That small factory closed a few years ago and the death knell rang its last gong. Then an entrepreneur purchased it to grow medical marijuana. Continue reading

For the love of pineapple

“Leftovers in the dining room,” the email announces.

All 200 employees scurry down the stairs to the dining hall to scoop up remains of the catered lunch left behind by the visiting big wigs.

I pick through an enormous bowl of fruit salad and scoop lumps of pineapple, a couple of blackberries, a spoonful of blueberries, some raspberry mush into a container. I take every juicy chunk of pineapple and leave the tepid scalloped potatoes and cold ham with curling edges to those who seek comfort in stodge. I turn my back on the date squares and chocolate macaroons and return to my desk coddling a plastic container brimming with bright, wet fruit. Continue reading