--SHE TRIED HARD TO HELP ME, SHE PUT ME AT EASE. SHE LOVED ME SO NAUGHTY, MADE ME WEAK IN THE KNEES
…As you know, I was in Portland/Vancouver for the weekend. It was both fun and magical. Tomorrow morning, barring my spinning out on sheets of roadway ice, I’ll head to the airport and then to Washington, D.C. for a writers conference along with 10,000 other writers, about 1,000 of who I’ll actually know. Sometimes it seems like all I do is screw around.
…I hope you have a great week, that you are safe and warm. I’ll be back here on Monday.
…I’m not sure what I’m going to read, but I’m pretty sure it’ll be this, a story that took 1st place in the Flash Fire Fiction Category (winning $100, hey it’s something, better than a bruised rib) and is the closest I come to writing a happy ending:
When the fire burned down our garage my sister could only ask about the waterbed. “You can’t burn a waterbed, can you?” she asked, her goggle eyes big as pucks.
She was mine alone to love, like a strange painting or the neighbor’s lonesome cat. Our father was always away and our mother, well, she didn’t care for retards.
The man who interviewed me didn’t work for the fire department and I could tell he thought I was the culprit because he charged forth in hot pursuit of a motive. I could have given him plenty.
The smell of a fire gets on something; it bores in and can’t ever really be removed. Rank skunk spray you can get rid of, but fire, it smolders in the fabric forever.
Jeanie was sis’s name but we changed it up, always with the letter J though: Jezebel, Janine, Jacqui, Junebug. She rather enjoyed the idea that she could become so many different people so easily.
When my mother was at Mr. Taylor’s house comparing bird watching stories, Jeanie liked nothing more than to sneak up to my parent’s bedroom and flop about on the waterbed. She became a mermaid on that thing, so happy. A queen being ferried betwixt regal landscapes. A damsel on a raft. A silly girl, not so smart, who at least knew how to swim.
When our parents divorced the first thing to go besides Pop was that waterbed. Mother stabbed it to death with an ice pick and later the carpet man spent the better part of a day fixing things, flooring-wise. He even carried the rubber matt out to the garage like some defeated sea creature slung over his shoulders.
I buried it and it’s in a safe place now. Jeanie and I step over it every morning on our way to school, me to mine and Jeanie to her special one. I tell her someday she’ll swim again and, as she smiles, I think she believes me.