Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Caught Off Guard

(This story begins on 7/18/07)

Dusty returned from the kitchen with a smile on her face. She had fixed (in her mind) quite a meal for Augusta and was sure that he’d be pleased.

“Here, Augusta. Stewed tomatoes and corn flakes. This was one of Softy’s favorites and I thought you’d like it.”

(Unbeknownst to Dusty, Softy actually liked it because of the analogous colors and contrasting textures, not because of the taste.)

“Oh, I could eat a cow,” Augusta said. But what he didn’t say out loud was that this sure wasn’t a cow.

Dusty forgot some silverware, so she went back to the kitchen to scarf up a spoon that was reasonably clean.

Augusta took the spoon and. forgetting for a moment what was on his plate, eagerly took a bite. He tasted the tomatoes, and then started chewing on the accompanying corn flakes. He gave Dusty a nod of approval, thinking that this wasn’t too bad.

Just when he was beginning to feel at home he heard some abominable noises. He looked around the room. At first he was mystified, but soon realize that Dusty was slurping her tomato and corn flake stew as if she had been starving for years. The sound was so offensive he said, “Oh, no, a migraine is coming on.” He laid face down on the couch and covered his ears with pillows.

This is just the opportunity that Dusty was waiting for to demonstrate her massage talents. She jumped on top of Augusta and began to rub his hair with her fingernails, while simultaneously jumping up on down on his buttocks.

Augusta, in his tired state, was caught off guard by Dusty’s advances and thought that she was attempting to overpower him. He started to reach for his gun, but Dusty thought he was reaching for her. She puckered his lips and laid a wet one on his.

Augusta had never had a woman throw herself at him and was now quite taken by the attention. He returned the kiss, only to be interrupted by a knock on the door.

Dusty said, “Oh, Augusta, I’m so glad you came into my life. Will you stay here forever with me? Let’s not answer the door.”

Augusta remembered the oath that he had taken to uphold the law and withdrew from the kiss. He got up, forgetting that he was feigning a migraine and walked to the door.

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Escape

(This story begins on 7/18/07)

Authors don’t usually admit when they lie, do they? Well, I want to set the record straight about something. Yes, Softy was truly Dusty’s husband. But he is not in another world. There is no other world. When you die, you get buried, or thrown to sea, or cremated. Then eventually your molecules disperse and you become part of everything else. And you don’t look down and smile or cry. Forget that.

Having said that, my sources tell me that Softy is not dead, but actually had faked his death to get away from Dusty and her (in his words) fetish. He did not plan his escape in advance; rather, it just spontaneously happened one day.

Softy was Mr. Neat. He couldn’t stand dirt. Maybe their marriage was made in heaven, but it certainly didn’t work on earth. And he didn’t like cold canned food either.

Dusty had tricked Softy into marrying her but feigning that she was going to have a baby. They had never even slept together, but because he had thought about sleeping with her (as an older horny male virgin he thought about sleeping with everyone with a pair of legs), he felt that he must be responsible.

It soon became apparent to Softy that he needed his own place so he constructed a clean little shack behind the bunny refuge, as he liked to call it. He had a cot, a little refrigerator, a hot plate, and a small chemistry lab.

I mentioned that Softy sold pillows. What I didn’t mention is that he had a degree in chemistry and was forever trying to make a softer foam for a softer pillow. He never told Dusty what was in the shack. He just pretended that he needed to work there on his pillow sales leads and actually would spend all his time in the shack experimenting, eating, or sleeping.

One day he discovered that by adding sodium hydrophotate (don’t look that up, it hasn’t been discovered yet) to a conventional foam he could created an immense explosion by adding some ammonia in with the hydrophotate. First he tried it with a drop of ammonia, 2 drops of hydrophotate, and about a teaspoon of foam. Even with those small quantities, the explosion was louder that the loudest firecracker he had ever heard.

That’s when the idea came to him. Suppose he blow himself up and disappear? He’d be free forever and perhaps he could even find a more suitable mate.

Being the bright guy that he was he devised a clever set up. He first mixed together the foam and the hydrophotate. Then he put the mixture on the floor. His floor sloped, so he put the mixture at the lowest point.

He broke the glass on his clock and attached a string to the minute hand. The other end of the string was attached to an open bottle of ammonia. When the minute hand circled the clock the ammonia would be pulled over, and presto, his shack would disintegrate all over the town of Dustland. He would be dust, so to speak.

This was all fantasy until he started to hear Dusty calling him. It was their anniversary and she wanted them to have a “happy hour,” a glass of bunny ice cubes and dirty water for old times sake. He couldn’t go on another day. Without much conscious thought, he set up the “experiment” and gave himself 15 minutes to disappear. He packed a knap sack with a few essentials, and headed off to the nearby mountains to hide until things cooled down a bit. He left quickly, waiting behind a nearby tree (not too nearby) to make sure the explosion occurred. When he realized that he had not wound the clock for a while he wondered if the explosion would occur. 15 minutes passed and nothing happened. He decided to wait a few more minutes, and that was sufficient. When the explosion occurred he was thrown about 30 feet, flipping over in the air in every imaginable direction, but remained unharmed. He rushed off into the mountains and was freed from his crazy Dusty.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Bowling Down Bunnies Dead

(Please start reading from 7/18/07)

“Augusta, you must be getting hungry. What would you like?”

“Steak, potatoes, you know, anything fried and greasy.”

“But Augusta, you shouldn’t eat steak and potatoes. They aren’t good for the planet.”


“Steak” (in her lecturing voice) “comes from cows, doesn’t it, Augusta?”

“Yes. What’s wrong with that?”

“Well. Cows are very heavy and when they walk around they squish things. A dust bunny doesn’t have a chance in a cow pasture.”

“Ok, I’ll buy that for the sake of argument. Tell me what’s wrong with potatoes, and tell me what is on the menu.” Augusta shot back, getting really irritated with crazy Dusty.

“Potatoes are the worst. In order to harvest potatoes they need to be dug up, and that disturbs the entire ecosystem.” Dusty knew she was making this up and hoped that Augusta wouldn’t challenge her on this.

“But what about the dust bunnies who have been inadvertently buried and now are resurrected by the digging for the potato. Doesn’t that even things up a bit.”

Augusta was sounding like Softy now with the way he was playing along. In fact, Softy, who was intently listening in on this entire conversation from the other world, smiled when he heard Augusta’s comeback. Dusty recognized this similarity and rather than seeing Augusta now as an antagonist he seemed more like Softy, part her soul mate and part diety.

“So . . . the menu. What is on the menu?”

“Oh,” replied Dusty, “I have canned vegetables and cereal. I only shop once a year so I need to get food that will keep.”

“I like peas and corn,” Augusta said, thinking he could stomach cold canned peas and corn.

“I don’t buy peas, Augusta.”

“Why is that, may I ask?”

“When peas are shelled they throw the shells on the ground. That unnecessarily covers up all kinds of good creatures. Not good,” Dusty expounded.

“And corn?” Augusta was beginning to realize that his choices were very limited and that he’d starve to death playing this guessing game.

“Corn is the worst. Besides wiping out the entire Mayan civilization by rotting their teeth, they store corn in silos. Not good at all.”

Augusta couldn’t imagine the problems with silos. “Why?”

“Well, the corn in the silos produce methane, and the methane is used now for cars. And most drivers couldn’t care less for dust bunnies and they just mow them down like there is no tomorrow. Corn, it is a disaster.”

“Ok, Dusty, just bring me whatever you have and I’ll pretend it was what I ordered.”

“Alright. But don’t complain if you don’t like it. Remember. I gave you a chance to choose what you wanted.”

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Aborted Kiss

(Please start reading from 7/18/07)

When I wrote that Augusta was snoring up a storm perhaps I understated the state of the union in Dustland. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a metaphor. Bunnies are really sensitive to any wind currents and Augusta’s snoring was getting the best of them (literally).

Dusty so enjoyed watching Augusta, but was worried all the same. She needed to act, and act quickly to keep him from leaving. She started to brainstorm: hit him with a frying pan, drag him outside, wake him up, stick a pillow over his face (she had quite an inventory of pillows from Softy, her late husband), or kiss him.

Kissing used to work with Softy when he was snoring. The challenge was to kiss him milliseconds after one snore but before the next anticipated snore, in case it didn’t work the first time she’d be spared the unpleasantness of the snore itself.

She wet her lips just a little to make sure that the contact would be immediate. She listened carefully to the rhythm of the snore and started to pucker her lips after each snore, as if this was a dress rehearsal. With every snore she moved closer and closer, until finally she could almost feel the warmth of his breathe.

Augusta woke up startled. All he could see, so close as to be out of focus, was Dusty’s closed eyes and her puckered lips. He forgot for a moment where he was and started to reach for his pistol.

Dusty quickly started to apologize.

“Oh, Augusta, I am so sorry. I was walking by you and stumbled on something laying on the carpet and . . . I know what this looks like, but please be assured that I would never throw myself at you, especially when you are asleep.” The more Dusty spoke the deeper she was putting her foot in her mouth.

Augusta, having recently taken a workshop on discerning fact from fiction knew that Dusty was lying. But he was curious where this might go, and knew that it was going to be a long night, so he nodded his head to pretend to let her know that he understood.

“Would you like some ice cream? I realize it isn’t dinner, but you could think of it as an appetizer. If you’ll wait here, I’ll go and see what I can whip up in the kitchen. You are welcome to watch the TV, though without electricity, the only channel I have is the one with blank screen.”

“That’s ok,” Augusta said. “I don’t need to watch TV. I’ll just sit here while you are in the kitchen. With my diabetes I can't eat ice cream.”

Dusty thought to herself what how Augusta is such a nice man. How she wished that he didn’t have a job to do, and how she wished that he were hers, forever.

Dusty went to the kitchen, realizing that she had a limited number of candles so she better make dinner before it got dark outside. She had no idea what kind of food Augusta liked, and how much he’d like anything that was cold and just out of a can or cereal box.

She went back to the living room to ask Augusta what he wanted to eat.

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Naming of Augusta

(Please start reading from 7/18/07)

Day turns to night and still no chainsaws. It looks like Dusty and the officer are locked in for the night. The Hummers decide to back up down the road. These guys (and gals) are not prone to spend a hot night in their car for a piece or two of dust.

They also realize that even if help comes, they won’t have chainsaws and lights. In addition, the logs probably shouldn’t be thrown down the ravine as it has been a drought and the logs might start a land slide.

Dusty decides to wake up the officer. But first she want to get herself “prettied up” a bit, so she washes her face, combs the knots out of her hair, puts on a little old lipstick, dabs on a little powder, and then a splash of perfume. In her mind, she’s “hot.”

“Officer, officer,” she exclaims.

“Oh, I must have fallen asleep. Sorry about that ma’am. What is going on?”

“Well, the Hummers have left. The sun is setting. I have some ice cream for you. But first you’ll have to tell me your name.”

“I have to get home. My brother will be waiting for me.”

“You can’t leave here. There is still that log across the road.”

“Fine. But I’ll need to call my brother or he’ll worry. He’s not well, and he is afraid of the darkness. Where’s your phone?”

“It is over there, underneath the garbage. But please walk carefully over there and lift up the garbage gently so you don’t disturb anyone.”

The officer walks over to the pile of soup cans and corn husks. The smell is a little hard to take, but the possibility of having some contact with the outside world is enough to take his mind off his current situation.”

He excitedly picks up the phone only to realize that there is no dial tone.

“How long has it been since you made a phone call?”

“Last time was when I called Softy on his last day of work. I guess I haven’t paid the bill for awhile. You know, Softy was a good man but he wasn’t much of a provider. He didn’t leave me anything.”

“Your choices are limited,” Dusty philosophized, “how about if you tell me your name.”

“It’s Augusta. I was born in August and my dad stuttered and stammered, and when they asked him my name for the birth certificate all that he could say was “it’s August” since I was born in August and my dad wasn’t given his share of brains anyway but I like the name okay. How about you? Do you like the name?” the officer said, forgetting for a moment why he was at Dusty’s house and trying to make the best of the situation.”

Thursday, July 26, 2007

For the Moment

(Please start reading from 7/18/07)

The officer was not about to be held hostage in the house. He was trained to deal with the likes of Dusty. He mentally went through the arsenal he carried (gun, pepper spray, blackjack, handcuffs, chewing gum) and decided that the handcuffs might work best.

Skillfully he placed the handcuff around Dusty’s wrist and started dragging her over to the couch. He then intended to attach the cuff to the leg of the couch to give him time to let some air in.

By this time Dusty knew that she was in a great deal of trouble. What was almost a nice relationship between the two had become anything but.

As he dragged her across the room she was squishing the dust bunnies that were all over the floor. In her rage, she took the free hand, grabbed a small table, and hurled it at the officer. It hit him smack in the head and knocked him unconscious.

Dusty woke from a nap and realized that she was dreaming. She was a little warm, but, remembering her dream, saw that the officer had not yet complained about the heat or asked her to open the door or windows. She decided to become proactive and give the officer a glass of ice water, only to remember that all her ice cube trays were filled with dead dust bunnies, frozen in water, in hopes that someday medical science could retrieve them.

You must be wondering what the difference is between a live and a dead dust bunny. Live dust bunnies move around and continue to grow. Sometimes they even merge with others. Dead bunnies do neither. They do not change. In fact they compress over time and eventually become little dense black balls.

Dusty remembered that she did have some ice cream. You are probably thinking that she made the ice cream out of dead bunny remains or something like that. But no. This was the really thing. Made, in fact, by Ben and Jerry.

She scooped out the ice cream into a bowl and brought it to the officer. To her surprise, he was sound asleep on her couch. He was snoring up a storm and the bunnies were running away from under the couch. Dusty took a light blanket from the easy chair and placed it over the officer.

She then sat in the easy chair and watched (and listened to) her new found friend snore. Dusty fell asleep with a smile on her face, so happy to have a man in the house after so many years. It was peaceful now in Dustland.

For the moment.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Dusty Throws Herself in front of the Door

(Please start reading from 7/18/07)

“Look at that, officer. The lightning hit the tree and now the cleaning crew can’t come here,” Dusty said.

“Yea, and it will be awhile before the chain saw crew can cut up the tree and throw the logs down the ravine.”

“Perhaps “we” ought to use this opportunity to learn more about the life of dust bunnies. Did you know that animals are treated differently in different countries? For example, in India cows are sacred.”

“But the question is whether the “bunnies” are actually animals at all, and if so, are they domesticated pets.” the officer contributed to Dusty's lecture.

“But officer, perhaps there is another question that we should be discussing as well. Does everyone have to be the same? Do we all need to conform to your standards? Am I hurting anyone by being a sanctuary for my fair hairy friends? And would a moral creature like yourself pride himself in enforcing a law that was short sighted?”

At that the hairs on the officer’s neck bristled. He had grown up believing that because he wanted to be a cop and wanted to uphold the law he was a good person. Here was this poor excuse for a woman telling him that he was not as moral as he had believed.

And now the cognac (with additive) was wearing off. The afternoon sun was beating down on the dark roof of the house and it was starting to get warm.

“Can you open some of the windows,” the officer said.

“Sorry, sir, but they are all painted shut,” said Dusty with a smirk on her face.

“Ok, I’ll just prop open the door,” the officer said as he started to go towards it.

Dusty threw herself on the floor in front of the door and heroically said, “you’ll have to step on me first before you open that door and disturb my friends.”

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Steamy in Dustland

(Please start reading from 7/18/07)

Note: I woke up this morning very confused. Since Softy (and others, so disposed) can see the future we can conclude that the future is determined. And so, though we agonize over choosing this or that, it is fruitless to do so because that choice has already been made.

I was caught in the dilemma this am if I should sleep longer or get up and write. I decided to get up and write. Or perhaps I should say, I thought I decided to get up and write. Then it became clear that in this postmodern world, though the past and the future are available to some, we all see different pasts and futures through our unique lenses, as we exist in unique presents. Therefore, we still do have free will, for the time being.

To recap the story, Dusty has tears rolling down her eyes like you wouldn’t believe. The log that fell on the road has detained the Hummers. The men can’t call because lightning has toppled the cell tower. A few of the cleaning crew (actually special police, but the PR people said they should be called the “cleaning crew”) decide to send out flares. The only problem is that it has been so long since the cleaners went to school that they don’t remember the code. They walk from Hummer to Hummer asking, but everyone has a different opinion about the right number of flares and the duration of intervals. No one is expressing much confidence in their opinion.

Except Straight Jack, a former eagle scout, who remembers SOS in the Morse Code. Three dits, three dahs, and then three dits. Perfect, they have 9 flares and light them with a 1 second interval for the dits and a 3 second interval for the dahs.

And they wait and wait. To pass time, they all turn on their radios to different stations and quite a symphony of chaotic sounds ensue.

Back on the ranch (I used that phrase before, didn’t I?), Dusty and the officer are getting closer and closer. The cognac has started to take effect on the officer, as does the aphrodisiac. You read that it wouldn’t affect him because of his Middle Eastern descent. What the officer didn’t know is that his father was from New York and that gene counteracts the gene unaffected by any aphrodisiac. It is getting really steamy today in Dustland!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Softy Sees All

(Please start reading from 7/18/07)

Dusty’s late husband, Softy (remember that he sold bed pillows), watched the entire drama from his seat in the other world. It was not a drama in quite the same way as it is to us because, early on in his new life, he had reached some understanding that life was as it was and that if it changes then it will be different.

But he was mildly interested in this relationship that was developing between Dusty (who had been a loner since his death) and the officer.

His life, in Earth terms, was relatively boring. But Softy was not bored because he had this television of life with not only infinite channels, but he could also see the past and even the future as easily as the present.

He could see that the officer would miraculously protect the bunnies from the Hummers and their Kirby unit. in time he knew that a very close bond would not only develop between his former wife and the officer but that Dirty Hairy would get a girlfriend too. A dust bunny would actually save the officer’s life. And many years later, Dusty’s house would burn to the ground, only to become regenerated as an infamous sanctuary for orphaned bunnies.

There is much more to Softy’s life, and also to the events above, but for now we are back at the ranch, as the expression goes. The Hummers are steaming up the driveway and tears are rolling down Dusty’s eyes. The storm has come and gone, and (not previously mentioned) the bunnies are freighted to death.

Well, the storm has not exactly “gone.” It starts up again only to change the course of history. Lightening, as if from the hand of Thor himself, deftly strikes one of the largest oak trees and drops it on the road right in from of the lead Hummer.

This is more of a problem than one could imagine. To both sides of the road is a deep ravine, and the men and woman in the hummers have strict orders not leave their vehicles until they make it to the house or they will be shot (dead). It is not a pretty world in Dustland.

So all the backup “cleaners” need to do is to call for help on their cell phones. Right?

Wrong. As they start to dial for help, a second bold of lightning hits the cell tower and disables it.

Now back to Dusty and the officer, and the bunnies who have just received this divine reprieve (or at least an intervention).

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Dusty's Tears

(Please start reading from 7/18/07)

“Yohimbine. Cute!” the officer said as he sipped the cognac. “I was once a taster for a drug company and we were looking at different recreational drugs.”

“I don’t know what you are talking about sir, unless my husband had laced the cognac before he went to the other world. He always was complaining that I wasn’t affectionate enough.”

“I’m sure that’s the explanation, ma’am. But don’t worry. They discovered that it doesn’t work for men like myself of middle eastern descent.”

Dusty went to the kitchen to get herself a drink. This day will be one to remember. Should she dare serve the officer some dust bunny cookies? These were cookies shaped like a dust bunny, made from ice-box cookie dough.

Dusty still had a serious problem here. The backup officers would soon arrive and they might bring cleaning equipment that even Dirty Hairy would not be able to break. Things were not looking good. She decided to try to persuade the officer that her bunnies were not really animals.

“Officer, I’m wondering if you would reconsider your desire to eradicate my bunnies?”

“I cannot do that ma’am. When I took my oath I swore to uphold the law. And the law says ‘no non-domesticated animals’ within the city limits.”

“But officer,” she said, remembering the Socratic method from philosophy class, “what is an animal?”

“Well, ma’am, an animal is something that isn’t a human and that moves around.”

“How about if you were to drop the glass of cognac? Would the falling glass be an animal at that moment?”

“Well, of course not, ma’am. It would simply be a falling glass of cognac.”

“And suppose that I turned on the TV to the Saturday car races, and a car ran from the right side of the screen to the left side of the screen. Would it be an animal?”

“No, of course not.”

“So tell me again, why do you consider my fair hair friends animals? Aren't they simply organic material that blows around?”

“Ma’am,” he said, getting very irritated by this time, “I’m not here to play word games with you. You have broken the law and you know it. The backup troops are coming and they will be bringing a Kirby special vacuum unit and your friends will be sucked into oblivion. If this causes you undue stress or trauma we will provide psychological services to help you through it.”

Again tears started rolling down Dusty’s eyes. The end was near. And nearer than she knew until she looked out the window and saw 5 or 6 official looking hummers were coming up her drive way.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

A Drink

(Please start reading from 7/18/07)

Dirty Harry grabbed at the broomstick with his canine teeth and broke it in half as easily as a knife cuts butter. Dusty’s eyes were so filled with tears that all was blurry. The officer’s face turned red with anger.

And then, a torrential rain started, with lightning and thunder. It was a little over the top for drama, but I must say it like it was.

Just then the rain stopped as quickly at it started, and a shimmer of sunlight appeared. The officer once again caught the light reflecting off of Dusty’s blue eyes.

“Ma’am, I’m certainly not going to do much sweeping with a stub of a broom. Maybe I’ll take you up with that drink until my backup arrives.”

“What can I offer you? I made some lemonade recently?”

“That will be fine . . . unless you have something a little stronger." The office said, half joking.

Dusty remembered that she had been a chemistry major in college. She still had many of her chemicals, stored in the pantry. “Suppose, she thought to herself, that she drug the officer. How might that change his behavior?”

“Sure, officer. I have something stronger. Just give me a moment.”

Dusty raced to the kitchen and started to feverishly wash a glass. Her mind, filled with webs since it was twenty years since she had been in school, started to think about what chemicals she had and how she could disguise their taste.

She found a bottle of cognac that her late husband had received for being the bed pillow salesman of the year (more on him later).

Dusty’s tears had dried up completely by now and she put on (metaphorically) her drinking cap. Or is it “thinking cap?” she wondered.

She thought that she might shift the equation a little if the officer fell in love with her, realizing that love and lust were distant relatives and from a distance might even appear to be related.

“Now, for a challenge. What should I use?” She thought to herself.

Dusty had not only been a good student, but she and her girlfriends had a club in college called the Society for Ugly and Horny Women (UFHM). They would share recipes and substances for aphrodisiacs. She went through in her mind some of the most effective ones, and bingo, hit the perfect one for the occasion.

She instinctively reached for her bottle of yohimbine, and poured a little bit of the clear liquid into the cognac. Yohimbine is the main alkaloid of Yohimbe. As a weak MAO inhibitor and alpha-adrenergic antagonist, yohimbine may increase genital blood flow and sexual sensitivity for some people (lifted from Wikipedia).

She brought out a glass of cognac plus, and found the officer now sitting in one of her dusty easy chairs, with Dirty Harry still growling under his breathe (the dog’s breathe, that is).

Friday, July 20, 2007

One Fell Sweep

(Please start reading from 7/18/07)

Dusty noticed how the officer’s blue eyes picked up a gleam of light from the window. She realized that she had been a little argumentative and abrasive, and decided to take another tack.

“I’m Dusty, officer. May I offer you a drink?” As Dusty talked she realized that all of her glasses were coated with years of dirt and that the officer’s complaint might be further enhanced should he accept her offer.

“Ma’am, I’m just here to let you know that you may only have domesticated pets in your house. The dog is fine, but the dust bunnies will have to go.”

“Officer, to do that would like cutting . . . off my fingers. Perhaps I could apply for a zoning variation.” Or divine dispensation, she thought to herself.

“You are welcome to have your day in court, but until then . . . .”

At that the officer brought out a dustpan and small broom from his brief case and started to scoop up some of the rabbits.

Dirty Harry started growling and barking, alternatively. Tears starting rolling down Dusty’s eyes in a steady stream. Life had gone from bad to worst in one fell sweep.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Bust

(Please start reading from 7/18/07)

Dusty was quite happy today. It was the birthday of one of her dust bunnies. One year ago she had discovered “Big Ears” in the corner of her bedroom. Most other woman would think to themselves that it was time to vacuum., and the especially diligent ones would pull out the vacuum and suck her up to oblivion. But Dusty had such a special place in her heart for these creatures that she had fabricated a holy vacuum hose so that she could still get the typical headache from vacuuming noise and smells, and, at the same time, preserve the longevity of her fair hairy friends.

Dusty’s doorbell rang. It had been so long since that had happened she didn’t recognize the sound. At first, that is. She ran to the door and peeked through the security peephole or whatever that is called. She saw a very official looking man with a badge.

“Oh, my God,” she thought to herself. “Should I open the door and expose my friends to the perils of fresh air, or do I pretend I’m not home and have an army of officials come back?”

It was quite a dilemma for Dusty. She decided to open the door, but to leave the screen door locked.

“May I help you, sir?” she asked.

“Yes, lady, I’d like to come in and talk to you about some illegal pets you seem to be harboring.” He replied.

“The only pet I have is my trusty pointer, Dirty Hairy.” She shot back.

“We have reports, lady, that you have some rather “unconventional” pets. If you wish to live in our community you will need to be like others. Please open the door or I’ll have to send for backup.”

“Ok, but please shut the door gently. I don’t want to disturb any of my friends.”

“Friends . . . that is exactly my point, ma’am. You are not like the others on your block. Perhaps you need psychological help.”

“I take care of my friends and you say that I need help. To what has this world come?” She said, remembering from school not to end a sentence with a preposition.

“Many people spend countless hours keeping their house clean. On the contrary, you spend your time as a curator of dirt. Can’t you see how wrong that is?”

“Is it wrong to care with souls who have a heart? And elegance, as well?”

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Dusty and Bunny

Dusty loved dirt. Not just the kind in her garden, but the dust balls formed from the hairs of her shedding (and happily filthy) pointer, Dirty Hairy.

Since her husband, Softy, had gone to the other world, her friends tried to fix her up with more appropriate mates. They found the best looking, most intelligent, and richest men in the territory, but none could compete with her dirt fetish.

She vacuumed incessantly. Not to clean up, but just to let the neighbors know that she was doing something about “her problem.” Yet she was careful only to use her specially fabricated holy hose so that none of her dirt would be disturbed.

Sometimes Dusty would get lonely on a Saturday night and she’d take out her flashlight and magnifying glass, and search for a corner that had picked up the best looking dust bunny. She knew that, in time, each corner would “come into its own,” and create a haven for her pleasure and all the microcosms that follow such a fertile environment.

Occasionally Dusty would stray from home and find public spaces that were particularly rich with debris. Because she was very ethical in her behavior, she would never litter. In fact, she kept a pair of shoes at the front door of her sanctuary so that none of her bunnies would leave her domain. She believed that dirt was the result of life grinding life, and that to interfere with this process was a sacrilege.

Dusty grew dirt like others grow roses. She had some weeds in pots around the house, but only because they helped the process along. And sometimes, or so she believed, they’d bring spiders, which were her best friends. Each morning Dusty would jump out of bed to inspect all of her webs. She would not only revel in their growth, but would be thrilled to see what new dirt they had captured.

Dusty would have birthday parties for her dust bunnies. She’d “bake” a cake by carefully brushing Dirty Hairy, and added to that a little “dirt” from a weed plant, and then, for frosting, a little grease from a dirty frying pan. She’d light some candles, depending on the age of the bunny, and she’d let the candles burn down to their extinction, hoping that a little soot would cover her “Sistine” ceiling.

Dusty was happy. She lived with her friends and protected them as one would their own flesh and blood. She did have an arch enemy, however, and prayed incessantly that he would stay away from her street.

“Dear Dirt God, who art on Earth, give me this day my daily dirt, and keep the city cleaning crews away, or their vehicles broken, whatever it will take.” (Dusty wasn’t so good at writing prayers, but they still functioned well to keep her neighborhood in shambles.)

Dusty even painted her windows shut to make sure that none of her favorite bunnies would run away. As long as her dirt was safe, Dusty could live happily ever after.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Rectilinear Shadows

A common alternative to
being in the shadow
of another being,

is being in the shadow
of something that isn't a
being, but rather,

an answer, a formula,
a construct, or even
a rectangle.

Thinking problems are
equal to solutions, or
that now is the best time

for everything is
about being in the
rectangle's shadow and

not being patient
enough to wait for the
sun to pass overhead.

Monday, July 16, 2007


Sometimes when the sun
isn't shining we are still lost in the
shadow of someone dear to us,

dear, but love/hate, because
we cannot walk alone and
find our own path.

Even when they go away,
they stay, watching over
our every step and action.

And then we quickly turn
and lose them for a moment,
only to be glad that they aren't far behind.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


I told my daughter
that I would never help her move
again. She asked if I had

lied, helping
her once again.
I told her

that breaking a promise
about the future
is not lying.

In any case,
she had a couple of
chemistry students

help move her couch.
I tried to interest them
in my ideas on levitation,

but they wouldn't consider it
an option.
I explained

that some
can move spoons
with their minds,

and that the difference
between a spoon and
a couch is minimal.

They seemed to be buying
the idea for a (short) moment,
but then, in spite of

their excellent education,
relied on their brute strength
rather than wishful moving.

I wonder who is holding up
all the levitating bodies
in the universe.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


We personify time,
saying that she comes and goes.
We start this and stop that,

because it is time.
We wait on her while
she fixes her hair

and puts on her makeup.
When we meditate,
we forget about her

until the bell rings,
when we're rudely reminded,
"it's time."

Friday, July 13, 2007

Fighting TV

I don't like fighting.
I do like
to turn on the TV,

but sometimes all I see
is fighting.
When we were kids

we wrestled with
each other a lot,
but we never

got hurt.
On TV, fighting
people are killed

faster than you can surf
through channels.
And when

the news comes on,
it doesn't get any

I wish I could give
a friendlier report on
my dog,

who expired a rabbit
after a hard summer

of pointing
and sniffing.
Maybe some day

peace will rain down
and encourage us
to turn the other cheek.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Good and Bad

The Buddhist has
trouble discerning between
good and bad,

obvious to the rest
of us, they often
have unintended consequences,

surprising even
the most accomplished

The man lost his
only possession,
the horse he used

to plow the fields,
only to discover
the reaper, which

gave him great
wealth so he could
board the Titanic,

and so
the story

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Not Ruth

Not Ruth, or no truth,
is certainly another option.
Perhaps she is so evasive

because she is not in hiding,
but rather does not (and never did) exist.
Could we live with truly

understanding the biology of
love or the inevitability
of death? Could we stand

to hear that we are below
average in everything, or
that our careless and

thoughtless acts had crippled
or killed good people?
Imagine a truthless

world where perceptions
are and will be as close
as we'll ever get to those secrets

we so yearned
to discover
in a previous life.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Diversified Truth

Another view,
and probably at this late hour a more
realistic one, is that

truth is diversified among
all things, great and small.
Each of us, in our

uniqueness, knows
stuff that no one
else knows.

Wisdom in not
an individual attribute,
but rather a collective conscious.

Monday, July 9, 2007


I just want to meet someone
who knows the truth.

As Socrates discovered
we know about one thing

but not another, and worse,
we don't know

how ill-informed we are
about so much.

I just want to meet
someone who knows
the truth, and, who,

in a kind and generous moment,
will be willing
to share it with me.

Sunday, July 8, 2007


They search for their leader
looking for wisdom
and/or validation...

the kind that should
come from within
but is sought

from outside. Be
it one god or another
it is all the same

titillating our greed
with everything from
happiness to eternal salvation.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Amy and Clayton

Amy has been my
daughter's friend for 18 years.
Tonight was the celebration

of Amy's wedding to Clayton.
Actually, though,
it was the (local) celebration

of her celebration
in Florida
that took place

a few weeks ago.
It was in a boathouse
in Forest Park

(where they moved more
dirt that they did to
build the Panama Canal),

and they couldn't have
found a better venue
for joining family and friends.

I wonder who decides
such things as
who we marry,

and when we marry,
and where we marry.
We sometimes wonder

if computers will someday
think like humans,
but are we so sure?

Aren't we programmed
to make many of the choices
we believe need such long deliberations?

So we have two happy bright
and attractive 30 year olds (or so)
who got hitched (really hitched)

and now are talking
about having a baby
(I can see it in their eyes).

Life was not a breeze for them,
or for any of us,
for that matter.

But now they have reached a pinnacle,
and their lives are in (good) order,
and they will share it (in love)

with some little ones,
and with their family,
and their extended families

who are all still dancing at this late hour.
Best wishes,
Amy and Clayton!

Friday, July 6, 2007


If you are wondering why,
not just any why,
but why this is called

Tigger, or even Tiger,
when she looks like
anything but,

it was copied, oh
very precisely,
from a 17th century

Japanese Tigger
painting, which
is not much of

an excuse for how
off she is, except
that the Japanese

never saw a Tigger,
not in the flesh,
as they say,

but only in the
that is. . . .

Thursday, July 5, 2007

A Couple of Screws

After days of preparatory work
on the ceiling
it was time to raise

the drywall
and screw her in.
She was heavier that the drywall

that we had lifted
15 years ago,
or are we just that much weaker?

In any case, we had it in place after
a few tries when we discovered
we had to shave it here and there.

And then, after getting it up
and in place (no mean trick),
I realized that the screws

were on the kitchen table,
so Linda ran down the stairs
to find them,

only to not find them,
thinking logically and incorrectly
they'd be in a box labeled screws.

Sometimes I thought
management was hard,
but it is nothing

compared to manual labor,
where you'd give
your right foot

for another hand,
and then,
just for long enough to get in a couple of screws.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Mandala Sand Painting

In Tibet they'd drop
colored sand grain by grain
year by year

until the image
was completed,
only, when done,

to destroy the mandala
in a single stroke,
to shun attachment

and to emulate
the impermanence
of life.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Dark Side Nightmare

I thought that going
from teacher to dean was
a one way trip to the dark side,

only to discover that
there was a scarier
side going from dean to

the ranks of the unemployed.
Apparently I have a double
from the other side

shadowing me. It all started
yesterday when the local
hardware store called to tell me

that I had left some parts
for my pressure washer
on their counter.

They kept referring to me
as the teacher from the college.
I explained that I had been

to the store,
but not with parts from a
pressure washer,

and not with a little boy,
as they insisted.
They didn't believe me,

though I tried hard to
set them straight. Next I
was at the garage to pick

up my car and a man confronted
me and asked why I was following
him. I asked where he had seen

me and he said at an auto parts
store that I had never visited.
Again, he did not believe me.

The strangest occurrence was
how yesterday and today
I could see all the pasty white old

people who swarmed the streets
and stores in the middle of
the day like in the TV serial

"Dead like Me" where only the
dead can see the dead. Yikes,
is this happening to me?

Monday, July 2, 2007

Saying Goodbye Nightmare

Leaving is a painful thing.
As I get farther away,
there is no longer a door–

a way to go back.
I reach out
to touch the place

where I was
and though my hand
is right on it,

I can't feel anything.
I go back to visit
and nobody knows me,

for those
I knew
have left as well.

Without an Hollywood ending,
I wake up in a cold sweat
and realize that,

I have left
and now will need

to be where I am
rather than
remember where I was.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

The Kid

His wife told him to make a
picture of the grandkid,
The other woman

pronounced she
likes his poems
better than his drawings.

She was surprised to hear
that he had taught art
for thirty-five years.

Hilary Clinton,
bless her heart,
wants free health care

for everyone,
and the dogs bark,
asking to go out.

The fireworks
lit up the sky
a few hours ago,

ending in a rumble
that must be a minuscule version
of the war in Iraq.

My first day in my new life
was unfortunately and gladly laden
with the same numerous

and similarly convoluted
issues, memories,
and challenges.