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The dog that bit the shit out of me

It took time to get to where we were.

Molly, our 17 year old senior dog, was depressed. She laid in bed all day, she would wet in bed. She refused to eat and would bite us if we wanted to give her attention. Life was bad for Molly. The breaking point for Molly was one night I step in the kitchen where she stood with pee all around her. I bent over to tell her no with my finger pointing and shaking it at her muzzle.

Molly could take no more. Whatever reason it was, Molly saw that finger as an opportunity. She watched it like it was prime rib flapping before her chops. That was the moment in a instance that senior dog jumped up and latched on to my finger like a tick on fat warm skin. I yelp, “Help!” I wiggled. I shook my arm up and down and that dog went up and down with my finger holding on for dear life. “Fuck’n shit! Help me!” I cried. The first one down the stairs was my Spanish speaking mother-in-law in her see through pajamas without a bra.

“Javi! Fucking help me!” My mother-in-law stood there with her hands over her mouth. I was still standing in dog piss as my dog hung from my finger. My husband finally came running down stairs to see me crying. My face red. The dog and I both wet from the piss splashing every time I lowered my arm to shake her off.

Javi ran to Molly and picked up her body to where it was level with my finger and she released the grip she had. My finger was torn just a little. The problem was part of her tooth broke off into the skin.

“I’m taking you to the hospital.”

“No, I’m fine.”

“What the fuck did you do to that dog?”

“Molly? Now you care more about Molly than me?”

“You had to do something.”

“Yeah, I did. I told her no. She peed on the floor and I’m tired of it. I said bad dog and shook my finger at her.”

“Well, don’t. Let her do what she wants. She’s a dog. She’s old. Leave her alone.”

“No. I’m sick and tired of everyone in this house doing what they want. For once I want her to pee outside.”

The blood from my finger was all over my arm. Tears down my face. “You don’t give a shit about me. Look at this blood. There is something in my fucking finger and you’re yelling at me.”

To be continued……

Sick by Flu Toots

“Whatcha doing?”
“I’m sick.”
“You don’t look sick. Why are you playing video games?”
“Because I’m sick!”
“Why do you think you’re sick?”
“I went to the movies and someone farted on me. One of those bad flu toots. They just kept floating into my face one after another.”
“Gross! That didn’t happen.”
“Yes! Yes it did. I sat for two hours behind three sick tooters.”
“Why did you sit there? Why didn’t you just get up and move?”
“My parents made me. They paid for the movie and they made me stay. I had to put my dad’s coat over my head and look out the sleeve. I was about to vomit.”
“You’re sick.”
“I told you.”
“No, you are sick and in a real sick way.”
“I know!”

“DPchallenge/ doompocalyptic-resolutions

Here’s the backstory for this week’s challenge: The tin-foil hat, Mayan apocalypse conspiracy people were wrong about the world ending in 2012. Hooray. Time for them to go back to watching grassy knoll footage in slow motion. BUT!

They were only half wrong. There’s a gigantic meteor hurtling toward earth at an alarming rate, and a 97.3% probability that we’re all going the way of the dodos and dinosaurs within three months. So, this year you aren’t going to make resolutions about losing a notch on your belt. You aren’t going to concern yourself about polishing off Remembrance of Things Past once and for all. You don’t even care a jot about emptying your email inbox. In three months, doompocalpyse is going to be upon us. So what are you going to do?

Fuck you 2012! Gone are the old days of weepie tears, fat thoughts, binge eating, self-destruction.  The world is ending in three months! I’m tired of being nice! I’m tired of being sorry for shit I didn’t even do. Quite honestly I don’t even like the puss-puss I’ve become, so watch out World, I have three months to live! My three months start now.

My new beginning starts now. I call my peep in NYC.

“Whaz up?”

“Ni-hao”

“Shirley!”

“Wey?”

“Shirley! It’s me Cheese!”

“Cheese…Why you talking funny?”

“You owe me bitch.”

“Wey?”

“Sorry. No, I’m not sorry. No more apologizes. It’s the new me.”

“No good.”

“Ok, you’re not a bitch. I need a ride.”

“You in China Town?”

“I’ll be there tomorrow.”

“Ahh, you come visit and shopping? I find you good purse.”

“Shirley! The world is ending. That crap is crap! Let’s travel.”

“Wey?”

“Paris! Where else? My passport is no good. I need you to hook me up with one of those guys.”

“What guys?”

“You know the pimps that brought you over here from China. The ones you had to work off your freedom with hardcore sex.”

“Nooo, I virgin!”

“What about those stories you talked about hiding in small places in the dark cold and listening to people call your name. You said you almost wanted to cry in pain.”

“That was the story of me playing hide-n-seek as a child. I’m American. I’ve never been to China.”

“You can’t be an American. You’re not smart like all those other Asians in school and you talk funny.”

“So, you stupid and talk funny too.”

“You’re Chinese!”

“You’re a dumbass!”

“Ok fine. I’ll be a dumbass,  but can you help me?”

“Yes, stop watching CSI, 24 and all those television shows, oh and try getting off the caffeine. Are you still on your way to NYC?”

“Yep, the bus is still moving. I guess I’m screwed for the last 3 months of my life. I sold all my stuff.”

“No you didn’t. You too lazy.”

“Fine, you’re right. I was in a hurry to leave. Talking about it makes it sound kind of stupid. I just thought with the world falling apart I should run off and live my dream and travel around France.”

“You can stay with me in China Town. It might only be NYC, but I can show you China, Russia, Italy, Poland and the world for that matter without ever leaving the country.”

“Shirley, syeh-syeh.”

Wrinkles

Beth finished applying her second coat of mascara. Then she smiled back into the mirror to check her teeth. Her cell phone began to buzz and vibrate along the counter. It was her alarm. The alarm she set to leave the house to pick up Wendy. They had RSVP for the fall trunk show at their favorite boutique. The owner had scheduled a live performance from a new men’s a cappella group. The singing sensations were famous for not only their romantic songs but for the eye-candy of a show with muscle-toned arms, six-pack abs and bulges in all the right places. Beth sprayed one last puff of cheap perfume.

Beth arrived at Wendy’s house. Wendy was home alone. Her husband, Bob, was one of those beef eating animal hunters. Wendy refused him to hang any of his trophies, but that did not stop him from chasing the hunt with his bow and arrow. He just donated his catch to friends and coworkers. Tonight, was the eve of deer season. While Wendy was to be spending money on fashion and enjoying the show, her husband was to be camping with old fraternity brothers.

Beth knocked on the glass door and walked in announcing herself. “Wendy, are you ready? You should see my new mascara. It’s supposed to be thick lash. I had to put two coats on. You would think at thirty-five dollars a tube, it would take less than two coats to give me same effect as the five dollar drug store brand.” Beth stopped in the living room. Wendy was sitting on the ottoman crying. Her makeup was smearing as she wiped off the tears streaming down her cheeks.

“Honey, what’s wrong?”

“That bitch…” Wendy pointed towards her window.

“Your neighbor?”

Wendy nodded in agreement. “That stupid bitch is ruining my life.”

“What happened?”

“The grave, remember the grave for Wrinkles?”

“No, I never knew you had a pet.”

“Well, I did. I loved my Wrinkles. Then that woman comes along to ruin it for us.”

“Shut the front door! You think your neighbor killed your dog.”

“No, not my dog. Wrinkles was my hamster.”

“I didn’t know you had a hamster. I’ve been your friend for last five years and you’ve never told me about a hamster.”

“He was a childhood pet. He died when I was eight. I was like really upset when he died, so my mom let me have him get stuffed. Then I put one of those little voice recorders in it with a recording of him playing in his cage. I could push on his chest to hear the recording. I loved having stuffed Wrinkles. It was like he was still alive without having to feed him or clean his poop.”

“That’s sick Wendy.”

“That’s what Bob said, so when we moved here last year he made me bury it. I went out and buried it. Then I ordered a tombstone for him. It was so beautiful. I held this small private ceremony.”

“Apparently, I wasn’t invited.”

“What does all this have to do with your neighbor?”

“That bitch decided to dig it up.”

“Yuck! Are you kidding me?”

“No, I’m serious. The tombstone is gone. There was a hole in the yard.”

“How dare that woman to dig up your hamster tombstone. Where was it buried?” Beth asked as she looked out the window.

Wendy got up and started to point. “Over there”

“Where?”

“Over there, next to the new patio.”

“Wendy, you don’t have a patio.”

“I know. It’s my neighbors.”

“Wendy, are you telling me that you buried your hamster,Wrinkles, in your neighbor’s yard?”

“Of course, why would I want to bury it in my new yard? Bob pays a lot of money to landscapers to keep our yard amazing. I don’t want to mess our yard up, so I notice that the neighbor never went in her back yard. That’s when I decided to plant my dear sweet Wrinkles there.”

“With a tombstone? How big was it?”

“It was small, like the size of a medium pizza box. Don’t forget I also planted daisies beside it. Before me, that woman had no flowers in her yard. Now, she decides to build a patio right where my Wrinkles was resting.”

“Wendy, that yard belongs to her.  She can dig up any grave you place there. Look at how happy she is sitting there reading a book.”

“I thought you were my friend, not hers.”

“I am. I’m just saying that maybe your neighbor is not such a bitch because she dug up a grave you placed on her property.”

“I guess.”

“Are you ready?  We’re going to be late for the musical performance if we don’t hurry.”

“Sure, but one more thing; when we get back, can you help me dig in her trash to look for Wrinkles?”

Vern meets Susie

It was Saturday. Vern woke up early. She threw on her sweats and went downstairs. She made breakfast for her father. He sat at the table reading his newspaper eating his eggs. Vern sat down beside him drinking a cup of coffee. “Daddy, after I clean the kitchen, make the beds and vacuum the house I’ll be heading out. I’m meeting Susie for lunch.”

“Who’s Susie?”

“She’s my old college roommate. She got into pharmaceutical sells in the nineties and made a fortune.  She’s in New York this week for her annual visit to corporate. Now do you remember her?”

“Yes, she’s the sexy, skin and bones girl with the red hair.”

“Yep, that’s her.”

“Am I coming with you to lunch?”

“No, no, no of course not, Susie wants to meet up with me for lunch at one of those stuffy restaurants. The kind that makes you wear shoes, shirt, and pants.”

“I wear pants.”

“Yes, sometimes you do. Then there are those times I find you wandering about the VFW in those running shorts that look rather similar to skimpy male swimsuit.”

“Hey, I don’t complain about what you wear.”

“True, but I don’t wear the type of clothing that anyone could complain about, unlike you.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Anyways back on topic daddy. I’m just letting you know my plans for the afternoon. I’ll bring you back something to eat.”

“Yes, yes, I got it. You are going to lunch with some yuppie friend of yours from college and you want to gossip about things I don’t give a crap about. Just make sure you bring back a pasta dish, with bread, don’t forget to make sure they put extra sauce on the side and if it’s no trouble get me a dessert. Better yet, you should get two desserts in case I don’t like one.”

“Daddy, I’ve never seen you not like a dessert.”

“There is always a first.”

“Never mind, I need to get busy or I’m going to be late.” Vern went about cleaning up the kitchen. She cleaned the table and put the breakfast dishes in the washer. Then she stripped off the sheets and put clean sheets on the beds. Then she started the laundry. She cleaned the bathrooms. Then she folded the clean linens. She started a new load of clothing in the washer. Afterwards, she vacuumed the house. Over two hours had passed while Vern cleaned the house. The timer went off on the oven.

“Vern! Vern! Vern!” Vern’s father hollered from his chair in front of the television.

“Got it daddy.” She went into the kitchen to turn off the oven cleaner.

“Are you going to town like that?”

“Oh no, I set the timer, so I know it’s time change. I’m going back upstairs now.” Vern hobbled up the stairs.  She got into the shower. She went in her closet and looked around for an outfit. She fumbled around until she found exactly what she was looking for. She got dressed. Then she put her wet hair in a low bun. She slipped on her favorite old pair of tennis shoes. They were those toning shoes that looked super cool with the little bumps on the bottom of the soles, but now, they were old and the shoelace on the right shoe was so frayed that she had to tie it in a knot. She made her way back downstairs. Her father was in the kitchen getting some juice.

“Vern you look like shit.”

“Thanks daddy.”

“No Vern, I’m not kidding. You look worse than you did when you were cleaning the house.”

“I know.”

“Why? Why are you going into to town looking like that?”

“Daddy, Susie has never had children. She got a tummy tuck last year. She just got a facelift this year. Susie has a personal shopper at one of those stores that forbids you and me from entering. She gets her hair done every week; in hence, she’s perfect.”

“You look like you are wearing a garbage bag and those shoes are falling apart. What the hell does that have to do with you wearing that black plastic workout suit?”

“Everything, I can’t compete with Susie. No matter what I do, I will look like trash compared to her.”

“That’s your excuse for dressing like trash?”

“Yep.”

“Vern, just don’t go if she makes you feel that way.”

“I want to. Susie is full of fun stories. I love meeting her and listening to her gossip about her life. I just get tired of trying to compete with her, so I give up.” Vern replied standing at the front door.

“Sweetheart, I will never understand you or any women for that matter.”

“That’s the grace of age, you don’t have too anymore.” Vern was walking out the door.

“Vern, don’t forget to get my food!” shouted her father.

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Ain’t no time for a cowgirl that always has to go…

Recently I had to travel back home to see my family.  My roots are all the way back in a small town of Oklahoma.  I grew up country, not just your run of the mill one acre yard country. Nope, I lived in a small farm-house with horses, dogs, chickens, pig, goat and sheep.  I have to say I didn’t love my living arrangements, but there is some charm to just being back on the farm.

The first day, my son and I helped my brother-in-law feed the horses.

Then we get to feed the jackass.  No, not the jerk that cuts you off Highway 1 in Princeton, New Jersey or Lincoln Tunnel.  I’m talking about the real jackass, the one you pinned the tail on at birthday parties, but this one of course is alive.

Next, I ran like Phoebe from Friends into the house with my legs and arms swinging because the cold air is burning my nose hairs. Time for breakfast before we haul cows to the stockyards, hmmm, there is bacon, coffee, cereal.  I forgot to mention I have a horrible, rotten, absolutely, ugly stomach. I am on one of those strict diets of fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, nuts and 12 servings of water a day. I sit eating my nuts and drinking my water as I watch my sister and her husband sip on their coffee. I wait till they are not looking and grab a little bitty, tiny, cup of coffee with milk.  Oh mother of yum yums, this coffee is hot, creamy and awesome. I hurry up drink my forbidden coffee and put the cup in the dishwasher before my sister catches me.

Now, I am in the truck with my son, my brother-in-law, a former professional bull rider, and another cowboy I went to school with. This is when a cowboy begins to do what he is famous for, he sings.

We drive down a steep hill. “Hoot-Hoot!” I holler.

“Did ya mean, ‘Hee-haw?’”

“Oops, I forgot.  Hee-haw!”

After a long country drive, our first stop was to a man’s farm who wanted to sell only two cows. The two cowboys get the cattle in the trailer in one attempt.

Then we drive another twenty minutes to the next farm to pick up more cattle. I get adventurous. I get out of the truck and being to snap pictures of my son and I near the cows.  Outside of the truck, I can smell the dropping of the cows, but that does not stop me from taking pictures.

I get chilled so I jump back inside of the truck.  GRRRRRR! My stomach begins to roar.  I try to ignore it. The cowboys are taking much longer this time, because they have to separate the herd of cows some are coming and others are staying.  GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! Ruuuuuuuuuuuugggggggggggggggg!!!  I hunch over holding my stomach.

“Mom was that you? Did you fart?”

“Noooo, it’s my stomach…Don’t talk. I think I need to go.”

“Seriously?”  He looks at me like I’m an idiot.

GGGGGGGGRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Roars my stomach again.

“I can’t hold it.” I jump out of the truck.  The owner of the ranch is standing at the gate.  Holding my irrational stomach, I stumble up to the old man. “Excuse me, Sir. Can I use your bathroom?”

He shakes his head and mumbles something. “Fine, follow me.” He leads me to a garage with guest quarters and small bathroom. He leaves.

I get comfortable in the bathroom but now my stomach just stops. I can’t do anything. I literally put myself together and go back to the truck. Everyone is staring at me. I get in the truck. “I couldn’t do it.”

“What?”

“I couldn’t go. I had to go, but I guess I had performance anxiety. I don’t know.”

“I tell ya what. We’ll head up to the diner. You can use the bathroom there, eat a salad, drink water and then we’ll head out.”

“Sounds good” I reply. Sure enough at the diner, I did my duty. Talk about relief. Everyone was eyeballing me as I walked to the table. Talk about awkward…Then I ate my grilled chicken salad without dressing and drank my two glasses of water. Then we went to the stockyards.  This is where the two cowboys unload the cattle.

Leaving the stockyards and after drinking my required bottle of water, plus two glasses of water at lunch I got to go pee.

“Excuse me, I think I need to go.”

“Again?”

“Yes, but the good news is this time it’s only number one.”

“Fine” my brother-in-law responds. We pull off at a small gas station. I use the lady’s room and purchase two bottles of water. I pop back into the truck. We begin heading down the highway.  The problem is Interstate 40 in Oklahoma is bumpy, I mean real bumpy like you are driving with a flat tire, yet we didn’t the road is just bad. After about five minutes of bouncing in the truck, I have to go to the bathroom again.

“Can we stop again?”

“Whatcha need?”

“I think I need to go.”

“Talk about high maintenance. How about I call your sister to pick ya up at the next ranch? At the rate we’re going we’ll never get the next load of cattle delivered today.”

Sure enough, my short-lived experience as a cattle hauler ended.  That’s ok. I enjoyed my time laughing and hauling cattle but there just ain’t no time for a cowgirl that always has to go.

(P.S. I know ain’t, ain’t a word but if you ever want to use it you are welcome to in Oklahoma. Hee-haw!)

Daddy’s Lips

Vern’ s father looked frantically around the house. He just could not find it. He called Vern at work. “Daddy, this better be important. It January, busy season, I don’t have time for phone calls. There are people staring at me as we speak.”
“Screw them. They can wait. It’s going to take more than a few minutes to lose weight. I’m suffering here. I can’t find the chapped lip stuff.”

“Lip balm?”

“No, the stuff I use on my lips when they are cracked.”

“It’s called lip balm daddy. You probably left it in one of your pockets. The doctor is coming, I’ve got to go.” She hung up the phone.
Vern’s father licked his lips. The dry cracked skin burned from the salt of his saliva. He looked around the house. He tried lotion, but that burned too. Then he used ice but as soon as he removed the ice, his lips burned again. Then the cold from the ice started to make them throb. He went snooping around the bathroom cabinets for anything that could make his lips better and using it.  At last, he found some eucalyptus spearmint lotion. He rubbed a hefty amount on his lips.  At first, his lips tingled then as seconds turned into minutes his lips began to burn even more than before.  He used the sleeve of his robe to wipe it off. Frustrated he called Vern at work again.

“Dr. Slim’s office, how can we help you tone up and slim down?”

“Vern, Vern”

“Daddy, what are you doing? I told you I was slam busy.”

“It’s my lips Vern. They’re killing me.”

“Again, you are calling for the lip balm.  I’ve already told you I don’t know where it is.”

“I give up. I looked everywhere.  Can you come home at lunch time and bring me some?”

“Noooo! The house is almost an hour’s drive.  Are you kidding me?”

“Vern, you’ve got to help me.  I’ve tried ice. I’ve tried butter. I’ve tried conditioner and your eucalyptus lotion.”

“You put all that crap on your lips?”

“Yes, and they still hurt. That smelly lotion makes my lips feel numb and burn at the same time.”

“Daddy, how about you walk to the store and buy some medicated lip balm?”

“I don’t want to. I want you to bring it to me, plus, you know what I need. I’m clueless.”

“Noooo! I’m working. I have to get off this phone before I have another outburst from new clients in the lobby.”

“Fine.” Daddy hung up the phone. He decided to heed Verns advice and walk to the store. The sun was shining. It was fifteen degrees above normal in the small New Jersey town. He walked to the gas station. He felt good from the walk but the wind made his lips burn a little more, so he went to the refrigerators to get a cold soda. He stood there gulping down his 20 ounce when he caught a glimpse of two of his friends from the VFW. They were standing at a counter scratching off lottery tickets. Daddy waved to them.  His lips were so dry that he could feel the skin cracking more when he was talking to Vern, so he did not feel up to talking to his friends. He walked up and down the aisles looking for the lip balm. He did not want to ask the cashier, because he did not want his friends from the VFW to know he wore lip-gloss or whatever Vern had called it. He paid for his soda and left without anything for his lips.

Outside the store, daddy thought about just walking home, but if he didn’t get something to soothe his lips he would not be able to attend tonight’s VFW nacho dinner. It was once a month. It was one of his favorite days of the month. Vern would never approve of him eating a plate full of tortillas piled high with cheese, beef, chicken, jalapeno peppers and lots of salsa. Damn it! I’m going to have to walk on base. It’s my only option to find something to repair my cracked sandpaper lips, or I just won’t get to go to the nacho dinner.

The base store was only a mile from the gas station. He was a little out of breath once he got inside. When he walked into the store, he caught a glimpse of what looked like a medical counter. He could not see well because he forgot to wear his glasses. He found a woman wearing a  white lab coat over a dress. She looked like a pharmacist. He walked up to the counter.  His swollen, cracked, burning lips were throbbing and he did not want to open his mouth full when he talked so he mumbled.

“My lips” He said while pointing to them.

“Excuse me Sir?”

“I need something for my lips.”

“Ok, our lip products are over here?”  She led him to a bar stool at a countertop with mirrors. “Is there any color you are looking for today?”

“No, I need it for the puffiness.”

The woman smiled. She pulled out a small tray of samples. “I know exactly what you need.” The woman put on some lip-gloss on daddy’s lips. He felt an odd sensation, but it was better than it felt before. “Do you like it?”

Daddy shook his head in agreement. Then he took the container to the cash register. The cashier looked at him with surprise.  Daddy shook his head. “My lips…”

The cashier nodded in agreement.  Then she handed him his change. Daddy walked back home. He made himself a sandwich and played video games till Vern got home. Vern came in the door as usual with her hands full of groceries. Daddy continued to play his video game. After Vern sat her bags down in the kitchen, she came into the living room.

“Daddy, I got you some lip balm.”

“You’re too late.”  He looked up at Vern.  She started to laugh.

“What in nation’s name is on your lips?”

“Lip stuff from the store on base.”

“Lipstick?”

“Noooo, I got it at the medicine counter from the nice girl in the white coat.”

“Did you wear your glasses?”

“Nooooo”

“Did you tell the girl you are color blind?”

“Noooo.  Why are you asking me all these questions?”

“Because, you look a little draggy”

“Draggy”

“Yes, like a drag queen. Where’s the tube of lip stuff?”

“In my coat pocket”

Vern went to get the lip product her dad bought from his coat pocket. “Daddy, you bought red raspberry  lip volumizer lip stick.”

“That explains a lot.”

“What do you mean?”

“I thought I heard the girl helping me chuckle. Then the cashier was a bit surprised when she saw me. Then I thought I saw the mailman blow me a kiss.”

“Daddy, the store does not have a medicine counter. It was a makeup counter. I hope you learned your lesson.”

“Yeah, you should stay here and take care of me instead of sending me out into this sick world looking for lip stuff.”

Vern is busy

Vern sat at the kitchen table working on the computer and papers scattered about. Her father was busy watching football in the living room. Vern’s father was beginning to become concerned, because Vern was not her normal compulsive self.  Today she was completely focused on her project.  Most weekends she spent all of her time in the house cleaning, organizing and most of all attending to her father, but not today.

“Vern, can you get me a soda?”

“No Daddy, I’m busy.”

“Ok, I’ll get it.” He sighed, but instead of getting up right away, he waited until the next commercial break. Then he crept into the kitchen to spy on Vern. She was busy looking at something on the internet and drawing a series of lines on paper with colored pencils. He didn’t want to interrupt her, so he went to the refrigerator to grab a 20-ounce bottle of soda.  Then he went back to the sofa to watch the game.

“Vern, I forgot to get a snack. Can you bring me some chips?”

“No Daddy, I’m still busy.”

“Busy doing what?”

“Just busy”

“Fine Vern, I’ll get it.” Vern’s father did not get up to get the chips; instead, he called and ordered a pizza with hot wings. Since the pizzeria was only three miles away the delivery man arrived within fifteen minutes. The doorbell rang.

“Vern, can you get the door.”

“Who is it?”

“The pizza man”

“No, I’m busy.”

“Fine, I’ll get it.” Vern’s father opened the door and signed for the pizza. He went and sat back down at his chair in the living room.

“Vern, I need my table. Can you get it?”

“No, no, no, no Daddy!  I’m busy.”

“What can you be so busy doing while I’m here suffering?”

“I’m mapping.”

“A trip?”

“No”

“Then what can you be busy mapping while I’m not being cared for?”

“Daddy, I’m mapping my veins.”

“Your what?”

“My varicose veins, I’m sick and tired of having these blue and purple lines going down my legs. It is time I plan a course of action.”

“I like your veins. They look cool, especially the one on the back of your knee. It looks like a tattoo of a spider. When you walk, it moves as if it is real. You should stop what you are doing. Come sit with me and watch the game.”

“No way, I’m going to be real busy now.”

“Why?”

“Because, I forgot to map the veins on the backs of my legs. I didn’t even know I had any there.”

“Mapping your veins is not going to help you. You’d benefit more watching the game with me. You can feel good,   making sure I’m comfortable.  Then I won’t have to get up to get everything.”

“No, today you’ ll have to take care of yourself. I have to map my vein,s because the doctor said he would laser treat as many veins he could in thirty minutes. I am creating a map, so the doctor can spend less time talking to me and just follow the map.”

“Good thinking Vern, but can you help me out a little. I’m struggling here.”

“Fine Daddy, I’ll get your table, but then I’m back to mapping.”

“You know what Vern?”

“What?”

“Every time you come in here to bring me soda or stuff I can help you out by pointing out your veins.”

“How thoughtful, you’d do that for me?” Vern asked sarcastically.

“I know. I just want you to know I support you.”

“Yes, you support me like another painful pair of compression hose.”

Fay makes a puffy coat

Fay was sitting in the middle of the living room.  She was surrounded by pillows, trash bags, tape and scissors.  Max walked into the room.  He questionably looked at her.

“Whatcha doing?”

“Nothing”

“What’s up with all this stuff?”

Fay looked at the bags, pillows, polyester fiberfill, tape and scissors. “I’m making something.”

“Can I help?”

“I guess, but you can’t tell anyone about this. Ok?”

“Yeah sure,  whatcha making?”

“My dad’s Christmas present.”

“With this stuff?”

“Yep”

“This is bad.”

“No, it’s good.  It’s going to be a puffy coat.”  Fay started cutting open the pillows. “Pull the fluffy stuff out and hand it to me, so I can tape it inside.”

“Inside what?”

“The trash bags, duh…”

“Puffy coats are not made from trash bags and pillows.  This isn’t going to work.  This is bad.”

“I thought you were helping?  Just do what I say.”  Fay was busy cutting the trash bags and taping them together with tape. “Max, start handing me the puffy stuff.  I’m in a hurry here.”

Max started pulling out the filling and handing it to Fay. “Aren’t we going to get in trouble for this?”

“No! It’s a Christmas gift.”

“I mean for ruining all these pillows.”

“Of course I won’t.  They’re from your house.”

“Fay! Watcha go and do that for?”

“My mother would get mad.  Max, stop talking. Keep passing the white stuff.”  Fay finished tucking the last bit of polyester fiberfill into the coat’s sleeve.  “Come on Max.”

“Where?”

“Outside, I need to make sure it works.  Put it on.”

“It’s itchy.  Ouch!  I think I’ve gotten tape in my hair.”

“Stop complaining! Stand right here.”  Fay said while she pointed to the porch.  Then she threw a pitcher of ice water at Max.  Max ducked and turned his back, but the water still got on his hair and face.

“Fay! Watcha go and do that for?!”

Fay realized Max was upset.  “I’m sorry.  Here let me help you take this off.” Fay sat the wet trash bag coat on the porch and led Max inside.  Then she handed him a towel. “I’m really sorry. I didn’t think I was going to get you in the face. Did anything else get wet?”

“I don’t think so.”

“See, I told you the coat was good.  It kept you from getting wet. My dad is going to love it.” 

“Sure, if you dad likes the scratchy feeling of tape and plastic bags across his skin pulling on his body hairs.”

“Don’t be so negative all the time.” 

The two friends sat in the kitchen while Max dried off.  Then there was a loud noise. Fay went back on the front porch.  She looked around, but the coat was missing.  She screamed.

Max came to the porch. “Watcha screaming for?”

“The trash man took the coat I made for my dad.  All that work was for nothing.”

“That’s ok.”

“How can you say that?”

“Because, it’s the thought that counts”

“How can you say that, Max?”

“You told me to stop being negative.  Imagine if your dad had been wearing it when the trash people came.  They might have taken him with the coat.”

Daddy is nominated as a runner up Santa

Vern got home from a long day at work. Her father was standing in the living room. He was busy doing squats and bending exercises as he played his video game.

“You’re exercising?”

“Sure am”

“That’s nice to see you working out and heeding the advice of your doctors.”

“I have too”

“That’s the spirit, daddy.” Vern went upstairs to change into sweatpants and t-shirt. After changing, she went into the bathroom to wash the makeup off her face. She noticed darks spots on the floor, the bath rug and towel. She gathered up the items to wash them. She went back downstairs to the laundry room. “Daddy, what happened in the bathroom? Did you cut yourself shaving?”

“No” He said panting while trying to do abdominal crunches.

Vern decided that it was not worth fussing over. She began to cook pasta with chicken. The entire time she cooked her father did not stop exercising. He was breathing heavily. Vern caught a glimpse of him running in place.  “Daddy, should you really be working out like this?”

“I know what I’m doing.”

“Ok, dinner is going to be ready in just a few minutes.” Vern fixed the plates of dinner. She put her father’s plate on his TV table in the living room. Then she made a place for herself at the end of the dining table.

“What is this?”

“It’s pasta with baked chicken.”

“I can’t have all these carbs.”

“Daddy you eat carbs all day. Tonight you’re going to complain about eating pasta?”

Vern’s father sat down in his reclining chair. He wiped his face off with the napkin. Then he took off his hat.

“Daddy, what happened to your hair?”

“I colored it.”

“I can see that.”

“Does it look good?”

“No, no you look Goth. Why did you dye your salt and pepper curls black?”

“You wouldn’t understand.”

“Daddy, are exercising and coloring your hair for a girl?”

“Noooo, my looks are hot already for that. It’s something else.”

“What is it? Are you missing mom?”

“No Vern. I mean yes, I do still miss your mom, but this is all about Christmas.  I was nominated as runner-up for Santa Clause at the VFW.”

Vern chuckled. “Daddy, that’s a good thing. Think of all the children you will make happy.”

“No, think of me! I don’t want to be Santa Clause. I’m a war veteran. I can’t do it.”

“So, you thought exercising and dyeing your hair black would take you off the nomination.”

“Yeah, Pete is always Santa. It’s his thing, but if something was to happen to him, I would have to do it.”

“What should we do?”

“I still have a week to lose more weight, shave my head, get violently ill, or leave town.”

“I think you are going too far.”

“But I don’t want to be Santa!”

“Why? The children at the hospital love it when the VFW comes.”

“Yes, I like doing that. It’s just that I’ve always been a helper.  I want to be a helper, not Santa.”

“Daddy you are a warrior. You’re going to have to put that red uniform on, lace up them black boots and spread cheer. Santa is a warrior. Every day of the year, Santa is preparing for his battlefield to bring gifts to the children. Being Santa is an honor.”

“I guess you’re right. I’ve never thought of it that way.” Vern and her father finished eating dinner.  Vern put up the plates then she brought her father a scoop of frozen yogurt.

“Vern, I can’t eat this.”

“It’s good and good for you.”

“No, if I’m going to be a runner up for Santa, I need to eat like Santa. Bring me some cookies with milk!”