Fiction: “Marching Order”


All the pretty colors...

Bright colors ruled the day. Primary colors screamed from the surroundings; guests and workers alike wore colors never intended by nature. Positioned near orange comets with trailing blue fire were big, yellow stars. Purple and green tubes ran in frenetic lines overhead, carrying flags of every nation. Red was splashed liberally about in awnings and signs and notices. Everywhere there were balloons.

A Martian wearing a boot scrape on his bulbous head stood near the entrance, waving and waving his puffy white hands. From where he stood some little distance away, Lyle watched the Martian swap from one hand to the other, trying to stay ahead of muscle exhaustion. He tucked himself further back against the fence. With one T-shirted shoulder against the wall, he was just another park-guest taking advantage of the relative cool of the shade. He could hear the tinny sounds of the approaching parade. She’d be with them, he knew. He imagined her sweating inside her giant duck costume and shivered.

They will have to turn here, right here. Her handler would go first, to clear the way and open the door. She had to rest often in the Texas heat. Black costume and broken fans said so. And they would have to turn right here. He waited, listening to the Sousa get louder. His pocketed hand tightened around the knife. Right here, he reminded himself.

Gifted and Talented

The Girl brought home a paper for me to sign last night. One of her teachers believes that she should be in the Gifted and Talented program.
I signed that paper with a flourish, y’all.

I’ve always thought that she is super-bright– and that’s not just gratuitous Mommy-preening. We are, after all, talking about the child who  explored the concept of death by having a pharaonic burial for a Barbie1

Of course, we are also talking about the child who routinely “forgets” to put on clean socks, who cannot for the life of her – remember all the steps to taking out the trash, and sometimes brushes her teeth sans toothpaste.



I wonder if Albert Einstein’s mom had these problems?

1 – I believe it is still interred on a shelf, somewhere at her Dad’s house.

I guess it makes me a Bohemian?

(Title by the inestimable Willy Shakespeare)


My 42nd birthday is less than a month away. On the one hand – ew, 42.
On the other – hey! I’ll be The Answer for the entirety of 20121.

I’m actually not fazed by the upcoming calamity natal event. Truth to tell, I am a little more disconcerted by the odor coming from the kitty room. Holy vile fetor, Batman!

In just over a decade, I will be able to clear out a house with just one wee fart.

Thank goodness its trash day.  That’s the one thing that you never hear about when you first adopt that wiggly little black kitten.  At the time, all you can think is “ohlookitthefuzzywittlekitty!”  But the catbox smell once she hits her geriatric years could knock as buzzard off a honeywagon2.
I should probably cut her some slack. After all, she’s approaching eleventy-billion in human years. I bet my bowels won’t be so sweet when I am her age.

What was I talking about again?

Oh, yeah. The end of the world.
How the heck did I manage to get this far without blowing something u… Hmm.  What I mean to say is, I can’t believe I made it to 42. I sincerely thought that I would be dead by now. There’s probably some psychological reason that teens/young adults cannot fathom being any older than 30. Especially gothy teen/young adults who write bad poetry. However, right as I made the turn into my thirties, the Girl was born. I’ve been too busy since then to contemplate writing any exceptionally dismal poetry about caves.

I am DEEPLY amused by the fact that Googling "dank & dismal cave" returns this image as one of the hits.

Probably for the best. My poetry – all of it – was never terribly good. Lots of gloomy references and more adjectives than the traffic could bear. Emily Dickenson would’ve wept3.











1 – In very fact, my birthday – the day I turn 43 – is the end of the world, according to certain prophets and other lunatics. Consider this your warning: The chocolate had better be phenomenal, or POOF! No more world for you.
2 – You will never guess where I heard that particular phrase.
3 – Not in a good way, either.