I like playing with words.
Sometimes I explore them here, sometimes at yangjanice.com.
And when I'm feeling really playful, I owl around on monkeywhimsy.com.
The guardrail that gave way?
The father who opened the window earlier?
The mother who moved the ottoman too close to the window?
The gate that inexplicably stopped being baby-proof that night?
The nanny who ran into the other room to grab his bottle?
The parents who were away at a colleague's baby shower?
The decision to buy an apartment on the 15th floor?
The gusty winds that day?
The decision to go to the party?
I would sneak out my window at night when both my parents were asleep. I'd walk the block and a half to the schoolyard, sit in the middle swing of the playground and sing to myself until he got there. Then he'd push me gently to and fro while we talked about the day, about tomorrow, and the tomorrows after that.
We met that way for a year until his parents found out and installed alarms on all their windows and doors. They thought it was drugs, or teenage trouble he was after. But it was just to...
My feet ached, but it was well worth it. Standing in line in the freezing cold, clutching my ticket with the number 134 on it, I think I had a pretty good chance this time. The one hundred and thirty-three people in front of me were all bundled up too, scarves wound around their faces against the blowing wind, hats pulled down low on their faces. We all had sneakers on, waiting for the doors to open so that we could stampede into the store and wrestle with each other for the units the store had stocked. I looked at...
The elephant dragged its feet, following behind the child experiencing the wet sand of a beach for the first time. Its right leg was longer than its left, the result of being constantly tugged along with the 3-year-old wherever he went. The elephant was much loved around its trunk and ears, its belly crisscrossed with patches from old flannel shirts, worn jeans, tattered baby blankets. If not for its owner, the elephant thinks it wouldn’t even be an elephant anymore.
"Come along, Dylan," the man said as he scooped his son up into his arms. They were halfway back on...
The gate closed behind them. No one knew what was in store for them. There was a collective sigh as people resignedly turned their heads this way and that, trying to get their bearings. All the panic and fear and questions had been exhausted on the two hour train ride to this place. Sam wasn't sure what "this place" was but he knew it was no good. He heard chains being wound on the outside of the door. Definitely no good. He heard a padlock click into place.
They'd all been rounded up the night before. Some snatched from beds,...
The wheels on the gurney squeaked in time to the beat of his heart. He had forgotten to tell Mary and the kids something. He'd told Johnny and Sarah to mind their mom's words, to study hard, get good grades, everything you'd want to tell your children in 6 minutes before they wheeled you off into heart surgery. This time, will it take? Will I finally get the heart that belongs to me or will my body reject it, another hope dashed, another disappointment in its place. Another list, more waiting, more drugs, another death. Mary, he'd forgotten to kiss...
"Two-thousand-seventy bottles of beer on the wall, two-thousand and seventy bottles of beeeeeer. Take one down, pass it around, two-thousand-and-sixty-nine bottles of beer on the waaaaaaaaaaaaaaall."
Johnny steps down from the stage to thunderous, silent applause. A few faces are comically stunned. Most are arranged in various expressions of disgust.
I'm sure the patrons of the Poet's Society were hoping for better lyrics from the Frontman of the Year. I walk hurriedly to the publicist to begin my explanation. Should I go for the cancer, the break-up, the drugs, or the booze option? I'm sure that's what everyone's thinking anyway....
They were trapped for seven days.
And all he could think about was how stupid and incompetent everyone was. Oh, he could get them out if he wanted to. He'd figured out how in the first 10 minutes the lights went out, the tracks stopped moving, and the world stopped spinning.
But he figured he'd rest down here, in this quiet place where people were sobbing their regrets, anger, pity, sorrow, prayers to each other. Lamenting their pathetic lives as they neared their starved deaths. He could smell the piss by the corner where they'd all mutually agreed to designate...
Sarah felt a little guilty. This wasn't her bed after all. But to each his own. This isn't some pink kiddie playgroundworld where cotton candy feeds you until your next meal, and mommy and daddy are there to catch you when you scrape your knee. In this world, houses are foreclosed, children are taken away by Children's Services, and husbands beat you after a late night out with beer. If you're lucky, he passes out before you have to fight him and shout NO. In this world, anything is possible, things you couldn't fathom happening to you as a 7-year-old...
She opened the envelope and screamed.
A thumb fell out.
But whose thumb was it?
Wasn't her husband's.
She checked each of her children's fingers and toes.
All twenty of them.
When she was assured that all the digits she cared about were accounted for, she stopped shaking.
What a lousy piece of mail.
Who would send her such a thing?
Had she made any enemies lately?
Was this a warning?
Maybe they got the wrong address.
She checked the front of the envelope.
Somewhere, City USA
That was her address alright....