For the most part, having children is AWESOME! There is – however – one small thing about kids that’s somewhat less than desirable; they’re germ mongers. It’s really not so bad when they’re little, but once they hit school age you send them off five days a week to swim in a veritable virus pool of ugly little bacteria with their little germ monger peers. What this means – for your ENTIRE household – is that you will then spend the next baker’s dozen of years cycling through damn near every minor nasty known to man. The worst part? No amount of vitamin C, zinc and/or Echinacea can entirely spare you from these lovely little illnesses; once you have kids, they’re just a part of the natural order of things.
Yep, there’s another cold/flu making its way through the house, and this one’s shaping up to be a real doozy. So far I remain uninfected, but history has already taught me how this works; I should remain healthy up until the girls are both over the worst of their symptoms, and then BAM!!! the bugs will get me! In the meantime, I can look forward to a few nights (like last night) where I barely get to sleep at all because Kara is waking up every hour or so in a fit. The poor little monkey gets pretty cranky when she’s sick, and this time around is no exception.
Ah well, it is what it is.
I meant to come back for a second posting yesterday, but (as per usual lately) I found myself short on time and couldn’t make it. No worries; that intended posting was just a ramble and rambling can be done at anytime… now works too.
For those of you who read ‘Treat of the Week’, I really wanted to point out a few (in my mind) interesting things about it. And what you ask, is that? Oh, I’m so glad you inquired! Though the story is fictional, there are some truths scattered throughout. Let’s start with the main concept of the story; the man who – completely out of the blue – comes home from work one Friday night to poison his family with milkshakes. This may or may not be a true story.
When I was a little kid, I overheard my uncle talking about just such an event – apparently perpetrated by some man he knew – and the story stuck with me. The reason I say that this ‘may or may not’ be a true story is that the uncle who told it is the same man who once told me that he accidentally ran over the Easter Bunny, and that we’d be having rabbit stew for Easter dinner in lieu of turkey. His credibility was instantly – and permanently – damaged in my mind when the Easter Bunny did in fact drop by that year with goodies. When I got older, I always meant to go down to the library to dig through the archives and find out if the story was true, but I just never got around to it. I don’t remember much of what he said about the tale back then – it was a long time ago – but I remember being a little suspicious of milkshakes for awhile.
The other thing about this story that you might find interesting to know is that we once lived three doors down from a man who – after discovering his wife’s infidelity – blew his brains out in the cab of his truck. The truck was parked out front of their house and a gaggle of junior high kids discovered the hideous mess on the way to the bus stop that morning.
I remember being incredibly pissed at the guy for being such a thoughtless twonk. Don’t you dare judge me for my lack of sympathy in the matter, I felt plenty bad for him as far as the disloyalty went; the entire neighbourhood knew about his wife’s indiscretions (she wasn’t exactly discrete about her affairs, and one of her paramours was a work buddy of her husband’s that would show up in a (marked) work truck five minutes after her husband left nearly every morning). I was also quite sad that he would be so broken by the discovery that he felt the only way out was suicide. He lost my sympathy when he opted to take his life out in the open where his body was almost guaranteed to be discovered by school kids. Hell, the moron had his own kids that could have just as likely discovered the grizzly scene. In pain or no, I found his way of dealing with the situation to be completely irresponsible.
The quote at the end was something I read in the newspaper once. It was stated by some guy that was on trial for killing his own family and I’m not entirely sure if I got either the quote or the man’s name exactly right. That too was a long time ago and I’m afraid my memory sucks at times. I’m not even sure how that quote worked its way into the last line; it certainly wasn’t where I was intending to wind up.
Now, I’m not overly fond of this story (but when am I, right?), but I do like the bones beneath it. It’s yet another tale that I might have to return to at some point to rewrite properly, but with this whole ‘flash fiction’ experimentation sort of thing, I’m limiting my time for both writing and editing the pieces. Besides – as this whole blog experience is teaching me – I know NOTHING about my own writing. I never really know what will or will not go over well, and I’ve been doing a reasonably good job (for me) of sharing whether I like the piece or not.
This is just a completely random fact to see who’s actually paying attention: I HATE ladybugs. Everyone I know seems to like these disgusting little creatures, but not I! They are just over glorified beetles, and beetles are one step away from being cockroaches; cockroaches are the most disgusting creatures (in my opinion) on this planet. As if that’s not a reason enough to hate them, they piss on you; double gross. My skin crawls just thinking about those ugly little bastards. The worst thing about not being a fan of ladybugs around here is that every spring/summer our yard (and sometimes even house) gets overrun with the damn things. It’s quite creepy.
Hmm, I’ve got about fifteen minutes left to myself before my sister and her kids get here, so I best try wrapping this up.
I have been desperately trying to catch up (and stay caught up) on at least my favourite blogs for the last week and a half or so, but I am definitely struggling with this. Please do not take my absence as abandonment! I will have some time later this afternoon (between unwanted company, tending to a sick toddler, cleaning the garage and sorting computer files – still working on getting everything in order on that note, and I’ve STILL not had much time to get my new computer set up to my liking) but I’ve already dedicated most of that time to one of my favourite blogs that I’m like a thousand posts behind on. Just know that I’m working on it!
My (hockey) team has been knocked out of the playoffs (SAD SAD FACE!!!) so at least my evenings (in theory) should start to open up a little more as April morphs into May. Though I’m not overly fond of spending a lot of time at my comp in the evenings, at least I’ll have more time to write.
Oh, last thing before I go… I just wanted to (officially) welcome back my beloved Gabriela Vargas!! Oh how I’ve missed you… can’t wait to read all about what you’ve been up to all month!
Okay, that’s it. This is me running away….
It was nearly six on a Friday evening when Joe found himself inside the Shell station paying for a tank of overpriced gas and wishing he was already home, stretched out on the couch, playing his favourite video game and putting another week of too-hard labour – for too little pay – behind him. The teller behind the counter flashed him a distracted smile as he came into line behind an elderly woman with a mitt full of lottery tickets. With a quiet sigh and a slight twinge of irritation, Joe forced himself to smile back at the pimply faced cashier.
After what seemed to be an eternity, the grey haired hag finally finished checking her tickets, brushed past Joe with an air of irritation – as though it’d been him holding her up with some senseless endeavour – and waddled out of the store.
Joe sighed again and stepped up to the till. Just as the teller was fetching him a pack of smokes from behind the counter, another man stepped into line behind him and Joe was immediately struck by the oddest sensation he’d ever experienced. It wasn’t quite fear or disgust or worry, but more so a combination of these things mixed with a strange coldness that seemed to seep right down to his marrow and take hold, causing a shiver to run up his spine despite the overactive heater in the place. He fumbled to take his change back from the pimply faced cashier and rushed out of the store without more than a quick glimpse at the other man’s face.
A moment later, Joe was scrambling into his minivan covered in a frosting of goosebumps and shivering just a little as he tried to make sense of the strange feelings that had come over him inside the store.
“You ok?” His wife asked from the passenger seat, raising one eyebrow at him at him in her typical, quizzical way.
Joe shook his head, nodded, then shook his head again. “That was the weirdest damn thing I ever felt,” he told her. He reached out ant twisted the heater knob to its highest setting.
She watched him curiously, but didn’t prod as she waited for him to tell the tale.
Joe grinned sheepishly. “I don’t know what happened in there,” he admitted. With a flick of his hand he motioned towards the window and the small silver sports care beyond.
A good looking guy – thirty-something’ish by the looks of it, well dressed with dirty blonde hair – was just climbing into the vehicle. “That guy… him… right there!” Joe explained in a rush. “As soon as he came in the store I got the strangest damn feeling I ever had. I can’t really explain it, but whatever it was, it felt wrong.” He felt another shiver pass through his body.
She asked him to elaborate.
“I dunno… as soon as he came close I felt… dirty? No, not really that. Nervous maybe? Ah damn it, I can’t explain it Tammy. It was just weird. Really weird.”
The two of them watched the man drive off in silence. Joe put the minivan in motion and a moment or two later they were pulling out onto the highway a few cars behind the sports car.
Joe’s eyes never left the back of the car the entire time it remained in sight. There was a brief moment when it seemed the car might collide with a Mac truck, but then the driver safely manoeuvred the vehicle away from tragedy, took a sudden right and was gone from sight just seconds later.
At the near collision Joe had felt certain that he’d sensed something about to happen to the man, and as the car turned off the highway without incident he found himself somewhat confused. He was left with that gnawing realization that something odd had just transpired, and the nagging reality that he’d never have any idea what the oddness might have actually been about.
On the drive into work on Monday morning, Joe listened to the news on the radio. An accident was blocking up the bridge traffic again – thankfully he’d managed to avoid that, or he’d have been late for work again – another armed robbery at the ATM on the west side of town – that was becoming a bit of an issue lately – gas prices were going up again – surprise, surprise – and some freak had murdered his entire family with poison – Joe didn’t catch the location, but these sort of tales always seemed to be coming from the states, or at least the bigger cities, so he didn’t think to pay it much mind.
The radio went on to report some various other tidbits, and then the droning voice of the newscaster was replaced by Jagger’s exuberant insistence that he was – in fact – “pleased to meet you”, and the invitation to guess his name. Joe was happily singing along as he pulled into the parking lot beside the big steel shop.
It was a bit of a shock to learn that the ‘freak’ who’d poisoned his family over the weekend had been local, but not terribly so. There were always sickos out there and it wasn’t the first time something like this had happened close to home. It seemed to be the main topic of interest around the shop that day however, and justifiably so. In an ordinary world full of ordinary people running about doing ordinary tasks, something like this happening so close to home was big news. It was human nature to pick items like this apart.
“Two little kids,” one of the burly welders grunted. “Close to my grandkids’ ages. Sick fucker.”
“Maybe his wife was cheating on him?” Joe heard another welder suggest.
Joe thought that seemed as likely an explanation as anything. Last spring there’d been a man a few doors down from Joe’s that had blown his own brains out in his truck after finding out his wife was cheating on him. The man’s suffering had been understandable, but the brilliance of doing it out front of the house – where school kids passing by on their way to the morning bus had plain view of the carnage – was not.
“Ya, sure,” scoffed the first welder. “Kill himself over that kind thing… fine. Hell, I’d be more apt to kill the bitch… but the kids? What kinda sick fucker does something like that to his kids?”
Joe had to shrug; he didn’t know.
Another day came to an end and Joe found himself at home, relaxing on the couch beside his wife and daughter. He was about to put in his favourite game and drift away from reality for awhile, when a final click of the remote brought him to the evening news. From the top right corner of the screen, a familiar face stared back at Joe.
With a sudden – and all too familiar – chill washing over him, Joe fingered the volume up a couple of notches, and motioned his wife and daughter to hush. As Joe stared at the TV in disbelief, Tammy and Alexia stared at him in a similar manner.
His mind went back – momentarily – to Friday evening in the convenience store when the ordinary man standing in line behind him with a carton of milk and two Mars bars had instigated something close to panic within him. Another chill rushed through Joe’s body.
The robot-like newscaster explained – without the decency of emotion – that the man in the picture – Paul Rolands – had returned home from a typical day at the office the previous Friday to be greeted by his loving wife and two young daughters. He quickly set himself to the chore of preparing them giant Mars-bar-flavoured milkshakes as a special treat. They’d snuggled up together on the couch to watch the latest instalment of their favourite TV show as they sipped the delicious shakes, and that’s exactly how the police detectives found them early Sunday afternoon.
The detectives claimed that the poison was quick acting, and that all had died peacefully – never aware of the plot against their lives – just enjoying a quiet, eventless evening at home.
All that stood as an explanation to the tragedy was a simple note posted on the fridge with two, bright-yellow, happy-faced magnets that read: I will not suffer the ones I love, to live in a world without compassion. ~ David Wittenburg ~