Log in

No account? Create an account

musings of madness

it's a bumpy ride

LJI Wk 16
My daughter found out she was pregnant while living in North Carolina. I was ecstatic for her, but nervous as well (any mother would be). The distance (540mi), and my recovering from a bad psychotic break, prevented me from seeing her during her time there.

Keeping in touch mostly through IM (since we both detest the phone), I'd do my motherly prying and ask too many questions. The few visits I did have with my kids and grandson, my grandmotherly intuition went into overdrive, and my questions became more pointed, much to my daughter's annoyance.

She knew the answer to the unspoken truth, and it wasn't easy to pretend for her husband's sake. However, by the length of the spaces in her quiet responses (the same type she had as a child), I understood she was worried herself, but not yet in need of a diagnosis -- nor was she ready to deal with her husband's derision.

The "Super-Dude" still wasn't talking at little over two, but just his speech being delayed seemed to be everyone's consensus. However the back of my neck tingled once more with grandmotherly intuition.

Autism - by the time of my grandson's birth - had a recognized genetic link, and I did not wish its roller coaster ride upon my daughter. It also didn't sit well that the trait was carried mostly by the mother, and it made me ill to think how my marine son-in-law could have a field day needling my beautiful brat-girl with this fun fact.

Yet, when I did see them I still made sure to point them in the direction of Autistm Spectrum Disorder -- not to unjustly antagonize my son-in-law's authority, but from genuine concern.

Usually, whatever I suggested was not received well by the 'Fatigued' ogre, but frankly, by now I didn't care what he thought. What mattered was my super-little dude's safety, and my son-in law's RESPONSIBILITY as A PARENT, was to acquire it. He preferred to wait and see.

Meanwhile, my grandson was running out of that magical space of time between one to six years, where Autistic children have the greatest ability to form new neural pathways, and rewire some of their brain. Grandma was not about to let the doors to those pathways close! Not if there was a possible way to communicate with him.

So I challenged my SON-in-LAW:

Have him tested by an independent scholastic psychiatrist for autism. If it turned out he wasn't on the spectrum- great! I'd never say another word about it. If he was, we would find out where to go from there.

Sure enough, when the super-dude was tested, Autistic he was. To my credit not once did I dig at my Marine Son in Law about it.

How did I know all these things? My son is Autistic, and I had to learn to advocate, and push, for his services. I learned how to deal with those who stared, shunned, or derided me because of my child's behaviour. Every bit of everyone's hard work was worth it.

Nicholas is an amazing young man. He tries to help his sister with the Super-Dude, and works two jobs to help his sister out.

I wanted a different outcome for my sweet daughter and my happy and oblivious grandbaby, because of the amount of labor, time and patience Autistic children require. Yet I believe the sweet moments are made all the more sweeter, for having labored with love for the outcome.

Such as hearing them call you mom for the first time... at five.

Since he has been diagnosed, my super dude has had speech, behavioral, occupational therapy and more, for five years now. He is verbal, affectionate, and a great kid to be around, though still obviously Autistic. I do wonder how much further we could have gotten if we had caught it earlier, but nothing good ever comes from thinking that way.

Please do not miss your child's eighteen month pediatric visit. This is when most cases of Autism are identified, and early intervention for Autistic children is crucial.

My daughter missed my Super-dude's eighteen month and two year appointments, because of relocating from North Carolina to Delaware and life taking over.

Don't let this happen to you, especially if you suspect any developmental issues. Schools are equipped with the skilled staff needed to help them -and you- break down their walls. You never know who is hiding inside them!

Two examples of this, are these poems, one by 10 year old Benjamin Girioux, and then a spoken word piece by my soon-to-be 28 year old son, Nicholas Martello.

If you choose to read them, they speak for themselves.

Ten year old Benjamin Giroux - I Am Odd

"I hear voices in the air
I see you don’t, and that’s not fair
I want to not feel blue
I am odd, I am new
I pretend that you are too
I feel like a boy in outer space
I touch the stars and feel out of place
I worry what others might think
I cry when people laugh, it makes me shrink
I am odd, I am new
I understand now that so are you
I say I, “feel like a castaway”
I dream of a day that that’s okay
I try to fit in
I hope that someday I do
I am odd, I am new."

*****And my 28 year old son, Nicholas Martello

Asperger's Why did you choose me?

ASD, why did you choose me;
Can you find the pieces that I cannot see;
Please just be patient with me;
'Cause I would never wish this to be your reality;

I know I haven’t written in a bit; I admit; please take a seat; please sit;
I didn’t quit the rap game; just sometimes I’m trapped in my own brain;
suffering from a disorder tied to disdain; so used to having to hide and tame;
cause why would a kid who rode the short bus even have a shot at fame.
Autism Spectrum Disorder; ASD, is a division of who you are cognitively,
and it grinds and quarters; your 5 senses into lines and borders;
Certain smells will be so sickening I can’t even chime in to order.
certain foods cause their aromas are like war crimes and mortars; 9p
going off in my nostrils, sending chills down my spine and shoulders
twisting my stomach and binding my mind like hostages in Columbine.
My sense of taste can make glue and paste taste like a shit filled pastry,
simply because taste buds enhance bitter and sweets;
sweetly bitter; bitterly sweet sweetly sweeps me away senselessly,
and touching certain textures fill me with manxiety;
pain is intensified and can bring me to knees; but please don’t baby me,
'cause I suck it up and enjoy the pain; just like I enjoy the feeling of falling rain;
physical stimulation positive or negative makes me positive I still exist;
even when I feel negative consequences it brings me back to my senses;
Grounds me; and I get a moment to ponder deeply -

ASD why did you choose me;
Can you find the pieces that I cannot see;
Please just be patient with me;
'Cause I would never wish this to be your reality;

And Christ vision and sight are the two senses that tend to bite the hardest at my neurological might; bright lights
easily irritate me, makes me want to box and fight
my fucking brain 'til it gets in right;
and sound, comes in mounds, of broken compounds of information;
constantly losing signals like a deserted desert radio station;
if I ask you to repeat yourself just know I was trying to pay attention;
it's hard to focus when your mind is blind, yet sees all at the same time.
It's why I hate chaos, but love rhythm and repetition;
but that doesn’t make me a simpleton, because I like simple sins;
Are you listening to these rhythmically and verbally converted bars, G?
Did you know when I spit these, this the only time I feel like society accepts me?
And yet ironically the only time I accept my disability; and accept me for me.
because commonly you treat me like I am basically a handicapped mentality, so kids with disabilities become failed members of society.
Because society decided to fail them and me;
so socially I forced myself to be you, so I could be publicly acceptable because I am tired of your not accepting me for me; we live in a constant nightmare; that you get to be awake to see;

I am not malfunctioning machinery made maliciously
just to be sensory overloaded, and efficiently always reaching max capacity.
I am maximizing my ability to hyper-focus verbally, with vicious ferocity;
'cause I am sick of this stigma limiting me, from confidently; accepting me for me; accepting this will always be my reality.

ASD just had to choose me;
Maybe we can find the pieces I cannot see,
Please just be patient with me;
Be patient with me and my Reality."

Lji wk 15 Periphery
The desert winds were calling to him once more, she could tell. His eyes glazed over and lost their luster as the air spoke, enticing him with its seductive voice.

She was not privy to these conversations. Indeed, her chief employment lay in beseeching him to stay; To not trek across the hot desert sands in search of the Diablos Saguaros beckoning to him.

Failing to keep him here with her, would be his certain death. Hers also, from grief. He was her world.

Glancing up at the sky, she gauged the time. Nightfall would be here in a few hours and she, along with the other women, had much to do.

So far he was holding strong, yet this was only the beginning of his fight. The pull of the illusion would grow, she knew, until he must slake his need to be in its evil embrace.

Adriana crushed Valerian leaves, dropping them into the teapot to steep. She would give Javier a good dose of the tea tonight, and wait for the winds carrying the evil, to be gone by morning. She thought about tying him to the bed, but it felt too much like betrayal; Which was quickly followed by another thought of, better betrayal, than a horrible death.

The tribes had been fighting the Diablo Saguaros for centuries. It was as if the desert demanded sacrifice for the villages use of it for survival. They thought of leaving these rugged lands many times, but their ancestors bones and spirits were here.

Disturbing those bones and disrespecting the burial sites, would be inviting more chaos and malevolence into the villagers lives.

So the people endured the Diablos Saguaros' claiming one or two men to feed themselves with, during the years where the desert was particularly parched by drought.

The years the rains fell, the Sonoran Desert bloomed, and men were not seduced away from the village.

Over many years the villagers, hoping the Diablos would be satisfied with livestock in place of humans, experimented by leaving lambs, sheep, cows, and burros out for it. All to no avail.

They next day they would awaken to the devastating cries o someone's husband, brother, father, or son, being gone.

The weather each year was now becoming more arid, and the winds hotter. The people, feeling desperate, needed to create a plan for keeping their men alive.

This will be the first time the village stands against the calling of the Diablo Saguaros' and everyone felt anxious. If they succeeded, would it bring some form of retaliation upon their home? No one knew.

Adriana, passing Javier his tea smiled at him softly, saying, "Drink this Javi' it will make you feel better. I also put out the mescal if you need it. How are you doing? Is it bearable?" She asked, concern lacing her voice, as she attempted to gauge how much resistance he had left.

"I won't lie to you, Adriana. It's a struggle." Javier's speaks quietly, "but I place a memory of you in my head and heart, and i tell the Diablo, it will never have me." Javier says, voice stronger, and punching the table for emphasis, "that I belong only to you, and only with you." Javier stopping to sip his tea and pouring a shot of mescal into his cup, took another sip and with all his love for her in his voice, he continued.

"Did I ever tell you Adriana of my first memory of loving you, and understanding I loved, you came when I was 16? I remember you were 14 and feeling so proud of having your hair in braids. And I made the great mistake of tugging on them! You were so angry with me, but I couldn't stop laughing. How could I resist such a fireball in pigtails."

Gasping with indignance, Adriana snapped her wash rag at him. Javier chuckled, and grabbing her about the waist, pulled her onto his lap.

"That was the day I decided you and I were going to be married, and I would not accept anything otherwise." Leaning down he kissed his wife, letting her go when she began kicking at his ankles.

Javier could not stop laughing, so he hugged her tighter, and soon Adriana chimed in.


Everyone agreed, during drought years, every man was to stay home, or within the village's innermost boundaries.

Having dug a trench around the settlement, and filled it with oil, the womenfolk set it alight, trying to spot any movement on their outskirts. Every home was burning sage and pine to dispel evil, with their men inside comfortably sleeping, drugged by the women.

Blowdarts heavily laced with poppy oil, along with blowtubes, were tucked inside the women's vests, and no one was without their lasso.

Simple snares were set in front of everyone's home for catching the men. Step out of their homes and they would find themselves upside down and swinging.

Hopefully all of this would keep them safe from walking into the desert, and following the haunting melody written only for their ears... by a Diablo Saguaro who only craved their blood.

Closing the gates to their settlement, and with every fiber of their beings alert, the women waited through the night.


Stories, passed down through centuries, tell of an evil Shaman, who in visiting our unsuspecting village, lusted after the chief's daughter, Morena. Using his magic to kill her husband so she would be without protection. Sneaking his way into Morena's hut, the Shaman fell upon her.

His hand covering her mouth to prevent her screams, Morena, tried pushing his weight away. She struggled mightily, pounding her fists on his back, and biting the hand covering her mouth, but still he managed to lift her skirts. Suddenly she quit fighting, and at the Shaman's lifting his head in confusion, she struck. Her curved blade sliding between his ribs to slice liver,spleen and intestine, making sure he would die!

Spitting up blood, and using it to fashion a powerful spell, the shaman cursed her with his last breaths. If the Shaman could not possess her, than no man could. The shaman, unleashing his curse, turned her into ... Diablo Saguaro.

Any man daring to answer her enchanting song, would find himself wrapped in spiny arms, and pierced through in hundreds of places. Pore-like openings would appear where the spines began, sucking on the victim's innards, as well as his lifes blood. Within a few mornings passing, they'd find the husk of the body lying on Table rock. How it found its way there no one knew, and some things shouldn't be poked at.

Their tribe's medicine woman, finding it impossible to lift the curse- said it's strength, being rooted in hatred, made it too strong.


Coming together together for their men, the women linked arms and began to sing to the Diablos. Songs of love and joy, and speaking stories of their men's courage. They sang of love's strength, and how love was the strongest of all magics, and all blood magic should tremble when it was near.

The women's voices did not falter, staying strong throughout the night.

Awakening in their beds, with the dawn breaking across the sky, they began stoking fires, and filling kettles. They made tea, warming some flat bread on a stone, just as their wives and mothers would. Attempting to show their wives how much they were loved and appreciated, knowing they could never repay them for the gift of their lives.

The wives, returning to their homes utterly exhausted, found themselves being carried and tucked into their beds by their husbands and sons. Love and joy were overflowing, at the celebration of the village being safe.

But in the back of everyone's mind came the haunting thought...

Until the next drought year...

With a bear close on his heels, Otter burst through the trees, and into the clearing. A rush of air sent warning chills down Otter's neck, and he launched himself sideways into the scrub grass, waiting for the roars and blood curdling screeches to rip the air around him. The apex predators, engaging in battle, would give Otter his best chance for escape.

It was his fault. Today, in his joy gathering some rare herbs, his attention slipped. Not realizing the bear was near, Otter allowed it to get to close. Chanting a death prayer for the bear, thanking it for the noble sacrifice of its life, seemed only fitting.

Having remembered this scarred firebreak's fierce residents from other foraging trips, Otter led the bear here, to its certain destruction, and its dying a grisly death from the Pterogracks' and their two foot, razor sharp, beaks.

Pterograck's, with a wingspan of around twenty feet, were the fastest flying creatures on Earth. Their ability to strike at high speeds, enabled them to punch their pointed beaks through the thickest of hides, or skin, making them extremely lethal.

Usually, the only warning of being in their sights was a downdraft of air, and a fleeting shadow, before they pierced you through.

Living in the world's mountainous caverns with enough room to fly in, or amongst the high towers in the breaks, where they built their nests, they thrived.

However, in the density of the black forest, the gracks' didn't have enough room to unfurl their wings, or maneuver. And on land, they were slow and ungainly, making them easier to evade.

Pterogracks lived in family groupings, and with the bear now occupying this colony's attention, Otter should be able to make it across the break.

Notching an arrow in his bow, and ready to kiss the dirt again at any stirrings of air, or shadow, Otter, raced full tilt across the break, until disappearing into the safety of the trees.

Otter thought of the time long past, the time story tellers call Moreau. Speakers tell of strange vibrations, and pulsating lights coming from the metal towers rising in the breaks. How these vibrations went about changing many creatures, but especially the birds.

Their constant flying through tower resonances, easily mutated their hollow bones and beaks; Both, becoming elongated and more dense, and their feet, turning into talons.

Humans, living along the breaks at the time, weren't immune to the tower pulses either. Some of them evolved, with parts of their brains changing to give them extraordinary abilities. (Otter's foresight and hearing, standing in testament.)

Then there were the others, born twisted of body, or of mind. Nature claimed these other-born, and acted in judgement as it saw fit. "Those others are best not to be thought about." Otter told himself.

Legend also told of a day all the towers in the thousands, upon thousands, of breaks began humming. Their vibrations growing stronger and stronger, and more intense, until every every single tower was arcing blue flame to join its neighbor.

The Elders say the very stars came together to strike at the towers, driving the burning blue flames down into the ground. The resulting explosions of noise and fire left the Earth quaking, and with gaping wounds.

Many living things died of disease and deprivation in the aftermath. The world of men had stopped knowing their place, the elders said, and now once more, humans were questioning their purpose.

Otter could tell them what it wasn't. It was not playing at creation.

***All concrit is welcome!
Please read the wonderful entries and hopefully vote for me and any others in the LJI poll, Thank You! 🐭🐁

LJI Wk. 13
Flipping through the pages of a photo album, I stop at a rare picture of the kids and I, sitting on the steps of the L shaped porch of our first house, a three story Victorian twin with white siding and blue shutters. That house holds so many memories beneath its pointed roof -- and this photo is unleashing a torrent of many.

Pulling the photo from its cover, I turn it toward the light, taking a better look at it, and suddenly I'm back there. The kids and I are laughing, carving pumpkins on a gorgeous fall day, saving as much of the guts as we could for making pies, and the seeds for toasting. We were more or less making messes instead of masterpieces, but the laughter and giggles told of creating something more valuable.

Finishing up, we used the garden hose to flush the pumpkin debris from the porch into the grass of my front yard. Deciding to place our Jack-o-Lantern's on both sides of the stoop, and lighting the candles inside, my munchkins and I, taking a step back, felt satisfied. They looked appropriately scary.

The following August, thick vines began growing in our front lawn, eventually sprouting yellow flowers as big as dinner plates! The brats and I, curious as to what they could be, kept watch every day as the vines kept growing until -- pumpkins!!!! I certainly did NOT need to buy any that year!

Memories of the Sharon Hill house are bittersweet. Somehow I lost my first husband there. The warmth of our home's atmosphere, the very air, froze with the sudden chill of his indifference towards the very essence of family. Testing him, I once offered to give him the house, and pay him child support; the look of terror creeping over his face when he thought I was being serious ... utterly heartbreaking.

However, not being all bad, he readily agreed to watch the kids in the evenings while I worked. We were doubtful about our children's ability to communicate any potential abuse -- especially with our son being newly diagnosed as Autistic. At the age of three, he was practically non-verbal. and our daughter, going on six, often acted as his translator.

My ex's love for our kids was never in doubt, but his having to shoulder half the parenting responsibilities, all day, everyday, with a special needs child, proved to be too much for him to handle.

Hell, the one 'normal' child broke her neck while we were living there. Jumping from the curved edge of the neighbor's sloped stone structure, she landed wrong with her head snapping back and sideways. The force of the blow literally sheared her Odontoid process off- the small piece of bone that holds your first three vertebrae together. She should be dead, or a ventilated quadriplegic -- I don't question the miracle, but I do give thanks for it.

There were so many sweet moments in our Sharon Hill house, and I keep them close. My son at four and a half first calling me Mom, and at five speaking in full sentences, happened in that house. Despite his words being horribly mispronounced, and their literal meaning usually what he meant, it was enough. Improving his ability to communicate meant fewer meltdowns.

For example, his father calling me at work, desperate to know what 'pantate eggs' are. Hearing my son's full blown screaming in the background, and feeling pity for my ex, I divulge my secret recipe. Eggs, scrambled, but left untouched until time to flip like a pancake!! Ta Da! Easy peasy.

Winter mornings and their smells can sometimes bring on flashes of our Sharon Hill home too. Once we were heading out to drop my daughter off at school, and we opened our door to discover a shimmering wonderland outside from an unexpected ice storm. Everything, cars, streets, trees and bushes glistening in their cocoon of ice.

Pushing past us before we could stop them, our three dogs flew by, eager to empty their bladders. The munchkins and I could not stop laughing at our dogs' antics trying to do their business. Only our smallest, a terrier mix named Puppet, had success by walking on his front legs -- his hind legs in the air, balancing while peeing behind him!

A few weeks later, three feet of snow fell and my son, impatient and not listening as usual, couldn't wait to play in it. Pulling on his favorite red shorts (he had, and still has, an issue with pants!) and cowboy boots, he shot out the door and ... found himself stuck, armpit high, in snow. I'm sorry to admit I couldn't stop laughing as I lifted him out, but his cowboy boots stayed in!

Holy Spirit Elementary School in Sharon Hill, was where my daughter's first grade ceiling came crashing down on her and the rest of her classmates. Feelings of terror, relief, love, gratitude, and so many others flowed through me that day. Somewhere channel six news has archived coverage, and if they can't find it, i'm sure her grandmother can!

Memories keep flooding through me; The joy of hearing my children's giggles on their blanket rides down the house's steps, or my exercising by roller blading through its hallways. (Hey, it worked!) The time my spawn, whom, after securing my permission, sent their bowling balls crashing down the steps to see whose would finish first. My daughter won. (Girls Rule!)

Countless trips to the Sharon Hill Library for books, and movies (VHS). Half of the library's Sci-fi/Fantasy section are my donations! Full series too. None of this waiting seven-ten years for the next book, or having the author possibly die before full resolution of the story!

Closing my eyes I can go right back there, visiting the time when they were bratlets. To the many nights of reading, To Think I Heard It On Mulberry Street, and acting out Where The Wild Things Are. And when the hugs, kisses, and nigh'-nigh' songs had been sung, I'd make my weary way downstairs. Firing the kettle and picking up my book, I'd begin the wait.

I never had long. Hearing the thud of my son's jump across the upstairs landing, and the patter of his footsteps into his sister's room, I'd count to three. Sure enough, her voice, full of sisterly exasperation at his intrusion, would be heard telling him,"Go sleep in your own bed!"

And a few moments later her strident wail of "Mom!" when he doesn't listen. my sternly shouting his name was generally enough to send him scurrying back to his room. But once again I count, as this ritual repeats itself several times - until finally he wears himself out.

At last the house quiets and I can devote some time to reading, our pets, and a decent cup of tea, recovering for the next day's adventures.

Hard for me to believe this was almost twenty five years ago. We left the Sharon Hill house under duress, and how we wound up in Delaware is another, very long story...
maybe I'll tell it one day.

***the Odontoid process serves as a pivot point for the skull and first cervical vertebrae, which allows the head and neck to rotate. The Odontoid process is a projection that grows off the front portion of the second cervical vertebrae, which is also called the axis.

** All concrit is welcomed!And thanks for popping in! ✌ 🐭

The Wait
The soul traveled pneumatically through the aether, alerting the woman manning the registry. Involuntarily grunting at its weight, she pulled the sign-in book from her desk drawer. Heaving it into position, she readied it for the newly departed's signature. Settling back into her seat, she waited for the confused hello, heralding the arrival of the deceased.

"Uhh, Hello? Is there anyone here who can help me??" called a feminine voice out of the void.

The Registrar, parting the mists with a gesture, replied with a reassuring, "Come right this way, dearie, follow the path straight ahead, that's it. Walk right on up, it'll be alright."

"What, what is this place?" A blonde middle aged woman, trying to look twenty-five, asked guardedly. She gave a disdainful look around the austere way station, as she said, "Last thing I remember I was fixing supper, going over bills in my head -- gave me one doozy of a headache too -- and I closed my eyes a moment... and now I'm here. How?"

"Well dearie -If you'd be so kind as to allow me to interrupt for a moment, can I get your signature right here?" The Registrar requested, tapping an empty line. "After I pull up your file, I can get to answering some of those questions of yours before your -ehr- moving on." The Registrar, smiling, pushed the hefty tome toward the other woman.

"Just use your finger, dearie. There you go, that's it. Very nice penmanship. Nuns?"

Flushing with pride, the woman told the Registrar. "Yes, and I need to have excellent handwriting skills to teach to my students!"

"Oh yes, most understandable," replied the Registrar, turning the book so she could read it. Savoring the moment, she took a deep sniff of the ink drying on the page, before the revealing of the woman's name. "Now let's see who you are, shall we? Ah, Susan Anna Miller -- is this correct?" she asked, pulling a file.

At Susan's nod, the Registrar thrust her hand toward Susan in introduction, but the other woman, still a bit stupefied by it all, didn't notice.

"Everyone forgets the niceties when they first arrive," the Registrar sighed, hastily withdrawing her hand. "Even teachers, taught by nuns."

"What was that? I'm sorry, I didn't catch what you said," Susan apologized.

"Nothing important dearie, it doesn't matter." said the Registrar, giving a dismissive wave of her hand. "Susan, If I may call you that? Thank you. Susan, I sincerely regret telling you that you are deceased, having died from a stroke brought on by high blood pressure, and stress. You were thirty- nine years old, and a schoolteacher specializing in third grade."

The Registrar paused and looked at her in sympathy, "Easy to understand the stress."

"Yes it is. Wait...Dead? I can't be? I don't smoke, I exercise, I took spin class for goodness sake!!"

"Well Susan, you aren't the first to protest the predicament. Speaking of spinning, currently, as we speak, you're being given a number while waiting for your chance to spin the Wheels of Re-incarnation: The three sisters Karma, Kismet, and Fate. They will decide your next destiny.

"Meanwhile, if you prefer, you can take your number, and hang out over at Dante's Bar and Grill. Best greasy burgers in town. Flame broiled, too!

Rather read and hang out? Borrow one of our computers from the library. You could keep track of your family, follow what's happening on Earth, or you can - get this- take out actual books.

There's also Gabriel's Coffee Shop, serving scones and muffins, and chai tea for those who don't drink coffee."

Finishing with the basics, the Registrar snapping the sign-in book closed, passed Susan an ID card with her number embedded in it.
"The keycard you're holding works for anywhere, and anything you'd like at The Wait, but remember everything you choose, same as your in your past, has consequences. Everything, so choose wisely.

"There is much to see and do here in The Wait, take advantage of your time here. You may find it surprisingly hard to leave." The Registrar, laughing a little wildly and now finished with her assignment, faded into the mist.

It was time to set the odds on where Susan would choose to first visit. Dante's or Gabriel's... or would she haunt the library, waiting until her number is called to spin for re-incarnation.

Susan was contemplating the very same thing, deciding a greasy cheeseburger and a glass of wine from Dante's would be the very thing to revive her.

Stepping through its doors, expecting to see a dingy saloon with tables, Susan's voice soon joined the multitude, screaming from the depths of the pit.

The Registrar, hearing her anguish, smiled wolfishly. Susan's chart had many entries of her shaming and bullying students. Damning her most of all - her singling out of the special education children. These, of all the innocents, are the most beloved.

Spinning the Wheels of re-incarnation wouldn't change her fate or luck, either. The three sisters had long come to the agreement that Susan's next life would be as a cockroach, with death by squashing under one of her bullied student's heel.

Every choice has consequences...

Inspiration for the piece comes from two different places. One was nearly twenty years ago when my son who is high functioning Autistic, was shamed by his second grade teacher. I only knew about it because my daughter told me. She was upset by it.

And because I worry about my 'Squishy' grandson. Who is coming along conversationally, but I'm not sure he would be able to tell us if he was being bullied.

So, in my opinion, teacher's who pick on children, deserve to be cockroaches in their next life!!

Thanks for popping in and reading! I appreciate it! All concrit is welcome!

Second Chance Wk 2
"Whooo- eeeee!" hollered Duncan, running to swing from the rope suspended over a tree branch, at the local swimming hole. Timing perfect, he did a somersault and splashed into the stream, grinning as he surfaced. "Ah, the water's fine boys! C'mon in!! Or would you rather stand there, sweating and having your bollocks itch?" Duncan laughed, taunting his friends at the water's edge.

Brothers Andrew and George quickly shed their clothing, and, letting loose some whoops of their own, dropped like barrels into the water, aiming for their friend. The siblings were often in Duncan's entourage, following his harebrained ideas.

Andrew, being the levelheaded, more sensitive brother, did try playing at being their conscience, but his twin, George, naturally more adventurous and a much more willing second, had a bad habit of agreeing with Duncan. Andrew would then go along, trying to keep his brother out of trouble. Needless to say, his efforts were not appreciated.

Duncan had a talent for finding himself in the middle of whatever mischief a twelve year old could. Oh, he had a good and loving heart, but Duncan didn't spend much time thinking before doing. Things had a way of backfiring around Duncan, and consequences at times were dear; for instance, his mother taking and breaking his best slingshot for pinging her in the arse, not once, but several times while she was hanging the wash. Whittling a new one, however, came easy with the memory of his mam's indignant face.

The three boys, reclaiming their clothing from the stream banks, were skipping stones across the water, trying to out-scare each other with the latest gossip from town.

"Did you hear about the undertaker's men dropping Mrs. Annabelle Sharp's coffin? How when hitting the ground the coffin broke open, sending the body rolling across the ground!" George asked, his voice involuntarily quivering.

Duncan, picking up where George left off, continued. "I keep hearing talk of her hands being all crusty with blood from her fingernails having been half torn off? Or of how her eye's were bulging out, with her mouth frozen open, looking like she died still screaming, trying to get out." Duncan teasing his friends, winked. "Yeah, I did hear a little."

George, sounding a bit stronger, piped in once more. "Our Pap said whatever sickness struck her was so frightening, they went rushing her into the ground, and she weren't really dead the first time. She was in cat- cata- catalepsy? Or some sorta thing like that.

He told mam our family's going to be buried in those new-fangled coffins- the ones with bells on them? And that he'd suffer perdition before burying one of his, and leaving them to die cold and alone."

Andrew, shivering slightly and clearly upset by the tale, turned to his companions: "Can you imagine her horror, though?

"How sensing the darkness, she opened her eyes, to find it truly did blanket her. Her terror rising at smelling the fresh cut pine, and the feeling of roughness beneath her palms. All the while, overpowering everything, is the scent of the fresh turned earth."

Andrew, having caught their attention, went on: "Imagine beating, tearing, at that box, desperately trying to reach the surface, to breathe fresh air. Screaming until your lungs burst, and dying in agony and fear as you suffocate.

"If you listen closely, at night you can still hear her screaming and,..." Andrew, stepping back and curling his fingers into claws, ran them hard down his brother's and Duncan's backs, simultaneously growling, "...scratching, scratching, scratching!!"

Duncan's jumping a foot, and his brother's squawking, set the normally restrained Andrew howling with laughter!

Feeling quite proud of his accomplishment, Andrew knew he was going to have to endure some brotherly punches...
but every hit would be well worth it.

*** One of people's worst fears is of being buried alive, and this was ǹot an uncommon occurrence in the late Victorian era. Cholera was rampant from unsanitary conditions, and often patients fell into a coma. The authorities, or families would hurry burial to prevent germs from spreading and their loved ones upon waking discovered themselves trapped.

To prevent a gruesome and cruel death, safety coffins were built and made affordable to the middle classes in the second half of the eighteenth century, and were still in use in 1995. The popular version of safety coffins contained cords attached to bells, so that a person who woke up in one, would be able to pull the cord and the bell's ringing would alert the outside world.

Thanks for reading! All concrit is welcome! And please pop in again!

Our hearts are still broken...
***Trigger warning Death

Writing this piece is emotionally difficult, but strangely cathartic. Six years ago, a genuinely magnificent person was ripped from this plane of existence, by a drunk, and under the influence driver.

I loved this young woman as wholeheartedly as I love my own children, our dearest Uncle Mel.

Attempting to recreate, what Melissa meant to my family, and why we loved her so, in this, a paltry handful or two of paragraphs will be a herculean task.

Experiencing her warmth and gentle acceptance of humanity's pitfalls, can't be done with words. How can people comprehend the phenomenal being, who went quietly spreading her gifts to brighten someone's world, without knowing Melissa.

Gratitude for this young woman is impossible to convey. She spent a lot of time patiently steering my high functioning, Autistic son, through the social graces. Oh, she could and rightfully would, become exasperated with his forgetfulness, but turn right around after taking a few deep breaths, and help him navigate through whatever mishap or drama his irresponsibility caused.

Mel did have her own troubles and concerns, yet she always found time for my son. She was his shoulder to lean on when life issues were rendering both his sister and I unable to be his strength. Melissa, without asking, quietly stepped in to fill the void.

Melissa knew his secrets, keeping them close, and understood his dreams. Nick was her little brother and she loved him; and she was his big brother and he loved her. It was as simple as that.


Besides watching Melissa grow from awkward, nerdy, young teen to young adult, I was given the pleasure of working with her for a year, covering third shift for WaWa. Many interesting moments were shared, from harmonizing together singing along with the Indigo Girls, to coming up with comical posters for why the WaWa toaster was being cleaned; In hopes of fending off the irate customers wanting a toasted sandwich.

Regular's learning it was Mel drawing these cartoons, made it a point to come in and see them. I actually sold one for the exorbitant price of a dollar(!) with the customer asking Mel to sign it. Teasing that she was now a 'professional artist' I watched the joyful disbelief, dawning across her face as the realization hit her - A stranger thought her artwork was good enough to want for themselves!

Did I mention her voice yet? Clear and sweet. I'd needle her, telling her I was going to make her try out for American Idol. She'd pooh-pooh me, saying how crazy I was, but she'd sing a little louder secretly pleased.

She endured my pestering her with probing questions (You know mothers!) about my son and daughter; and working together gave us plenty of opportunities to have philosophical discussions of life and love in all its bewildering randomness. (Sigh) I miss those talks.


Melissa's kinship (friendship isn't strong enough) with my family survived her falling in love with my daughter- while knowing Alicia loved another. But their bond was precious to them, so much so, it also survived my daughter's marriage. In fact Melissa loved Alicia enough to be the 'man of honor' and wear a dress in the wedding! Everyone still smiles at the image!

Melissa loved my children without restriction, and when my daughter's Marine husband was being deployed to Iraq, she up and moved to North Carolina, ostensibly to keep my daughter from becoming lonely. (We all knew she was missing my daughter.)

During my son-in-law's next deployment to Afghanistan, again Melissa stayed. This time to assist my daughter throughout her pregnancy. And assist she did! Melissa was with Alicia when she began labor, driving her to hospital, and was the third person in the family to hold my grandson.

She was my grandson's Uncle Mel, but her gentle spirit, and the love she had for him, is gone. True, Melissa hasn't been here, shaping, molding, or helping him grow into the silly nine year old he is, but we remember her for him... and we remember her for us.

Mostly, however we remember the love, which along with our treasured memories, can never truly be lost, when
we remember, Melissa.

Dedicated to Melissa Foraker - 4/19/1988- 1/3/2013

**Please don't drink and drive. Always have a designated driver. Melissa's car was struck head on- she died on impact.

The other driver lived.

Time to let my imagination go
Please sir, may I play second chance?🐭🐁✌😊

First Encounter...
Roll with it...

Shocked, and stunned into sudden paralysis, Fox couldn't stop thinking, "Is that woman truly my mother?" Senses
finaly flaring, she instinctively began moving. She had to get closer.

Hells! She'd have marched straight down to the caravan, and ask the question herself, but her better senses intervened, prevailing over the years of pent up need.

Instructing her 'eyes and ears' to keep watching the caravan and inform her of any changes, she tossed a few coins into the air and sprinted down the hill, leaving the dump behind. Fox wanted to try getting close enough to follow the wagons, unnoticed, as they crossed through streets. Finding where Rodrigo dropped off the women and girls, would be a bonus.

Fox hadn't thought he could replenish his -stock? - this quickly, but these chickens dancing into the settlement belied that thinking. The women seemed plucked from varied continents. Amador, and maybe some from Darliynia. The first were small and slender, and the second, dusky skinned and dark haired, with a very fluid way of stepping. Fox had seen this type of walk before, but she couldn't quite place where.

Deftly weaving her way in and out of the carts and other small caravans without drawing attention to herself, Fox edged closer and closer to Rodrigo's. Feeling a slight tug at her sleeve and thinking it an inept pick-pocket, Fox grabbed and twisted the offensive hand with authority. The child yowled, and thrusting a slip of paper toward Fox, piped a pitiful, "Puh-uh-lease, let go, si-sirr. You're hur-ur-ting me!"

Instantly contrite, Fox apologized while fishing for a coin to give the grubby child for their trouble. Placing it in the child's hand and thanking the urchin once more, Fox moved away from the crowd, reading the cipher.

[Tonight. Highballers Lane at the 12th chime. Ask the Jester for Maggie. Don't be late.]

Well, that's damn cryptic thought Fox, looking around for anyone watching or acting strangely. Nothing untoward caught Fox's eye, or set her teeth on edge, and she was slightly disappointed that whomever sent the missive didn't stay to see the deed accomplished.

Quickly finishing her errands, Fox headed for a visit to Angel's children's Mission and Good Eats. Seeking counsel from Sister Sara and gathering her friend Newt to guard her back was an imperative. This could be one of Rodrigo's traps set specifically for her and wouldn't be the first.

After all, Rodrigo still had to feel butt-hurt over her blowing up one of his gambling establishments, but Fox didn't take kindly to the Highballer's forays into the sex trade, or to the part he played in her father's death.

What motive hid behind his bringing her mother to Delphi, now? Did he have her all this time? Almost ten years have passed since Fox saw her mother being thrown by a bomb blast, and carried away in the smoke and fire afterward. Fox's father had scooped Fox up from where she lay, and ran in the other direction.

Her father changed that day, becoming morose and reckless. Fox, although only seven, understood her father's heart was crying. He didn't count on losing his wife, partner, and mother of his child, and he didn't count on his inability to keep his family safe. It almost broke him, until Fox threw a rare tantrum, reminding her father she needed him for her survival.


Shrugging the memory away, Fox turned up a side alley and ducked through the backdoor of the Mission. Hectore, busy at the fry station, with his back to the door, didn't notice her. She moved lightly out the kitchen door and did a quick search for Sarah.

She found sister Sarah deep in a conversation with a pair of Highballer customers. Halfway there, recognizing the Baller- every fiber in her being turned to ice. Sarah's voice hitched at catching sight of Fox, but quickly went on. However, Fox's luck had run out.,

Rodrigo raised his head, looking every bit the cat who drank all the cream.

"Ahhh Fox, please join us. I'd like you to become...reacquainted... with someone." Rodrigo's voice dripping with venom, invited.

"Why are you here?" Fox, replied with equal rancor, refusing to look at the Baller's plus one. It was Sister Sarah who answered the question.

"Because the Mission is neutral ground. He knew once your little birds told you about who his caravan brought in, you would be paying him an unsolicited visit, and he's still recovering from the last time you, uh, dropped in. He's trying to avoid that."

Sarah, looking pointedly at Fox, finished with, "I've agreed to allow the Mission to be a go-between. I'm trusting the Mission will not become another place of war?"

"Fox, please. Listen to what he and his, ... companion... have to say." Sarah's voice trembling now with tension.

Sniffling, and feeling a bit betrayed, Fox wiped her face of emotion, and casually slid into the booth next to Rodrigo's "companion". Cozying up, she spat her next words with all the longing and pent up anger of ten years.

"Alright, I'll go first. So, Mother, you've got to tell me, where have you been all these years, and why are you
turning up, now??"

Other Stories in the Fox Saga:

https://dmousey.dreamwidth.org/5988.html Fox in Henhouse 1)

https://dmousey.dreamwidth.org/5837.html Chickens Flew The Coop 2)

https://dmousey.dreamwidth.org/6248.html Newt 3)

https://dmousey.dreamwidth.org/7843.html DNA 4)

(no subject)
Sunlight glinting through the lone window of her basement hideaway woke Fox from a dreamless sleep. Slowly stretching, then running her fingers through her clipped, auburn hair, her stomach growled, and she went searching for food. She was always hungry. Slapping together some cheese and dried meat from her meager stores, she busied herself brewing coffee while she absently chewed.

She could cadge a tastier breakfast at Sister Sarah's, but Fox didn't like to be seen there too often. High ballers wanted her head, and the children's mission could become a target to get her attention, though it was neutral territory. Someone, however, for enough coin and protection, might decide to take the risk.

Finishing with her simple meal she began dressing. She left her vest with its master thief's picks and other tools of her trade, hanging on its hook. She wasn't scouting a job, or rescuing anyone, planning only to spend the day gathering the latest information about the doings of Delphi settlement. Besides, her pantry desperately needed filling.

She'd visit the dump, trade, and fill her empty pockets, catching the local gossip while doing so. And, since the dump was one of the settlement's high points, she'd scope the city gates and streets from there.

It always paid off knowing what or who, the high ballers were bringing in. Which 'king' was beefing up security, or cheating another, and which slags had risen to enforcing for them.

Once her pockets were full, she'd replenish her supplies at the aptly named, Market Square. Always bustling and intriguing with goods coming from every community and city that had anything to trade after the wars, came through Delphi's gates and piers, making their way to the Square. You could purchase anything you fancied, if you were willing to pay its price.

Scooping up binoculars and her trusty MUT (Military Utility Tool), she grabbed her father's worn enforcer jacket and opened her door, automatically scanning for anything out of place.
Her street's buildings had been pulverized by the war's mortar and aerial assaults, but somehow half of her once four story apartment house had remained standing.

Fox, having claimed a sublevel set of rooms for herself, had a way of discouraging any other two legged residents from moving in. Still, she took precautions, and secured her home, climbing the broken steps to the street. Freeing her metal cart of its hiding place, she filled it with several cases of bottles cached for recycling, and proceeded on her journey.

Halfway there, the scents of nutmeg and cinnamon wafting from a hawker's wagon, brought memories from a day long ago. The day of bombs and fires. The beginning of destruction and death. The last day her family was all together.

She was in the kitchen and excited about Christmas. Her mother spent the day baking, and allowed seven year old Fox (Francine then, though her father called her Fox to her mother's dismay) to help and carefully stack cookies in tins to give as gifts for friends.

She remembered her mother's easy smile, and eyes the same green as hers, shining with laughter. How her hair, riotously framing her face wouldn't stay tamed, always managing to come free of it's bindings. Fox loved playing with her curls.

The kitchen's atmosphere abruptly changed with her father's return from work. Tension oozing through his voice while he whispered furiously with her mother; and her mother, quickly and methodically began filling their backpacks with changes of clothes, traveling food, and other necessities.

The weight of her backpack tugged at her shoulders, as her father carrying her, ran from the staccato of gunfire. Fires lit up the night, and then, the explosion that threw them all.

Her father shielded her with his body, as they went flying and then nothing. When she awoke, her mother was missing, lost somewhere in the smoke, and her father and she running without her when the soldiers came.

Fox, heart hurting from the painful memory, cleared her head, while quickening her pace to the dump, The closer she came to her destination, the thicker the foot traffic. Scroungers and the downtrodden mostly in this area. Hoping to cash in enough glass, metal, and other 'trinkets' for sufficient coin to survive another day or two.

Some were resourceful and independent, but be too resourceful and you'd catch a baller's attention. Attention meant finding yourself pressed into slagging, or worse. Fox made it a point to befriend the clever ones, and if possible teach them how to defend themselves. Grateful for the assist, they became loyal friends, and her eyes and ears.

She made her trades while listening to the loose talk around the dump. Apparently a new caravan was coming in from Rodrigo's interests outside of Delphi. He was bringing in 'entertainment' to replace the ones he lost in the destruction of his new club. Destruction caused by Fox, in avenging her father's death at Rodrigo's hands three years ago.

Wanting to observe the caravan as it was in line for entry, Fox made her way to the top of the dump's hill overlooking the city. She fished her binoculars out of her pocket, and squinting through lenses, brought the incoming wagons into focus.

A group of five wagons, clearly marked with Rodrigo's brand was wending its way to the gates. Provocatively dressed women, carrying a colorful array of parasols, were strolling along with the wagons. Two, more soberly dressed, older women were accompanying them, and working to keep their charges in order. One of the women, wearing a blue scarf to keep her curly hair at bay, turned, facing the dump,

Only instinct saved the binoculars from falling as Fox forgot to breathe. Heart hammering, not daring to believe, she looked again. There wasn't any mistaking those eyes, and the easy smile she dreamed of for ten years,

Fox was staring at her mother.

*All concrit suggestions are welcome.
**Links to other tales of Fox and her world.