Heel turn.

Jan. 24th, 2017 05:07 pm
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I lost my kid once.

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The Ritual of first night

The bridge is a tangle of vines and broken boards swaying across the expanse,
with outstretched gnarled knuckles bracing weight precariously on ancient rites.
He grasps the fraying knotted threads that tether this world to the others.
The rhythmic sway of crumbling faith, fated, balanced, though serene,
planning/planting, every delicate moment, while shrouded in obscurity.

Blind terror glows, fickle and fleeing; embers flickering in the wind.
Liquid in glass swirls lazily in glass, cloaked carelessly in Bordeaux sin.
Laughter slicing sharply through the last shards of daylight,
the tap dancing of tongues; enmeshed.
Momentary wanderlust; wonder-lost, eclipsing ellipsis hanging in the air.

They resist.
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Since the LiveJournal servers are now apparently in Russia I shouldn't worry too much however, in case the Canadian version of big brother is watching, I wont say it too loudly for fear they'll take away my free health care and over abundance of Tim Hortons Coffee; I HATE HOCKEY.

Yup I said it.

I hate hockey.

In fact I think it's entirely possible that my first words were "I hate hockey" if not they should have been. I'm not much of an organized competitive sports fan in general but hockey holds a special place of loathing for me and I for it.

I grew up a middle class kid in an up and coming neighborhood, a pair of second hand figure skates marked my birthday when I turned 8 and several winters later a newer pair, and, figure skating lessons (that my parents paid for in place of groceries some months) and my dreams of landing a triple axle were nearly always sountracked by hockey pucks slapping against the boards of the local outdoor rinks.

I'm showing my age I'm sure when I start the next sentence with how heavy and awkward my Sony walk-man cassette player was in my hands as I flung myself around the "pleasure rink" that despite the posted rules was near always full of smaller future hockey players. The kind of kids who's parents had bought an entire goalie set for their toddler son and a Gretzky jersey to go with it, poor boy couldn't even stand let alone stop a puck, and yet he and his father and slew of older brothers cluttered up "my" rink with their veritable obstacle course of scattered equipment. Skating during the day or on the weekends was an exercise in frustration. So as you do, I found my work around.

An outdoor rink in Winnipeg is almost as practical as one in Florida. The idea is kind of novel but the reality is often miles away from satisfying. All Canadian kids I think though grew up with an immunity to the cold and even in Winnipeg with windchill factors of -40 for most of the skate able months of the year, we, the die hards, would trek out as the street lights came out from November through March to get in as many extra hours on the ice as possible. And then far too late at night, the the wind whipping ice crystals freezing solid tears to eyelashes, we'd trek home, crawl into bed, and wait for the alarm.

5:30 on a weekday morning and the city is still mostly asleep, the house quite and shivery, it's 1940's boiler kicking on with a heavy sigh would greet me on my way out the door, on warmer days, the sunrise was a breathtaking bliss of prairie sky streaked in pastels of pink, orange and blue, hoarfrost lined trees and the same rink as the night before, waiting for Vivaldi to start on my cassette.

In those early morning hours, in those late evening skates where the rink was mine, I truly felt like flying, zipping around on skates became a blissful escape and a beautiful therapy, wind whipped skin burns from the cold, arthritic hands that would shape and gnarl into my adulthood, and the sounds of the pucks slapping the boards, interruption my serenity.

I stopped skating when I tore all the ligaments in my ankle. Winters went from a beautiful wild child of pastels and fearless frost to a frozen pile of suck. January became a month of hibernation instead of exhilaration. Hockey sticks and laughter, skates scraping the ice. All things wrapped up in a ball of couldn't do's and shouldn't do's.

"If it were a hockey injury we could do surgery to repair it," the doctor said, "but you're not an athlete, right? I mean not a real one? You don't play hockey so there's not need to repair the tears. Just strengthen the surrounding muscles and stay off the skates for awhile".

It was a bad call. The injury didn't heal. And the injury never well.

I suppose I can't honestly blame hockey for that, after all it wasn't hockey's fault. I suppose the doctor should have been more interested in where I was going, versus where I was.
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LJ Idol Season 10: episode 1 I need the struggle to feel alive

When we talk about character, we almost never admit to being the non-player characters or the side kick of the world.

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Pupa (Adolescence)

How damaged are you?
How wretched and meek?
Sharp tongues cut deep grooves.

How loved are you?
Hands held, hearts beat in rhythmic unison;
breath held, a calculated silence.

How safe are you?
Bundled deep within, gripping tight against the cold;
warm blankets, battle whipping north winds.

How strong are you?
Iron clad, stoic, shoulders back, facing the sun;
tall, silent, and fierce.

How frail are you?
Tiny bones, held against dark night(knight?);
shaking legs emerging slowly to uneven ground.

How free are you?
Wet winged emergence, chrysalis cracked;
dissolving silence into awakening.
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Johnny kicked nervously at the sandy grit on the edge of sidewalk, blowing into his hands and rubbing them together, he stared at his feet. March was a miserable time of year this far north, all dirt and melting snow. Everything looked grey and bleak. The park was situated down by the river, well treed and poorly lit just like Sam had said it would be. It wasn't cold enough anymore for real jackets, nah this was try not to shiver in a sweater weather, if you shivered they'd know you weren't made of tough enough stuff.

Sam was supposed to have been there an hour ago. The backpack was heavy, but he wouldn't dare put it down, as Sam had said, "that's when they getcha. When you're weak kid, that's the moment they strike." Sam was never very forthcoming with information, he preferred to speak in riddles, never giving much info about who "they" were, but apparently you had to watch your back in this business. Johnny wasn't even sure what the business was really, everything shrouded in innuendo and suggestion, but he knew enough to know he wanted in.

The familiar neon orange sneakers were the first clue Johnny had that Sam had strolled up beside him. He raised his gaze up slightly to see the bright red hair and freckled face of the guy he'd come to meet.

"D'ya bring the goods?" Sam slurred slightly.

"Yeah," Johnny replied shrugging the backpack off one shoulder, "see", he unzipped the bag just enough for Sam to peer in.

"Nice going, kid, ya done alright here," Sam grinned slyly, reaching over and relieving Johnny of his burden.

"Uh, thanks Sam, hey listen, you're gonna pay me for that right?" Johnny asked glancing around the deserted park.

"Heh," Sam grunted with a grin, "lesson one kid, lesson one." And without another word Sam turned his neon orange sneakers around slung the bag over one shoulder and whistled off down the walkway toward the center of town, leaving a cold and confused Johnny to scramble after him.
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She rummaged frantically through her dresser muttering to no one in particular, "I know I have them in here somewhere," as she shoved aside socks, a passport, and, a few pieces of long forgotten costume jewelry. "Ah ha! There they are," she exclaimed tucking the precious artifacts into her purse before tearing down the staircase and sliding effortlessly into her boots.

Somehow this time of year always caught her off guard, even in the years when she'd helped the rest of the town meticulously plan the demonstration of gratitude, her own tribute always snuck up on her and left her scrambling.

As she tripped down the path to the center of town hearing the familiar chimes of the town clock signalling five minutes to midnight, she realized if she was going to make it on time she'd have to run.

The snowy mist clung to the icy pavement somehow softening the harsh November air, it would have been a pretty night to watch the fog roll in off the ocean; from somewhere warm of course, maybe with a hot cup of cocoa. Instead she picked up her pace through town, skidding and sliding across what would soon be snow covered lawns.

Her lungs ached by the time she reached the old well by the church, most of the towns folk had been and gone but one or two stragglers like herself were still dutifully scrambling up the well trying to complete the ritual before midnight.

Despite trying desperately to catch her breath before approaching the well, her words still tumbled out airy and exhausted as she tossed her years savings, two gold orbs, into the well, "I give you these thanks, in exchange for another year of peace and harmony for our village."

***

At the bottom of the well, a tax collector in a grey business suit sat shivering under a protective canopy, he'd been counting the orbs as they'd come in, keeping meticulous track, the entire profit margin of every business or person had been tossed in as tribute yet again this year. Despite the cold, he managed a smile to himself, astounded at how profitable peacekeeping could be.
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A very small man, in a very long tailed coat, with a crooked nose, and hair that has mostly migrated from the top of his head down toward his ears, wades his way through a crowded amphitheater, "Hi, hi, excuse me, pardon me. Step to the side please. Thank you. Excuse me. Pardon me. Thanks."

After a thousand apologies over stumbling through the sea of people he reaches the stairs to the stages and scurries up to the podium. Climbing onto the small step-stool that allows for his voice to just barely reach the microphone, he clears his throat rather loudly and in an overly nasal tone he begins, "Ahem. AHEM. Hello, good evenings, so glad you could make it here today. We have a special guest speaker joining us from Getoutofbedsburg she is the reigning queen of "I'll get to it tomorrow's" with an impressive resume of half finished projects and wild ideas, it is my ultimate pleasure to introduce to you, the one, the only..."

Just as the suspense in the room reaches the pinnacle of pre-climax a tall man in a dark suit starts waving frantically stage left making throat cutting motions, desperate to get the attention of the announcer.

For his part the announcer turns ever so slightly, to see a peanutbutter covered pajama-clad toddler tripping her way across the stage. Her outstretched sticky hand shoves out a crumpled piece of crayon-covered paper. The announcer flinches slightly reaching into his pocket and pulling out a pair of silver rimed circular spectacles; attempting to read the note as best he can.

"Wait what?" he half-whispers into the microphone, "What's that say, right there underneath that raisin?"

The crumb covered munchkin shrugs and exits stage right, much to the bewilderment of the announcer who leans back into the microphone sighing dramatically, "Ladies and gentlemen, our sincerest apologies, it appears our much awaited guest is presently passed out on the couch watching House Hunters."
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We interrupt your regularly scheduled internets to bring you a thought about child protection. Grab your coffee spike it with some Baileys and get ready for Ani's Unpopular Opinion Time TM.

Ok kids recently in the news there have been a number of parents arrested for what can only be described as "questionable parenting practices". Things like letting your 9 year old play alone at a park, or allowing your child to walk unaccompanied. Now I don't personally care whether or not YOU think it should or shouldn't be legally allowed for children to walk, to or play in the park without another adult. I also don't care whether or not you did so yourself as a child that age.

What I wanted to talk to you about today is the idea of alerting the authorities. If I had a dollar for every self-righteous woman on a parenting forum who advocated the advice of "call child protected services" or "alert CPS" I'd be a rich, lazy, woman myself. However, the mystical powers that be don't pay me to watch other sanctimonious women berate eachother on the internet. They also don't pay me to be judge and jury while trying to decide who should and who shouldn't be allowed to parent or how or when or where or why.

The reality is parenting is a series of judgement calls. And sometimes we all get it wrong. Every single one of us. Some of us, get it really wrong. Some of us belong in jail, and our kids truly are better off raised by "the system". But before you or anyone else gets to make that judgment call we need to consider the following:

1) Is reporting this to the authorities a better option than offering to help? Is offering, your time, money or assistance or suggesting resources a possibility? If you have offered or tried to help. If this is not a first time you've witnessed whatever "bad" parenting practice from this parent then by all means continue to clutch your pearls and move on to question 2.

2) Is reporting this to child protection in the best interest of the child? What are foster homes like where you live? Are they made up of classy well educated people of similar color and class as the child you think you're going to save? Or are they more like the foster homes you read about in the news? Do you know for certain that foster-care is a better option for this child than the environment with the "bad" parenting you've witnessed? Are you aware that older children tend to end up in emergency shelters or group homes than in foster families? What are the realities of the child welfare system where you live?

Now I hear you, you're saying "well not all reports involve removing the child(ren) from the home Ani, you're being awfully quick to judge the system! And you know that's true, and I am all about educating and assisting more than I am about tearing families apart and after all you are just trying to help...

And some kids really do need help from someone more than just a concerned neighbor, which leads to this next question you need to ask before you start alerting the masses.

3) Who is the proper authority to report to? Should you call the police? Child protective services? A school counselor? What about the child's other parent or grandparent? Sometimes the police or CPS aren't needed, a kid you see often walking home alone from kindergarten may have a new baby sibling that's unwell and mom may not have a car. Sometimes what looks like neglect to you isn't really so much neglect as it is survival. Not everyone is sorrounded by caring friends and family. So that kid you see walking home from school alone who looks way too young in your opinion to be walking two whole blocks, well maybe dad or grandma can pick the kid up and drop him off? Or maybe mom doesn't know about the school's position on low income assistance for the school bus or maybe it's just none of your business. Heck maybe you can offer to help out yourself.

So now before I get off my sap box I have one last thing for you to consider before you reach for the phone and your local branch of the child protection office.

4) If the child remains in the home and you've meddled, gotten the proper authorities involved etc, are you, or is someone else going to be around for the fallout? Is the child going to be in more danger from the parent, step-parent or other siblings for the disruption?

Well all knew that kid, the one who's mom got reported to family services, and then the nothing happened, except maybe they moved and you never heard from her again, or he came to school with a black eye the next day and no one said anything because "well, we did report them". If you're going to disrupt a family, even a dysfunctional one, you have to remember that the children in that family need an advocate and a voice, if it seems wrong and you are seeing clear cut abuse and neglect one phone call isn't always going to do any good. Open your mouth and you really need to be prepared to open your heart, your mind, and maybe even your door.

We seem to have forgotten somewhere between carpools and violin lessons and keeping up with the Kardashians Jones' that it takes a village, that we are a global village trying to raise these children to be whole happy functional adults.

Sometimes it is a clear cut case of "yes this child needs help, anywhere would be better than living with those monsters at home" but in the case of a 9 year old playing in the park while her mother works in the McDonalds's across the street, would we not have been better off handing the girl a leaflet for a local free or low income "keep kids busy in the summer program" or offering to introduce ourselves to the mother and keep an eye on the kid ourselves? At what point are we forgetting that the key piece in calling the police should be about getting help for those in need, not punishing those who have less.

Remember guys, it takes a village to raise a child.



This is my take on this weeks topic for idol. I just barely made it through last week and this week felt inspired to rant about current events who knows how that will go over, wish me luck!
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You see a lot of weird stuff as a barber, people tell you their secrets, they confess their sins. Like a priest or a bartender or any other type of amateur therapy job, barbers hear and see some weird stuff, after 45 years in the business Jake had figured he'd seen and heard just about everything, that is until he met the stranger from down south.

Jake's barber shop had been on the corner of 142nd Street and Morrow Ave for as long as anyone could remember, it was one of the oldest shops in town and just about everyone knew crabby old Jake Simmons who owned the place.

It was a sunny Wednesday in the fall of '98, the south wind blew through the tiny northern Ontario town bringing with it the first round of tumbling maple, elm and oak leaves in varying shades of gold, rust and chocolate. Jake was grumbling to himself sweeping the scattering debris off the steps leading up to his shop, muttering under his breath that his no-good nephew had missed some spots on the candy-apple red trim he'd repainted over the summer. Jake was so preoccupied with his busy-work he barely noticed the heavy set stranger's approach.

"Howdy," the man drawled with a glaringly American accent, "y'all open today?" He asked.

"Yes, I am, you here for a trim?" Jake replied taking stock of the man in front of him. The stranger was younger than Jake by a wide margin, probably not much over 40, he had the palest blue-grey eyes lined with large round eye-glasses, baring a striking contrast to his darker hair that looked about 2 weeks late for a trim.

"Yes sir," the younger man replied, "the name's Pete Crow, I'm a trucker from down south, just passing through but seems this little town was just to pretty to not stop by a take a look around."

"Well Mr. Crow, I'm Jake and this here's my shop" said the barber, "come on in and have a seat and we'll get you trimmed up and on your way."

"Thank you kindly sir," Pete replied.

"Mr. Crow I'll need you to take off your spectacles and we'll get started," Jake set to wiping the sterile solution off of his combs and scissors, and draping a cape around his clients neck, when he was all set he looked up at the man from down south to find his glasses still firmly perched on his face. "Your glasses, Mr. Crow, they'll need to come off," Jake repeated, trying not to sound annoyed with the stranger.

"I'm sorry sir but I can't do that, you'll have to cut around them," Pete replied.

"I beg your pardon Mr. Crow but in all my years as a barber I have never cut around a set of eye glasses, you'll need to take them off so I can give you a proper cut," the barber replied, his frustration now barely contained.

"Again Mr. Simmons I'll have to respectfully decline to take them off," Pete retorted, calm as the moment he'd walked up to the shop.

"Sir, I insist, this is bordering on absurd, I simply cannot in good faith charge you for a proper hair cut with your glasses on your face! May I ask you why you can't take them off?" The barber argued trying desperately to remain as polite as possible.

"Well Sir, I suppose I may as well just show you," replied the truck driver reaching up and pulling at the temples of his spectacles.

Well they say Jake turned an unholy shade of red that day when he saw those glasses come off the face of that stranger along with the poor mans prosthetic ear in one swift movement revealing the natural facial feature to be completely lacking.

"You see Mr. Simmons, I was born without my left ear, I hear just fine out of the right and they've given me these great glasses to even me out, but honestly Sir, you can just cut around them, I promise you it'll be easier that way."

Jake blinked wildly, trying desperately to hide his embarrassment, failing miserably of course, and quick as Mr. Crow had put his glasses back in their place, Jake was trimming and apologizing for his prior insistence.

Mr. Crow for his part, just chuckled, paid his bill and was on his way, but they say Jake was never quite the same around customers with glasses after that.

This is my entry for week 14 at LJ Idol, topic: Confessions From The Chair. This story is based on a true story I heard from a local barber when I was a very small child, whether or not any such thing ever took place however, I couldn't actually say.
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I breathed in your poetry, your head on my chest.
Played through the curl of your hair, plucking the harp-strings one by one.
The melody, a remedy for the dull ache in my chest.
Wrapping myself around your scars, a human bandage for immeasurable pain.
There was a tragic beauty in the ether of that photograph,
entwined in the newness of spring.

The venom you spit, acrid and sallow,
shallow threats and the subtle dissolution of character, of self.
The rain falling bulbous and protruding on our flower garden,
drenching dried earth, as if to fill gaps; the cracks in our hearts.
Tigerlilies snapping their fire-wide jaws, thirsty for our longing,
poised and yearning for our next fight.

September brought it's north wind into focus,
the leaves shifting their shade inward.
Perspectives changing, wants becoming needs unsatisfied.
The pile of your laundry left stagnating in the corner,
as if to mimic the leaves that lay on the lawn,
untouched and unwanted, bracing for frost.

Not far from this place, is the land of continuous frost,
the ground never thaws and the ice seldom melts.
Our winters were long enough, our hibernation spent,
huddled against the glow of an old space heater.
Together enmeshed again, we braced ourselves,
for the separation spring would bring.



This is my entry for week 13 of the real LJ idol. We had an open topic this week so I ventured out of my comfort zone. A big thank you to my wonderful editors and proof readers who do their best to get through my word-vomit week after week despite not understanding how LJ works or why I'd want to write int his type of competition <3
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Nolan fidgeted nervously rubbing the penny between his thumb and index finger. His four year old patience always wore thin by this point in the morning. It wasn't his fault really, or at least that's what Grandma always said, boys will be boys and boys like to run and play, not sit and listen to momma play piano all day. It felt like all day anyway, at least to Nolan.

Momma didn't play as much anymore, so he knew he should be a good boy, sit properly and listen nicely. He mustered up the last of his patience putting the penny carefully into his pocket and sitting up straight. Most days now Momma just slept and went to see Doctor Gallagher. Nolan didn't like the doctor, even though he always had a teddy bear in his office for him to play with and a sucker for him if he'd sat quietly when Momma had to bring him along to appointments. The office always smelled like those horrible mints Grandma liked, Nolan had tried one once and told her it tasted like burning.

His mother slowed her rendition of Moonlight Sonata, even at four Nolan could recognize the notes she missed, her focus was gone. Grandma must have noticed it too because in an instant she was at her daughters side, "Lori that's enough for today why don't you go lay down," said Grandma, her hands grasped firmly on Lori's shoulders as if she were trying to hold the younger woman together.

"I told Nolan I'd take him to the park," Momma replied flatly, Nolan knew the tone all too well, she felt bad, and he never wanted her to feel bad, he wanted her to be happy like she used to be.

"It's ok Momma, Grandma can play in the yard with me," he choked out the words trying not to cry, only babies cried and he was a big boy now, he could count to 100 and jump off of the second branch of their apple tree, he'd had lots of practice climbing that tree.

"Right," Grandma retorted guiding her daughter out of the living room and off to the room she rested in, that room smelled like the doctors office and Nolan seldom went in, even with an invitation from his mother he preferred to stay out in the hallway to talk to her, all the pills and creams and potions that sat on the side tables made him nervous, the room was always dark and somehow seemed colder than the rest of the house.

Nolan tried to shake the image of the dark resting room out of his head as he wandered out into the yard. The hot July sun beat down on the lush green grass, he listened carefully to a small flock of sparrows splashing in the neighbors bird bath chirping and fluttering into the gnarled old apple tree, curved and bent leaving lots of opportunity for climbing. He hesitated at the base of the tree, Grandma tended to worry if he got up too high, especially if he was out by himself and got caught. The path out to the back shed was an old cement walkway cracked and crumbling in places, pieces of it pushed aside by the beginning of an anthill.

The ants loved the cracks in the cement poking their funny little heads up looking for food. Nolan hated the cracks especially in that sidewalk, he used to run up and down, jumping over the cracks, singing to himself not really paying much attention, that was before Momma got sick.

He'd tried explaining it to Margo who lived next door that you couldn't step there anymore, "in fact," he'd said, "just stay off the sidewalk, walk on the grass," he'd told her.

Margo was terrible at following rules, and she'd happily pranced across the sidewalk, cracks and all, while Nolan shrieked at her to stop, "you don't understand!" he'd screamed, "you'll make her worse! It will be my fault, stop it Margo!" but Margo had just stood there right on the biggest crack of them all looking at him with a strange and confused look on her face, and so, Nolan had pushed her into the grass, he hadn't seen the small stick and of course she landed on it scraping her knee. Margo hadn't been over to play since, sometimes though she'd call through the fence in her singsong voice "don't step on a crack or you'll break your momma's back," just to taunt him.

"Are you watching the ants?" Grandma asked. Nolan wasn't sure when she'd come outside but there she stood staring at the cracks in the cement right along with him.

"Do you think it's my fault Momma keeps getting sicker?" he asked tears streaming down his face.

"Oh heavens child no, it's not your fault that your mother is sick, why would you think that?" she replied hugging his shoulders the same way she had his mothers moments before.

"I was thinking about Margo and how she stepped on the cracks and how I didn't stop her and maybe that's why Momma's back is so broken," he whimpered, as the summer sun baked the tears onto his skin.

"No sweetie, that old rhyme has nothing to do with why your mother is sick," Grandma offered reassuringly, "now come on, lets go in and get some lunch."

Nolan looked up at her, but he couldn't make out the expression on her face, he couldn't be sure she wasn't just trying to get him to stop crying, be a big boy again. He took a slow deep breath and steadied himself on his feet, grabbing grandma's hand firmly he walked the path back into the house, watching intently as they both avoided every crack in the pavement.
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Cheddar strained to push himself into his 26th push up just as Provolone walked into the room, as his friend waited nervously by the chewed out hole in the wall, leaning gently against a set of old, frayed copper wires,

"97..." Cheddar grunted full of bravado, "98... ugh 99..." his arms began to buckle under the his weight as he strained into his 30th push up, "well he panted, that'll do for today."

"You are remarkable," Provolone stated as Cheddar scurried up from his place on the floor.

"Oh thanks P-man I didn't see you come in," Cheddar lied.

"Are you ready for the big raid tonight? I hear everyone's coming, even Slice and Whiz from down street. I hear Mozza and Parm are even gonna bring the kids this time. I haven't seen the little Curds since back in the Bothwell days. Old man Wally isn't even gonna know what happened to his poor kitchen when we're through with it..." Provolone trailed off.

"Yeah it's bound to be a good one," Cheddar panted, still trying to regain his composure.

"I can't believe I'm going on an actual kitchen raid with the legendary Cheddar Mousekewitz. I mean you're the guy who does arm curls with those snappy traps, you don't stick to the sticky paper, and you damn well dance to that terrible whining noise thing plugged into the wall, you're a legend man!!"

"Thanks man, ya know just doing my best out there, speaking of, we probably should get on it, hunh? I mean the sun has set, the house is quiet I think it's feedin' time!".

Provolone nodded, tucking his tail back just like Cheddar had taught him and scurried across the floor towards the pantry, as Cheddar crept along silently behind. Sniffing frantically at the air, crackers, oats, seeds and something else, something that smelled like...like cheese maybe...but not exactly...some other substance... "The cheese," squeaked Cheddar, "stay away from it." The rest of the clan nodded creeping along behind them sticking close to the walls trying not to make too much noise.

Provolone grabbed for a stray piece of straw that had shed from a broom in the corner of the room, tentatively he pushed the bristle into the crevice that would lead him into the pantry, and with a slight sideways jiggle he managed to push the bait off the trap on the other side. A sickening snap rang out momentarily deafening the micey, flooding them with adrenaline as the two leaders pushed their respective ways into their feasts. They gorged themselves digging near-silently through boxes, buckets and sacks, the small seeds and grains filling their bellies till they'd nearly doubled in size, the quiet nibbling of their friends and family filling them with the warm glow of victory.

Cheddar sighed contentedly as Provolone cleaned his whiskers, "I can't believe how easy it was," mumbled Provolone into his front paws, gently cleaning his ears.

"This was a good run alright," replied Cheddar, "almost too easy."

No sooner had the over fed mouse uttered his half doubting statement of victory than a sharp yowling sound erupted from across the kitchen over by the mouse hole. In a frenzied blur the mice scattered dashing every way imaginable as the two glowing green eyes of old man Wally's least favourite barn cat, came pouncing into view slashing giant claws of terror in every direction.

The Mousekewitz clan narrowly managed to escape with their lives, darting back into crevices and crannies even a champion mouser couldn't manage, to await their next raid on old man Wally's kitchen.



Thanks for reading my week 5 entry for LJ Idol, clearly old man Wally needs to "Build A Better Mousetrap".
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Earle sits in his tattered old lawn chair, you know the kind, with those maybe-plastic, maybe-cloth woven straps on a cheap metal frame, the kind that your pudgy aunt Martha fell through last summer at the family reunion? Yeah one of those pieces of shit. Every day Earle sits on that chair on the left side of his wrap around porch on the corner of Middleton Street and Sassbury Bay without fail, every day at noon, rain or shine, summer or winter Earle sits out there and sips his old mason jar of home brewed beer. In the summer months he'll strike up a conversation with lady Gwendolyn the friendly older lady next door while she pulls up the dandelions in her flower beds, making more room for her lilies and creeping violets.

Earle aint exactly friendly, sure he likes old lady Gewn alright, probably because she stays out of his way, doesn't even complain when his grass is overgrown and full of weeds making her garden ripe for their seeds to spread, nah lady Gewn's just plain nice, but Earle, he's a real bastard when he wants to be. His kids are grown now, the wife left some 20 years back took the kids and they never came around after that, left Earle with a big old basset hound and his beers, the basset hound sat out there with him every day after she left, never took his sleepy eyes off the old man sippin his brew.

That dog died some years back, I was about 11 or 12 at the time, it wasn't long after that, that my momma started sending me down to mow the lawn and shovel the snow for the old man. She said it would "build ya some character" to deal with the old coot. At first I was just plain afraid of him, the grumpy bastard drinking his beer sneering at the neighbors.

"Boy," he'd yell at me, "y'aint got the gumption in ya ta cut that grass right, kids these days are too damn lazy for push-mowers."
"Sorry Sir," I'd mumble looking at the laces in my sneakers.
"That's Captain Sir, to you kid. Aint got no respect for us vets ya damn kids don't, Imma get up off this porch and whip ya good if ya missed a spot." He shouted.

Never did get to whip me good, and I think my momma knew he wasn't really able to beat the piss out of me like he'd holler about. Old man with a cane and a bum leg, sitting on his military pension just drinking his beer and hatin the world. But my momma, being a good neighbor, a good church goin lady wasn't about to let old Earle "fall to shambles" as she called it, so over I went being the oldest and only boy in our house to help with repairs and keep up with the old shack.

As I got older, he'd tell me stories, some of em I just hoped to God he made up, gruesome stories where peoples limbs were hangin on only by the threads on their clothes, stuff like that, others he claimed were funny but I guess I was "too young and too dumb" as he called it to get em really.

He'd holler at me with his slow scrambled drawl after one too many beers, while I nailed another new board on his front porch "the enemy only attacks at two times" he'd say, "when they're ready an when you aint."

My 14 year old self never seemed to get much outta that line, but it stayed in the back of my mind anyway, every time he'd say it and then tell me I had shit for brains.

These days he's tamer, still tellin bloody combat stories and bad jokes, just the other week, he got into his fourth beer and started in.

"There was this group o new soldiers standin in line on base. The Drill Sargent shouted "All right! All ya idiots fall out."
Well all but one o dem soldiers walks off, so the Drill Sargent walks right over till he was eye-to-eye with that one remaining private, and then he raises just one eyebrow. And that soldier he says, "Sure was a lot of 'em, huh, sir?" ya get it kid?" Earle grinned, "ah Jayus Chripes kid how'd ya ever get anywhere with yer fancy pants schoolin if ya didn't even get that joke?"

"Sorry Captain Sir, guess I'da been that one poor bastard standin there after all the smart ones had gone," I replied.

Old Earle broke out in an ear to ear grin, "yer alright boy," he said, "even if I aint need no help around here. Yer momma taught ya good, you'll do alright."

"Thank you Captain Sir," I replied.

"Ah, kid, ya can just call me Earle, I think after all this time, ya done earned it."

I still go back there every Sunday after church, did all through my schooling to become a "fancy pants mechanic" as he called it, make sure old Earle's holding up alright, guess momma did teach me right. And some days, I just sit there and watch him drink his beers, talking about the war, and bitchin bout the weather, sittin on that frayed old lawn chair hatin the world.



This weeks topic was: "Jayus" Definition for those unaware: "From Indonesian, meaning a joke so poorly told and so unfunny that one cannot help but laugh.”

Thanks for reading voting is this way. :)
pixietastic: (rainbow legs)
I had my first daughter four months before my twentieth birthday, and two years later I had my second. Within a handful of months of the birth of my then baby I was staring at a stack of bills, I was unemployed, homeless, legally separated, I had no education and not much left in terms of friends or family having spent years in isolation, I struck out, I built us a life and I never looked back with even an ounce of regret.

I remember telling friends I didn't mind not having a life of my own, I didn't know what I was missing, I'd never been to a bar never really been drunk or partied or had a one night stand. I'd gone from living with my parents, to married with two kids in an isolated small town where I was rarely allowed outside never mind seeing friends or family, so the transition to single mom, working mom, full time mom, wasn't difficult. In fact it was liberating. I was free. I had my girls, and my life and no one could tell me what to do. And yet, largely I did nothing. I was always home, in bed, by 10pm, having tucked my girls into bed sometime after 7pm, 7 was my magic curfew, I was sure we'd all turn back into pumpkins, that my ex would KNOW we were out if we weren't home by 7pm, this curfew he'd set out for me was ingrained deep in my mind. I'd overdose on LiveJournal, read web comics, chat online, all of my friends lived in my computer anyway and I didn't stray from that much at all, at least not at first.

Life was quiet and yet so unbelievably busy, both of my kids were early risers, and terrible sleepers, I went about five years before I slept through the night after the birth of my eldest, there were days the lack of sleep left me so hopelessly depressed I didn't think it would ever get better. I did though, and while they've never been great sleepers, it's rare now that I'm left hopeless and exhausted more than every-so-often.

The thing that's always bothered me most when I tell these types of stories or I explain how at 28 I'm about to have a 9 year old, is the ever present comment from someone who did things differently than I did, "I don't know how you did it!", at one point I went off on an epic rant;

Was there another option? Did I miss the "reset" button, where I can go back in time and do it all differently? Was there an exit back on the Highway of Life that read "Ex-Husband is No Longer A Douche-Bucket, and All Of Your Problems Are Now Solved, turn here"?

Last I checked, I did it, one day at a time, one moment, at a time some days, clinging to those girls to keep ourselves afloat, not end up another statistic of "single welfare-mom with no education beats her kids, has 5 more, gets them taken away, has a substance abuse problem, goes no where, finds one abusive man after another".

No one ever stepped in and said to me "you know, you can just leave" I suspect because they all knew I wouldn't, I couldn't, that those weren't my values, that those babies meant (and still mean) everything to me, because when I was younger it just wasn't an option that would ever have occurred to me.

When I eventually got old enough to realize that being a decent human being was a Choice ( with a capital "C"; among many) it was the most terrifying moment of my life, to realize that as an adult, for the most part the only person I was truly accountable to was myself, that no one other than me was holding me hostage to my decisions good or bad, and that much like my ex-husband chose to do, the option had been there for me as well to just walk away.

This is 2/2 of my entries for week 8 lj idol exhibit B; choose your own adventure topics of 4, this pieces was written on the topic "When I Was Young".
pixietastic: (rainbow legs)
She cradled the orb in her arms, nurturing it as her own, it wasn't hers of course, just some shiny she'd picked up along the way while he'd been sleeping, he was always sleeping. Its' colors were a deep piercing blue with swirling white and a spattering of browns and greens. This would be her new toy, something to play with while he slept.

She'd been waiting for him to stop sleeping for what could be have been eternity, she was sure he'd come out of it some time, after all he'd gone into the sleeping state, logic stood to reason he'd come out of it, and then, then he would be hers and they would make something new, maybe he'd even help her with her new play thing.

The first thing she did was make another orb, a bright ball of fire, one to keep her smaller orb warm, then she sent her small toy sailing around it looping lazily at just the right speed, yes this is a good start she thought to herself, but there was a problem, only one side of the orb was being kept warm by the glowing ball, she'd need to make the orb spin, then it would all get some warmth and some light. The spinning worked perfectly, and the orb began to slosh, giant pools began to melt and the green and brown bits became more solid looking less frozen in their places, they began to move and shudder.

She cocked her head to the side peering deep into the orb, it was growing things. The ones that took their life from the fire orb she called plants, the ones that ate the plants she called animals, and the more they spun around the fire orb the more and more of them their seemed to be. This was great fun, watching them grow and change, looking closer then further back. She liked her new toy, it had kept her busy for quite awhile already and there was still much more she could do with it. She began to whip up breath to cover the landscape, change the shape of the surface, scatter all the small pieces and throw them around, then tears swollen from the water and dropped back to the surface.

And all the while he slept, in his chair, his long grey beard trailing lazily through the cosmos, he wasn't as new as she was, needed the rest, he'd always been that way, but the sleeps grew longer it seemed and she wondered how he got anything done.

In the before; before the sleeping he'd helped her to make orbs and grow things, patiently cultivating and changing the landscape, one orb they'd made had grown sentient developed so many ways of destroying it's self, he'd been so concerned with the orb, they'd nicknamed it Terra, their sentient daughter, and though she'd tried to nurture it, and he'd tried to wait it out Terra had gotten much stronger than they'd hoped.

She'd tried breaths, and floods, and fires to calm her, the critters on Terra had named them "acts of god" and yet they referred to her as "Mother Nature" perhaps it was them combined that was God? She wasn't sure, the Terrans were strange critters, naming and destroying and capturing as much as they could that got in their path.

Before the sleeping, he'd put Terra in a box, sealed her up in his beard, frozen and still. It had drained him so completely, the rhythmic pulsing in his chest had slowed, his heart giving it's last to protect Terra. She'd wept as he slept at first, waited, as patiently as she could for him to wake, but patience was never her strong gift, no she was the doer, the grower, the changer, the Mother of Nature, to his Father of Time, and waiting didn't come easily to her. Slowly she'd begun to collect orbs again, though he wasn't helping her to make them now, now they appeared as if from some other force than time, they bounded into their cosmos, and she grew them and nurtured them and waited while he slept.

This is 1/2 of my entries for week 8 lj idol exhibit B; choose your own adventure topics of 4, this pieces was written on the topic "The Heart Of Time". concrit always welcome.

Hands

Jul. 4th, 2013 09:41 pm
pixietastic: (rainbow legs)
3

Mine are sticky and three years old, dirt trapped under the nails, crumbs caked in the crevices, the sweet smell of summer lilacs drifting in through the open kitchen window. I place my palm against hers, study her dry cracked skin, how long the middle finger is standing taller than the rest, the thin gold band of her wave-shaped wedding band, a soft subtle gold with silver accents, the diamonds are small, her bony hands so much bigger than my own. I ask "will I have hands like yours when I'm bigger mommy?".

She laughs, "maybe, I hope not, mine are all dried out from too many dishes and all that hard soap from scrubbing your socks. Should we go outside and play my dear?"

And we do, we play, and we laugh, and I admire her glamor, her nails long and thin, crowning her bony fingers. I admire her face, it's perfectly sun-kissed color, her thick cascading blond mane, her perfect grey-green eyes, she's my idol, tiny and perfect, I want hands like hers when I'm grown.

***


12
I hoist myself onto the rooftop, the sun has set as I scribble by streetlight into my diary, ink-stained and calloused, they tell the beginning of my story, "no one understands, no one listens, here I am world, twelve is so hard". A noise, a summons, a demand to return to the barracks for slumber, junior high is war and the soldiers must be well rested come morning, he insists holding the door open as I scamper inside, "wash up, and I'll grab you a pastry" he says.

I smile, swing down from my rooftop, hiking boots crushing gravel beneath my feet.

***


16
Nails bit down to the quick, fingers chewed and mangled, she sit on my bed, half a liter of vodka consumed between us, 16 and barely been kissed. We start, desperately searching, desperate and craving, acceptance, lust, love, she and I, our hands, entwined, lost, devouring each other, etching pieces of ourselves into one anothers' skin.

***


19

Sliding the ring onto the finger , his promise, his purchase, the second one seals the deal, I am his.

***


21

His rise and fall, the echoing sentiment when I refuse to comply, "you're MINE, you're MINE," he repeats as the bile rises in my throat, the same words he cursed at me when I dared to speak up, when I dared to object to the way he threatened the children. Twenty-one with no direction, afraid to leave and afraid to stay. I pack my things, I pack my children, secure them safely in their seats. His reaching for the pot that moments later sails past my head.

"You threw that at me!" I accuse.

"If I'd thrown it at you I wouldn't have missed!" he replies, his reaching for my throat.

***


27

The baby coo's from her place on my chest, her tiny month old fingers entwined with the necklace, you bought me, our baby daughter, tugging at the rings of my pendant.

Theirs, so precious and small grasping mine as we walk, my eldest on my right, her younger sister on my left, the baby on my chest, we hold togther.

"Mommy?" Inquires MiddleSpawn, "when I grown up, will I have hands like yours?"

"Or how about me?" The eldest pipes up.

I laugh, "maybe," I say. I look down at them, nails chipped, middle finger longer than the rest, skin dried and calloused pulled over bony fingers, palm to palm with my daughters, one on each side, and smile, "I have my mothers hands."


This is my entry for week 7, LJ Idol, topic: "Hands".
pixietastic: (me2011)
The ringmaster approaches the podium, stage left stands a quiet unobservant young boy with cokebottle glasses sliding down his nose, he tugs impatiently on a long yellow rope causing the curtain behind the ring master to bounce ever so slightly, "knock it off Johnny, no one's paying attention to you standing there fidgeting with the curtain," a strange motherly-voice whispers from somewhere off scene.

"Ladies And Gentlemen," the Ring Master begins, in a booming overly theatrical voice that carries into the depths of LiveJournal "the LJ Idol Circus is proud to introduce to you tonight, for your reading pleasure, all the way from her userinfo page, created in the wonderland of Cincinnati, by a Spanish teacher, mother and wife, the one, the only, [livejournal.com profile] adoptedwriter".

The crowd cheers clapping with the enthusiasm of days of built up anxiety and anticipation, finally this show is getting started, finally the spotlights will circle the room in a dizzying hurricane landing on the superstars of the circus. Who will be on the flying trapeze this round? Which one of the talents among us will fly, and nearly fall, grasping the bar at that very last second? Who will tame the lion, put their necks into his powerful jaws and hold there for just a second too long? Which of the contestants, will it be who's juggling act comes crashing down around their feet, the helpless moment of feeling the part of the sad clown?

Will it be [livejournal.com profile] adoptedwriter who emerges victorious with the "Best Show Ever!" this time around?

Stay tuned, find out, the LJ Idol Circus is about to begin.



Disclaimer:
I do not know now, nor have I ever gotten to know [livejournal.com profile] adoptedwriter any personal information provided was obtained by looking at her user info page, she has not proof-read or evaluated my words in any way shape or form. It was not my intention to offend and I hope she is not too disappointed with my attempt at this intro. I am not officially affiliated with anyone or anything except the circus that is my family fantastic. Thanks for reading, and enjoy the fish, or something.



this is my entry for LJ Idol Exibit B, week 0. Topic: Introducing someone else.
pixietastic: (me2011)
At my grandmothers 99th birthday party yesterday afternoon I watched her gently lift the fork full of cake to her mouth and thought to myself, if I get to 99 I'll eat the damn cake with my fingers, fist-fulls at a time, and no one had better say a damn thing, but no, my grandmother gingerly, slowly, with the same demeanor and calm as ever, raised her dementia ridden hand, with it's perfectly poised fork, to her mouth and carefully chewed each dainty bite of her birthday cake. She doesn't speak anymore, and according to my fathers many siblings, doesn't understand a word of English these days, but she smiled and nodded at our off key "happy birthday" all the same.

I want that level of decorum, of tact in my every day approach. This woman, who having birthed 12 babies spanning 20+ years, has forgotten all of the faces, all of the names that should be familiar, she doesn't recognize any of her brood of children (all well past 50 themselves now) never mind myself or any of the other 25+ Grandchildren or Great-grandchildren (or in the case of two of the smallest; great-great-grandchildren) and yet she is still so calm, so accepting of the world and still so proper with her fork and knife, these are the skills she's held on to, even in her last few years she's clung to the social propriety and teachings that have been well engrained since childhood. She is quiet, polite, and respectful in a scenario that I can only imagine to be terrifying.

My mate is going on a trip, a vacation, with some of his buddies, they usually go several times a year, this trip will be 12 days, the last one was 8 and at the time the baby wasn't even 6 weeks old. His buddies all bring their spouses, he used to bring his girlfriend as well, and now he has me, and the invitation hasn't been extended. It's hard to not feel hurt, harder still not to express it, I know it's not personal, I know I can't go, the baby and I are a unit, I can't take her and leave the other two, I can't take all three, the big kids have school, so the invitation needn't be extended, he knows I can't go. And yet I find myself angry, bitter, I haven't had a good night sleep in... I haven't had a day off in... It's not FAAAAAAIR.

Childlike and pouting, I didn't want tiger tail ice cream I wanted bubble yum! and suddenly I'm 5 years old again screaming "it's not faaaaair" lip jutted out, arms crossed, eyes brimming with tears, "I wanna go on vacation tooooooo".

And he plays the calm, pretends not to notice my internal hissy fits, as I make the occasional pointed comment, try as I might to hold them back. And in-turn I fail to notice, the guilt, the hurt at each of my barbs, the inner struggle between being "the good mate" and taking a break so he doesn't resent us. And we dance in this unspoken limbo between trips, where nothing is said of the place he goes to unwind, and I whine about how badly I'd like to get away, and we day dream of someday, but I don't believe a word of it.

What he doesn't see, what he's yet to clue in on, is that it's not the kids holding me back, it's me, because if I left, even for a moment, I'm not sure I'd have it in me to come back.

I don't think at 99 I'll have it in me to still eat my birthday cake with a fork, I'm too impulsive, too irrational, and quick to jump in with both feet without looking for a place to land.

And what I fail to notice, is that it's possible, just maybe, at 99 she still knows enough to eat her cake with a fork, so they don't take that one bit of freedom that feeding herself affords, that one small piece of her former self, away. Maybe that kind of decorum will come for me as well, maybe that's what nearly a century of life has taught her, to observe the cultural rules.

Read it again what did you see? A sweet entry insubstantial I expected more from you Ani. Your story loops lazily like a third grade essay about how you spent your weekend. Read it again what did you not say how are they supposed to read between the lines and know all the things you didn't get a chance to type out. Read it and rewrite it in the cab on your cell phone won't be near a computer till after deadline this is your last chance, this had better be your swan song this had better be your A game you'd better step it up kid there's a thousand of em waiting to take your place, the click click click of the iPhone keys non-keys making artificial click click clicks.

You didn't observe the topic just hinted at it, now you feel compelled to explain your attempted meta with your click click cab clicking.

They're not going to see the irony of all the things that aren't said here aren't observable to people through a screen, the best meta would have been a blank screen for this topic, or a poem about fireflies and moonlight that in no way shadows the point.

They're not going to see how broken up you are about him leaving, how tempted you are to just go while he's gone. Everyone's first question when you said he totaled the car was "had he been drinking" and you haven't told a single soul that you're the one who sold him the beers.

All these unsaid unsteady things you could have should have would have written about, they're not going to see that Ani, all they're going to see is a sweet little story about how your role models biggest freedom is getting to eat her own damn birthday cake all by herself.


This is my topic for this weeks LJ Idol. Topic was "Unobservant"
pixietastic: (me2011)
I was sitting in a bath towel on her queen size bed screaming at her, hung over as sin, seething with rage I didn't know I could muster, "what the ever loving FUCK, do you want from me!". This wasn't our first fight, it wasn't our last fight but it was definitely one of our more memorable and certainly one of our most repetitive. I'd asked her to leave about six months prior but had agreed that she shouldn't leave until she'd gotten herself established with a steady job and a decent living space. In the six months she'd succeeded in doing nothing but badgering me continually to love her again, which unsurprisingly wasn't really working out too well for her.

The thing was I hadn't stopped loving her, quite the contrary I loved her dearly, I'm sure somewhere under years of resentment and heartache I still do, but I'd reached a breaking point where I couldn't handle her in my space, and in control of every fraction of my life.

It's not that it was really her fault, she came from a controlling background and I don't think intended to bully, manipulate, and control myself and by extension the children, I honestly believe her damage runs deep enough that she to this day isn't aware of how her actions impact other people, and I'd come out of a horridly abusive and controlling marriage, by comparison she was lighthearted, easygoing, supportive and every thing I thought I needed in a lover.

The problem was as I began to heal from the emotional damage I'd sustained, she no longer felt we were on a level playing field and the stronger I got the more tension there was between us. At some point I found a tequila-flavored alternative to sanity, and for awhile we "made it work" in part for the children, in part because there really was a lot of love there, but mostly because we'd woven ourselves into a terribly codependent knot and the disentanglement was going to be a slow and terribly painful process for all concerned.

That fight though, that fight stands out in my mind, as she postured over me, chest out, back straight and I cowered dripping from the shower I realized she was nothing but a bully, and I just couldn't handle one more bully in my life.

"You don't care about anything do you?" she spat at me.

I sucked in a slow and steady breath, trying to stop the rage from blinding me and saying something I'd live to regret. As she sat there waiting for a response, goading me, pushing every last button I just snapped.

"You're right, I don't care about anything," I hissed, in an almost whisper, and then it hit me, a moment of rage-turned-brilliance, maybe this will get rid of the bitch. My voice was even, almost bemused, a careful mimicry of my former husbands calm while in a manic-rage, "I couldn't care less about any of you, I've just been playing this whole time, playing at giving a damn, playing mommy, and wifey, and good little girl. I honestly feel nothing, not for you, not for them (I gestured towards the room the children shared) nothing. Go ahead and leave, go ahead and stay, I don't care one bit."

The look in her eyes changed so completely, a horror mixed with the look someone gives you when you've just kicked a puppy as if it were a football at a PETA meeting. "You're a sociopath!" she accused, "you shouldn't have children." Now she was off, spiraling into some sort of calculated misery, spiraling and circling around about all the ways I'd deceived her as the tears streamed down her face.

I pulled my jeans out of a pile of clothes on the floor, and slithered into them in my best impression of a snake, grabbed a matching bra and panty set, a mini-skirt and tank top and tossed them into a canvas bag, along with the infamous stripper heals and a make-up bag, zipped up my hoodie and bolted out of the bedroom and towards the door, with a flippant "believe what you want," thrown over my shoulder like a scarf, as I headed off to work.



This is my entry for LJ Idol Exhibit A; topic "Honey Badger Don't Care". If you like it, I am very appreciative for any votes I get this late in the game :)

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