Saturday, March 28, 2009

Jilane's Birthday Pizzas.

Hello Friends,
It's Saturday night in Cloverdale. We've returned from The Pizza Factory where we celebrated my sister Jilane's birthday. She's older than forty three and younger than forty five. That's all I can say because she would get upset if I told anyone her real age. The weather is as nice as its gets for a Spring evening in the Confederacy of Dunces. It's one of those evenings where a nice walk would be a perfect way to top off the evening (as long as there wasn't something decent to watch on TV and the lint trap didn't need cleaning on the dryer).

The conversation was acceptable around the table. At my 12 o'clock was the Mother Superior Luella Mae. Turning clockwise sat Kennedy, Jilane, Brock, Yours Truly, Chaz, Kevin and finally Brooklyn. We were surrounded by couples dressed for prom. Young ladies that actually looked like young ladies in their dresses and make up. The ladies were accompanied by young Gentlemen that looked like they could be trusted with the young ladies.

Where did these prom traditions come from? I'm inclined to think the idea of Prom originated from young ladies who spent far too much time as little girls reading fairy tales. As young girls they pictured themselves in the arms of their very own Prince Charming waltzing the marble floors of a grand palace. In reality, their Prince Charming turns out to be a pimpled faced lurpy boy who is lucky to be able to string a few sentences together to make a coherent stream of thought. Their palace is the high school gym decorated with dozens of balloons - some of which have lost so much helium they are flying at half mast. Instead of a Viennese Waltz they are swept into a passionate dance consisting of rocking back and forth in an endless time warp. A fairy tale night costing an arm and a leg. Now let's be honest, wouldn't a night of bowling and pool top that?

Cloverdale's Pizza Factory, a close cousin to the one in Pleasant Grove, had two new speciality pizza's on their menu - The Candy Lovers Delight. Jilane lubricated the table top with the drippings from her mouth when she saw them. She shot up from her chair, crawled over the table, found the waitress and physically carried her to our table to take the order.

The pizzas were delivered after a few diet cokes and a bread stick or two. Now........ I'm waiting on your comments. Do they look delicious to you? Jilane loved them. What she didn't eat she took home for later.

Personally, I thought they were digestible but the combination of jelly beans, marshmallows and tomato paste was just too far out there for my liking. My stomach thinks its on a triple loop roller coaster. I took an extra antacid with hopes of sleeping soundly tonight.

So, happy birthday to Jilane. And good night from my Wit's End in Coverdale.


This Sunday on Cloverdale Weekend Television's, "You Are Sin" with Sister Elizabeth Mary Catherine Teresa

This week Cloverdale Weekend Television’s award winning talk show ‘You Are Sin’, hosted by Sister Elizabeth Mary Catherine Teresa - Mother Superior of the Convent of the Sisters of Ever Increasing Hope, brings you a show titled: Apple, the Curse of the Ages!

Join Sister Elizabeth as she traces the evolution of sin through time, starting with Adam and Eve and the apple from the tree. Learn how Eve was tempted by her desire for knowledge to take the forbidden apple and eat - thereby condemning us all to a death outside of the Garden. That taste of the forbidden fruit resulted in all the world's woes, including our present financial situation. Yes, everything can be traced back to sin, rotting away the timber in your foundation.

Using several diagrams, charts and two film strip presentations, Sister Elizabeth will take the first sin involving an apple into our modern time. She will show how the Apples of today still incite us to sin.

Her conclusion will shock you into a realization that today’s Apples, the iPods and iPhones carried in your pockets and wired directly into your brains through earphones, are slowly - song by song and application by application - carrying you away from Grace and a fellowship with the Saints.

Sister Elizabeth will interview several students from St. Bartholomew’s After School Apple Addiction 12 Step Program. Each student will tell his or her own story of how they were introduced into the Apple underworld through the gift of a parent, relative or friend already addicted to its carnal pleasures. The students will trace how using the Apple and its applications pulled them from the world of faith into the world of rock and roll, video games, texting and the horror of the Internet and Facebook.

Sister Elizabeth will show sacrilegious pictures of the students texting during Mass. You will see hidden video footage of students listening to wicked music and watching defiling YouTube videos during Confirmation Class. She will play secretly taped confessions from students who failed to confess their Apple ownership and addiction, thus resulting in a ‘Bad Confession’. Using a portable barbecue, lighter fluid and a straw doll, Sister Elizabeth will demonstrate the consequences of giving a Bad Confession. It will shock you into understanding the danger of Apple.

Sister Elizabeth will end her weekly show, as she always does, with a message of hope. There is hope for the Apple Addict. The hope springs from family and church interventions incorporating the 12 step Apple Addiction Program and true confessions. She will show happy students, released from their Apple bondage talking to each other in person and on the phone. You will see students listening to appropriate music over the radio or Hi Fi under parent supervision.

Beth Newgate is the Director of
St. Bartholomew's 12 Step Apple Addiction Program.

Yes, the program will leave you with hope for your addicted loved one.

Be sure to gather the family around the television Sunday Morning for another weekly installment of You Are Sin. Brought to you by Ivory Soap. Ivory Soap is 99.9 percent pure and even floats on water. Remember to use Ivory Soap as part of your daily filth management system.

Ivory Soap. Proud Sponsor of 'You Are Sin'

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Patrick's Horrible, Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Patrick Paul and his Great Aunt Petunia

It was a horrible, terrible, no good very bad days for Patrick Paul of 24 Spruce Street. He woke up late for school. His pillow had somehow ended up on the floor during the night. His alarm clock went with it. Of course the battery fell out and well, you understand. In his rush to get up he stubbed his toe against the dresser. The throbbing pain temporally paralyzed the part of his brain that regulates speech. Without that safeguard, the restraints on his tongue gave way. Patrick let loose a string of words commonly heard only in seedy nightclubs, construction sites, army barracks and the halls of a middle school. His bedroom door swung open as he hopped on one foot while holding the the other in what looked like some kind of Indian war dance. His mother stood in the doorway with that look mothers give before unleashing Armageddon on you. Patrick was grounded for life - for the second time that month.

During breakfast Baby Pete knocked his cereal bowl off his highchair tray. The bowl and its contents of milk and cheerios rained down on Patrick’s unzipped backpack. Patrick had his mother sign a failing notice in Spanish and had forgotten to re zip the bag after stuffing the note into some easily forgotten inner pocket. Patrick jumped from his chair, grabbed the back pack and quickly took out the dripping contents and placed them on the table. His math and history books were soggy with a mixture of milk and partially dissolved sugar. His notebooks were in worse condition. Patrick couldn’t control the flood of anger. He put his nose up against Pete’s and used another string of words spoken between clenched teeth. The words were accompanied with a nasty pinch to the thigh. Pete let out a shrill scream. The scream, following by buckets of tears, brought mother into the room. Patrick’s mother picked up the phone to call Patrick's father who had left for work one hour earlier. Patrick realized the consequences of a phone call to his dad and pleaded with his mother to hang up while pulling on her apron. She didn’t. After explaining the situation she handed the phone to Patrick. The conversation with his dad lasted five seconds.
“You and I will discuss this when I get home,” his dad said. Patrick felt tears forming in the corners of his eyes but held them back. He was too old to cry. He ran out of the room before the crack in his male ego became visible.

At school Patrick's day didn't get any better. He got an F in spelling. His math teacher called on him to work out a problem on the board. He guessed. His classmates roared with laughter. On his way back to his seat his teacher, Mrs. Scown suggested he turn off his video games and study. Susan Pew, the teacher’s pet, grinned with delight at his misfortune. She mouthed the word “Stupid” as he walked by her desk. Patrick responded by accidentally pushing her book and papers onto the floor. The class broke into laughter again. Susan cried. Patrick spent the next hour in detention. He wondered how the day could get worse.

Because of detention he was late to lunch. The pizza was gone. He was left with a grilled cheese sandwich, green beans and canned pears on a paper plate. He hated cheddar cheese. He threw the whole plate into the trash. The lunchroom manager saw and reported him to the assistant principal. He spent the next fifteen minutes wiping down tables. On his last table he used spit as an extra ingredient on the washcloth. His luck held out. He was seen by the lunch lady running the cash register. He spent another hour in detention.

Luckily he was given early release for good behavior so he could go to PE - his last period class. They were playing football. Patrick was quarterback for his team. He got dressed into his PE uniform and ran out into the gym. Everyone was standing in lines. He got into place. Out from the coach’s door came the coach with woman in a track suit.
“Boys,” the coach said in his loud teaching voice. “This is Mrs. Burgess. She is an aerobics teacher at the Rec. Center and our guest for the day. You’ll do what she says.”
The coach disappeared into his office. Patrick was sure he saw a smile on his face as he closed his window blinds.

The walk home was sobering for Patrick. How could someone have such a bad day? He didn’t understand what he had done to deserve it. He knew he still had his dad’s lecture and another grounding waiting for him but that was expected. Patrick could handle the expected. It was the unexpected that really got to him. He was done with the unexpected, or so he thought.

As he turned the corner onto Spruce Street he saw a pink Cadillac in his driveway.
“No, please God no,” he mumbled to himself. The Fates were not finished with Patrick Paul. From the four corners of the Earth they gathered to discuss the crowning event to top of Patrick’s Day. They sent his Great Aunt Petunia, Cloverdale’s top Mary Kay Cosmetic saleswoman, to torment him.

Patrick stopped dead in his tracks. He looked into the sky and cursed the universal forces that were conspiring against him. He was tempted to turn and escape into the park but knew his mother would be watching the clock. If he wasn’t home on time she would freak out. There would be another call to his dad.
No, he had no choice. He had to suck it up and go home.

He walked slowly into the house. He knew she was there by the nauseating smell of her perfume.
“Is that Patrick,” he heard her scream from the living room. He dropped his back pack and waited. She rounded the corner. Her eyes met his. She moved for him like a cat to a mouse. Her arms spread wide for the embrace. He took in a deep breath knowing it was about to be forced out of him. Her arms wrapped around him gave him one of her powerful hugs. Patrick’s ribs strained to keep his chest in shape. His lungs, depleted of air, strained to refill. A moment later Patrick was release from the python's grasp. He survived the hug. The worst was still to come. Great Aunt Petunia took him by the arm and led him into the living room. She sat down in the recliner and pulled him down onto her lap.

The embarrassment of being a middle school student and sitting on any relative's lap was bad but sitting on Petunia’s lap was worse. Great Aunt Petunia had the world’s worst breath! Her breath smelled of a mixture of dirty socks, cheddar cheese, liver, garlic and vomit. You couldn’t escape. Her face was right next to yours. You had to breath it without making a face. If you attempted an escape she held you tighter. All you could do was gather all your forces of concentration and use them to prevent passing out.

Several minutes later Petunia released Patrick with a slobbery kiss on the cheek. He staggered to the stairway. Pulled himself up the stairs and into the bathroom. His gagging reflex emptied his stomach; afterwards he collapsed into his bed, took off one of his white socks, and waved it over his head thereby officially surrendering to the universal powers that had decreed his suffering. A few minutes later Patrick was asleep.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Claire's Birthday Roses

Christian is His Mother's Boy

Christian Sweeten and his mother Claire left The Other World and moved to Cloverdale last year. They needed a fresh start in a new place. Christian loves his mother. She is his best friend. She works hard to make sure he has clothes on his back, food on his plate and a roof over his head. He knows it isn’t easy. Sometimes he finds her crying after she puts him to bed. She doesn’t know he watches her from the stairway. Christian’s dad left them two years ago. They call it a divorce. His mother says sometimes bad things happen and we have to make the best of it. Christian’s stomach hurts when he thinks about his dad so he tries not to remember. It isn’t easy when he sees his friends with their dads.

Sometimes before he goes to sleep, Christian imagines his dad and mom are together again. It is a good dream. Some nights he gets scared. If his dad left him - would his mother also? When he has bad thoughts he takes his blanket and crawls into bed with his mother. She gives him a hug and kiss and says that he is her little boy and he means more to her than anything in the world.

Christian and Claire live in a small apartment near the village square. Cloverdale has been good to them. Every neighbor has been by to welcome them. Most brought home cooked meals and offered to help them get settled.

Christian's mother has a birthday in one week. It's circled in crayon on the calendar in Christian's bedroom. He knew what he wanted to give her for a gift. It had to be a dozen roses because that is what he dad gave her every year. He knew how to use the phone but didn't know where to find roses. His teacher showed him how to use the yellow pages to look for a florist. She let him use the phone on her desk. Christian called and asked the price of twelve roses. It sounded like a lot of money. His teacher helped him with the math. They discovered he didn’t have enough money in his jar. He needed to earn more. Christian thought hard. He could ask his mother but knew she worked two jobs to pay their bills and it wouldn't be right. He wanted to be a big boy and earn the money himself.

Two days ago Christian went to see Dr. Larsen to have his teeth checked. Christian likes Dr. Larsen. He is funny and gives him a toothbrush if he is a good boy and keeps his mouth open during the exam. During the check up Christian had an idea. He needed to talk to the doctor alone and waited for the opportunity. It came when his mother's cell phone rang and she left the room to answer.

“Dr. Larsen,” Christian asked while the chair was rising into an upright position. “Do I have a few teeth that are loose enough to come out?”
“No, your teeth are perfectly all right. Why?” he asked thinking it was a rather odd question by such a young boy.
Christian explained that in a few days it would be his mother’s birthday and he needed money to buy her roses.
“Christian, how can loose teeth help you buy your mom roses?” Dr. Larsen asked. The answer came to him before Christian spoke. “You want to put the teeth under your pillow for the tooth fairy don’t you?”
“Yes,” Christian responded. My mom is more special than all my teeth.”

Dr. Larsen was moved by Christian’s love and willingness to sacrifice for his mother. He also understood their financial situation and the struggles a single parent faced. He was one himself. He thought for a moment and then spoke.

“Christian, your teeth are all OK. We're not going to pull them. I have another idea. I spend all day pulling teeth from children that don’t believe in the tooth fairy. They leave their teeth with me. What if I were to give those teeth to you?”
Christian’s face brightened. He knew Dr. Larson would help.
“OK, we have to be careful and do this right," Dr. Larson continued. "You can’t put that many teeth under your pillow. The tooth fairy will know they aren’t all yours. So this is what we do. The tooth fairy knows I pull teeth all day and expects to collect lots of them from me on any given night. I’ll put them under my pillow tonight with a note from both of us to the tooth fairy.”

Dr. Larson took a sheet of paper and quickly wrote a note:

Dear Tooth Fairy. Here are lots of new teeth for your collection. Please don’t leave money. Instead, please send a dozen roses to Christian’s mom for her birthday. Please write “Happy Birthday to the best mom in the world. Love Christian” on the card. Thank you very much.
Both Christian and the Doctor signed the note. Dr. Larson told Christian not to worry about a thing. The tooth fairy wouldn’t let them down.

Christian woke up to the sound of the door bell on the morning of his mother’s birthday. It was early. The sun was just up over the hill. Christian heard his mother get up to answer the door. His smile stretched ear to ear when he heard her happy scream. He jumped out of bed and ran into the living room. It was the happiest picture he had ever seen. His mother stood in the doorway with a dozen beautiful roses held up to her nose. Dr. Larson was right. The tooth fairy hadn't let him down. His mother was the happiest woman on the Earth.

Christian loves his mother. She will always be his best friend and he will always be hers.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Heinrich Hush. Present Teller

Heinrich is Ready to Read your Present

Heinrich Hush is a student at Cloverdale Middle School and the youngest brother of Hannah Hush of Hush Limited (see Wednesday, February 4, 2009's post). Heinrich spent two years as a secret collector for Hannah. During that time he gained a lot of valuable experience. Heinrich learned that the old saying is true - There's a sucker born every minute. When Heinrich started the 8th grade he decided to start his own business. Hannah gave him a loan at 19% interest to purchase the necessary equipment (telescopes, binoculars, sensitive listening devices, etc).

Heinrich is a gifted young actor. He has the stage presence to take an audience from tears to cheers in the course of a two hour play. He uses his talent in all the school’s plays. He supports Cloverdale’s local amateur theater but privately confesses his true love of acting isn’t carried out on center stage before a packed house. Heinrich prefers to do his serious acting in a restaurant dining room with an audience of one - his client. Heinrich's new venture is to tell people their present. He is the world's first Present Teller - a seer of the here and now.

For a fee Heinrich will meet anyone for a private reading. The meetings usually take place in a neutral setting. Heinrich prefers Wimpy Burger or McDonalds. He arranges a private table in a quiet corner. Heinrich is a gracious host and offers all his clients their choice of soda and a burger. Once you feel comfortable, he begins his reading. He describes your home - in detail. He describes your bedroom. He lists the contents of your closet and even the number of socks you have in your drawers. He tells you the kind of toothpaste you use and your brand of deodorant. His knowledge of the present astounds his clients. His gift is the talk of legend in the school. Every student wants a personal reading.

To receive an appointment one must first pay a down payment of half the reading fee. Once paid, your reading is schedule for two to three weeks in advance. On the day of the reading you meet Heinrich at the prearranged restaurant with questions in hand. Some questions are accepted and others are not. Heinrich says it depends on how perceptive his second sight is and whether or not your home has the right spirits for divination.

Heinrich’s business is brisk. Not only does he support himself financially by his readings but he employs other students at Cloverdale Middle School as well. Heinrich is very secretive about his staff but if you know what to look for they can be identified. They are the students that come to school exhausted. Some even have dark patches under their eyes that resemble soot or make up that couldn't be completely washed away. One former employee who wanted to remain anonymous, said that a Heinrich employee had to have good acting skills and a variety of disguises. They had to have their own form of transportation that didn't involve parents - like a bicycle.

Some students are jealous of Henirich’s success. They accusing him of cheating. They point to police reports describing an increase in the number of peeping tom sightings around homes where Heinrich’s clients live. They accuse Heinrich of breaking and entering to get information. Heinrich denies these accusations and if necessary will produce tears on demand to take you off the scent. Some believe his gift is true, some do not, but all agree his performances are legend. Heinrich Hush is truly an amazing person whose fortune is on the rise.

Friends, I give you Heinrich Hush, a Present Teller. He sees you the way you are and not the way you will be. The key to happiness is the present. And Heinrich makes living in the present the best it can be. For a fee

Monday, March 23, 2009

Good vs. Evil. Damen and Sister Mary Edna.

Damen Dreaden on his way to
a therapy session with Sister Mary Edna.

Damen Dreaden existed for one reason, to reign anarchy upon the world. He resisted any kind of authority, including his mother’s. He spat in the face of rules. He laughed at convention. Tradition might as well be a four letter word in his limited vocabulary. He sought to bring disorder to order, sorrow to joy, and chaos to peace. To many in Cloverdale he was the very spawn of Satan. To his parents he was simply Damen.
The Dreadens live on Cherry Hill Lane in a very average brick rambler. Don Dreaden is a mason. Charlotte is a ‘domestic engineer’ - house wife to the rest of us. Damen is their first child and , if he had his wish, their last.
Charlotte spent most of her day chasing Damen. The moment he was up he'd run through the house messing up what Charlotte had put right the night before. At meal times he took the food on his plate and mashed it into one glob of multicolored mush. He always ate a small portion of the mixture, realizing he had to eat something to hold off starvation. The rest of the food was used projectiles - fired from the end of his spoon. If you left him alone, even for a minute, you’d find his food splattered on the walls, ceiling, floor, carpet, fish tank, and the cat.
Dressing him was nearly impossible. He hated anything that matched. Damen’s favorite pay back, if he lost a clothing battle, was to strip his clothes off in the van and toss them out the window.
Damen’s attitude nearly drove Charlotte into insanity. She clung to this world through a combination of therapy and Prosaic. Her counselor taught her to ignore most of Damen’s tantrums. She learned to think happy thoughts as he erupted, spewing lava on the poor souls caught in the pyroplastic flow.

Now that Charlotte found a way to cope with her situation she had to find help for Damen. Every therapist introduced to Damen either left the practice after attempting to treat him, or quit treating him and took up a deeper religious life. Their reasoning was understandable. For every action in the universe there was an equal and opposite reaction. If there was a Damen then there must be a God. And if God was completely opposite of Damen then he must be a truly loving and caring deity.
Charlotte turned to religion. She took Damen to the local churches to see if a good dose of Sunday School would change his behavior. The Baptist gave up after two Sundays and asked her not to come back. The Christian Scientists said he couldn't be healed. The Jehovah's Witnesses asked for their magazines back. The Mormons offered a willing and helping hand but Charlotte politely turned them down after sitting through one Primary. She saw they had their hands full with their own problems.
Charlotte had one hand she hadn't played. It was held in reserve if therapy failed - Exorcism. Two months ago she took Damen to St. Bartholomew’s in hopes of convincing the Parish Priest to examine the boy. A careful religious examination, leading to an exorcism, could be the only thing to save Damen.
The examination took place in the Church garden. Father O’Brian sat with Charlotte and Damen near the birdbath and the flower beds. The examination started with a short blessing and then an attempt at saying the Rosary. Damen broke free of his mother’s interlocked arms by using his teeth as a key. He lashed out at the Rosary. The string broke, sending the beads flying in all directions. His voice suddenly deepened. His language transitioned from English into what Father O’Brian described as some form of gutteral Latin. He jumped from the bench and darted toward the flower beds - the pride and joy of the Sisters of the Ever Increasing Hope Convent. The flowers represented beauty and had to be destroyed. He plowed through the first bed leaving a trail of destruction. The last time something like this was documented was General Sherman’s torch and burn march through Georgia during the Civil War. Father O’Brian began the exorcism, Charlotte was on her cell phone calling the animal catcher. Cloverdale’s constables refused to deal with Damen. They didn’t have the right tools to capture a rabid dog. The animal catcher did.

Sister Mary Edna Celebrating her 100th Birthday.

Suddenly everything grew still. Not a sound was heard. The wind paused and the sun stopped moving in the sky. Evil had come in contact with a power greater than itself - Sister Mary Edna of the Sisters of Ever Increasing Hope. One hundred year old Sister Mary Edna towered over the 'nasty child' who was destroying her flowers. Damen was laid flat out on his back. Mary Edna’s cane was square in his chest pinning him down.
“Shut Up!” she said to Damen in the raspy voice of an old chain smoking woman when he tried to speak. Damen closed his mouth. Charlotte was stunned. Damen never did anything he was told. Was Sister Mary Edna the only force on the planet capable of truly confronting evil? Damen was a light weight compared to some of the people Sister Mary Edna dealt with in her years working as a matron in a special home for the possibly possessed outside of Rome. Sister Mary Edna understood this kind of boy all too well.
Damen started squirming. Sister Mary Edna slowly knelt down and put her wrinkled lips next to Damen's ear. She whispered something. His eyes grew large and then - a miricle. Damen slowly stood up, apologized, and began cleaning the mess he had created. Just then, the animal catcher arrived with his net and cage. He took one look at Sister Mary Edna and turned to run. They had a history over a disagreement on what to do with stray cats.
Today, Damen is much better although he still has his bad days. And on those bad days Charlotte puts him in the car and they drive straight to St. Bartholomew's so Damen can once again experience the one force more powerful than him. Damen throws a fit all the way there but is a changed boy on the way back. All it takes is a little time with someone that seems to know what to whisper into a naughty boy’s ear.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Beware, Beware of Tanesha Fay.

Tanesha Fay

A match was struck one Autumn Day
by sweet, innocent Tanesha Fay
Her neighbors were packed and gone away
The beach would be their place to play.

She had one day to do the deed,
to right a wrong by Edward Steed,
the price to pay would be her creed
because of his unending greed.

Her stand, his stand sat opposite the street,
and sold pop, candy, trinkets and treats
competing businesses, a jealous mind,
can make a person’s morals blind.

On Tuesday last Edward’s chance was seen,
an opportunity taken - Oh so mean!
To strike and steal her purse away,’
while her stand was empty - poor Tanesha Fay.

Tanesha cried, “Oh Edward Steed!
You’ll pay, You’ll pay, for your greed.
A wrong was done, no mercy to give
My revenge is sure, as long as you live.”

And so it was, a home was burned.
A lesson I beg you all to learn,
All men should hear these words I say
Beware, Beware of Tanesha Fay!

(Thanks Alex A. for the picture. The poem is the result of Sacrament Meeting, A boring talk, several crying children, a pen and paper left unattended, and a desperate mind needing something to do. Mr. W)