Saturday, May 31, 2008

I was really wanting to work on flash, but a news story threw me into short story mode. I'd had this story brewing about a hidden clan of blue people in Appalachia, and then Brazil(stupidly in my opinion) released those pictures of the previously uncontacted tribes in the Amazon Basin. So, my Hidden Holler blue people story started coming out and I had to grab ahold of the laptop and hold on. I'm not sure it's literary, but it's really fun.

Anyway, I'm concerned about the release of those photos. They showed the tribesmen shooting arrows at the airplane taking the pictures. What must they think? At any rate, I'm sure somewhere there are spiritually greedy missionaries drooling to go "help" the poor souls. Brazil says it wants to protect these four tribes that are threatened by bringing the attention of the world to their plight.

Is the Brazilian government on crack?

If they honestly wanted to help these people they would have set up preserves and kept them secret. Because now some determined idiot is going to want to go there, give them smallpox and religion.

Wild humans should be kept wild, I say.

Sorry. Would you care for some Porn and Donuts? You've come here and I haven't offered you a thing. What must you think.

Kellie was officially unemployed, as was Lucius. She quit her job at a whitewater rafting company after a guide was arrested for selling hydros to an undercover TBI agent. Kellie saw it as a business decision, but she gave up her free housing when she quit. Her real talents lay elsewhere.

Kellie found Tenncare patients with pain medication scripts, and then she connected them with dealers. She took a cut from the top of the sale, sometimes in drugs and sometimes in cash. She thought of herself as a sort of social service worker, since these people needed the money to get by. She certainly needed the money, and she wanted the drugs.

They fired Lucius a few months ago from Miss Lucy’s Wild West Rodeo Show and Dinner Theater. It was a sweet gig while it lasted. The show featured a chicken dinner served without cutlery. For twenty-five bucks a head, you ate your broasted chicken with your bare hands while costumed rodeo riders galloped around the arena chasing cattle, pigs and goats in front of you. It was an elegant evening filled with food and livestock.

Lucius had a bottle of oxycontins in his western shirt pocket that night. His job included hitching the horses to the wagon that carried students from Pee Wee’s Modeling and Beauty School. He checked the traces and handed the reins to the driver each night before the wagon entered the arena.

His bottle of oxycontins fell out and rolled under the little girls’ seats before he could leap clear of the wagon. Lucius dived to retrieve them. That was how he ended up in a fast moving horse-drawn wagon with a chubby twelve-year old beauty queen perched, crotch first, on his face.

Seven hundred fifty guests witnessed the incident that earned Lucius his pink slip. There was a scandal.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Sorry, no food today. You know, guys--I'm not eating much but raw fish and udon soup these days. I've become addicted to bonita flakes--anyway, I promise the very first food porny thing I come across, I will do another FPF. I did have lunch this past week at one of those new Japanese buffets that are starting to pop up here in the Southeast. Yeah--I know, you've had them everywhere where else for years now. Anyway--it looks like it's going the way of the Chinese buffet restaurant--perverting a basically healthy cuisine to cater to American tastes. I took my library book--Isabel Allende's Daughter of Fortune--and took my time sampling things and drinking tea. Why is their jello so delicious and ours so awful? I must learn how to make that coconut jello.

I had a wonderful photo op today, ruined by putting my camera in a safe place. This very handsome black snake was in the yard, so I tried to move it along so the dogs wouldn' t get it. I have had meeces and any critter that eats them is a friend of mine. So, dogs caught on and harassed snake up on the porch where it climbed a hanging plant. Anyway, it was gone by the time I found the camera--so you'll have to do with this photo of me with scary parrots.

There is an interesting black snake tale that I've heard. These big black snakes are said by some to develop white spots and give off poisonous fumes. A snake miasma--if you will. It will make you very sick they say. I grabbed this guy by the tail and tried to pull him away--with all the appropriate squeaky girl noises--and he did have a weirdly unpleasant smell--unlike the regular snake smell. If you've kept snakes you know about that musty sweet smell.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

This piece was reworked into a flash and has been accepted for publication with artwork by Writer's Eye Magazine. In keeping with the SMB's policy, rough drafts or source material leading directly to published work are removed from the blog. You will be given a link where you may access the story when it is published.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

You know, when I was a make-up artist I used to like to take pictures of people like me with our dreadful injuries. Research. Anyway--that's the lower part of the bleed--it goes all the way up to my shoulder. I'll be glad when it's finally well enough for me to fix the lawnmower and mow my grass. My yard looks like a hay field and the goat can't keep up with it.

Anyway, I was back at UT today to see the eye surgeon. No, the sight's not coming back, but at least the swelling in the retina is going down. This visit was much better than the last trip.

Been very busy getting ready for the stuff being published next month. Catching up on submissions, collecting rejections--same old stuff.

Monday, May 26, 2008


So, Saturday I go pick up spaghetti dinners to share with my friend. Her son bought us tickets. It's okay--the standard sort of spaghetti dinner one expects from a charity event. It's not vermicelli, it's those big ropes of pasta. The decision is made for me to go earlier than later.

"It's sort of hard to mess spaghetti up."

"I've seen it done."

But it's nice to share a meal and it was good. Particularly since I went early.

There, down the cliff in the road are the guineas. This is where they disappeared to. The locusts started up right around the time they disappeared. Locusts are what we call cicadas here. I think the guineas went in search of them--imagining in their tiny brains buffets of fat juicy cicadas emerging from their shells like oysters.

What they found was potato beetles and larvae. They'd been in the neighbor's garden gorging themselves. I despaired of seeing them again. I felt certain they'd just keep on chattering their way to Del Rio--aimlessly wandering and every once in a while wondering where they left their car keys.

"If you have to shoot them, that's fine. Just bring me a carcass. There is a dish I want to try."

"They've got blue meat, you know?"

"Really? I knew it was dark. Blue? Really? Gotta see that."

Sunday, I wake up and they are perched on the roof of the house like turkey buzzards. I wanted to give them some feed to reward them for miraculously figuring out they belonged here. But Max and Shadow harassed the two who were not on the roof and the entire lot flew up to the safety of the chicken shack. They've been up there eating bugs. I really need them here in the yard eating ticks. But the dogs just don't know what's good for them.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

It seems to have been the potatoes that did it. I'm not a huge potato eater. I like one now and again, but I got a bag of them to make some curry with and had the leftovers stored in a cabinet. It takes me a while to eat that many potatoes.

Anyway, I saw evidence of a mouse in my kitchen--hanging out around the potatoes. I don't know why it wants potatoes, but that seems to be what it is going for. But it's too late, the mouse is here and this is war.

So, I take three hours to do a cleanup yesterday that would normally take 30 minutes. What I really need to do is take everything out of the cabinets and figure out where the little bugger got in--but it takes two functional arms to do that.

I've set traps and put Havoc under the house and in places the dogs can't get to. But it really likes potatoes. Not sure if it's going to go for the Havoc. Getting rid of the potatoes today. At least it hasn't figured out how to get to the upper food storage shelves.

Here's a new installment of Porn and Donuts. Enjoy.


He met her a month ago at the dentist’s office. Their eyes met across the cracked linoleum of the waiting room under a sofa-sized portrait of a hunting scene. She smiled, revealing a sexy space between her front teeth and the dark place on the edge of her smile.

“I’m Kellie, Do I know you?”

“No, but you sure should.”

A cheerless technician called Lucius’ name and he went to pay in blood and pain for what he had come for.

The dental profession referred to Dr. Jeffers’ favorite tools as extraction forceps. Everyone else called them pliers. His second favorite tool rocked teeth loose in their sockets before the extraction forceps came into play. They called that a wedge. His clinic specialized in extracting teeth in an assembly line operation. He did not ask questions. He pulled teeth. For fifty dollars, he extracted one tooth and charged twenty-five dollars for each additional tooth. He gave his patients a script for thirty #10 hydrocodones and the antibiotic of their choice when they left.

Lucius came for the hydrocodone. He sat down in the dental chair, upholstered in cracked vinyl. The rusty metal fittings of the equipment and spit-flecked chrome creaked as he settled. Dr. Jeffers strode in, applying the Novocain injections with such speed that Lucius did not have time to flinch.

The dentist ripped off his gloves and delivered his parting shot before marching off to his next victim.

“Meth mouth.”

“E’s ‘ot!” Lucius protested as his face went numb and he lost the ability to blink his right eye.

Lucius had bad teeth, but they were bad from chewing assorted narcotics like they were Flintstones vitamins. This, combined with a steady diet of Mountain Dew, Pink Snowball cakes and Milky Way Bars rotted his teeth prematurely. The tooth pulled today had nothing wrong with it. He had run out of bad teeth to pull.

He looked across the hall into the next room. The girl, Kellie, was there and he could see her legs from the thighs down, resting on the dental chair. She kicked and twisted, tensing in evident pain. Her heels thumped against the footrest rhythmically.


Lucius became aroused and moved his coat to cover his lap. He tried to lick his lips but his tongue had gone numb. Her feet stopped drumming and Jeffers rushed out of the room, snapping off a pair of gloves.

Jeffers pried open Lucius’ mouth and retreated in a matter of moments with a tooth. The taste of iron and salt hit the back of his throat and gauze padding slammed into the socket. Jeffers was gone from the room by the time Lucius sat up.

Kellie stood in the doorway with a handful of bloody gauze pressed to her mouth. She flushed and her eyes glinted a bit too bright. They made their way up to the checkout desk together, with their frozen faces and bloody gauze wads.

They collected the hydro scripts and went to the pharmacy, glancing shyly at each other.

Friday, May 23, 2008

No food today. Sorry. My repertoire of one-armed dishes is very limited. The only thing working on my left arm is my fingers and only by propping the arm up am I able to type.

But I've turned the corner for now. Some of the swelling has gone down and I have a whopping 6 inches of ROM in my elbow--no function yet so I can't move it without help, but it is at least slightly movable.

I'm sorry to have been so whiny this week, but it's been really bad. Really bad. I've not at all lived up to the expectations of my hero, The Black Knight.

It's just a flesh wound...

I move for no man.
So be it!
Aaah!, hiyaah!, etc.
[ARTHUR chops the BLACK KNIGHT's left arm off]
Now stand aside, worthy adversary.
'Tis but a scratch.
A scratch? Your arm's off!
No, it isn't.
Well, what's that, then?
I've had worse.

Thank you all for the comments and sweet thoughts you've sent my way. I appreciate it and when I'm feeling better I'll try to go around visiting everyone. For those of you who were wondering what this thing was about--without showing you my gall bladder scar--the short version is: I have lupus complicated by a rare clotting disorder. I can bleed and clot at the same time. My arm is bleeding internally and it hurts like a sumabitch. The issue is with my doctors who disagree on how much suffering they would like me to endure before referring me to a specialist specifically for this issue.

I hobbled up to the guinea enclosure and left the door open for them. I can't risk another fall and am limiting my outdoor activities for the time being. So--I can't haul their water and feed to them. They marched past the house this morning--waking all and sundry at the crack of dawn and then went down the mountain. Not sure if they were here long enough to bond. Hopefully they'll be back to roost this evening after filling up on ticks in the woods. Or they may just stay down there, slaves to their tiny tiny brains, wondering where they came from and how they got there.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The sling on my arm is navy blue and I worry briefly about the fact that my dress is black because, you know, you never wear navy and black together. I get up at six to make it to my appointment with Dr. Cooper at 9:45, knowing it will take me an hour to get that dress past my arm and the sling back on. I leave on my sixty-mile drive at 8:00.

I cannot take anything for the blinding pain because I must drive. I draw from a stable of mostly useless techniques learned over three years of therapy in pain control and hope I can maintain the level of concentration needed for them.

I arrive 45 minutes late for my appointment because they have shut down I-40 through Knoxville. I know this but am not worried because they supposedly put signs up. I couldn't find any signs. I get terribly lost.

The office staff at Dr. Cooper's office decides a punitive approach is called for to deal with this overweight woman who had the temerity to show up late in her badly clashing dress and arm sling.

Mind you, by this point, because of being lost my ability to ignore the pain in my arm is greatly diminished.

I apologize and explain that the signs and billboards were not there at Strawberry Plains.

"Yes, they were."

"No they weren't--or at least they weren't where I could see them."

I know this because I slowed down there to scan the billboards looking for the directions.

"Well, you just didn't see them. They were there," she snips nastily at me.

They talk among themselves behind the glass before threatening me with rescheduling. I can tell that they are indignant in the way office workers can be with the stupid people they have to deal with every day. I am that stupid person. Their stupid person of the day.

They tell me to sit down.

At this point my composure breaks as the last shred of control over my pain evaporates. I am too fragile and hurt to deal with their punishment. I grab a box of tissue and begin to do the thing I fear most. Weeping in public. I'm terribly embarrassed by it but I can't help it and I can't stop it. The pain in the arm is now completely out of control.

But they have not had their fill of punishing me yet. They call me over and tell me the doctor will see me but it will be the last appointment of the morning. I am fine with this. They refuse to give me any sort of time frame--at this point I'm wondering about how much worse the arm will get.

I go back to my chair and my crying. I still can't stop it even though I try pressing my thumb and forefinger hard into my forehead--so hard it leaves marks. I am unable to cause a pain equal to or greater to the pain in my arm. I would need a knife to do that.

An elderly woman comes up to me with a box of tissue. The waiting room is full of elderly people because Dr. Cooper is an internist.

"I know you already have some tissue..." she starts, having exhausted all other excuses to approach me, "but you seem to be having a hard time."

She is sweet and generous and lovely and I cannot possibly regain my composure when someone is reaching out to me. You see, all I really want to do is stop hurting and crying.

But now I feel I must console this lady because she is upset for me.

She's done something quite brave since, for all she knows, I may not be an overweight woman in a black dress and mismatched arm sling having a bad day--I could be a dangerously unbalanced overweight woman in a black dress and mismatched arm sling about to have a psychotic break.

I try to explain that I'm late and my arm is so painful I can't concentrate--it makes no sense at all what I blurt out to her. So I thank her for her concern and there we are--me, sitting and crying and her standing there looking concerned but not knowing what to do. We are at an impasse.

At this point the office staff becomes concerned that I'm upsetting the old people. They hurriedly hand me a piece of paper and send me back. I tell them it's okay and I'm sorry for crying. I don't want to take anyone's place. I get it. Really I do. I was 45 minutes late and I deserve to be punished.

It was a short visit. They didn't want to see me again. I'm sure it's going to be a dreadful black mark on my record. They write up these things called patient encounter forms. I'm sure this one will be entertaining reading.

And it's all my fault for being late, lost, in pain, unable to stop crying and wearing a black dress with a navy blue arm sling.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I tried to sleep, but couldn't last night. My arm was on fire and my state of mind not good. So, I called 911 and asked that an ambulance come and get me.

The pain was the worst I had ever felt. I am on very intimate terms with pain. It was worse than pancreatitis, worse than appendicitis--worse than having my chest split open. I began to fear that I would lose the use of that arm, my left one.

They gave me a shot of dilaudid and it took a long time to work. For a moment, I thought I would be left with that burning, but finally I stopped yelping and crying and rested there in the cubicle of the ER. This morning they did an ultrasound. No clots, but big pockets of blood just sitting there under my skin.

Betsy came and picked me up. Went to the pharmacy and got medicine more efficacious than the last. I'm home now and about to lay down. I'm tired.

More doctors tomorrow.

Monday, May 19, 2008


I will be taking it very easy on the blogging this week, folks.

I took a very bad fall on Sunday morning and messed my arm up really badly. They aren't actually sure it's not broken. Spent all day yesterday at the ER. The pain is actually very severe. Like seriously considering my exit strategy severe. The meds they gave me at the ER aren’t doing much to control it and other than making me aware that I’m blogging under the influence—well, I’m needing to spend a great deal of time using behavior modification techniques—which are sort of sucky for this level of pain anyway.

I go to UT on Wednesday and hope I can hold out till then. The ER guys in Newport were really great, but I got to tell you--these east Tennessee doctors have asked me to put up with more agony than my MUSC or Emory teams ever did. This is not a good place to have intractable pain. I've been begging these guys for years now to get me into a pain management program so that when this moment came, I wouldn't have to dust off the effing exit strategy. I've got more stuff to do, damnit.

Anyway, I can only write in the 45 minutes or so that the drugs pull the levels down from 9 to 7.

If anyone wants to guest blog this week for me—I’d be eternally—or at least for a good while—in your debt.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

I think the guineas were the last straw for the tiny Jack Russell terrier.

He lives on the verge of the property and up to this past week or so has stayed on his own turf. But he ventured down onto the property a few days ago, prompting the cockers to run willy-nilly to chase him back. My guys never leave here, but they are finding it harder since Monsieur JR insists upon taunting them from his high-up there place.

I call him Monsieur JR because he reminds me very much of the taunting French guard in Scene 8 of Monty Python's The Holy Grail. Shadow and Max don't quite know what to make of him. Their exchanges go something like this:

You don't frighten us, English pig-dogs! Go and boil your bottom, sons of a silly person. I blow my nose at you, so-called Arthur King, you and all your silly English k-nnnnniggets. Thpppppt! Thppt! Thppt!
What a strange person.
Now look here, my good man--
I don't wanna talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough wiper! I fart in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!
Is there someone else up there we could talk to?
No. Now, go away, or I shall taunt you a second time-a!
I just hope he doesn't have a cow up there to catapult, because I'm not really up for building a wooden rabbit right now.


I've decided to serialize Porn and Donuts here on the blog. It's not finished yet and I sort of need some reason to pick it back up. It's very long and unlikely to be published because of its novella length. And--if anyone wants to publish it--I'll only be doing it in installments here. And it still needs work. It's at 7500 words and still going at this point. I've got a feeling it's too long for most places to consider. Maybe in an anthology down the road. It will be here every Saturday. You will have to look for it on Saturdays, because it will be tucked at the end of a journal posting like this one so to fool the sploggers. It's an oddball sort of romantic comedy so it fits well in the space I wanted to do love stories. I'll be getting to those during the week quite soon--flashes.


Porn and Donuts--Part the First

The traffic zinged by like skeeters on crack. Lucius felt pavement, all grit and tar under him and rubbed his cheek against his pillow. The remaining teeth in his mouth felt like they wore little sweaters and when he smacked his tongue on the roof of his mouth, it stuck to the dryness. The sunlight burned through Lucius’ eyelashes and he blinked to clear the sand sticking them together. It took a few tries and he reached a dirty finger up to dig in the corners of his eyes. He sat up on the verge of the interstate at an exit ramp. His crotch itched, so he scratched it.

Lying on the ground beside him was his pillow, The Lola Delight Inflatable Pleasure Doll with five convenient orifices. He still did not understand why there were five. Three seemed plenty to him. Lola regarded Lucius with her surprised gaze and gaping oval mouth. Lucius thought he detected recrimination in her eyes, so he punched her in the belly. Her eyes bugged out at him.

“Shut up, bitch.”

He grabbed Lola around her middle and struggled to his feet. Walking up the exit ramp towards the Citgo, scuffing his feet along in the gravel, he knew what he needed. A Big Gulp and two Mrs. Freshley’s Pink Snowball cakes would ease the sweating and shaking. He offered his middle finger in salute to the hooting truckers who stared down at him and his doll. Soon he would be in a plastic booth with Kellie and all would be right in his world again.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I got's nothin'

Yang is getting much more active and annoying. I swear last night it was like having the Ballet Trocadera on the back porch. He does seem to enjoy running at full tilt then launching himself on or off the porch.

Guineas are evidently feeling at home enough to make a great deal of noise now and again. Each time they sound off, Max takes a turn around the yard.

I finished Murakami's Kafka on the Shore this morning. I'm so in love with this writer's work. I think it's the first time in a very long time I've actually wanted to own all a writer's books. For now, I'm getting them through interlibrary loan, but I'm thinking of making space on my bookshelf for him. Dashed it into the library and asked for The Wind-up Bird Chronicles.

I'm busy today. I'm now getting ready to write the conclusion of the changeling short story I've been writing. Dreamed up a way to end it. Finally got the title. It's Sugar Baby. This is the story prompted by the story fragment of the woman who gated her baby up in a cave and fed it a piece of candy a day till it died. But, I'm sort of putting a magical realism spin on it. It's an evil baby story. The mom's no great prize, but I loves me some evil babies.

Anyway, I gots nothin'. Bunch of stuff getting ready to come out in print soon.

Monday, May 12, 2008

So, I use part of my "stimulus" payment to buy a new vacuum cleaner. I've been vacuum cleanerless for many months since my trusty old upright gave up the ghost. Me and the broom have been tight ever since. S'okay since I have hardwood floors.

I choose the Eureka 4D bagless idiot wonder. I confess to being swayed by the cherry red color and powerful looking design. It's the second time I've given bagless technology a go. And once again I am underwhelmed. Right out of the box, it refuses to work in the upright position. It works fine from the attachments but given that it is an upright vacuum cleaner, one would expect the uprighted primary feature to be the one that works best. Anyway, it manages to smear dirt around and picks nothing up. It also weighs a ton.

My experience with bagless vacuum technology has become rather like the classic comedy sketch One Leg Too Few in which Dudley Moore and Peter Cook act out a casting call in which a one-legged man shows up to audition for the role of Tarzan.

Cook: Mr Spiggott - you are, I believe, auditioning for the part of Tarzan.
Moore: Right.
Cook: Now Mr Spiggott, I couldn't help noticing - almost at once - that you are a one-legged person.
Moore: You noticed that?
Cook: I noticed that, Mr Spiggott. When you have been in the business as long as I have, you come to notice these little things almost instinctively.
So, I call the Eureka people and the conversation goes something like this:
Rosie: Mr. Eureka - I bought a Eureka upright and it won't work in the upright position.
Mr. Eureka: Right.
Rosie: Now Mr. Eureka, I couldn't help noticing - almost at once - that an upright vacuum cleaner should most likely work in the upright position, but this does not.
Mr. Eureka: You noticed that?
Rosie: I noticed that, Mr. Eureka. When you have been sucking as long as I have, you come to notice when something doesn't suck almost instinctively.
We go around like this for a while. My argument is that it cannot possibly have a blockage unless one was placed there in the factory especially for me. His argument is that I have flushed tampons down it or some such nonsense and all I have to do is take a phillips head screwdriver and remove whatever was magically crammed up there the moment it was unboxed. Never mind that the screws are some weird star shape a phillips head won't fit in or that the refer to page 17 in the troubleshooting guide directs me to a Spanish language page.

Fortunately, Walmart has agreed to take back the offending vacuum cleaner so I don't have to take the thing to Morristown for service.

Anyway, I'm completely against bagless vacuums at this point. I'm not sure what Dyson is smoking that they think they can charge 400 bucks for one of these things. I'm convinced even the high end of these would be inferior to a vacuum with it's bag properly where it should be.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

She liked dogwood flowers and sunning herself until her skin was hot. You could smell the baby oil and iodine rising in the summer heat as she turned ever so slightly orange and freckled. She liked to fish and sat with her eyes closed holding onto her rod as if she could charm a fish to biting. My father patiently untangled the endless snarls she created in those Penn reels.

She laughed and accepted his rod to continue fishing, saying, "Gordian knot, again."

It was his way of tenderness though he sputtered and cursed about wasting tackle on her.

Then she would close her eyes again with that half smile tugging at the corner of her mouth. She lived on the verge of laughter.

She made pineapple and mayonnaise sandwiches on Sunbeam bread that became cold and mushy in the cooler. They were like sandwich pudding by the time we broke them out over the cobia hole in Port Royal Sound, but nothing was better in that blazing sun with the sharks circling our eels. She would hand me a Fresca before popping the top of her Schlitz Malt Liquor--so cold it had turned to beer Slushie.

Her humor and wit is what I remember best of her. Even at the end, with the cancer and the pain and the dying, she looked across the road from our house where a house trailer had been put and said, "See? I told you I would die if they put a trailer on our street. Now look at me!"

The main thing my mother left me was by myself.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

He passed ownership of the Golden Dynasty Buffet Discount Card to me before driving off in his white pick-up truck.

"Just four more dinners and you get one free," he said.

That was sort of a tradition with us. Scott called the Chinese the "Newport Country Club". The first time I went there was with Scott. I'm not sure how many of the red stamps on the back were from our shared meals, but I'm guessing most of them were from the two of us. I'd go in by myself once in a very great while if I had something to read, but honestly, it's not as fun eating alone as it is with a friend.

We hugged hard and he teared up. I have a delayed response to grief so I didn't feel that hungry hurt in the pit of my stomach until after the truck disappeared. But that is how I've always been. I nurse my wounds in the dark and silence.

We spent yesterday in town. We both got haircuts at Rubles. Scott ran into politico, Charlotte Leibrock who had heard about what happened. She told Scott she was sorry and that losing him was a loss to Cocke County. We went by the bank so I could give him the money all of you donated to him.

Scott wanted me to tell you all how much he appreciated your kind thoughts, wishes and donations.

"Yeah, my peeps is the bestest," I told him. He agreed. If you'd like to email him directly, his email is I'm not sure when he's going to find a computer to use, but he'll be able to check it eventually, I'm sure.

I'm going to miss him an awful lot. There is a quiet here now I wasn't aware of before.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Wildwood Flower

Wildwood Flower

I’ll twine ‘mid the ringlets
Of my raven black hair,
The lilies so pale
And the roses so fair,
The myrtle so bright
With an emerald hue,
And the pale aronatus
With eyes of bright blue.

I’ll sing and I’ll dance,
My laugh shall be gay;
I’ll cease this wild weeping –
Drive sorrow away,
Tho’ my heart is now breaking,
He never shall know
That his name made me tremble
And my pale cheeks to glow.

I’ll think of him never –
I’ll be wildly gay,
I’ll charm ev’ry heart,
And the crowd I will sway,
I’ll live yet to see him,
Regret the dark hour
When he won, then neglected,
The frail wildwood flower.

He told me he loved me,
And promis’d to love,
Trough ill and misfortune,
All others above,
Another has won him;
Ah, misery to tell;
He left me in silence –
no word of farewell.

He taught me to love him,
He call’d me his flower
That blossom’d for him
All the brighter each hour;
But I woke from my dreaming,
My idol was clay;
My visions of love
Have all faded away.

I've been doing some research connected with a graphics gig and thought I'd share this song with you. It's the original version from 1860. It's purty.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Poor Scott. I tell you what, the banjo music just won't stop playing for him.

Anyway, he crashed here last night so we could orchestrate him getting out of Tennessee altogether. I think he got a lot accomplished today. He should be back in South Carolina by this weekend--with an apartment--and a job. I suggested he put in for an emergency transfer, explaining the situation, and they found one for him in a few hours. Flowers Bakeries ROCKS!!! It's part-time, and he'll have to build back up to benefit status again, but it's at his same rate of pay.

I really believe this is for the best for him and it makes me feel good that he leaves here in better shape than if he had stayed. The itty-bitty, tiny little petty stupid people who did this to him will never have it so good. Life only gets worse for such people. I just really hate to see them give the Appalachian folk such a bad name--they perpetrate every negative stereotype of this place by their very existence. They are a shame and an embarrassment.

I just wish they would think before showing their asses. It makes it very hard for writers like me to write positively about them. The world can't help but think them backward and ignorant. How about lets try to show the world what is so wonderful about Appalachian folks for a change? Because there is quite a lot that is beautiful.

Anyway, had a sleepless night due to the guineas. They weren't the problem--Max was. Also, Max loves Scott and really wanted to sleep in the downstairs bedroom with him. But the snoring scared him. He barked all night. So this morning, guineas went up the hill to their own little guinea condo.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

I installed the new security system today. Guineas. Betsy gave me six.

If you aren't familiar with these birds, they are sort of prehistoric looking. They are from Africa. They are known for a number of things. They lay lovely spotted eggs that make great French toast. They have loud raucous cries that can be heard over long distances--they make these when anything in the slightest bit new appears in their vicinity. They will clear your entire farm of ticks. If you have pheasant in a restaurant, you are most likely eating one of these--they are all dark meat. Their young are called "keets". Unlike many domestic fowl, they do fly.

The other thing they are known for is their monumental stupidity.

These guys will be caged up here for six weeks since it takes that long for them to register a place as "home".

Max is so wildly happy about them that he's had to be tied up. He is already imagining lots of fun games to play with them.

Bebe Goat and I went to Betsy's for his "tutoring" with her burdizzo. She disbudded him for me too. He's pretty pissed but at this age he won't remember anything by tomorrow. Like most Nubians, he's pretty whiny so it's taking him a bit to get over it.

He now has a name. It is "Yang", for the perfectly formed Yang symbol on his forehead--his only white marking.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Eternity Where?

At some point in the wee hours of the morning, the sitemeter rolled over to 50,000. Most of those hits have happened in the past 18 months. So, even if TTLB demoted me from a marsupial to a reptile, the state of the blog is good! And TTLB has never been able to get it right on my site anyway.

There is this family cemetery near where I live. For some reason, they've parked their junk car collection around it. Not sure what that's about. Perhaps a memorial. I took a shine to this VW mini-bus.

Outsiders come here and are horrified by the sheer volume of dead cars. A collection of rusting old gentlemen will stretch for acres in some places. I like them in summer when the kudzu covers them and they peek out like senile children all headlights a-kilter and crazed windshields begging for rocks.

As far as I can tell, they are a form of wealth. Look at us, they say, wonder at the sight of our rusting heaps of autos! The Masai have their cattle. We gots dead cars. Lots of them.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Today I received a Chinese curse in my fortune cookie. I didn't eat it in hopes of it not coming true. I don't want my life to be any more thrilling than it has been. Scott almost got into a fist fight in the middle of the Chinese. Not his fault, the guy just wouldn't leave him alone and seemed determined to start something. Luckily, a sheriff's dept. employee was there to keep the idiot off of him.

On the way home, I saw a whorehouse they had painted then turned into a church. The placard on the outside said, "Jesus redeemed us from the scourge of the law." Am I the only one who sees the irony in that?

Happy Sunday.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

It has been a busy week this week. I’m facing a weekend of tired.

Yesterday I had three stories accepted by Keyhole Magazine for their issue # 3. They requested I also send a handwritten story in for their handwritten issue. Not sure if they will like that—despite my parochial school education, my handwriting is somewhere between Victorian cursive and doctor scrawl. I am a good doodler. Anyway, I’m very pleased to be accepted by a Tennessee publication. Go over and have a look at them—I think you will like what you see. There are some awesome writers in Issue # 2.

Earlier this week, one of my Southern spec fiction pieces went live on Static Movement. You might remember Carolina Special from last October's scary story cycle. It's a trip with a character based on my grandfather from Spartanburg, SC to Knoxville, TN in 1919. Along the way we encounter some of the ghostly denizens that populate the Southern Appalachians. If you haven't read it recently, the version up on Static is the final, polished version. I find myself in quite good company there, as well.

Scott came by yesterday and I printed off all of the comments from the blog. He asked me to hold the donations for him in my paypal account until he got into his new place. He has a lead on a farmhouse near his job. He’s just overwhelmed by the support, not only from all you guys, but many people here in the community have rallied behind him. This has done much to restore my faith in this community. There ARE angels here fighting the Three-Toe.

I’m hoping for him to do a guest post here on the blog. He wants to also do a letter to the editor at the Newport Plain Talk thanking all of those who have come forward to help him.

Yes, it is still a very dangerous place to live—it’s legendary for that—but the people who really count are good kindhearted folk. I worry a bit that my loyalty towards my friend might once again see me assuming the mantle of the Salman Rushdie of Grassy Fork(not for my elegant, complicated, sometimes enigmatic prose, mind you—but for the hillbilly fatwas laid on my head over the past year). But not speaking out against this terrible injustice and crime would not only be cowardly, but completely unlike me.

The investigation is in the hands of the FBI’s Federal Hate Crime Unit by my understanding. The local authorities do not seem to wish to be involved. That’s all I really know. I’m more interested in getting Scott the support he needs following this atrocity.

Bebe Goatie is doing fine. He’s starting to try out his jumping shoes.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Sweet Potato Fries and Onion Rings

Deep Frying 101

I have a confession to make. Until last week, I have never deep-fried anything. That’s right, Southerner to the core and have never used a deep fryer. It’s embarrassing.

Last week I purchased an inexpensive deep fryer because I wanted to try out my tempura skills. I now get it. Deep-frying is addictive. I’ve been picking up food items and thinking, gee, I wonder what would happen if I deep-fried this? I suspect this is how deep-fried Mars Bars came into being. The dogs are beside themselves with approval since I can’t actually eat this stuff beyond a bite or two.

It may not be surprising to other Southerners, since we use pan frying more often than not. I suspect many of us learned this working in fast food restaurants in high school. I was fired from Pizza Hut and never got to work at McDonalds. Food service was not my forte.

So, my deep-frying experiment has been something of a revelation and I thought I’d share what I learned—just in case there are some of you out there like me, who have been interested, but haven’t attempted this.

The best coating I found was self-rising flour mixed with ice water. I actually put crushed ice in the batter to keep it icy cold.


1. The oil needs to heat up very hot. Do not cover the fryer with a lid.

2. Dredge your food items with flour before dipping them in the icy cold coating.

3. Have lots of paper towel to drain.

I still don’t have the draining bit down. I’d like my tempura to be even lighter, but even so—they did turn out rather nicely.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

...that it's way past time for some...