--HERE’S NOT HERE
…Yesterday I got three rejections by 10:00 in the morning. I was figuring that after having had almost 850 pieces published, for every one published probably five others are rejected, so in total over the last six years I’ve been rejected 4,250 times.
That’s a lot of No’s.
Rejection doesn’t usually bother me. It’s part of the business and yesterday it didn’t bother me either. One of the rejections was one of the nicer replies I’ve received. Usually they just send a form letter.
…I got new music yesterday. I haven’t bought music in a long time.
Here’s what came:
And Ryan Adams doing a cover of Taylor Swift’s entire “1989” album.
I’m excited to get to it all. You can only listen to Daws for a few thousand times before even they start to get tiring.
…Tomorrow I’m going to my daughter’s 5th grade class again. I’m going to read a story I wrote about them and their teacher. It’s kind of potty mouth humor, but I think they’ll like it. Hope so anyway.
Here it is:
A Case of Something Very, Very Bad
Mr. Arthur did not sleep well. No, he certainly did not. Prior to bed time, he’d found himself a bachelor, his wife having been out of town, which meant Mr. Arthur had to fend for himself, which meant he either had to go out for dinner or else make a meal for himself, something he loathed because Mr. Arthur enjoyed cooking about as much as doing time in prison.
He opened the fridge and found a bowl of left over hamburger that was gray-colored and resembled dog food. It even smelled a bit like dog food, or maybe dog poo. Still he was starving and so Mr. Arthur fried the dingy-looking hamburger up in a pan and melted cheese over the top, got a plate from the cupboard, added some chips and had himself a fairly large portion of nachos, pausing to burp in between bites.
In bed that night the nachos went to work, causing his stomach to tighten and cramp. It felt like some kind of hideous monster was trapped inside his gut, trying to claw its way out with sharp fingernails. He didn’t sleep. He threw up twice. He had the worst case of gas in the history of people having gas, a fireworks show constantly going off in his underwear.
The next morning, he considered calling in sick but it was the last day of school, which also meant it was Ms. Kuntz’s last day in his classroom, and it seemed to Mr. Arthur that missing Ms. Kuntz’s final day would be insulting, and besides Mr. Arthur rather liked Ms. Kuntz.
So he showered and dressed and threw up again and drove to school, his gut still twisting, hoping he wouldn’t have an accident in his shorts.
On the drive a fluffy looking squirrel darted across the road in front of Mr. Arthur and he had to swerve to avoid running over the pesky little thing. Doing so meant he inadvertently crossed into the opposite lane for a moment, but there weren’t any on-coming cars, and so Mr. Arthur felt relieved until he saw blue and red lights in his rearview mirror, then heard the sound of a siren.
He tried to explain to the cop about the squirrel, how that had been the reason for his reckless driving, but the police officer didn’t seem to care and instead he gave Mr. Arthur a ticket for $135. Plus, in Mr. Arthur’s haste to get to school, he’d forgotten to put on his seat belt, so the cop gave Mr. Arthur an additional ticket costing $124.
It wasn’t even 9:00 by the time Mr. Arthur finally got to school and the morning had already cost him over $250, not to mention all the vomiting and really disgusting diarrhea he’d suffered through.
As usual, Ms. Kuntz was there already, perky and happy to see Mr. Arthur. In turn, Mr. Arthur did his best to appear excited to see Ms. Kuntz, but his stomach was gurgling like a sick baby and he felt the diarrhea coming on again, so he darted down the hall to the restroom, hoping to make it to a stall on time.
This was really a bad case of something.
“Stupid nachos,” Mr. Arthur said to his reflection in the restroom mirror. “I’m never eating nachos again for the rest of my life.”
In the mirror he saw that his skin had turned a dull shade of green, like pond scum, a skin tone similar to Shrek’s. There were circles under his eyes and he was sweating so bad huge wet rings lined the armpits of his shirt.
Back at class, the kids trundled in one by one---Ashley, Jack and Callie, who liked fantasy and Lord of the Rings, Alia whose favorite place was Paris, “Bay-Jay” Cooper, Harmony with her My Little Pony bag, Katie and Jillian, who would rather not be at school at all, Hannah who loved fashion and architecture, Galen, Ryoko and Ivana. Phillip was playing with a Rubik’s cube, Damian was sorting Pokemon cards, Nate was tossing a ball, Amelia was dreaming of horses, Ania was eavesdropping on Harmony, Adis was punching Cooper on the arm, David had his nose stuck in a book, Angel and Nate were talking about how much they love the Seahawks while Levi was saying he hated the Seahawks but loves the Steelers, Kelsey was wearing pink, her favorite color, Elise was singing softly to herself while dreaming of becoming an actress, Ava was thinking the same thing, Lindsey was doodling pictures of cats, while Shaheer was drawing a picture of everyone doing what they were doing.
Ms. Kuntz turned to Mr. Arthur, saying, “You don’t look so hot,” to which Mr. Arthur burped up a little cloud of souring smelling nachos.
In unison, the whole class went, “Ewww!”
Ms. Kuntz recommended that Mr. Arthur go home and stay in bed, or see the school nurse but Mr. Arthur said it was important for him to be present on Ms. Kuntz’s last day.
“Okay,” Ms. Kuntz said, “but just don’t throw up on anyone, including yourself.”
It was a long day for Mr. Arthur who spent many a time zipping to the restroom in the nick of time.
Toward the end of the afternoon, a visitor arrived with a bottle of pink Pepto Bismal.
“Have a swig of this,” the visitor said, “and you’ll be like new in no time.”
Mr. Arthur was desperate, so he drank the gluey pink stuff and waited for the evil nacho mess inside his gut to surrender.
Soon enough Mr. Arthur did feel better, though he was still sweaty, smelly and bit gray-colored around his face.
He got in front of the class and thanked Ms. Kuntz and the kids applauded and asked Ms. Kuntz to sing for them and she did, singing a Rhianna song and swaying around like she was blind or a crazy person while everyone cheered.
A little after that Mr. Arthur’s phone rang. It was his wife, who was back from her trip earlier than expected.
“Come home, Gary, I’ve missed you,” she said.
“All right,” Mr. Arthur said. “I’ll be there in a jiff.”
“By the way,” Mrs. Arthur said, “what did you do with the kitty litter in the fridge?”
Mr. Arthur’s eyes bugged out. “Kitty litter! Kitty litter?! Who puts kitty litter in the fridge?!”
“Well,” Mrs. Arthur said, “I knew you wouldn’t take out the garbage while I was gone, and I didn’t want to smell the house up. I wanted you to have a nice, relaxing time.”
Mr. Arthur wiped his forehead which was still sweating slightly. “Oh, I did have a nice time. In fact, I had a wonderful time. I made my own dinner, watched The Simpsons and had the most restful sleep ever,” Mr. Arthur said, trying to make the image of the kitty litter nachos disappear. “But next time you leave,” Mr. Arthur told his wife, “I think I’ll order pizza.”