Category Archives: judy Dykstra-Brown Prose

My Karma Ran Over My Dogma

My Karma Ran Over My Dogma

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This picture was taken two sunsets ago from the porch of the beach house I’ve rented in La Manzanilla, Mexico. Not a bit of color editing has been done.

She felt the small disk glance off the steering wheel and land on her lap as they jolted over the rutted dirt road. She picked it off her leg before it was jostled off and onto the gray carpet covered with dirt, gravel and slips of paper containing quickly-scribbled lines of inspiration for future poems.  Quickly, she glanced at the words printed on its front. “My karma ran over my dogma.” What did it mean, this button she now stabbed back into the sun flap over the steering wheel of her dusty van?

She had thought it hilarious when she saw it pinned to the poetry sweater of the stranger at the reading at the L.A. coffee shop almost twenty years ago, and now here she was, driving eleven young men, one young woman and a puppet theater complete with sound system and fifty 3/4 scale puppets to a tiny village on the other side of the largest lake in Mexico.

This simple button had led her to this and now the man who wore it for every poetry reading they’d attended for 15 years was fulfilling his karma on another plane while she fulfilled her own in the life she’d planned out for him on this one. So had this entire adventure of living in Mexico simply not been part of his karma, or was karma such an intricate tapestry that it was impossible to untangle yours from that of those near and dear and even strangers met in passing?

Surely, the unbelievable interplay of serendipity was more than coincidence. Some force that is called karma by some, fate or synchronicity by others, and God, Allah or The Great Spirit by others, may be what determined who walked into your life; but it was up to you to decide whom you let walk away, whom you let stay, or whom you refused to let go.

“The school is here, Judy,” said Eduardo, as he pointed to a dull gray building much-enlivened by a huge mural no doubt painted by the students themselves. She pulled up in front of the school and  Isidro, Jose Luis, Mario, Roberto and the other young men who formed the membership of the loosely-jointed cultural council of her own small pueblo started to assist the husband and wife team who constituted the entire backup cast of the puppet theater to unload their equipment.  When their own truck had broken down enroute on the other side of the lake, villagers had told them to call the leader of this young band of artists, poets and dancers, and inevitably, she had been the one they called.  How many times had she proven to be their backup player when plans, money or a vehicle had been needed to further their plans for the cultural enrichment of their small town?

Here in this life she had fashioned to be free of the regulation of a job, applications, shows, schedules, boards of directors, groups, clubs and all of the “have to’s” of her former life, she had not resisted the charms of synchronicity and so had allowed herself to be pulled into the slow current of life in Mexico that, although it was not free of obligation–to family, friends, community–was nonetheless contingent on another sort of energy not so dependent upon schedules or clocks or calendars.  Here things happened because they happened and you were drawn into them because you were present or known or because you had been willing to be drawn in in the past and so were known to be someone open to chance and willing to play along in this great jigsaw puzzle known as Mexico.

She had planned it all out.  Her husband, sixteen years older than she, was wearing out fast, she could see. They would move to Mexico to live simply so he could retire. They found the town, bought the house, sold most of their worldly goods and packed their van. It was only then that they’d received the results for his final checkup before they hit the road.  Cancer.  He’d lived three weeks.  She dealt with what needed to be dealt with and hit the road for Mexico.  Who knows, from day to day,  whether we are part of someone else’s karma or whether they are part of ours?

The Prompt: Karma Chameleon–Reincarnation: do you believe in it?

THE EGG AND ALL: FIVE PHOTOS, FIVE STORIES CHALLENGE

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THE ORCHIDS AND AMAZING LEMON SOUFFLE ACCOMPANIED THE BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION FOR DIANA–A NEW FRIEND OF MINE AND A LONGTIME FRIEND OF SHARON, WHO PROVIDED MOST OF THE EGG-ASSOCIATED PLOT POINTS FOR THIS STORY.

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SINCE SHARON HAD SPENT ALL DAY BREAKING AND BEATING EGGS AND SQUEEZING AND ADDING LEMONS, NOT TO MENTION DRIVING ME OFF IN PURSUIT OF GIANT LIPS TO PHOTOGRAPH, SHE REMAINED UNCHARACTERISTICALLY SILENT AS JOANN REGALED US ALL WITH TALES OF FILM MAKING AND DISTRIBUTION. SHE’S A GOOD STORYTELLER, AND JOHN (AS WELL AS THE REST OF US) LISTENED WITH PLEASURE.

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DIANA, WHO WAS BUSY TRYING TO RECOVER FROM A CASE OF SHINGLES, WAS A VERY GOOD EGG AND SEEMED TO BE ENJOYING THE EVENING HELD IN HER HONOR.

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MEANWHILE, SHARON, ALTHOUGH SILENT, HAD BRAIN ACTIVELY ENGAGED, PROMPTED BY JOANN’S TALES OF A HORROR MOVIE SHE PRODUCED AND DIRECTED YEARS AGO. NURSING MOTHERS MAY NOT WANT TO KNOW THE PLOT, BUT SUFFICE IT TO SAY IT INVOLVED A BABY WHO PREFERRED TO NURSE ON BRAINS RATHER THAN OTHER PARTS OF THE ANATOMY. THAT SET SHARON TO THINKING ABOUT THIS EXPERIMENT SHE HAD READ ABOUT ABOUT HOW TO SEPARATE THE YELLOW OF EGGS FROM THEIR WHITES. SHE VANISHED INTO THE KITCHEN AND RETURNED WITH TWO EGGS SANS SHELLS AND AND EMPTY WATER BOTTLE. MY RUM AND COKE WAS PUSHED TO THE SIDE.

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JOANN, WHOSE CAREER HAS INCLUDED WEDDING ART AND SCIENCE THROUGH INTERACTIVE ART EXPERIENCES FOR MUSEUMS AND ZOOS, WAS ESPECIALLY INTERESTED AS SHARON SUCKED THE YELLOWS OF TWO OF THE EGGS LEFT OVER FROM THE SOUFFLE CONSTRUCTION UP INTO THE EMPTY PLASTIC BOTTLE.

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VOILA! EGG YELLOW REMOVED UNBROKEN FROM ITS WHITE. TURN BOTTLE OVER AND IT SQUEEZES OUT THROUGH THE NECK INTO THE CONTAINER OF YOUR CHOICE. DIANA WAS ENTERTAINED!!!

 

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AND SHARON COOKED THOSE EXPERIMENTAL EGGS FOR BREAKFAST THE NEXT DAY. (P.S.–YOU SQUEEZE AIR FROM THE BOTTLE, PLACE ITS LIP FLAT AND GENTLY ON THE YELLOW OF THE EGG, THEN RELEASE SIDES OF THE BOTTLE AND WHEN THE AIR RUSHES IN AGAIN, IT SUCKS THE YELLOW OF THE EGG UP INTO THE BOTTLE WITH IT. )

 

Thanks to Cee Neuner for inviting me to participate in this challenge.  You can see her blog here.  It is a daily treat!!!  http://ceenphotography.com/2015/04/21/five-photos-five-stories-challenge-day-five-oceans-fury/

See other stories of wanderers, including mine, here: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/the-happy-wanderer/

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IMHO

 The Prompt: IMHO–Link to an item in the news you’ve been thinking about lately, and write the op-ed you’d like to see published on the topic.

IMHO

I gave up reading the news years ago. I just got too depressed when I did so. Certainly, stories filter through and then I hear the pertinent details or look them up online, but gone for me are days spent listening to and watching repetition after repetition of the same facts, many later found to be untrue or exaggerated.

So, this prompt is one that sent me out into the news Internet, looking for a story. The first one that came up was of the French pilot who it seems deliberately sent his plane careening into the Alps, killing everyone on board. Then I found a story about Korean twins, separated at birth, who never even knew of each other’s existence but who found each other over Facebook. Then a story about a woman who transforms abandoned Bratz dolls that look like hookers back into dolls that look like little girls.

Then back to President Obama’s Iran negotiations, a small girl born with two heads, The Voice finals in Australia, a letter of thanks gone viral, written by the mother of an autistic child to a businessman who had put away his papers and played with his seatmate for the 2 ½ hour flight. I flipped through dozens of other stories on the way: about the royal family, dogs, cats, a cow furnished with prosthetic legs and saved from slaughter. This hodgepodge was heartwarming, heartshattering, overwhelming, and two hours later, I had still not chosen a news report to write an op ed piece on.

I guess, instead, I will write it on how the internet seems to be substituting for our lives. This flood of information furnishes the vicarious existence once limited to The Soaps: The Edge of Night, Another World, General Hospital. I still remember the day Joan Lenzi came running into our room in college, tears streaming, shouting “Laura died, Laura died!” My heart flipped over in dread as my mind searched madly for a mutual friend named Laura, only to discover, once Joan had collected herself a bit, that a character on our favorite Soap had just departed our after-lunch afternoon.

No more skipping Astronomy to experience the next vicarious thrill. Without Laura, who was Luke? With no further excuses to skip, I dropped Astronomy, insuring the necessity to attend summer school to catch up.

Now it is harder to avoid excuses. When one internet heroine or villain passes from sight, there are ten thousand others to take their place. Facebook, YouTube, WordPress, OkCupid, Match.Com, Christian Singles, Pinterest, Blogster—ad infinitum. There is so much to fill our lives and furnish excuses for what we don’t want to do that it is no longer really necessary for us to assemble a life around ourselves at all. So long as we can somehow manage to feed, clothe and house ourselves, the rest is available online.

When I suffered a debilitating migraine lately, the first to know it were internet friends. My Skype near-romance phoned my oldest friend, now rarely communicated to other than through Skype or online Scrabble games. She talked me down from a near-panic attack and I eventually fell asleep. The next morning I wrote about it (Here) and had a flood of sympathetic comments from blogging friends. Another friend who lives in the town where I live Facebooked me the name of a medication that might forestall future headaches. No neighbor arrived on my doorstep with chicken soup or offered to feed the dogs, but cyber friends gathered round, giving me that warm feeling formerly reserved for a down comforter.

I had to look up IMHO before I wrote my response to this prompt. It’s a term often used in the past by my Skype near-romance. But every time, I forget this initial-speak. It’s as though life has been shortened enough. Emails have become Tweets and emoticons have replaced phrases of opinion, affection, disgust or frustration. Hyperlinks replace restatements and hashtags replace the social organizations where we used to gather for coffee or a coke and a good old-fashioned in-person gab session.

In my humble opinion, everything is finally short enough. If we become any smaller, we are going to implode. Computers now fit in the palm of one’s hand and I’ve heard of technology where one day they will be implanted into our eyeballs and transmitted to our brains. At that point, what do we become other than human robots? Perhaps it is all a plot by the machines of the world to be the next step of our evolution. Perhaps what the most far-out science fiction writer once imagined has become our world. In my humble opinion, we have gone far enough. We are able to know too much by doing too little. Experience too much by doing nothing at all. The time has come where observing life is more interesting than making it happen. Time to stop!!! But that is just “my humble opinion,” expressed as a full statement—railing out against this too-short world.

Note: Once more, my NaPoWriMo and Daily Prompt subjects seems to have intersected, so to read my other short post today, go HERE.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/imho/

Now, Voyager

                                                          209a3984-32bf-375b-99f0-3a7c774a75b0      Now, Voyager

I love transformation movies: ugly ducklings turned beautiful, wallflowers who become the belle of the ball, villains turned saviors, shady ladies turned good girls, wild horses tamed.  If you can name one famous example of each from the movies, you win the prize, but for me the top entry in the first category would have to be Bette Davis in “Now Voyager.”

I’ve always been surprised that they haven’t done a remake of the film, but on the other hand, I don’t think they could probably equal the romantic pathos of the dowdy, overweight, aging and submissive spinster Bette Davis, living with her dominating mother, her one rebellion–cigarettes sneaked on the sly.  As her mother slips the noose of control ever tighter, Bette is “saved” by a nervous breakdown and a visiting psychiatrist who persuades her mother that she must be sent to a “rest farm” where the transformation takes place.

The resultant makeover, sea voyage, love affair and. . . but wait . . .  I’ll tell no more, for if you haven’t already seen the film, it is a must-see and I don’t want to issue further spoilers.  As a matter of fact, if you have seen it, we should both probably see it again.  The last time I saw it was in VHS form ordered from Amazon twelve years ago and yes, I still do have a VHS player hidden away somewhere in the highest reaches of my house.

At any rate, I have been diverted by the film review when my real intention was to talk about the title and plot itself and the significance it has in my own life; for I, too, seek a transformation.  Just once I would like to be that stunningly glamorous, thin mysterious stranger who turns all heads.  Yes, superficial, but I’ve always thought it would be fun to experience being that woman who could have any man in the place.

For too many years, books and movies seemed more real than the world around me.  My boring existence in a small town could not be all there was to life.  Surely, if it were, then all those exciting books and movies would never have been written, for where would they have come from except from the patterns of other places and other lives that contained more possibilities than a small dusty town in the middle of South Dakota prairie?

Yes, I did eventually voyage off into life and I found places more exciting–more in line with my own interests.  And although I had love affairs, married the man of my dreams, had careers I felt adequate at, traveled to exotic climes and never had trouble making friends, at age 67, I have still never been the femme fatale of my childish and teenage and middle-age dreams. I have made starts and even accomplished some of the goals.  I’ve lost weight, found the perfect haircut, bought more stylish clothes.  I’ve gone to clubs and danced unabashedly, joined internet introduction clubs, gone to singles parties. But still, at my best, there is some quality lacking in my makeup–some ineffable clue that I am available, sensual, smart and fun to be with.  What is it?  My entire life I have wondered why, with a few notable exceptions, I will invariably be the last woman at the table asked to dance. For years I believed it was because of my weight and at present that may be so, but even at my skinniest, there was some signal I sent out that made me unapproachable or unappealing or uncharismatic to most men, and as old and wise and introspective and analytical as I have become in my middle-to-old age, I do not know what it is.

Have you ever known someone who is doing something wrong and who just can’t get it right?  Everyone knows what it is but no one tells them, for fear of hurting their feelings.  And so they go on in life, never quite getting what they want and not having a clue why that is.  Why don’t we just tell each other?  It would be so much simpler.  But, the truth is that we probably would not listen even if our friends told us.  We would find excuses. We would not believe them, no matter how many people told us the same thing, because there seems to be some radar causing us to become who we are–strengths, talents and faults all combined.

A complete stranger sitting next to me at a banquet once said to me, “You don’t need that!” when I reached for the dessert held out to me by the waiter.  I was astonished, insulted, irate.  I wanted to take two desserts and put the bastard in his place! But the truth was, maybe he was that one person in my life who decided to tell me the truth.

Today when I got up to let the dogs out and give them their morning meal, I saw the dusty blistered card of diet pills on the kitchen island.  I broke one off and swallowed it with a long drink of water.  Perhaps I’ll start again that journey towards sylphdom.  I’ll lose dress sizes, get a facelift to deal with the resultant sags and wrinkles, fit into sexier clothes, go back on OkCupid, meet another stranger grown familiar through words over the internet.  Maybe it’s still not too late to be an object of desire. Or, perhaps I’ll just write about it.

http://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/video/642826/Now-Voyager-Movie-Clip-I-Met-A-Doctor-In-Rio.html

The Prompt:Silver Screen–Take a quote from your favorite movie — there’s the title of your post. Now, write!  https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/silver-screen/

Strangely enough, this post also ended up answering today’s prompt so I’m posting it there as well: But No Cigar–Tell us about a time things came this close to working out… but didn’t. What happened next? Would you like the chance to try again, or are you happy with how things eventually worked out? https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/but-no-cigar/

Love Times Three

                                                                  Love Is

Letting go when you’d like to hold on because you know it would be better for them.
Overlooking hurt because you can see motives through their eyes as well as your own.
Validating their goals, desires, morals, taste, choices even if they are ones you don’t share.
Enabling their progress through the life they choose.

Learning who you need to be to further your relationship.
Opening your heart even when it frightens you.
Venting your anger in a way that will not destroy them or your love for each other.
Enduring the hard times your relationship will inevitably go through.

Letting it be sometimes.
Omitting parts of the truth that will hurt more than they will help.
Veering off the straight forward path of yourselves to create a mutal path somewhere between.
Earning their love by being that best person both of you want you to be.

                                                                    Love is Not:

Letting go of essential & important parts of yourself just to please them.
Overlooking harm they might bring to you or others.
Validating unacceptable behavior because you fear they will not love you if you tell the truth.
Eating the rest of the chocolate–including their share!!!
Looking away to avoid seeing the truth.
Existing in a world apart from your true self just to be with them.
Scheming to keep their love no matter what.
Setting a goal in life and expecting them to follow unresistingly because they love you.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/i-want-to-know-what-love-is/

The Prompt: I Want to know What Love Is–We each have many types of love relationships–parents, children, spouses, friends.  And they’re not always with people; you may love an animal, or a place. Is there a single idea or definition that runs through all the varieties of “love”?

 

Most of the Time: A Serial Tale, Chapter 6

Most of the Time

Chapter 6
(A Ghost Story)

“Where shall we begin?” The fussy little man moved his little mustache back and forth like a typewriter carriage gone slightly out of control. We were off to solve a mystery, Hercule and I, and although I followed along without a clue as to where we were going or what the mystery was, I had faith that this friend I had followed through so many adventures would once again take me to a worthwhile  place.   I had caught up to him by quickening my step, but my legs were so much longer than his that doing so caused me to sprint out ahead a bit until I shortened my stride to match his.  The combined effect of walking faster but taking shorter steps gave me a prancing quality that I’m sure was humorous, but since no one was viewing this daydream but me, I had no sense of embarrassment.

It is only in retrospect that I gain a viewer, but since that viewer is me, I am perhaps harder on my protagonist than an impartial viewer might be.  What does one do when she is the narrator of her own life?  It is an exercise in schizophrenia.  You are you.  You are she.  You are you.  You are she.  When I see through the eyes of that woman, feeling the onset of middle age years before the appropriate time to do so, I understand the need for flight and escape.  What she needed to do was to leave her outgrown marriage, but how many women do?  Instead, they seek to alter a dress that no longer fits–to plump sofa cushions that have grown too matted to plump years ago.

They live in fantasy worlds of ladies luncheons or afternoon movies or midnight novels.  They simply neglect to fix the thing that needs fixing or to leave it behind for a new set of life problems. For it seems to me from the vantage point of my sixties that that is what life is–a series of puzzles that we can either confront and try to solve or merely overlook and seek distraction from.  Fold up the paper and use the puzzle to swat flies or form it into an origami bird  or party hat.  Use it to wrap up garbage and count on someone else to carry the problem away for you.  All the different solutions we invent in response to our problems is the point of life.  We are all our own choreographers, doing our version of the dance. So I try to be more patient with Susan than I want to be, calling forth more sympathetic narrators.  Susan at 40.  Susan at 35.  What would Susan at 20 have to say about me, I wonder?  Stretching my mind to this task sends me off in a different direction, to tell a different story.

A woman lies in bed in her short purple cotton spaghetti-strapped nightgown.  She shows upper arms too heavy for showing outside of her own room.  She lies typing, which is true in more ways than one.  For when she writes in the very early morning, as she has said countless times before, she writes from a different part of her brain than that which guides her actions during the day.  She writes more about the present, with spare bits of the past popping up as well, as they do in dreams.

That whole part about Peter is imaginary, but where did Peter come from? Is he a manifestation of something she really was trying to escape at the time–some dream lover she might have in fact married in her twenties if she had not in reality been off pursuing the life she described as a metaphor in her initial chapters?  This whole hierarchy of selves is getting so complicated that even I as the real person narrating this story cannot keep track.  How did Doris Lessing keep all those separate selves straight in The Golden Notebook?  By compartmentalizing. Other writers do it by splitting themselves into separate characters, but I’ve never been successful at that.  I write best as myself and somehow can’t make the jump into dividing myself into the parts of myself.

When I split here, it is my whole self being presented at  20, at 35, at 45 and at 67. It is so complicated that the plots become intertwined, but since this is what they want to do, I’m going to go along with them.  Like Alice down the rabbit’s burrow, I will swallow bitter pills and grow and shrink–but in my case it will be in age as well as size.  Let’s see where this acid trip of imagination takes me. No doubt some readers will drop away, but at this point I think this has become an exercise more for myself than for any viewers who are free to jump on and off this slow moving platform at will.

“We have arrived at our destination,” my twitching little companion tells me, his prissy voice cutting through my reverie.

“And what is our destination?” I ask him. “I’ve never known where we are going.  I’ve just been so busy trying to get in step that I never asked.”

“You don’t recognize this place?” he asks, as he swings open a wide door before us.

I step into the view on the other side.  It is a large golden yellow house with rose pink domes.  Two dogs rush up to greet us–obnoxious dogs that jump up and bark and then rush out the open door behind us into the street.  They vanish in seconds up the big hill that we, too, might have climbed if we had not taken this detour. The courtyard of the house is full of flowering trees and bushes and succulents and palm trees towering or contained within  pots.  As we walk, the door to the house opens.  Inside is a table and a computer, but we keep walking to another door, open it to see a woman in a purple nightgown lying on her back in bed. Typing on a laptop. Lying in two different ways.  I take off my coat and shoes.  Lie down next to her.  Roll over into her, and we are one.  And that is why, dear reader, when you ask me the question everyone inevitably asks, I admit that yes, “I believe in ghosts.”

The opening and closing lines today are from  “Orphan Train” by Christina Baker Kline. Thanks, Patti Arnieri, for furnishing me with your second prompt.

You may find Chapters 1-5 of this tale in postings made over that past 5 days.

 

 

Most of the Time: A Serial Tale, Chapter 4

Most of the Time

Chapter 4

 “And the tea, as always, was marvelous!” What?  What had Marjorie just said to me? Her statement was a complete non-sequitur, for I had been daydreaming about rum and Cokes and it was microwave pizza I had tasted as I bit into dainty canapés selected from a tray at the ladies luncheon in support of something-or-other.

Although I hadn’t been back to see Ninny Ricketts in the month since I’d first visited, she was often in my thoughts,  as was her “zero” quote.  “If you look at zero you see nothing; but look through it and you will see the world. ”I hadn’t been able to resist asking Peter what he thought it meant, but he had just stared at me in that puzzled and somewhat irritated manner that signaled this was not a topic worthy of his consideration, then went back to the fascinations of the Dow Jones Average or stock issues or whatever it is they display on the Money Channel’s report of the roulette wheel-like game they call the Stock Market.

How anyone could find the making and losing of money to be their primary hobby was as much a mystery to me as my humming was to Peter.  How in the world had we wound up together? Marjorie was now going on about something else.  I caught every tenth word or so, but luckily there was an entire table full of women hanging on her every word, so I was absolved of the obligation of following her drift.  “Paisley . . . carpet nap . . . ceiling coves . . . The words faded away.

My hidden adventures had started the third year of my marriage.  It was my friend Sharon who had suggested “slumming it” by going to one of the pool parlor bars frequented by both blue-collared locals and college kids from the nearby University.  We were barely beyond college age ourselves, both disenchanted with our “picture perfect” marriages, though we had not yet admitted it to ourselves, let alone to each other.

We’d know each other since we had scabs on our knees and chigger bites on our skinny shins from rolling in the grass clippings left in the wake of my dad’s hand-push lawnmower.  She’d always been the adventurous one, pulling me along in her wake.  She had helped me pad my first training bra and crammed my first tampon into me, stubbornly insistent in spite of my protestations that it would never fit.  She had procured for us our first fake i.d.’s and explained the logistics of diaphragms and KY Jelly long before we needed either.  With three older brothers, she knew the ways men thought and wasn’t afraid of them—a feat I never have become versed in, despite years of her tutoring.

She knew how to get along with men and was one of those women who, by merely sitting down in a booth in a bar, somehow attracted invitations to play pool or to dance or play darts from whatever close fraternity of men that was pursuing that pastime.  She was the one men sent drinks over to, the one who was responsible for us sailing into packed clubs while others stood in line to do so.  She was my tutor of sin and even though I wasn’t a very good student, somehow some of what she taught me has stuck to me to be resurrected when I needed it most—when I was sinking in, mired by the awful normalcy of life in the affluent suburbs.

That was when we began our twice-yearly other life­­­­­—the shopping trips to Ross Dress for Less to buy slutty tops, cheap skirts and strappy shoes­­—the nighttime trips to workers’ bars and gay bars and V.F.W.’s.  The object was never to find a new man or even to find a man for a one-night-stand.  As a matter of fact, after twenty-two years of such sojourns—first with Sharon and then on my own—I was still a virgin slut.  The thrill was in becoming who I might have become if I hadn’t married Peter, just for a night or an afternoon.  To try to fit in with people who may not have had much else but who still possessed the ability to have fun. To let go. To be what I wanted to be without worrying about what other people would say or think or do.

It is inevitable that we got into some trouble—the one night flirtation that turned out to be the new dentist who had come so highly recommended.  “Don’t I know you?” he had asked, as I prepared to open wide for my first appointment.  He had looked at me quizzically three or four more times during the appointment, and just as I was leaving, he had said, “Aren’t you . . . ?” But I had left quickly and never gone back.

“Why don’t you want to go back to him?” Peter had queried, but I hadn’t answered.  Finally, the fifth time he quizzed me, “Bad breath” I had said. He was surprised. No one else had had that problem with him, he said, and insisted that he wanted to make an appointment with him himself to check him out.  “He hums under his breath all the time,” I said.  “And whistles.”  Peter put down the phone.  Neither of us ever saw the quizzical dentist again.

I squeaked by that time. Peter faded away into the man cave that would one day house my guns as I settled back into my Hercule Poirot mystery.  So many years ago, I was living a vicarious life and therefore had more of an appetite for the literature of adventure. It would have been reassuring to me then to know that one day, I would be less dependent on mystery authors for my thrills and would be ready to write about my own adventures.

The book I have written and the book you are now reading is a saga of stubborn adherence to a belief that adventure is something that can be dammed up but never completely squelched; that revenge need not be executed by violence; and that by looking through the zero, one can sometimes actually see the world that society seems to be trying so hard to keep obscured.

But way back then, over twenty years ago, I was dependent on Agatha Christie to impart fairness to my world. I am both your narrator and that long-ago self as she settles back further on the cushions of the sofa and raises the book closer to her eyes. There is murder in this book, the second most famous in England, but what I intend here is more than a saga of violence.

220px-DavidSuchet_-_Poirot
Thanks to Joni Koehler for today’s prompt, which was a doozie.  It was from Erik Larsen’s “Thunderstruck.” First sentence: “There is murder in this book, the second most famous in England, but what I intend here is more than a saga of violence.” Last sentence: “And the tea, as always, was marvelous.”  Thanks for furnishing a real challenge this time, Joni.  You devil!

If you go backwards for the past three days in my blog, you will find Chapters 1-3 of this tale.

Who will give me the next prompt?  Nope, still not doing the WP Daily Prompt.