In The Walls
Ascending the grand, creaky staircase, my fingers left trails in the thick layer of dust on the handrail. The blood-red message had been graffitied across the ancient portrait for three days now:
I'm in the walls.
Plasterboard was shredded to pieces; every resident on search duty, but no trace of the spectral painter. My husband, master of the house, had laid all manner of traps in an attempt to catch the fiend - to no end.
Phantom breezes; eerie wailing; spontaneous fireplace eruptions. Even the beloved pet hound hanging from the bannister. I was particularly proud of that last one.
Challenge Finalists and Winner, or Poems in Stereo While The Sun Beats Down the Moon.
Dear Brilliant and Beautiful Writers:
I wanted to read every one of these, but time chained me to only five, counting the winner. If it's too late for coffee, pour a cold one, or a double, and look upon the talent featured on the channel today.
Thank you for being here.
-The Prose. team
It could happen
It was one of the most fulfilling moments of my life: To be paid, and paid well, for a work of fiction to which my pen had given birth. My mind...my imagination. Finally, my creativity had given birth to something that would take on a life of its own outside of my mind. And I was getting paid!
It seemed like so much money at first. I mean, it was a lot of money. I had never been paid six figures all at once before. The taxes were significant. Not a surprise, but still depressing when you've already made a list of where the funds will go.
We had mold people come in and rip out the walls in the basement. They removed the mold I could smell but no one could see (a possible catalyst to my husband's Parkinson's) and waterproofed the walls before new floors, sheet rock, molding and waterproof paint. We also added a bath and shower so that my octogenarian in laws wouldn't have to trudge up two flights to use the full bath upstairs.
We hired an arborist to help the trees that look sick in our garden and remove the branches of the half dead tree that has been leaning on the roof for years. And then we replaced the roof (including adding insulation so we can stop losing all the heat in the winter). We used solar shingles -- for the environment, to lower our electric bills and to charge my husband's car [his favorite ever, by the way. The only one he ever named: kara ılan (black snake).]
We hired a contractor to paint my mom's house and a landscaper to take care of the bushes and weeds that drive her crazy, so that she can concentrate on planting the flowers she likes. We also paid for her annual trip to Vegas with a three week stay at the Bellagio, The Venetian and the Aria, and tickets to all her favorite shows.
We paid for my son's wedding so his fiancées family could concentrate on her baby brother's cancer treatment that insurance refused to cover; sadly, even with the specialized proton therapy, there was a concern that he could develop secondary cancers due to a genetic mutation.
We helped my step-brother pay for a home attendant since, after over a month in the hospital, a surgery, myriad tests, daily physical therapy and a severe case of diarrhea incurred while in the hospital, doctors could not figure out why he still couldn’t feel his feet (the original reason he was admitted to the hospital) and insurance was no longer willing to pay them to figure it out and certainly not for a home attendent.
At this point, not only had we spent every last penny of the check from my publisher, we had had to dip into our savings, something I avoid doing most of the time.
Clearly, I needed to write a sequel. Or two. Maybe I could get a movie deal...
Not Here for Guidance Counceling
There’s this one kid at work, doesn’t really do anything very well, calls out “sick” too much, probably smoking mail-order weed, you know the type, I’m sure.
Well, yesterday this kid actually showed up for work in a functioning state and wasted about twenty minutes of his time and mine telling me about his tattoos. His sleeve tattoo was $4k. The colored one on his back was $800, the ones on either leg were $300 apiece. He got the wedding ring tattoo for $200 (the girlfriend he got that one with is living with his drug dealer now), the ear gauges were $100, the nose ring $300, and the silver bar thingy through the bridge of his nose was $200.
”How much for the hair cut?” I asked.
”I didn’t get one.” He said
I nodded knowingly. “Cool,” I replied. “I guess you’d be worth way more than me if it wasn’t for that $10k of debt you’re in.
”Hell yea,” he said. “Fuckin’ credit cards.”
”Hey,” I asked him. “Can I get the name of that tattoo guy you use?”
”Fuck yea, Dude! You gonna get a tat?”
”Nah.” I said to him. “I’m gonna see if he’ll promote my next book. I figure if he can sell that shit, he can sell anything.”
”You’re a real asshole, man.”
”Yea. I know. Now get to work.”