Monday, November 22, 2010

A little fiction...Behind Closed Doors, Part 1

I remember the day this whole thing started.

I was up for promotion, and had just finished running the corporate gauntlet of interview-presentation-interview and I had to go to the bathroom. It never fails; any time my nerves get ramped up my bladder revolts as soon as the situation is handled, and that morning was indeed stressful.

I went into the blissfully empty bathroom-I've always hated being next to someone in a public restroom, but for now that wasn't a concern. Every stall door was closed, and I chose the one closest to the door. Out of habit, I knocked lightly, and began to push the door open.

A small, sinister thought whipped through my mind. What if there was something in there? Puzzled at the fact that I thought 'something' rather than someone, I shook my head and chuckled, and opened the door.

The stall was covered in gore. Blood streaked and ran down the walls, pooling on the floor, dripping from the handrail and the "treasure chest". A high heel lay in a puddle of blood in front of the toilet, and perched there on the seat was a creature that looked like Gollum, aside from the claws and fangs. It was chewing on what had been a woman's foot with apparent relish. I couldn't scream; all I could muster was a small, helpless, "Oh."

It's head snapped up, and it's black eyes narrowed. The thing dropped the foot, letting it thump to the floor. I saw the drops of blood fly as it splashed into the puddle. I was frozen until the creature hissed. I looked up at it, and tensed as if to pounce. I stumbled back, the heel of my shoe caught in the grout between the tiles and I went down hard. I raised up onto my elbows to try and scramble back onto my feet or just to scoot out of range, and I looked up. It was gone. I lay there, staring into the now pristine stall, shocked and about to wet my pants, and Shannon walked in.

She stopped when she saw me on the floor, and stared for a moment.

"Are you alright?"

I looked from her to the stall and back; everything was normal. There was no blood, no horrible foot, and no creature. The only things out of the ordinary were the stall door hanging open, and me lying on the gritty floor. I thought fast, put on a big grin and said, "Yeah, I'm fine. Damn these high heels!"

She cocked an eyebrow, and I got to my feet and brushed myself off. "Really, I'm fine."

"You sure?"

Another dazzling smile. "Absolutely."

She gave me a once-over and nodded. She went into a stall, leaving me standing at the sinks. I went into the stall and attended to myself, my mind reeling. I began to giggle, dismissing the whole thing, putting it down to brain dump from all the stress that morning.

Unfortunately, I was wrong.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Grape and I

I've never had more than a passing interest in wines. In fact, I'm purely a label/witty name vs. price shopper: If it has a cute label or one that catches my eye, (Most recently there's one with stickers that you dress the lady on the label with like a paper doll-I love it!), then I'll give it a swirl. (Did you catch that wine pun?)

The fanciest I've gotten with wine is the yearly women's retreat with the Unitarian Universalist church in my area; the festivities begin with a glorious wine and cheese tasting, and you get to write down your opinions of said wines and cheeses. I began the tradition of making your wine review as ridiculous as possible. A couple I can recall (no thanks to the copious amounts that were being poured) are "made my underpants jump three feet to the left," "has a kick like a soccer hooligan," and "Has a finish like a sweaty saddle that I would like to lick again." Sweaty saddle was not a descriptor that I came up with, it was one on the wine poster the ladies had put up for reference. Personally, I don't want to drink something that tastes like a sweaty saddle; I mean, I hate horses. There were other descriptors: leathery, mossy, oaky, woody...Not anything I want in my mouth, really. Wait, I take that back. Anyone who knows me knows that leather in my mouth is A-OK. Ahem.

I also have never paid any attention at all to vintage years. I haven't ever delved into the actual wine process except for that done by friends or family experimenting with making it. I didn't think the year on the bottle had any more significance than just letting you know this was made in 2006 or whatever, older ones being generally more expensive.

After a long conversation with someone more worldly than your humble writer, I realized that the year has a great deal more to do with the liquid itself than simply a measure of time. It takes into account the weather, the harvest, the casks used to age, the temperature...anything and everything that may add character or ruin the batch. Wine is so similar to bread in that way.

At any rate, I am now a more selective wine shopper, though that won't stop me from enjoying a box of "Chillable Red" with my friends while eating pizza, though I may check the box for a year.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Memorial

The Old Place burned down. Not a former home, or favorite bar or restaurant, but my family's homestead, for lack of a better word.

The Old Place was my Great Grandparent's land, and my uncle Jack had built a fantastic cabin where all of the family's important celebrations took place, or sometimes just because. We all called it The Old Place, because that's exactly what it was, where they were born, where they used to live, down a dusty red-dirt road in the back woods of Georgia.

My Papa taught me to fish there, and I helped provide the catch for many a fish fry. I knew that I was finally grown when I was allowed to help my mother, my Nini, and the aunts in the kitchen there. I snuck out onto the porch and listened to the uncles and cousins tell jokes, their laughter echoing off of the roof as their poles leaned lazily against the railing when the water was high enough to fish from there, the entire group springing into action if someone got a bite. I would sit inside with the ladies, listening to family gossip and that strange network that seems to belong only to Southern Ladies, whipping out pictures of distant relatives and new babies, my Nini whispering a litany of names in my ear explaining just how this one is related to me when she would catch my confused look when someone would introduce a new cousin.

When the cooking was done, everyone filed inside and held hands for grace, given by Brother Bill or uncle Jack, beautiful prayers that still touch me, blessing the food and the hands that prepared it and those who eat it. Then the room would be filled with conversation and the sounds of good people enjoying good food.

All that's left now is the gate with the sign, and the docks over the pond. The memories stay, though, we have that. For now, we mourn, but as always, we'll be back.

Friday, November 5, 2010

She's Baaaaaaaack!!

So this is the deal, I've been neglecting you. Not through any malice aforethought and not through any lack of drinking or snacking, but just plain ol' life. THAT WILL BE REMEDIED!

Why?

Because Christmas is coming, and yon Bones is brokeola.

Stay tuned for cookies, cakes, and adult beverages!