Neverending November

Postaday for June 16th: Turn, Turn, Turn Seasons change so quickly! Which one do you most look forward to? Which is your least favorite?

Neverending November

fiction by Jason Edwards

There I was at Jay’s Alley, minding my own business, not botherin’ nobody. Eatin a greasy cheese burger and a basket of limp french fries. Kind of a rough day. Lucinda callin’ me every few hours, screamin’ “Child Support!” into the phone and hangin’ up. I just needed some time to myself, a few minutes of peace, right?

And then one of ‘em shows up, and then another, and then one more. Zombies, all dirty and blood crusted and moanin’, green skin and open sores, the whole works. Bangin’ against the front door. Jay himself did the usual, dropped the security bar so they couldn’t get through. Me and three other guys in the little bowlin’ alley restaurant, nobody makes much of a move.

But the noise. They keep pounding on the door and moanin’ like I said. And I’ve been in this situation before. This can go on for hours. So, what the hell. I get up, I grab my shottie, I step out the emergency door, and unload. Take off one head, then another, and the third one I aim low, cut ‘im in half. But he’s still pullin’ himself around with his hands, like they do, so I walk over and stomp his skull with my boot heel. ‘Cause, you know, ammo is expensive.

I go back inside to what’s left of my greasy burger and my limp fries.

Jay himself walks over to me. Filthy apron, fat nose, receding hairline. One arm on his hip, the other cut off and cauterized at the elbow, a zed attack gone bad several years ago. And he’s glarin’ somethin’ fierce.

“Now what did you go and do that for. They wasn’t hurtin’ nobody.”

“I’m tryin’ to eat here.”

“Well what are folks goin’ to think? Pile of dead zeds by my front door? That’s bad for business.”

“So, city’ll pick ‘em up.”

“Yeah, in two or three days. I say you killed ‘em, you move ‘em.”

“Fat chance, man.”


And he walks off.

My phone rings in my pocket. Lucinda again, probably. That’s all I need. I ignore it. We used to get into such fights, especially after the zombies showed up. A real liberal, that Lucinda. Voted for all three Clintons, you know. Me, I went to the rallies, say we should burn ‘em all. And Lucinda’s like, “Remember when people hated the blacks? And the gays? How’s this any different?”

“Cause ain’t nobody ever turned black or gay from gettin’ bit, ya dumb hippie.”

Still, it was good for a few years. Little Charlie came along. And then things didn’t work out, I guess. Child support, my ass. I been out of a job for 6 months. Besides…

Anyway. Last bite of my greasy burger. One more limp french fry. I fish out a cigarette, light up, sip my warm beer. This town wasn’t ever anything spectacular. But if you had a job, and a car, and a woman, and a kid, it was okay. Winters were cold and summers were hot, springs was always too wet. But fall could be nice. The leaves and blue skies and all that. I used to like Halloween, when I was a kid myself. Around here, you could still put on a costume and go around to the houses, not have to worry about perverts or gang bangers.

And then some asshole in a lab squirts the wrong solution into a dead body. Or maybe it was some asshole with a holy book who reads one of the scriptures backwards. Or some asshole with a bad flu steps into a nuclear reactor. I don’t know. All I know is, Halloween went real and the zeds started wandering around. And at first it was scary, and then it was fun and games with the shotties and the machetes, and then it was a pain in the ass with the equal rights and the god damned liberals, and now, well, now it’s just tedious and stupid. I’d kill myself if the thought wasn’t so boring.

I put out the butt of my smoke. I could have another one, but those things’ll kill ya. Stand up, go for my shottie, but the phone rings again. I decide to answer it. “What.”

“Child support.”

“He’s dead, Lucinda. I ain’t payin you nuthin.”

“He ain’t dead.”

“A zed got ‘em a two years ago. He’s as good as dead.”

“I don’t care. State says, no DC, he ain’t dead. You owe me three thousand dollars.”

“Oh yeah? Come ‘n get it.” I hang up on her this time. My phone starts to ring again, immediately. I let it ring. Pick up my shottie, walk over to the exit. Go through.

Jay’s outside, tryin’ to pull the zeds away from the door. Poor guy, one arm and all. You’d think he’d hate them more than me. But I feel bad for him. I prop my gun up against the wall and go over to help.

“I got it, man,” he says.

“Yeah, I know you do.” I grab a dead zed hand, drag it over near the dumpsters.

We get ‘em taken care of, stand there for a second under the gray sky. Been cloudy for a long time now. I shouldn’t complain. Summer’s aint so hot, winter’s ain’t so cold. Still. Sunshine would be nice, especially if I gotta take calls from my crazy ex and eat shitty food and drag zombie corpses all over the place. Whatever.

“Well,” I say. “I’ll see ya.”


I start to walk away, Jay goes back into his little restaurant. I’m halfway across the parking lot, and I see another crowd of ‘em. Four or five zeds this time. Why do they shuffle around in groups, I wonder. They’re following an old lady. She’s got a trot in her step, so I guess she’s seen ‘em. Probably waiting for the bus, poor thing. And the zombies come along, and now she’s got to run back home, wait for the next one. I could take ‘em out, even though, technically it’s illegal. Technically, marijuana’s still illegal. But ain’t nobody been busted in at least a decade. I never heard of anyone doing time for takin’ out a zombie mob, especially one that was chasin’ an old lady.

But, like I said, ammo’s expensive. And she’s okay. Probably one of those bleeding hearts. One of those liberals with a t-shirt that says Zombies Were People Too. Please. Get what you deserve. I move on.

And then there’s a loud bang. And another one. And two more. Comin’ from Jays’ place. I heft my shottie and run back lickety split.

Bust in through the door. The smell of cordite and saltpeter, and sharp green mold, and heavy grease. Two guys standing over a pile of zeds, third guy on the bottom of ‘em. The two got their hand guns out, the third guy’s lost most of his insides. Its a mess. One of the fellers looks at me, shrugs, sits down and goes back to his bowl of chili. The other one’s on his phone, callin’ it in to the city.

And then I hear it, from the kitchen. “Aw, God damnit.” Jay’s voice. I walk back there.

Kitchen door’s busted wide open, leadin’ to the back alley. Jays sittin’ on the floor, a huge chunk of his remaining arm is gone. It’s already turning black, dark green on the edges. There’s a body with it’s head shoved in the fryer, and the smell is somethin’ terrible.

“God damnit,” Jay says again.

I walk over to him, crouch down, peer at the wound. I’ve seen it’s like before. We all have. “Looks pretty bad,” I say.

“Yeah, yeah. Can’t cauterize this one, I guess.”

“I guess not.”

We sit there for a bit.

Finally, he says, “There’s some cash in the register.”


“So, I know you got a few shots left. Take care of me, and you can have what’s in the register for the ammo.”

I sigh. Jay’s burgers were greasy, and his french fries were limp, and his beers were warm. But what, I’m supposed to walk over to Chez Richie Rich? I was going to miss the old bastard. “Okay,” I say. “You got your DC on you?”

Despite the obvious pain, he reaches into his back pocket, pulls out his wallet. Tosses it to me. I open it up, pull out his Death Certificate. Poor guy.

I heft my shottie. “Any last w-” I say, and pull the trigger. Damn loud in the small space. I check the time, fill out his DC, leave it next to him.

And walk out, ignore the register. Ya see that? A shitty day turned shittier.

Outside, I half expect to see the city trucks, but Jay was right— they’ll be around in a few days, maybe. I walk on home. I’m spent is what I am. I have one round left, though. When my phone rings again, I pull it out, drop it on the ground, and blast it.

Back at my place, I go inside, drop the security bar down, close the reinforced shutters, settle in for the night. I try the TV, but it’s more crap about rallies and marches and bullshit. Grab a warm beer from my fridge. Pull out my own wallet.

My own death certificate, signed and ready to go, just in case. And my son’s. Charlie’s. Filled it out the day it happened. Had to take his head off myself. Still can’t bring myself to file it with the city, or show it to Lucinda. Sometimes I think the way she screams at me is the only thing that keeps us goin’. Guess I’ll have to get a new phone.

Ex Falso Quodlibet

Postaday for June 15th: In a CrisisHonestly evaluate the way you respond to crisis situations. Are you happy with the way you react?

Of course “crisis” comes from the Greek word “cri” meaning “to shed tears” and “sis” meaning “female sibling.” Isn’t language weird? It turns I don’t have a sister, and I don’t tolerate crying in my presence. But let’s, for the sake of argument (”arg,” meaning “frustration,” “u” meaning “you” and “ment” meaning “a spicy herb used to make refreshing teas and chewing gum,” which altogether means, “frustrating you with language that you sip or chew on” i.e. “blog”) pretend I do have a sister and I do tolerate weeping. How would I evaluate the way I respond?

I’d evaluate my response as excellent. My made-up sister and I have almost nothing in common. I am a white male, married, in my forties, in need of losing a few pounds, fond of video games, running, and procrastinating on my taxes. My fake sister is Indian, single, in her twenties, skinny to the point of making people uncomfortable, and overly fond of extremely bitter chocolate, staying in touch with the friends she made on the Model UN in high school, and getting her taxes done, on, like, January 2nd. Not that she has a job. Lazy!

We had a crisis situation last Christmas, when we were supposed to travel together to our parent’s ranch in Southern North Dakota. Talk about a Clusterfubar. First, our flight was canceled. So we looked at taking the train. We were on the rails for about 30 minutes when, ha ha, the train wrecked. We walked ten miles in the sun and snow to a bus station. Get on the bus, and we’re attacked by zombies. Great. We fend them off, but all the tires on the bus were popped in the process (my sister’s aim with the shot gun is not what it used to be. I blame her liberal arts college). So we flagged down a farmer in his truck. I paid him cash for it. Everything was fine. We drove for about eight hours.

We’re nearly out of gas but there’s signs saying a gas station is ten miles ahead. We pull in and I fill up while my sister goes in to the use the bathroom, buy some salty snacks, call her boyfriend, and call my wife (who isn’t talking to me because she’s mad at me because it was my idea to book a more expensive flight, which got canceled, and the cheaper, not-direct one she booked for me didn’t get canceled, and when she found out she said to me, “Told you so!” and I replied “You only booked the cheap one because you couldn’t go with us— if you didn’t have to work, you would have booked the more expensive direct flight!” And that made her mad because she knows I’m right.)

I top off the tank and screw the gas cap back in. My sister comes out with Doritoes, Skittles, a diet Mountain Dew for me (probably because after talking with my wife on the phone she took her side, the lazy little traitor) and a virgin Lime Ricky inna can for her. And we get in and we drive off and… yes, you guessed it. We get pulled over.

For drinking and driving! Because apparently just because a beverage is a virgin, that is, has no alcohol, the cops will still pull you over “for suspicion.” And I tell the officer “I’m not the one drinking it! Little miss Bolivia over here is the one guzzling it!”

And my sister BURSTS INTO TEARS because she wasn’t Bolivia in the Model UN, she was Paraguay. This is a crisis situation because I’m pretty sure my sister got me an Apple Watch for Christmas (even though I said this was last Christmas. I’m making this up, remember?) and if she thinks I’m trying to be insulting because Bolivia has 10 million people to Paraguay’s 6.5 million (i.e. I’m calling her “fat.” Women!) then she might not give me the watch after all, and, probably, will tell my wife they next time they talk on the phone that when we were shooting zombies on the bus I even shouted “Take that, Carla!” My wife’s name isn’t even Carla!

But I handled the crisis well. I tell the officer “She always cries like that when her brother is accused of murder.” And the officer goes “Murder?” And I’m all like, “Then why did you pull us over” And he says, “Drinking and driving!” And I say “That’s impossible!” And he says “The guy in the gas station said you bought a virgin Lime Ricky inna can!” And I shout “ENTRAPMENT!” because right then I notice officer “Leyner” has the same last name as “Leyner’s Gas n Go.” HA!

The cop blushes. He let’s us go. He gets in his cruiser and leaves. I turn to my sister and say “I always get Bolivia and Paraguay confused. I should know better. Of course you’d be the country that was the home of the Guarani. Only a jerk would represent those damned Quechua. Please forgive me.”

Want to know how the story ends? Not only did I get my Apple Watch, but my sister also called my wife and took the blame for the flight switch. BOO-YA! Yes I do handle crisis situations very well. Like the time I didn’t know how to respond to a blog prompt. 892 words!

Literally Page Three, In Medias Res

Postaday for June 14th: The Early YearsWrite page three of your autobiography.

knocking over a model ship on table somewhere behind him. Which I find highly suspect considering he was a Navy man at the time, so when exactly did he have the hours to put together a ship, much less the money, considering his weekly pay went entirely to supporting his wife, his brand new son, and, it seems, my voracious diaper appetite? His own fault, if you ask me, giving me so much apple juice!

I kid, of course. Even back then you wouldn’t give a days-old baby apple juice. It would have been wasted on me, if nothing else. Nowadays I love a good apple juice, but on day three I wasn’t self-aware enough to enjoy anything. I still, on that day, had a good threes years of brain growth to go. Unlike horses, who can walk on day one, I couldn’t even roll over.

Indeed, I remember absolutely nothing of that time at all, and can only goes off anecdotes like the one above. So really, who am I to say it wasn’t true? It might as well have been. My parents tell other stories from my youth, although I think they were maybe too sleep deprived themselves in those first several weeks to be able to remember much. I didn’t cry too often. Mostly I just stared at things. I ate what I was fed, required frequent diaper changes, and occasionally gurgled.

There are photographs, of course, of a smushed up, wrinkly thing, all blotchy and unattractive. I look nothing like that now. I mean, I am once again smushed up, wrinkly, blotchy, and unattractive, but in an entirely different way. You’d be hard pressed to recognize me in those old photos. Maybe it was the technology. In November of 1971 even the likes of an Ansel Adams was only taking photos in black and white, after all.

(This is entirely untrue, but I’m writing an autobiography page here, not a history book, the difference being the latter describes what happened and the former describes what I imagined happened. Hence the apple juice quip. I was only three days old, for crying out loud).

At any rate, I was a baby, and stayed that way for a number of weeks, which stretched into months. Those first several days were exciting. A navy man and his navy-retired wife. A little tiny apartment in rural Massachusetts. Winter coming on, and with it, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s. I would see them all before I was even two months old. People ask me why I’m so quick to embrace new things, an early adopter, living on the very prow of progress. I point them to this first week of my life, my tiny fist grasping for but still not even close to coordinated enough to grip my father’s beard.

Which reminds me of another anecdote my parents used to tale at family gatherings and the like. It seems our neighbor had an enormous Great Dane called Winston, and my father thought it would be funny to get a snapshot with me posed on the dog’s back. Yes, back in those days, parents didn’t think twice about a newborn child interacting with a germ-coated dog.

So there’s me, three days old, sitting in a puddle of myself on the back of a hound that would literally outweigh me for the next 12 years. So big was Winston, and so small was I, that they didn’t even have to hold on to me— I was balanced quite well on his sizable rump. I guess they’d left the door open, to let in some cool air since the radiator was going full blast. Did anyone know one of the other nieghbors had a cat? I suppose not. Neither did Winston— so when he saw Mr. Jinx, he took off like a shot, and me right

In Junior High We Called It “Dippin.”

Postaday for June 13th: Hear No EvilTell us about a conversation you couldn’t help but overhear and wish you hadn’t.

I don’t have a memory for that sort of thing.

I used to frequent Overheard in New York, which was funny before it got kind of trolly and judgmental. But, it’s been a while— maybe it’s good again? Itself spawned Overheard at The Beach, Overheard in the Office, Celebrity Wit, and, I just discovered on a recent visit to make sure it’s still there, Overheard Everywhere. So that’s those places covered.

And then there’s Kids Say the Darndest Things, and Shit My Dad Says, and a number of subreddits dedicated to people saying stupid stuff. TumblrInAction and ThatHappened, for example, getting back to the trolly and judgemental.

The truth is, no one will ever top the Lewis Black joke which includes the line he allegedly overheard: “If it wasn’t for my horse, I wouldn’t have spent that year in college.” Having done some stand-up myself, I know there’s nothing sacred and that things don’t have to be true to be funny. I also know that sometimes you can’t beat the truth. Whichever the case, Lewis Black wins, when it comes to overhearing something insane.

But like I said, I never remember that kind of thing. I would have been a terrible landlord on Three’s Company. I would not have overheard any conversations, would not have misinterpreted them, not jumped to any conclusions, and there would have been no ensuing hilarity based on that awkward misunderstanding. The show would have flopped in a matter of weeks. Jack Tripper might not have ever gotten that bistro started. And that would be a shame because, the way I hear it, Jack made a mean cassoulet.

Man, I do love a good cassoulet.

On the other side if things, I can be a little hyper-aware of other people around me when I’m talking about something controversial, and I find I add too much mitigating language. You know, so as not to offend someone who may have strong opinions about proto-feminist evolutionary jargonism in Super Mario Bros 2. (I drink a lot; sue me).

Maybe I should go the opposite way. Maybe I should have fascinatingly stupid conversations with people, just so that folks who overhear it can go tell their friends, or blog about it, or best of all, start a whole website.

“So I’m sitting in this bar drinking a Lime Ricky, and not loving it at all because they used Hayman’s instead of Monkey 47, I mean, for the love of Krist Novoselic, do we live in Seattle, or is this the Pearl District. Anysquare, I’m trying to get through my drink, when my phone dies— so much for the Daily Bugle podcast I was listening to. Just when I was thinking I should get up and go browse the car repair store across the street— you know, to make an ironic blog post about it— I overhear these two people behind me talking about chess, if you can believe it. And one guy’s like, You know, in the Spanish Opening, and the other guy’s like, You mean the Ruy Lopez? And the first one’s all, No one calls it that. And the other one says, Well, Spanish Opening sounds racist to me. And the first one’s all, Then what do you call d4 Nf6 c4 g6? And he goes, I would never play that. And the first guy’s like, Why, because ‘King’s Indian’ sounds racist too? And the guy goes, No, because Bobby Fischer played it, and he’s an anti-semite, and the first guy’s getting mad, and he says, But you played the Scotch Game through five tournaments! And the other guy goes So? And he’s all like, That was Kasparov’s favorite opening! And the other guy goes So? And he’s all, Kasparov is from Azerbaijan! They’ve been charged with human rights violations out the ying-yang! And it was all I could do not to turn around and scream at the guy for using ‘ying-yang, I mean, talk about racism, why not channel a Chinese version of Rachel Dolezal, ya Nazi?”

Meh. Probably never happen. No one I know knows that much about chess.

I Don’t Cook

Postaday for June 12th: IngredientsWhat’s the one item in your kitchen you can’t possibly cook without? A spice, your grandma’s measuring cup, instant ramen — what’s your magic ingredient, and why?

My wife does all the cooking. She’s good at it, and she likes it. Sometimes she asks me to grill things. Sometimes she asks me to chop things. And/or put them in a pot. And sometimes stir. And sometimes add other ingredients. On occasion she’ll give me a recipe and ask me to prep it for her, or do the middle part, or finish it, or all three. Which I do, but, I don’t cook. She does all the cooking.

Usually I’m the one who goes to grocery store. My wife does all the meal planning, unless I do it— but it’s better when she does it, since she does all the cooking. She’ll send me to the store with a list, and on those occasions when I go without a list, or go without her asking me to go, I end up getting the kinds of things she needs to cook our meals.

That’s also how I handle it when she doesn’t have a meal planned, and I end up going to the store anyway, and bringing things home for her to cook. Or if I’m going to get a recipe started that she didn’t know about, since she winds up cooking it anyway. Or a recipe I follow all the way through. Still, she’s the cook.

The one item that gets me through all of this is Pandora. I put Pandora on the iPad or my mobile with a pair of headphones, or on the TV. I like to listen to mellow, minimalist music when I’m helping my wife when she does all the cooking. Today, for example, she’s going to be stuck in traffic, so I’m going to get everything ready for her.

At about five o’clock (we tend to eat early, go to bed early, get up early) I’ll put Pandora on the TV. A station based off a band called The Sound Defects (bands like Bonobo, Time Machine, Gramatik, Wax Tailor instrumentals, and so on). I’ll get some green peppers out so she can make stuffed peppers. I’ll cut the tops off and scoop out the insides.

I’ll brown some meat and chop some onions for her to add to the meat. If traffic is really bad (like it often is on a Friday) I’ll add the spices for her, shred some cheese. If she needs me to, I can put the meat combo into the pepper, and start the oven for her to bake them. Sometimes when she gets home she’s exhausted from the commute, so if need’s be, I can put the stuffed peppers into the oven. She might ask me to help her prepare them by checking to see if they’re nearly done. Then I can switch on the broiler, let them brown a bit, top them with the shredded cheese. I can do those things for her because she’s an amazing cook.

And since I don’t cook, it’s only fair that I do the dishes. She tells me this pretty much every time. But that’s okay because I’ve got that Pandora playing in the background.

I’m Already Tired, I Gotta Retire Too?

Postaday for June 11th: I Am a RockIs it easy for you to ask for help when you need it, or do you prefer to rely only on yourself? Why?

I have talked to my therapist at length. No, I don’t like asking people for help. Let’s ask Dale.

Hey, Dale. Turn off the TV for a second.

Can’t. Crudites are up by two, top of the eighth.


That’s a baseball team you invented because you haven’t decided where I live yet.

I thought I made you a Mets fan.

Did you? I don’t remember that.

Well, nevermind. Let me ask you a question.

Go ahead. Damn it, Manless! You bum!

Is it easy for you to ask people for help?

Buck-o, I get on my knees every day and ask God to help Manless get cancer. Ace pitcher, my ass.

No, but seriously. Like, do you ever ask Loretta for help.

Uh, I don’t know, do I? Every time you write about me, she ain’t around.

Well, now’s your chance. Let’s do some character building. Tell me about a time you asked Loretta for help.

Damn it!


Sorry. What do you want me to do?

Was there ever a time when you needed Loretta to help you with something, like, when you had to check your machismo at the door and ask her to get you through an ordeal?

You mean other than last week when Gonzales broke his ankle pinch hitting for Lopez?

Well, that’s not exactly—

—Cause let me tell you, I was nearly in tears.

Yeah, but, what about—

I’m sitting right here, in this chair, and even the play-by-play guys got his mouth shut for a change, the camera zoomed in on Gonzales while we wait for the skipper to trot on out there. And you could see it, in his eyes, him thinking he’s two years past retirement as it is, maybe he gets a place in Arizona, or Miami. And Loretta walks in, and she goes Dale, you’re awful quiet, and I look at her, she ain’t the gal she used to be, but she’s still a decent broad, and I’m just lookin’ at her, like I’m that damned manager, and this chair and my sunken chest and how my knees hurt when I get up in the morning and it takes longer to chew on a steak than it used to, and you can’t smile at people on the bus causer they’ll either mace ya or ask ya to sign some petition to save the baby seals from getting evicted, or whatever, and Loretta’s not the kinda dame you ask to do menial things, I mean, I’m the man of the house but I can get up to get my own beer, you know, but there I am, and there she is, and she’s closer to the ice box anyway, so maybe this one time I ask her and she can hear it in my voice how sad I am, and maybe we have a moment, and it’s nothing like when we were kids but it’s something, and then later in the middle of the night she’ll lean over and she’ll whisper, let’s move to Phoenix and I won’t think it’s a stupid idea this time, I’ll think its her way of trying to take care of me, make sure I’m okay.

Uh, oh. Um. Yeah. So, uh… did you?

Did I what?

Ask her for the beer?

Nah. She’s my wife, not my maid.

I see.

Besides, I ask her to get me one, she starts counting them. I don’t need that kinda help, do I, buck-o?

No, I guess not.

Platonic Canine

Postaday for June 10th: A Dog Named BobYou have 20 minutes to write a post that includes the words mailbox, bluejay, plate, syrup, and ink. And one more detail… the story must include a dog named Bob

Bob’s kinda shaky these days, but he still tries. I open the blinds in the morning and he opens one eye against the light. Then I unlock the door and he gets up. It takes him a while, but he manages it, and I hold the door for him the whole time. Once I didn’t– I was in a hurry to get the mail, and when I came back, he was back in his spot like nothing happened. And when I filled his bowl, he didn’t move. And when I opened the door later, he didn’t move. Finally I had to resort to giving him a few burnt pancakes with too much syrup, and he gave me a lick on my hand. His way of forgiving me. Ever since then, I hold the door until he makes it out.

He’s shaky but he still surprises me. We went out one morning to see of the circulars had arrived, and a bluejay swooped down to give me some hassle. Arthritis, blind in one eye, muzzle gone to white, but Bob let out a woof and was in the air, swatting that asshole down like it was nothing. “What the hell, Bob! You ain’t no cat!” He just sort of panted the way dogs do with their tongues to show you a grin.

A walk out to get the mail in morning, Bob watering the one tree in the yard, leaves a deposit in a spot right next to the trashcan so it’s easy for me to dispose of. A walk in the evening to water the same tree, no deposit this time, just me and Bob looking at those mountains way off yonder. Was a day when that was all we could see. Now we see it over the top of houses, that new neighborhood they built in the valley.

Then it’s me and the circulars, looking for deals. I eat my apple slices and let Bob lick the plate. I watch some baseball, take a nap, Bob takes a nap, the TV takes a nap. Naps are good. Get up and wash the ink of my fingers. Maybe have a bowl of soup. What else are me and Bob going to do all day?

I wish I could hand you a twist to this story, like my wife died or I got some serial killer buried in my back yard, or I won the lottery but there’s no amount of money that can make Bob young again. Sorry about that. Just a little snapshot of an old man and his old dog, the easy chair I spend most of my day in, the worn spot on the rug where Bob spends his.

Either you love dogs or you don’t. If you don’t, you can stop reading now. If you do love dogs, think they’re pretty much the best, let me ask you this question: when you picture old Bob, what kinda dog do you see?

Avast, Ye Lazy Do-Gooder

Postaday for June 9th: On the EdgeWe all have things we need to do to keep an even keel — blogging, exercising, reading, cooking. What’s yours?

Put me on a three master out in the middle of the Atlantic at half-past two in the morning, lightning on the horizon and fifty-foot swells smashing cargo in the hold left and right, and you’ll find me up in the crows’ nest, lashed to the rail and cursing God with every pitch and kick. That wing beneath water belong to no angel, and if she leans out too far she’ll swallow up the next gust, send a shiver up the timber and snap your sheets. Sails turned into sarcophagi but I won’t budge from spot until the mizzen breaks in two and Davy Jone’s lighting candles for another dark party.

Keeping an even keel is one thing. But usually it’s out of whack before I even know it. I’m no prophylactor, me, but then I’m blessed with a mellow life and have little need for balms and calming teas. I get up, walk into my office, do some work, so some writing, play some games, more work, more writing. Maybe I’ll go for a run. Maybe I’ll watch a cheesy horror movie on the Netflix. I’ll have an apple for a snack, a turkey sandwich for my lunch, and when my wife comes home, help her make something nutritious. I go to sleep and I don’t dream about anything.

I dread shipwrecks, but I’m never more productive than when crisis is on the rise and I’m forced to be at my best. Combine that with my otherwise laid-back life and you can see why I don’t need to keep my keel even. I like to walk around and take pictures of flowers while listening to podcasts. I like to browse Reddit or play Hearthstone and do Ken-Ken puzzles while I’m waiting for my opponent to take his turn. I’ve been known, now and again, to sit in a shady spot on a hot day and drink beer and eat potato chips and read really excellent novels. These aren’t palliatives; these are life goals.

My wife’s keel keeper is terrible TV. My brother’s is online slot machines. My dad does woodworking, my mom has her crochet. One guy I know rides his bike everywhere. Another gal I know posts political rants on Facebook. And then there’s marijuana, something I can’t do, even thought it’s legal, because my wife’s a Fed and it’s not legal for her. Are any of these world beaters? Do any of this smack of something deep and utterly human?

Neither do my past-times. Keeping an even keel, then, is just succumbing to an urge for peace. That’s well and good— but sometimes I wonder what irony there is in craving peace too much, too hard. Like running hard to go get more oxygen. Shouting at someone for silence. You see my point. We’re all of us vibrating dots in a petri dish, some of us swimming straighter than the others, are keels nice and even, but even the biggest dish is just so big and there’s always an edge to strike and bounce off of. Maybe the wigglers got it right— they never go anywhere, and never hit a thing.

And The View Was Of a Concrete Wall

Postaday for June 8th: Blogger in a Strange LandWhat’s the strangest place from which you’ve posted to your blog? When was the last time you were out and about, and suddenly thought, “I need to write about this!”?

Well I’m a wimp. I never blog from anywhere except home sweet home. Not that I am opposed to on-the-go blogging. I just don’t have my act together when I’m out and about. I suppose I could blog with my phone, but… I’m a tactile writer, I take energy and inspiration from the clickety-clack of the keyboard. Sliding my thumbs over a tiny screen, squinting with myopia the whole time, doesn’t inspire.

The closest I’ve ever come to “exotic blogging” would be the time I was in Puerto Rico in the middle of a DBTC effort on DBTC stands for “Don’t Break the Chain” and was inspired by advice Jerry Seinfeld offered on being productive (basically, you pick a daily task, and mark a calendar everytime you complete it. Soon you have a row of Xs, and that should motivate to keep going, so that you don’t break the chain.” is a website where you are encouraged to write— you guess it— 750 words, a kind of daily writing warm-up. The website gives you a badge for consecutive days, and I’m a sucker for that sort of thing.

So there I was everyday in our hotel room just outside of Old and New San Juan, desperate for a wifi signal, tapping away on a small portable keyboard that was bluetoothed to my Ipad. I wasn’t blogging back then, just writing, and not anything readable, either. Yes, if it occured to me, I wrote about what we did on the trip. But I’m not one for travel-logging, usually. So moistly I just typed whatever.

I should, though. I should get into off-site blogging. Goodness knows I’ve explored the necessities. I’ve got the aforementioned portable keyboard, and another foldable keyboard, and a few tablets, and that Ipad, and another iPad Mini, and a Chromebook, as well as my work-laptop. Heck, I’m in line to upgrade my phone to one of those bigger Samsung Note behemoths, which is basically a tablet unto itself. There’s no reason not to exoto-blog!

Except, of course, that I don’t take inspiration from being elsewhere. I’m an insular writer, and I work from home, so I don’t need to be out and about, don’t need to decide if I should sacrifice blog time to get things done.

Maybe I should try anyway. On Tuesdays I got to a bar to drink beer with friends. Maybe once I get that giganto-phone I can start going an hour early and see what happens. Hey, whatever I come up with can;t be more than this sad entry! (My apologies for that, by the way).

The Nose Knows (Dale)

Postaday for June 7th: Super SensitiveIf you were forced to give up one sense, but gain super-sensitivity in another, which senses would you choose?

How do ya mean, forced? What are you gonna do, hold a gun to me head and holler “Awright, lose the sense of smell, jerk-face, or you’ll be sleepin’ wit da fishes. Don’t worry, you’ll get better eyesight outta da deal.” Or perhaps I’m to go under the knife. “Observe, Dr. Malicious, as I sever Dale’s optic nerves and reattach them to his sense of taste. And voila! The next superior sommelier is created! Muahhaahhaaa!” Gimme a break.

Actually, thinkin’ about it, I suppose it would be awright to go blind if I got an uptick in the other senses. Like that Daredevil kid. Of course, firstly, he’s in his twenties, and on the other hand, he’s a comic book hero. But I’d sign up for that. I been around my fair share of decades, and I’ve seen plenty. Blind me if it’ll make my hearin’ better.

I’m guessing most folks won’t want to lose their sense of sight. But what is there to look at? With hearing, you still got your bands from the 70s (before music went stupid), you still got your baseball games on the radio. What else do ya need?

But Dale, you’re sayin’, this is your first post about not hittin’ the strip clubs when your wife is outta town. You’d give that up if you went blind. Well, thanks, ya jerk, for bringin’ up strippers when I wasn’t going to. And lemme tell ya, I can still go. Might be harder to get there, but I’d still know the bartender, and you don’t need eyes to enjoy properly made martini.

You don’t need ears, either, so I don’t know if I’d pick enhanced hearing if I was going to lose my eyesight. My wife makes a mean meatloaf. And I’m sayin’ mean in the sense that it calls you names to your face while you’re eating it and then maybe tries to break your car windows when you’re done. So I don’t know if having a better sense of taste would be such a good thing for me either. Who knows, maybe there’s some kinda wonderful spice down there underneath all the char. My luck it would be Turmeric. We went to Goa a few years ago on some kind of vacation and she brought back a gallon of the stuff.

And I’m not so sure what having an improved sense of touch would get me. Maybe I’m at the Dancing Bare and Carla comes by for her tip and I reach in and I can tell just by feeling if I’m grabbin’ a Washington out of my wallet or a Jackson. I mean I know Carla’s got the kid and she’s working on her Associates but I give her a twenty just once and I look like a creep tryin’ to buy somethin’. Then again, I figure blind guys got special dividers for their bills so who needs touch?

I guess I’ll go with smell, then. Yep, gouge out my eyes, and make my snout a thing of beauty. Dogs live by, all the animals do, and they been around a lot longer than we have. I told you Loretta makes a mean meatloaf but up my olfactory and now I’m picking out the perfume she puts on when we go to church but wears off by Sunday’s chicken roast. I’m smellin’ the shampoo in her hair, the metals in her lipstick, the sweat on her upper lip because I don’t care what temperature it is, putting on the AC in April just feels wrong. Global warming, am I right?

That’d be good for a laugh, anyway. I like hearin the old girl laugh. She come walztin by and I’d smell soap and I’d say something like, “Wash your hands again, Lo? You gettin’ all OCD on me, woman?” And it’s cause she’s visiting the ladies more often now but she couldn’t admit that and I’m blind so I can’t see her blush but maybe I can smell it.