About my serious side

Not to break the spell or spoil the fun, but you've probably figured out my real name isn't Dummy.

The CTD Diaries is my playground. No one tells the truth in their diaries anyway so I figured I should find another place to get real, where the head lights aren't so bright. I originally thought this would be a good place to post my creative writing, but I think this is just a good place to tell the truth.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Woman Wanted


Woman Wanted: Preferably a virgin. Must be willing to serve God, country and three square meals a day. Must be in good shape and able to pull own weight (but not too much weight). Silent type preferred, particularly during Sports Center and between the hours of 10pm-6am. Honesty is a must, unless it goes against any social, cultural norms or hurts anyone’s feelings, especially mine. Sincerity is a prerequisite, even if you have to fake it. Must have a sense of humor and be able to laugh at yourself and my jokes. Did I say preferably a virgin? Ability to act independently is desirable, unless otherwise indicated. Experience both filling and taking orders helpful. Would prefer busty blond, but am willing to work out alterations. Benefits negotiable according to productivity. Full time, plus overtime required. No vacation time. Wages not quite minimum. No experience necessary—will train. Room, Board and French maid uniform provided, and some flowers if absolutely necessary. Please send resume, photo and self addressed stamped envelope. And don’t call me, I’ll call you.

The Real Cinderella Story

(Wow! I didn't even have kids yet. I guess I was a flaming feminist in my roaring twenties too.)

The Real Cinderella Story

The attitudes of this story do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the author, and all similarities to actual persons, living or dead, are purely coincidental.

Once upon a time in a far away land a long long time ago, there lived a stingy old bachelor (S.O.B). In fact, everyone in the entire land was an S.O.B because women were not yet fabricated.

One sunny morning the S.O.B. made some porridge for breakfast before he began scrubbing his kitchen floor. He soon wearied and became bored to tears and, in great frustration, flung his scrubbing brush across the room.

“I’m sick to death of scrubbing all day long. All I ever do is pick up after myself while my mind wastes away,” he cried, shaking his fist at the ceiling. “I want more to show for my life than dishpan hands.”

Suddenly a fairy godfather appeared. “Fear not,” he bellowed, “I’m working on a plan!”
“Whatever do you mean?” asked the S.O.B., quite taken aback.

“Alas, I’m drawing up the blueprints for what I call a woman.”
“What on earth is a woman?”

“Only the latest in modern convenience--something to take care of all your daily drudgery, freeing you up to think.” The fairy godfather smirked as the S.O.B rubbed his chin and bobbed his head.

“Fascinating,” he replied, “but will this woman-thing be . . . human?”

“Why yes, she’ll be as much alive as you and the rest of the S.O.B.’s”

“But if she doesn’t like doing my daily drudgery? What is she wants to think instead of make my porridge?”

“Oh dear . . .” The two fell silent while the fairy godfather paced back and forth across the nook. “I’ve got it!” he boomed at length, “We shan’t give her a brain!”

“What? No brain? But how will this woman know when to serve me? How will she know when to fetch my meals or hang my laundry?”

“Agreed. She would be quite useless without a brain.”

“I’ve got an idea!” cried the S.O.B. “let her think she can think.”


“We’ll tell her she can think as soon as she finishes going to the market and feeding all the animals and darning my socks and. . . “ his voice escalated, “scrubbing this blasted concrete floor!”

“But what if she does finish her tasks and demands to think with the rest of the S.O.B.’s?”

“Well, then, we’ll just have to give her more tasks. By the time she finishes them all, she’ll be so tired she won’t even care about thinking.”

“Brilliant!” said the S.O.B. now pacing rapidly as his mind began to churn. “I feel alive!” he cried.

“There are so many new things to think about. And so much time to think them in.” Then suddenly he stopped as if struck. “Do you think I will ever get tired of thinking?”

The fairy godfather shook his head. “Pshaw. But in the unlikely event that you ever do get tired of thinking, the woman can entertain you.”

“I like that idea,” said the S.O.B. “Make her very pleasing to look at so if I ever get bored I can look at her.”

“And if you get really bored . . . you can touch her.”

“Touch her?”

“Purely for your own entertainment of course.”

“Good golly, fairy godfather, I think you’re on to something.”

The fairy godfather smiled smugly.

“But if I’m looking and touching when will I have time to think and when will she have time to serve me?”

“Well, why don’t we make some women pleasing for looking and touching, and make the rest plain and sturdy for serving.”

The S.O.B. was now rubbing his hands together and looking gleefully about, when suddenly his face twisted up in puzzlement. “Wait!” he started. “What if the plain ones finish cooking and cleaning and darning and feeding and serving and then demand to join the men in conversation?"

“Easy, we’ll tell them they can join the men in conversation just as soon as they make themselves as pleasing to look at and touch as the ones we look at and touch.”

“Eureka!” shouted the S.O.B.

The fairy godfather, drained from thinking so hard, began to yawn. “I could sure use a large glass of ale,” he smiled wickedly.

“Let me get that for you,” said the S.O.B. And then he stopped . . . and smiled. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

“Let’s do it!” The fairy godfather scanned the room and peered out the window at the garden and the pastures full of grazing cows. “Perfect,” he said. “Bring those cows hither.”

The S.O.B. quickly obeyed and the fairy godfather as waved some pixie dust around the cow, ranting and raving something about bibbity bobbity and then BOO!”

“What do you think?” asked the fairy godfather as soon as the dust settled around the two dazed figures, blinking and staring.

The S.O.B. nodded approvingly. “I like what you’ve done to the udders,” he said.

As soon as the two new women were put to work, the fairy godfather and the S.O.B. began scouring the kingdom for farm animals. After countless experiments they discovered that horses made the most pleasing women when they were bored, but got rather haughty and spoiled when asked to fetch things, and eventually turned into nags.

Vegetables! Now that’s what good women were made of—straight from the earth and particularly cooperative. The perfect prototype for an ordinary woman.

Consequently, all the S.O.B.s in the land became gardeners and lived happily ever after.

The End.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Letting Daddy Die


He is face down on the floor, his hair carefully combed, his arms tightly folded under his chest. His favorite red flannel shirt is tucked neatly into his dark denim jeans. He is wearing his thick brown belt for special occasions and brand new socks. Directly above him on the floor is a framed portrait of Christ smiling serenely, a lamb strewn across his shoulders. On his right side, where his face is tilted, is an 8X10 picture of us--all of us--taken at a scout fundraiser just before the separation six months earlier. In it his grin is far too wide. “Look happy!” he had said, then, BAM, we all said cheese and it was done.

My sister enters the room behind me. My mom is still climbing the front porch stairs. We don’t watch her come in, only hear her telling dad we brought him some homemade bread before her voice snags in her throat.
A moment of silence. A pause before the pain.

My sister leans forward, bends her knees and, as if yanked out of thin air, is caught in my mind like a fish on a hook, flopping on the couch beside the body. My mom trots around before kneeling down and placing two fingers over his right wrist. She freezes, covers her mouth and, eyes wide, twists her neck backwards. Now she is galloping from the body to the phone to the open window where the sun shoots into the room, exposing my dad in various shades of death.
The March chill bites into my skin and I begin to shake. Spring has sprung like a mousetrap.

Across the street a postman strides from house to house, nodding pleasantly at a woman pushing a stroller. The postman says something to the baby which makes the woman smile. A toddler, trailing behind, sprinkles cheerios from a baggie into the leftover crusted snow where a flock of birds gather and peck incessantly. When the cheerios are gone the toddler beings to point and scream and then a pack of firefighters burst into the room. One of them has his arm around my mom. She looks at him with large glassy eyes as he directs her to the couch. Now she’s lying down and he’s telling her that everything is going to be alright.

“Looks like he’s already gone,” says one fireman to another.
“Been gone for a while,” comes the reply, as if we hadn’t noticed.

The toddler continues to scream across the street.
“Lookie! Firetruck!” his mom points and tells him, but it’s no use.

From the couch my mom bobs up and down like a weeble.

“Ma’am, can I ask you when you last saw your husband?” the fireman says.
“Yesterday,” she tells him.

I didn’t see him yesterday. I could have, but I didn’t because there was a school dance. I can’t think of the last time I saw him. Was it the concert where my friend and I ditched him for closer seats so we could act like star-crazed teenagers? He was tripped out on the ride home and drove way too fast.
“See ya later, alligator,” he said when he dropped me off.
“Whatever, Dad,” I said, slamming the car door.

Had I seen him later? I couldn’t remember. Maybe the last time had been in the school cafeteria when I ran for class secretary and pretended not to notice him putting up campaign posters for me. Or maybe it was the night he walked me home from his apartment after I came to borrow money.

“You don’t have to walk me home,” I told him, but he insisted. He tried to ask me about boys and school, but I just rolled my eyes. He told me about a great book written by a young girl about my age named Anne Frank.

“You should read that book,” he said.
“I have,” I told him.

The toddler’s screams get louder and louder and then stop suddenly in front of the house. Two medics burst into the room with a stretcher. They turn the body over and I look away. When I look back he is hooked up. There is a whirl of buzzing and ringing followed by a few broken beeps. They pull out flat metal paddles and rub them together. I look away again. They’re going to jump start him. I exhale. That’s all he needs . . . just one more jump. Turn the ignition and his motor will ignite. I am sure of it. In 3 days it will be April 1st and I will feel the same surety as his casket is lowered into the ground. I will hold my breath, positive that he will bust out with his wide grin and shout April fools! It made sense. It was the ultimate practical joke from the ultimate practical joker. He had pulled off a real hum dinger. You got me, Dad, I would say. For a second there you were nearly dead. No, he would correct me, for a second there I was nearly alive.

When I look back the stretcher is in mid-air, suspended for a moment between here and there as my dad passes me in a blur of stinging red and violet.

“Tell me,” I would ask my sister over and over, “was the toddler still crying when they lifted him into the ambulance?”

“No,” she would say. “I don’t remember a toddler.”

“What about the body? What was it like when you found him?”

“He was face down. Wearing a red flannel shirt . . . and jeans, I think. The window must have been open all night because it was freezing and his arms were tucked up under his chest.” At this point she would begin to blink back tears. “The thing is . . .” she would say, “there was this picture of Christ on the floor above him. And there was that family photo . . .” she would trail off.
“The one we had taken for that scout fund raiser?” I would finish.

“Yes, that one . . . “

I would have been there, I almost tell her. I could have been.

“Just be happy you weren’t there,” she tells me.

But I should have been.

I still find him there sometimes, lying on the floor, his hair carefully combed and his red flannel shirt neatly tucked into his dark denim jeans. Sometimes I get there before he dies. I close the window and cover him with a blanket. He cries a little and says God forgive me as his breathing gets louder and raspier. He gasps when he realizes that he’s really done it this time. He wants to change his mind, make things right, but it’s too late. His chest is already heaving.

Other times I get there before he puts the needle in. I sit next to him on the floor and see his tears, Daddy, are you okay? I say. I reach out and put my hand on his shoulder. Do you need to talk? He opens his eyes with surprise. Don’t worry about me, Honey, he tells me, but I stay and wait.

Later he asks, Why are you here anyway? Do you need something? No, I tell him. I just came to see if you were okay.

Sometimes I ask him to recall our last memory together. This IS our last memory together, he says.

No, for real, I say.

He pauses and smiles. You? For real?

Eventually he always breaks down and tells me that he couldn’t take it anymore. That he was a failure. . . a sinner. He tells me he messed everything up. He buries his face in his hands and apologizes for being such a disappointment to me. I know you’re ashamed of me, he says. He tells me that he’s ashamed of himself. He’s sorry about all the times he shot up while we were around and how he wished I hadn’t seen him that way--how he wished my friends hadn’t seen him that way. And finally he says that he’s sick and he’s sick of being sick. You’ll all be better off without me.

I rub his shoulders and tell him I’m sorry too, and that everything will be okay, that I understand he’s having a rough go of it and I know he’s trying his best. It’s a lie, but later it will become the truth. He will sit up and hug me and say, you don’t really mean that.
Of course I mean it, I say, even though I don’t, yet.

I skip the school dance that night and make popcorn and we watch some TV together and talk about boys and school. I thank him for the campaign posters and tell him how much I loved The Diary of Anne Frank. He gives me butterfly kisses before my wedding and a high five when I graduate college.

Usually, after all of our talking and crying and hugging, he puts the needle in anyway and the medics carry him out.

After while, crocodile, he says as he passes me standing in his living room.

Wait! I call out and the medics stop. I said I was sorry! Doesn’t that count for something?

he puts his finger to his lips and his eyes fill with tears. It was a good try, but life’s just not that cut and dry.

Well, I’m not just going to stand here and let you die! I shout after him. '

You already have, he tells me, then POOF, he disappears.