…or not. Here’s a day in the life, reduced to a list and some new words for the world to enjoy or ignore.
- Wrote cover copy and summations for the upcoming omnibus edition of my two romance novellas (title: Weaving in the Ends, in case you wondered) and immediately decided they need revision. Later.
- Hunted and gathered and provided for my tribe. Rested from my labors.
- Tore apart a scene from a new story and left it lying all over its pages because I am a cruel and vindictive writing goddess.
- Collected ideas from anecdotes told by a friend and twisted them all out of shape because inspiration is a demanding, manipulative monster.
I don’t know what this will become, but I know this: it will become a Thing.
The fight over my mother’s legacy started with a squirrel and ended in blood.
The day after the funeral, the five of us cleared the house. Me and Dave, Helen and Luis, and poor Jeffie all arrived from different directions with the same agenda: remove as much of Mom’s crap as we could in a single day.
We made trip after trip down the back steps with full arms and empty hearts, from the house to the rented dumpster, to the rented storage pod, to our cars on the weedy gravel drive. Sometimes one of us would detour to the swing on the old maple tree, to sit and wipe away tears when everything got to be too much to bear.
And all morning long, this stupid squirrel Mom used to feed ran back and forth along the kitchen window ledge. When we came outside he would race to one end and flirt his big gray tail at us, wait patiently until we returned and race to the other end to wait there. While we were inside, he scratched at the window screen. Scratch-skritch-scratch-skritch on that damned screen. Tippity-tippity-tippity along the ledge. Tippy-tappy. Scratch-skritch.
Noon came and went, and we sat down at the kitchen table with the cigarette burns in it to eat some of the sandwiches Aunt Leslie had brought for the wake. It tasted like childhood, and I was swallowing a precious mouthful of peace and happiness when the scratching started up again.
I snapped. I broke inside and all the everything came out. That’s my excuse for what came next.
“She is dead,” I yelled at the squirrel. “Stop begging! She isn’t going to feed you ever again because she’s dead.”
My sister gave me one of her Helen looks. “Eva, don’t tell the poor squirrel she’s dead!”
“How else is he going to find out? Squirrels can’t read the obituaries. Doesn’t he deserve to know? Do you want him to sit there and starve to death waiting?”
I jiggled my key against the worn lock tumblers just so, and popped open the latch on Mom’s kitchen door. The room was shadowed and stuffy, blinds drawn and smelling of old food and older people. Mom’s answering machine flashed its red sentinel light, flashing bright in the gloom.
Dave tiptoed inside behind me. “Your house is creepy.”
“Shut up. And it isn’t my house. It’s our house.”
“Yes.” Sigh. “I know.”
I hit playback, and after a mechanical growl, the machine announced, “One new message.”
My sister’s voice wobbled out to greet us, rolling off worn magnetic tape to crackle through a torn paper speaker. “I can’t find the body. Where did you hide it?”
Click. “End of messages.”
Dave retreated to Dad’s old leather recliner in the corner and folded himself into its flatulent embrace.
“Only in your family,” he said, and I didn’t have to see him to know he was grinning. “Only yours.”
That’s what I made today.