Your Dog Does What?

Let’s set the scene.

It’s Friday morning after two snow days from an early spring Colorado blizzard.   It’s Friday morning after two snow days from an early spring Colorado blizzard AND it’s the last day of school before spring break. It’s Friday morning after two snow days from an early spring Colorado blizzard, the last day of school before spring break, AND it’s Friday morning in a first grade writing workshop.

Six and seven year olds sit in a circle swapping stories like flies buzzing around a juicy watermelon in the late summer sun.  Stories that can only come from super-sized imaginations and build on giggle after knee-slapping giggle.  Storytellers who try to one-up the last storyteller with a little more first grade edge, the kind of “peek- out-of-the-corner-of-your-eye-to-see-if-your-teacher-will-frown-at-your-choice-of-words” edge. The kind of first-grade-funny that is truly a brand of it’s own to bottle up and keep in old wooden trunks for sadder days.  Genuine and true first-grade-funny.  

As the stories slip off their tongues faster than the snow melts outside, a little boy, whose turn is last, with his t-shirt on backwards and pants riding high, belts out:

“My dog leaks pee.”  

Silence.

Giggles.

Eyes glancing to and fro: teacher-storyteller-teacher-storyteller.

“Your dog does what?” chuckles Jimmy, from across the room.

Giggles.

Slaps on the knees.

A few brave actors even start to reenact what the little storyteller just said!

More giggles. This is not done. Yet.

Jimmy, clearly on par to be the captain of the High School football team in 11 years, shushes his teammates with his arms and with a glimmer in his eyes repeats:

“Wait, your dog does what?”

Eyes return fast to the storyteller with the backwards t-shirt and pants riding high.

Muffled giggles are caught in little first grade hands while big wide eyes focus on the boy to see if he’ll say it again.

And he doesn’t disappoint:

“My dog leaks pee.  We just found out last night.  She leaks pee ALL OVER THE HOUSE.  And my mom ain’t happy ’bout it.”

Giggles. Guffaws.  First-grade-funny.

It’s Friday morning after two snow days from an early spring Colorado blizzard.   It’s Friday morning after two snow days from an early spring Colorado blizzard AND it’s the last day of school before spring break. It’s Friday morning after two snow days from an early spring Colorado blizzard, the last day of school before spring break, AND it’s Friday morning in a first grade writing workshop.

This is how writers are born.

 

 

Waiting

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A Bench In Denver’s Union Station

This fictional slice was conceived after a visit to Denver’s Iconic Union Train Station.  I observed a woman as she sat on a bench, lost in thought.  I imagined what this woman might be thinking while waiting for her lover to arrive, if  indeed that was who she was waiting for.  So many unknowns, and I am attempting to create that feeling here for my readers.  I imagine this will be revised with time, but I wanted to get some initial thoughts down.  -Keith

She sat there.  Just waiting.  The echoes in the train station oddly gave her comfort as time moved so slowly.  Waiting.  Moments of silence as the waning echoes gave her anxiety, but not for long.  What would it be like to see him again after all these years? What had become of him, and had time treated him well?  And why, really, was she here again, waiting?

The thoughts spiraled through time and spiraled through the whistles of the trains.

Many lovers have been in this same position, surely this same bench, and perhaps a similar predicament.  Yet actually living this moment brought a different perspective.  If only the tiles on the shiny waxed floor could speak.  What advice would they give her?  Would they take her to be a fool?

It had been ten long years since Marlene had said goodbye to Charles, Charlie as she liked to call him.  Ten years since she felt that empty space consume her and take so long to ignore.  She hadn’t forgotten his last facial expression as he promised her the moon and stars and called their love real.

Another train whistle.

Another stroll around the desolate station. Waiting. Wondering. Weary.

Back to the bench.  How she craved the echoes now.

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Touchless Faucets-A Review

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We live in an age that’s all about efficiency and convenience.  Just flip on the television and the commercials pitch products that not only get things done, they get them done quickly and reliably.  There’s an app for that and an app for this.  Why walk to the lightswitch to turn on your lights when you can quickly and conveniently do it from your phone, while driving, so that everything is lit up when you arrive home?   What’s next?  An app that gives your spouse a kiss without you having to do so?

Now, I get it.  Some of these conveniences are not only a sign of the times, but actually can improve the quality of our lives. Give us more time to spend on what really matters.  However, there’s one modern convenience that’s been around for a while and just plain needs to go.  It’s the touchless faucet.

Every time I’m at a sink in a bathroom with a touchless faucet, one of two things happens: it either doesn’t come on, or it comes on and then goes off. On. Off.  On a second, off a second.  Wave. Cuss. On. Off.  Steady stream?  Yes, here it comes.  Nope.  Off.  Are you starting to sense the frustration? Are you nodding, thinking, “Yes, that happens to me ALL THE TIME!”  How about when you have your hands all lathered up with soap and stick them under the degenerate piece of metal and nothing comes out?  Do you ever find yourself waving, like a pageant queen, only to pull your hands out and then the damn thing turns on?  Then you stick them under again and off it goes? Then on, then off?  See my point?

Maybe I just visit all the wrong bathrooms with faulty touchless faucets.  Maybe the technology has improved. Maybe. But then up comes another issue.  Without the ability to control the water temperature, the water is either too hot or it is too cold.  Too hot or too cold.  You can’t control it, people!  And if there’s one thing we know, it’s that we like control.  Heck, Janet Jackson even wrote a whole song about control! So in this scenario, it goes like this:  Ouch that’s mother f#*@!ing hot…on…off…on a second…off…steady stream…here it comes…almost got all the soap rinsed…off…on…cold…F#@! 

And let’s not pretend you don’t cuss, even if it’s silently to yourself.

(Let’s pause to take a break.  Deep breath in, out, in, out.)

I get why the creators of the touchless faucet created the touchless faucet.  It’s sanitary–who wants all that nasty bathroom bacteria?   It saves water.  It helps kids to not leave the water running.  And the list goes on and on and on.  (Too bad the faucet doesn’t stay on.)

Let’s rethink the touchless faucet.  Let’s go back to the golden days when we had to turn on the water, (yes- even if that movement doesn’t count as a step on your Fit Bit), select your temperature, and get the job done.  Right. The first time.

You can still wave like a pageant queen if you want to, but do it with clean hands…and a smile.

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Sophie

Her spaghetti-like hair shot into the sky as white whispy clouds flew by. With every pump of her miles of legs, she wondered if she was one inch closer to heaven. Her  wrinkled dress curtained the streaks of light rushing between her and the little boy twisting carelessly in the neighboring swing.  Just yesterday, her melancholy had been derailed as she listened to the soft-spoken words the minister had preached at Sunday services. That heaven was a beautiful place and if people just prayed their prayers every night, rest assured they’d be there someday. Up in heaven.  That had to be just beyond the sky that she gulped with every push and pump higher. She wondered if she was already there; swallowing the cool air as her Mama made a snack of blueberry jam on biscuits nearby.

The swing tormented her giggles with it’s rusty-chained litany of sharp squeaks; up and down, back and forth with every pump. Higher and higher she went, gulping, swallowing, squeaking-as if to dare her mother (watching out of the corner of her eye) to twist her head and call her down. “You’re going too high, Sophie! Slow down now!”

Then it happened. She noticed the neighboring swing was suddenly empty, wiggling in the breeze, yearning for another child to take hold of it’s smooth chain and bring it to life since the little boy, her younger brother, fool of a child, had untangled himself and ran to get his share of the temptatious snack.

Was heaven this feeling of flight in the sky–or was it the taste of her Mama’s fresh baked biscuits with blueberry jam?  She had to find out—and before those dirty and scratched up legs could stop pumping, off Sophie jumped- to her mother’s dismay and fright-to taste that biscuit and decide if it just might be heaven, too.

New Friends Aren’t Always Friendly

She arrived in the early morning and immediately got on my last nerve. She was looking for friendship, but I was not in the mood. Regardless of my wishes, she hung out with me anyway, pestering and persistent.  With every little move I made, she popped up to vie for my attention. It became utterly exhausting. When I’d get a little moment of relief, a moment of peace, she’d remind me of her presence. It was time to tell her to buzz off.

I went to the bathroom, thinking she’d get a clue as to my need for solitude. But with no shame in her game, she chose to tag along.

So it was then, right there on the throne, that I decided she must go.  Once and for all. I’d had enough– and with this unbelievable intrusion, she’d obviously taken it too far.  As sly as could be, I opened the drawer and pulled out my weapon. With one deep breath and a little wince knowing the pain to come, I gave her a little clip.

May you rest in peace, obnoxious hangnail.

We said our final goodbyes with a flush.

 

 

The Mourning Icicle

As Murphy and I exited the garage in the alley for our chilly little walk this morning, a symphony of sights and sounds aroused our senses. Little signs of life were popping up here and there.  Crocuses pushed their way through little stretches of dirt between fence posts.  A stray little piece of grass beckoned to be noticed here and there.  Shots of melting snow cut little arteries into the dirty asphalt from warm light poking between parked cars and smelly trash cans. As we continued on our routine little jaunt down the alleyway to meet the sidewalk, Murphy perked his ears up and tugged his leash to get closer to something striking his fancy.  At the same time, something summoned my eyes to glance up.

There it was. Hanging from the corner of our neighbor’s garage gutter. Glistening, wet, and magical: a majestic icicle. Drip, drip, dripping. It’s teardrops were loud and friendly: split-splat, split-splat.  As the bright morning sun teased the ice to hang on for dear life, I was mesmerized at the intricacy of the ice formation. It was a dazzling jewel in the rough edges of what is usually a lifeless alley. Murphy tugged. I finally looked down to see what was catching his eyes.

In the splat-splat-splat of the icicle’s ever-growing and mournful tears, a little robin took a bath.  In and out he darted, playing in the cold splashes of the water as it hit the black and shiny little ice rink forming on the ground.  I pulled back on Murphy so that we could catch one more second of this engaging spectacle before the little bird took off in flight.

If you just look for it, there’s life in the alleys.